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The Arts & Happenings April 2016

The pocket prairies being constructed at Rice University, the University of Houston and the University of St. Thomas will provide habitat for monarch butterflies and other wildlife.

The pocket prairies being constructed at Rice University, the University of Houston and the University of St. Thomas will provide habitat for monarch butterflies and other wildlife. (Photo – Christine Mansfield)


The Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) has joined with Rice University, the University of Houston (UH) and the University of St. Thomas (UST) through the Grassroots for Change Challenge to build pocket prairies for monarch butterfly habitat on each campus as an extension of KPC’s Prairie Builder Schools & Parks initiative.

The challenge is a friendly competition to raise funds to transform parts of each of these local university campuses into vibrant pocket prairies which will provide excellent habitat for pollinators (such as critical monarch butterflies and native bees), serve as a living laboratory for student research, and give campus visitors, students, and faculty a better sense of Houston and its rich history. Specifically, the focus is on the restoration of the Rice Gully Natural Area at Rice University, construction of the new Shasta Prairie at UH on April 23 to culminate Earth Week 2016, and the transformation of an empty lot at UST into a living, breathing laboratory for undergraduates.

The challenge is also about engaging, inspiring, and connecting students at Rice, UH and UST to assist one another in the mission of creating more sustainable and beautiful landscapes on their campuses. Each school’s alumni, students, professors, and supporters are being challenged to help raise the funds needed to create these new pocket prairies for monarch butterflies and other native wildlife.

As part of the competition, KPC will track how much each school’s community has raised for the challenge and will post the results online at crowdrise.com/grassrootsforchange. Funds raised by each school will be directed toward the pocket prairie on their campus. For more information, visit katyprairie.org.


From Clay: Body, Mind, and Soul.

From Clay: Body, Mind, and Soul.


The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd., is hosting ClayHouston’s Biennial Regional Exhibition in the Main Gallery April 2-29 . The paintings of Maryam Lavaf will also be on view in the Side Gallery. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 2, from 5-7 p.m.

Clay: Body, Mind, and Soul is a juried exhibition that celebrates clay artists from the greater Southwest and the best ceramics of the region. While functional work in clay speaks to the needs of the body and spirit through the recognizable forms one uses in daily life––cups, bowls, teapots, plates, and ritual objects––nonfunctional clay works speak more to the cerebral side of ourselves through expressions of important ideas, feelings or designs. If done well, both can transcend function and non-function and speak to the viewer on a higher plane, in fact, to the needs of the soul.

Painter Maryam Lavaf begins each piece picturing a sound, perhaps something as simple as the sound of a leaf dropping. Each work reveals its own logic and guide lines; therefore it is unique and ruled by its own laws. The paintings featured in Ethereal Flow are based on elements like the earth, sun, plants, and the artist’s emotional responses to nature.

Visit junghouston.org for more information.


Hugh Panero in the Walnut Street production. "Oliver!" at TUTS.

Hugh Panero in the Walnut Street production. “Oliver!” at TUTS.


On April 5-17 at The Hobby Center for Performing Arts, Sarofim Hall (800 Bagby St.), discover this fresh take on Dickens’ classic story of Oliver, the runaway orphan who finds himself in the grimly fascinating underbelly of 18th-century London. Befriended by the Artful Dodger and his fellow gang of youthful pickpockets, the pure-hearted Oliver is introduced to a witty, gritty world of new friends, formidable foes—and an abundance of merry mischief.

Cunning, comedic, and downright captivating, Oliver! will leave you with your porridge bowl out, begging for more.

For more information, visit TUTS.com.



Red Potato Market Days returns Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 9114 FM 1489, in Simonton. There will be a Preview Party on Thursday, April 21 from 4 -7 p.m. Over 70 vendors participate, bringing vintage, antiques and painted furniture, lighting, eclectic finds, art, jewelry, clothing, pottery and handmade soaps and crafts. It’s the perfect place to relax in the country only 35 miles west of Houston and 15 miles west of Katy. Local Farmers also bring fresh produce and home made goods. Food trucks and a live band combine to make this a fun event.

The event takes place under a covered area, rain or shine. The $5 admission supports Young Life & Simonton Christian Academy. Children under 12 are free. The cost to attend the Preview Party is $20. For more information visit the website, redpotatomarket.com, or call 281-533-9863.


Tom Dugan as Wiesenthal.

Tom Dugan as Wiesenthal.


Holocaust Museum Houston and the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (the J) present “Wiesenthal,” the true story of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things, including bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.

Filled with hope, humanity and humor, “Wiesenthal” presents the story of Simon Wiesenthal, a man nicknamed the “Jewish James Bond.” Intelligent, funny, flawed and noble, Wiesenthal was a universal hero. His unbelievable dedication and tenacity over decades is honored in this one-man performance, which gives equal weight to his wisdom and wit during his long, purposeful life.

Written and performed by playwright Tom Dugan, “Wiesenthal” runs through April 3 at the Kaplan Theatre at the J, 5601 S. Braeswood. Show times are 7:30 p.m. for Tuesday through Thursday, March 29-31; 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1; 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 2; and 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. Tickets are $15 for students, $28 for seniors and $35 general admission. Groups of 10 or more receive a 15 percent discount off the $35 admission. For information or to purchase tickets, visit erjcchouston.org/theatre or call 713-551-7255.

For more information, call 713-942-8000 or visit hmh.org.



On Wednesday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m., Houston Food Bank invites the public to its 16th annual Chef’s Dinner at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. This year’s Chefs’ Dinner, chaired by Cynthia D. Craft, will feature a multi-course dinner prepared by several of the finest chefs in Houston.

For 800,000 Houstonians each year, however, fine dining is something much simpler, though no less appreciated –– a meal made from food provided by Houston Food Bank partner agencies. While their meals may not be fancy, they are wholesome and provide essential nutrients to the families and individuals who receive them.

Tickets start at $500. All event proceeds benefit the Houston Food Bank. Visit HoustonFoodBank.org/ChefsDinner or call 713-547-8622 for more information.


Linda Freedman Block

Linda Freedman Block


Jill Conner Browne, best-selling author of the Sweet Potato Queens book series and the inspiration behind the new TUTS spring musical with the same name, will be featured as the keynote speaker at Women Who Do, Hadassah’s Women of Courage Awards luncheon on April 10 at the Westin Galleria Hotel. The luncheon will honor Houston’s own multi-level Hadassah leader Linda Freedman Block. A natural tie with Hadassah’s position of connecting and empowering women, Browne’s books’ concepts involve a belief in a sisterhood that promotes self-esteem and positive thinking. In its 11th year, the award recognizes women who have focused on important issues in the community and gone the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of others.


Sweet Potato Queens author Jill Conner Browne (right) will be keynote speaker at Hadassah’s Women of Courage Awards luncheon which will honor Linda Freedman Block (above).

The beneficiary of the luncheon’s fundraising efforts, Hadassah Medical Organization, has recently made headlines for its clinical trials of stem cell treatment that significantly slowed the progression of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Hadassah Medical Organization also serves as a bridge to peace – forging links between patients of all nationalities, races and religion who come to its doors for healing.

The event is being chaired by Greenwood King’s Sharon Brier and Tradition Title Company’s Randee Kaplan. Buy tickets online at hadassah.org/events/2016woc or call 713-661-1022 for more details.




The 30 artists that make up Archway Gallery, Texas’ oldest artist-owned gallery, have been capturing the essence of Houston for 40 years. Make plans to join them at Archway Gallery on April 16 for its 40th anniversary party, which will include the unveiling of a unique life-size wish tree installation. Guests can also enjoy food trucks, cake and wine while exploring the gallery and listening to a local DJ. The first 144 attendees will receive a commemorative wine glass.

Archway Gallery has succeeded by giving Houstonians a place to not only view local art, but also to become immersed in it in a very approachable manner. Gallery curators change exhibitions every 30 days, so there is always something new to discover at Archway.

Visit Archway Gallery throughout the year for other memorable events. Find a list of events at archwaygallery.com/events.



A Celebration of Reading, a black-tie event chaired by Neil and Maria Bush, will be held on Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. for VIP Reception) at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Join Maria and Neil Bush, other members of the Bush family, national bestselling authors and notable entertainers for A Celebration of Reading. Now in its 22nd year, this annual fundraiser benefits the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Guests will enjoy the program as the authors bring their bestselling books to life and notable entertainers perform. Tables, sponsorships and individual tickets are available. Ticket prices are $100 or $250, and tables are $5,000 and up. For more details, call 713-467-2812 or email ceickenroht@empowerevents.com.


The Baltimore Consort and Houston Early Music will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shake­speare’s death.

The Baltimore Consort and Houston Early Music will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shake­speare’s death.


Perennial favorite The Baltimore Consort will return to Houston Early Music on April 24 with a program titled “The Food of Love: Songs, Dances and Fancies for Shake­speare,” featuring music connected with the Bard’s plays to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death in 1616. The concert is at at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 24 at First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd.

Shakespeare’s plays contain hundreds of musical references, including incidental music such as dances and fantasies (fancies), as well as songs written by the playwright and other authors of his time.

The program draws from 10 Shakespeare plays, including The Tempest, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, A Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry IV, Part II. Dances range from lively jigs and galliards to stately almans, several of them by John Dowland.

The Baltimore Consort was founded in 1980 to perform the instrumental music of Shakespeare’s age, based on the model of a mixed, or “broken,” consort that entertained Queen Elizabeth I. Through the years, the ensemble has explored English, Scottish and French popular music, focusing on the relationship between folk and art song and dance. The consort has recorded 16 CDs for the Dorian and Sono Luminus labels, winning Billboard’s Top Classical-Crossover Artist of the Year award for its “The Art of the Bawdy Song” (1993).

A preconcert talk will begin at 3:15 p.m. Tickets are $40 general admission, $35 senior admission and $20 for students with a valid student ID card. Children under the age of 15 receive free admission.

Email info@HoustonEarlyMusic.org or call 281-846-4222 for more information.


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles headline the Houston Children’s Festival this year.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles headline the Houston Children’s Festival this year.


The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival, celebrating its 28th year, has raised more than $5.2 million over the past 27 years for Child Advocates, Inc. (childadvocates.org). The festival will take place in Downtown Houston in the area surrounding City Hall, Houston Public Library Plaza, Tranquility Park and upper Sam Houston Park on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Festival excitement includes Disney and Nickelodeon celebrities, costumed characters as well as Ten Big Family Adventure Zones, five stages of entertainment and over 300 fun activities.

The event is bringing the popular Teen­age Mutant Ninja Turtles back to Houston this year. Donatello, Leonardo, Michelan­gelo and Raphael will be arriving in their “Turtle Van” and meeting their fans each day at the festival. This year, the festival has added a limited number of backstage meet and greet passes with the Turtles on sale at houstonchildrensfestival.com.

Each Meet and Greet ticket allows a maximum of four children and one adult chaperone (18 years or older) backstage to meet the Turtles. The buyer will receive an email with specific information the week of April 18. The Meet and Greet ticket does not include festival admission which must be purchased separately. Fans will be able to get their photo taken free with festival admission with the Turtles at scheduled times both days. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be located in lower Sam Houston Park.

For tickets and more information, visit houstonchildrensfestival.com.



“Hard Hats and Heels” is the theme for ESCAPE Family Resource Center’s 35th annual Celebrity Serve Benefit dinner and auction, which will take place at the award-winning Tony’s Restaurant on Sunday, April 10. This fundraiser has been chaired by Joan Schnitzer Levy and Gerald Franklin for more than 30 years. It features local and national celebrities, who entertain, dine and mingle with guests to raise funds needed to help prevent child abuse and neglect in the Greater Houston community.

Help ESCAPE construct happy homes in Houston and break the cycle of abuse by making plans to sponsor a table at this memorable event. For more information, contact Sandi Mercado, director of development and communications, via email at smercado@learntoparent.org or by calling 713-942-9500, ext. 14.



The Salvation Army Women’s Auxilary has announced the return of its ultimate resale extravaganza, “Reflections on Style.” This event will be held at River Oaks Country Club on Tuesday, April 12. The theme for the luncheon is “Fashion and Flowers.” Leading the helm is Ginger Blanton, and Jane Wise is being honored for her generous support and longtime service to the auxiliary.

The luncheon and runway show features the Chic Boutique, which showcases “gently worn” or new designer clothes for sale, such as Valentino, Armani, Escada, Chanel and many more. The 2016 Chic Boutique co-chairs are Maureen Higdon and Pam Sengelmann. The boutique opens at 10 a.m. followed by the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. For donations of couture clothing, call Linda McReynolds at 713-622-2216. For table reservations, contact Jennifer Gravenor at jsg4@ntrs.com.

The bargain shopping continues at the Chic Boutique Showroom which will be held on April 13-17 at a collection site to be announced later. Chic Boutique Showroom co-chairs are Amanda Gelb, Deborah Dunkum and Kathy Lee.

For more information, contact sara.zachary@uss.salvationarmy.org.


Dr. Dean Ornish

Dr. Dean Ornish


The 2016 Blue Cure Benefit Dinner presented by the Fred & Mabel R. Parks Foun­da­tion will feature guest speaker Dr. Dean Ornish, physician, bestselling author, leading researcher in preventive healthcare, and respected advisor to some of the world’s most powerful people including former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, and Quincy Jones.

Co-chairs for the event are former NFL players Ryan Pontbriand and Chris Myers. Dr. Carolyn Farb will be receiving the Annual Dr. Rod Paige Award recognizing her lifelong philanthropy benefiting millions of people in Houston, in Texas, and throughout the world, including her contributions to cancer research, education and awareness.

The mission of Blue Cure is to prevent prostate cancer and improve outcomes for those with cancer by funding and advocating for cancer research in integrative and preventive medicine, and educating men and youth about dietary and lifestyle habits which can greatly reduce the risk of cancer.

Benefactors include Fred & Mabel R. Parks Foundation, AJ and Siobhan Gracely, Dr. Carolyn Farb, Rania and Jamal Daniel, Legacy Community Health Services, Jimmy Montgomery and Peter Forbes.

The dinner will take place at the Hilton Houston Post Oak on Tuesday, April 12. The evening includes a silent auction reception with Judge Eric Andell on the Big Boards, entertainment by Rom Ryan and Moodafa­ruka and an elegant three-course dinner created by Chef Jason Schneider.

For more information contact Jackie Medina at 832- 643-7168 or jackie@bluecure.org or Val Mc Sweeney 281-797-9174 or val@bluecure.org.




Young Audiences of Houston invites you to dust off your leather jackets and get ready to rock around the clock at the In The Mix Since 1956 60th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, April 14 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at The Junior League of Houston, 1811 Briar Oaks Lane.

Proceeds benefit Young Audiences of Houston’s outreach programs serving over 208,550 children across the region each year in local schools, hospitals, community centers, libraries, and juvenile detention centers. The evening’s honoree is Katherine Veletsos and chairs are April and Wells McGee. The Arts Empowerment Award recipient is Roberts Elementary, Houston ISD.

Table sponsorship, underwriting opportunities and more information is available online at yahouston.org, via email at yahou@yahouston.org or by calling 713-520-9267 x 107.



Chairs Allison and Geoff Leach invite the public to tee-up and escape the office to enjoy the great outdoors on the fairway in support of Houston-area kids at the Children’s Museum of Houston’s 21st Annual Spring Golf Classic at Memorial Park Golf Course, 1001 Memorial Loop East.

The play begins with a10 a.m. registration followed by a noon shotgun start. All foursomes include lunch, on-course refreshments, post-tournament hors d’oeuvres, a Children’s Museum of Houston Spring Golf Classic Nike shirt and goodie bag.

Foursomes for the Florida scramble style tournament are available are available at sponsorship levels of $10,000, $5,000, $3,000, $2,000. Also, a limited number of hole sponsorships are available for $1,000 for those who wish to support the museum’s efforts without playing a round. To reserve a team, contact Skye-Lynn Ferch at 713-535-7210 or sferch@cmhouston.org.


Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra


On Thursday, April 28, Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) will host its third annual fundraising dinner, An Intimate Evening with Sinatra’s Iconic Music, at Hotel Zaza. In celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, this special evening of dining and entertainment will be reminiscent of a ‘50’s supper club showcasing “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”

Chaired by Philamena Baird and Regina Garcia with Honorary Chair Trini Mendenhall, the event will honor HAA’s very own chairman of the board Marc Melcher. The evening will feature vocal stylist Cary Hoffman, who will share his Sinatra stories and songs in a customized performance for the first time in front of a Houston audience. Proceeds from this event will benefit HAA’s programs and services for arts organizations and individual artists.

Tickets/table prices are $25,000 for a table of 12, and $15,000, $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000 for tables of 10. Underwriter Couple tickets are $2,000 with Individual Prime tickets at $1,000 and Individual Tickets at $500. Tables purchased from $7,500 to $25,000 include a private VIP party and valet. For more information, contact Kate Yadan at 713-581-6118 or kate@haatx.com.



Moody Gardens invites the public to experience Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D in its MG3D Theater which features the world’s first 4K 3D Giant Screen 6 Primary Laser Projection System. Audiences will be immersed in 11.1 surround sound with Auro 3D on the largest screen in Texas allowing the spectacular special effects of the film to be featured in the optimal setting for the best viewing experience in the world. The viewing experience opened March 12. For more information, visit moodygardens.org.

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