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Free for All: Art Without a Price Tag

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We've had a couple of days to recover from all of those holiday parties, and we're already looking forward to this weekend's offerings. Here are a few of the events on our list.

On Friday, we'll be stopping by the "Joseph Cohen: Fatto in Italia" opening at Wade Wilson Art. Cohen, part of the Concrete Painting Movement, was recently in Southern Italy for a few months and the work we'll see in this show were created while he was there. The Houston-based Cohen has been called "a unique voice" on the local scene. Just in case you don't know much about Concrete Painting, here's what you can expect: no narrative, no abstract symbolism and no rights or wrongs. It's an fascinating style and Cohen is among the best. Don't miss this opportunity to see his newest work.

The artist's reception for "Joseph Cohen: Fatto in Italia" is on January 6 at 6 p.m. Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Through January 25. For information, visit www.wadewilsonart.com or call 713-521-2977. Free.

Then, we'll be moving on to Opera 101: What Does a Conductor DO? Hosted by Opera Visita (a past Houston Press Mastermind Award winner), Opera 101 is a series of casual presentations led by Viswa Subbaraman, Opera Vistas founder and artistic director. He'll introduce newbies to the ins and outs of a opera conductor's role (here's a hint: he does more than wave his arms around). Enjoy a glass of wine during the conversation.

Opera 101 is on January 6 at 8 p.m. Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar, 307 Fairview. For information, visit www.operavista.org or call 936-443-3717. Free.

Saturday afternoon, we'll be joining the Houston Film Critics Society when they present their Best of 2011 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. According to the local critics, not even an ounce of high-quality bud could make anyone enjoy the James Franco/Natalie Portman medieval stoner fantasy Your Highness, which it voted worst picture of 2011. The group will celebrate better cinematic achievements during Saturday's awards ceremony when they give the nod to The Descendents for Best Picture, Michael Fassbender for Best Actor (Shame) and Tilda Swinton for Best Actress (We Need to Talk About Kevin), among other categories, some specifically for Texas independent cinema and filmmakers.

The Society also will present a special Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeff Bridges, and a Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Joanne King Herring (who played by Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson's War).

See if you agree with the Houston FIlm Critics Society's picks at 4 p.m. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, visit www.mfah.org or call 713‑639‑7300. Free.

On Sunday, we're spending some time with artist Carl Suddath during his presentation Gallery Talk The Artist's Eye at the Menil Collection. Suddath, like other speakers in the series, will select a work in the Menil Collection and discuss how the piece has influenced or inspired him. This is a very informal gallery discussion. Suddath, who was born in Florida, lives in Houston and is a former MFAH Core Fellow.

Hear what Carl Suddath has to say on January 8 at 3 p.m. Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross. For information, visit www.menil.org or call 713-525-9400. Free.

Bob Ruggierio contributed to this post.

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