Arts & EntertainmentNews

Houston Area Events – January

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January 2015 Calendar 
Compiled by Marene Gustin

‘Hotel Volkswagen’
Politician/actor/writer Jón Gnarr is a serious supporter of LGBT rights.

Jón Gnarr is sort of like the Icelandic Al Franken—a comedic writer and actor-turned-politician. Except he’s funnier. And more brilliant.

He’s also a serious supporter of human rights and the LBGT community, having led his city’s 2010 Pride parade dressed in drag.

Having finished his four-year stint of mayor of Reykjavík, he is returning to his roots, and this month Houstonians will have a chance to sample his wit as Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company hosts the first Texas reading of his play Hotel Volkswagen. The absurdist play follows a man, Palme, and his son, Little Ziggy, whose car breaks down near the Hotel Volkswagen. They check in while the front desk manager, who is also a mechanic, tries to repair the car. But will they check out? Turns out everyone at the hotel has an interesting past, including a gender-bending couple that longs for children and a nostalgic former Nazi. The play premiered in Iceland in 2012, and while many Houstonians may not be familiar with Gnarr, the staged reading will serve as an introduction to his work before he arrives here this spring to serve as the first CENHS Writer-in-Residence at Rice University during the spring semester. While here, he’ll work on the third volume of his fictionalized autobiography.

Hotel Volkswagen readings are Sunday, January 25, 3 p.m., and Monday, January 26, 7 p.m., at Mildred’s Spring Street Studios. Both performances are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10 to $20. See for more details. —Marene Gustin



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  • Through January 7

Shen Yun. Five thousand years of Chinese culture onstage! Dance, costumes, a live orchestra, and stunning animated backdrops will thrill you. See for times and tickets.

  • January 3

Marcia Ball. See this roadhouse rhythm and blues singer at the Dosey Doe Coffee House in The Woodlands. Visit for details.

  • January 7 & 21

On This Muddy Water: Voices from the Houston Ship Channel. HGOco presents a free original song cycle celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Houston Ship Channel. See for details.

  • January 7–February 1

My Name Is Asher Lev. Theater LaB Houston kicks off the new year with this play adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok. See for ticket information.

  • January 9

Diavolo: Architecture in Motion. These dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and actors will thrill and delight audiences. Brought to you by the Society for the Performing Arts,

  • January 9 & 10

Flashdance: The Musical. The movie we all love is now on stage! See it at Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House,

  • January 10

The Hot Box Girls’ Crown Jewels. The Hot Box Girls are a new generation of burlesque starlets who sing, dance, flirt, and tease their way onto the stage and into your hearts. Brought to you by the Society for Performing Arts,

  • January 11

Steve Tyrell. One performance only of the legendary singer! See him at The Grand 1894 Opera House,

  • January 15

Musically Speaking with Andrés. An intimate concert with commentary from Andrés Orozco-Estrada. For more information visit the Houston Symphony at

Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris performs freedom songs. This concert at the Rothko Chapel is free; see for details.

  • January 17

Bayou City Burlesque & Circus Arts Festival. The first festival of its kind in Houston promises to be fun and funky. See for details.

  • January 17 & 18

Mozart and Shostakovich. Twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton share the Jones Hall stage to perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos. For more information visit the Houston Symphony at

  • January 20

Bahamas performs songs from his new album Bahamas Is Afie at Fitzgerald’s Downstairs,

  • January 20–February 8

The Book of Mormon. The hilarious musical from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q. Presented by Broadway at the Hobby Center. See for info.

  • January 22–31

Waiting for Johnny Depp. A world premiere of a one-woman musical about fame from TUTS Underground. See for ticket information.

  • January 22–February 7

Cloud Tectonics. Mildred’s Umbrella presents this unusual romance. See

  • January 23

Edward Violinhands. The Juilliard graduate and Itzhak Perlman protégé is a head-turning musician who harnesses performance art, technical prowess, powerful emotion and dynamic staging to transport classical music into pop culture. Brought to you by the Society for the Performing Arts,

  • January 23 & 24

The Russell Peters Almost Famous World Tour features all new material, plus Peters’ lightning-fast improv with the audience. See

  • January 23 & 25

Mozart’s Abduction. Laugh along to Mozart’s humorous The Abduction from the Seraglio, filled with colorful and exotic musical themes. For more information visit the Houston Symphony at

  • January 24

The Romeros, widely credited as the inventors of the classical guitar quartet, perform for one night as part of Da Camera’s season. See for ticket information.

  • January 24 & 25

Come and Take It Comedy Take Over. A two-day comedy festival with more than 30 comedy acts, burlesque troops, and live podcasts. See for details.

The Oak Ridge Boys. One of country music’s longest-running groups, The Oak Ridge Boys have one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. See them at Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House,

  • January 25 & 26

Hotel Volkswagen. Mildred’s Umbrella presents a reading of this absurdist play from Iceland. See article opposite page and for times and tickets.

  • January 25–February 8

Stargirl. Main Street Theater’s emotional tale about first love, the perils of popularity and non-conformity, and the acceptance of others. See for tickets and location details.

  • January 27

From Dowland to Britten. Nicholas Phan, tenor, and Eliot Fisk, guitar. A Da Camera concert at The Menil Collection. See for ticket information.

  • January 29

The Science of Sound. The Robbins Foundation Symphony Detective Concerts introduce students to the orchestra’s key players. For more information visit the Houston Symphony at

Dancing with the Stars: Live! If you love the TV show, you won’t want to miss the live tour featuring a cast of the television show’s most popular competitors. See for ticket information.

  • January 30 & 31

Sutton Foster. The Tony Award-winning singer, actress and dancer joins the orchestra to help kick off the New Year with a powerhouse song and dance extravaganza. For more information visit the Houston Symphony at

  • January 31

Guys and Dolls. See Damon Runyan’s colorful characters with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser at The Grand 1894 Opera House,



  • Through January 3

Ultra Black. Rudolph Blume Fine Art/ArtScan Gallery announces the opening of this two-person exhibition by Mario M. Muller and Randy Twaddle. See

  • Through January 4

Dario Robleto: The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed. This exhibit at The Menil Collection examines the psychological and emotional ramifications of crossing unknown boundaries whether in space, the sea, or through exploring the human body by linking two remarkable undertakings in the 1960s: the space race and development of the artificial heart. See for details.

Robert Hodge: Destroy and Rebuild. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presents this work by Houston-based artist Robert Hodge. Visit for details.

  • Through January 5

Orna Feinstein—Now and Zen: A 15-Year Retrospective. Galveston Arts Center presents a collection of work from Houston-based monoprint artist Orna Feinstein. See for details.

  • Through January 10

Mural by Otabenga Jones & Associate is part of a yearlong commitment to health education at Lawndale Art Center. See for details and other exhibits this month.

Liquified. Nicole Longnecker Gallery presents this exhibition featuring new paintings by Ellen Orseck. See for details.

¿Do Geese See God? An exhibition that discusses where science and mythology overlap features paintings by Jules Buck Jones. At McMurtrey Gallery,

Time Front. Lawndale Art Center presents this installation by Lauren Moya Ford. See for details.

Kermit Oliver Exhibit presented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries. Oliver is the only American commissioned to design silk scarves for the French fashion house of Hermes, as part of the space’s 45th anniversary. See

  • Through January 16

Secret Sandwich. A group exhibition featuring new works from Monica Foote, Jonathan Jardin, Paris Jomadiao, Geoff Smith, Alyssa Stephens, and Alonso Tapia.

  • Through January 24

New-Onset. GalleryHOMELAND presents an exhibition of five artists working in 2D and 3D. See

  • Through January 25

Fangs, Feathers and Fins: Sacred Creatures in Ancient American Art. Spanning nearly 5,000 years, this exhibition explores how peoples of the ancient Americas viewed themselves and the world around them. See for details.

  • Through February 1

Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence. Organized by Menil director Josef Helfenstein in consultation with the noted Indian artist Amar Kanwar, the exhibition is the first to trace the resonance of the ethic of nonviolence in the visual arts throughout the centuries and around the world. See for details.

Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River chronicles the Impressionist painter’s attachment to the Seine by tracing his life along the river. See for details.

  • Through February 15

Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi. Contemporary works by the artist exploring the ancient art of Japanese Noh. See

  • Through March 1

Round 41: Process and Action: An Exploration of Ideas features installations by an interdisciplinary group of eight artists, including Rabéa Ballin, Julia Brown, Vanessa Diaz, Akua Holt, Rosine Kouamen, and Monica Villareal at Project Row Houses. See for details.

  • Through March 13

Double Life. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presents this exhibition, which features works by the internationally celebrated artists Jérôme Bel, Wu Tsang, and Haegue Yang. See for details.

  • Through March 22

Shark! Get out of the water! Now! The Houston Museum of Natural Science presents this exhibit on all things shark-y. Visit for details.

  • January 3–February 5

Masks, Monsters and Monoliths. Archway Gallery presents the works of steel sculptor Jim Adams and painter Sherry Tseng Hill. See for details.

  • January 10–February 3

Veronicas. Brooklyn-based Houstonian Jennifer May Reiland has her first U.S. solo show at Redbud Gallery, the diverse gallery based in the Heights. See

  • January 10–February 22

Texas Abstract. This exhibition of more than 20 of the most significant contemporary Texas abstract artists opens to the public free of charge. See for details.

  • January 24—July 16

Takis: The Fourth Dimension. The Menil Collection presents the first exhibition in any U.S. museum to survey Takis’ half-century of achievements. See for details.

  • January 30–September 20

The Art of Gaman. An exhibit of the art created by Japanese Americans interred in America during World War II, at the Holocaust Museum Houston. See for details.

  • January 31

Music of the Spheres. A yearlong exhibit featuring the audio and visual works of artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller opens today in the former Byzantine Fresco Chapel at The Menil Collection. See for details.



  • Through January 16

Women in Architecture. An exhibition and events recognizing female architects. See for details.

  • January 19

Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Children’s Museum of Houston celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with special activities and events for kids. See for details.

  • January 22

Martini Madness! Bossa Nova Bash. The annual fundraiser for Houston Center for Contemporary Craft features artisan glasses, bottomless martinis, sizzling snacks, and a big-board auction. Mad Men dress encouraged. See



  • Through January 4

Winter Wonderland at Moody Gardens. Visit the island for Moody’s Festival of Lights, ice skating, snow tubing, and the new Ice Land exhibit with two million pounds of carved ice sculptures. For details visit

  • Through February 8

Discovery Green is your ultimate holiday fun destination this winter! With something for every visitor, the downtown park offers an array of activities, including outdoor ice skating in the shadow of Houston’s skyline, family-friendly films, themed nights and more! This season also ushers in the arrival of a new dazzling, site-specific art installation by internationally recognized artist Bruce Munro, in addition to the presence of renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marín’s Wings of the City installation of nine large-scale bronze sculptures placed throughout the park. See for details.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.

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