We've got a few clues to tell us that spring has finally sprung: the azaleas are in full bloom in manicured gardens around town, Discovery Green has let the ice melt to make way for its outdoor roller rink, and we're all making excuses to get out of the house. This weekend celebrates all of the above, plus talented canines on stage, new works by choreographers and dancers, and a chance to embrace early French Baroque music with period instruments. We'll also see the opening of a MFAH exhibit devoted to photographer Sally Mann, and early next week Annie Leibovitz will be sharing her wisdom in a partnership between Brazos Bookstore and FotoFest.
We can't all live like Ima Hogg, Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, the bold-faced movers and shakers from Houston's yesteryear. But we can imagine how they lived when visiting the former homes of these art savvy philanthropists, especially during the annual Azalea Trail. Tickets include access to the manicured gardens of Rienzi and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, plus four magnificent homes in nearby River Oaks, courtesy of presenter River Oaks Garden Club.
Tours are scheduled for March 1 through March 3 at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Rienzi, 1406 Kirby, and Bayou Bend, 6003 Memorial. For information, call 713-523-2483 or visit riveroaksgc.org/another-post. $10 to $30.
A much younger Gérard Depardieu helped spur cinema-goers' interest in early French Baroque music in 1991's Tous les matins du monde (All the mornings of the world), but the real stars of that film were the compositions of Sainte-Colombe and the stringed instrument of that era, the viola da gamba. Early music titan Jordi Savall performed the soundtrack for that film using period instruments, along with his orchestra Le Concert des Nations. They will revisit that sublime repertoire in the upcoming concert, Tous les Matins du Monde, co-presented by Da Camera and Houston Early Music. Dig deeper with a pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. with Rice University's Dr. Peter Loewen.
A performance is scheduled for March 1 at 8 p.m. Friday at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $42.50 to $72.50.
We loved ice skating at Discovery Green but, now that spring is here, that's so last season. Make way for The Rink: Rolling at Discovery Green® with all sorts of fun, including an opening party this Friday night. The action continues through most of April with themed nights: Cheap Skate Mondays, Time Warp Tuesdays and Throwback Thursdays (DJs spin from decades past), date night Wednesdays, Funfetti Fridays (DJ plus a light show), and Superhero Saturdays for comic fans. And the weekend isn't over until the sun goes down, with This is How We Roll Sundays set to Top 40 music.
The opening party is scheduled for March 1 at 6-10 p.m. Friday at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/rollerrink. $10 to $12, plus $4 skate rental.
Shelter dogs never know what kind of family will come to their rescue; any adopter is a hero in their eyes. But for the lucky nine rescues saved by Scott and Joan Houghton, their freedom road quickly led to the bright lights of the big stage. Mutts Gone Nuts is an action-packed comedy and variety show where dogs dance, prance, scale barricades, jump rope, jump through hoops and do backflips. Every once in a while they'll just yawn and ignore their handler, which is pretty funny too. High five to Society for the Performing Arts for presenting this next segment in their Family Fun Series. One word of warning though: Even if your dogs at home know how to sit and stay, it will never seem enough after seeing a show like this.
Performances are scheduled for March 2 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $45 to $65.
Sally Mann suffered some backlash upon the publication of Immediate Family, a coffee table book that included photos of her unclothed children. The passage of time has been kinder to this American photographer who was later named "America's Best Photographer" by Time magazine. Film-goers caught her story in the 1994 documentary about her work, Blood Ties, as well as in the 2006 Emmy-nominated feature film that captured her creative process, What Remains. Now the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is bringing us the first major retrospective of her career. "Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings," including 112 images organized into sections: family, landscape, battlefields, legacy and mortality.
"Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings" is scheduled for March 3 through May 27 at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org. Free to $17.
For an emerging artist, there's nothing like performing in front of a live audience, finally getting a chance to leave the classroom and feel the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd. Practice makes perfect and we'll see what the students at University of Houston's School of Theatre & Dance have been up to when UH Goes to the MATCH, featuring original works choreographed, performed and produced by the SoTD dance and theater students. Mary Catherine McReynolds was inspired by children at play in Imagination Space, set to music by Daniel Hart. Haley Shaw asked dancers to move on, through and around a large cube in Labyrinth, and choreographer Jessica Figueroa is premiering Itoni, a new piece that demonstrates the need for guidance in the journey of self-discovery.
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A performance is scheduled for March 3 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or 713-409-2838 or visit utdance.info. $12 to $15.
Ding, ding, ding. That's the sound of the bonus round. Even after the weekend comes to an end, we can still look forward to Annie Leibovitz's upcoming stop in Houston. Anybody who has ever gazed at her covers for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue and wondered how the photographer was able to capture that magic — time and time again — should attend Annie Leibovitz - At Work. Her bestselling book, At Work, originally published in 2008, has been revised and updated; ticket prices include a copy, either unsigned or signed. This event is presented by Brazos Bookstore and has been sponsored by FotoFest International.
Annie Leibovitz - At Work is scheduled for March 5 at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Houston, Cullen Performance Hall, 4800 University. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com/annie-leibovitz-work-presented-brazos-bookstore-sponsored-fotofest-international. $53 to $223.