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.
Art can foster a sense of community and inspire social change. It is this belief that drives artists Reginald and Rhonda Adams, who founded Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston in 1999 when they noticed a lack of community participation in the arts. Using their vibrant center as a springboard, the couple and their staff have brought art programs to more than 30 public schools and 15,000 underserved youth, helping the youngsters unleash their innate creativity and heighten their social awareness. Within the museum, rotating exhibits, such as May’s Queens of Creativity Mother Earth Exhibition, carry pertinent social messages such as the importance of calling Earth’s core on Mother’s Day. Community projects such as a recent mural painting for a school and collaborations with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society help carry out the museum’s mission as a vehicle for expression.
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!”
While other cities are feeling the crunch of skyrocketing oil prices, Houston is thriving on the growing demand for its chief commodity. But if places like Boomtown Coffee ever become the norm rather than the exception, you might see coffee turn into another of Houston's most precious resources. Boomtown’s small-batch roasts are always remarkably fresh, thanks to owners who care about sourcing and roasting their coffees locally. Though these coffees are a constant on Boomtown's menu, the choice of food items is liable to change as quickly as the price of gas. Daily options may include anything from a chocolate-crusted cheesecake to a vegetarian quiche, so it pays to make frequent return visits. On a nice summer day, there’s no better place to hang out than on the outdoor patio. In the winter, you can combat the occasional chill by perusing the local artwork inside the shop or by pouring a steamy cup of coffee over your head.
$10,000. That's what creativity and innovation can get you at Texas Contemporary Art Fair. Each year, judges award that sum?and the Texas Contemporary Award?to one of the exhibited artists.
It's no easy decision, since the fair showcases more than 70 art galleries and the artists all look at the judges with such big, hopeful eyes. A trip across the convention floor or into the history of fairs past reveals works of sculpture, paintings, and other media from both established and emerging contemporary artists. Some come from Texas, while others arrive from New York, San Francisco, and other cities.