Pick Five (Plus)
Your weekly guide to Houston: Art in the park, French sass, dance machines &Marvin Zindler's soul
It may have been Spring Break last week, but unless you work with or around school-age little people, the breather probably went by unnoticed. Lots happened, starting with a one-of-a-kind opera competition, a couple of fundraisers and a wicked over-commercialized party.
Opera Vista concluded its 2011 Festival, bringing to Houston cutting-edge chamber operas and allowing the audience to influence what will be performed as part of OV's 2011-2012 season.
Watch for Matthew Peterson's Voir Dire, a courtroom opera featuring a ridiculous macaw custody battle, a brutal rape and dramatic trial scenes circling around a tragic matricide. The work is based on real accounts witnessed by the librettist, Jason Zencka, while working as a crime reporter in Wisconsin. My two cents? OV folks should find a way to also stage second-place winner, Alberto García Demestres' Il Sequestro.
I made my debut at the Cleverley Show on Talk 650 powered by CBS Radio, keeping folks entertained and talking vegan. Yes, it is possible to live a meatless life in Texas, with food choices made easier by Sinfull Bakery, whose cinnamon rolls and oatmeal raisin cookies made even guest Ernie Manouse admit that indeed, they don't taste vegan.
Empty Bowls Houston, now in its seventh year, helped raise over $49,000 for the Houston Food Bank's ongoing fight to eradicate food insecurity in Houston. Donated by artisans, the 850 beautiful yet empty bowls sold reminded us of the many that so often go without food.
Spacetaker's "Sold Out" gala was a blast. I concocted a costume from found materials and ultimately came up with a slightly jaded Indiana Jones — The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a disaster. Awesome drinks and great food, this art showcase featured Houston's best including Suchu Dance, Amy Ell's aerial dance company Vault, Two Star Symphony, Come See My Dead Person and a fashion show curated by Vico Puentes.
The fun continues this week with some food-inspired works, something old, something new, a little French, some metal and lots of art.
Artist Talk of Round 34: Matter of FOOD at Project Row Houses
As a community service organization, Project Row Houses (PRH) — a community of 40 properties, 12 exhibition spaces, seven houses for young mothers, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, low-income residential and commercial spaces — puts on this exhibition/event exploring topics that surround the culture of food from its history, ritual traditions, commercialized systems and sustainable practices.
The artist talk is on Wednesday at 7 p.m. with an opening reception on Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Suchu Dance's Masters of Semblance at Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex
If you attended Spacetaker's "Sold out" gala, you already got a glimpse of artistic director's Jennifer Wood's style: Humorous, quirky and fun. Masters of Semblance takes segments from dances created four years ago or more, reusing and recycling material into an evening of new work.
Keep an eye out for the creative use of tables and chairs. Opens Thursday at 8 p.m. and runs through April 3.
Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park
Now in its 40th year, the Bayou City Art Festival is one of the largest juried exhibitions in the country showcasing 300 artists working in 18 different media. Memorial Park is transformed into vibrant arts orgy filled with activities, a performing stage, interactive children's zone, restaurants, walks and wine cafes. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Five Funny French Films Series at MFAH
Who doesn't love a little French sass and witty humor? The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has curated five films that make even the grumpiest scrooge chuckle. Opening with French Kissers — the tale of socially rejected students as they explore their sexuality — the mini festival runs from Friday through Sunday.
Mercury Baroque 10th Season Gala "Mercury Rising – ¡Fandango!" at Wortham Theater
Co-chairs Viviana and David Denechaud, and Joelle and Geoffroy Petit, have planned an evening with Spanish flair to celebrate Mercury Baroque's decade-long dedication to bringing baroque-era music to life. Using period instruments, some of them built exclusively for the ensemble, Mercury Baroque specializes in the performance practice and aesthetics of music from before Vivaldi to Beethoven.
"¡Fandango!" honors YES preparatory Public Schools. Saturday at 7 p.m.
My colleagues picks:
Assistant editor and art authority Steven Thomson's pick: Exhibition and discussion of Bayou City Noir: The Photography of Marvin Zindler
Steven says: "It turns out there was a soul behind the 'slime in the ice machine!' shouting TV anchor. Step into the life of an old school journalist, and keep your calendar open for the other Rice Media Center talks about the exhibit." Thursday at 6 p.m.
Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: Houston Twestival 2011
Nancy says: "Fundraising can be artful so I am heading to Houston Twestival 2011, a benefit for Neighborhood Centers. I love that social media tweeps are a force for good. With classes and activities for youth and families in the Center's six community centers and 58 affiliate centers this is one busy organization doing fine work.
While you raise money you can listen to the cool tunes of such wonderful Houston artists as Benjamin Wesley and Tyagaraja." Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m.
Assistant editor and nightlife savant Caroline Gallay's pick: The Aluminum Show
Caroline says: "A picnic, the outdoors, dancing machines. What more could you want for a romantic date?" Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Social media editor and adventure girl Fayza Elmostehi's pick: Texas Quest Adventure Race
Fayza says: "With weather this angelic, you'd be a fool not to spend your time outdoors while it lasts. Jogging, biking and paddling through the wilderness — where do I sign up, man?" Saturday at 8 a.m.