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Hands-On Houston Freedmen's Town Party A Mexican Pastorela City of Houston Tree Lighting About GISH PICKS About Gish Creative
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Greetings and welcome to GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, a free weekly e-newsletter/blog I created as a service to the Houston community in 2003. Please enjoy and please share. My business grows by word-of-mouth from people like YOU!

Is it fall or is it winter? The temperature has only dropped ten degrees and there are beautiful fall colors everywhere. But it’s almost December so my mind tells me it’s winter. Either way, I must admit that I’m dragging my heels as it gets closer to the long holidays. I need more time to get everything done! Is there room on my calendar for the slew of holiday parties?! What presents should I buy/make/mail? In the midst of the chaos, perhaps we all can make a pledge to do as Alexandra Stoddard told me via a magnet: “Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.” Wise words indeed!

What words of wisdom do you have for the holidays? Hop onto GISH PICKS and let us know. While you’re there, please LIKE our page and you’ll be eligible to win passes for groovy dance classes from Planet Funk Academy. This week’s winner is Miri Wilkins – thanks for the love! And if you want to stay up on summer fun, go to THE SUMMER BOOK®: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES and LIKE it as well. Believe it or not, as I write this, I’m putting together THE SUMMER BOOK® 2013 so if you’re the director of a summer camp program and want to make sure it’s in my book, please contact me. It’s looking great so far and will be for sale starting early March.

Ok, so we don’t usually get snow but we do have two outdoor skating rinks! Discovery Green has opened their annual outdoor ice skating rink as has The Woodlands. Always thinking of others, the Orange Show is kicking off the season with a toy drive and concert this Saturday, December 1 and the Houston Fire Department and KPRC-TV are hosting an ongoing toy drive through December 18. The City of Houston is also hosting a toy drive this Friday; see below for details. And this sounds fun: Main Street Theater is hosting an old-fashioned Christmas party this Saturday at 11:45am in conjunction with their production of “A Little House Christmas -- kids will get to make pretzels log cabins and bob for apples.

One note before I start PICK-ing: if you’re wanting to get some shopping done while your kids are out of your hair, sign them up for my special self-portrait art workshop, WONDERFUL ME!, that will be next Saturday, December 8, 10am-noon at Body Mind & Soul, conveniently close to Highland Village. It’s a great way to shop while the kids are having fun and getting to know themselves better.

Have a great week, be kind to others, and GO.FIND.FUN.

Picks for the Weekend of November 30, 2012


This Saturday, December 1, from 11am-3pm, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft hosts “Hands-On Houston,” a free craft-activity open house on the first Saturday of every month. On December 1, members of the Southeast Texas Gourd Patch guild will teach participants how to make a unique brooch by wrapping an 18-point gourd star with embroidery floss and embellishing it with acrylic gemstones. Families and children of all ages are welcome and materials are provided.

Before or after the activity, visitors are encouraged to see the current exhibition, CRAFT TEXAS 2012, featuring outstanding Texas-made craft, or pop into the Asher Gallery to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. The Craft Museum is located at 4848 Main Street and gallery hours are Tuesdays–Saturdays, 10am-5pm and Sundays, noon-5pm. Admission is always free.

Gourd Brooch

Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting


Houston Ballet’s Sugar Plum Fairy has been busy! Not only is dancer Amy Fote headlining Houston Ballet’s THE NUTCRACKER but she lit the grand Wortham Theater Center tree last week and this Friday, November 30 at 6pm, she’ll be helping out at the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting in the heart of downtown Houston at City Hall. This event is a holiday tradition of music and family fun, with fireworks, music, and the lighting of a towering 63-foot White Fir Holiday Tree, glowing with energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper. Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Review will bring their unique R&B sounds and smooth delivery with familiar favorites that include “My Girl,” “Papa was a Rolling Stone,” “Ball of Confusion,” “Just my Imagination” and more from the group’s gold and platinum record selections. Immediately following the performance, Mayor Annise D. Parker will be joined by Reliant, Santa Claus, and Houston Ballet dancers, who will use their magic to light the Official Holiday Tree and ignite a spectacular fireworks presentation perfectly timed to the Hallelujah Chorus from “Handel’s Messiah” featuring The Ernest Walker Band and voices from the Abundant Life Cathedral, the Gospel Music Heritage choirs, and others. Other exciting performances will include Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; The Biohazard Brass Band 323d Army Band, “Fort Sam’s Own”; and the MacArthur Jammin’ Generals Drumline, under the direction of Marcie Chapa.

Brighten the holidays for a child this season by bringing a new unwrapped toy to the show for the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area. Kids will receive a light up hat from Reliant and capture the spirit of the season at one of the festive photo opportunities for children and families throughout the event. Public parking is available in the Theater District Parking Garage for $7. And, by the way, I learned about this – and many other City of Houston news and events – because I am on their CitizensNet email list. You can also stay informed by clicking here.

Photos: Paul Hester/Akbar Baloch


If you’ve been curious about one of Houston’s oldest neighborhoods, Freedmen’s Town, join the street party during “Homes and Histories,” organized by Voices Breaking Boundaries that is this Saturday, December 1 from 2-4pm. This memorable free event starts in the driveway of 1300-1310 Andrews Street (street parking available) and features several individual artists from many cultures as well as the KoumanKele African Dance & Drum Ensemble. This exploration of art and culture will center on Freedmen's Town, a historical neighborhood located just west of the downtown skyline that was founded and built by enslaved peoples immediately after Emancipation in the 1860s. It will be digitally linked to Lyari, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi, Pakistan and home to a large Baloch community whose roots are in east Africa. From the 1300 block of Andrews Street and the African American Library at the Gregory School on the 1300 block of Victor, guests will experience VBB’s dome-tent packed with visual, digital, and interactive art created for the afternoon, as well as other spaces including The African American Library at the Gregory School, the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum, Freedmen’s Town churches, and more.

The production includes performances, exhibitions and opportunities for audience members to share their stories and engage with artists. Most importantly, VBB’s living room art production “Homes and Histories” will give visitors, local organizations, and Freedmen’s Town residents opportunities to share stories of life, survival, and identity as VBB explores issues of human migration and movement in Houston and Karachi, raising questions about “home”.

Snacks served courtesy of Whole Foods Montrose and Central Market. Yum!

La Música del Cielo (Music from Heaven)


Mark your calendars for next weekend, December 7-9, to enjoy a special production of a Mexican “Pastorela,” co-presented by Main Street Theater and Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). Written and directed by Peter Webster, La Música del Cielo (Music from Heaven)” is a Pastorela (Shepherds Play), a Mexican interpretation of a classic, popular theater-piece with music and dance, presented around Christmas time. Pastorelas, like the English Christmas pantos, present their joyful, profound message of Good over Evil in strong, primary colors with music, dance and comedy. Pastorelas are irreverent and politically savvy and only the Holy Family is sacred! As a special treat, everyone can enjoy a taste of a Mexican Christmas before each show, including delicious tamales and hot chocolate. The treats will be available at 6:45pm on Friday and Saturday and at 2:15pm on Sunday.

The show will take place at MST/Chelsea Market at 4617 Montrose Boulevard. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3pm and “La Música del Cielo (Music from Heaven)” is performed in Spanish with English surtitles. It’s recommended for general audiences. Tickets start at $12 and there are special discount for MECA members.

GISH PICKS is a free weekly email in which I highlight family-oriented cultural events, products or services. Please note that I "highlight" events, but I don't know if they are appropriate for your particular children, so choose wisely based on age, maturity and interests. I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help parents become aware of all the fun things they can do with their children in Houston and the surrounding area, so GO FIND FUN! Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things for your family and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, business, and family enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here.
My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston parents through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK®: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS which comes out annually in March and is sold at bookstores all over Houston, including Barnes and Noble; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, and ART PROGRAMS that cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, and activism. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone/fax: 713.482.7065

© 2012 Sarah Gish

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