Well, Houston's got talent.
Idol of the Heights finished on a high note at the annual Heights Expo. It out started as a tough competition — where all contestants brought their inner diva — but in the end, three stood out in this judge's opinion. First place winner Sarah Moore owned it with "A Natural Woman," finding that balance between soulfully beautiful and impassioned vocals. Courtesy of Houston Piano Company, she'll be making her own record.
Hannah Anderson's folkish sound coupled beautifully with the strumming of her acoustic guitar. Taking a risk with Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Morena Roas was as sassy as she was entertaining. Lisa Bo-Whitley deserves an honorable mention for her superhuman range and gorgeous tone, though the audience favorite award went to Andrea Alford.
Julydoscope at Discovery Green brought up a cool crowd of inquisitive folks to enjoy performances by Musiqa via Chris Becker, Talento Bilingue de Houston's Compañía Folklórica Alegría Mexicana, Suchu Dance, Avantica Academy of Odissi Dance and Tyagaraja.
Coming from a sushi-loving fam, it's time for me to take the next step: Learn how to roll my own.
Organized by Houston Cinema Arts Society in collaboration with QFest, Fresh Arts Coalition, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Spacetaker and Theatre Under the Stars, a screening of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John was the centerpiece of the outdoor gathering.
The Back Porch Players kicked off its season, Planned Parenthood supporters partied like a rock star and Houston Restaurant Weeks began with a bang.
What's on the agenda for the next several days?
Opening of "The Impact of Racist Ideologies: Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws"at Holocaust Museum Houston
Are people already forgetting the horror of The Holocaust? As the horrific events of such an era transition from living memories to textbook history, it is exhibits like this one that reminds us that injustices have occurred in almost all cultures, including our own.
"The Impact of Racist Ideologies: Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws" opens Friday at 6 p.m. with a reception. The exhibition compares both ideologies and challenges viewers to consider what they can do to avoid racist philosophies and behaviors from seeping into society.
Admission is free but you must register and RSVP.
White Linen Night in the Heights
This year's White Linen Night is bigger than ever, mingling music, wine, food, art and fun with plenty of white linen attire in this sultry summer street bacchanal Saturday. Did we say wine? Yes, that's a first, available for purchase thanks to a new festival permit.
Steamy, exotic and artfully provocative, the pre-fete begins at 4 p.m. at Fitzgerald's care of Fresh Arts Coalition where Stages Repertory Theatre will entertain with its popular show, Hank Williams: Lost Highway The Music and Legend of Hank Williams. At 6 p.m., Dominic Walsh Dance Theater (on the Fiesta Stage at 3210 White Oak), Musiqa and Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Benjamin Wesley and Hilary Sloan will continue the festivities.
At 5 p.m. at Barrio Antiguo, Norma Zenteno and kids from MECA will be in the spotlight right along the arts market on the establishment's parking lot.
Be sure to wear a hint of pink as a nod to the event's newest collaboration. Partnering with Breast Health Collaborative of Texas, Pink Street — on White Oak between Oxford and Columbia — will raise awareness of breast cancer through games, art, performances, info booths and plenty of pink lemonade, pink tattoos and pink balloons.
The after-party returns to Fitzgerald's at 10 p.m. for more groovy tunes by Benjamin Wesley, Sara Van Buskirk, The Last Place You Look and Another Run. It's like three parties in one. Even the "noodlehood" is getting in on the action with Jenni's Noodle House Street Art Party.
Where to park? Head to Northwest Mall at 610 and 290. Grab the shuttle and enjoy.
Need more specific information?
Bookmark CultureMap's White Linen Night mobile guide. You'll instantly know what's happening on the Barrio Antigua Stage, Blue Line Bike Lab Stage, Fiesta Stage, Houston Piano Company Stage, in addition to info on the fashion shows, getting around and where to find refreshments.
CANTARE "Hear the Art!" Walking Concert at Museum of Fine Arts Houston
When art and music intermix, both come alive. That's the concept behind this music and art stroll along the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's galleries. Choral music courtesy of CANTARE will illuminate the works featuring in the exhibition, Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting, on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland.
Helga Aurisch, MFAH's curator of European art, will be on hand to add historical context to help museum goers appreciate and interpret Titian's works and their link to the music. After the musicale, enjoy a glass of bubbly at the champagne reception.
Drink NightShift Better Benefiting ChildBuilders
Monday is fast approaching and you are probably feeling slightly depressed. The answer to that mundane Sunday lull is an afternoon out with people doing good things in Houston.
NightShift is such a group. They are the young professional supporters who help raise awareness to the work being done at ChildBuilders — bringing educational help to families while advocating for better emotional and social lives.
So, pick your poison, mix and mingle. It's all for a good cause. One hundred percent of the sales will go directly to the nonprofit. Sunday at 5 p.m.
My colleagues' picks:
Associate editor and resident gourmand Sarah Rufca's pick: Houston Shakespeare Festival
Sarah says: "For feeling effortlessly classy, pack a picnic basket with some Riesling and a hunk of brie and head to Miller Outdoor Theater for the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Who cares if the closest you've come to The Taming of the Shrew is watching Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You? On paper they may be dense, but on stage Shakespeare's knack for creating real characters and turning them loose on each other always makes for satisfying drama — no English degree required."
Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: The Landing Theatre Company's American Buffalo
Nancy says: "Never underestimate the power of a nickel. The Landing Theatre Company's production of David Mamet's 1975 play, American Buffalo, is oddly timely as the economy continues its free fall. Largely considered his best play, Mamet tells the story of the myth of capitalism through the adventures of petty Chicago crooks at a junk shop when they plot to steal a rare coin.
"Directed by Kevin Holden with a set by Frank Vela and lighting by Jeremy Choate, American Buffalo, contains the right dose of tragicomedy to get through the summer. The Landing, now in its second season, is run by Alley actor David Rainey. Through Aug.28 at O'Kane Theater, University of Houston-Downtown."
Photo editor and design junkie Barbara Kuntz's pick: Sushi 101 Class at RA Sushi
Barbara says: "Coming from a sushi-loving fam, it's time for me to take the next step: Learn how to roll my own.
"RA Sushi is offering a Sushi 101 Class on Saturday, complete with a selection of fresh sushi and appetizers. As well, participants take home sushi-rolling mats. Rah for RA Sushi!" Saturday at 11 a.m.
Social media editor and sassy outdoors superwoman Fayza Elmostehi's pick: Waugh Bridge Bat Adventure
Fayza says: "You always see the smattering of spectators at the corner of Waugh and Allen around dusk. What on earth are they doing? Why, watching the bats, of course!
" 'The what?' you say. Exactly. That's why you need to find out more about what lives under the bridge at the Waugh Bridge Bat Adventure. You, too, can see them take flight — with a little bit of that knowledge thing tucked in your noggin." Saturday at 6 p.m.
Assistant editor and art savant Steven Thomson's pick: 2011 Rice Design Alliance Design Charrette Benefiting Workshop Houston
Steven says: "The charrette is a 19th-century architectural tradition traceable to Paris' École des Beaux-Arts, in which architects collaborate to draft solutions to a design problem. It's all about free-flowing dialogue, and in this case, Rice Design Alliance has chosen the challenge of reenvisioning Workshop Houston, a non-profit organization located in the Third Ward that provides youth with creative, technical and educational resources. The charrette has been divied up into several categories, including music, learning, biking and style."