Arts & Entertainment

Houston Area Events – December

Happy New Year!: join Cecilia Duarte (l) and Melissa Givens for a great New Year’s Eve party! Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Happy New Year!: join Cecilia Duarte (l) and Melissa Givens for a great New Year’s Eve party! Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Compiled by Marene Gustin

Film • Performing ArtsArt & PhotographyRadioAnd Other Fun ThingsHoliday EventsHIV Testing


Planning for December 31
The best New Year’s Eve party.

Say adios to 2014 with ¡Felices Fiestas!—Ars Lyrica’s (if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it) year-end blowout. The annual fundraising gala starts with a Spanish buffet-style dinner at 8 p.m. before the concert starts at 9 p.m. Ars Lyrica, known for it 17th- and 18th-century music stylings under the direction of Matthew Dirst, brings soprano Melissa Givens and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte for this New Year’s eve performance. Grammy-nominated guitarist Richard Savino curates this holiday-inspired program, which includes Spanish and Latin American Baroque classics that are sure to be magnificos. Afterward, continue the festivities with a champagne and dessert gala and silent auction, all at The Hobby Center for Performing Arts downtown. Tickets start at $36 (concert only), up to $160 for the full evening.

Not only is this about the most fun you’ll find in Houston for the holiday, but it’s a great way to help this award-winning organization raise funds for next year. (P.S. Ars Lyrica recordings make great stocking stuffers for fans of early music.)

See for details, tickets, and to order CDs. —Marene Gustin

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• December

Stop-Motion Animated Winter Break Mini-Camp. Youth filmmakers are invited to create their own stop-motion animated movie at a stop-motion animation mini-camp at Aurora Picture Show. See for registration information.

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• December 2

Jupiter String Quartet. At Rice University. See for details.

• December 4–6

Emerging Choreographers Showcase. This is an opportunity for the choreographers of tomorrow to present their work in a professional environment that is choreographed, produced, lit, and performed by the students of the University of Houston School of Theater & Dance. See for details.

• December 5

LIVE at the Eldorado. Come to the historic El Dorado Ballroom and see Andre Hayward and help support Project Row House’s efforts to restore the building. See for ticket information.

• December 6

Claudia Acuna. Da Camera brings the Chilean songstress to Houston. One night only. See for ticket information.

• December 10

Andrea Bocelli. The Italian tenor and global superstar returns to Houston for one night only at the Toyota Center to perform with the Houston Symphony. See for ticket information.

• December 13–19

The African Children’s Choir. This amazing children’s choir performs African songs and dances this month at Ecclesia Church and First United Methodist Church. Performances are free, but donations are welcome. Funds go toward humanitarian aid in Africa. See for details.

• December 27

Jerry Jeff Walker. Texas’s own balladeer returns to The Grand in Galveston. for details.

Click here for HOLIDAY EVENTS!

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• Through December 4

Visual Feasts. Shirl Riccetti’s energetic watercolors and acrylics reflect her travels and surroundings, at Archway Gallery. See for details.

• Through December 6

Acclaimed Exhibition on the Urban Playground. Traveling exhibit hits the Blaffer Arts Museum. Visit for details.

Buildering: Misbehaving the City. Fresh from its successful debut at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, this group show exploring the unsanctioned use of architecture and the urban environment is sure to be a big hit in the Bayou City. Visit for details.

• Through December 13

Miguel Amat: Dark Pool Knight Vision. The second fall exhibit at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston features this artist’s found and fabricated materials. See for details.

Box 13 ArtSpace. Four new exhibits at Box 13 this month. See for details on the artists.

• Through December 18

The Seigler Chronicles: Life as a Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Designer, 1956–1959. An exhibit featuring works by one of the Big Top’s greatest designers at U of H’s O’Kane Gallery. See for details.

• Through December 19

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft presents In Residence: Work by 2013 Resident Artists, an exhibition of work created by the eight artists who began their residencies at HCCC in 2013. See for details.

• Through December 24

CraftTexas 2014. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft presents this eighth in a series of biennial juried exhibitions showcasing the best in Texas-made contemporary craft. See for details.

• Through January 3, 2015

Ultra Black. Rudolph Blume Fine Art/ArtScan Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of this two-person exhibition by Mario M. Muller and Randy Twaddle. See for details.

• Through January 4, 2015

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 is pleased to present work by Houston-based artist Robert Hodge. Visit for details.

• Through January 5, 2015

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, 2015

New Mural. Lawndale Art Center has a new mural up by Otabenga Jones & Associates as part of a yearlong commitment to health education. See for details and other exhibits this month.

• Through January 25, 2015

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 January 31, 2015

Day of the Dead Rock Stars: The Great Gig in the Sky. This unique exhibit memorializes deceased recording artists from rock, country, jazz, and blues in honor of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. See for details.

• Through February 1, 2015

Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence. Organized by Menil director Josef Helfenstein in consultation with the noted Indian artist Amar Kanwar, this 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, 2015

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

• Through March 1, 2015

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 22, 2015

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

• December 5, 2014 —January 16, 2015

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

• December 6 & 13

Holocaust Museum Houston offers tours focusing on the life of German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. See for details.

• December 6, 2014—January 10, 2015

  1. features new paintings by Ellen Orseck. Presented by Nicole Longnecker Gallery,

• December 13, 2014—March 13, 2015

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

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Queer Voices.Features, news, music, interviews, reviews, and commentary. Monday nights, 8–9 pm. KPFT 90.1 FM. • 713/526-4000.

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• Through January 16, 2015

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

• December 2

#GivingTuesday. A nationwide movement to give back to organizations that enrich our lives. Houston Grand Opera is taking part in this movement to raise $200,000. For each dollar donated, a generous supporter of HGO will match it. See to donate.

• December 3

Business + Arts Happy Hour. Houston Arts Alliance business networking social at Sorrel Urban Bistro. See for details.

• December 10

Brown Bag Gallery Talks. Blaffer director and chief curator Claudia Schmuckli discusses Dark Pool Knight Vision. See

• December 10 & 17

On This Muddy Water: Voices from the Houston Ship Channel. Part of a series of events for the Port of Houston’s 100th anniversary. See for details.

• December 13

Second Saturday at Winter Street Studios. The artists at Spring Street Studios & Winter Street Studios invite the public to come by for Open Studios at Winter Street Studios every month. See for details.

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• Through December 14

Madeline’s Christmas. Main Street Theater presents this charming children’s holiday classic tale. See for ticket information.

• Through December 21

The Nutcracker. Houston Ballet’s perennial holiday classic. See for details.

Stepp Stewart’s A Soulful Christmas. This African-American tale is the story of two children who are taken on a musical journey one magical Christmas Eve. At Ensemble Theatre,

• Through December 24

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas. The Alley Theatre’s annual holiday classic. A fabulous production held this year at the University of Houston. For more details see

• Through December 28

Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold! The third installment of this holiday franchise is at Stages Repertory Theatre this month. See for ticket information.

• Through December 31

Holiday Can Food Drive. All month get $2 off admission to the National Museum of Funeral History with a donation of a non-perishable food item. Visit for details.

• Through January 4, 2015

Winter Wonderland at Moody Gardens. Visit the island for Santa sightings, 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, 2015

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, skating with Santa, 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.

• December 4–24

Ho Ho Humbug. Stark Naked Theatre Company presents its first-ever holiday production with this world premiere, a hilarious Christmas-themed comedy produced in association with Third Coast Creative. See for ticket information.

• December 5

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Bah humburg! Don’t be a Scrooge—go and see this holiday fave at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 5–7

Dickens on The Strand. A can’t-miss holiday stroll through Victorian England, or Galveston Island’s version of it. See for details.

• December 5–21

A Christmas Carol. A world premiere by Houston Grand Opera of the popular holiday classic. See for ticket information.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. A hilarious holiday play for the whole family in Montgomery County. See for details and ticket information.

• December 5–28

Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. An amazing holiday pageant you won’t want to miss! A special Autism Night, part of the Hobby Center Foundation’s Autism Theatre Initiative, is December 6. See for tickets.

• December 12–14

Very Merry Pops. One of the Houston Symphony’s holiday treats this month. See for ticket information.

• December 13

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Family Program. Embrace the joy of the season when this timeless story is set to beautiful music performed by the Houston Symphony and narrated by Mirron Willis of Houston’s esteemed Ensemble Theatre. See for ticket information.

The HIV + Aging Coalition holds its second Christmas party for people HIV positive and over 50. Meet at the Montrose Center, 401 Branard, at 5 p.m. for dinner, music, entertainment by the Debris Sisters, and gifts. Free by reservation, [email protected] or 832-396-4475.

Nutcracker Afternoon Tea. Bring the little ones to this fun event at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 13 & 14

The Nutcracker. City Ballet of Houston performs this holiday tradition at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 14

Houston Symphony Magical Musical Morning. Indulge in a musical holiday brunch for families and children of all ages that features an Instrument Petting Zoo, arts and craft activities, holiday shopping, and a visit and photograph with Santa. See for details.

• December 16

Michael Martin Murphy’s Cowboy Christmas. Gather ‘round the campfire for this yearly yuletide show at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 18–21

Handel’s Messiah. A fixture of the Houston holiday season, this masterpiece is a transcendent and captivating program, featuring the orchestra, chorus, and guest soloists. See for ticket information.

• December 20

Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee. Carve the turkey, turn the ball game on, it’s margaritas when the eggnog’s gone! See Keen live at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 21

Houston Children’s Chorus Holiday Pops Concert. Music for the holidays at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 28

The Manhattan Transfer Christmas Show. Harmonize for the holidays at The Grand in Galveston. See for details.

• December 31

¡Felices Fiestas! A dinner, concert, and gala on New Year’s Eve by Ars Lyrica. See for details and the article on page 00.

New Year’s Eve Party. Fresh Arts Winter Street Studios’ annual party. See for details.


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HIV Testing

• Daily (Sun.–Fri.)

HIV Testing. Planned Parenthood offers free, anonymous, or confidential testing at clinic locations throughout the area. To speak with an HIV counselor: 1-800-230-PLAN. Dickinson: 281/337-7725. Fannin: 713/831-6543. FM1960: 281/587-8081. Greenspoint: 281/445-4553. Huntsville: 936/295-6396. Lufkin: 936/634-8446 x223. Rosenberg: 281/342-3950. Stafford: 281/494-9848.

• Daily (Mon.–Fri.)

HIV Testing. Free HIV testing, with no Gold Card or donation required or requested. 9am–1pm. HCHD Thomas Street Clinic, 2015 Thomas St. • 713/873-4157 • 713/873-4026.

• Daily (Mon.–Fri.)

HIV Testing. Houston Area Community Services (HACS) offers free, confidential HIV testing with results in less than one minute on a daily basis (Mon–Thurs: 9am–6pm, Fri: 8am–5pm). No appointment necessary. 2150 West 18th St. (Heights area). HACS Testing Calendar with additional outreach locations: Contact HACS about testing: [email protected] or 713/426-0027.

• Daily (Mon.–Fri.)

HIV Testing. Legacy Community Health Services provides free rapid HIV testing with results in 20 minutes at the following locations on a weekly basis. MONDAYS: Legacy Montrose Clinic (1415 California St.), 11am–6pm; Legacy Lyons Clinic (502 Lyons Ave.), 1–5pm; George Sports Bar, 6–9pm; EJ’s, 9pm–12am • TUESDAYS: Legacy Montrose Clinic, 11am–6pm; Legacy Lyons Clinic, 1–5pm; Midtowne Spa, 5–9pm; 611 Hyde Park Pub, 6:30–9pm • WEDNESDAYS: Legacy Montrose Clinic, 11am–6pm; Legacy Lyons Clinic, 1–5pm; Walgreens–Montrose, 4–8pm; Club Houston, 6–10pm; Crystal Night Club, 10pm–2am • THURSDAYS: Legacy Montrose Clinic, 11am–6pm; Legacy Lyons Clinic, 1–5pm; Walgreens–Lyons, 2–5pm; Midtowne Spa, 5–9pm; Guava Lamp, 6:30–9pm; Ripcord, 6:30–10pm • FRIDAYS: Legacy Montrose Clinic, 11am–4pm; Club Houston, 1–4pm; Legacy Lyons Clinic, 1–5pm; TC’s Showbar, 4–8pm; Tony’s Corner Pocket, 4:30–8:30pm. • Legacy Testing Calendar:

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Have an event to submit? [email protected].

Info needed for your event listing: a few lines of info about your event; date/time; cost; location/address; organization name; and two phone numbers—one for OutSmart to reach you for questions and one for OutSmart readers to get more info on your event (can be the same number). Mail info to: OutSmart Magazine, 3406 Audubon Place, Houston 77006.




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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