It took about a week before my voice returned to its normal range. After spending an evening cheering on high schoolers at Theatre Under the Stars' 10th Annual Tommy Tune Awards, there wasn't much left of my vocal abilities — or hearing.
At this month's Artist SPEAKeasy, photographer Jaime Leigh Collier traced her journey from photojournalism to more conceptual endeavors. Through collaborations with fashion designer David Peck and printing semi-abstracted images onto household objects, Collier is on a quest to raise awareness about poverty, social justice and sex trafficking — in Houston and abroad.
Her presentation caused quite a spirited discussion from those present, which included conceptual artist Carrie Schneider, choreographer Lydia Hance, program director KC Scharnberg, Dean Liscum, David Feil and David Tong.
Writer John Pluecker pressed on with the theme and offered examples of how experimental writing opens opportunities to share in cultural experiences. Pluecker is currently on residence at Project Row Houses, where he morphed a shotgun row home into Antena Books/Libros Antena. The bilingual bookstore, reading room and experimental lab holds publications from small presses across the United States and Mexico that can't be found anywhere else in Houston.
Catastrophic Theatre's gala got rowdy, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra premiered its 29th commission and Houston Grand Opera opened its last production of the 2011-12 season with dueling whores — the libretto's words, not mine.
On tap this week are films aplenty, high profile art parties, a wine festival, beer, a dance performance and a fundraiser for a 6-year-old who's fighting for his life.
Latin Wave 7 Film Festival at Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Latin Wave is a four-day motion picture binge that focuses on filmmakers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. For the festival's seventh year, curator Monika Wagenberg has gathered a lineup of features with emphasis on emerging artists' operas primas — Spanish for a filmmakers' first work.
Unlike previous years, there won't be a sassy dance bacchanal to kick off the festival, which I will surely miss (while shaking my money maker at last year's fete, an ambitious head swivel catapulted my glasses across the floor — though they were found at the end of the evening). I don't expect the absence of the social gathering to impeded film junkies from attending though.
If you missed CultureMap's Latin Wave survival guide, click here.
2012 Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Gala & Art Auction "View Askew: Shifting Perspectives"
Always in vogue but with a bit of an edge, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's gala is where an artsy who's who add to their private holdings through a live and silent auctions, this year led by guest auctioneer Steven Zick from Christie's. Note: No raucous after-party this year.
Chaired by Gretchen and Andrew McFarland, the evening provides patrons with a seated dinner by City Kitchen Catering and entertainment by DJ Johnny Dynell of New York City.
Lemonade Day's Best Tasting Contest at CityCentre
I had the pleasure of meeting so many inspiring little entrepreneurs with big ideas at last year's event. Whether their business plan included home delivery, frequent buyer cards or a delightful colorful stands, children learn much more than just how to make a delicious refreshing beverage.
Celebrity judges will award prizes for most unique, healthiest and best tasting lemonade, in preparation for the citywide Lemonade Day Houston on May 6. Click here if you have a child who wants to participate.
"Fun Run for Noah with Clutch" benefiting Leukemia patient Noah Bratsch at Memorial Park
Meet Noah Bratsch, an adorable 6-year-old who's had to learn too much, too early about life's struggles. Down Syndrome at birth, open heart surgery at two months old and since 2009, Noah has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Parents Amy and Kent Bratsch have been put through the ringer, doing everything they can to care for him while also trying to give Noah's two older siblings, Sam and Nick, a "normal" upbringing.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Man & Woman of the Year candidate, William Daniel, is helping with the effort. This non-competitive fundraising fun run has also attracted Houston Rocket's mascot Clutch, who will encourage Noah, and his family, on his way to health.
Wine & Roses Festival at Messina Hof Winery and Resort in Bryan
Wine owes a lot to roses. Changes in the woody perennial often forecast problems with the grape vine, thus acting as a barometer for winemakers to assess the health of their vineyards. That's why at the end of grapevine rows, a rose bush grows proud, as if it knows it's the vino's doctor.
There's much to do at the Wine & Roses Festival at Messina Hof, where the colorful flowers are expected to be in full bloom. Taste wines, listen to live music, grab lunch, take a walking tour around the lake and shop.
Or you can summon your inner Lucille Ball at the Grape Stomp Competition, during which teams of two to four ($50 entry) will step on the little berries to produce as much juice as possible. The top three winning teams will take home prizes like an All-Day Harvest Package, tastings and gift certificates. Proceeds from the messy contest benefit the American Heart Association.
Texas Beer Fest 2012 at Discovery Green
If you prefer craft beer, I have you covered this week. At the Texas Beer Festival, beer lovers will imbibe local suds, goods from small national breweries and hard to find international ales, while listening to Texas talent including Handsome Ransome, Fish Fry Bingo, Brant Croucher and Curtis Grimes.
An industry panel will gather beer bloggers and brewery owners to discuss the past, present and future of craft brewing, 2:30 p.m. on the Demo Stage. For those that can't get enough of beer, there are two after parties: At Ginger Man and Liberty Station.
CultureMap's intern and live music insider Karen Labuca's pick: Eleanor Friedberger at Fitzgerald's
Karen says: "People probably know her as part of indie duo, The Fiery Furnaces. I always see her record, Last Summer, everywhere I go and wondered what all the hype was about. So I finally checked her out and she has some catchy tunes. For a weekday concert, she's worth giving a listen to."
Staff writer and arts and architecture savant Tyler Rudick's pick: Steven Klineberg's Interesting Times at Discovery Green
Tyler says: "Interesting Times — the new film from local demographics hero Stephen Klineberg that explores 30 years of change in the Bayou City — is scheduled to show at Discovery Green in the great outdoors.
"Hosted by HoustonPBS talk show host Ernie Manouse, this showing of the film will feature testimonials from Mayor Annise Parker and fashion celeb Chloe Dao as well as the Tcholakian family, whose beloved Phoenicia World Market will be supplying the food along with Porch Swing Desserts."
Arts smarty pants and beer lovin' dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Houston Metropolitan Dance Co. presents "Signature Works" at Wortham Theater Center
Nancy says: "With premieres by Kate Skarpetowska and Joe Celej, and audience favorites by Caleb Mitchell, Kiki Lucas and the super famous Larry Keigwin, Metropolitan Dance Company's "Signature Works" is the show to see. Plus Marlana Doyle is just completely adorable as a flight attendant in Keigwin's "Air" section of The Elements, where she grooves out to the Fifth Dimensions' Up Up and Away.
"There's also a special guest performance by Infinite Movement Ever Evolving (IMEE), Houston's up and coming troupe."
Staff writer and CultureMap's adorable Houston explorer Whitney Radley's pick: Lawndale Design Fair 2012 "Learn. Shop. Connect."
Whitney says: "This weekend, I'm hoping to spruce up my wardrobe with contemporary, made-in-Houston jewelry and update my home with vintage decor from the Lawndale Design Fair. General admission for the fair days (Saturday and Sunday) is just $5, or shell out $75 ($60 for members) for the preview party and sale on Friday night, which offers early shopping, complimentary libations and great fun."