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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — holiday fun included

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events

Art opening reception: The Jew Who Loves Christmas by Abby Koenig
Abby Koenig explores issues of family dysfunction, consumerism and pop culture in a one-night-only performance at Fresh Arts titled The Jew Who Loves Christmas. Courtesy of Fresh Arts
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The Galveston Historical Foundation turns the island's historic downtown into Victorian London for Dickens on the Strand. Courtesy of Galveston Historical Foundation
2013 Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour "In the New Old-Fashioned Way"
The Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour allows guests to enjoy the design and architecture of this eclectic nabe. Courtesy of Houston Heights Association
Art opening reception: Artista Skateboard
East End Studio Gallery features art on skate decks in "Artista Skateboard." Courtesy of East End Studio Gallery
Film screening: British Arrows 2013
British Arrows is an awards program that recognizes brill TV, Internet, outdoor and film commercials designed by the Brits. Courtesy of British Arrows
Art opening reception: The Jew Who Loves Christmas by Abby Koenig
News_Dickens on the Strand_Galveston
2013 Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour "In the New Old-Fashioned Way"
Art opening reception: Artista Skateboard
Film screening: British Arrows 2013

On tap this week are a performance that blends religions, a Victorian festival on the island, a charming home tour, a street art silent auction for a good cause and a program that lauds the efforts of wickedly good advertising renegades.

Be sure to click on the links that appear below each event suggestion. You'll be led to a page with a helpful feature that downloads the deets to your calendar, as well as recommendations on where to eat, drink and shop so you can take full advantage of your adventure out on the town.

Art opening reception: The Jew Who Loves Christmas by Abby Koenig

I can so relate to the upbringing of local artsy gal Abby Koenig, an artist-cum-art-critic who calls herself "helplessly Jewish." In my home, Catholic sin and Jewish guilt blended for a wonderland of December festivities that saw things like panettone being served with god-forsaken sweet kosher wine.

Koenig plans on exploring issues of family dysfunction, consumerism and pop culture in a one-night-only performance, alongside a reception with holiday nibbles and bevs. If I know anything about Koenig it's her ability to compel one to think, laugh and be perplexed at the same time. 

The skinny: Friday, 6-8 p.m.; Fresh Arts at Winter Street Studios; admission is free. 

40th Annual Dickens on the Strand

Enjoy a blast from the past during this weekend-long festival of the Sparkler of Albion, as Charles Dickens enjoyed calling himself. The Galveston Historical Foundation is at it again with this yearly festival that turns the island's historic downtown into Victorian London, complete with the visit of two direct relatives of the prankster himself. That would be great-great-great-granddaughter Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and great-great-granddaughter Jane Monk.

The schedule is jam-packed with dinners, tea time socials, walking tours, concerts, parades, street performances, contests and on and on. Pore over the festival program here and plan your itinerary.

The skinny: Friday through Sunday; various location in Galveston; entry starts at $10 for adults.

2013 Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour "In the New Old-Fashioned Way"

A handful of charming, privately owned abodes have been chosen for this year's Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour, which allows guests to enjoy the design and architecture of this eclectic nabe. Each of the homes on the hour has been adorned with holiday décor, an opportunity for the design-challenged to gather ideas for their own digs.

Start the tour at the Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station where you'll find shuttles offering rides to and fro the homes. When you're done, peruse the Holiday Craft Market, which will also feature music and food trucks. Bundle up, though. It's going to be cold enough for pigs to fly.

The skinny: Friday, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, 3-9 p.m.; Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station; tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Art opening reception: Artista Skateboard

I can't say that I understood the culture of skateboarding when I was kid. Perhaps because my brother was into it, I wasn't. Because it was never cool to be interested in anything that appealed to your siblings.

Well, I've grown up — so we hope — and I've come to understand a side of the street activity that offers children a choice to be active, a skill to perfect. No Bored Kids, an initiative of Good Art, has made it a mission to helps kids in Houston and Dallas who want to partake in the sport but who don't have the resources to do so. This East End Studio Gallery art opening and silent auction of art on skate decks supports those efforts.

The skinny: Saturday, 5 p.m.; East End Studio Gallery; $5 donation at the door.

British Arrows 2013

My life is not complete unless I pay pious veneration to the ad deities that dwell across the pond, in a land far, far away, untouchable by the lame advertising guidelines of our pretend wannabe conservative homeland. The screening of the British Arrows, an awards program that recognizes brill TV, Internet, outdoor and film commercials designed by the Brits, is, not surprisingly, one of most popular offerings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

You have to experience it for yourself. Spoiler alert: One advert has the Three Little Pigs as complete assholes.

The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m., Sunday, $5 p.m.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; general admission is $9, with discounts available for MFAH members, seniors and Film Buff members.

Staff writer and resident gourmand Eric Sandler's pick: Tom Bawcock's Eve at Double Trouble

Eric says: "Former Feast chef Richard Knight hosts a guest bartending stint at Double Trouble in Midtown. As he did last year, Knight will be serving old Cornish cocktails like the Lamb's Wool, Mahogany and Tin Miner's Punch. No, I don't know what's in any of those, but he knows good booze from bad, so I trust him. Also, a portion of proceeds will benefit Kids' Meals, and boozing for charity is awesome.

"To make things even more appealing, Knight has rounded up a group of puppeteers who will perform the story of The Mousehole Cat while he narrates. The illicit thrill of drinking on Monday and puppets? I'm totally there."

The skinny: Monday, 7 p.m.; Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails; admission is free, but you should buy a couple drinks.

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