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Free for All: Art Without a Price Tag

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The Arts gods have given us a wonderful weekend of free events. First up is the opening reception for "Baroque on the Border: Paintings by Rigoberto A. Gonzalez" on Friday. The series was sparked by the growing violence in Mexico. Gonzalez, a Mexican native living in Texas, was struck by the news reports, videos and stories from friends detailing the cruelty and increasing disregard for life there. "I could see similarities between those videos and paintings by Caravaggio, paintings of the saints being martyred," he tells Art Attack.

The largest work in the exhibit is El Día 17 de Febrero del 2009 en Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico (On the 17th of February of 2009 in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico), some 20 feet across and almost ten feet tall. The life-size painting shows a dead man on the street surrounded by wailing family members, curious but calm onlookers, and police outfitted in riot gear and masks. "There was a shoot-out that happened in my hometown," Gonzalez tells us."There are paintings by Rembrandt and Velazquez where they depict scenes from battles; I couldn't help but see that event in the same light. I felt the magnitude of the event needed to be captured. I decided it was perfect for a monumental painting, something that would really overwhelm the viewer."

There's an opening reception with the artist at 6 p.m. on March 9. Baroque on the Border is on display until April 27 at Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose. For information, visit www.artleaguehouston.org or call 713-523-9530.

On Saturday, Russell D. Kane, founder of the annual Texas' Best Wine Competition, will be in town to sign and discuss his new book, The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine, followed by a wine tasting.

Kane, an all-things-wine fanatic, travels the state acting as a judge for wine competitions (including our own Houston Rodeo Wine Competition) and writing about his adventures exploring Texas's wine culture and his ongoing search for Texas terroir (that is, wine that reflects the state's unique combination of geography, climate and culture). So, if you want to take a tour of the huge variety of wines the state produces, hear about Texas's first vineyards (tended by Spanish missionaries who made sacramental wine) or why price doesn't always matter when it comes to getting the best tasting, check out Kane's presentation. He's a connoisseur dedicated to telling the story of Texas wine.

Kane appears at 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble/River Oaks, at 2030 West Gray. For information, visit www.barnesandnoble.com or call 713-522-8571. And check out Kane's blog about his here.

On Sunday, Jim Tommaney's Antonio is being presented at the Country Playhouse 2012 New Play Reading Series. (Tommaney is a theater critic for the Houston Press.)

Country Playhouse describes the plot this way: "Bianca loves Marshall, but Marshall sleeps with Angela and not Antonio, though Antonio loves Marshall and marries Angela, who blackmails her father. You'll like them." (We don't know about you, but we're taking along some paper to take notes so we can keep up with it all.)

Antonio starts at 7 p.m. at the Country Playhouse theater, 12802 Queensbury. For information, visit www.countryplayhouse.org or call 713-467-4497.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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