Mercury Chamber Orchestra presents Love's Philosophy

Mercury Chamber Orchestra presents Love's Philosophy

Photo courtesy of Mercury

Mercury Chamber Orchestra presents Love's Philosophy, featuring Guest Conductor John Axelrod and violinist Jonathan Godfrey. Selections will include Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, Bernstein's Serenade after Plato's Symposium, and Haydn's Symphony No. 22, “The Philosopher.”

Photo courtesy of FotoFest

FotoFest Biennial Dance Night

FotoFest Biennial Dance Night

FotoFest and the Flat have teamed up to throw a party in celebration of this year’s FotoFest Biennial 2022 exhibitions, "African Cosmologies: Redux, Ten by Ten," and "If I Had a Hammer." The Flat will host a night of dancing, drinks, and food. DJ Sun, DJ MLE, and DJ Malcolm Bravo will be spinning records featuring music that reflects and responds to the themes explored in each of the Biennial exhibitions. As a special treat, the bar at The Flat has created an artful cocktail to celebrate the night.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross in concert

Christopher Cross in concert

Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Christopher Cross comes to Houston as part of his 40th anniversary tour. Cross made history with his 1980 self-titled debut album, winning five Grammy Awards, including for the first time in Grammy history, the “Big Four” most prestigious awards: Record of the Year (for the single "Sailing"), Album of the Year, Song of the Year (also "Sailing"), and Best New Artist.

In a career spanning over five decades, Cross has sold over 10 million albums. His music has garnered five Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and five Top 10 singles.

Photo courtesy of John Such Artists' Management

Houston Symphony presents She's Got Soul

Houston Symphony presents She's Got Soul

Powerhouse singer and Houston favorite Capathia Jenkins and the orchestra will present a salute to some of the greatest female soul singers of all time, including Diana Ross, Toni Braxton, Adele, Sade, Amy Winehouse, and Anita Baker.

Image courtesy of Catastrophic Theatre

The Catastrophic Theatre presents Happy Days

The Catastrophic Theatre presents Happy Days

Beckett’s existential tragicomedy Happy Days concerns itself with the plight of Winnie, a middle-class, middle-aged woman who is quite literally stuck, buried to her waist in crusted earth. Her husband Willie lives in a hole behind her mound, physically and emotionally out of reach. Even in his company she is essentially alone.

Armed with a shopping bag of everyday items and routines, a series of half-remembered stories, songs, and prayers, and a heroic capacity for optimism, Winnie presses through an endless series of unforgiving days to the merciful night to come. The bell rings again and when the blazing sun comes charging back, she is buried up to her neck. Her last resources depleted, her arms and body sunk and gone, her predicament is irreversible, hellish, seemingly eternal. Through it all she perseveres, struggling with that which remains to make real her impossibly hopeful exclamation: “Oh this will be another happy day!”

Photo courtesy of A.D. Players

A.D. Players presents Miss Maude

A.D. Players presents Miss Maude

A.D. Players presents the pre-Broadway world premiere of Miss Maude, the inspirational true story of the relationship forged between renowned 1951 Life Magazine photographer Eugene Smith and South Carolina midwife, Made Callen. Eugene is sent to do a story on Maude, but never expects the life changing impact it will have on him.

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10 ways these River Oaks apartment homes will elevate your next chapter

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In what may be Houston’s most coveted neighborhood sits NOVEL River Oaks, a new beacon of classic architecture and modern lifestyle that honors the heritage, elegance, and natural beauty of the area.

A testament to high-end living, these elegant apartment homes make an impression and continue the pace of this alluring ZIP code that’s steeped in history.

Here are 10 notes about NOVEL River Oaks that illustrate how you can elevate your own narrative here.

1. It’s a natural fit
Canopied under lush live oaks, the setting for your new home is an idyllic haven within the city. The airy, botanical aesthetic is just as picturesque as the neighborhood that surrounds it.

2. Every layout is luxurious
From entertaining family and friends to quiet nights at home, the one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans are designed for beauty and functionality.

There are two interior finish options, but you should know that all units come with hardwood floors, private balconies, spacious walk-in closets with built-in shelving, and gourmet kitchens complete with stainless steel appliances and wine refrigerators.

3. Have a stay-cation at the retreat-style pool
Both the rooftop pool with sun ledge and the pool house with an outdoor living room have “vacation vibes” written all over them — no travel time required. There’s also a sunset terrace with grilling lounges for post-pool-day noshing.

4. WFH — with or without the "W"
Thanks to a map room equipped with quiet areas for focus time, along with public meeting spaces and an executive conference room, working from home has never looked better.

When you’ve put in enough hours for the day, the indoor-outdoor city-view lounge, as well as the conservatory and veranda, are the perfect places to grab a drink and unwind.

5. You can also work out from home
The full athletic club onsite features the most innovative equipment and machines along with a flex fitness studio.

6. Very good neighbors included
Located at the iconic intersection of Willowick and Westheimer, you’re in good company the minute you walk out the door.

The chic boutiques of Highland Village are just around the corner and eclectic global restaurants and Central Market are all within strolling distance, too.

7. Furry BFFs welcome
Not only is taking Fido outside a walk in the park (literally!) with beautiful oak-lined pathways, but there is both a pet park and grooming room onsite.

8. Too many other amenities to count
From a coffee bar and hosted wine tastings to concierge service, valet parking, and package delivery — and, of course, a gated, access-controlled parking garage, electric car-charging stations, and more — the list of amenities seems to go on forever.

9. This place is buzz-worthy, literally
Through a partnership with Alvéole, NOVEL has adopted honeybees to help change the narrative of the urban environment and reconnect the community to the subtle wonders of nature.

10. There’s even more to look forward to
Coming soon, NOVEL will be adding another layer to its own narrative with a range of high-end retail partners that will be moving in soon.

Photo courtesy of Crescent Communities

The indoor-outdoor city-view lounge is the perfect places to grab a drink and unwind.

NOVEL River Oaks is now leasing. Explore your next chapter here or call 713-597-8035 to schedule your personalized tour today.

Texas state parks bloom throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

Silent nights

If roasting s'mores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up the family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru, 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
Follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 am-12 pm December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Visit the popular attraction during December to learn how the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am-2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 pm December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2-5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive through December 19. Visit December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 am December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm December 17.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on December 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park, 6-8 pm December 10.

Renovated UT Austin museum set to reopen in 2023 with exciting new exhibits

Texas Memorial Museum

One of Austin's oldest museums is getting a major facelift. Built on campus at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1930s, the Texas Memorial Museum has offered the Austin community (and beyond) unique opportunities to explore and learn about the natural world, including scientific discoveries made right here in Texas.

According to a release, UT and its College of Natural Sciences will renovate and upgrade the beloved museum in order to serve future generations. Earlier this year, President Jay Hartzell and Dean Vanden Bout appointed a volunteer advisory committee to help create short- and long-term recommendations for the museum’s reopening and greater outlook for the future. Fundraising efforts are ongoing to support future stages of the museum’s reopening, as well as new installations planned for its fourth floor.

Thanks to that committee, this new investment will be the museum's most extensive renovation in decades, including building upgrades such as roof repairs, revitalization of foundational exhibits, installation of new exhibits and features, and improvements to allow hosted events.

“Texas Memorial Museum is the only museum on the UT campus, and in the greater Austin area, that will include both science and natural history exhibits, from prehistoric life to advanced research and technology,” said managing director Carolyn Connerat in the release. “We are grateful to the university and excited about reopening this cherished institution, which will be even better than before.”

The museum temporarily closed earlier this year and is set to reopen in stages beginning in fall 2023. Starting in September 2023, visitors will have opportunities to revisit cherished exhibits, such as the famous Quetzalcoatlus (a type of pterosaur), and experience new engaging exhibits and educational programming for all ages.

“Showcasing science and offering the community opportunities to learn about new research is something this museum is uniquely positioned to help us do,” said David Vanden Bout, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, in the release. “These renovations are part of a larger effort to bridge between past discoveries and future innovations. Having a museum of science and natural history allows our campus to offer Texans a valuable portal into what’s wondrous about our natural world.”