Free for All: Barkitecture Houston 2012, 6th Annual Montrose Crawl, Day of the Dead and Michael Feinstein

For most of us, doghouses are pretty simple things. But the folks behind Barkitecture Houston aren't like most of us. Things kick off on Friday with a Yappy Hour (yes, you can bring your leashed dog) and continue on Saturday. Since 2009, professional builders, architects and design teams have constructed one-of-a-kind shelters to be auctioned off for charity. Last year FKP Architects, known for their award-winning hospitals, took home the Best in Show with an elegant Japanese-style, dark-wood, sheltered porch that featured its own bathing pool. That's what the judges liked, though the kids favored Robynn Sanders's more conventional hutch design emblazoned with lighthearted pro-dog wooden signs such as "Every Dog Has Its Day" and "Pick of the Litter." All the proceeds from the auction go to Pup Squad, a rescue organization that works to save very young puppies from the hazards of standard shelter environments.

You can see the doghouse displays during Yappy Hour 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday and again during the silent auction noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Houston Pavilions, 1301 Main. For information, visit the event's website.

Sponsored by the Houston Press, the Montrose Crawl has come back for its sixth year. This event infuses a traditional pub crawl with the spirit of trick-or-treating as several hundred people dress in costume and visit bars and pubs on Westheimer in Montrose throughout the night on Saturday. Expect Halloween activities at each of the bars and multiple prizes for best costumes. This year's honorary Grand Crawler, Chef Bryan Caswell, will select the grand-prize winner. This year's event will encompass 11 separate venues, including Brasil, Poison Girl, Boondocks, Anvil, Etro Lounge, Catbirds, Royal Oak, Slick Willie's, El Real Tex-Mex, Mo Mong and The Hay Merchant.

If you want in on the fun, dress in costume and assemble at Brasil and Poison Girl at Dunlavy and Westheimer at 6 p.m. on Saturday. There's no entry fee to join the Crawl, no cover at any of the bars, and costumed participants get drink specials all night. For information, visit the event's website.

Also on Saturday, there are two Day of the Dead celebrations. There's Carlos Hernandez's sixth annual "Day of the Dead Rock Stars" art exhibit at Cactus Music. He depicts the musicians, all of them among his favorite performers, in traditional Día de los Muertos style, as skulls. He adds lyrics, dates, names of locations and other significant phrases to each image. This year, the theme is Till Death Do Us Part. Included among the portraits is Tupac (shown with a bandanna around his head and the words "Cradle 2 The Grave" and "Me Against the World" written across his face), Elvis (a black skull adorned with the words "Graceland," "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "It's Now or Never") and Selena (a crown floating over two hearts emblazoned with the words "Amor Eterno"). Interestingly, Selena is one of the few musicians Hernandez has chosen not to depict as a skull. "I just couldn't draw her that way," he tells us. Other portraits in the show include Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Etta James and Gil Scott-Heron.

There's an opening reception with the artist 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through January 31. Record Ranch Gallery/Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth. For information, visit the store's website or call 713‑526-9272.

People who happen to be driving down Heights Boulevard on Saturday will see a surprising sight -- Aztec dancers in full costume, including tall, feathered headdresses, leading the Día de los Muertos procession hosted by Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery. Participants will be carrying a giant skull (no, a really giant skull) and large crosses decorated with flowers. The dancers, from the Danza Azteca Teokalli troupe, might be among the most interesting sights outside, but the day's real attractions are the personal altars that have been built inside the gallery. Tabletop displays of photographs, candles, flowers, papel picado, food and other personal items have been created by several Houstonians in tribute to loved ones who have died. Did we mention there's going to be live music and food (Day of the Dead breads and homemade tamales) at the gallery once the procession arrives?

If you can't get to the procession, drop by the gallery to see the displays and pick up supplies for your own altar. The Día de los Muertos procession and reception is at 5 p.m. on October 27. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. 241 W. 19th Street. For information, call 713-880-2420.

It would be easy to say that author and entertainer Michael Feinstein has led a charmed life. He was just 20 years old when he got a gig in 1977 helping a then elderly Ira Gershwin organize his records, sheet music and other items the music icon had collected over an illustrious career. Feinstein eventually became known as the Gershwin expert and a champion of the Great American Songbook. But saying he had it easy would downplay Feinstein's incredible talent. On Sunday, you can hear him discuss his new book, The Gershwins and Me, in which he illustrates the lives and legacies of the Gershwins recounting stories of 12 of their greatest songs. The book is accompanied by an original CD of those songs.

Feinstein's appearance opens the 40th Annual Jewish Book & Arts Fair at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Fair continues through November 11. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 S. Braeswood. For information, visit the center's website or call 713-729-3200.

Abby Downing-Beaver and Jef With One F contributed to this post.

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