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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, highlighting one of the many pandemics-within-a-pandemic that has taken hold in 2020. Since the onset of Covid in March, victims are more likely to be trapped at home with or otherwise further controlled by their abuser, perhaps due to financial hardship, for example. One local author has released a memoir detailing her journey through and after an abusive marriage, hoping to give readers hope and shed light on an important issue.


Former Miss Venezuela, Miss South America and Telemundo anchor Carmen Maria Montiel has published Stolen Identity: A Story of Love, Violence and Liberation. She makes an appearance at Tootsies tomorrow from 4:30-6pm, where she'll sign copies of the book and sip champagne during a socially distanced meet-and-greet.

Stolen Identity English

The memoir recounts Montiel's 25-year marriage, which was riddled with abuse and betrayal. Once she left the marriage and began therapy, she realized that writing down her experiences helped her process her emotions, and eventually compiled her stories into a book."Stolen Identity gives people a look inside the life of someone who was experiencing physical and mental abuse," she says. "My goal is for others to understand that this can happen to anyone. I want people who are in these situations to seek help from professionals or loved ones. The best thing someone can do is get themselves out of the situation so they can take back their life."

Montiel moved to the U.S. in the late 1980s after a series of pageant wins in her home country of Venezuela, which led to a successful broadcast journalism career in both Venezuela and the States. She was an anchor, reporter and writer for Telemundo-CNN in Houston in the 1990s, and later ran for Congress in 2018.

Art + Entertainment

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

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Pastries at Cafe Leonelli

CAFE LEONELLI IS now open inside the MFAH's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the stunning new wing that first opened in November.

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Food

Abbie Preston Edmonson gives a special presentation this weekend

DESPITE SOME APRIL showers, there's still plenty of fun to be had! From art-centric and Earth Day activities to family-friendly fests, check out a rundown of the weekend's best bets.

LEARN FROM AN ARTIST Tune in tonight for an hour-long talk by ceramicist and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft resident artist Abbie Preston Edmonson about her creative process. She'll give a virtual presentation about her work and a special demonstration in her studio space.

Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez (photo by Kimberly Park)

TAKE A VIRTUAL PAINTING LESSON OR COOKING CLASS Be inspired by the great state of Texas during a virtual painting lesson hosted by Honey Art Cafe on Friday night. For only $20, stream a two-hour virtual lesson and make a series of stylized mini paintings inspired by West Texas and Big Bend National Park. Honey Art Cafe also has supply kits available for purchase for beginners or artists low on supplies.

And if painting isn't quite your speed, see what you can cook up in the kitchen! Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez leads a "date night" cooking lesson for couples on Friday at 6:30pm. Hosted at the restaurant, the socially distanced demonstration, which costs $150, includes a reception, followed by an interactive demonstration and seated dinner.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Join the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from 10am-4pm on Saturday for a fun- and information-filled day! Explore informative booths, nature hikes, fun displays in the Discovery Room, and Earth-friendly take-home activities. Or join Discovery Green on Sunday from 12-5pm, when the park will screen a series of short films about Houston's environment, host a panel about February's freeze, and showcase a live painting demo by local artists working on murals to decorate the park.

GO ON AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD ADVENTURE Fifty-one years ago, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely back on Earth after their famously harrowing mission to the moon and back. Space Center Houston is celebrating that anniversary on Saturday, hosting two livestreamed panel discussions with current NASA experts as well as Apollo-era legends.And now through May 2, local NASA and Apollo 13 fans can check out the center's new spring exhibition, titled "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," that looks at the legacy of the Apollo era through the lens of the engineers and astronauts who actually lived the experience.

FIND FUN AT THE INTERNATIONAL KIDS FEST Traders Village hosts Kids Fest on Sunday, with games, activities, interactive shows, live music, acrobats, magicians, clowns and more. Parking is $5, but the event itself is free, sure to keep the whole family entertained from 12-4pm.

People + Places