Category Archives: Cutural

Butterfly!

On Friday night, Boom and I had a very adult (and late) night out – attending Houston Grand Opera’s new production of Madame Butterfly and the opening night dinner.  We had a fabulous time!

I’ve never seen Butterfly – have always heard about it – so am glad I finally got to see it!  The new production had me in tears – it is such a sad, sad story.  and the music is so beautiful – gotta love Puccini.  I was surprised I was moved so much – I really didn’t expect to cry at all, let alone as hard and long as I did.  I have never been so moved by any performing art performance.

And the post-performance opening night dinner was a lot of fun!  Even Boom, who had his doubts, had a really good time.  I loved not having to work the event, and it was good seeing lot of friends and making new ones!

But man, we were beat by the end of the evening.  We didn’t get home until past midnight, and that is really, really late for us!  Oh well, Boom got a nap in while Baby J slept on Saturday – and I got a little caught up on blogging and emails!

I am lucky I have such a great hubs that will go along with my cra cra plans, even if he kinda doesn’t want to, and then admit when he has had a good time!  I think he is going to come to Peter Grimes with me this Friday, even though I have given him an out multiple times!  Love you, Boom!

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So cultural!

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Last week, Boom and I went to the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant for the first WAC event we were able to attend – learning about Indego Africa – a non-profit that helps Rwandan women earn money from their handicrafts while training them so that they can someday be more self-sufficient.

It was really interesting – learning about the non-profit as well as checking out the Blue Nile.  I really want to go back and try the restaurant not during an event.  It was quite well attended, which is good.

We also went to Grooves Restaurant and Bar – for an opera event.  It is in the Third Ward, so I don’t think we would have ever just happened upon it.  I like being brought to places that I likely would never go to – ’tis a good thing.  And the HGOco opera / blues project was really quite interesting.

So much culture…

This past week we went to the Symphony 2 nights out of the 5 (in the work week) – we love us some Jones Hall!

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Tuesday night we saw Yo-Yo Ma – seeing him live has been 10+years in the making!  Literally!  When Boom and I first started dating, he was living in Hot-lanta.  One weekend that I was down visiting, he was looking through the newspaper to see what was going on.  He saw the ad for Yo-Yo Ma, and was all,”Ha!  We can go see this rapper, Yo-Yo Ma!”  Boy was Boom surprised when I was all, “OH MY GAWD!  I WOULD LOVE TO GO SEE HIM!  CAN WE GET TICKETS?!?!?!?”  Of course, he was sold out then, so when I heard he was going to be in H-town, I got tickets as soon as they became available!  He was amazing, and his (18th century) cello sounded so amazing!  I am really, really glad we got tickets, and we were sitting in the mezzanine, which were pretty good seats.

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Friday night we were back, and this time for a violin concerto by Beethoven.  It was one of our Young Professionals Backstage series tickets – and we signed up again for next year!  It is a great deal – $75 for 6 concerts (and 3 of those concerts have special events afterwards)!   I guess they are only offering that price  for renewals or for folks that sign up at one of the last 2 concerts.  Almost too cheap, in my opinion!  Boom and I got to catch up with Wilber, Aggie and Carey!   We also met LL, a semi-crazy, but funny, lady, who is at everything!  Anyway, a good week, with great culture involved.  I love that about H-town, so many great cultural resources!  I love being able to take advantage (and feel bad for folks that don’t)!

Last Opening Night…

Friday was the last opening night for us in the 2008-09 season. I love opening nights as there is a lot of excitement and anticipation! Boom got to have dinner with me and some of my young donors, which was so fun!img_2612

And Yarbs brought a bunch of her friends, which was awesome! Loved seeing her and her peeps during intermission. Greg’s white jacket was so fabulous!
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Aren’t we adorable?! I like wearing bright vivid colors! They look so good in photos! and I think they look good with my dark hair.

EK and Tanimal also came to the performance, with some friends. Very sweet of them to do so!

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After the performance, our night was not over yet – not even close!

Our new friends, PC and BC, wanted to go out – so we checked out Anvil, a new bar.  It was pretty cool – had some dragon shirts, but I guess most bars in H-town do.

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We had a great time – but were out LATE!  Can’t remember the last time we were out until 1am!  Clearly we are getting old, and a little lame.  But it made for a really, really long day / night.  I was still kinda recovering on Saturday afternoon!

Art

This past weekend,  we went to the Bayou City Art Festival in Memorial Park (H-town’s version of Central Park – but not a big nor as central). It was a great day to be outside walking around – and walk we did! I think everyone had the same idea, so we had to park about a mile away, then walked a mile around the festival, and then a mile back to our car. But good times were had by all!

memp1Oh I am a delicate flower…
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I love this guy! He was so cute and plump! The sculptor made lots of different sizes of Humpty, perhaps I should have gotten one… But I don’t think Boom was all that impressed…

mp4There were tons of these huge, sculptures made of steel. I just wonder how they were transported to the park – must have been quite a pain!!!

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Boom is not a huge fan of crowds of slow walking people, so he was a good sport. We also got to see an artist we have been thinking about purchasing a piece from – Ray Phillips – and found out about his opening, so that is good. It would be our first piece of really legitimate artwork. Hmm, I guess I take that back – we do have an art photograph from a friend of mine in Richmond – Aimee Koch. Anyway, it would be a big step for us.

And Yarbs found a painter she liked – Roger Disney – some of his smaller pieces were not too bad, so maybe this could be a good gift idea!

So much culture…

marieThursday night Yarbs and I went to see the Houston Ballet perform Marie – based on the life of Marie Antoinette. And we LOVED it! The costumes were awesome, the dancing beautiful, and the music was great (though my friend told me the next day at she thought the music was awful – she majored in music theory in college and got her Masters from Rice in the basson?). I really, really did love it a lot a lot. I guess I have seen the Nutcracker in a few different cities, as well as some compilation ballet performances in Richmond, VA and Washington, DC, but never had seen a full length story ballet until Marie. And – sigh – it was so great.

img_2372Friday night was the Symphony Ball – and we had tickets to the Young Professionals After Party. So we needed to leave around 7pm to swing by a party before heading to dinner. Well, at 645pm, guess what I was doing? HAND SEWING the adorable big bows onto my shoes! Right then, I thought to myself – I am crazy. I really am. Who else is altering their shoes for the night 15 minutes before heading out?! No one but me. But they turned out SO CUTE! I *heart* them! Just what I wanted.

We had dinner at the Grove with 6 other friends, 5 of which came to the ball afterwards – and, quite conveniently, the Grove is just a block away from the Hilton Americas, which is where the Ball was.

img_2375The Ball was not really what I expected. They had a TON of really great silent auction items (2 cars!), but the huge room where it was taking place was way too big and the lighting was not great. I thought there would be dancing and the whatnot – but not really. They did have some gambling tables, not that many, and not too many people were actually gambling. There were lots of Opera supporters there, and it was really great people watching.

img_2376At least we were with good company! CJ is really tall – like 6’5″! But really nice and fun! BL was getting a little tanked, but in a good way. At midnight, the bar closed (lame) so we took that as our cue to move onto the next party…

A few weeks ago I went to a meeting with a young professional organization as I want to get more involved. I met a really nice guy, WC, there who was all, I’ll be your friend in Houston. You and your husband are invited to a party I am having. So great – people in H-town are so friendly! So we swung by before dinner, had a glass of wine with WC and then went onto dinner. He assured us the party would be still happening late into the night, so to try to swing by after our event.

We did, and the party was still raging! He had a DJ and there were lots of folks there – dancing and drinking and hanging out.

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I think BL and CJ and El and Tanimal didn’t quite know what to make of WC’s party. It wasn’t exactly BL’s fav type of music, but she was a good sport and danced around with me. Boom’s coworker, TH, didn’t really like it there, as he left 5 minutes after arriving! He did mention to me at dinner that he has a little social anxiety. So maybe there were too many people there for his taste.

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I actually had more fun at dinner and WC’s after after party than at the official Ball after party. Live and learn – maybe the Symphony Ball would have been better had we been there for dinner and the whole shebang. Overall, it was a great night.  We had lots of fun hanging out with everyone, and that is the most important element of all!

No Rest for the Weary

The rest of my weekend was packed! Bright and early (well, it was actually pitch black) on Saturday morning, I ran 9 miles – I think I was supposed to run 14, but I was tired from Halloween. Impressively, Boom ran 17 miles! I told him he needs to start getting some milage in during the week, not just waiting until Sat to do a long run. These days I am trying to run 4 days a week, and between 20 – 30 miles a week. This week I ran 4 days – my milage was only 21 miles, so on the low end of my self-imposed spectrum, but at least within it.

Next up was a tour (organized by the JLH) of the Houston Food Bank. It is quite an impressive facility! The guy giving us a tour had a lot of impressive stats – one of the ones that stuck with me was all the food in the food bank (it is a huge warehouse) is given out within 24 days of being received. Another interesting fact is that 70% of people that get food from the Food Bank are NOT homeless. So they are the working poor that have to decide between medication and food. or house payments and food. They are a central receiving facility, and 400 non-profit organizations get food from the food bank.

Next up – my friend R and I went to DiverseWorks (an art gallery of sorts) to see the exhibit “Ben Tecumseh DeSoto: Understanding Poverty”. Wow. It was really moving and very eye opening. I guess I kind of live a sheltered life, but I didn’t realize what an issue homelessness is, and Houston has a large homeless population, probably in part due to it’s mild climate.

For me, homelessness is something that is really hard for me to understand. Why are people homeless? Why don’t they just get a job and save some money so they can rent an apartment? And I never know how to respond to panhandlers – I don’t want to give them money b/c what if they use it on booze or drugs? But, as a human being, I feel bad seeing a fellow human being in such a plight.

After seeing this exhibit, I am realizing that homelessness is so much more complicated than I ever imagined. Most homeless people have mental health issues, which perpetuates their problems. Many are suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), some from being military vets, and others from horrible events in their lives. Most have been abused in the worst ways – sexually, emotionally, physically – from a small age by the people who were supposed to love them the most.

They are all “just one bad decision” away from either being fine (i.e. living week to week) or being destitute. Something that I just can’t really imagine – can’t wrap my puny brain around. They don’t have any sort of safety net that they can depend on, if they make that one bad decision. I think of Boom and I, and if something really horrible ever happened, there are so many people we could depend on to help pick us up – my parents, my sister, his parents, his sibling, friends, etc.

I think it is easiest to lump all homeless people together and say that they are lazy, scary people. Makes it easier on folks to ignore them without feeling bad. These people have given up on themselves, but they somewhat can’t be blamed, as they have never known what it is like to have a fighting chance – stable family life, role models to look up to, friends to lean on, etc.

I think I am really going to try to learn more about this problem, try to understand it the best I can, and see what I can do to help. There is a local youth homeless shelter in Yarb’s and R’s neighborhood – Covenant House Texas – I have emailed them to get more information on some of their programs. R and I also want to do a Saturday volunteering session (with Yarbs, hopefully) to see what it is all about.

In my Pollyanna-ish way, I think most people are good. And theses youth that find themselves homeless and hopeless, maybe they could be put on a better path if they just had a chance. Makes me feel really lucky and thankful to have been born into my family

It seems overwhelming, what could I really affect with this huge issue of homelessness? But I realize I have to think that I can make a difference by doing my part / what I can, and if everyone made an effort to do their part, these big issues would seem less daunting. And for the pragmatists, helping get homeless people off the streets would lessen the tax burden on all of us.

Intense stuff for me – I didn’t cry at the exhibit, though there were many times I wanted to, but I did cry when I got home and was talking about everything with Boom. Makes me sad and a little guilty feeling. Hopefully I can get involved in a meaningful way to help chip away at the problem.

Lastly, I left for work around 530pm – for a pre-performance dinner with donors / prospective donors, then mingling in the Green Room with Patrons during intermissions, and then working my post-valet shift. Was home around 1130pm. Whew! Made for one tired Tingaling. and Sunday morning I totally forgot about the time change, so was up an hour earlier than need be! Highly annoying.

So a very full and interesting weekend. I am hoping that next weekend is a bit calmer than this weekend, but I can’t complain too much!