The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Lunar New Year and Mardi Gras

Venus by Thorsten Brinkmann from "The Great Cape Rinderhorn" at Rice University Art Gallery.
Venus by Thorsten Brinkmann from "The Great Cape Rinderhorn" at Rice University Art Gallery.
© Thorsten Brinkmann & VG Bildkunst Bonn. Courtesy Pablo’s Birthday Gallery.

Part picker, part visionary, Thorsten Brinkmann sees the hidden beauty in discarded objects and has created an imaginary world where golf balls are juggled into wall art, vases serve as human heads and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

“[Brinkmann] has exclusively collected objects here for this installation, and so he’s visited a variety of places to find the kind of materials he’s interested in,” says Joshua Fischer, Rice University Art Gallery’s assistant curator, about “The Great Cape Rinderhorn,” which incorporates “things that are secondhand; things you might find at [a] resale shop that show a little bit of wear and tear; whatever catches his eyes.” We think it will be interesting to learn more about his process during this Friday's gallery talk, which starts at noon.

It’s a slippery slope, since one man’s trash is not always another man’s treasure.

“That’s the crux of what he does: [Brinkmann] takes these things that in one context may not have a lot of value or meaning, and he gives them a second look through his own artistic practice and reimages them, combining fragments together in new ways,” says Fischer. “They take on a new life in the context of his installation.”

There’s a gallery talk and luncheon at noon on Friday. Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through May 15. 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-6069 or visit ricegallery.org. Free. 

"Museum Anatomy" project at Redbud Gallery merges human form with 19th-century paintings.EXPAND
"Museum Anatomy" project at Redbud Gallery merges human form with 19th-century paintings.
Photo by Chadwick & Spector

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When artists refer to their body of work, they rarely mean a physical body, but for local artists Chadwick & Spector, integrating the human body into art is how they express themselves. This looks like a pretty cool exhibit, and you can see more at this Saturday's opening.

Laura Spector copies classic paintings from the 19th century onto a background, often with dark or surreal elements, and completes the image on Chadwick Gray’s body. She then photographs it at different angles.

“I like the concept of taking a figure and molding it into sculpture,” says Gus Kopriva, owner of Redbud Gallery, who is hosting the exhibit. “They’re taking a two-dimensional piece and turning it into a three-dimensional form, which is not done a lot.

“The result is pleasing to the eye, and it’s just different.”

It’s freaky in a good way, as the eye tries to determine where the body ends and the canvas begins. “Statistics say that people spend seven seconds with an image, but because it’s on a human body, people spend more time with it,” says Spector. “Sometimes they’re emulating the poses, and sometimes they are trying to see Chadwick in the project.”

For their source material, the artists — who have worked together for more than 20 years — visited major museums in Europe and photographed rarely seen paintings, often held in storage, as inspiration for their ongoing “Museum Anatomy” project.

“When I cast [Gray’s] body, I try and do things to mimic or tell a further story to create a scenario that works with the painting.”

They’ve even teamed up with the FBI’s art crime division to start representing stolen art. “Each painting has a life of its own [based on] whoever is in the work and who the artist is portraying,” Spector says. “When it’s stolen, it sees where it’s hidden, and we like to reinterpret that in our projects.”

“Our work is total maximalism,” she says, “It’s everything. Here we moved to a city where minimalism is king, and we’re bringing absolutely everything to our work.”

There’s an opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Regular viewing hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Through February 28. 303 East 11th. For information, call 713-862-2532 or visit redbudgallery.com. Free. 

Bach Society Houston kicks off the Houston Early Music Festival.EXPAND
Bach Society Houston kicks off the Houston Early Music Festival.
Photo by Houston Early Music Festival

In 1708 a young Johann Sebastian Bach gave up his post as a church organist to return to the court of Weimar. He was the toast of the town, continuing to play, compose and perform concert music with Duke Johann Ernst III’s ensemble while also beginning to write the preludes and fugues that would later be developed into his monumental work The Well-Tempered Clavier.

“That really is the time of flowering, orchestral music, an incredible time in Bach’s life, and the music from this series is really rich,” says Rick Erickson, director of Bach Society Houston, about Bach in the Court of Weimar, which sounds like a fascinating program for this Saturday night. “This is an earlier part of his life which was really exciting in a fun way.” It's the inaugural program of a two-week music festival that continues February 11-14.

“The two cantatas are very interesting pieces,” says Erickson. “The opening chorus for [Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! (BWV 70)] is over the top. Some of the solo is operatic in its nature. Lightning crashes. It’s an interesting merging of the orchestral style.”

Of the second piece in Bach Society’s program, Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (BWV 12) — which translates to "weeping, lamenting, worrying, fearing" and was composed for the third Sunday after Easter — Erickson says that it offers a nice contrast with its “dramatic and very, very expressive” score that was “almost a foreshadowing” of the serious, mature music of Bach later in his life.

The program ends with a violin concerto (BWV 1041) to which we “kick up our heels,” says Erickson. “It’s incredible stuff.”

Erickson says that the venue — the Edythe Bates Old Recital Hall at Rice University — is a “stunning, stunning space,” adding that it’s hard to “pass up playing the organ” there.

5 p.m. Saturday, reception to follow. 6100 South Main. For information, call 713-400-0514 or visit bachsocietyhouston.org. $35.
Houston Early Music Festival continues February 11-14; visit houstonearlymusicfestival.org.

The 105th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston parades include Knights of Momus on Saturday and Barkus & Meoux on Sunday.EXPAND
The 105th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston parades include Knights of Momus on Saturday and Barkus & Meoux on Sunday.
Photo by Robyn Bushong

Laissez les bons temps rouler. There’s no better place — or time — to let the good times roll than during the almost two-week period of revelry known as the 105th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston. Whether you want to sow those proverbial wild oats before the ritual fasting of Lent, or you just like to have fun, there’s plenty of music (Collective Soul, Cory Morrow, Candyland & Fight Clvb), balcony parties and all kinds of parades (golf carts, pets, umbrellas) to get the festivities rolling.

The big kahuna, however, has to be the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade, one of our other picks for Saturday night, with elaborate floats, marching bands, bead throwing (natch) and much more. We spoke to Scott Kusnerik, this year’s president of the Knights of Momus — the largest and oldest krewe — to find out more about the parade that begins on Seawall and ends up at The Strand.

“It’s crazy. It’s wild. It’s just a big mass of people on each side of the street. Sometimes I’ve seen as many as 20 people deep. [It] depends on the weather,” says Kusnerik. “On The Strand there’s a lot of bands playing.”

In addition to the parade floats, “we have between 13 and 18 high school bands that march in between the floats, and there are one or two floats [that] have music on them. Trust me, when you’re walking that parade, all you can hear is yelling; asking for beads. You can’t imagine what people will do for a 50-cent bead,” says Kusnerik.

We also think Sunday afternoon's parade looks like a blast. “Of course, the big eye catcher is all these wiener dogs waddling down the street dressed in colorful costumes; it’s a real draw,” says Cindy Carver, DREAM Dachshund Rescue’s vice president of marketing. The rescue group, along with those doddering doxies, is participating in the 18th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade in Galveston.

DREAM Dachshund Rescue is no stranger to pageantry; the group has done Barkus & Meoux twice before and has also participated in the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. “With the Galveston parade, we tend to go with the bright colors, the bells and the golds and greens of Mardi Gras; tutus and things that are big and bright,” says Carver. “A lot of our folks had wagons and strollers, and we’ll have them decorated for Mardi Gras. We’ve ordered hundreds and hundreds of Mardi Gras beads to hand out.”

The Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade has a catchy James Bond theme this year — “For Your Paws Only” — and benefits the Galveston Island Humane Society and its spay/neuter assistance programs, which include “Fix a Pit” and the organization’s trap-and-release program for feral cats.

Last year more than 300 animals participated in the parade, and there’s even a special costume contest with ribbons awarded prior to the start of the parade. It also serves as a showcase for animal rescue groups, like DREAM (Dachshund Rescue, Education & Adoption Mission). “We love opportunities like this. We see the excitement on people’s faces. It’s just great,” says Carver.

Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade is 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 18th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade is 1 p.m. Sunday. 105th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston runs through February 9. For more information, visit mardigrasgalveston.com.

Hear music by DJ Sun at the Lunar New Year Festival.
Hear music by DJ Sun at the Lunar New Year Festival.
Photo by Jasmine Lee Richardson

DJ Sun’s forthcoming album, Qingxi, explores his Chinese ancestor’s 1858 trek as an indentured servant from Qingxi, south China, to what was then Dutch Guyana. The album, which was commissioned by Asia Society Texas Center, sparked Sun’s own trip last year to Qingxi, along with collaborator Jasmine Lee Richardson.

We think this Sunday night's celebration of the “Year of the Monkey” sounds pretty rad. Hear songs from Sun's album at Discovery Green’s Lunar New Year Festival, which includes musical guests (-Us., People Like You and DJ Melodic), dance performances (Dance of Asian America) and art installations (Journey Through and Gabrielle Milan). Richardson and motion graphics artist Tim Steinke created an audiovisual project, inspired by Sun’s music, as the centerpiece of the festival.

“There’s an ancestral quest in each one of us, and when I started doing my research, it was purely about the methodology in making art,” says Sun. “But I noticed there’s an obsession with [the] general public in the United States to find out their ancestry. And I think what [the show] does is, it touches on the general audience’s desire to find out about it and celebrate it.”

6-10 p.m. Sunday. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit discoverygreen.com. Free.

Josef Molnar and Bill Simpson contributed to this post.


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