Pick Five (Plus)

Your weekly guide to Houston: Pet meals on wheels, a city on the Fringe, free concerts & cocky Jets

Your weekly guide to Houston: Pet meals on wheels, a city on the Fringe, free concerts & cocky Jets

News-Music-Alecia Lawyer oboist publicity shot
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra founder and oboist Alecia Lawyer always finds a way to bring interactivity to all the ensemble's performances.  Courtesy of Alexanders Portraits
Houston Fringe Festival
On the fringe? Hosted by Frenetic Theater and Super Happy Fun Land, the three-weekend Fringe Festival redefines what it means to be creative and artistic. 
Mark Sanchez Jets
Mark Sanchez and the Jets are in town Monday night.
aniMeals on Wheels Pet Food Drive
Love your furry friend? Seniors on the Meals on Wheels program go as well and often share their limited resoures with them. Won't you help? Photo by Jerry Jones
Hope Stone Lemonade Stand
Courtney Jones & Nick Leschke in Swedish Meatballs part of Lemonade Stand II.
Photo by Simon Gentry
2011 ArCH Film festival
Houston has a rich architecture history. Over three days, learn about three architects who have influence the direction of form and function in the city. 
News-Music-Alecia Lawyer oboist publicity shot
Houston Fringe Festival
Mark Sanchez Jets
aniMeals on Wheels Pet Food Drive
Hope Stone Lemonade Stand
2011 ArCH Film festival

Evil isn't necessarily bad, when we experience it through art. 

A scene where tattoos — and I mean that literally as ink artist Antone Pham from Texas Tattoo Emporium was busy branding concert goers with an icon designed by violist Jo Bird — and music darkly commingled, the CD release of Two Star Symphony Titus Andronicus turned fine arts to the dark side at Divergence Music and Arts last Saturday night.

Thankfully, no Jedis were found to ruin the sinister music orgy.

Titus Andronicus is the ensembles first full-length soundtrack developed in collaboration with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater and inspired by the vengeful Shakespeare play. People get raped, tongues and limbs get ripped off, throats get slit and almost — almost — everyone dies but the leftover hero, if you can call him that.

It's a lovely, delightful bedtime story.

Two Star rocked this concert, seriously. The music is deliciously wicked and dirty, the stuff that would accompany the nightmares of a possessed child in need of an old fashioned exorcism, with a few moments of comic and sunny relief via traditional classical structure. Perhaps it's the child of Darth Vader and the Sugar Plum fairy?

 People get raped, tongues and limbs get ripped off, throats get slit and almost — almost — everyone dies but the leftover hero, if you can call him that. It's a lovely, delightful bedtime story. 

The music has so many allusions it's almost impossible to count them. Repetitive and soporific Philip Glass-esque textures mutated into what sounded like Shostakovich — the Piano Trio in E minor — on a Trainspotting crack trip. Others thought Titus Andronicus intermixed the writing of Danny Elfman (known mainly for his collaborations with Tim Burton) with Rasputina. 

At Neighborhood Center's "Farewell to Summer" event, young professionals gathered to get a glimpse at some of the programs making a large impact in the Gufton neighborhood. At the Baker-Ripley community center, drumming, poetry and visual art helped the Young Neighbors supporters group raise funds to underwrite the scholarships of 15 students. 

Did you make it to White Linen Night? We had a blast.

Last week we also checked out the Berry Benefit Concert for Hope and Healing, Houston Shakespeare Festival, CANTARE walking concerts at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the International Jazz Festival at Discovery Green. 

This week, we continue the summer fun with family programs, films about architecture, helping pets, supporting students and lots of weird, zany performances. 

Summer Family Programs Finale Performance with River Oaks Chamber Orchestra at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

If you haven't yet taken advantage of the family summer programs at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, you have one more chance to do so — though do not think for a moment that kid-friendly activities end with this finale performance. Mingling music and art together seems to awaken curiosity in children and adults alike. 

The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra — call them ROCO — go for an innovative, inspiring and interactive approach. This is not just a concert. Expect to participate and learn a few things, while making friends with the musicians. Best of all, it's free.

Just head to the second floor of the Audrey Jones Beck Building at 2 p.m. Thursday

Architecture Center Houston Film Festival

It's the Architecture Center Houston's first go around at a film festival and that, has piqued my interest. We tend to think of Houston as a newer city and fault it for lacking historical substance. When it comes to architecture, that's just not the case.

The film series highlights three architects whose principles continue to influence form and function today. You may find yourself as an expert in humanitarian, aesthete and modernist architecture.

When? Thursday through Saturday at Architecture Center Houston.

aniMeals on Wheels Pet Food Drive at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

Do you treat your pets like family? I am happily guilty of doing so while claiming that my six-pound Maltese — aptly named Spike — does more for me than I for him. He's my friend and I am fortunate to be able to provide for him.

Others may not be so lucky and find themselves sharing what little they have with their furry companions. This is where you can help. Dog and  kitty food — dry and wet — is needed to help seniors benefiting fro the Meals on Wheels program through Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston at 3217 Montrose Blvd. 

Be a good doer. It feels good. Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. 

Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE) 2011 Staged Readings at Alley Theatre

If you are curious about what's murmuring inside the minds of the next generation of leaders, the Houston Young Playwrights Exchange may give you an opportunity to find out. For 15 years, the Alley Theatre has worked side-by-side with up-and-coming writers to boost and diversify their penmanship skills. 

Six 10-minute plays were chosen for development with Alley's professional theater staff and they will all receive staged readings during this three-day festival that runs Friday through Sunday

2011 Houston Fringe Festival

Fringing on the edges of the quirky, zany and slightly weird, the Houston Fringe Festival hosted by Frenetic Theater — with a few performances at Super Happy Fun Land — gives you a close look at the alternative world of experimental artists who do not quite fit the traditional mold in Houston, New York, Los Angeles or the United Kingdom. 

The festival mingles independent theater, film, dance, music, visual arts and multidisciplinary genres, presenting them over three weekends and ending with two days of "Anything Goes."

If you love to participate, check out the workshops offered by the festival artists. Begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 27. 

Find my colleagues at these fab Houston happenings:

Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: Hope Stone's Lemonade Stand

Nancy says: "The first weekend of Houston Dance Festival's month of performances launches with Hope Stone's Lemonade Stand, which offers a chance to see Jane Weiner's new work, including the Mad Men-ish trio of Houston Ballet stars Connor Walsh, Melody Mennite and Kelly Myernick, along with snippets of her greatest hits. And get this, Weiner in her own talk show, called Jane Knows Stuff.

"Of course she does. It's all happening at Barnevelder, Thursday through Saturday."

Assistant editor and art savant Steven Thomson's pick: Opening of Project Row Houses' Summer Artist Studio Residency Installations

Steven says: "The shotgun shacks that comprise Project Row Houses have been reinterpreted by seven local art students toiling for six weeks. On this evening, the inspired installations that will be revealed to the public. It's a perfect snapshot of what concepts are springing from Houston's bright young things.

"The content is always varied in this annual night out in the Third Ward." Saturday at 6 p.m

Assistant editor and nightlife expert Caroline Gallay's pick: KILT Summer Jam featuring Cory Morrow

Caroline says: "My pick this week is Cory Morrow at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Let's count up the reasons: One, it's a free concert. Two, he's a homegrown star. Three, picnic." Saturday at 8 p.m. 

Managing editor Chris Baldwin's pick: New York Jets vs. Houston Texans

Chris says: "It's hard to recommend a preseason football game ... unless it's the brash, Super-Bowl-driven Jets rolling into Houston for a nationally-televised Monday night affair. Sure, you shouldn't expect to see New York pretty boy quarterback Mark Sanchez for more than a series or two and maybe not Texans tailback Arian Foster (tweaked hamstring) at all, but football is finally back and there's more buzz around this meaningless game than most.

"This will be a chance for Texans' fans to see whether Matt Leinart gives Houston the best backup quarterback in the NFL. They'll either be a lot of excitement or anxiety after Leinart's performance. Even if it's only preseason." Monday night at 7.