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Welcome to GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS! I’m Sarah Gish, an info-preneur and culture sleuth who finds the unusual and cool in Houston each and every week. Join me as I shine a light on special gems and unique Houston fun. I love this city and want to show you the people and the places and the events that make it great (see more about my wishes for that here). And I want to make it easy so I sort through the cornucopia of events offered each weekend and PICK only three for FAMILIES and three for ADULTS to recommend to you. That way you’ll be all set when Friday hits! If you’re new here, please read below for more about this blog and then check out my PICKS for this weekend, further below.


Let’s talk about live music on a budget in Houston (because: why not?!) There are some great venues for listening to tunes for little or zero dollars. I love the Monday Night Jazz Jam at Café 4212 – so much so that I wrote about it here. It’s been happening for over 60 years and has featured jazz greats such as Arnett Cobb and, more recently, Tex Allen. The restaurant Cafeza offers free live music Thursdays through Mondays and they have special Cafeza Sessions” on Sundays from 7-10pm. Sambuca offers free music nightly, 7 days a week – the only requirement is that you purchase something to eat or drink. The westside Italian restaurant Mascalzone has a “Live Jazz” program hosted by singer Tianna Hall on Fridays from 7-10pm. Emporio Brazilian Grill also has a great line-up of live Brazilian music every week. This Saturday, December 15, the local band Traveler will be performing at Anderson Fair (see PICK below) – that is one of the BEST live music venues in town! (side note: if you want to know more about AF, check out the film For the Sake of the Song). If you’re still hankering for spots to see live music, check out this list that the folks at the Convention Center rounded up for us. Yee haw!

For my readers who are parents: it’s time to do your shopping till you are dropping and to get through the dizzy days of school winter parties and prepping for trips or holidays with the kiddos at home. Hang in there! If you’re still looking for a winter break camp for your children, check out my carefully curated list here.


We are the most diverse city in the country, not only because of the over 150 languages spoken here every day, but also because of the diversity of events offered and places to hang our (cowboy) hats. Because of that, I decided back in 2004 to start sharing my adventures in Houston and my knowledge of it with others via GISH PICKS. And, since 2016, I have been bringing it to life with my PICKS-ON-WHEELS Facebook Live segments in which I travel around our city in my Phoenix Rising Art Car. Stay tuned here for more details! My adventures will sometimes be posted as my weekly VIDEO PICK in this blog.

A note about the social media for GISH PICKS: please LIKE our Facebook page for FAMILY PICKS and our Facebook page for ADULT PICKS. Click “See first” in the dropdown menu on the LIKE button so you won’t miss a post! And please follow me on Instagram and Twitter. You’ll get all my CULTURE PICKS and more that way. And there’s one last way to stay in touch with me: I organize many events, such as labyrinth walks and workshops, so if you’d like to be informed of those before everyone else, please subscribe to my Gish Creative list here.


Please be sure to tell your friends about GISH PICKS – the more people who know about these unique cultural events, the more unique cultural events the organizations will offer us. Please also tell the orgs that I sent you. My business grows by word of mouth so I thank you for your continued support.

And, last but not least: this blog is free to you, my dear reader, but it’s not free for me to produce. I pay my designer and I spend many hours researching, compiling, and writing GISH PICKS each week. If you have an event you’d like me to PICK, please email me and let’s see how I can help. With me on your team, you’ll reach thousands of Houstonians in a quick-and-easy way!

Have a great weekend and please love one another, please share this, and please – go IGNITE YOUR LIFE!

Picks for Kids the Weekend of December 14-16, 2018
Picks for Adults the Weekend of December 14-16, 2018

Deck the Halls Parade


Deck the Halls Parade is a sweet event in Westbury that started out as a block party organized by community go-getter Ember Mandell. She and her husband David and their 3 daughters have since grown it into one of the most anticipated holiday events in the neighborhood. Each year they choose a different theme; this year it’s “Parties – Celebrating Life’s Magical Moments” and there are always plenty of art cars, including my Phoenix Rising Art Car. Join the fun this Saturday, December 15 at 5pm – the parade starts at 5505 Belrose Street (see route details here).

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern


I was going to tell you about the Christmas Cruises organized by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, but they are all sold out (sigh). However, there is still a lot to enjoy around the bayou this weekend, thanks to BBP. They commissioned famed Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez to create a site-specific work for the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern (be sure to watch this week’s VIDEO PICK for a sneak peek!). This dazzling projection of continuously moving chromatic modules on the Cistern’s columns, walls, and cubes floating in the shallow pool of water on the reservoir’s floor are a mesmerizing exhibition of art. The light show will be on view through February 3, 2019.

Find a Christmas Tree Farm


I’ll bet you didn’t know there was a Christmas Tree Growers Association! There is and they are ready to go! There are several special events happening at places where you can cut down your own tree and they have a full list of farms here. And if you are feeling intrepid and want to grow your own tree, instructions are here. I can smell the pine already!



If you have not been to hole-in-the-wall Anderson Fair yet, go you must! It’s a treasured venue where legends like Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams got their start and it’s a place where owner Tim Leatherwood will refund your money and ask you to leave if you are talking too much. The focus is on the music and musicians and silence while they are performing is golden. The Houston-based band Traveler (comprised of my friends Andy Black and husband-and-wife Carol and Charlie Burrus) is performing this Saturday, December 15 at 8:45pm; purchase your tickets here.

Houston Boychoir


This Saturday, December 15 from 4-5:30pm, the Houston Boychoir will perform their free Holiday Concert at St. Martin’s Church. The whole family will delight in songs from classical to contemporary, all sung by the “Men of the Boychoir.” Established in 1962 as The Singing Boys of Houston by the Houston Independent School District, Houston Boychoir became an independent arts organization in 1991. Now HBC supplements academic and music programs in schools by providing a core curriculum based on state and national criteria.

The Flick


The folks at Horse Head Theatre Co. are always stretching the limits of theatre in interesting ways – performing in a historic downtown church or in the middle of a piece of forgotten land. A friend told me about their latest production, The Flick,” and I was excited because it focuses on the tension between the use of 35mm film versus digital through the tale of a broken-down, yet charming, movie theatre. I used to manage the Landmark Theatres in Houston (the River Oaks, Saks, and Greenway Theatres) and we only used film, which I will argue with anyone is better than digital. Tickets start at $15 and the show closes this Saturday, December 15.


Alrighty, I’ll admit it: I’m not always the most organized person (mainly because I’m so busy!) so I apologize that this year’s gift suggestions are coming at you late in the season. But I’m a big believer in giving presents year-round, so perhaps you are too – and this list will help you anytime. I want to first recommend that you SHOP LOCAL. Please choose the small retailers over big box competitors anytime. Their merchandise is more interesting and your purchases are not only helping the Houston economy directly but you’re also ensuring that we have unique places to shop. Some of my fave places include Brazos Bookstore, British Isles, Cactus Music (note: they’re having a Customer Appreciation Party this Friday!), the Cathedral Bookstore, Fundamentally Toys, My Flaming Heart, and Retropolis.

The Asher Gallery, located inside the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, has some great artist-made gift items – I especially like their jewelry. The gift shops at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum are also excellent. If you have coffee lovers on your list, order up some bags o’ Katz Coffee, a Houston-based brewer which has a unique “Coffee Cause” program benefiting local nonprofits and a fun Coffee of the Month program. Patrick Summers of the Houston Grand Opera just released a beautiful book, The Spirit of This Place, in which he argues that art nurtures freedom of thought, and is more necessary now than ever before. How about some supporting the Houston Symphony? You can still purchase some of their past CDs here. I just found one of my favorite boardgames, Houston-Opoly, in Walgreen’s the other day. It’s super fun and highlights all the great Houston spots I like to write about – the Alley Theatre, Hermann Park, the Orange Show, Buffalo Bayou, and much more. The game is one of MANY about cities, colleges, and more designed by a super cool company, Late for the Sky.

And finally, I have a couple of my gifts to hawk: I make bracelets for my IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project with sober teens at Teen and Family Services as well as “Houston Strong” bracelets for Harvey Arts Recovery – those sell at the Unity of Houston Bookstore and a portion of sales goes back to the nonprofits. And here’s a unique gift idea: give your loved one a one-hour or thirty-minute guidance session with me at Body Mind & Soul; I’m there on Mondays. I help people figure out their life’s purpose and also to untangle problems in their work or personal life. It’s a private “IGNITE!” consultation and I promise I can help anyone! Stop by the store at 7951 Katy Freeway to purchase a session as a gift and while you’re there, stay and shop awhile. It’s so peaceful.

GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS is a free weekly email in which I cull through the HUNDREDS of events offered in our city each week and PICK just three for adults and three for kids to recommend. It’s #GishPicks #CuratedCulture to help you plan your weekend! 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 Houstonians become aware of all the interesting and unique things they can do in Houston and the surrounding area. Exploring your city is a great way to #IgniteYourOwnLife and we are so happy to help you do that. Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things 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, family, and business 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 kids and adults through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS, which is online and emailed out to thousands of Houstonians who love to explore our city;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK® ONLINE, a searchable database of over 200 Houston day camps and classes for kids and teens;

  • IGNITE YOUR LIFE!, my art project and community campaign whose goal is to inspire people around the world to light a fire to their own passions and to create connections among people;

  • INTUITIVE GUIDANCE SESSIONS, which are one-on-one consultations with me at Body Mind & Soul on Mondays. Sessions are one hour or thirty minutes and I can help you with personal and/or work questions;

  • Quarterly “WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?” workshops at Body Mind & Soul, check the store’s online calendar for dates and more information; and

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

Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2018 Sarah Gish

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GIFT PICKS just for you! Video: Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez lights up the Cistern in a magical way Horse Head Theatre presents The Flick Houston Band Traveler at Anderson Fair Buffalo Bayou’s Cistern Art Lights Up Houston Boychoir’s Holiday Concert Deck the Halls Art Cars + Parade All About Christmas Tree Farms