Pick Five (Plus)
Your weekly guide to Houston: Golf gophers, subversive females, an Art Car Ball& a Pizza Weekend
A little dance, some music, lots of culture and a wealth of fun. Last week brought constant revelry, once again validating that Houston knows how to get its cultured party on.
My week started with a screening of Forks Over Knives, a film that traces the history of two men that are now helping people overcome preventable diseases through a whole foods plant-based diet. Groundbreaking? Not really. Good intel? I say so.
Rain did not stop Buffalo Bayou Partnership supporters at its Sip and Stroll near the Sabine Bridge promenade. This was a genteel affair where food, outdoor fun and libations mingled for a lovely urban wilderness social. The esplanade is a charming spot for an afternoon walk.
Opera Vista's Vera of Las Vegas came and went, with audiences loving the skimpy outfits, stripper poles and diva in drag. Voluptuous and sexy soprano Cassandra Black and dramatically strong Brian Shircliffe overshadowed the rest of the characters.
Who knew choirs were popular in Houston? Well, not just any choir. The Houston Chamber Choir pulled a standing room only performance, evoking the spirit of 17th century Italy. The group's blend was divine and the sonorities deliciously rich, bringing out every achingly dissonant suspension and passing tone, resolving them satisfyingly.
Psophonia'sRip in the Atmosphere presented an exquisite collection of programmatic contemporary dance, the kind that makes one laugh, cry and daydream at the same time. Sophia Torres' style is highly narrative, merging relatable movement with emotional non-linear story lines. Sonia Noriega played with music's role in dance, presenting the same solo with three different tunes and allowing the audience to chime in on their favorite. An emotionally charged song won over elegant refinement and sexy fun.
Guest company 6 Degrees (Toni Leago Valle's troupe) performed a beautiful nostalgic sentimental piece centered around motherhood. Many in the audience (myself included), felt inclined to call home and say hi to mom.
This week, you'll find lots of outdoor events. Before the weather turns into a sultry humid hell, might as well enjoy Houston's version of temperate. Get out and do these:
Portable On Demand Art Project (P.O.D.A) Kickoff Party at Discovery Green
Yes, those utilitarian movable storage containers have found a home in the art world, transformed from mere function to artistic form. Houston's Aerosol Warfare,Box 13, Jillian Conrad, Lynne McCabe, Gabriel Martinez, Metalab, Anthony Shumate and The Joanna each have crafted their own piece of portable art exemplifying their own unique aesthetic.
If you can't make it to the opening reception — you will miss nibbles by Fusion Taco and Saint Arnold's beer — the artsy PODS will remain on display at Discovery Green through June 5, after which they will travel to other locations in Houston. Thursday at 6 p.m.
Caddyshack: Gophers on the Green at the Historic Clubhouse at Hermann Park
Chairs Kristy and Chris Bradshaw and Christine and Chris Transier pull all the golfer/gopher stops in this young professionals fundraising event. The mission? Help raise cash for the improvement and maintenance of this Houston gem.
Dress in your best country club chic or gaudy gopher and enjoy music, food, libations and good company. This event is for members only but don't fret. A membership plus ticket is only $65 in advance, $70 at the door. Thursday at 7 p.m.
Houston Symphony's Season Finale Concert featuring Alisa Weilerstein in Dvorak's Cello Concerto
Two monsters of the romantic repertoire will don the walls of Jones Hall in Houston Symphony's lush season finale performance. Dvorak 's concerto is gorgeous, with rich sonorities featuring almost every instrument in the orchestra. Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 exemplifies exotic Russian romanticism at its best. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at Jones Hall and Friday at the Woodlands Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Divergence Vocal Theater Soiree and Open House at Divergence Music and Arts
Soprano and artistic director Misha Penton calls on all her friends and past colleagues to christen the acoustics of Divergence Vocal Theater's new studio space inside Spring Street Studios. What has been a dream and a vision for the enterprising diva is now reality.
With Klytemnestra: The Original Subversive Female already having been performedin the hall, this concert and social is the official grand opening bacchanal.
Expect great music, a chic indie crowd of who's who in the art scene and fun. And if you don't reserve your place early, prepare to stand. Saturday at 6 p.m.
Art Car Ball, Sneak Peek, Parade and Awards
It's quirky but fabulous. Houston's outré and zany Art Car festivities extend beyond the kooky parade.
Begin the weekend-long fete at the anything goes wild Art Car Ball block party for only $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The Urban Gypsies and Picture Book starts the musical entertainment followed by Los Skarnales, Beans Barton and the Bi Peds, and Come See My Dead Person on the main stage. For the gourmand, eight food trucks will compete in the Street Food Smackdown. Ladies, leave your heels at home and opt for boots. Friday from 7 -11 p.m.
Want to get closer to the action? the Sneak Peek at Discovery Green allows you to get cozy with the art cars on Saturday from 6 - 10 p.m. And it's free. At around 8:30 p.m., catch a sneak peek of Art Car: The Movie, a documentary that goes deep into the lives of art car lovers and creators.
On Allen Parkway between Bagby to Waugh, folk art meets American ingenuity as art cars rule the streets Sunday from 1 - 3 p.m. for the parade. Then right after and until 6 p.m., the awards ceremony and final fiesta will crown those best in show.
My colleagues' picks:
Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: I am Barbie
Nancy says: "Confession: I played with Barbies. In Walton Beacham's world premiere I Am Barbie, the iconic doll finally gets a voice. We hear what it's like to be an early fashionista, a sex symbol toy and perpetually have to walk on tippy toes. Barbie's creator and co-founder of Mattel Ruth Handler, is even in the story, Ken and Skipper too. I still miss my Skipper doll."
"The killer good cast includes Ivy Castle-Rush as Barbie, Justin O’Brien as Ken and G.I. Joe, Celeste Roberts as Barbie’s creator/mother, Ruth, Seán Patrick Judge as Barbie’s engineer/father Jack, Sarah Beth Roberts as Skipper and other characters, and Jennifer Dean as She-Ra." Runs through May 29.
Associate editor and resident gourmand Sarah Rufca's pick: Pizza Weekend at 13 Celsius
Sarah says: "13 Celsius is one of my favorite bars in town, at the top of their game while never feeling pretentious or stuffy (maybe it's those naked walls and the courtyard). Pizza, especially pizza made from an old-school wood-burning oven, is one of my favorite foods. Combine them, add a glass of prosecco and a sunny day, and you've got pretty much the perfect weekend." Friday and Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.
Editor at large and social scribe Shelby Hodge's pick: Houston Symphony Maestro's Wine Dinner
Shelby says: "Make mine wine — the Houston Symphony Maestro's Wine Dinner that is. It's a lovely evening that takes place on the stage of Jones Hall — a candlelight multi-course dinner by Jackson & Co. served with carefully paired wines under direction of Spec's Lindy and John Rydman.
"And the wine auction offers some of the best buys outside of Spec's itself!" Sunday at 6 p.m.
Assistant editor and nightlife guru Caroline Gallay's pick: Avett Brothers at Verizon Wireless
Caroline says: "The Avett Bros were slated to play back in April, but had to postpone the gig because Scott Avett just had a baby. I've seen this group half a dozen times now — including at Jazz Fest a few weeks ago — and they never, ever disappoint. I and Love and Them." Friday at 8 p.m.
Social media editor and adventure racer editor Fayza Elmostehi's pick: Ironman Texas
Fayza says: "Watch the craziest people deep in the heart of Texas (and all over the country) kick, bite, claw, stomp, mash — oh, and swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles to finish Texas' first Ironman race by midnight (the official race cutoff time).
"You'll be hard pressed to find anything truly more grueling — and these athletes voluntarily choose to do it! But rest assured, the bragging rights if you make the cut are worth the pain." The race is on Saturday and starts at 6:50 a.m.
Assistant editor and art savant Steven Thomson's pick: Tex Hex Pop Up Cinema: Past Forward
Steven says: "When was the last time you engaged in an evening of inspired, experimental cinema on the banks of Buffalo Bayou?
"That's what I thought. Come down to CultureMap HQ for a taste of artist Deborah Stratman's stirring cinematic vision." Saturday at 8:30 p.m.