Local News

LookOut: April 2007

Ruthie Foster at IFest. Tret Fure at Anderson Fair Retail. Martine Locke at Diva House Concerts. Gretchen Phillips at the Boom Boom. Transgender Unity Banquet in memory of Brenda Thomas. And more….

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR. No need to rub your eyes or book a room with Britney at Promises—those really are dragons and flying acrobats cavorting in downtown Houston. Not the by-product of too many limoncellos, as Danny DeVito might say, the vision is simply part of Houston International Festival, which this year focuses on China.

Sure, expect the international sights, sounds, and flavors commonly associated with the festival. But perhaps the most striking inclusion for 2007 is a reproduction of the Great Wall of China. The 120-foot-long wall winds through the China Zone, located primarily in the area between City Hall and upper Sam Houston Park.

Set for the last two weekends of April, the festival kicks off Friday, April 20, at 11 a.m., at the Washington Mutual Center Stage at City Hall featuring hundreds of performances from nearly every musical genre.

Of particular interest to OutSmart readers: Women’s festivals favorite Ruthie Foster hits the World Music Stage on Saturday, April 21, 1:45 p.m., and the Tejas Stage at 7:45 p.m. RockStar: Supernova finalist Patrice Pike plays Saturday, April 28, 7:45 p.m., on the Tejas Stage, with the delightfully twangy Lucinda Williams performing April 29, 6:15 p.m., on the World Music Stage.

Details: www.ifest.org.

Tret Fure performs in an “in the round” setting for a night of folk music at Anderson Fair on Thursday, April 12, 8:30 p.m. Ken Gaines and Jen Rathbun also perform that night. Details: www.andersonfair.com.

Diva House Concerts continues its intimate music series with Australian independent singer/songwriter Martine Locke. The concert is set for April 21, 8:30 p.m., at Mojo Risin’ Coffee House. Details: 713/426-1505, www.martinelocke.com.

And when Gretchen Phillips returns to the Boom Boom Room this month, expect a family affair. Scheduled to open for and perhaps even perform with his singer/songwriter daughter on April 22, 7 p.m., is Houston Balalaika Society member Paul Phillips, known to fans of the medieval as the former King Gypsy at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Details: 713/868-3740.

CONTINUING HER LEGACY. We’re not saying the event will be haunted per se, but expect the spirit of Brenda Thomas to live on at the 15th annual Houston Transgender Unity Banquet. Thomas, the trans and HIV/AIDS activist and educator who passed away in July 2006, was one of the original founders the banquet, among the largest single-night gathering of trans folk and friends in the nation.

This year’s banquet, set for April 14, 6:30 p.m., at the Westchase Hilton, is dedicated to Thomas’ memory and is headlined by her friend and fellow equal rights activist Ray Hill. Some proceeds from ticket sales ($50-$60) benefit the scholarship fund established by Peggy and Melanie Rudd, which helps fund higher education for transgender-identified students. Details: www.htuc.org.

SWING YOUR PARTNER. Those who caught Southern Country’s recent set at the LUEY Weekend Show of Shows know the local country western dance troupe has become a terpsichorean force to be reckoned with in its 16 years of boot scootin’. The troupe kicks up its heels once again for the 15th Annual Sweethearts In Texas Spring Fling Hoedown, April 13 and 14, 7-9 p.m., at Brazos River Bottom. The weekend features dance exhibitions by the troupe, open dancing by the audience, and a raffle benefiting PWA Charities and AssistHers. Details: www.southerncountryhouston.com.

SAVE US. The Imperial Court of Houston raises concern for the sinner and the sin when the group presents its 2nd annual Rainbow Revival of the Mary’s…Naturally Holy Rollin’ Salvation Revelers on April 29. The noon “service,” held at Mary’s…Naturally, consecrated by Jimmy Carper, Judy Reeves, Craig Farrell, Sara Sjolander, and other heavenly beings, benefits Legacy Community Health Services drug assistance program and the Lexy Bowen Community Fund. Details: www.spacecityempire.org.

Earlier in the month, ICOH holds an additional benefit event supporting Legacy—an art show at Eastman-Smith Gallery. The opening reception is April 12, followed by an evening with the artists on April 20, which will also feature entertainment by Ginger Vitis and friends.

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