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(April 1st, 2015)

Jacqui Sutton and the Frontier Jazz Orchestra performs at Wortham Center foyer. Da Camera’s “A Little Day Music” series.

With Paul Douglas Chester (banjo); Anthony Sapp (bass); Max Dyer (cello); and Ilya Janos Kolozs (percussion).

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(March 29th, 2015)

2nd CD from Henry Darragh. “Too Much Monday”. Another triumph.

With Dennis Dotson (trumpet), Seth Paynter (Sax), Glen Ackerman (Bass), Ed Lowe (Trombone), Richard Cholakian (drums), Erin Fischer (guitar), and Melissa Darragh on additional vocals.

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(March 22nd, 2015)

Having grown up in Singapore, I am somewhat disappointing that I have never experienced this festival there. My first visual introduction to it was in Chris Kattans’ Bollywood Hero.

The Holiday technically fell on March 6th. But March 22nd was when local radio station Masala Radio sponsored an outdoor celebration.

The ground was still wet from the heavy rain the day before, but at least the humidity was low and the temperature was acceptably cool enough. I was warned that while strangers will be respectful and not douse you with colors, one will most likely not leave the festival grounds dry. Indeed, there were plenty who came in all white for that one purpose, to be blessed in technicolor.

The older folks wants to make sure you are properly celebrating with hugs of colors, and the children were more interested in splashing you with water (there were plenty of high powered water guns for sale….). The other “young and mobile” revelors were more interested in the dancing and making sure their friends were walking paints, as they should be.

I was informed on good authority that this 8th annual Houston Holi is way more intense than what you can experience even in India. With an estimated of 18,000 folks participating in an park area, I can believe that.

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(Feb 24th, 2015)

Caught up with the Southwestern Trail Riders at Rosharon TX on their way to Houston for the rodeo parade.

Established in 1973. Mainly African American Women Trail Riders. A 102-mile ride from Angleton, Texas to Houston. Like many of the groups that converge in Houston for the festival, they pick up small groups and individual riders along the route to form those very impressive caravans by the time of the parade.

“Black Cowboys”, a concept I was vaguely aware of, due to occasional sightings of them tending their horses north of Houston on 59N by the airport. It is a way of life, a very distinct culture.

While the Houston Rodeo Trail Ride started mainly to promote the festival on 1952, this annual tradition has continued as a tribute the the culture and a way of life that is still vibrant despite the onward of time.

And yes, I finally got to ride on a horse. One check off the bucket list.

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[Stage] Bus Stop

(Feb 18th, 2015)

A very successful production and run of Bus Stop by The University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance.

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(Feb 28th, 2015)

It is rodeo season in Houston, TX. A month long festival that features livestock show, competitions and musical acts in front of audiences that rivals performing at the halftime shows in stadiums. The Houston rodeo, was in fact, held in the Astrodome before moving next door to the state of the art football stadium.

One of the most interesting aspects of the rodeo is not the festivities held there. It is the annual gathering of trail riders from all over Texas. Some groups will ride out from 3 weeks away to be in town for the parade before riding back home. Along the way, they would pick up smaller groups, which is how thousands of riders and horses appear downtown during the parade.

It is a lifestyle that is still being practiced, especially among “Black Cowboys”,  and has no signs of going away due to modernization.

We caught up with the trail riders who had been camping at Memorial Park. They are dressed and on their way downtown Houston to the Parade. This annual trek along the Parkway among townhouses is quite impressive, especially while the 5K run is also happening. The colors are surprisingly vibrant.

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[Editorial] CNY @ Viet Hua

(Feb 22nd, 2015)

Chinese New Year in Houston, TX gets bigger every year. Perhaps not as intense as a traditional 15 day celebration in some parts of Asia, there are at least more than a few events for a good three weekends all around town — concerts, parades, celebrations, cultural activities etc. Dragon and Lion dance troupes are invited everywhere to help welcome the new year.

On assignment for the Folklife program, we visited Viet Hua. It has become a place to be the last few years for Chinese New Year celebrations. It host a 2 day event that features just about all of Houston’s Lion and Dragon Dance troupes and a new year market.

Below are a few images from a 2 hour window we were there on the 2nd day.

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(Feb 14th, 2015)

A truly intimate affair, featuring the magnificent Theorbo played by Michael Leopold and the Baroque Harp played by Becky Baxter. Ars Lyrica Valentine’s Day concert.

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(Jan 7th, 2015)

Jason Moran : The Rauschenberg Project-Holed Up (world premiere, Da Camera commission) @ Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center. Featuring local legend Horace Grigsby on vocals and visuals by Robert Pruitt.

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(Jan 24th, 2015)

Finally back shooting the festival after a 3 year absence. This year’s offering is Trioscenes from Germany and New York Voices.

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