Pick Five (Plus)
Your weekly guide to Houston: Art under the bridge, Heart Walk, Tiger Lilliespunk & park poetry
An ofrenda is an offering in memory of a loved one. They can take many forms and at Lawndale Art Center, this year's Musical Ofrenda was a collaborative memorial between the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Inprint and Musiqa during which each organization gifted its artsy goods.
Each of the five Musiqa composers crafted a short miniature piece to embody subjects related to Dia de los Muertos. They were sung by soprano Karol Bennett, who interpreted each gem with honesty and heartfelt sentiment. Just as effective were works by Inprint writers, which included the literary nonprofit's executive director Rich Levy and renaissance woman Meghan Hendley.
At the Houston Grand Opera, Fidelio is a politically charged production that aligned with Beethoven's thoughts at the beginning of the 19th century. Premiered at the same time as his Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" — Beethoven initially dedicated it to Napoleon but scratched the inscription when the leader declared himself Emperor of France — politics and justice were very much in the zeitgeist of the composer.
Karita Mattila — the reason the work was programmed — is an emphatically passionate Leonore. Simon O'Neill is archetypally distressed. His plight from oppression to freedom is deeply emotional and his release, at the hands of his wife Leonore touches on feminist ideals.
Fidelio will be performed three more times — this Saturday, plus Nov. 10 and 13. It's worth your time.
Other highlights from last week? Black Sheep hosted another Social Media shindig, Arthritis Foundation held its yearly "Bone Bash," the Progressive Forum brought in Michael Pollan and the 39th Annual Jewish Book & Arts Fair began its two-week festival filled with readings, film screenings, concerts and literary events.
Moving on to this week. You'll see CultureMappers out and about at these Houston happenings:
2011 Buffalo Bayou Ball "Confluence: An Artful Evening" at Historic Sabine Street Bridge and Promenade
The lovely picturesque promenade just below the Historic Sabine Street Bridge — with its panoramic views of Buffalo Bayou along rolling berms and trees — is the backdrop for Buffalo Bayou Partnership's fundraiser honoring the artsy in-crowd that has morphed the urban waterway into a cultural hotspot. Those contributing to the beautification efforts include Hervé Descottes, Mark Dion, Paul Kittelson, Stephen Korns, Jaume Plensa, John Runnels, The Art Guys, Aurora Picture Show and the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
Co-chairs Cullen Geiselman and Judy Nyquist promise a colorful evening with libations along the promenade, dinner and boat rides. Thursday beginning at 7 p.m.
Spacetaker Artist Resource Center Opening of Alternate Reality by Magid Salmi
Spacetaker is my place of choice to discover art and artists challenging the boundaries of established and visionary art forms. As a resource center for creatives needing support services, the nonprofit has the beat on what's hidden from public view but has artistic merit.
Magid Salmi's photography juxtaposes common household items with perishable items, juxtaposing atypical comic commentary on the banality of the everyday. There's a connection in each of his works, sometimes obvious, sometimes personal and sometimes obtuse. He will be on hand Friday night at 6 p.m. to mix and mingle with art curious guests.
The exhibition is on view through Dec. 2, but there's always lots to be learned from the artists themselves.
red, black and GREEN: a blues presented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston
The folks behind the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston love nothing more than facilitating collaborations that begin conversations and deliver a strong message. And red, black and GREEN: a blues aims to do just that with topics of environmental justice, social ecology and responsibility.
The multimedia presentation melds dance, text and visuals at the hands of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center artist in residence, Marc Bamuthi Joseph; choreographer Stacey Printz; director Michael John Garcés; drummer/beatboxer Tommy Shepherd; documentary filmmaker Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi; and video designer David Szlasa.
There's lots of buzz about this performance, so logically, we are curious to check it out on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
2011 Houston Heart Walk
Now that the weather is cool, the breeze is gentle and the mosquitos are somewhat retired, why not put your shoes to good use and enjoy a leisurely five-mile walk? The folks at the American Heart Association are counting on you, and 25,000 other Houstonians, to help raise awareness about a disease that affects and claims the lives of newborns to centenarians, one that kills 2,300 people each day.
30th Anniversary Orange Show Gala at Heritage Center at Crowne Plaza
How does the nonprofit responsible for keeping the Orange Show Monument, organizing the Art Car Parade and maintaining the Beer Can House celebrate 30 years as an advocate of folk arts? We aren't sure but we can't wait to find out this Saturday at the Heritage Center at Crowne Plaza, as everything that comes out of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Arts has a touch of quirky and is a good ol' time.
No one turns 30 without a bang. So expect flashy costumes, eccentric street performers, an elaborate silent auction and music by Dr. John & The Lower 911. And you, the party animal, get to attend as the star that you are.
Arts smarty pants and beer-loving lovable gal, Dancehunter Nancy Wozny's pick: The Tiger Lillies presented by Society for the Performing Arts
Nancy says: "Nothing chases the post Halloween blues away like a heavy dose post punk from The Tiger Lillies. I first learned about The Tiger Lilles when they came to accompany the amazing Holy Body Tattoo at Society for the Performing Arts (SPA). I thought they were about the strangest most wonderful presence, a hybrid mix of opera, gypsy song and left Bank Paris.
"Then they came back for more sublime weirdness in Shockheaded Peter. Well the smart folks at SPA are bringing them back again while they are on the Gutter and the Stars Tour on Friday. The lead singer and founder, Martyn Jacques, has the most incredible falsetto voice ever, too."
Photo editor and design junkie Barbara Kuntz's pick: Poetry in the Park at Discovery Green
Barbara says: "Poetry + Park = I'll be there. Yes, with this fabulous fall weather open us, I'm taking a blanket to relax at the beautiful outdoor setting of Discovery Green and listening to poetry readings presented in part by the Houston Public Library.
"Who knows? I may be inspired, once again, to try my hand at verse. 2 p.m. Saturday."