Happy Thanksgiving: Art Attack Writers & Their Shout Outs to the Houston Art Scene
The arts writers on Art Attack like to pause for a minute every Thanksgiving to note the things and people they are thankful for in the Houston arts scene.
Photo courtesy Dominic Walsh A rehearsal of Dominic Walsh's Uzume
So here's our 2012 version. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Olivia Flores Alvarez
I'm thankful for Asia Society Texas Center, which changed the cultural landscape of the entire city when it opened its very well-designed doors. It has the most diverse programming in the region with art, film, literary and political programs, as well as dance, opera, music performances and more by Asian artists and leaders, including those from China, Pakistan, Indonesia , Japan, Afghanistan and America.
I'm thankful for outsider artists who are growing their own galleries and hosting their own shows such as Aerosol Warfare and NeoPopStreetFunk as well as more mainstream galleries and museums that are opening their walls to them, such as Art League Houston and Station Museum of Contemporary Art.
I'm thankful for the legion of foreign embassies, such as the Consulat Général de France à Houston and Consulado de México en Houston which support cultural events such as artist appearances, art exhibits, film festivals and performances throughout the year.
I'm thankful for a great children's theater scene, one that not only puts on shows for children, but that puts on shows with children in them.
I'm thankful for a healthy experimental theater scene, including productions by Catastrophic Theatre, DiverseWorks, Mildred's Umbrella and Horse Head Theatre.
I'm thankful for individuals who have taken on the quote, "I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'" as a personal challenge, including:
-Ana Treviño-Godfrey, a wonderful singer and co-founder of Mercury (formerly Mercury Baroque) who is teaching music appreciation and skills to young kids and creating life long music fans.
-ReShonda Tate Billingsley, who is building a publishing empire right here in H-town, getting her books made into movies and being read by scores of fans across the country.
-Enrique Carreón-Robledo, who is bringing world-class opera to a tiny stage in the heights and adding to the city's reputation as an opera powerhouse.
-David Eagleman, who is smart enough to make being smart look easy and so gives hope to the rest of us that we just might one day understand his big-brain ideas.
-Stanton Welch, Dominic Walsh, Karen Stokes, Dawn Dippel and all the other dance makers who have turned Houston into a place where both classical and contemporary works are not only performed, but created. (We've lost count of the recent world premieres.)
-Paul Hope, a longtime and popular company member of the Alley Theatre, who also manages to find time to lead Bayou City Concert Musicals as the group's artistic director.
-Marian Luntz, who constantly gives Houstonians the latest in cinema from around town and around the world.
I am thankful for the arts team at the Houston Press and all of the opportunities they have given me. Writing for the Press has opened my eyes to how much bigger the Houston art scene really is and I have met so many amazing, artists, fashion designers, photographers, actors. I had never realized that our city has so much to offer culturally. It's taught me to get out there and explore and what I've found in the Houston arts community are a variety of amazing restaurants, theaters, music and art.
David E. Clarke
When it's Thanksgiving, all the major corporations have had their Christmas decor and wares on display for what seems like half of the year. Everything is bathed in that clichéd red and green tinge. For us in Houston, we hear about snow and white Christmases as we tramp around in shorts and flip flops. Often times, as a culture, it seems that Thanksgiving takes a back burner and gets kind of overlooked. Many like me just want to sit down and see Adams Family Values play on ABC Family so we can sing along as the kids and Pugsley, dressed as a Turkey, exclaim, "Eat us! Because it's Thanksgiving Day! Eat us! We make a nice buffet!" Instead, Jim Carrey as The Grinch is in an infinite loop with Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, battling for supremacy in the realm modern Christmas movies and Peter Billingsley's Ralphie is relegated to the "classics" box and is no longer up for the title.
To put a minor halt in this unflinching, vaulting leap past Thanksgiving, I just want to take a moment to share what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season. I have enjoyed seeing the daily posts in my Facebook News Feed that tell me what each friend and family member is thankful for, but I simply don't have the discipline to not skip a day or week. So, I'll share my blissful benedictions of thanks here:
1.) I am thankful for the diversity of the Houston arts scene, especially in terms of theater choices and programming. As a burgeoning reviewer writing on houston.broadwayworld.com and doing 100 Creatives for Art Attack with the Houston Press, I have been consistently and pleasantly surprised at how Houston's theater scene truly offers something for everyone and at every price range. Many groups in town have fantastic "Pay-What-You-Can" performances, which I laud, honor, cherish and respect. I am beyond thankful for each and every theater venue in the city for embracing Houston's socio-economic diversity and trying to not let any factor be a reason to exclude people from the arts. I also look forward to seeing the newer theater companies flourish and the more established ones continue to succeed.
2.) I am thankful for how embracing the Houston theater scene has been of my writing. You guys have been so warm, friendly and open, and I sincerely appreciate it. All of you keep me delightfully and gleefully busy and in good practice. They do not know it, but each theater, actor, techie, press agent, artistic director and so on has played a role in helping me achieve my dreams. Thank you!
3.) I am thankful for my BroadwayWorld and Houston Press families. You guys have been so welcoming and helpful on my journey so far. I look forward to continuing my work with each entity in the future. Cheers!
4.) I am thankful for all my friends and family members, especially my wife. Without you and your support, I wouldn't be doing what I love. I wouldn't have this joy to share with you all. Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart.
I wish each and every person in Houston and the great United States of America a very happy Thanksgiving. No matter how you are spending it, I hope and pray that the day is bright and full of good memories. I know some will have harder days than others, but may you find you some blessings on Thanksgiving regardless of your situation.
I am really grateful for the local talent that makes Houston such a vibrant and diverse arts scene. In the past few months we've seen a giant survey of Houston painters at McClain Gallery, shows devoted to Art League's Texas Artist of the Year and Texas Art Patrons of the Year -- all Houstonians, and a sprawling exhibition comprised of eight Houston artists currently up at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art . On a regular basis, you can also pop in and see what's happening at the Spring Street Studios, Winter Street Studios, Art Square Studios, War'Hous Visual Studios, Heights Art Studios, Independence Art Studios and more. This list only touches the surface of what is the city's arts heartbeat.