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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including a sexy pajama party

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Rienzi, azaleas
Enjoy an al fresco stroll this weekend as The River Oaks Garden Club's Azalea Trail welcomes guests to the homes and gardens of six locales. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
News_Houston Ballet_2012-13 season_The Rite of Spring
Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch offers a new staging of The Rite of Spring that features backdrops by Australian indigenous painter Rosella Namok. Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Beth Muecke, chair of the Hope Stone Le Breakfast for Dinner Gala
Beth Muecke, chair of the Hope Stone Le Breakfast for Dinner Gala Photo courtesy of Hope Stone
Rienzi, azaleas
News_Houston Ballet_2012-13 season_The Rite of Spring
Beth Muecke, chair of the Hope Stone Le Breakfast for Dinner Gala
News_Joel Luks_head shot_column mug

On tap this week are a special film festival, events that laud the arrival of springtime, gorgeous azaleas, a virgin sacrifice, a music competition and a gala that honors one of CultureMap's own.

Be sure to click on the link below each event suggestion. There, you'll find helpful information and features, like the ability to download the deets to your electronic calendar, in addition to suggestions on where to eat, drink and shop around your final destination.

Ninth Annual Jewish Film Festival

There's no religious or cultural prerequisite to be able to appreciate this 12-day spree of films that nod to Jewish heritage. The collection of past, popular and documentary films, co-presented by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, offers a montage of comedy, history, serious and lighthearted movies 

On my must-watch list are: Besa: The Promise, which traces the Albanian code of honor to protect refugees; Numbered, in which Auschwitz survivors discuss the meaning of the numbers tattooed in their arms; and Hava Nagila - The Movie, which delves deep to uncover the origins of the sassy little tune. You know the one, the song that erupts as everyone dances in a round while lifting honored guests in chairs up and down.

The deets: Through March 17; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center; ticket prices vary by screening.

Houston Ballet presents The Rite Of Spring

Not many music and dance works stake claim to inciting raucous riots on the eve of their premieres. In 1913, Igor Stravinsky's and Vaslav Nijinsky's collaboration, The Rite of Spring, was received with voices of disapproval drowning out the orchestra to the point that the worst offenders had to be evicted by the police. Rudeness.

The poor twirling virgin couldn't be sacrificed in dignity, though I supposed Pagan Russia wasn't very refined, either.

As Le Sacre celebrates its centenary anniversary this year, the Houston Ballet pays homage to an influential work that shifted the path of choreography and classical music composition. Artistic director Stanton Welch offers a new staging that features backdrops by Australian indigenous painter Rosella Namok, whose work will also be on view at Booker-Lowe Gallery.

A world premiere by Edwaard Liang and a piece by Mark Morris complement the program.

The deets: Thursday through March 17; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $19.

Spring Native Plant Sale at Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Heat and humidity can be quite the enemy for many plant species, so for your gardening ventures, it's best to select living organisms that are original dwellers of the city's terrain. You can find them at the 2013 Spring Native Plant Sale at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, including trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, ground covers, grasses, meadow forbs, bog and rain garden lovers, and shade tolerant plants. Shop early for best selection.

The deets: Saturday through March 17; Houston Arboretum and Nature Center; admission is free.

29th Annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition Finalists' Concert & Awards

The charming Crighton Theatre in Conroe is home to this annual event that presents emerging young artists vying for awards and recognition that support the next steps in their performance career. Open to Texas residents or students enrolled in a Texas college, the competition welcomes vocalists, pianists, woodwinds, brass, percussion, harp and guitar players. Cash awards amount to $3,000 per division, topped by an additional $3,000 for the grand prize winner and $1,000 for the audience favorite.

Do it up in style by attending the preceding social event, "Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue." A pre-concert dinner, live auction and after party are held under a decorated tented pavilion.

The deets: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Crighton Theatre; tickets start at $15; "Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue" starts at 6 p.m., tickets are $125.

AIDS Foundation Houston's 2013 AIDS Walk Houston

Advances are made in AIDS research everyday. As recently as Sunday, doctors announced that a baby born with HIV was considered cured of the disease that claims the lives of millions. For others, this kind of miracle can't come fast enough.

Organizations like AIDS Foundation Houston do to their part locally to raise awareness, educate the public and subsidize the cost of programs that assist those living with HIV/AIDS. Be the solution by walking alongside many Houstonians, and better yet, participate in the "I'm Walking Because..." photo contest and share your personal motivation for fighting the good fight.

The deets: Sunday, 8 a.m.; Hermann Square Park; fundraising encouraged.

Photo editor, design junkie and outdoorsy gal Barbara Kuntz's pick: River Oaks Garden Club's Azalea Trail

Barbara says: "Enjoy an al fresco stroll this weekend as The River Oaks Garden Club's Azalea Trail welcomes guests to the homes and gardens of six locales. Discover Bayou Bend, Rienzi, the River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics and four private residences aglow in the radiant pink, purples, reds whites and yellows of this favorite shrub blooms. The historic Bayou Bend Gardens alone are home to 26 different varieties of azaleas.

"To help guide you through the beauty, purchase a copy of the garden club's latest edition of A Garden Book for Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. You'll find the definitive book on gardening in this region — and an entire chapter dedicated to azaleas — through the garden club and at many local book stores."

The deets: Friday through Sunday; River Oaks Garden Club and various locations; tickets are $5 per location, $20 for an all-access pass.

Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maverick Nancy Wozny's pick: Hope Stone's "Le Breakfast for Dinner Gala"

Nancy says: "Dressing up for galas can be such a chore. That's why I'm putting on my PJs and heading to Hope Stone's "Le Breakfast for Dinner Gala" at Warehouse Live. The evening promises croissants, crepes and quiche for dinner, along with performances by the fabulous Hope Stone Dance Company and Jane Weiner, and music by L.A. based DJ Anne Tyler and Greg Harbar of The Gypsies.

"And get this, I'm getting the Hope Stone Angel award. I am polishing my halo right now!"

The deets: Thursday, 7 to 11 p.m.; Warehouse Live; individual tickets start at $250.

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