Pick Five (Plus)
Your weekly guide to Houston: Riding a Latin Wave, traveling the Silk Road &appreciating the wisdom of youth
Nothing can replace the wisdom of experience. But adults also have a lot to learn from their younger counterparts.
This past week was all about youthful vigor and the rich discourse that can occur out of multigenerational conversations. Adora Svitak, one of my favorite little speakers, said in a TED talk in April 2010:
Imperialism and colonizations, world wars, George W. Bush; ask yourself who is responsible? Adults. Now, what have kids done? Anne Frank touched millions with her powerful account of The Holocaust. Ruby Bridges helped to end segregation in the United States and most recently, Charlie Simpson helped to raise 120,000 pounds for Haiti on his little bike.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Mahler symphony is worth a million. The Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra, with the Women of the Rice Chorale and the Houston Children's Chorus, performed one of the most moving interpretations of Mahler's monumental Symphony No 3, the longest orchestral symphony in the standard concert repertoire. A task of Herculean proportions, the students at Shepherd have a vitality and mojo that often is lost in professional groups, similar to a virile and testosterone-ladened sports team invading a stage.
Balancing the husky bassoons, powerful horns and omnipresent trombone section, the clarinets, flutes and oboes floated with sensitivity, undetectable blend and rich musicianship. The angelic offstage trumpet defied any misconceptions about the instrument's subtlety possibilities while concertmaster Sonja Harasim made every note count deliciously. Though time stood still, two hours went by quickly, and I wanted more.
Young professional groups have been criticized for being all fun and no work, unable to tap into the wallets of fellow counterparts and failing to partake in meaningful activities that benefit the sponsoring organization. Young Texans Against Cancer (YTAC) proved that theory wrong and was able to raise $45,000 in a single evening, selling out "Kiss My Grits," an event that pitted Houston's celeb chefs' culinary skills against each other.
There is more to lemonade than lemons, water and sugar. I was quickly schooled in the nuances of the beverage by participants of Lemonade Day's Best Tasting Contest at the Children's Museum of Houston. More importantly, it was thoughtfulness, intent and strategy that encouraged me to listen closely.
Latin Wave Opening Party at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
This raucous saucy fiesta kicks-off a four-day film festival featuring the reels of Latin American origins along with discussions and personal appearances by the moviemakers. Now in its sixth year, this Latin Wave Festival is curated by Monika Wagenberg. The opening party morphs the Audrey Jones Beck Building's porte-cochere into a dance bacchanal with food trucks Oh My! Pocket Pies, Armandos and MMM...Cupcake feeding the famished. Thursday at 9:30 p.m.
For a complete film schedule, click here.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 2011 Annual Gala & Art Auction "Seeing Things"
It's not just another party, but also a great place to begin or add to your art collection. Featuring nationally and internationally acclaimed inventive visual artists, a carefully curated live and silent art auction is the center piece of this chic soiree. The series of events include a preview party Wednesday at 6 p.m. where guests can mingle and probe Christie's reps Lisa Cavanaugh and Jessica Phifer for info. The gala is Friday at 7 p.m. (individual tickets start at $750) and the after-party starts at 10 p.m. ($75). At CAMH, things can get slightly wild.
iFest 2011 - The Silk Road: Journey Across Asia
It's been 41 years for iFest. The downtown festival brings ceaseless rhythmically vibrant music, exotic dance, delicious food and cultural performance on 10 stages. This year's theme focuses on the nations along the Silk Road including China, India and Turkey to the Middle East. The music festivities begin with a concert featuring Kronos Quartet & Homayun Sakhi Trio, blending a western classical ensemble with Afghan instruments, on Friday at 7 p.m. The festival is this weekend and next.
Second Annual Noah's Kitchen Chili Cookoff at Washington Grill
Noah's Kitchen staff and volunteers work tireless to feed and service the homeless. Working out of donated kitchen space, the crew gets meals together, scout the city of Houston and hand deliver meals, and whenever possible, clothing and personal items. Saturday at noon.
Mutts Meows & Margaritas 2011 at Cadillac Bar on Shepherd
First, grab a margarita. Then, head to the extensive silent auction table where you can bid on a wide array of items including memberships, art, evening packages, gift certificates and a bunch of cool stuff. Last year, each table was piled high with the cutest stuffed animals, yours for the taking. Proceeds benefit BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions. Saturday at 7 p.m.
My colleagues' picks?
Assistant editor and nightlife expert Caroline Gallay's pick: Charlie Sheen's "My Violent Torpedo of Truth" Tour
Caroline says: "My pick of the week is Charlie Sheen's 'My Violent Torpedo of Truth' tour (whatever that means). I'll be covering Charlie's ravings for CultureMap and am more intrigued by the potential people-watching than Sheen himself. What constitutes a "#winning" performance? I'm out to find out." Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance: The Thank-You Bar at DiverseWorks
Nancy says: "I was intrigued the minute I spotted Emily Johnson sporting fish attached to her arms. The Minneapolis-based choreographer/curator, originally from Alaska, is of Yup'ik descent. In The Thank-You Bar she dives into questions of longing, belonging, and displacement, connecting to history, architecture and the igloo-myth. The show includes live music by Blackfish, lighting design by Heido Eckwall, beadwork by Karen Beaver and paper sculpture by Krista Walsh.
The performance is in conjunction with the exhibit, This is Displacement: Native Artists Consider the Relationship Between Land and Identity, which was curated by Johnson and Carolyn L. Anderson." Thursday through Saturday.
Assistant editor and art savant Steven Thomson's pick: Artist Talk with Deborah Stratman
Steven says: "May 21 brings the launch of the Tex Hex, a project presented by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. The floating cinema project, designed by Simparch, will feature a film program curated by artist Deborah Stratman. The Chicago-based artist will offer insight on her process at this free talk at the Moores School of Music. The timing allows several weeks to ponder Stratman's take on landscapes and systems before next month's unveiling at CultureMap HQ on the banks of the bayou." Friday at 7 p.m.
Editor at large and society scribe Shelby Hodge's pick: Third Annual Triple Crown Polo Fundraiser
Shelby says: "Houston Polo Club is the place to be Sunday afternoon when the Health Museum's Professionals Circle (read that young and accomplished) gather for the Triple Crown fundraiser. Beyond the playing field where horses and men will test their polo skills, the ladies and who knows, maybe even a few gents, don their grandest chapeaus for a hat contest." Sunday at 4:30 p.m.