Public Program

Sounds to Live By: Sun Songs

Outdoor music selected by Jamal Cyrus, Peter Lucas, and Flash Gordon Parks

Bring your picnic blankets and join the Menil on the Summer Solstice for outdoor music on the museum’s lawn. Visual artist Jamal Cyrus, arts organizer, curator, and writer Peter Lucas, and DJ and musicologist Jason Woods (aka Flash Gordon Parks) will be spinning an eclectic mix of music in celebration of the sun and light, selected especially for a communal outdoor experience.

Music is important to the personal lives and creative processes of these three figures in Houston’s creative community, and they’ve come together for the simple, healing act of collective listening as we usher in new light. The music will be played on speakers, as well as broadcast on a limited-range FM radio signal to be heard live on portable radios.

Attending the program:

The event will take place on the lawn of the main building located at 1533 Sul Ross Street. Please bring your own picnic blankets or lawn chairs; seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Although it is not necessary, you’re invited to bring a portable FM radio. Guests are required to abide by the museum’s COVID-19 safety protocols by maintaining social distance (at least 6 feet between each household) and wearing a face mask that covers their nose and mouth unless eating or drinking. Additional green space policies apply. Further information regarding accessibility and parking can be found here.

About the performers:

Jamal Cyrus is a visual artist known for his conceptual, interdisciplinary practice exploring historical gaps, trajectories of Black political movements, and creative flow within the African diaspora. He has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, including recent shows Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2020) and Direct Message: Art, Language and Power, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2019). Cyrus is also a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones and Associates.

Peter Lucas is an independent curator and arts organizer with a particular interest in exploring various intersections of art forms and ideas. He is the founder of the Jazz On Film program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the annual ByDesign festival in Seattle. He has also organized numerous exhibitions, film screenings, and public programs in association with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Menil Collection, Aurora Picture Show, Northwest Film Forum, and the Seattle International Film Festival. Lucas is also an active artist, writer, podcaster, and occasional DJ.

Jason Woods, aka Flash Gordon Parks, is an ethnomusicologist and DJ whose practice of collection, documentation, deejaying, and speaking focuses on the importance of music history in Houston and surrounding areas. He has continually maintained several DJ residencies in Houston and for over a decade; has directed music documentaries This Thing We Do: Houston DJ Culture Revealed (2015) and Archie Bell (2019); and has lectured at such institutions as Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Rice University, and Art League Houston.