Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including helpingthe Screech Owl
What to do this week? Here's your weekly guide to what's hot, interesting and thought-provoking in Houston. On the itinerary are events that question the definition of love, music with the charm of old world Americana, teapots galore, nature walks and workshops that explore a cute bird with reproductive problems.
Do this: Click on the link below each event to arrive at a page with helpful features, like a download function to copy the details on your electronic calendar, as well as a list of nearby amenities in case you get hungry or thirsty, have the urge to shop or need a bed to crash for the evening.
Shades of Love: Romance in Contemporary African Cinema
Two overlords of the city's art scene join hands to offer perspectives on the vagueness or absence of a cohesive definition of love in the African zeitgeist. The Progress of Love, curated by Kristina Van Dyke, on view at the Menil Collection through March 17, amasses paintings, photography, installations, performances and video to dissect this shared human experience. Shades of Love: Romance in Contemporary African Cinema, seven films curated by Mahen Bonetti, delves into the realms of jealousy, revenge, passion and sexual affairs beyond issues of survival and disease.
Begin this amorous adventure by attending a lecture with Van Dyke and Bonetti, alongside Nigerian filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu, whose Restless City kicks off the film screening series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The deets: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Menil Collection; event is free.
Houston Symphony presents Dvorak's New World Symphony
I have a love-loath relationship with this, the ninth of Dvorak's colorful symphonies. The serious musician side of me rolls its eyes at the overplayed score, its trite airs and chromatic ending, from which John Williams is rumored to have been mused for the unnerving theme from Jaws.
But who can argue against the low-register flute melodies, the yearning English horn Largo and the allusions to old world Americana, including the spiritual "Goin' Home." When performed well, as I imagine Adam Dinitz on English horn will, it should overflow your soul with hope, tenderness and warmth.
On Friday, the Houston Symphony turns the hall into an ACCESS program, an interactive, hour-long musicale-cum-social hosted by Miles Hoffman of NPR's Morning Edition. Also on the program is Copland's Quiet City for English horn, trumpet and strings, and on Saturday and Sunday only, Dutilleux's Symphony No. 2 "Le Double."
The deets: Friday through Sunday; Jones Hall; tickets start at $29.
Sixth International Texas Teapot Tournament
I start each and every day with a spot of tea on a mischievous, ceramic owl-inspired pot I purchased from the late Thia McKann at The Path of Tea. Infusing my morning beverage on a vessel that echoes my personality is something I look forward to as I begin my work routine.
You can find a teapot that has "you" written all over it at the Sixth International Texas Teapot Tournament, where more than 80 creative works from CAMEO (Clay Arts Museum and Educational Organization) are sure to tickle your fancy.
The deets: Saturday, 6 p.m., on view through Jan. 27; 18 Hands Gallery; free event.
Bayou City Outdoors: Hiking In Houston
The Chevron Houston Marathon is taking over downtown for the weekend. But if you are more of a leisure walker, outdoorsy type, get your exercise over the river and through the woods along the Buffalo Bayou on this six-mile hike with Bayou City Outdoors.
On your nature adventure, you will pass bat viewing areas, art sculptures and spot some of the wildlife that resides in the ecosystem amid Houston's urban waterways.
The deets: Sunday, 8:30 a.m.; Cleveland Park; free event.
Houston Arboretum class: Build a Nest Box for the Eastern Screech Owl
How adorbs is this little guy? Not me silly, the Eastern screech owl, the small, nocturnal, feathered cutie pie that unfortunately has a high mortality rate in the wild. Learn all about how to help it be fruitful and multiply by building a nesting box from re-purposed materials sourced from the City of Houston's ReUse Warehouse.
Everybody wins in this Houston Arboretum and Nature Center make-and-take workshop.
The deets: Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.; Houston Arboretum and Nature Center; $55 admission, $45 for Houston Arboretum members.
Staff writer and savvy Houston explorer Whitney Radley's pick: Asia Society Texas Center Art and Architecture Tours
Whitney says: "After dropping by the Asia Society Texas Center booth at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair and participating in Kip Fulbeck's part asian, 100% hapa exhibition, I'm curious to see how others answered the question of 'What are you?'
"No better time to check it out than during a docent-led tour of the current exhibitions — and perhaps an architecture tour of the Center's new digs, too, to make an afternoon of the outing."
The deets: Saturday, 1 p.m.; Asia Society Texas Center; free event.
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop happy-go-luck gal Nancy Wozny' pick: Public Poetry's "Prize Poets" with Fady Joudah and Katherine Larson
Nancy says: "Poetry is hot right now, thanks to Public Poetry, an innovative program founded by Fran Sanders and designed to create a buzz around poetry. With Mayor Annise Parker as the first reader the program has certainly done just that.
"Next on the Public Poetry stage is Fady Joudah and Katherine Larson, both winners of prestigious Yale Prize for Younger Poets. Not only are Joudah and Larson awarding winning poets, they also have impressive day jobs. Joudah, a practicing physician of internal medicine, has worked with Doctors Without Borders, and Larson is molecular biologist and field ecologist."
The deets: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Houston Central Library; event is free.