Texas Center Celebrates Opening With Two-Day First Look Festival

HOUSTON, March 9, 2012 — Asia Society Texas Center will welcome the Houston community to its new home with an Open House and First Look Festival on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15.

Music, dance, acrobatics, art exhibitions, storytelling, and tours of the building will be among the offerings during the two-day celebration. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

The festival kicks off at noon Saturday on the Texas Center’s Festival Lawn with the first U.S. performance by Osaka-based Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai, a 14-member troupe that demonstrates traditional fire-fighting techniques of the Edo period (1600-1868). Performing acrobatics atop a 22-foot-tall bamboo ladder, Naniwa Tobi pay homage to those who battled blazes in Japan at a time when wood and paper houses made fires a constant threat.

The troupe also will perform dezomeshiki, a chant-filled Japanese New Year’s ceremony to ensure fire safety in the coming year.

Visitors are invited to enjoy more entertainment in the Texas Center’s block-sized Festival Pavilion. Highlights include:

  • A performance by Cameron McCarthy, an Aboriginal Australian artist and public speaker who incorporates the evocative sounds of the didgeridoo into his traditional tales.
  • A concert by The Mountain Music Project, featuring Nepalese folk musicians and Appalachian bluegrass performers sharing the stage.
  • An excerpt by Houston Grand Opera To Go of The Clever Wife, a popular Chinese folktale about a young wife who must rescue her foolish husband from a magistrate’s impossible tasks.
  • Texas-based Riyaaz Qawwali performing the ecstatic devotional music of the Sufi tradition.
  • Indian classical dance by Shipra Mehrotra, a Houston-based Odissi dancer and teacher who has performed internationally.

The First Look Festival also marks the opening of Treasures of Asian Art: A Rockefeller Legacy, a not-to-be-missed exhibition of 60 masterpieces from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at the Asia Society Museum in New York. Visitors are encouraged to transform their cell phones into audio guides for a richer experience of the exhibit, which continues through September 16 in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery.

In the Allen Sculpture Garden artist Lee Ufan’s Relatum – signal, a 2011 work commissioned especially for the space, will be unveiled.

Contemporary Asian Art: Texas Connections, an exhibition featuring works by pan-Asian artists, borrowed from private and public collections throughout Texas, will be on view in the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall and the North Gallery. 

Food trucks and The Stone Café at Asia Society will offer refreshments for purchase.

A full schedule of the festivities will be posted on the Texas Center’s website in coming weeks.

For more information about First Look Festival, contact Fritz Lanham, Director of Communications and Marketing, at 713.496.9909, FLanham@asiasociety.org.



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