As 2012 heads toward a close, you are probably thinking about the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the past 12 months. If you need to avoid deliberating on the meaning of life and of the fleeting nature of time, I've put together this list of local affairs that have nothing to do with the arrival of 2013.
On tap are film screenings with a purpose, quirky exhibitions, adventures with gastronomy, Chinese art, video installations and a sporty festival of Texas proportions.
Click on the link below each event to find helpful information about your destination — such as nearby restaurants, bars and shops — to get the most out of your adventure.
Reel Kids Screening: Eleanor's Secret
It's no secret that I crave anything animated, whether that's an old-fashioned, black-and-white Felix the Cat cartoon, the latest Pixar spectacle or quirky Japanese anime. Be it the freedom of the genre or the fantastical worlds associated with the medium, animated films are lovely reminders that one is never too old to daydream.
Dominique Monféry's 2009 Eleanor's Secret brings together a myriad of characters from classic children's stories to teach a lesson on the value of reading — beyond 140 characters. Big kids, like me, will love this, too.
2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
True: I've never been the football-loving kind of dude, but I am always game for a good time with sporty-cum-social events with Texas flavor. Minnesota takes on Texas Tech, Big Ten faces the Big 12 head on. Beyond the conference rivalry of this bowl are rowdy features like TexFest in the Budweiser Plaza, live music, spirit walks, cheerleaders, marching bands and a bright holiday fireworks display.
For a VIP experience, join the Sideline Soiree ($85) party in the Director's Club and enjoy a buffet, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.
Cyclea presents "Comeplay Comply Arraycycle"
Jonathan Jindra and Y. E. Torres, the dynamic duo known as Cyclea, collaborate in this hour-long performance art affair divided among multiple rooms in El Rincon Social, where multiple television sets and projectors will offer sonically synchronized images, music and video art.
With a title "Comeplay Comply Arraycycle," isn't your curiosity piqued? Mine is. Plus I confess that I have an art crush on Torres. Her brain goes where others haven't dared gone before.
Culinary Weekend Adventure with chef Cunninghame West
Some time ago, I had the opportunity to learn how to make pasta from Valentino Vin Bar's executive chef Cunninghame West, who's as entertaining as he's brilliant when it comes to passing on culinary knowledge.
While gourmands imbibe chic cocktails, West leads a four-course demo that teaches skills guests can try at home.
Art opening reception: Human Remains Paintings by Wayne Gilbert
I am as intrigued as I am spooked by the concept behind Wayne Gilbert's latest aesthetic explorations. As the title of this 14 Pews exhibition implies, the raw materials used to craft his paintings are produced by mixing uncollected, cremated human remains with a clear gel.
Though his desire is to delve into the relationship between humanity and art, is his literal interpretation going too far? I suppose we will find out.
Arts smarty pants and in-the-Loop creative dame Nancy Wozny's pick: Perspectives 180 - Unfinished Country: New Video from China
Nancy says: "I may be hanging around in Houston for the holidays, yet China is just down the street. I've been to the CAMH to see Perspectives 180 - Unfinished Country: New Video from China several times and I still feel as if I haven't fully taken in the bounty of new video coming from China.
"The show, curated by James Elaine, features work by Chen Qiulin, Chen Zhou, Hu Xiaoyuan, Huang Ran, Jin Shan, Li Ming, Li Ran, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Sun Xun and Yan Xing. Plan to park yourself in front of Sun Xun's Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined in the Revolution for the full 12 minutes. His use of printmaking techniques in his animation is potent.
"On Jan. 6 and 7, there are two special screenings at the Asia Society Texas Center, which include Wang Qingsong's 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chops, Chen Qiulin's Ellisis, Chen Xiaoyun's Love You Big Boss, Sun Xun's 21G, Zhai Chenglei's Half Underground and Yang Fudong's Liu Lan. Admission is free."