It's the year of the woman, or at least it seems that way in the Bayou City as Houston History Alliance shines its beacon on influential women from the past (Agnese Carter Nelms, the "Margaret Sanger of Texas"), the present (Anoushe Ansari, astronaut and social media pioneer in space) and future (radio/TV personality and political candidate Dayna Steele).
Over the next two months organizations all over H-Town are sharing these stories in a variety of learning styles. Local science nerds are encouraging you to "think when you drink" at their two events at Mongoose Versus Cobra, choreographer Toni Leago Valle takes aim at the Texas Legislature and history buff Betty Chapman will guide us to the graves of important women in Houston's past, followed by a re-awakening with N'awlins music.
The centerpiece is Houston History Alliance's Houston Women: Agitating, Educating, Advocating, an exciting next chapter in their biennial conferences that have focused in the past on our region's musical soul and pre Civil War Houston. Keynote speaker is Dr. Laura G. Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and if that's not inspiration enough we'll also hear from agitators (Tanya Debose, Ada Edwards, former Mayor Annise Parker), educators (Linda Cohn, Judge Phyllis Frye, Kristen Contos Krueger) and advocates (Dorothy Gibbons, Nikki Van Hightower, Gracie Saenz). HHA is not only serious about preserving and documenting our past, but they also want the women and girls of today to start thinking about how to become leaders and shape our city's future. Teachers will be able to attend the conference for just $20 and students can attend for free.
The conference also includes a pop-up museum that's free to everybody and highlights objects from a variety of collections including area museums and even a middle school. "For example Harris County Archives is looking at women that have been commissioners in the past. It's exciting to see that bit of crossover," says Lindsay Scovil, HHA's executive director.
So what's next for HHA? They continue to work on the "living, breathing, growing project" of adding Houston's history to the Texas State Historical Association's website. "Right now we have about 1200 entries," says Scovil, who is also making plans for 2019. "Next year we’re going to be looking at space; it’s the 50th anniversary of the moon landing."
Programs related to the conference's theme, from a variety of Houston-based organizers, are being presented under the mantel of Tales of Houston Women and run September 18 through November 16. Information is presented below; for more information visit talesofhoustonwomen.org.
Tales of Houston Women
7 p.m. September 18, Taste of Science and Association of Women in Science Gulf Coast Houston Chapter, a program focusing on the groundbreaking scientific achievements of a Houston woman in the space program, Mongoose Versus Cobra, 1011 McGowen, tasteofscience.org/houston and awisgch.org, free.
8 p.m. September 21, 5 and 8 p.m. September 22, 3 and 6 p.m. September 23, 6 Degrees Dance premieres Never Again by Toni Leago Valle, a dance work that references the Texas Legislature as a political circus with hostile bills towards Texans, MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-521-4533, matchouston.org, $20 to $35.
3-6 p.m. September 22, Islamic Society of Greater Houston invites women of all ages, faiths and backgrounds to participate in the age old tradition of Red Tent storytelling, River Oaks Islamic Center, 3110 Eastside, 281-786-0461, facebook.com/events/289161645227280 or tinyurl.com/ISGHRedTent.
6 p.m. September 30, Houston Blues Museum presents Last Call, a conversation with local club owner Sara Fitzgerald. Stories of female club owners and a special performance benefit the museum. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 713-862-3838, houstonbluesmuseum.org, free.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. October 6, Houston History Alliance presents its biennial conference. This year's program is Houston Women: Agitating, Educating, Advocating, with keynote speaker Dr. Laura G. Murillo, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-521-4533, houstonhistoryalliance.org/houston-history-conference/2018conference, $65, $20 (teachers), free (students, without lunch).
9 a.m.-4 p.m. October 6, The Center for Public History at the University of Houston sponsors a pop-up museum that explores topics related to the history of Houston through collected objects, documents and photos. MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-743-3087, uh.edu/class/ctr-public-history, free.
6:30-7:30 p.m. October 11, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, part one of a three part series about important collectors who helped establish portions of the museum's collection, “Annette Finnigan: Building an Enlightened Houston Community,” MFAH, 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300, mfah.org, $5 to $10.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. October 13, The Jung Center presents The Past Births the Future: A Workshop for Houston Women, an exploration of how personal histories can empower us to uncover hidden strengths, end problematic patterns and chart a course for the future. The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose, 713-524-8253, junghouston.org, $90 to $100.
6:30-7:30 p.m. October 18, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, part two of a three part series about important collectors who helped establish portions of the museum's collection, “The Life and Legacy of Jesse Jones’s Granddaughter: Audrey Jones Beck,” MFAH, 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300, mfah.org, $5 to $10.
6-8 p.m. October 19, Girls Inc. of Greater Houston and The Ensemble Theatre present Growing Up Girl: Houston, Then & Now, a community, cross-generational conversation with women and girls. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 South Main, 713-520-0055, girlsinc-houston.org and ensemblehouston.com, free.
5:30 (reception) and 6:30-8 p.m. (lecture), October 23, Rice University Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality presents Graphic Witness: Making Sense of the #MeToo Movement, a Gray/Wawro Lecture in Gender, Health and Well-Being. Rice University, Fondren Library, 6100 Main, 713-348-0000, events.rice.edu, free.
7 p.m. October 23, Taste of Science and Association of Women in Science Gulf Coast Houston Chapter, a program focusing on the groundbreaking scientific achievements of a Houston woman working as a scientist in cancer research, Mongoose Versus Cobra, 1011 McGowen, tasteofscience.org/houston and awisgch.org, free.
6:30-7:30 p.m. October 25, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, part three of a three part series about important collectors who helped establish portions of the museum's collection, “Ima Hogg: The Extraordinary Cultural Patron behind the Unusual Name,” MFAH, 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300, mfah.org, $5 to $10.
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11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. October 30, Southwest Alternative Media Project and the Pantheon of Women present a screening of the Geena Davis Institute short film, How Girls and Women are Portrayed in the Media, followed by a luncheon and panel discussion with television's Elma Barrera, political candidate Dayna Steele and astronaut Anoushe Ansari. Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore, swamp.org, $35 to $50.
1-6 p.m. November 3, Archaeology Now hosts a cemetery tour, Stories of Love and Courage: Women of Houston, with descendants of historic figures and guided by historian Betty Chapman. Post-tour event includes wine, hors d'oeuvre and a New Orleans brass band. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby, 713-364-6344, houstonarchaeology.info, $55.
8 p.m. November 16, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra presents Concert and Conversation: Women in the Arts, an evening of music and dialogue featuring works composed by women, including a world premiere of a commission by Heather Schmidt and a panel discussion about the current state and future of women in the arts. MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-665-2700, roco.org/performances/concert-conversation-women-in-the-arts, $25.