Surely for Labor Day weekend you have the option of staying home, being a couch potato and resting up before the madness of September begins. But we recommend balancing a bit of R&R with crazy art, women power, a film about debt, breathtaking and participatory dance, a "trip" south-of-the-border and 400 beers.
Click on the link below each event for more information. There, you'll be able to add the details to your calendar and learn about other attractions nearby, like shopping, restaurants, hotels and places to grab a bite to eat.
FrenetiCore presents the Fifth Annual Houston Fringe Festival
When it comes to the arts, if you think you've seen it all, you haven't. The curators of this yearly three-weekend quirk-a-thon are prepared to blow your mind with a melange of anything-goes experimental theater, film, dance, music and visual arts from local artists, national creatives and beyond. About those curators, myself included, we've had to scrutinize endless applications, read through abstracts, watch videos and ask the hard questions to program the Fifth Annual Houston Fringe Festival: Who's in and who's out?
There's too much going on to list the wheres and whens. It's best to check this website, pick a title that tickles your fancy and go for it. It's only art. What do you have to lose?
Art opening reception: "A Heroine's Journey" Print and Photography Exhibition
The saying goes that behind every great man there's a great woman. I assert that it desperately needs to be updated to say, behind anything great, there's a great woman.
Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WiVLA) was originally formed as a networking group for women who had an impulse for creativity, and those who lived and breathe by that drive. But it turned out to be much more than that. The dialogue between the members continues at this exhibition where the group contemplates archetypal heroines of literature, myth, folklore and religion.
Film screening at 14 Pews: Payback
When Canadian writer Margaret Atwood synthesized the all-too-common adage, "He's paid his debt to society," she was mused to pen Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth. The tome is a collection of her lectures that broaden the definition of what it means to owe something or someone for one's own actions or reactions. She delved into social structures, environmentalism, human rights, crime, religion and yes, finances.
Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal collaborated with Atwood to shape an emotionally charged thinker that, at least for me, deserves another opportunity to unravel its message. It was first screened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This weekend the show is at 14 Pews.
With Labor Day here, Payback is a good fit to put everything in perspective.
NobleMotion Dance and David Deveau present Spitting Ether: A Reality Bending Dance
I was first intrigued about this collaboration by a teaser video in the company's Kickstarter campaign back in June. Who can resist a seductive Puccini aria coupled with movements that emerge from dimly lit sets? The resulting aesthetic gives rise to a lovely other-worldly destination, one which is familiar yet completely removed from physical existence.
With the latest promotional video, I am freaked out. The evening-length work alludes to nightmares that enter "a subconscious mind in transitional phases of life, death and afterlife." That would the doing of co-artistic directors, husband and wife Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble, and designer David Deveau.
More significant is that Spitting Ether extends a work that began with light artist Jeremy Choate, who died in a motorcycle accident earlier in the month.
2012 BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival
Four hundred craft beers, one place. Only a few will have the courage — and the gastro prowess — to taste them all.
For the rest of us, the 2012 BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival is about painting the town of Galveston and enjoying music, themed gatherings, pairing dinners, pub crawls, lectures and tours in the company of those who love the happy beverage — all of whom are happy people.
About that food. Featured chefs include Roland Soza of Bistro Alex, Andreas Casteneda of Garden Restaurant at Moody Gardens, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's, Roberto Castre of Latin Bites Cafe, Terry Collier of Mojo's Sports Grille, Tiffany Richie and Melina Mayes of Rockwell Tavern & Grill, Urs Schmid of Shearn's, Elizabeth Stone of The Stone Kitchen, Chris Lopez of Yaga's Cafe and Kimberly Revis of Custom Confections.
Houston Brazilian Festival
Fine, it's not the same as grabbing an impromptu flight to Brazil, but if you want to get to know the culture of this vibrant South American gem, you and your family can do so at Jones Plaza without spending much cash.
Carnival isn't until February, though this day-long fiesta promises to heat up downtown Houston with live music, performances, food, educational booths, games and interactive demonstrations suitable for kids and adults.
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Frame Dance Productions presents The Black Space
Nancy says: "Choreographer and mastermind behind Frame Dance Productions' Lydia Hance likes to up the role of the audience. Her now well-known, intimate and participatory performances ask viewers to be an active part of the experience. Her newest opus, The Black Space, explores the concept of forgiveness and the dichotomy between the sanity and healthiness of letting go, and the unresolved anxiety that results from holding on to how others have wronged us.
"The Black Space combines live dance performance, dance-on-screen, new sound scores, and the instinctive need to find forgiveness in the midst of injury. The viewer has permission to interact in any way, allowing the audience to shape both its own experiences and the experiences of the other audience members. Click here for a teaser video."