As the month of love nears its conclusion and the weather warms slightly, it's time to usher in one of the city's most wonderful traditions. Giddy up cowboys and cowgirls, it's rodeo season.
In that spirit, this week's events nod to all sorts of locals offering great experiences, including a Western food orgy, smart cocktails, naughty dancing to the death, fun on Buffalo Bayou and theater recklessness.
Let me boss you around: Click on the link below each event suggestion to find a page with a myriad of helpful features, including the ability to download the intel to your electronic calendar, and information on places nearby to find drinks, good eats and a place to crash.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2013 World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest
The three-day barbecue binge, otherwise known as the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, gets underway on Thursday when more than 300 culinary teams sharpen their knives, heat up their coals and smoke up their loins, bidding to win one of the coveted best-of prizes. Tent after tent after tent will offer versions of meat and sides alongside live music entertainment.
Keep in mind that some of the tents are by invite only, so it's best to work your network to enjoy this tried and true Southern experience. Go hungry.
Rienzi's Salon at Sunset: "Drinking by the Book: Cocktails and Character Formation in 20th-Century American Literature"
If it's true that you are what you eat, surely drinking is part of that equation. Raise your cocktail quotient at this salon at the lovely Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston satellite gallery of European decorative arts, where Joanna O'Leary will chat about potations and characters found in 20th century American lit. Think The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye and In Cold Blood.
Wine and bites included.
Houston Ballet presents Stanton Welch's La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer)
One of the sexiest stories set to music and dance, La Bayadère's plot is suffused with essential elements of dramatic sultriness. Stanton Welch's interpretation, which last appeared at Wortham Theater Center in 2010, emphasizes the exotic milieu with exquisite costumes, an alluring backdrop and fab dancing, ideal for mingling love, fate, murder, vengeance and one slithery snake.
Will love conquer all? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Bayou City Outdoors Buffalo Bayou Regatta 101: Quick Start Lessons
With the 41st Annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta on the horizon, set for March 16, Bayou City Outdoors offers lessons for those who've always wanted to partake in the kayak race — competitive or friendly, that's up to you — but have no idea where to start. Canoes, kayaks and paddles will be provided. Bring shoes that you don't mind getting wet or muddy, a towel, water and a change of clothes just in case.
You will work on balance, strokes and navigation.
Overachievers can continue their water adventure at noon.
Stark Naked Theatre Company presents God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
God of Carnage is what happens when adults behave badly, influenced by my-child-is-better-than-yours parental syndrome. What starts as a schoolyard fight between two kids transfers to two couples as they hope to resolve that immature feud. Except things don't go as expected. And that's where the fun begins.
The Alley Theatre produced Yasmina Reza's play a few years back, though the intimacy of Studio 101 and the prowess of the cast of Stark Naked Theatre Company — Kim Tobin, Drake Simpson, Kay Almond and John Gremillion with director Justin Doran — promises to add a different dimension to this Tony Away and Laurence Olivier Award winning work.
Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Urban Souls Dance Company presents Re/Written in Stone and Earthen Vessels presents Elementally Earthen
Nancy says: "Houston dance scene explodes with action for Black History Month. Urban Souls Dance Company presents Re/Written in Stone, an evening that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on Saturday, 8 p.m., at Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston ($25). Jane Weiner of Hope Stone Dance has a new work on the program as well.
Also on Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Hobby Center is Earthen Vessels' Elementally Earthen ($26.75 to $18.75), a performance that features works by Sandra Organ Solis. Expect music by Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington along with a historic tribute to Cesar Chavez. And, get this, Solis has even managed to cajole former Houston Ballet dancer Lauren Anderson out of retirement. The evening also includes new works by Steve Rooks, formerly of the Martha Graham Dance Company.