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houston events calendar: august 31 – september 7, 2015

2015 August 30
by dena

houston events calendar 8 31 9 7 2015there are so many exciting things happening this week. and what the heck new friends in my life! if i danced with you + introduced you to tout suite lets go dancing again // if you’re an old middle school friend – so glad we ran into each other twice in two days // if you’re my black hole sunday night buddy yay for all the hanging out we did this past weekend // if i saw your comedy show the other night. it laughed so hard and am so glad i went // if you go to barbs with me on the reg please oh please lets go again soon // if you were out of town last weekend and are leaving again in a few days – lets have blue bell at your place this week // if i met you on the blue sofa facing south, submit another story to grown up storytime so i can hear it // if you’re the dreamboat i met while traveling thanks for the out of the blue text, really made me day! // if you mean so SO much to me let me stay in your life!

blah blah. labor day weekend EVENTS TIME:

monday august 31, 2015:


tuesday september 1, 2015:

wednesday september 2, 2015:

thursday september 3, 2015:

friday september 4, 2015

saturday september 5, 2015:

sunday september 6, 2015:

monday september 7, 2015:

on going events this week:

as always, please email me // leave a comment if you have another event you want me to post. i’d love to hear about anything i may have missed!


driving to tennessee // mammoth cave national park

2015 August 29

IMG_9306ok so ima just  keep on truckin with this post-trip blog posts. hope y’all don’t mind. i know i love hearing about behind the scenes things from my fave bloggers, and i’m sure i’m not that weird. so you probably don’t actually mind. and if you do, just skip them and just check back monday morning for everyone’s favorite the weekly houston events calendar! ok. blah blah. so i did the zen thing in kentucky and made the friend in louisville. that was the first 6 days. then i rented a car (want to know how old i am – let me just say i’m not yet 25 – which le SUCKS in the world of rental car agencies. i’m talkin’ bout an additional $25 a day. what WHAT. dumb.) so i did that and started driving south tuesday morning. HELLO tennessee. (well almost, you’ll actually have to wait for the next post for the tennessee-ness) i knew i was going to the grand ole opry in nashville wednesday night, so i made a spotify playlist of all the artists i’d be hearing and played it during my drive. i’m so good! and i now know i LOVE the secret sisters. (i probably listened to their song “tennessee me” at least 4 times a day)

somewhere before i reached tennessee but after i switched over from eastern to central time zones (that was such a hard brain thing for me to grasp) i stopped at mammoth cave national park. lemme just say mammoth cave is the longest cave system in the world with 400+ miles of surveyed passageways. it was very cool and also lit-er-ally cool. i took a tour and luckily i always have a cardigan in my bag but dang me, i didn’t really think about how cold it’d be and yikes, shorts were a bad idea. this tour was the first “thing” i did by myself on the trip. every few minutes i wished i had a friend to turn to and make a face about all the freakin annoying familes and groups and couples who were also on the tour. i’m not alway mean // judgmental but me saying these people were “annoying” is just a FACT. i tried to make friends, but to no avail. honestly, this being the first thing i did and it not being the best had me a wee bit nervous about the next 8 days. (little did i know that this trip in it’s entirety would end up being one of my best  travel stories ever. eeepppp!) so point is, i did this and it was low key good // fine.


IMG_9290(there were some points where we had to walk bent over, and others where we shimmy through some really tight walkways. good thing i’m not claustrophobic. at one point our tour guide turned off the lights and it was literally pitch dark. caves + the bottom of the ocean are the only places were complete darkness can be attained. so that was cool.)



furnace mountain, ky: rock climbing

2015 August 27
by dena

IMG_9148on my last day at furnace mountain we did some chanting // sitting + walking meditation // and then had a group lunch where we could actually talk. it was a crazy cool feeling: not talking and then talking. i got to find out who i’d been sharing my room with and like what everyone’s story was. being allowed to talk after all that silence got me sorta “drunk”. i was laughing at everything and pretty much just like blah blah blah all during lunch. luckily everyone was in the same boat, so i didn’t come off as annoying – i don’t think. ekkkk! most of the retreat people left after lunch, but the cool kids decided to stay one more night. aww yea – in this case – i’m one of the cool kids. i hung out with the zen master and other staff in the secret “apple tv” room while watching videos of korean woodworking, gossiping about how the weekend went, and drinking burbon. i was definitely on the cool list!

after a little internet break, the zen master’s son // my friend clay // a 20 year old guy from a surburb of NYC // a lady who’s been doing her own “eat pray love” kind of trip and I hiked up a little mountain to do some rock climbing. i was dreading it – and actually wasn’t planning to do any climbing. but then my competitive self came out of right field, that compared with my plan to say YES as much as possible. so i did solved some bouldering problems – and never even fell on the crash pad! then i did some wall climbing and WHAT THE HECK it was so FREAKIN good and fun and cool and ioverockclimbingnow! (i just met a guy while country dancing at rudyards last night who is randomly into rock climbing and biking and nashville too – so nice to meet you guy – and mucho bueno dance moves. read my blog + ask me to go out again in real life. i think we might have all the things in common)










furnace mountian zen center: 4 day silent retreat

2015 August 24
by dena

IMG_9112i flew into kentucky wednesday afternoon and got picked up from the airport by a friend of the furnace mountain zen master (clay was his name and he’s something crazy, like an 11th generation kentuckian. very cool guy). turns out clay and i had the same sense of humor and common interests like lack of flossing, spotify, and simple BORING health food. stranger, but fast friend. not even kidding, i LOVE really uneventful vegan meals and turns out clay does too. (there were so many times during this trip that i thought “wow, anyone else i know would so not like this” but i did. so many things, like boring health food, were so me and so freakin meant to be) (i know thats kind of a vague statement, and i wish i could think of more examples, but you’ll just have to trust me) so blah blah. clay picked me up, went to his house in louisville, made some gazpacho from local cucumbers and then headed to the retreat center a few hours away. (wow eating local and practicing zen, i’m too cool for school. bleh)

i met all the people who live there and then stayed wednesday night alone in one of the log cabins. i used the internet, kept up with my snapchat (whoop whoop 56 day fire streak with nick!) talked during dinner and basically just hung out. then thursday came and i sat in the morning and then did my work excange chores. (my biggest chore was ironing the like 40million cloth napkins – see picture below) starting in the early afternoon, the rest of the guests started arriving and BLIP talking and internet and even journaling + reading (except i’m bad and snuck my david sedaris book during alone breaks in my loft room) were over and it was almost complete silence for the next 3 1/2 days.

IMG_9122our schedule was: wake up at 5:30am // 6-8am chanting + sitting + walking meditation  // 8am communal (silent) breakfast (oatmeal + toppings) // 8:30-9:30am work period // 10-12:30pm sitting + dharma talk (pretty much like a lecture with your eyes closed) + sitting + walking meditation // 12:30-1pm vegetarian lunch (four bowls  method and silent) 1-2:30pm lunch clean up + free time // 2:30-4:30pm sitting and interviews with zen master // 4:30 -6pm personal practice time // 6-7pm optional dinner // 7-9pm chanting + sitting + free walking // 9:30pm retire.

things i learned on this leg of my trip: being silent isn’t as difficult as you’d think. your mind is a very powerful thing + sitting still for any amount of time once your leg has fallen asleep is HELL. jelly shoes are a great alternative to rain boots – not even kidding. when talking/reading/internet is with held from you, meals become really really exciting. singing in korean isn’t all that hard. biting off hang nails is a great way to spend free time and actually something to look forward to in between 30 minutes sessions of sitting silent and still.





IMG_9266if i thought the log cabin i was staying in was exceptionally beautiful, then words can’t even describe the temple. it was incredible and by just walking inside the door i felt an immediate sense of calm.


IMG_9633(the second to last picture were taken on the long and winding road to the retreat center. the center is located on the edge of daniel boone national forest // foot hills of the appalachin/great smokey mountains and the drive way out of the world beautiful. and the last one is a picture of this little shanty shack i saw while driving, clay said no one actually lives there but i could have sworn i saw someone staring at me from the cracked door. it was super spooky.)

if you’re interested at all in doing a zen retreat i so SO recommend furnace mountain. talk to me in real life // email me and i’ll answer all your questions + talk you into taking your next trip here. it was an very rewarding way to spend a few days in the mountains.

also – get ready for a rock climbing post + a few days in NASHVILLE post coming later this week.


houston events calendar: august 24 – 30, 2015

2015 August 24

houston events calendar august 24 30 2015

i’m home i’m home and so ready to get back into the swing of going to houston things again. traveling is such a, literally awesome thing, but i always expect things like friends + events to stay on hold until i come back home, but they don’t, they keep moving and evolving while you’re gone and it’s weird to come home to. things aren’t usually where you left them and it takes a little while to get the gears back on track and find the place you fit again. point is this calendar is going to help me feel grounded this week and there are so many good things happening – so yay to seeing y’all out there. also – what the heck the lastpegstar show at fitz looks so SO good. i bought a ticket on a whim last night, so thought i’d ask, anyone from the internet want to go with me? (also like this photo? it’s me at my zen retreat center – keep checking back here for more kentucky + tennessee trip posts this week)

monday august 24, 2015:

tuesday august 25, 2015:

wednesday august 26, 2015:

thursday august 27, 2015:

  • cultured cocktails benefitting blaffer art museum . boheme . 5-7pm . FREE
  • woodworking basics: simple table . houston makerspace . 6-8pm . $$
  • live music: def perception + kyle hubbard . the nightingale room . 7pm . FREE
  • film and psychoanalysis: redderless . the jung center . 7-9:30pm . FREE
  • dollie barnes + the lories + lomelda . ladybirds . 8pm . FREE
  • larry gatlin & the gatlin brothers (the guys who sing that old country song: “houston, houston means i’m one day closer to you”) miller outdoor theatre . 8pm . FREE
  • escape: a love street (as in the karbach beer) psychedelic trip out night . johnny’s gold brick 2518 yale st . 8pm . FREE (music + beer + food)
  • poison pen reading series . poison girl . 8:30pm . FREE

friday august 28, 2015:

  • dj baby roo . mkt bar . 6-9pm . FREE
  • writespace presents our space reading . rudyards . 6:30pm . FREE
  • critical mass . market square park . 7pm . FREE
  • chubby checker & the wildcats . miller outdoor theatre . 8pm . FREE

saturday august 29, 2015:

  • yoga . discovery green . 9am . FREE
  • haunted house tryouts . screamworld scream park . 10am – 12noon . FREE
  • houston tiny houses community potluck . 4466 billy st . 12:30am – 12noon . FREE
  • lecture: betsy greer . houston center for contemporary craft . 2pm . FREE
  • comix gauntlet 2015 showcase & book release (related to zine fest-ness) . alabama song . 7pm . FREE
  • pegstar’s final show at fitzgeralds with ALL THE GOOD LOCAL BANDS! . fitz . 7pm . $5+  (buy them in advance online)
  • handel’s music + royal fireworks . miller outdoor theatre . 8pm . FREE

sunday august 30, 2015:

on going events:

  • play: the university of tamarie . catastrophic theatre . wednesday // thursday // friday // saturday . 8pm . $pay-what-you-can$ (i saw it before my trip and it’s SO GOOD and SO FUNNY)

kentucky + tennessee: places i stayed

2015 August 21
by dena


furnace mountian zen retreat center // furnace mountain, ky (far east – near lexington)


 with a new friend who picked me up from the airport : knoxville, ky


with a future roommate of a good friend of a new coworker : nashville, tn


 with a new friend i met country dancing at the 5 spot : nashville, tn


with a friend of some family friends : knoxville, ky

i got back tuesday night, from a 2 week trip through kentucky + tennessee. i had some United miles i had to use up, and since i’m a teacher with august off i did a crazy thing where i just bought a ticket to knoxville, KY and went. i had one thing planned, a 5 day mostly silent zen buddhist retreat on furnance mountian, KY. i knew the Zen Master (bleh. threw up a little in my mouth hearing my self say that) from some teacher stuff in houston and had always kind of dreamed of visiting him and his retreat center. a thing about me is that this summer, after ending a big deal relationship, i started wearing a toe ring, reading a lot more poetry, and got really into the idea of “mountain” in general. (if you brain works like mine, you’d get it. if not. sorry, i’m a little bit crazy and don’t even know where to start to explain). so when i found out the dreamy zen center was called “furnace mountain” i knew it was meant to be. that combined with the blue moon the weekend before i left (“blue moon of kentucky keep on shining” … the elvis song? anyone?) yep. it was a sign. i needed to go on a two week road trip to two states (i’d only been to as a child), and i needed to go by myself with only one person i sort of knew to meet up with. besides that i’d find sofas to sleep on while there. and oh and rent a car, yep that was a first. point is i made myself say YES as much as possible and practically lived outside my comfort zone for the whole 14 days and my gosh i met some great people and had the best time imaginable. intrigued? want to see more pictures? check back tomorrow – i have quite a few posts lined up.

hello houston, i’m home

2015 August 20
by dena

IMG_9486hi hi hi hi houston! i’m home. and although i’m still kinda stuck in that sweet space between wanderlust and real life it’s so good to be back to the rainy muggy flat concrete city where i see familiar faces everywhere i go. (oh hey there girl who works at black hole who i saw at the walter’s show last night and then was brave enough to talk to while getting my cajeta latte this morning) There are no mountains in houston, but at least the driveways are all flat and meth isn’t a problem (at least not in “my” houston) and there is still the moon and more hip coffee shops than all of kentucky + tennessee combined. and maybe there aren’t as many taco bells (what was up with that?) but there is LONE STAR and that’s all i really need! and country dancing. turns out tennessee is all about classic country music and culture, but texas is for dancing they all told me.

not really sure how i’m going to post ALL the pictures you KNOW i took while driving around Appalachia by myself for two weeks (hello self-timmer beeps). but get ready because i have a lot to say and a lot to share and if you know me in real life you’ll want to see these – and if you don’t actually know me you still might, because it was an awesome adventure and everyone loves looks at other people on the internet. so blah blah. here we go!

houston events calendar: august 3 – 9, 2015

2015 August 3
by dena

houston events calendar august 3 9 2015

hi hi. just want to give y’all a heads up: i’m going on a solo trip to kentucky + tennessee for 2 weeks and ehh, there’s something about doing a houston events calendar while in another city that doesn’t feel right. but if i find time // am missing houston oh so much i might do at least an abbreviated one. until then MISS ME and wish we lots of free room + board and public transportation and if you have any KY // TN connections email me please.

monday august 3, 2015:

  • houston texans training camp . reliant statium . 6-9pm . (i don’t like sports, but since my cousin is playing for the texans now …) . $20ish

tuesday august 4, 2015:

  • transition houston meeting . live oaks friends meeting house . 6:30pm . FREE
  • yoga . discovery green . 6:30pm . FREE
  • neo benshi 11 . PJs sport bar . 8pm . $5 (i’m going out of town and this is LITERALLY going to be the first neo-benshi i’ve missed. go and ENJOY)

wednesday august 5, 2015:

thursday august 6, 2015:

friday august 7, 2015:

saturday august 8, 2015:

sunday august 9, 2015;

on going events this week:


houston events calendar: july 27 – august 2, 2015

2015 July 26
by dena

houston events calendar july 27 august 2 2015

i’ve been meeting more and more people in real life who, turns out, know about my blog and read the events calendar. since a thing i like about me + my blog is how local  it is, i think i’m going to stop holding back with the “shout-outs”. i mean, who doesn’t like being vaguely (or possibly even boldly) referred to on the internet. so here we go!

this week’s events calendar goes out to the bass player of The Trimms – y’alls show at JeffFest this past saturday was so SO freakin good. i haven’t danced that hard at a show in a long time. and thanks for playing Jolene out of order for me upon my request. lastly – keep reading my blog and let me know if you have any good shows you want me to post!

monday july 27, 2015:

  • comedy open mic . Rudyards . 8pm . FREE

tuesday july 28, 2015:

wednesday july 29, 2015:

thursday july 30, 2015:

friday july 31, 2015:

  • in-store: roxy roca . cactus music . 5:30pm . FREE
  • art opening . art league . 6pm . FREE*
  • art opening . CAMH (but maybe it’s sight specific thing at the bayou?) . 6:30 – 9pm . FREE*
  • critical mass . meet at market square park . 7pm . FREE (you going kelly?)
  • fat tony dj set . the commoner . 10pm .

saturday august 1, 2015:

saunday august 2, 2015:

on going events this week:

  • houston Shakespeare festival . miller . friday // saturday // sunday . 8:30pm . FREE (this is makenzie’s dream date event – so if you like her ask her out and take her!)
  • play (theatrical performance…) the whale; or, moby-dick . buffalo bayou silos 351 n st charles st . wednesday // thursday // friday // saturday . 8pm . $24 – 35*
  • play: the university of tamarie . catastrophic theatre . wednesday // thursday // friday // saturday . 8pm . pay-what-you-can . (i’m going on wedneday!)*

(another thing i’m going to bring back, thanks for chris pollard who complained about it’s absence, is the good ol’ astericks. i’ll put a ” * ” after event listings that i’m going to try hard to make. that way you know what’s A.) what’s really worth going to and B.) where i’ll be if you know me in real life and want to hang out or don’t know me and want to meet me!)


waterballoons part 6

2015 July 25
by dena

IMG_9078i first stumbled upon this waterballoon sub-culture a month or two ago on facebook. it was a recommended event, and i thought why the heck not post it on my events calendar. (there’s hardly ever anything good happening on sunday afternoon). i stopped by the waterballoons part 5 event at menil park to kill some time before an interview i had for a new houston podcast (more on that when the editing’s done and it’s posted) and holy holy. there was literally one million people and all of them had one million waterballoons and there was music and a tarp for slip n’ sliding and it was one huge party. it was the coolest thing i’d seen in a long long time. i love things where lots of individuals get to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

this one, waterballoons part 6, hosted at ervan chew // dunlavy park onjuly 12th, was less impressive than the pervious one but still a cool thing. makenzie went with me, she didn’t realize it was a BYO-waterballons and, hence her face in the last picture, was disappointed she couldn’t participate.