On the menu this week is an appetizing array of options, some that are holiday themed, others that get you away from the holidays. Prepare yourself for some fun on the town with a not-so-silent evening, an interactive play starring a sassy blonde, an office party that isn't an office party, gleefully cheerful boats and paintings to swoon over.
Do this: Click on the link below each event suggestion to access additional intel, such as where to eat, drink and shop nearby your final destination. CultureMap also has a nifty feature that downloads the deets to your favorite battery-operated toy.
An Interactive Holiday Event: "Unsilent Night"
Think of "Unsilent Night" as a crowdsourced arts event, the kind of engaging immersive experience one would expect when organizations such as Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Musiqa come together. What began in the winter of 1992 with composer Phil Kline's redemptive sound sculpture in Greenwich Village is now a holiday tradition in 67 cities worldwide.
Kline composed four 44-minute tracks filled with seasonal sounds: Glittering hand bells, regal church bells, ethereal synthesized drones, angelic choirs and pious chants. It's up to visitors to play one of these tracks on any device, be it a boombox, cellphone, tablet, laptop, MP3 player — whatever. As guests stroll about a designated area, the collective vibrations shape what the New York Times has described as "suspended in wonderment."
Adding to the ambiance are stations offering cookies, hot chocolate and Saint Arnold Brewing Company beer.
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Panto Goldilocks
You never know what will happen when Stages Repertory Theatre mounts yet another show of panto, the British art of hilarious pantomime that often includes singing, dancing, over-the-top characters, plenty of horsing around and audience participation. For Panto Goldilocks, Stages injects a James Bond spell on the popular fairy tale as a secret agent is on a mission to swipe a beauty serum.
Panto shows aren't just for kids. If you like a sexier dose of high-octane naughtiness, mark your calendars for New Year's Eve, when Stages shakes things up with the R-rated version of the fable starring the sassy blonde. Holland Vavra, who portrays the protagonist, is sure to bring it.
FrenetiCore's Holiday Office Party "Pop, Fizz and Clink"
Frenetic's peeps say holiday office party although the event sounds nothing like a stuffy networking mix-and-mingle social. Aren't we just absolutely bored to tears of those? Instead, the alternative throng throws a holiday fete that displays why Houston is in love with the Frenetics: Avant-garde performances and visual arts that amuse and bemuse.
The soirée begins with strong bevs courtesy of Deep Eddy Vodka, continues with dance performances and ends with shaking your groove thang to the Traffic Jams.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership's 2013 Christmas Cruises
Always a favorite, the cheerfully decorated pontoon boat rides that voyage around downtown's urban landscape never get old. The 30-minute tours, complete with music and holiday merriment, provide a different perspective into what's hiding in the waterway that gave Houston its start.
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership concludes this year's Christmas cruises on Saturday. No reservations are required. Show up, cash in hand.
The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
If your out-of-town visitors are starting to get under your skin, wow them with the artsy prowess of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, especially when the institution opens a breathtaking exhibit of paintings by Impressionist masters — because everyone absolutely swoons over French Impressionism.
The collection includes 73 exquisite works by Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others. As a heartfelt thank you, insist that your guests buy you the beautiful catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. Seems like the Southernly thing to do.
Staff writer and resident gourmand Eric Sandler's pick: Second Anniversary Dinner at Triniti
Eric says, "To celebrate two years of seasonal cuisine, Triniti's executive chef Ryan Hildebrand and chef de cuisine Greg Lowry have prepared a six-course menu that celebrates some of the restaurant's classic dishes and introduces a couple of new ones, too. At $135 for the meal or $200 with wine pairings (plus tax and gratuity), the meal is a definite splurge, but Triniti's cuisine always satisfies.
"For what it's worth, the restaurant assures me that the wines are appropriately fancy, and everyone leaves with a gift."