Young professional supporters that care about health care gathered at Antique Bar for libations and informal chitchat to kickoff the 2011-12 Scrubs social calendar. Raising awareness about the Harris County Hospital District was the mission. Organized by Courtney Hurst, the affair brought out such notables as Cynthia Conner, Nicole Laurent with fiancé Joey Romano, Jamie Glover Dabbs and Katie and Whitney Mears.
Following the social flow, the evening led to the party that packed quite the punch. At Rienzi, the European decorative arts home of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 13 Celsius' Mike Sammons and Ian Rosenberg's smashing potions swarmed the former home of Carroll Sterling and Harris Masterson with plenty of pretty people for "Punch Party: The 18th-Century Imbiber."
The highlight was the 18th century tablescape with molded period food curated by Christine Gervais with food historian Ivan Day. A William Cripps 1754 epergne glowed with British wit while holding displays or rococo whimsical desserts, as part of English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century.
The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft was quite busy over last week as well, beginning with the opening of Beyond Useful & Beautiful: Rethinking Domestic Craft and Soundforge. There, we found an inquisitive crowd hammering away at metalsmith Gabriel Craig's and composer Michael Remson's iron gate-like musical instruments with exquisite hand-crafted wood mallets. Be on the look out for a CultureMap video soon.
Last weekend also marked the opening of Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The exhibition is the first comprehensive look at the artist's exploration with textures, video projections and sound installations. The title comes from a series of videos projections — perhaps what Monet would have done if he had video equipment — depicting an infamous gay cruising spot in New York. There's plenty of sex and politics, whimsical and serious pieces on view.
Lots of art. And that makes me happy. Very happy. Moving forward, may I suggest the following outings this weekend?
Holocaust Museum Houston's Film Series: Forbidden Games
War always morphs from what many consider a necessity to complete absurdity when examined through the lens of a child. The 1952 French-language film Forbidden Games is one of the first films to do so. The story begins with 5-year-old Paulette losing her parents and her dog as a result of Nazi air strike in Paris. When a peasant family takes her in, a friendship develops with 10-year-old Michel.
Without giving away too much of the plot, their friendship is broken at the hands of an unlikely person. Thursday at 7 p.m.
40th Annual Capital One Bank Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
It's been 40 years. What began as a homegrown delightful gathering of artists in Montrose has now evolved into a nationally-recognized festival bursting with more than 300 artists in an impressive variety of mediums, 19 to be exact. Count them: Clay, digital, drawing, fiber art, textiles, functional art, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, acrylic and oil paintings, digital photography, film photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor and wood.
This year's featured artist hails from Pensacola. Printmaker Kreg Yingst's works exude narrative content evident in his whimsical Night and Day. Re-imagining the spirit of the Bayou City, Yingst juxtaposes Houston's skyline with a Commedia Dell'Arte juggler flanked with lyrics taken from "Deep in the Heart of Texas."
Art lovers will flock to the festival which takes place in front of City Hall, around Hermann Square (step around the Occupy Houston protestors nicely) and on Walker, Bagby and McKinney Streets, as well as Sam Houston Park. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for parking options.
For those that prefer to celebrate in style, a VIP party, "Houdini's Heist," is set for 8 p.m. Saturday. Sounds magical.
Galveston Historical Foundation's "History on Tap: Prohibition" at the 1892 Bishop's Palace
History on Tap is a series hosted by the Galveston Historical Foundation that mingles stimulating yet diverting info-taining affairs with some sort of alcohol component — be it a distillery or a brewery — that connects with the theme du jour. Somehow, learning is always better with libations on hand.
During this event, those with a penchant for the culture of yesteryear will travel to the Island and visit the 1892 Bishop's Palace in Galveston to discover what lifestyle was like in Prohibition times when essentials like rum were a big no no. Don Q Rum will be on hand to discuss how rum is distilled. It all happens this Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Two Star Symphony presents The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art
The quirkiest folk-ish venue in Houston goes to the dark side when Two Star Symphony, the city's resident gothical (goth plus classical, get it?) ensemble, haunts the Orange Show monument with its euphonious presence. Throw in the twisted tenor of Robert Wiene's Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari and you have a stylistically bizarre evening not to be missed.
Think of German expressionist noir skewed figures, a psychosomatic plot and creepy sounds — the kind that seeped in the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Tim Burton.
The full eight-piece posse — Two Star Symphony usually presents itself as a string quartet — will emerge from their dark caves to perform the original score as commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for the Halloween screening of 2006, now a yearly tradition at the Orange Show. Saturday at 8 p.m.
Aperio, Music of the Americas presents "Pampeana - Chamber Music by Alberto Ginastera"at Sicardi Gallery
This saucy chamber music presenting troupe is one of Houston's best kept secrets, quickly rising in the ranks as a preferred avenue to learn and discover the wondrous body of work that was and is created in the Americas. At the head of this nonprofit you'll find the charming pianist Michael Zuraw who has yet to meet a score he can't whiz through.
This program is dedicated to the music of Buenos Aires-born composer Alberto Ginastera. Perhaps lesser known to the general public than the more popular tango and bandoneon player, Astor Piazzolla, Ginastera's compositions are often influenced by the Gaucho (nomadic horseman of the plains) personas of Argentina, topping his tunes with the region's folk subjects.
The title of Aperio's concert points to La Pampa province of Argentina which is part of a larger geographical region that borders Uruguay and Brazil and the Andes mountain range considered to be one of the most fertile lands of South America. This music reflects its ethos. Sunday at 3 p.m.
Arts contributor, Dancehunter and the loveliest of beer gals Nancy Wozny's pick: Society for the Performing Arts presents Compañia Flamenca José Porcel in Gypsy Fire
Nancy says: "If you are in the mood for some steamy percussive dance, have I got a show for you. Compañia Flamenca José Porcel returns to Houston with Gypsy Fire on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Jones Hall, presented by Society for the Performing Arts. I've seen this company several times and they never disappoint.
"Porcel burns up the stage with his rapid footwork and sensual presence. Expect fantastic live music as well. You will be stamping your feet all the way to the parking lot."