Free for All: Art Without a Price Tag

On Friday, we're dropping by the "Andy Paiko and Ethan Rose: Transference" exhibit at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Glass artist Andy Paiko and experimental sound artist Ethan Rose have reimagined singing wine glasses. Remember singing wine glasses? Performers would "play" the glasses by rubbing a wet fingertip around the lip of the glasses and they would emit sounds.

The show, a series of spinning glass vessels that fill the gallery, was inspired by historical glass musical instruments, such as the glass armonica, glass harp and, of course, those singing wine glasses. The two men have taken the performer out of the equation and instead motorized the process, using a mechanical arm instead of a wet fingertip and mounted glass vessels. Via press materials, HCCC Curatorial Fellow Susie Silbert explains, "The particular characteristics of each vessel -- its thickness and shape, the chemical composition of the glass -- dictate the note each will play. In recontextualizing the glass armonica in this way, 'Transference' is as much about the history of this nearly forgotten instrument as it is about the possibilities of glass."

See "Transference" 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The exhibit continues through May 13 at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main. For information, visit or call 713-529-4848.


On Saturday, we'll be in our best cowboy duds and at the 2012 Downtown Rodeo Parade. For most of us, it's the first chance we'll have to see the hundreds of trail riders that have come in from near and far. The parade also includes lots of marching bands, big floats, celebrities and dozens of government and rodeo officials. Thousands of Houstonians line the parade route, so we're getting there early, claiming our spot and setting up our lawn chairs. (The parade is two+ hours long, so lawn chairs are handy.)

The 2012 Downtown Rodeo Parade starts at 10 a.m. at Texas and Smith (The Alley Theatre), goes east on Texas to Travis, before turning south to Bell, north on Louisiana and west on Walker before ending at Bagby (City Hall). For information, visit or call 832-667-1000.

Sunday, we'll be at the reading and signing session by author Jim Yardley. His latest book is Brave Dragons, the story of one of China's worst professional basketball teams. The team's owner, Boss Wang, was a peasant who made it rich in the steel business. He wanted desperately for his team, the Shanxi Brave Dragons, to play a more Americanized version of the game, thinking that would make it unbeatable. He imported former NBA coach Bob Weiss, but then tied his hands by refusing to allow the team members any freedom or opportunity for individual expression. Trying to teach his team to play Americanized basketball on Chinese terms made for often frustrating and sometimes comical situations for Weiss. Culture clash doesn't quite describe Weiss's experience. The cast includes an ambitious assistant coach who believes in the teachings of ancient kung fu masters instead of modern training techniques. There's also a former NBA star who is a bit of a diva and locks himself in his apartment. The Chinese players live lives similar to factory workers', a far cry from the luxury and glamor of their American counterparts. The book follows the team as they take a horrific road trip, traveling from China's big, modern cities to its rural countryside. The players might not learn much about Americanized basketball, but Weiss learns quite a bit about a China that is in a cultural war, desperate to modernize but refusing to change.

See Jim Yardley and learn more about the Brave Dragons at 2 p.m. at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, visit or call 713-523-0701.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez