National High Five Day: The Houston Arts Deserve a High Five

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Thursday, April 18, is National High Five Day. Allegedly, in 2002 a group of students at the University of Virginia thought it would be a good idea to stand in the middle of campus and give out high fives and lemonade, and National High Five Day was born. One would assume that the lemonade got them more attention that the fives. One may also assume that they were not in their right state of mind.

While the U.S. government does not recognize the third Thursday of the month of April as being a national holiday where you slap other people on their outstretched hands, it's gotten the attention of some media outlets (this one) and some minor sports stars. Sports people love their high fives almost as much as their fist pumps.

In addition to just giving out fives, NHFD has turned into a nonprofit organization that raises money for cancer research through its annual High-5-A-Thon. In 2012, the organization pulled in over $16,000 from people doing nothing but smacking people's jazz-hands all day.

I love a good high five, real or virtual. There's something innately nerdy about slapping someone five that makes it all the better. When two people cannot connect their fives, it's totally embarrassing and awkward. Little kids love high fives and are known to ignore all other parental requests save, "Can I have a high five?" Additionally, there's nothing funnier than pulling a high five away from an unsuspecting hand. Sucker!

But there is also a lovely charm about the broader concept of a high five. It's wonderful to think that a person can do any minor "something," by themselves or as part of a team, and this warrants another person taking a moment to acknowledge that success. It's a wonderful display of emotion and support and often done as a complete knee-jerk reaction.

We thought it would be fun to give out high fives to some of the arts organizations that have packed April with culture.

High Fives Go to:

TUTS and the Tommy Tune Awards

Did you know that for 11 years now, Theatre Under the Stars has honored high school musical theater student productions from all over Houston and the surrounding areas? Forty-five area high schools participated this year, and TUTS sends the winners of Best Leading Actor and Actress to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York. In addition, eight winners took home scholarships to pursue their dreams. Encouraging theater in high schools when art is being quickly yanked away -- high five.

Catastrophic and Main Street Theater/Prague Shakespeare Festival

For the past few weeks, both the Catastrophic Theatre and Main Street Theater have presented two classic plays, Waiting for Godot and Henry V, respectively. And did you know that these two productions, which are neither new, flashy nor elaborately reimagined, have both been extended due to ridiculously high demand? People in Houston are so excited to see the theater that these two companies have produced, they can't keep tickets from selling out. That is awesome -- high five.

8th Annual Frida Festival 2013

Perhaps you knew that we had a Frida Kahlo festival here in town; however, were you aware it's been going on for eight years? The East End Studio Gallery curates this festival, which aims to celebrate one of Mexico's most renowned painters with an exhibition of visual artists, spoken-word, performance and a Frida-style arts market. There's even a look-alike contest that encourages unibrows. Who doesn't love a good unibrow? High five.

46th Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival

WorldFest has been showcasing independent film in Houston for 46 years. That's crazy; it's the third oldest indie film festival in the country. This year they have screened over 100 short films and 53 feature-length movies. Many of the films being screened are from directors right here in Texas. How can that not deserve a high five?

2nd Annual Mills-McCoin Rock 'N Roll Circus

Last year Houston's jack-of-all-trades, John Mills-McCoin, decided that in addition to all the other events in town he helped get off the ground, he would start a rock-and-roll circus akin to The Rolling Stones' infamous '60s event. It went so well that he's doing it again. A circus that brings the "rock" without animal torture needs a serious high five.

Discovery Green

Seriously, where else in the city can you go see an outdoor movie screening, a dance performance, a band playing at lunch time, a bunch of dogs jumping into a pool while you're enjoying various displays of public art? Discovery Green is celebrating its fifth birthday and I think that deserves a high five!

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