The Legendary Art Car Ball
April 10 from 6 to 11
$25 in advance; $30 at the door
1200 Smith St.
Saturday is the 28th annual Art Car Parade. Over the years, this quintessentially Houston event has spun off a number of complementary activities that lead up to the big day; these days, Houston is graced with a three-day Art Car Weekend. As has become the custom, the festivities kick off this Friday with the two-decade-old Legendary Art Car Ball. (You can catch a sneak peek at some of the art cars—and hear a concert by Aaron Neville—on Thursday evening at Discovery Green.)
Presented by Arts Brookfield and held in the lobbies and courtyards of downtown’s Allen Center complex, this year’s ball will be hosted by comedian and native Houstonian Artemis Pebdani, best known for his roles on the TV shows It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Masters of Sex and Scandal. Mayor Annise Parker is expected to make her usual supportive cameo.
This isn’t your conventional gala—forget the restrictive guest list and stuffy, black-tie dress code. Instead, ball organizers encourage attendees to dress in their most colorful and outrageous outfits. Memorable costumes from years past have included Saran Wrap pantsuits, animal-costumed stilt-walkers, and hats filled with exploding firecrackers (don’t try this at home—or anywhere else, for that matter). If you think you can top those concepts, be sure to enter the costume pageant, which is open to all guests. According to Jonathan Beitler of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, the event's longtime organizer, the goal is to make sure everyone gets to be creative, not just the car artists.
“It goes along with the theme of Houston Art Car Parade Weekend, which is the freedom of expression and the celebration of the artist in everyone,” he said. “We don't want ticket prices or expensive gowns to deter people from having a good time. It’s a party for everyone and an opportunity to celebrate our own creativity and excitement for this unique type of art.”
The party will include the right kind of entertainment to keep the creativity flowing. “We are always looking for exciting, up-and-coming local and regional musical acts for the Art Car Ball, and we're excited to be showcasing some of the best talent around,” Beitler said. To that end, this year’s event will include live music from Austin’s T Bird & The Breaks and local acts Moji, Free Rads 2nd Line, and Free Range Reveleers. Performance artists and dancers will circulate to the beats of DJ Kangaroo Sexy and Prohibition Houston’s resident DJ The Grahamaphone. El Big Bad and Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails will serve specialty drinks, with food provided by Onion Creek, Dry Creek and Low Brow.
All proceeds from the ball will go to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art to help it keep the Art Car Parade rolling for years to come. Complimentary downtown parking for the ball is available at 300 Clay St. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, and can be purchased at thehoustonartcarparade.com.