Pick Five (Plus)

Your weekly guide to Houston: Shuttling to Sundance Cinemas, rocking with graffiti artists & watching an evil elf

Your weekly guide to Houston: Shuttling to Sundance Cinemas, rocking with graffiti artists & watching an evil elf

Events_Santaland_Dec 09
Think of all elves are filled with joyful holiday cheer? Not Crumpet, an elf working at Macy's Santaland played by Alley Theatre company artist Todd Waite.  Photo by Jann Whaley
News_Gingerbread house
Beautiful and delicious. That's how I like my gingerbread houses. Don't know how to make one? Try a class at Central Market.  Photo by Gary Fountain
Christmas Cruises
Buffalo Bayou Partnership launches this year's Christmas Cruises on Saturday, reminding us how much Houston owes to its urban waterways. 
A party/shopping bacchanal with live music is on deck this Saturday at Aerosol Warfare. 
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Debra Barrera, Hitchcock Constellations, 2011 Courtesy of the artist
Events_Santaland_Dec 09
News_Gingerbread house
Christmas Cruises
News_Debra Barrera_Hitchcock Constellations_WHITE

Winter Street Studios was the place to see and be seen last weekend. As Spacetaker's Winter Holiday Art Market's preview party got off to a rocking start, munchables flew and cocktails flowed while an active throng of art curious guests shopped for one-of-a-kind items from one of the locals. 

In my bounty were a cozy hand-knitted scarf from the Community Cloth and whimsical animal-inspired art and postcards by Lisa Chow. All and all, WHAM exceeded its previous year sales numbers, once again proving that Houstonians love to buy local and support those living in their own neighborhoods. 

The Extravagant Vein is the title of Donald Moffet's exhibition currently on display at CAMH. Musiqa adopted the show's politically charged messages to curate a program of modern works — 1975 through 2005 — featuring violinist Yung-Hsiang Wang and saxophonist Dan Gelok.

Musiqa's Loft Concerts are one of my favorite cultural offerings in the city, presenting music I have never heard before from composers I didn't know existed, in a relaxed ambiance.

The young professionals at Hermann Park Conservancy's Urban Green know how to party in style and give back. At this year's "Green Gatsby" social, feathers, pearls and fedoras ruled the scene at Miller Outdoor Theatre where the fashionably retro crowd was not shy to indulge in treats from Gigi's Asian Bistro and libations with a healthy jigger of ROXOR Artisan Gin or cool suds from the Saint Arnold. 

Last week, art was all over the city with Artcrawl Houston 2011, Via Colori and Theta Charity Antique Show.

On deck this week are plenty of events that will have you thinking, it's good to be a Houstonian. 

Sundance Cinemas Appreciation Party with 14 Pews

Sure, you could just go directly to the movies by yourself. You could fight traffic, find parking and ration your alcohol intake. I say, why?

Christen Robert Redford's newest opus, Sundance Cinemas at Bayou Place downtown, in the company of film-loving folk.

Begin with cocktails and appetizers at 14 Pews and enjoy being shuttled over to the silver screen for My Week with Marilyn starring Michelle Williams, Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh. See for yourself if Williams is up to the challenge of portraying the blonde bombshell. 

Wednesday at 6 p.m. ($35 - $75).

The Santaland Diaries at the Alley Theatre

Christmas elves are meant to overwhelm visitors with joyful holiday cheer. Donning green, red, a pointy hat and funny ears, it is their duty to help Santa in the North Pole winter after winter, to sing merrily while making toys and looking after reindeer.

Not this elf.

Crumpet the Elf has had just about enough of pretending to be merry in Macy's Santaland display. Alley Theatre company artist Todd Waite is gut-bustingly ridiculous in David Sedaris' one-character cult-ish comedy. It's one not to miss. Opens on Friday and runs through Dec. 31.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership's 2011 Christmas Cruises Along Buffalo Bayou

It's the season to give, and to give thanks. Houston owes much to its urban waterways, but many of us take them for granted. Thankfully, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership is here to remind us that the channels are what gave the city its start as the first Port of Houston.

Much beautifying has taken place in past years — so much so that a float down the Buffalo Bayou waters is a lovely way to look at downtown from another perspective. These 30-minute pontoon boat rides bring plenty of holiday spirit.

On Saturday, no reservations are required. It's first come, first serve. Cash only, $7 adults, $5 children.

Aerosol Warfare Artist Reception & "Rock the Lot" Party

Perhaps it was the documentary Stick Em' Up! that raised consciousness of street and urban arts in the mainstream zeitgeist, but the movement has been alive and well for many, many years. Just ask GONZO247, the artsy brains behind Aerosol Warfare.

At this exhibition cum-art bacchanal, expect to find anything but run-of-the-mill holiday gift items. Music by Gracie Chavez, Squincy Jones, OG Bobby Trill and DJ Trainwreck will be the backdrop for "Rock the Lot" party. 

It all happens on Saturday. For $10, guests will enjoy luxury amenities including a custom limited-edition Aerosol Warfare poster, priority check-out and an invite to hang pre and post event. The fee is waived if shoppers bring an item from The Art Project's Houston wish-list as a nod to the holiday spirit. 

Gingerbread House Decorating Class at Central Market

Nothing says home for the holidays more than handmade décor, especially when such ornaments happen to also be delicious. Edible art is where it's at and Central Market is here to solve your design and hunger woes.

In this gingerbread house decorating class — kiddos welcomed — guests will craft a Swiss Lebkuchen abode complete with royal icing and colorful candy. Develop skills to enhance your residence or train to flex your muscles at the many gingerbread contests this season and have fun while doing so. Sunday at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. ($60). 

Arts smarty pants and beer lovin' lovable gal Nancy Wozny's pick: Debra Barrera & Norberto Gomez Jr.'s Timesteps at Lawndale Art Center

Nancy says: "Debra Barrera & Norberto Gomez Jr.'s Timesteps at Lawndale, running through Jan. 7, stopped me in my tracks mostly because that's exactly what they are doing. Their investigation of the works of American and British filmmakers, novelists and musicians is a museum of artifacts, memories and ideas.

"I love when artists do impossible things. Here they have attempted to suspend time. While you are there, enjoy the rest of the show, especially Curt Gambetta's witty installation, Office Light."