On Friday, New York Times bestselling author Suzy Spencer's discusses her latest project Secret Sex Lives. The project started with a simple online posting: "Need to talk about sex..." That led to dozens of conversations with men and women - of every size, shape, color, and orientation. The book recounts Spencer's exploration into the private sexual lives of strangers. Some of those strangers were stranger than others. Spencer listened in on phone sex, attended BDSM mixers, sex workshops, read graphic e-mails between lovers, and most of all, just listened. What she found was an astonishing variety of love-making practices - basically, America does the deed from every position possible. It doesn't matter if the doer is alone, part of a committed couple, with strangers, or in a group, knocking boots takes up lots of our time and energy.
Suzy Spencer discusses and signs Secret Sex Lives at 7 p.m. on Friday, at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, visit the bookstore's website or call 713-523-0701.
You have your choice of an oversized art exhibit or zines on Saturday. Both are worth a look. At the "Winter Street and Spring Street Studios Annual Artist Exhibition," an open house of most of the work spaces housed in the two-building complex, more than 100 artists are throwing open their studio doors and inviting the public in. One must-see artist is Houston painter Taft McWhorter (that's a detail from his painting We Are the Champions above). Visitors will see a group of paintings that McWhorter is preparing for his upcoming book, Double Entendre. Working together with his collectors, McWhorter selected song lyrics and then, after painting an abstract image on a canvas, layered on the words to the song, highlighting certain words to create a completely new message. One piece has the words to "We Are the Champions" by Queen. McWhorter's highlighted message reads: "My time has come. You brought me. Thank you. We, the champions, fight for the world."
McWhorter has participated in the event for several years, and he says that having visitors come to his studio to view completed works and works in progress adds depth to viewers' understanding of his work. "Seeing it on the Web site is one thing," he tells us, "but being up close and seeing the process of what I'm doing is something completely different."
Besides painters like McWhorter, sculptors, photographers, mixed-media and installation artists, and jewelry designers will have their studios open during the exhibit. There's also free valet parking (happy dance goes here), light hors d'oeuvres and wine.
"Winter Street and Spring Street Studios Annual Artist Exhibition" runs 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street; and Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street. For information, visit the studios' website or call 713-862-0082.
Also on Saturday is Zine Fest 2012.In this age of online everything, it's nice to know that there are a few people out in the world still plugging away with their mini-fan magazines and comics. Houston celebrates this sometimes neglected artform at Zine Fest 2012. Visitors can look through the amazing variety of mini-mags that local DIY publishers put out, meet the artists and writers, and add to their collections. No one will ever go through their Internet history lovingly remembering all the articles they've read online, but each zine is a crosscut of culture at the exact moment it was published.
Zine Fest 2012 runs 3 to 8 p.m. Super Happy Fun Land, 3801 Polk. For information, visit the festival's website or call 713-880-2100.
On Sunday, there's the Shepherd School of Music: SYZYGY, New Music at Rice: In Celebration of William Bolcom, a concert dedicated to the music of the Pulitzer Prize / National Medal of Arts / multiple Grammy Award winner (translation: he's a big, big deal). The program includes etudes, dances and rags for solo piano and piano quintet performed by Brian Connelly (piano), Eric Halen (violin), Kiju Koh (guest violin), Joan DerHovsepian (viola), and Christopher French (guest cello).
See SYZYGY at 3 p.m. on Sunday, at Alice Pratt Brown Hall, Duncan Recital Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main Street. For information, visit the Shepherd School of Music website or call 713-348-8000.
Jef with One F contributed to this post.