Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events
Take a big breath. You'll need it to get through September as the seasons of many art presenters — and their see-and-be-seen social functions — resume.
On the black book this weekend are a fashion fete, an art sale, a couple of fun mixers, classical music, the story of a cheating father, Indian dance and exotic cocktails.
To help you plan your outing, click on the link below each event's description. You'll be directed to a page where you can download the details right to your iCal, and discover what's interesting around your main destination — in case you get hungry, need a place to stay or have the urge to shop.
West Ave and CultureMap Celebrate Fashion's Night out with Fashion on the Avenue
Watch out Galleria, West Ave is vying for some haute attention during Fashion's Night Out, a
nationwide global bacchanal started by American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company and New York City that lauds designers, both big and small, local and international in a number of cities, including Houston.
For the fashionista, it's all about previewing what's on trend for fall. How else would you prepare for all those parties, socials, galas, black-tie events, restaurant openings, Sunday afternoons at the polo club and the occasional church service?
West Ave at River Oaks partners with Tootsies, its boutiques and yours truly, CultureMap, to throw one stylish block party with celebrity models, designer appearances, music, mini makeovers, photo shoots, food, cocktails and runway shows hosted by style mavens Clifford Pugh and Heather Staible.
Hot dude alert: Check out Don Vaughn, the model, drummer and neuroscientist punishing his drum set in one of West Ave's walkways — though you didn't hear that from me.
Contemporary Handweavers of Houston Artisans Market
It's September and that means that the holidays are just around the corner — can't you hear the December-themed musak? Get an early start shopping for handmade gifts for loved ones — and for yourself — at this annual sale offered by the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston.
Scarves, belts, towels, linens, jewelry, brooches, wraps, purses and abstract fiber art will occupy the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. For the best selection, shop at the preview party on Thursday, or be prepared to fight the crowds on Friday and Saturday.
Handwoven, hand-spun, hand-dyed — doesn't that say, I care?
Leo Bar: Evening Mixers at Asia Society Texas Center
The new Asia Society Texas Center building is too stunning not to infuse it with a party scene. With the recently opened Leo Bar, officials heeded that calling and are launching a series of mixers on the first Thursday of every month, during which you can taste nibbles from the restaurant and imbibe a signature cocktail from the cash bar.
It starts early at 5:30 p.m., so think of this assemblage as the kickoff to other evening activities. Because the weekend begins on Thursday.
2012 Houston Symphony Opening Night with Boléro Concert and Dinner "The Perfect Evening!"
You have two options: Partake in a swanky, black-tie concert at Jones Hall and seated dinner at The Corinthian, which directly benefits the symphony's community engagement initiatives, or just do the music and enjoy a playbill that features solo tunes by many of the musicians.
If you are into heavy Mahler's oeuvres or bombastic Strauss tone poems, stay at home. Though not a pops concert, the pieces are on the lighter side of classical music. The program ends with Ravel's Boléro, that 10-to-15-minute orgasm that begins with a pretty flute, follows a sexy sax and ends with slithery sliding trombones.
Houston Ballet presents Madame Butterfly
Kicking off Houston Ballet's 43rd season is this performance of the beloved story of a jejune 15-year-old girl who marries for "love" and a coward of a fornicating double-timing gent who thinks marriage and divorce are things one can just toy with.
So he sees the errors of his ways at the end, but not before someone commits suicide. It's just too late — she didn't have a sassy gay friend.
Thankfully Puccini's score is suffused with soaring melodies that render this dramatic story emotionally compelling. Artistic director Stanton Welch's ballet version has been a company staple since he choreographed it in 1995. Also on the program is Welch's Clear, which is performed by seven cavaliers to the melodies of German master Bach.
Rothko Chapel's Cocktails & Curry
Rothko is getting more social, and that's a good thing. What's just as interesting as the many programs, lectures, concerts, ceremonies and the t'ai chi that take place in the chapel and around the reflection pool are the people who follow its tenor of contemplation and action.
Get to know Rothko Chapel's talkative "disciples" at this gathering, where curries and exotic cocktails unite.
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance doyen Nancy Wozny's pick: "Incredible India!"
Nancy says: "Are you ready for some amazing footwork, athleticism and musicality, then head over to Incredible India!, which will light up Miller Outdoor Theatre. The show is the brainchild of Samskriti's artistic director and my dear dance colleague, Rathna Kumar, Houston's leading authority on classical Indian dance.
"Two incredible dance ensembles from India — Nadam and The Stem Dance Kampni — will present extraordinary group choreography in dance styles rarely seen in Houston — traditional Kathak, from the royal courts of North India along with a sampling of Contemporary Indian dance. Wait there's more, it's free!"
News Director Chris Baldwin's pick: Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins
Chris says: "Reliant Stadium will be the hottest ticket in Houston all fall with the Texans playing under Super Bowl expectations. It's not just a sports thing, Texans games are now city-wide events, with ducats to the games influence-making commodities.
"Where do you think CultureMap society guru Shelby Hodge will be Sunday afternoon? In Reliant of course, with all the other movers and shakers in Houston. (Then again, Shelby's a much bigger football fan than many people realize.)
"Reliant's quickly become one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL (especially with the roof closed, as it will be on Sunday and for most of the season) and Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be receiving the brunt of the noise in his first career pro start."