Menil Community Arts & Houston Indie Book Festival to take place Saturday, April 20

d39fbc83-ee37-401b-bee1-eba9d6043b59When: Saturday April 20, 2013  – 11am – 6pm (rain or shine)

Where: The Menil Collection Lawn and Menil Collection Bookstore, 1515 Sul Ross St., Houston, TX  77006

Cost: FREE

About the Event: The 5th Annual Menil Community Arts and Houston Indie Book Festival is a free event designed to highlight the diversity of the Menil neighborhood arts community through an afternoon of music, spoken word, yoga, literature, and visual art. Participating organizations include Da Camera of Houston, Inprint, Houston Center for Photography, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), the Rothko Chapel, Writers in the Schools, and The Menil Collection. Gulf Coast Journal, while not located on the Menil campus, joins forces with the other organizations to present the Houston Indie Book Festival that takes place jointly with the Menil Community Arts Festival.

Taking place in the area surrounding the Menil Bookstore, as well as in front of the main entrance of the Menil Collection, guests are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy live music in the morning and afternoon, readings throughout the day, two film screenings in the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, a print sale at the Houston Center of Photography, a pop-up outdoor bookstore featuring local and regional independent authors and publishers, and the permanent and special exhibits inside the Menil Collection. Additionally, food trucks will be serving up a variety of gourmet delicacies in the Menil parking lot on W. Alabama.

The Menil Community Arts Festival and Houston Indie Book Fest is generously sponsored by the Texas Commission on the Arts, New Leaf Real Estate, Sicardi Gallery, Texas Tea, Copy dot Com, Houston Press, Houston Public Media, and Sharp Egg Design.

Schedule of Events:

The schedule of events for the Menil Community Arts Festival & Houston Indie Book Fest is separated by activity, including Film, Readings, Music, and Workshops. There are also all day activities taking place such as museum exhibitions and art sales.


Two musical performances will take place throughout the day, in front of the Menil Collection just east of the main entrance.

  • 11AM – Thomas Hulten Hot Viking Dixieland Band – Presented by Da Camera of Houston, Thomas Hulten is principal trombone with the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, and affiliate artists at Moores School of Music and the University of Houston. Hulten has performed with some of music’s most influential modern artists including Ray Charles, The Temptations, Natalie Cole and Barry Manilow.
  • 4:30PM – line upon line perform Hughes Dufourt’s Erewhon – Presented by The Menil Collection, line upon line is committed to seeking new ways for percussion instruments to advance contemporary music. Based out of Austin, they have been called “the premier new music percussion ensemble in Texas and the South” by Austinist and have been featured at SXSW, Fast Forward Austin and the International Festival-Institute at Round Rock. The trio will be performing Hughes Dufourt’s massive percussion sextet Erewhon.


On the hour, starting at 12pm, Inprint, Writers in the Schools, and the Houston Indie Book Fair will present readings from various students, authors and poets on the Menil Bookstore Deck.

  • 12PM – Houston Young Writers Reading Series – Presented by Writers in the Schools, participants in their Houston Young Writers Reading Series will read original poems, stories and essays inspired by nature, community, family, history and art.
  • 1PM – Indie Editors Take the Mic – Founding editor of Owl Eye Review,Austin Tremblay joins independent author and poetry editor of Gigantic Sequins Sophie Klahr and co-editor of The Cupboard and short fiction writerAdam Peterson as they read their original works.
  • 2PM – Mat Johnson, presented by Inprint – Author of novels PymDrop, and Hunting in Harlem as well as the comic books Incognegro and Dark Rain, Mat Johnson is a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and is a Barnes & Noble Disover Great New Writers selection. In addition, he teaches creative writing at the University of Houston
  • 3PM – Derrick Brown and Jason Bayani, presented by Write Bloody Books – Derrick Brown is a noted slam poet and original member of the group The Poetry Revival, and Jason Bayani is author of the poetry collectionAmulet and a member of the Asian-American slam poetry trio The Proletariat Bronze.
  • 4PM – Bootown Theater – The non-profit theater company Bootown, creator of the popular series Grown-Up Storytime, will be performing a family friendly show that’s sure to get the audience laughing.

Additionally, readings, children’s activities and panel discussions will take place within the Houston Indie Book Fair, on the east end of The Menil Collection, including:

  • 11AM – 7 Steps to Bring Your Book into a Publisher’s Hands – Luci Smoker, author of Distortion and Retribution will teach writers the perfect strategy to getting their work noticed.
  • 12:15PM – Children’s Storytime: The Deep Blue Forest – Geraldo Olivo, author of The Deep Blue Forest and The Adventures of Papa Roo and Little Roo will perform a puppet show and an interactive dance session.
  • 1:30PM – Small Press, Big Rewards: Publishing Beyond the Mainstream – A panel session featuring independent publishing houses and discussing the advantages of working with an independent vs. mainstream.
  • 3:00PM – Glass Mountain presents: A Reading with Aaron Reynolds – University of Houston creative writing professor Aaron Reynolds will give a reading along with his editors from the nationally-distributed undergraduate journal Glass Mountain.
  • 3:30PM – Bat City Review presents: Claire Sylvester Smith and Jeff Bruemmer – Poet Claire Sylvester Smith and fiction writer Jeff Bruemmer give a showcase of the work of Bat City Review’s talented editorial staff.
  • 4:30PM – Publishing in Literary Magazines: From Slush Pile to Superstar – A panel session featuring current and former Gulf Coast Journal editorial staff members, discussing getting one’s work published in literary journals.


Two free, diverse workshops will take place at The Rothko Chapel and at The Menil Collection, perfect for families interested in learning something different!

  • Yoga at The Rothko Chapel

11am – Hatha yoga with Mary Oppermann

1PM – Kids yoga with Laura Calcaterro

2:30PM – Acro Jam yoga and partner-based acrobatic yoga with Jeff Newton

  • Writing Tours of The Menil with Writers in the Schools – At 1PM and1:30PM, Writers in the Schools will host 30-minute creative writing tours at The Menil collection designed for the whole family. WITS writers will lead participants on a tour of galleries in the Menil and use specific works of art as inspiration for fun creative writing exercises.


SWAMP will be screening selections from the 35th season of THE TERRITORY, their short film showcase series broadcast on Houston PBS, Channel 8, at The Byzantine Fresco Chapel (4011 Yupon St) at 1:30PM and 3:30PM. THE TERRITORY is the longest running public television showcase of independent film/video in the country. The half-hour 13-part Texas PBS series showcases new directions in film, video, and digital media.

All Day

  • Menil Bookstore and Information Booth – Start your day here to pick up a map and a schedule, as well as a beverage courtesy of Texas Tea. Then wander through the Menil Bookstore and browse their tremendous selection of books and gifts.
  • Houston Indie Book Fest – Completely unique to the Houston and Austin area, the Houston Indie Book Fest features a variety of nationally distributed literary journals and small-press books alongside local booksellers, book and magazine publishers, small presses, literary organization and writers. Panel discussions, readings, and children’s activities will take place within the area of the Houston Indie Book Fest, many focusing on tools to help independent authors succeed.
  • Houston Center for Photography – Collaborations X Print Sale – 19 students from 13 Houston-area High Schools are represented in this annual exhibition that is the final project of their semester-long Collaborations course, taught by HCP instructors. Each student’s prints are for sale, with nothing over $100.
  • The Menil Collection – Enjoy the contemplative and tranquil art museum that is at the heart of the festival. Featuring exhibitions “Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible,” and “Untitled (Structures): Leslie Hewitt in Collaboration with Bradford Young,” as well as ongoing exhibits.
  • The Rothko Chapel – Founded by John and Dominique de Menil, the Rothko Chapel is a modern meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko.
  • Richmond Hall – Dan Flavin Installation – Since 1998, Richmond Hall has housed the penultimate work by the minimalist sculptor Dan Flavin, one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. Except for an installation in Bridgehampton, NY, Flavin’s work at Richmond Hall is the artist’s only permanent installation in the United States.

For more information about the Menil Community Arts Festival and Houston Indie Book Fest, visit

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