Swanee Songs. Say the name Gershwin, and the last thing most people think is “anchor baby.” But in reality, George Gershwin (originally named George Gershvin) was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. While still in his teens he became one of the most talented pianists in New York, accompanying many of the great performers of the time, and eventually becoming one of America’s most important and popular composers. Honoring Gershwin’s legacy, Bayou City Concert Musicals presents Stairway to Paradise: The Early Music of George Gershwin. The program features the talents of vocalists Ty Blue, Ross Chitwood, Kregg Allen Dailey, Grace Givens, Danica Johnston, and Susan Shofner. Paul Hope is the show’s artistic director; Rob Landes is musical director. February 7, 14, and 21, 7:30 p.m. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main St. • bayoucityconcertmusicals.org • 713/465-6484.
? Art. Art in the Heart, a group exhibition, focuses on Valentine’s Day and features multiple 2D and 3D pieces, including sculpture and ceramics from a diverse group of artists, led Richard G. Eastman. Eastman, who is openly gay, is known for his use of color to perfectly convey the internal emotion found in each of his paintings. He says that “red intensifies all emotions as it is a very active color; blue evokes peace and happiness; and green nurtures my soul.” Gallery owner Lori Betz, also a contemporary painter, works with and features the art of many Houston-area artists. February 12, 6 p.m. Betz Art Gallery, 1208 W. Gray St. • betzgallery.com • 713/576-6954.
A Wilde Ol’ Time. A reading with music of the first act of a new musical by Thunderclap Productions’ Aaron Elon and Joe Barnes about that queer Victorian ne’er-do-well, Oscar Wilde. February 4–5, 7. Houston Piano Company, 1600 W. 13th St. • thunderclapproductions.com.
Public Displays of Confection. The artists of Montrose Art Society aim to tantalize viewers with sight, sound, and taste with The Candy Shop: A Sweet and Spicy Experience. International artists Andre Amaral (Brazil), Edu Portillo (El Salvador), and Raul Gonzalez (Mexico) examine the aesthetic appeal of packaging of Latin and South American candies and its combination of sweet and spicy flavors, accompanied by Chef M. Medrano and Grupo Alee. February 5–18. Spacetaker ARC Gallery, 2101 Winter St., #B11 • facebook.com/MontroseArtSociety • 713/868-1839.
Wedding Bells. Bringing awareness to marriage equality since 2002, the Foundation for Family and Equality celebrates Freedom to Marry Week with various activities. February 10, 6:30 p.m.: Political, Religious, Legal Panel on Current Status of the LGBT Rights Movement. GLBT Cultural Center, 401 Branard St. February 13, 1:30 p.m.: Texas’ Big Gay Wedding Celebration and Protest. Resurrection MCC, 2025 W. 11th St. February 14, 11:30 a.m.: Valentine’s Day Marriage License Protest and March to City Hall. Harris County Clerks Office, 201 Caroline St. • familymarriageequality.org.
Walking Floats, Floating Walks. Krewe of Olympus’ opulent, bead-tossing, invitation-only Mardi Gras Ball XLI benefits Art League Houston’s Healing Art’s program and Lesbian Health Initiative–Houston. February 12, George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas • mardigrastexas.com.
Funny Girls. Lesbian Health Initiative–Houston moves to a new downtown location for its annual Celebration of Love dinner dance. Comedian Dana Goldberg headlines, with dance music provided by DJ Joy De La O. February 12, 7:30 p.m., with silent auction, photos, and cocktails beginning at 6:30 p.m. • lhihouston.org.
Twilight Time. Valentine’s Day Sucks, a variety show open to all performers. Benefits PWA Holiday Charities. February 13, 7 p.m. Brazos River Bottom, 2400 Brazos St. • pwaholidaycharities.org.
Same-Stamen Politics. Dr. Londa Schiebinger discusses “Sex, Botany and Abortion: The Gender Politics of Plants in the 18th Century World,” as part of Rice University’s Gray/Wawro Lectures on Gender, Health and Well-Being. February 16, 6 p.m. Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative Auditorium, 6100 Main St. • rice.edu.
Good Game Playing. Center Seniors Game Time, a new program for LGBT seniors and their friends, brings together elder statesmen and women to play Scrabble, Monopoly, and other board and card games. February 22, 5:30 p.m. 1900 Kane St. • houstonglbtcommunitycenter.org • 713/524-3818.
Dancing Dudes. Join OutSmart for [email protected] following the February 24 performance of Billy Elliot, Sir Elton John’s award-winning musical. Mingle with cast members and patrons while enjoying happy-hour drink prices, complimentary nibbles, and show-tunes karaoke. Arista Restaurant in the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby St. • tuts.com • 713/558-8888.
Lez Talk About It. Lesbian Discussion Hour invites lesbians to discuss issues of relationships, health, aging, family roles, and more. February 25, 6:30 p.m. 1900 Kane St. • houstonglbtcommunitycenter.org • 713/524-3818.
Up Close and Personal. Singer/songwriter Hattie Mays and poet Kri Martin, also known as The Sirens, were tapped by the National Women’s Music Festival as 2009’s best new artists. Witness their unique blending of folk, hip-hop, soul, and spoken word in a house concert. February 26, 7 p.m. 281/444-7669.
Get Happy. Houston Pride Band’s spring concert, For the Kid in You, is a concert of lighthearted music featuring a special performance by SaxWorx saxophone quartet. February 26, 7:30 p.m. Resurrection MCC, 2025 W. 11th St. • houstonprideband.org.
When Is an Auction Not an Auction? Bayou City Performing Arts’ Not Just an Auction features a Mardi Gras theme and more than 200 silent- and live-auction items. Tickets are $5 to $10, but guests wearing Mardi Gras attire get in free. Entertainment is provided by Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston, Bayou City Women’s Chorus, and guests. February 27, 3 p.m. South Beach, 810 Pacific St. • bayoucityperformingarts.org.
A Slapping Good Time. Mildred Pierce, starring Joan Crawford, is introduced by KUHT’s Ernie Manouse as his “favorite film.” March 1, 7 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Auditorium Theater, 1001 Bissonnet St. • mfah.org • 713/639-7300.
Shut Up and Listen. Singer/songwriter Ginger Leigh appears at the acclaimed acoustic listening room with John Pointer. March 4, 8 p.m. Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant St. • andersonfair.com • 832/212-4057.
Oodles of Noodles, Bering Memorial United Methodist Church’s annual carb-loading eatfest, benefits Bering Support Network. March 5. 1440 Harold St. • beringumc.org.
Golfing with Spirit. Teams of all skill levels are currently signing up to join the women of Kindred Spirits Foundation for their third annual Charity Golf Tournament. Presentation of awards and a barbecue dinner follow the 18-hole day of play, which also includes a silent auction. April 30, 1:30 p.m. Bear Creek Masters Golf Course, 16001 Clay Rd. $100 per player. Benefits AssistHers, Houston Buyers Club’s “Ellen’s Hand”, and Lesbian Health Initiative–Houston. Registration: kindredspiritshouston.org. n