If you are bored in Houston, blame yourself. It's true that some groups are on summer hibernation, if there's such a thing, but others are keeping us out and about with dirty puppet theater, a Texas-sized art show, an indoor street party, tours on foot and end-of-the-world musicals. Let's party.
Country Playhouse presents Avenue Q
If only Sesame Street would address masturbation, porn, mixed tapes, coming out of the closet, happiness at the misfortune of others and the uselessness of higher education. It doesn't, and that's why we have Avenue Q. With Gary Coleman as a janitor.
I've never seen the show, but have the soundtrack memorized. And I've yet to see a Country Playhouse production; this will be it because there's puppets, and puppets should be forced to be naughty.
Lawndale Art Center's "The Big Show 2012" Opening Reception and Awards
When Lawndale says big, they mean it. From 915 submissions by 381 underground, emerging and under-represented artists, guest juror Marco Antonini had the big job of parsing through each piece and deciding what would be on display at this bricolage of an open call, anything goes exhibit. Experimental art is Antonini's métier as gallery director at Brooklyn's NURTUREart.
As such, expect the accepted 69 works by 61 artists to tickle your aesthetic fancy.
There's cash at stake for the top three winners. Moreover, cast a vote for your favorite, that would be the CultureMap People's Choice Award, by scanning caption QR codes adjacent to each work of art.
Steel Lounge Underground at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
For those who remember the monthly metro-esque fete by the same name a few moons ago, don't — forget that. Steel Lounge Underground is CAMH's once-a-year rave, though I think of it as an indoor urban bash. If it seems like too cool for you, nah, it's definitely in everyone's league.
Derek Jones and Josh Zulu play hosts while Suraj K., Esteban Torres and DJ Baby Jae spin some grooves alongside a live performance by vocalist Omari Tau and projections by Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola. Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. will have its Hibiscus Wit beer (it's pink) onsite, but bring loot for the cash bar and food trucks.
Bering Omega Young Professionals Board Toga Party at Craft Salon
Anyone else have love/loathe relations with costume parties? I do, because I am just not that creative when it comes to fashioning themed togs from duds hidden in my closet.
But a toga? Now, that's something everyone can do with just a flat sheet. A word of caution: Don't go commando.
Liz Gorman, Nick Espinosa, Jerry Guerrero and Paul Pettie are chairing this summer soiree for Bering Omega Community Services, a nonprofit that offers support services for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Though it's been a few years since I have volunteered at Omega House, the hospice care center, the humanity, compassion and strength of the staff left me with a permanent reminder that life can, and often does, change in an instant.
Asia Society Texas Center Family Day: Chinese Culture
Spend a wholesome day of family-friendly activities at the Asia Society Texas Center, including arts and crafts led by Houston Center for Contemporary Craft's smiths. Partake in Chinese block printing, try your detective smarts at a gallery scavenger hunt and participate in t'ai chi with martial arts master Henderson Smith.
End your cultural immersive experience by stuffing your face at your favorite dim-sum eatery. Try Fung's Kitchen, E Tao, or for a modern twist, Gigi's Asian Bistro & Dumpling Bar offers all-you-can-eat dumplings for $15 per person.
Preservation Houston: Market Square Architectural Walking Tour
Market Square Park clues in to the city's humble beginnings. What is now a lovely al fresco gathering place was the location of one of the first public markets and the site of City Hall from 1840 to 1939. Today, the park documents the area's history with art, displays, plaques and markers that delineate the perimeter of the former government building and Market House.
This Preservation Houston 90-minute exterior architecture walking tour explores all that plus the 1861 Kennedy Bakery and the 1893 Kiam Building.
Staff writer, arts and architecture savant and all around awesome guy Tyler Rudick's picks: Art opening all around town
Tyler says: "I'm pretty excited to finally see these James Turrell holograms this Saturday at Hiram Butler, which will host an opening reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its space on Blossom Street. In conjunction with the ongoing PrintHouston fest, the gallery also will show a series of abstract prints by New York artist Bill Jensen. Armando's food truck will be on site for anyone looking to supplement their morning with tacos and a margarita.
"On the PrintHouston note, Box 13 is hosting an installation by Orna Feinstein, who appeared in the festival's recent juried show at 4411 Montrose. Feinstein will display pieces constructed entirely from discarded art invitations alongside new works by Joshua Goode and Julia Landios."
Arts smarty pants and funny gal Nancy Wozny's pick: Catastrophic Theatre presents Tamarie Cooper's The Doomsday Review, The Greatest Musical Ever! at DiverseWorks
Nancy says: "It's summer. For theater people, that means it's Tamarie time, as in her annual summer show, which usually sells out — so don't be a lazy one. So far, Tamarie Cooper has tackled love, her brain, domestic life, The United States of Tamarie. Really what's left? Welcome to The Doomsday Review, The Greatest Musical Ever!, opening on Friday, July 13 (how convenient is that?).
"With a tag line of 'It's the end of the world, bring on the dancing cupcakes,' this show is guaranteed to get you out of your nihilistic, post-apocalyptic summer funk. With music and lyrics by Cooper, Miriam Daly, John Duboise, Joe Folladori and Patrick Reynolds (who also wrote the book), a cast of 17 Catastrophic veterans, a band and a hefty dose of Tamarieness, what's not to like?
Also, since Cooper harks from my tribe, Doomsday features plenty of dancing.