Pick Five (Plus)

Your weekly guide to Houston: Sexy period music, Warhol TV, Symphony romance & a nightgown dinner

Your weekly guide to Houston: Sexy period music, Warhol TV, Symphony romance & a nightgown dinner

Cuadro La Tempestad
Gabriella, the principal dancer of Cuadro La Tempestad, will punish the floor severely at the Spring Concert Series at 14 Pews
Mercury Baroque
Mercury Baroque kicks-off its 10th anniversary gala with the reveal of jewelry to be raffled off at its March 26 gala. Courtesy of Mercury Baroque
Crawfish Festival
Though crawfish is the main attraction at 2011 Annual Crawfish Festival, stay for the washer tournament.
Gabriela Montero
Gabriela Montero's brilliance can only be appreciated live. She often improvises using themes suggested by the audience.
Cuadro La Tempestad
Mercury Baroque
Crawfish Festival
Gabriela Montero

It's officially March and winter has left the building, maybe.

Air conditioning is now on in my home and my playful winter accessories — gloves, scarves and hats — are now hibernating in a drawer far, far away in favor of trimmings with a Western flair. It is, after all, Rodeo season. Though I am not a native Houstonian, I am starting to adopt cultural traditions that define the city's identity.

All I have is a pair of boots, although I'm starting my research on hats. Any ideas?

Last week, the 44th Annual World Fest International Film Festival had a wine reception at La Colombe d'Or on Montrose. While sipping on fine libations and chatting with Turkey's cultural attache, we toured the beautifully furnished guest rooms themed mostly after impressionist artists. But more impressive was Le Grand Salon.

Lined in 300-year-old oak panels from the chateau of Comte Henri Greffulhe and Princess Elisabeth de Caraman-Chimay, La Comtesse Greffulhe, there was a stone-carved tablet listed those who visited the original location, including Igor Stravinsky, Gabriel Fauré, Sergei Diaguilev and Enrico Caruso among other royalty, dignitaries and artists.

Naughty models pretending to work out greeted us at the red carpet opening of Mosaic on Hermann Park due to an apparent planning miscommunication — it was meant to be a classier affair. Why not men I ask?

The ambiance was definitely more appropriate when they were dismissed, leaving the building in single file (though red-dressed Robert Palmer models remained). Good eats by Sinfull Bakery, Gigi's Asian Bistro, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Saint Arnold Brewery kept guests smiling.

Houston Ballet's Marie was a character study of the title character just as much as the composer. Creating an artistic collage of Shostakovich compositional achievements, Stanton Welch gave me something more to think about than just dance and the poignant humanized story of the beheaded queen.

The Rothko Chapel turned 40, officially, and celebrated with others cities as Morton Feldman's Music for Rothko was programmed here and by ensembles across the country.

The Houston Symphony brought back conductor James Gaffigan. Partnering with pianist Jonathan Biss, their collaboration in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor left me breathless. Could Gaffigan be the next Houston Symphony maestro?

Spacetaker's opening reception of the Poo-tail Collection exhibited the result of neurologist-artist JETheriot reconnecting with cherished childhood memorabilia. And we saw a toy mermaid jump to her death (or life, given that it was water).

Where will I be this week?

Mercury Baroque Gala Kickoff Party at Valobra
Because ensembles that play with period instruments are just sexy (accents included), Mercury Baroque has risen as an international artistic powerhouse bringing incredible performers to Houston and representing our cultural offerings abroad. This kickoff party promises to reveal a fab piece of jewelry that will be raffled off later at the 10th anniversary gala on March 26. Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

"Sip and Stroll" Tours at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
I love nothing more than a leisurely promenade in the lovely outdoors, especially when combined with a little vino and any sort of art. MFAH's home to its American decorative arts collection opens the doors to newly renovated rooms. Thursdays in March from 5-7 p.m.

Houston Symphony presents Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody at Jones Hall
Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme of Paganini is a work you most likely know as it has been quoted and represents the iconic Hollywood romantic love scene. Though I don't encourage you to madly make out at Jones Hall, seeing Gabriela Montero is witnessing creativity in action. Montero has a gift for improvising and most likely, will compose and play something off the cuff, based on audience suggestions. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

2011 Annual Crawfish Festival at the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce
Maybe crawfish isn't my cup of tea, but partaking in a fun community-based outdoor festival is. Live music by Randy Marshall & the Law, door prizes, two Moonwalks, face painting and games, a washer tournament may expose (definitely expose) my deficiencies. We all need to laugh at ourselves right? Saturday starting at 11 a.m.

Cuadro La Tempestad 2011 Spring Concert Series at 14 Pews
La Tempestad, the storm, is undeniably the style of principal dancer Gabriella who punishes the floor during her virile (and sexy) zapateado. If you have rhythm, feel free to participate in the palmas (rhythmic hand clapping, often off the beat), yell "Ole!" and cat call, with an accent. Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

My colleagues picks:

Art columnist and Dancehunter Nanzy Wozny's pick: 12 Minutes MAX! at DiverseWorks
Nancy says: "Finally after much whining and complaining this beloved showcase that I both performed in and curated, is finally back. DiverseWorks has teamed up with Dance Source Houston for an evening of dance featuring Daniel Adame, Lydia Polhemus Hance/ Frame Dance Productions, Maggie Lasher/ China Cat Dance Theatre, Karen Stokes / Travesty Dance Group and Toni Leago Valle/ 6 Degrees. And if something is not to your taste, don't worry, it won't last longer than 12 Minutes." Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Assistant editor and art savant Steven Thomson's pick: Aurora Picture Show presents "Warhol on TV" at the Menil
Steven says: "Andy Warhol was a lot more than Marilyn Monroe silkscreened prints. Direct from the Andy Warhol Museum, this screening provides an unusual chance to view the broad spectrum of on-screen forays by the Pop prince, from TV sitcoms, home movie series and his MTV program, Andy Warhol's 15 Minutes. A prelude VJ performance by Camilio Gonzalez will set the stage." Friday at 7 p.m.

Editor-at-large Shelby Hodge's pick: Hope Stone's Annual Gala "Breakfast for Dinner" at Spring Street Studios
Shelby says: "Looking for action on the charity circuit this weekend, head for Spring Street Studios on Saturday when Hope Stone Inc. presents its second annual Breakfast for Dinner bash where everyone is invited to wear their pajamas! Robes, slippers and nightgowns welcome. Bacon and eggs for everyone!" Saturday at 6:30 p.m.