8 Obnoxious People to Avoid at I-Fest

Photo by festivalculturalbr via flickr

Sometimes you feel like a faux-Aussie accent, sometimes you don't. At I-Fest, we don't.

The theme for this year's International Festival is Australia, which means that although you may be tempted to throw on your best Croc Dundee costume and head on up, you still shouldn't come anywhere near us, especially while a while shirtless and sporting a leather vest.

No one needs to see that, ever.

And no one should be doing any of the things below, either. So if you are even close to fitting into one of these obnoxious categories at this year's I-Fest, please be aware that we will be doing our best to avoid you by any means necessary

8. Double Stroller Dude
Oh, double stroller dude. You have the best of intentions, we're sure, but we're where you got the idea that any of this double stroller business was kosher for a festival. Did you not, at any point, look at that enormous baby-lugger and reconsider? Probably not, since you packed up two kids in that thing -- two kids who aren't mobile, by the way -- and then dragged the entire enormous, sticky package down to a festival, where you're now trying to push your entitled way through a massive crowd of people.

We know you heart your kids, and that's great, but they're bored and you're running over someone else's kid in the interim, since you can't see over the giant vehicle you're pushing. Not to mention that thing is like a screeching, barfing wagon of awful to anyone around you who may want to just sit there and check out the music.

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Zach Levi Explains It All: Why Nerd HQ 2014 Needs Fan Funding

Chuck Cook Photography
Zachary Levi (center) at Nerd HQ along with Chuck co-stars Mekenna Melvin (right) and Joshua Gomez (left)

Nerd HQ is the brainchild of actor Zachary Levi of Chuck fame, business partner (and former Chuck props guy) David Coleman and Courtney Coleman, David's wife. (Levi also provided the voice of Flynn Rider in Disney's Tangled and his singing on "I See the Light" garnered a Grammy award, as well as an Academy and Golden Globe nomination.)

The Nerd Machine
In this video, Zachary Levi explains why Nerd HQ has to be crowd funded this year. Donations are being accepted at the Indie Gogo site (click to view).

Together, they run a company called The Nerd Machine, which produces apparel and accessories that allow fans to express their nerdiness in a loud and proud way.

For the past three years, Nerd HQ has offered, free of charge, a place for pop culture fans to hang out during San Diego Comic-Con. (It is in no way affiliated with the convention.)

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Unhappy Artists Deluge Bayou City Art Festival With Emails After Last-Minute Rule Change

Categories: Festivals

Photo by Robert Easley
Bayou City Art Festival needs to be a rain-free zone
Months after the November deadline for artists to sign up for this month's Bayou City Art Festival, its organizers changed the rules, expanding the pool of artists from 300 to 450, increasing booth fees and converting what had been the artists' close-in parking lot to more exhibition space.

The changes in the upcoming spring festival scheduled for March 28-30 at Memorial Park made a lot of artists uneasy, upset and in some cases outraged. When contacted by Art Attack, Susan Fowler, the interim executive director since November, told us that their small staff had received more than 2,400 emails in the last few days.

As the artists see it: more artists means more competition, no close-in parking means more schlepping materials in when inventory sells at the booths and an agreement is an agreement and shouldn't be changed months later. Especially since the original applicants paid money to have art experts assess their work in a juried system and that now is being bypassed with organizers just calling up artists they know of and inviting them to the show.

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Texas Yoga Conference Celebrates Five Years

Categories: Festivals

Courtesy Texas Yoga Conference
The Texas Yoga Conference comes to Houston January 30 through February 2, celebrating its fifth anniversary with a weekend of concerts, presentations and yoga classes in a brand new location: Silver Street Studios.

This year's TYC theme is "A Year of Devotion and Love". The conference kicks off Thursday with a goal-setting presentation, "Rock Your Bliss," by Jacki Carr, a lifestyle coach who has led presentations for hip companies like Lululemon and Toms Shoes.

"You can come and set your intentions for the year," said Jennifer Buergermeister, CEO of BreatheCure, owner Jennyoga and the creator of the Texas Yoga Conference.

The festival has mirrored the growth of yoga in Houston -- which has seen three new studios open in the last three months. "Every year we've outgrown our previous venue," Buergermeister said.

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Artopia Is this Saturday Night and We've Got Chloe Dao!

Categories: Fashion, Festivals

Chloe Dao's latest fashions will be on display

Houston's own fashion designer Chloe Dao will show off her latest work as her models head down the runway as part of this Saturday's Artopia party at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street in the Heights.

Project Runway's big winner is just one part of the January 25 proceedings showcasing the Houston arts scene. Also on deck: another fashion show, dance and music performances, visual arts hung all over the place as well as food and drink to last through the night.

The party begins at 8 p.m. and at 9 p.m. this year's MasterMind Awards winners -- there's three of them -- will come to the stage to get their $2,000 checks. You can read about their stories in the cover feature of this week's edition of the Houston Press.

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Our Image Film & Arts Festival Showcases Work By & About African Americans

Tey. It is a French-Senegalese word meaning "today," as in the last 24 hours Satche spends alive: "No one must waste his time today," says a woman to him on his last morning jaunt through his village.

Directed by Alain Gomis, the foreign-language film is shot in a series of close-ups and heart-pounding drums, but Tey really owes its award-winning success to the portrayal of emotional nuance, visualized as longing stares, wide eyes and half-smiles. The other reason for its success is Saul Williams, actor and spoken word poet. As an actor, Williams plays the part of Satche with quiet esteem. As a poet, Williams is a favored visitor to the Houston arts and culture scene, so much so that his film holds a marquee position for the 4th Annual Our Image Film & Arts Festival, being held October 25 and 26 at Rice Media Center.

The festival is an annual event, planned by the organization of the same name, which was started in 2009 by Monie Henderson, a New York transplant, and Marc Newsome, a independent film producer and director who ping-ponged between the East and West coasts. When the pair moved to Houston, they were surprised by a lack of visible art, film and music by blacks, despite the city's diversity.

"This stuff is brilliant!" Henderson, Our Image Film & Arts co-founder and co-executive director, remembers saying about the black art, film and music she did encounter. "Why isn't this stuff being showcased somewhere?"

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The Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Venus in Fur , Joe Rogan and More

Photo by Jann Whaley
Nicole Rodenburg as the sexy, spirited and complicated Vanda in Venus in Fur
Venus in Fur, currently onstage at the Alley Theatre and one of our picks for Friday, is a 95-minute, one-act, two-actor play based on the erotic novel Venus in Furs, which reportedly inspired an Austrian psychiatrist to coin the term "masochism" after its author's last name (Leopold von Sacher-Masoch). In it, a young actress named Vanda (Nicole Rodenburg, making her Alley debut) desperate to get the lead in a play goes toe-to-toe with tough playwright-director Thomas (Michael Bakkensen, who did Ether Dome at the Alley last season).

Brandon Weinbrenner, the Alley Theatre's resident assistant director, will be making his directorial debut in this piece, which he stresses is a comedy, although not one for younger children. "It goes to a dark place with S&M, but it's still a comedy," he says. As he worked with the actors, he explains, "First it was grasping the ideas and concepts from the novel. And then it was seeing how we could apply them to this kooky world that [playwright] David Ives has set for us and then seeing how this world morphs into something that the audience wasn't expecting and Thomas wasn't expecting." Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd, who saw the play off-Broadway before it moved to Broadway, where it was a Tony Awards® nominee for Best Play, said this is a great leap forward in the work being done by Ives. "Venus in Fur is stuck in this wonderful metaphor of the theater," Boyd says. "Any of us who've spent time in this work spent a lot of time in audition rooms or rehearsal rooms, where this play is set. He's really kind of turning it all on its head by saying, 'We don't really know where the power in the room is.'"

See Venus in Fur at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through November 10. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit the Alley Theatre website. $25 to $75.

See our opening night review of Venus in Fur.

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Tinderbox Brings 'Adult Creative Zone' to Bayou City Arts Festival

Categories: Craft, Festivals

The Tinderbox
Screenprinting at The Tinderbox
The Bayou City Arts Festival, which takes place this weekend in downtown at Sam Houston Park and Hermann Square, is doing something a little differently this year. The Tinderbox, Houston's new local craft space and boutique, will be hosting an Adult Creative Zone with four different crafts for people who want to try their hand at making art.

Ren Mitchell, owner of The Tinderbox, said she always felt a little left out of the activities at arts festivals.

"I'm one of those adults that looks longingly at the kids' craft tables and thinks 'I wanna do that,'" she said.

A Tinderbox workshop instructor had a connection with organizers of the Art Fest, and so Mitchell pitched the idea of the Adult Creative Zone, which will be located right next to the stage and will have projects ongoing on a 90-minute schedule throughout the day.

The Tinderbox is offering four different craft projects, each at a cost of $15 for materials and instruction.

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A Houstonian Abroad: Oktoberfest 2013, Y'all (Part 2)

A word on photos.

Some of what you see here (and in yesterday's entry) were taken with my Sony DLSR, others with my phone. There's no real strategy involved: if I see something interesting, I take a pic. Where I'm going with this is, if you're looking for a gallery of boob shots of women in dirndls, Sie bellen up the wrong Baum. Sorry, but I find it inarguably creepy to take unsolicited shots of people (not that plenty weren't doing it), so anything in this blog was taken with the subject's approval (prior or subsequent), or because the subject in question had placed themselves in a distinctly public posture (the guy chugging yesterday).

Also, it was also really cold both days I was there, so boob shot opportunities were limited.

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A Houstonian Abroad: Oktoberfest 2013, Y'all (Part 1)

Categories: Festivals, Travel

The Barfiest Place On Earth
The last time I was in Munich, Germany was 20 years ago. My father and I visited Dachau concentration camp, and in a subsequent fit of bummed out-ness made a high speed burn to the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the Austrian border, where we numbed ourselves to the horrors we witnessed with high altitude Alpine journeys and visits to Neuchswanstein and Hohenshwangau castles. Fun fact: I have my own version of Ludwig's "Venus Grotto" in my garage. It's an old bathtub next to a broken air hockey table.

A different sort of horror awaited me on my return last week, namely the city's annual Oktoberfest. The festival is billed as the largest "Volksfest" in the world, and has been held every year since 1810, more or less (those pesky World Wars). This particular trip had been booked since last February, so while I had plenty of time to gird my mental loins for the scale of the endeavor, it isn't until you get there that you get a sense of just how massive the spectacle is, and how ill-prepared most foreigners are for it.

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