She's the reigning queen of Houston's society pages. Her name has become synonymous with highfalutin charity benefits and galas. So if you think the life of Carolyn Farb is simply big-time events and parties, well, you're pretty much right. But Farb, who has raised more than $30 million over the years while championing virtually every cause imaginable, would have you know that fund-raising is hard work. "It's supposed to have the magic of a Cinderella hour," she says, "but it doesn't just happen." Farb has written the book on fund-raising -- literally -- penning How to Raise Millions: Helping Others and Having a Ball! and now The Fine Art of Fundraising: Secrets of Successful Volunteers. Her goal: to empower the next generation of do-gooders, whether their goal is a zero-budget bake sale or a high-ticket gala. "I just want to give people confidence so that they can make a difference at any level," she says. (Great -- we'll get right on that $250-per-cake bake sale.) Farb signs The Fine Art at 3 p.m. Saturday, February 12. Borders, 3025 Kirby Drive. For information, call 713-524-0200 or visit www.bordersbookstores.com. Free. -– Steven Devadanam
Shop and socialize with the Square crowd
Downtown revelers might think of Market Square as a glorified meat market, considering the pretty young things and studly, chiseled dudes who strut in and out of Cabo, Red Cat Jazz Café and the Char Bar. But the "Market" moniker has historical roots: In the early 1900s, it was a thriving epicenter for retailers, grocers, bakers and butchers. (Maybe there is something to that "meat market" thing after all.) A new weekly event, the Market Square Market, aims to bring back the days of yesteryear with local hawkers of food, vintage clothing, arts and crafts and more. Just don't expect mustache wax, buggy wheels or cure-all tonic. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain or shine) Saturdays, beginning February 12. 390 Travis. For information, call 832-344-5298 or visit www.marketsquaremarket.com. Free. -– Bob Ruggiero
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Thanks to some well-placed construction, I've missed my turn. Twice. Parking is no picnic either. On my way into the Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, I'm muttering a few choice words about my lovely hometown -- which is ironic, as I'm about to watch a short film extolling its virtues.
Inside, a large group of Houston quality-of-life types, politicos, folks from the art community and filmmakers has gathered to watch a ten-minute teaser of the upcoming film Hot Town, Cool City. "The floor might be caving in," a woman warns me as I enter. It does seem a little wobbly.
"Houston is a city we're all discovering," says filmmaker Maureen McNamara as she introduces her documentary, which captures 12 uniquely Houston experiences in an effort to answer "Why Houston?" As we stand shoulder to shoulder, we're treated to vignettes on the Aurora Picture Show, the Menil campus and the Glass Brothers Watermelon Stand. I've seen these people and places a million times, and I know their histories backward and forward. But the candid interviews and the stories -- like how the Watermelon Stand has put four Glass family members through college and grad school -- are refreshingly intriguing. There are whispers of the flick being shown as part of in-flight movies on one of the airlines. We're all giddy, as if one of our own home movies has just been shown at Sundance.
A slim, bald man with a sheepish grin brushes by me. I recognize him as Mayor Bill White and follow him out, expecting some heavy-duty mayor-speak.
"So, what'd you think of the flick?" I ask him as he shakes hands with well-wishers.
"Great, great, great," he says, waving his arms excitedly, and after a pause, "I can't wait to see more."
Go figure, that's exactly what I was thinking. -- Steven Devadanam
Much like some of the ladies on Desperate Housewives, the hedges that decorate nice suburban lawns and corporate buildings are often too-perfectly sculpted, clipped and confined. Dallas artist Kyle Wadsworth is fascinated by hedges in the sense that, though the plants grow wild if unattended, they become the epitome of meticulous sculpture under the human hand. In his new exhibit, "Hedge with Carrying Case," hedges break out of their restrictive environment through offbeat multimedia "plant" sculptures made of plastic, rubber and metal. Opening reception 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, February 12. Through March 5. Commerce Street Artists Warehouse, 2315 Commerce. For information, call 713-226-7897 or visit www.commercestreet.org. Free. –- Bob Ruggiero
Bark in the Park
If you haven't exorcised your Super Bowl demons by now, the Houston Dog Bowl is your ticket to yet another big game in February. A spirited "blessing of the canines" kicks off the event, followed by agility demonstrations, Frisbee catching, dancing dogs, and games for pups and kids. There'll also be a "Pet Idol" for performing pooches and cameos by visiting celebs Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot, and Rin Tin Tin IV, who boasts an impressive Hollywood canine bloodline. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 12. Houston Farm & Ranch Club, 1 Abercrombie Drive. For more information, call 281-443-3360 or visit www.pawshouston.org. $10; proceeds benefit PAWS Houston. -– Steven Devadanam