Houstonians under 40 take note: There's a fresh face in the scene of volunteerism and philanthropy, one that recognizes those who make positive contributions to their communities — not that such a group needs accolades to use their skills for good.
Say hello to the Rising Stars Program, an initiative of the League of Women Voters of Houston, which is on a quest to identify movers and shakers and invite them to participate in a myriad of civic activities.
Ascribe the topic du jour of the launch party at John Palmer Art Gallery & Studio to John Palmer's inspiring abstract canvasses engulfing the guests. Carrie Chapman Catt Award Recipient Laura Spanjian, METRO's Russ Frank, Claudia Ortega Hogue, Courtenay Siegfried, Elijah Williams, Ryan Leach, Sarah Schimmer, Shavonnah Schreiber, Esther Freedman, Aimee Woodall, Alex Luster and Jenni Rebecca Stephenson chatted up a storm and plotted to rally others not to accept the status quo over wine and cheese.
You know those young professionals who yap endlessly about this cavalier's port de bras or that ballerina's grand jeté? They are part of Houston Ballet's Ballet Barre. They love talking dance as much as they enjoy having a drink in one hand, a tasty nibble in the other. Who doesn't?
On deck this week are a hilarious play, a competition on the beach, a wheat-less cooking class and live music aplenty.
There was much to toast at the opening of Houston Ballet's "Made in America", including Nicolo Fonte's See(k) world premiere with an original score by composer Anna Clyde and the Wortham Theater Center's 25th anniversary. The mezzanine of Hearsay Gastro Lounge was the backdrop for the in-crowd's after performance social where Lindsey and Guy Brown, Jeremy Andrews, Ellen Hur and Liz Cleveland hobnobbed with performers Jaquel Andrews, Connor Walsh, James Gotesky, Melissa Hough and general manager Jim Nelson.
If you feel like the world changed after Memorial Day carousing, you are not alone. It's like the morning after finals, the day after graduation, the afternoon you peel your eyes open after being slipped a roofie — it happens (not me, though).
But alas, Houston isn't about to slow down. On deck this week are a hilarious play, a competition on the beach, a wheat-less cooking class and live music aplenty.
Noises Off at the Alley Theatre
A play within a play about the putting on of a play, the relationships, squabbles and lovers' quarrels that ensue from actors working in close quarters is what renders this quick-witted, fast-paced play peachy. Be it the old-school wordsmithing, the love triangles or the 1992 film adaptation starring Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, Michael Cain and Carol Burnett, which I proudly own on VHS tape, there's no such thing as too much Noises Off.
Who's responsible? What's the culprit? A plate of stinky sardines that can't make up its mind: On or off stage?
The Alley's artistic director Gregory Boyd amasses a cast of long-time favorites like James Black, Josie De Guzman and Todd Waite, and newcomers Ben Diskant and Allison Gunn.
26th Annual American Institute of Architects Houston Sandcastle Competition at Galveston's East Beach
If you managed to avoid the record-setting 500,000 revelers that thronged Galveston this past Memorial Day weekend, here is a good reason to visit the island on Saturday: To watch others play in the sand competitively.
It's for glory. It's for the coveted Golden Bucket trophy.
Sixty teams comprised of architects, designers, engineers and contractors will have five hours to erect seaside castles. Each troupe will be judged on originality, artistic execution, technical prowess, technique and site planning, with awards also presented for best team T-shirt, best signage, best costume and the public favorite — a reason to cast your vote.
Gluten-Free Cooking with Karen Morgan at Sur La Table River Oaks
For some gluten-free cooking is the latest gourmand fad, like quinoa, kale and kombucha, but for others gluten-free is a real medical necessity. Even if you think gluten doesn't affect your digestive system negatively, why not see how you feel when you eliminate it from your diet?
The prima donna of gluten-free cuisine and cookbook author Karen Morgan is set to lead a class at Sur La Table. She will reveal the tricks of the trade to prepping pâte à choux, pâte brisée and crepes without that cunning wheat protein.
So she lives in Austin. Let's not hold that against her.
23rd Annual Accordion Kings and Queens at Miller Outdoor Theatre
If you don't think the accordion is cool — some call it the National Instrument of Texas — most likely you've never been to Miller Outdoor Theatre's squeezebox annual musical bash, one that fuses tuneful traditions from Czech, German, Latin and Cajun origins — and is diverse as our beloved city itself.
I am not talking about Lawrence Welk-type ditties here. Think rowdy dancing grooves to the likes of Los Texmaniacs with Mingo Saldivar and Flaco Jimenez, Dora and the Entourage, Ennis Czech Boys and the 2011 Big Squeeze champ Ignacio Morales.
Houston Heights Association Fun Run at Marmion Park
It's hot as Houston hell all of a sudden — have you noticed? School is letting out, the official start of summer is a few weeks away. How's that little bikini or scandalous Speedo fitting?
You can pretend to start working off those beer and foo-foo cocktail calories at the Houston Heights 5K run or 5K walk, and bring the little ones for the kids 1K.
The race is certified and chip timing is available. For those that would rather make this into a see-and-be-seen social, there's a post race party with tacos, fruit, bagels (the carb horror!) and coffee.
Staff writer and CultureMap's most adorable Houston explorer Whitney Radley's pick: Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park
Whitney says: "If Free Press Summer Fest isn't on your radar for the weekend, take my advice: Take another look at the lineup. The mix of local and national acts should be enough to make you re-think your decision. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. until it's over."
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Big Range Dance Festival
Nancy says: "Dance in a former JC Penney? Hell yes, take a trolley on Friday to West Oaks Art House to see a site-specific dance by Jennifer Wood of Suchu Dance to launch the 10th annual Big Range Dance Festival.
"The festival highlights works by local choreographers Kristen Frankiewicz, Tony Valle, Catalina Molnari, Cory Miller, Andy Noble and others. Out of towners include the marvelous Anneke Hansen and former Houston dancers Aileen Mapes and Corian Ellisor. Films/videos by Ashley Horn and Karen Stokes make for added fun."