In Houston, September beats out July and August for the hottest month of the year—it has nothing to do with the weather, however. The culprit behind the elevated heat level is the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. This annual event brings together exhibitors from across the country to sell and hand out samples of their signature hot sauces, salsas, jams, dips, and other spicy foods. Luckily, vendors also supply plenty of cool beverages, thus eliminating the need for bite-size fire extinguishers.
Live entertainment complements the spicy goods. Blues artists, jazz bands, and other musician play throughout the festival, and each day brings special events, such as salsa eating competitions or fire eating performances.
Jutting above the street, the modernist lines of Rafael Moneo's Audrey Jones Beck Building echo the eclectic collection found within. Under sky openings that let in natural light and the bitter gazes of pigeons who can’t seem to get their work shown, visitors meander through galleries that span the breadth of human artistry, from ancient sculpture to modern painting. Noteworthy works from the more than 64,000 pieces include Pablo Picasso's colorful cubist Two Women in Front of a Window, Edgar Degas's achingly expressionistic Woman Drying Herself, and an untitled sketch by Jackson Pollock that shows his wild, abstract genius evolving toward his celebrated drip paintings. A treasure trove of cultural artifacts from Africa, Asia, and the Americas expands the museum’s scope and transports visitors back in time as they gaze on a palpably pensive ceramic ballplayer from Mexico's Classic Veracruz culture or a life-size royal head forged from copper for a Nigerian royal court.
Groupon Celebrates Pride Month
Over the last 50 years, the gay-rights movement in America has overcome tremendous obstacles to become a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity. Even as it has grown, the movement—like Groupon—is local at heart, and we applaud the commitment to real change that improves everyday lives.
At Groupon, we are happy to add our voices to those celebrating PRIDE, their achievements as a social movement and a continued march to equality for the LGBT community. Plus, we love a chance to dig that rainbow wig out of storage.
This month—and throughout the year—we salute our merchants and customers who support PRIDE and all efforts that promote dignity, respect, and equal opportunity. We're highlighting these merchants' deals with a special badge to show Groupon's pride in working with people who share our values.
Today’s Groupon offers an upgrade from your biography audio books. For $20, you’ll experience legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s candid confessions at The Society for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 25, a $42 value. New York Times columnist and former chief drama critic Frank Rich will prompt the esteemed composer to reflect on his career, collaborations, and creative process during the 7:30 p.m. performance at Jones Hall. Gypsies: “Boy, I was pretty sure I was going to get sued for this one. To make the lawyers happy, I added a scene where giant robots fight each other and changed that song to ‘Everything’s Coming Up Robots’.” A Different West Side Story: “You can’t copyright a part of town! The story is basically the same as the regular West Side Story, but some of the characters in mine are giant robots who have forbidden love.” Sweeney Ted: “I didn’t change much in this case because the original seems to also be about robots. A huge hit!”
Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
Nearly 80 exhibiting galleries gather at the George R. Brown Convention Center for the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, a chance for the local community to get a look at dynamic creations from around the country. Installations—such as Troy Stanley's gently moving Zephyr and R.MUTT, Buster Graybill's urban escape vehicle—contribute to the vast diversity of exhibit, during which guests can simultaneously enjoy the art and shop.
And if all that art seems a bit overwhelming, you can take part in TCAFs robust weekend of events, all designed to offer additional insight, link pieces thematically, and grant access to some of the fair's most exciting artists and curators. The "Under $5,000" tour highlights some of the collection's most dynamic and affordable pieces, and the "Artist Residencies" panel brings together four experts to discuss the impact of residency programs on their communities. You can also listen in as one of Houston's top gallery owners offers insight on the contemporary-art world and top-secret sculptor handshakes in her "Insider Information" talk.
John and Dominique de Menil began collecting art in the 1940s, shortly after they had relocated from France to the United States. It didn't take long for the couple to amass nearly 16,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Tired of tripping over Byzantine statues on the way to the kitchen, the de Menils decided to share their collection with the world.
The result is The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987 and has since become a fixture of Houston's Museum District. Here, visitors can browse priceless artworks and artifacts with origins that span the globe. With its minimalistic exterior and sweeping stretches of glass, the building itself is also something of a masterpiece. This is no accident—Dominque de Menil made sure that its design allowed for plenty of natural light to enhance visitors' experience and help the artworks grow big and strong.