Public Program


A neighborhood of art comes to life with the annual MenilFest and Gulf Coast Indie Book Fair to be held May 7, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Menil Collection campus, Rothko Chapel, and Houston Center for Photography. A collaboration with Gulf Coast literary journal, the festival has grown from a small gathering of local bookstores and journals to include writers, artists, presses, and music and visual arts organizations committed to preserving and promoting the arts and humanities in Texas and the Gulf Coast region. The schedule also includes readings and workshops presented by Gulf Coast, Inprint, and Writers in the Schools. Musical performances are presented by Da Camera. Free and open to the public, the festival is suited for all ages. For more information, visit menilfest.com.

The Gulf Coast Indie Book Fair
Menil Collection Lawn
Engage in conversation with local and independent artists, authors, musicians, and more all over the Menil Lawn.

Collaborations Print Sale
Houston Center for Photography
Prints by local photographers, emerging and established, will be on sale and on exhibition throughout the day. HCP is also, once again, hosting a scavenger hunt and food trucks.

Schedule of Events

11 a.m. – Writers in the Schools presents Blooms Young Writers Reading
Menil Front Lawn
Support young writers from grades K–12 as they read their original poems, stories, and essays.

12:00 p.m. – Bea Ying Projects presents Art in the Park (until 3 p.m.)
Menil Park
Watch as artists produce artworks stretched between trees in Menil Park.

12:30 p.m. – Inprint Poetry Buskers (until 3 p.m.)
Menil Collection Sidewalk
Seasoned local authors craft poems on-demand for the entire family at no charge.

1 p.m. – Da Camera presents Snapshots: Time and Place (Family Concert)
Menil Collection Main Building
Embark on a journey exploring a wide variety of music from different times and places. Come see and hear how these musical snapshots represent and reflect the cultures and eras that they represent. Although everyone will enjoy the wide variety of chamber music presented on this voyage, this concert targets students ages 7–12.

1 p.m. – Failure to Identify Poetry Reading
Menil Front Lawn
Join us for a reading featuring Larry Levis Prize Finalist Addie Tsai, Kundiman fellow Muriel Leung and Watering Hole Fellow Grace Shuyi Liew.

1 p.m. – Mythic Picnic: A Picnic of Mythic Proportions!
The Menil Bookstore

In collaboration with Dallas Zine Party, TOMO Mags, and Zine Fest Houston

Travel with us to a realm of legend, to a time when heroines and heroes of the printed word did battle against the forces of mindless content creation and monolithic book mongers! Take respite in our decadent caravanserai and celebrate DIY and small press publishing on the lawn of the Menil Bookstore. Lounge on our many fine blankets and browse an assortment of the latest zines, comix, chapbooks, magazines, and art by Texas’ finest—including the much awaited Zine Fest Houston 2016 Compilation Zine.

Sate your hunger on delectable foods provided by Phoenicia Specialty Foods. Delight in ambrosial nectars specially formulated for Mythic Picnic. Feast your eyes on a captivating topical video stream compiled by Houston’s Ella Egg Films. Indulge the senses in a special celebratory cake.

Come for the lounging and activities, and stick around for great battle to be waged between the realm of Dagorath (a Houston LARPing community) and the menace. Nay, the SCOURGE of the mythic past, THE FABLED HYDRA PIÑATA!

2 p.m. – Gulf Coast Presents: Speaking Our Truths Poetry Workshop
Cy Twombly Gallery Lawn
Somewhere in this world there’s an individual who needs to hear your story. Lucie Smoker, a Kindle Top 10 poet and freelance artist, will help participants explore the impact words can make in the “post-truth age.”

2:30 p.m. – Mime Performance
Julithe Garrett performs on the museum’s front lawn as a street mime and in the museum’s foyer, following his outdoor performance.

3 p.m. – Inuksuit
Rothko Chapel
Inuksuit (2009) is a work that fits squarely in the center of the aesthetic of composer John Luther Adams who said, “the whole world is music and all we have to do is tune in.” “Inuksuit” is the Inuit word for the stone markers that dot the arctic landscape and serve to guide the Inuit peoples on their journeys and also means “to act in the capacity of the human.” Throughout the hour-long work, the audience is encouraged to wander throughout the performance space, thereby creating their own, personal experience of this powerful work.

3 p.m. – Gulf Coast Presents: First Book Reading & Panel
Menil Front Lawn
Hear poets Erika Jo Brown (I’m Your Huckleberry), Melissa Studdard (I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast), and Leslie Contreras Schwartz (FUEGO), and novelist Benjamin Rybeck (The Sadness) discuss their first press publication experience, from manuscript creation and development, to promotion and marketing.

4 p.m. – Meta-Four Poetry Slam
Menil Front Lawn
Experience Houston’s premiere State Champion youth slam poets as they showcase their best work. Hear these poets perform the work that got them all the way to Washington DC for national slam championships.

Free admission.

Additional parking is available for a nominal fee at the University of St. Thomas parking garage located at the corner of West Alabama and Graustark Streets.