Houston Living: Artopia 2012

On January 28th the artsy, the cultured, the foodies, and the fashionable all came to the converted warehouses of Winter Street Studios to celebrate Houston's art life during the annual Artopia.  There was delicious food provided by local restaurants, continuous musical entertainment, fashion shows organized by Houston designers and boutiques, and all of this activity was surrounded by the works of so many of our city's young and talented artists. 

My friend, photographer Bhavin Misra, was there camera in hand, capturing the vibrancy of the event.  Bhavin kindly has allowed me to use some of his photos, which I now share with you:

Young talent at Artopia.

Young talent at Artopia.

Fashion at Artopia.
Fashion at Artopia.

Meanwhile, a freight train whistled by the converted warehouses of Winter Street Studios.
Along with the art, fashion, and music, three dance companies graced the stage of Artopia that evening: Talento Bilingue de Houston, The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, and Cuadro La Tempestad.  Judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd (and tainted by my own very biased opinion considering my membership), I would venture to say that Cuadro La Tempestad's flamenco show was the performing highlight of the evening. 

Flamenco footwork at Artopia.

Flamenco footwork at Artopia.
Gabriella "La Tempestad" dances Alegrías.

The flamenco troupe is led by dancer and director Gabriella "La Tempestad" (who started the show dancing an "Alegrías" in a red storm of ruffles), and includes Eya Tkachenko in dance, and Marisol Monasterio and (yes, that's right) myself in dance and song, with guest artist Valdemar Phoenix on the guitar. 

Valdemar Phoenix at Artopia.

Nadia Palacios Lauterbach of Cuadro La Tempestad.
We closed the night at Winter Street Studios in true gypsy style by performing a "Fin de Fiesta Bulerías" (literally the end of the party), but the celebration continued with an after-party at Sawyer Park.

Gabriella "La Tempestad" dances Bulerías.
Marisol Monasterio of Cuadro La Tempestad.
Eya Tkachenko of Cuadro La Tempestad.
Cuadro La Tempestad takes a bow.

Many thanks to Bhavin Misra of Userofreality Photography who photographed our performance and let me us his pictures.  All image by Userofreality Photography.


A Feast for the Senses: The Texture of Al Andalus

Flying buttresses at Sevilla's Cathedral.  Sevilla, Spain.

A visit to the Spanish region of Andalucía is a feast for the senses: the scent of jasmine accompanies us on our morning stroll, siesta welcomes us with the taste of sweet wines, and the cry of guitars serenade our evenings.  In my recent journey to the region I tried to capture the elements that make the ancient Al Andalus such a rich place:  the sights, the colors,  the texture, the sounds, the smells, the flavors!
Texture is everywhere in Andalucía, in the simple paving of the narrow, twisted streets of Córdoba's Judería, in the elegant geometry of Sevilla's Real Alcázar, or the stony swirls at the Plaza de España:

Calleja de las Flores in Córdoba, Spain.

Real Alcázar of Sevilla, Spain.
Plaza de España in Sevilla, Spain.

In the plaster carvings (yeserías) that adorn the walls of the Alhambra and the Real Alcázar of Sevilla: 

Yeserías in the Alhambra, Spain.

Yeserías in the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, Spain.

In the silver candelabra that light the Church of Santiago in Málaga, in the gold retablos of Granada's Church of Santa Ana, or in the regal velvet mantle that rests on the shoulders of the Esperanza Macarena:

Church of Santiago in Málaga, Spain.

Gold retablo at the church of Santa Ana in Granada, Spain. 

Our Lady of the Esperanza Macarena, Basilica of the Esperanza Macarena in Sevilla, Spain.

In the water that flows gently from the shadowed rooms onto the fragrant gardens, in the tiled roofs and the moss covered bricks, texture is everywhere, texture and light, and color, and smells, and sounds, and flavors...

Interior fountain in the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, Spain.

Pedestal at the Plaza de España in Sevilla, Spain.

Sevilla's Plaza de España, Spain.

All images by Nadia Palacios Lauterbach.



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