Saturday Art Celebration
Drum circles, indie lit and 'lish bites: Your cheat sheet to the Menil CommunityArts Festival
The cool grey-drenched bungalows surrounding the Menil Collection are bursting with creative energy. This weekend, the discrete arts organizations open their doors, spilling out onto the museum lawn to strut their stuff. It's a mix of all-day events and quiet moments — read on for your shortlist.
On the performance front is an 11 a.m. appearance on the Menil Bookstore deck by Erin Rodgers (of alt-country outfit Kennedy Bakery), going solo for an intimate acoustic set of original tracks and covers. Brush up on her style with her recently dropped album, Quiet Sunshine.
Sufi savants will savor an 1 p.m. performance at the Rothko Chapel by Riyaaz Qawwli. Improvised poetry and stirring melodies define the band's style of Sufi devotional music that holds roots in eighth-century Persia. The songs will be performed in Urdu and Punjabi — either way, you can feel the love.
After the 2 p.m. screening of The Territory, Southwest Alternate Media Project's showcase series of short films by Texas and international filmmakers, follow the beat of the drum toward the Rothko Chapel Plaza, where percussionist and music educator Sam Dinkins III will head a family drum circle. Da Camera will provide an ensemble of instruments for the little ones to learn the tricks of the trade.
Happening all day long is an Aurora Picture Show open house and short film screening in its charming backyard, as well as the exhibition at Houston Center for Photography, Nowhere Near Here: New Photographic Work by Texas Artists. If works in watercolor are more your bag, walk over to the Watercolor Artist Society's Clothesline Sale.
Also on tap is the epic Houston Indie Book Festival, a veritable regional draw for the alt-literati. What you'll find on the Menil lawn is a wealth of reasonably priced literary journals and small-press books alongside local booksellers, book and magazine publishers, small presses, literary organizations and writers. Accompanying the booths will be intermitant readings by Inprint, with such authors as Gwendolyn Zepeda, Amelia Gray and Ryan Call.
Saturday is also a perfect opportunity for a refresher of the permanent exhibitions on hand at the Dan Flavin Installation in Richmond Hall, Menil, Rothko Chapel and Byzantine Fresco Chapel. Most likely the art cavorting will get your tummy rumbling. The festival has you covered, with Melange Creperie, Snowdog Ice Cream, Oh my! Pocket Pies, Houston Dairymaids, H-town StrEATs and Bullbutter Bros. BBQ. Stop drooling — and get your artsy self to the fair.