Pick Five (Plus)
There's much to learn from visiting One Green Street. Call Sherry Eichberger the eco empresario as everything in the store is good for the earth, good for the wallet and good for the soul. From bullets found in African fields turned into jewelry to must-have men's facial systems, the retailer has lots to teach us about being good to mother nature.
On Friday, vegans and foodie-curious folk flocked to the back where a demo was taking place.
Christy Morgan, aka the Blissful Chef, was in the midst of preparing a cheesy raw kale salad using nutritional yeast, a bit of oil and a jigger of apple cider vinegar, while explaining her philosophies on seasonal ingredients and eating a minimally-processed whole foods diet. The discourse was certainly lively, ending in a signing of the cook's latest book Blissful Bites.
Most interesting takeaway: When starting a food journey, focus on adding healthy edibles before taking culprits away.
No longer do clarinets belong as bases for tacky table lamps. And coincidentally, they go very well with Pisco cocktails. Those were the lessons I learned at River Oaks Chamber Orchestra's first informal-ish recital at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art.
While Pisco Portón was busy shaking those Lavender Pisco Sours and the orchestra's official drink, The Rocotini — that's Pisco, cranberry and lime juice — virtuoso clarinetist Nathan Williams, professor at University of Texas at Austin, was busy hitting notes way above the stratosphere. How his head didn't explode, I just don't know. He was joined by the fast fingers of pianist Colette Valentine and the sultry, vibrant playing of bassonist Kristin Wolfe Jensen, both also on faculty at UT.
The place was packed.
Other highlights from last week? Cinema Arts Festival came to a close with a premiere screening of Art Car: The Movie, Houston Beer Week's Monster of Beer was ginormous and Houston Symphony brought another guest conductor.
On the menu this week? Read on.
Musiqa's Loft Concert at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston "The Extravagant Vein"
If you have ever wondered how contemporary music affects society, just ask Musiqa's Anthony Brandt. He'll answer swiftly and decisively, "I protect consciousness, what do you do?" It's this spirited, slightly sassy attitude that makes me tune in to what the fivesome — including Pierre Jalbert, Karim Al-Zand, Marcus Karl Maroney and Rob Smith — that leads the nonprofit is up to.
The best way to do so is at these informal lofty musicales. The next one is Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Maybe you'll get a chair or stool to sit on, or get comfy cross-legged on a blanket. Whatever you do, get up close. It's a rare chance to see the art music of today in action. On the bill are works that link to Donald Moffett's The Extravagant Vein, currently on display at CAMH.
Urban Green's "The Green Gatsby" at Miller Outdoor Theatre
Have you noticed how lovely Hermann Park is? If you haven't, take a stroll down the trails, through the woods, up the bridges and around the lagoons. It's something to be proud of. But its green fabulousness doesn't just happen. It takes a village, an army, per se.
That's where Urban Green comes in. As the young professional supporters cheering on Hermann Park Conservancy's efforts to keep Houston verdant, they are quite skilled at advocating for all things eco while having a grand ole time. For this Thursday evening social, Miller Outdoor Theatre is transformed into a scene from the Roaring '20s. Think speakeasy, music, food, drinks and a great silent auction. Bring your credit card, will you?
Psophonia Dance Company presents New Pulse at Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex
How did Psophonia get its name? From the two founders: Sophia Torres and Sonia Noriega. Get it?
Now that we have solved that mystery, we can discuss why the dynamic duo has captured a healthy fan base in Houston and Chicago. Their work balances a contemporary aesthetic with relatable gestures that somehow convey a strong sense of narrative, though it's not always conclusive or linear.
In New Pulse, the dance company facilitates a forum for young and emerging choreographers to shine. Among them are Emily Bischoff, Kendall Kramer, Marielle Perrault, Patty Solórzano, Stephanie Beall, Jeanna Sneed Vance and Tapley Whaley. Head to Barnevelder on Friday or Saturday.
Guitarist Sharon Isbin and violinist Mark O'Connor presented by Da Camera at Wortham Theater Center
If five Grammy Awards aren't enough to whet your musical appetite, then you need to have your pulse checked. Both artists are stupefyingly superhuman in their own right. Sharon Isbin dabbles in both classical circles and more popular genres and always performs with a sense of passionate, musical finesse.
Mark O'Connor is a freak of nature. He is able to fiddle away, then turn around and whip out jazzy and bluesy tunes.
The pair is unstoppable. During one performance, I laughed out loud as a jerk reaction to technical feats performed flawlessly. Not my finest moment.
At this concert, expect to hear some Spanish melodies, classical selections, plenty of jazz and a healthy dose of Americana. Friday night at Wortham.
Radical Light Film Series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in collaboration with Aurora Picture Show
From the Golden Gate City comes the book Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000. The publication chronicles the alternative film and media projects that emerged from the conversations of poets, visual artists, composers and technology innovators.
The Radical Light series at MFAH includes the screening of two films: Procession of the Image Processors and Landscape as Expression. The former explores computer and video technology in the second half of the 20th century while the latter surveys architecture in urban environments. Introduced by Steve Seid, Scott Stark and Michael Sicinski, the screenings are Sunday at 2 and 5 p.m. respectively, with a reception and book signing in between.
Arts and architecture savant and all around awesome guy Tyler Rudick's pick: Opening of Magical Realism in Photography at Houston Center for Photography
Tyler says: "This Thursday, I'll be stopping by the Houston Center for Contemporary Photography for Magical Realism in Photography — a look at the visuals behind the movement popularized in the mid 20th century by Latin American literary giants Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
"With its roots in the Weimar Germany, Magical Realism employs vivid, almost hyper-real methods to describe surprising and bizarre situations. The HCP show will focus on sophisticated digitally-manipulated work as well as simple, unaltered images to explore magical realism in contemporary photography.
"HCP hosts an opening reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, with remarks from the curator and participating artists beginning at 5:30."
Arts smarty pants and beer loving lovable gal Nancy Wozny's pick: Tara Conley and Tria Wood's interactive installation My Life as a Doll at DiverseWorks
Nancy says: "Plan to park for at least 20 minutes or longer in Tara Conley and Tria Wood's interactive installation My Life as a Doll, on view at DiverseWorks until Dec. 17. It's part book, part house and one really fun collaboration between a writer and sculptor that flies unapologetically close to the saccharine.
"Read between the lines of this candy pink fantastical landscape and you will find some wonderfully subversive themes addressing gender identities and social pressures. I'm not kidding on the reading, there's several walls of clever text. Weird, dreamy and expertly crafted, My Life as a Doll is completely worth donning a pair of booties to see."
Assistant editor and nightlife expert Caroline Gallay's pick: Ladies of Craft Beer's night at t'afia
Caroline says: "My pick is Ladies of Craft Beer's night at t'afia Thursday as part of Houston Beer Week. The cocktail hour and dinner will feature brews by Blaco,Texas' Real Ale. You can buy tickets ($45 each) here."