HP clips, Outdoors & Recreation

Each of the clips below was originally published as an editorial recommendation in the calendar of the Houston Press.

Tai Chi by the reflecting pool, at Rothko Chapel
In many ways, Tai Chi is the screwed and chopped version of kung fu. A meditation in motion, recommended for young and old alike, the practice of Tai Chi helps get energy flowing. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll be bouncing off the reconditioned Newman obelisk and into the bamboo after a few Thursday afternoon sessions with Henderson Smith by the reflecting pool at the Rothko Chapel.

Goat Yoga Houston, at Butler’s Courtyard
Combining the cuddliness of a petting zoo with the stretchy spirituality of yoga, Goat Yoga is exactly what it sounds like, a new way of upping your oxytocin and expanding your breath. Goats, presumably cute and friendly ones, not the hair-chewing, troll-ramming variety, scamper and cavort all about and atop a small group of yoga devotees as they work on their poses and expand their compassion for all living things.

Yoga in Hermann Park
Whether you’re getting some sun after a difficult night in the Medical Center, or just cruising for a little mind-body healing, here’s some free yoga for you courtesy of Namitzi Yoga and the Hermann Park conservancy. Meet at the reflecting pool and wear your most comfy tightest clothes, for, unlike talking loudly on your phone about your business exploits or sneaking volatile emissions past the TCEQ on a rainy day, physical fitness is exactly the kind of thing that belongs in public.

Black Swan Sundays, at Raven Tower
If all that has held you back from your innermost happy baby is the want of a promise of an opportunity to drink yourself back into a corpse pose, well then, hop in peaches ’cause here’s your can! Every first Sunday until December, in all but the most threatening weather, Black Swan Yoga and Raven Tower present free yoga guided by a revolving cast of instructors. Bring your own mat.

Children’s Story Hour, at McGovern Centennial Gardens
This free, weekly story hour for children takes place amidst the verdure of the interactive family garden at McGovern Centennial Gardens, in the dappled shade cast by the arbors. If, perchance, enough children don’t show up to make up a quorum, the readers will just dig up a few cabbages from one of the raised beds and read to them to stay in practice.

Health Fest, at Discovery Green
Strike Gwyneth from the lists, or at least move her down to somewhere near the bottom, because good eating and a healthy lifestyle needn’t be the exclusive domain of the rich and famous. Nicole’s Garden presents HealthFest at Discovery Green, a chance for families and individuals to learn about how to feed a family the right way without going broke. There will be demonstrations of urban gardening and micro-gardening, eco-chic, and oodles of information.

Pollinator Palooza, at the Houston Zoo
The late, great American band Starlite Desperation had a song, “I Lost my Bees,” which like most prophetic visions prefigured bee-mania by months, if not years. Bees play a part in keeping us healthy, happy, and fit, insofar as keeping plants blooming and local honey on the ready for our winter tea needs. And as their habitats shrink, their population shrinks. Now, it’s up to us to prop up their little yellow worlds with some extra food-sources and chill-out spots.

Gotta Have Gators, at Brazos Bend State Park
A wetlands without gators is like Thunderdome without Master Blaster. There’s not much of a draw to cattails and bullrushes alone, and we’re way past migratory bird season, but throw in innumerable toothy, cold-blooded leviathans and you’ve got the kind of party that could be broadcast on pay-per-view. Granted, Thunderdome was terrible, but I never weary of the alligators at Brazos Bend. It’s a like a therapy session, except hot, cheap, and more satisfying.

Buffalo Bayou Walking Tour
Strange to think of our bayou as a treasure, but that’s exactly what it is. Perhaps it was an oversight all these years, but most cities the size of Houston have either paved or commercially developed comparable natural landmarks. Compared to the Thames in London, or the Seine in Paris, or even Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, our dear, murky, often aromatic central waterway remains positively primal, and the recent attempts to dress it up haven’t changed it’s character much. So come find out where the past laps up on the banks of the present at this guided walking tour.

Second Saturday Boat Launch, at Sabine Promenade Boat Launch
As this unseasonably cool snap seems to be holding temperatures down to the lower 80s this weekend, this may be the best weather until October for cruising atop the green glass of Buffalo Bayou in a state of ease and grace. Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers these sorties in thirty-minute increments, first come first serve.

Annual B-17 Gathering & Big Bird Fly In, at Bomber Field, USA
Timelords, feed your eyes. This convocation of radio control bombers and other military aircraft, and armored tanks, scaled down but properly mobilized, serves up such a vision of the American Imperium as could make Baudrillard blush. Squint, and you may see reenactments of battles past. Clear your mind, and you’re looking at a vision of the future.

Beginning Line Dance, at Mangum-Howell Community Center
You might dream of dancing with a star, and you might have a hunch that you’re a shoe-in for the job, and, yes, it might be that easy; all you need to do is bring along a star. The rest of us have to start somewhere, so why not here, at the Mangum-Howell Community Center when seasoned dance instructor Gordon Small presents this free course on line dancing for beginners.

Rain Barrel Workshop, at the Houston Zoo
Given both the great amounts and irregular frequency of rainfall here, a rain barrel is the perfect complement to any home garden, and a relief to summer water bills. What’s more, rain water collection helps preserve the quality of our waterways, estuaries, and ultimately Galveston bay by reducing the amount of ecological shock from heavy flow. Which may be why the Galveston Bay Foundation is sponsoring this workshop on how to make your own rainwater collection barrel. During a stint working at a bookstore, I discovered that Houston is crawling with preppers for the apocalypse. So, it matters little whether you fall in more with the Save-the-Earth or the End-Times-Are-Coming camps, you’re going to want to consider getting your own rain barrel.

The Highflyers Jump Rope Team, at the Children’s Museum of Houston
The fleet-footed Highflyers, Houston’s only competitive jump rope team could teach lead-foots far and near a lot about grace, timing, and team work. This troupe of hot-steppers from out west are nearly pre-cog in terms of their collective mind-body awareness, just think of Chevy Chase in Caddyshack, in a family-friendly mood.

From Port to Port, at Allen’s Landing
Ahoy, sailors! Do ye wonder what monsters lie in the deep? Do ye wonder what monsters lie in the shallows? Can you build a coconut radio? Guide Andrew Groocock leads this two-hour tour of Buffalo Bayou from Allen’s Landing to the Port of Houston turning basin in the Houston Ship Channel. Bring things you might want to have with you on the island, just in case.

Coffee and Classics, at Sid Mashburn Houston
Sid Mashburn Houston and Ferrari of Houston invites one and all to take a dip into the finer side of life, with some donuts and pastries, fine motor cars, and bespoke men’s apparel. This might be a pretty good way to start your Saturday morning, but it’s definitely a great way to end your Friday night.

Cards and Dominoes, at the Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park
There’s a pretty big gray area in the array of options between card games and dominoes, you could disembark a cruise ship in such a gray area, or pad that gymnasium-sized question with throw pillows, or install custom parquet flooring over the uncertainty for some social dancing. Whether throwing bones or counting crazy eights, a midday break for some social games of chance is sure to be a show no mercy affair.

Junk Hippy, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds
First of all, avid word freaks appreciate an idiosyncratic spelling, such as “hippy” here in lieu of the more common “hippie;” such choices shows pizazz, or at least whimsy. Secondly, the Richmond-Rosenberg metroplex is one of those magical areas that have eluded the bulldozers of time, remaining chock-full of artifacts and charm, not to mention charming artifacts, the likes of which will certainly abound here. In addition to the promise of endless opportunities for haggling, bargaining, and horse-trading, this extravaganza of a vintage festival promises live music and a primo selection of local food trucks.

Nighttime Wellness Walk with Hines Center and Urban Paths
Before the fireworks fly fast and furious, before the night fills up with terrors, Urban Paths Wellness Coach Laura Conely leads a promenade to tranquility, navigating the quiet dusk along the bayou. The walk is free, the weather looks good, so show up on time and wear your comfiest crocs.

Black Light Slide, at Sam Houston Race Track
Sluicing one’s way through glowing goo maybe an ordinary afternoon outdoors for many residents of Refinery Row, but on the Northside such fun is a cause for celebration. The black light slide is more or less exactly what it sounds like, an ultraviolet water slide, a chromogenic chance to get wet and wild with night breed and other like-minded souls.

Arboretum at Night: Frogs, at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Here’s the dream, you and a special someone on a balmy summer’s night, having a few drinks together, a few laughs, making memories, learning about frogs. Now, here’s the reality, you’re face-down in the marsh after having been sacked by a pack of Houston toads somewhere off the main trail while your special sweetie bats his or her eyes at the tour guide. Stay on the main trail lovebirds!

Burly Q Lounge: Houston Burlesque Varie-Tease Show, at Warehouse Live
An often retold joke from an old Bill Hicks routine involves a story about his meeting with tv producers who will only give him his own show if they get to see a certain part of a woman’s anatomy in a jiggling state. Well this jiggle fest offers a lot of comedy too. Kiki Maroon and her company know their ways around the old showbiz routines: they aren’t above wearing their cake and eating it too.

Game of Thrones Season 7 viewing and panel, at The Secret Group
It seems like eons since we last lost ourselves in the ponderous languor of Jon Snow’s eyes, but Game of Thrones has returned to one of those special stations on the tv for its seventh season. Depending on your behavior at your last family wine tasting event, you might be shut out of your borrowed family account. Fear not, comedian Kathryn Way and the Rec Room have teamed up to present a special series of GoT screenings, with comedy included, and a panel of “experts” (comedians, fantasy enthusiasts, and nerds), to bring you up to speed on Khaleesi’s new hairstyle, the who and the what we last saw in Mordor, the how of warging, and just what manner of Machiavellian schemes Gloucester is cooking up in his kitchen.

Aliens vs HOUmans: Interactive Art Show, at Warehouse Live
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I understand the entire scope of this event, which promises lazer tag, live music, tacos, costumes, and aliens. A few of those things challenge my comfort level. Not lazer tag, so much, which seems like honest, weaponized American fun. While I, like so many other people, am not sure if I have ever engaged in lazer tag, I have seen Tron repeatedly, I benefit from a vivid succession of false memories, and I share in the national enthusiasm for things that glow. Nor is live music the problem, per se, for live music can be many things to many people, and provided that everyone has proper earplugs (or wads of toilet paper to plug their earholes) there’s no real threat to the peace coming from that direction. At least tacos are for everyone. It’s the costumes and aliens, together in one place, questionably lighted, that worries me. How will one know who is who and what is what? That said, this could serve doubly as an opportunity to show off out your best Matrix moves and your best Neuromancer style, so gather all your cyberpunks and step lightly, the future may have arrived.