On tap this week: A convergence of two organizations that each does its part to keep the city beautiful, the beginnings of a new party series, a farewell for a popular musical meetup, a space odyssey, the meeting of two minds and a healthy dose of film, dance and music.
Be sure to click on the links below each event. There you'll find more information, a helpful feature to add details to your own calendar and suggested restaurants, shopping and watering holes to get the most out of your excursion.
Trees For Houston's RedBuds Summer Happy Hour
If I had a dime for every person I've overheard kvetch about the ceaseless rains, I would have enough green to replenish the millions of trees that perished across Texas last year because of that bitch of a drought and those accompanying forest fires — the irony.
The RedBuds young professionals, a group of twenty and thirtysomethings that advocate for Trees For Houston, host a social that supports keeping Houston verdant. As Friday happens to be the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, this happy hour's drink specials, light bites and themed trivia focus on the ancient sporty tradition.
MFAH Mixed Media Designed by IKEA
As a testament that time flies when one's painting the town and amusing oneself with the finer things in life, this Museum of Fine Arts, Houston wassail arrives a year after the last time the museum morphed into the hautest see-and-be-seen spot at "Hot Night Helmut Newton." The lines wrapped around the Audrey Jones Beck Building, and some had to wait an hour to gain entry into the fashionable affair.
I predict that the inaugural MFAH Mixed Media Designed by IKEA (a monthly dance party with adult liquids, DJs and lawless live music) will be just as in vogue. Take my advice: Don't wait until the last minute to secure your tickets to the chi-chi bash. They are likely to sell out at the door — and they cost less when purchased in advance.
The party space will be designed by IKEA. Electronic twosome Soft Metals will bang out an experimental melange of steel synth-pop, electronica and dance grooves. Also behind the turntable are DJ Ceeplus Bad Knives, Bobby DJ (from //TENSE//) and Dave Wrangler.
Social media junkies out in the Twitterverse: Use #mixedmedia. But please, no douchey photos of your cocktails — that's so 2011. You can do better than that.
The Caroline Sessions "Finale"
The curtains will fall on this amicable monthly music gathering where locals mingle and hang, sometimes spontaneously grill burgers and hot dogs and crack open a few dozen brews — or maybe more.
About those brews: The Caroline Sessions "Finale" moves from Caroline Collective to Saint Arnold Brewing Company, where this tuneful fundraiser will finance the recording and production of a live album. Music by Andrew Karnavas, Chase Hamblin, Clory Martin, Corey Power, Frank Freeman, Matt Harlan, Melissa Savcic and special friends will leave a legacy of what can happen on an informal weekend get-together in Houston.
Houston Symphony presents "Orbit — An HD Odyssey plus Star Wars & More!"
I still have butterflies in my stomach from the last blast off of Orbit — An HD Odyssey. Houston Symphony's collaboration with Duncan Copp is an exhilarating musical launch into trajectory around Earth, with footage from manned and unmanned NASA space missions that portray the planet in all its glory, at times a surreal work of art.
I've never been much of a fan of what's labeled as symphony "pops," which are typically easy listening tunes and excerpts from movies. I am more of a John Adams and Richard Strauss kind of dude.
Here's the one exception: Anything John Williams penned is hardcore enough to tickle anyone's musical fancy, serious listeners and occasional symphony goers alike.
Afternoon Tea Party Joint Reception: Once there was, once there wasn't: Two Tales from the Minds of Lisa Chow & Y. E. Torres
Confession: I have no idea what to make of this collaboration.
The works I've previewed from Lisa Chow are cute, whimsical, innocent with a hint of kitty anime surrealism — though I do hear she crosses over to the dark side now and then. Y. E. Torres "arts" at you, blowing your mind with her alien-esque "Oddities," slithery avant-garde belly dancing and slap-you-in-the-face unicorns.
Somewhere, their minds and works meet. That's worth a cup of tea, mimosas and sweet nibbles while playing games, dressing up, posing for a photo booth and enjoying a live performance.
Staff writer and fabulous Houston explorer Whitney Radley's pick: Cirque du Soleil's Kooza
Whitney says: "Kooza, Cirque du Soleil's latest performance to visit Houston, takes the renowned contemporary circus performers out of suspended reality and back into the big top ring, complete with clowns and contortionists, trapeze-swinging and slapstick humor. And it looks to be just as incredible as ever."
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Julydoscope
Nancy says: "It's time to 'Ease on Down the Road' folks. Yep, it's The Wiz time at Discovery Green as part of Houston Cinema Arts Society's Julydoscope, also presented in cahoots with QFest and Theatre Under the Stars.
"Before Michael Jackson and Diana Ross take the stage, several Houston dance companies also do some easin' down the road, including Suchu Dance, Avantica: Academy of Odissi Dance, Rednerrus Feil Dance Company, City Dance Company and MECA Ballet Folklorico. The live dance show starts at 6 p.m. and the film at 8:30. Costumes are encouraged."