Pick Five (Plus)
Your weekly guide to Houston: Hula hooping, theater hopping, MURAL listening &craftsy socializing
Just when you think you know the city, you learn there's much more to discover.
There's only one place to get the beat on the covert creative scene in Houston. That's Spacetaker. The monthly SPEAKeasy show-and-tell gathering gives artists a forum to speak about their upcoming projects and explorations to an art-curious audience.
This month, visual artist Lizbeth Ortiz made sense of her ornate female skeleton imagery. Growing up between two cemeteries in Mexico and influenced by Frida Kahlo, Ortiz traced her artistic growth over 20 years, which included also the founding of the Frida Festival seven years ago.
Raul Orlando Edwards seems to have one foot in classical arts — as the executive director of Foundation of Modern Music — another in street arts, as founder of Strictly Street Salsa. He turned Spacetaker Artist Resource Center into a sassy Latin dance class as an amuse-bouche for what's to come on Sept. 17, when dance troupes will invade the Miller Outdoor Theatre stage as part of "Salsa y Salud," a citywide event promoting dancing and health.
Also at Spacetaker, Gift of Gift of — described as one night, one party with lots of art — raised enough funds to purchase and donate 11 photographs by emerging artists to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Against economic odds — raising the purchase price of photographs while lowering admission cost of the party — the two-year-old event increased its giving power.
Gift of Gift of acts allows young supporters the opportunity to influence what's collected at cultural institutions in Houston. Their voice is heard.
Soon, MFAH will be the home of works by Jennifer Ray, Amy Stevens, Eliot Dudik, Dennis Yermoshin, Emily Peacock, Lisa Adamucci, Dennis DeHart, Jennifer McNichols, Lung Liu, Clare Gallager and Stephanie Dean.
Divergence Music & Arts at Spring Street Studios is turning into a hub for newsworthy boutique chamber arts experiences. In comes experimental Chris Becker on laptop and Kaoss Pad and with the help of local bassist and composer Thomas Helton, an improvised dialogue began with silent films by Kenneth Anger, Noe Kidder, Jonathan Jindra, Robert Thoth, Carolina Vasquez and Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola.
We know the images are set by the time the performance comes around, but the dialogue between the visual and the soundscapes was so intertwined, that at times, it appeared as if the images emerged from Becker's and Helton's counterpoint. You had to be there.
Lot's to love.
This week, you'll have plenty of opportunities to show Houston some love and do good in our city. Read on for our weekly recommendations.
"No Barriers Bash" hosted by Camp For All Young Professionals at SPJST Lodge #88
We first met Camp For All executive director Kurt Podeszwa at this years TEDxHouston conference. Speaking of his philosophies on giving and volunteerism, his passionate theory resonated with many in the audience. "Selfish selflessness" is the understanding that those that give get something rich and rewarding in return.
I can't help being drawn to the organization, given its leadership, such that we recommend checking out the young professionals "No Barriers Bash." It's at SPJST Lodge #88, a fun quirky venue for the fundraising affair, with proceeds helping children and adults with disabilities participate in Camp For All programs. Get silly in the photo booth, try a yummy selection from food truck Fusion Taco or indulge in a baked sugary goody from What's Up Cupcake. It's a good cause and a good time. Friday at 7 p.m.
Performance and CD Release: MURAL at the Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel is known for many things: As a place of interfaith dialogue, of quiet contemplation and thoughtful education. But that's not all. The chapel's somber ambience and reverberant acoustics have also inspired composers and sound artists like Morton Feldman, Peter Gabriel and David Dondero to craft site-specific compositions.
MURAL follows in these footsteps and creates an improvisatory work whose spirit relates to the massive Rothko panels. The ensemble first played the work in March 2010 and returns for another performance celebrating MURAL's album release. With Jim Denley on flute and saxophone, Kim Myhr on acoustic guitar and Ingar Zach on percussion, the contemplative work is just what the world needs to quiet things down, if only for a brief moment. Saturday at 3 p.m.
The People’s Art Collaborative at MECA
Arts and crafts. How fun are they? As adults, we hardly engage in these activities though we know — or should know — that engaging in anything creative energizes and brightens our days. It does get interesting when we interact with hands-on art projects with people who we would otherwise not meet, talk to or socialize with.
Enter The People's Art Collaborative, where the artsy — and the non artsy — can mingle, discover and create a charcoal mural, paint or just juxtapose art pieces. The social is put together thanks to Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts, Jewish Community Center Houston's Get Cultured, and the Center for the Healing of Racism. Saturday at 7 p.m.
School is back in session but that doesn't mean the fun needs to stop, especially if you are a fan of DiverseWorks. Expect a zany and fun alternative scene of supporters at this FUNraiser enjoying the grooves of Jana Hunter, Wild Moccasins, sIngs, The Wiggins and DJ Brett Koshkin.
I'd buy a raffle ticket, especially since you could go home with goodies from Aurora Picture Show, BB’s Cafe, Buffalo Exchange, Cactus Music, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Converse, Dolce Vita Day Spa, Fitzgerald’s, Ikea, Jenni’s Noodle House, Kikkerland, Lot 8 Boutique, Roy Mata, The Octopus Project, The Orange Show and Eric Springer. Saturday at 8 p.m.
2011 Capital One Bank Theater District Open House
Show some love to your local theater district. Why? Because it rocks, that's why. With abundant number of seats — second to New York — plenty of nonprofits' blood, sweat and tears make it possible for Houston's art scene to add color to our lives.
Stroll through the different venues and learn what's happening at Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts, Theatre Under The Stars and Uniquely Houston through interactive and informative events.
Too hot to walk? Capital One Bank has you covered with Theater Trolley Stops between venues. Click here for a schedule of events. Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
You can also begin the festivities a day early with style by attending Raising The Curtain: Celebrating the 2011-12 Theater District Season gala Saturday 7 p.m. Head to the Houston Ballet Center for Dance and don your best red-curtain-ready red.
Care2Spin Hula Hoop Challenge at Discovery Green
Can you gyrate your hips? No? Well, then you are in luck because hula hooping has nothing to do with that. Bend the knees, thrust back and forth and the hula does its thing. It's that simple. Trust me, I tried it.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, this challenge aims to break the Guinness World Record of the number for hula hoopers spinning in unison in one venue, while at the same time raising funds for Easter Seals Greater Houston through Care2Spin. So, go to Discovery Green and spin away. Doing good feels good and hula hooping makes everyone smile. Sunday beginning at 9 a.m.
Need more suggestions? Here's what the rest of the CultureMap team recommends:
Photo editor and design junkie Barbara Kuntz's pick: reNew and reDux Benefiting The Women’s Home
Barbara says: "I'm cleaning out my closet and heading to the reNew and reDux fashion show produced by Lenny Matusezewski at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Featured looks include apparel from The Cottage Thrift Shop, a super resale shop that benefits The Women's Home. Maybe one of my donations will make the runway!"
Arts contributor and Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: Opening of ShadeCloud at Art League Houston
Nancy says: "Emily Sloan is one of Houston's most compelling artists. Her work occupies a rare space between social sculpture and re-invented performance art. Sloan, most known for her radical napping movement, Napping Affects Performance, has a new outdoor installation, ShadeCloud, at Art League Houston. Like most of what Sloan does, the title says it all, expect a deliriously witty cluster of household lamp shades." Thursday at 6 p.m.
Entertainment and lifestyle savant and all around good guy William James Gerlich's pick: "Identity" at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
William says: "Aimed at taking electronica acts and dubstep dance music out of dark dance clubs and into amphitheaters, 'Identity' is ideal for those who love explosive base beats and dub step remixes of pop and rock hits." Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.