Cheapskate's Guide to the Finer Things in Life
April in Paris via Houston: Free ways to pretend you're in the City of Light
Ah, April in Paris! Everywhere you look, a work of art, a feast for the senses! Even though I can’t seem to find enough euros buried in my couch to cover that blissful trip right now, I’ve come up with two French artistic treats in Houston this week that will transport the responsive soul to the City of Light for free.
I don’t know about vous, but I’m beaucoup excited about the focus on Proust in the “Artful Thursday” program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Shepherd School of Music’s “Spotlight on Paris” spring chamber music festival Saturday at Rice University. Oui, both these events are free, but that’s just the frosting on the gateau for an arts-loving (if euro-pinching) Francophile like moi.
Each month, MFAH welcomes the public to a free "Artful Thursday" soirée, co-sponsored by KUHF-FM, where you can learn something about art at an educational presentation. Afterward, at a reception, you can chat with the guest speaker and other arts appreciators.
This month's "artful" guest: Eric Karpeles, author of the highly praised book, Paintings in Proust, which contains over 200 reproductions of works of art, depicting images such as Botticelli’s angels, Manet’s courtesans and Monet’s water lilies, with accompanying text. Karpeles managed to identify and locate all the paintings Marcel Proust mentioned in his monumental 3,000-page classic, In Search of Lost Time, to evoke visual impressions. You’ll recall (one hopes) Proust’s famously eloquent “madeleine” passage, describing how the taste of this “little scallop-shell of pastry” suddenly released a flood of long-buried, happy childhood memories and vivid mental pictures. (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., MFAH.)
Shepherd School of Music's chamber music festival features an all-day program of continuous concerts highlighting heavenly music written by Parisian composers including Ravel, Debussy, Fauré, Franck, Saint-Saëns and Messiaen (Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.). Sounds like a memorable event, n’est-ce pas?