Study: Free Press Summer Fest Brought Houston $14 Million

Only in Houston

According to the results of a University of Houston economic study released October 5, Free Press Summer Fest brought in more than $14 million to the local economy this year.

The study was conducted by Steven G. Craig and Evert Crawford, a professor in the UH Department of Economics and the director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the Hobby Center for Public Policy, respectively. Among their findings:

• More than 26 percent of the total 81,000 Summer Fest visitors were from out of town.

• Businesses and services affected by Summer Fest included food services and drinking establishments, facilities-support services, entertainment promoters, employment services, private hospitals, and even oil and gas extraction­.

Food and beverage and facilities support brought in approximately the same amount ($1 million) in labor income, but food and bev yielded almost a full million dollars more in output than facilities at $2.7 million vs. $1.9 million.

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Miss Mykie Named New 106 & Park Co-Host

Ms. Gray is a proud mama.

It is the first really chilly night of the year, and Gray is fighting a sore throat, but she remains firmly planted at the head table in House of Blues' Elwood Room. A waiter brings her a cup of hot tea with honey, and she is grateful.

"I hope this makes me feel a little better," she says.

Behind her, the wind chill blows through a tree's branches furiously, contrasting with the warm red tones of the Elwood Room and the funky tunes playing overhead — "Ladies Night," "Word Up," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

"Hand me that sugar," she says to a friend seated beside her. "I want real sugar!"

With a Cincinnati Reds baseball game playing on a TV in the room's center, the scene looks like one of easy domesticity, as if Gray's husband might come in at any moment and plop down with a nice cold one.

As it would happen, Gray is out on a Saturday night to celebrate. She is mother to another Ms. Gray — Mykel Gray, that is — who performs under the moniker Miss Mykie and has just been handpicked to be the new host of BET's music-video countdown show 106 & Park.

Ms. Gray is undoubtedly a proud mama.

Mykie enters minutes later; her bubbly charm and fierce, curly mohawk brighten the subdued red room. She's only been on the job for a week, but she already behaves like a polished professional, flashing a bright smile, a "Hi, how are you?" and a warm hug to everyone present.

But it's easy to be pleasant after bouncing from being a local talent to hosting a bastion of urban culture. "I feel blessed," says Mykie about being chosen as a host. "It was something that I didn't expect."

Mykie's road to 106 & Park began with a guest co-hosting gig in July. Once the stint was done, she came back home, thinking that was that, but BET had other plans.

"They had me come out three times," she says, explaining that she didn't know she was actually trying out for a permanent position.

The third time must've been the charm, for Mykie was finally offered the job. She joins three other cast members for the show's new lineup: Bow Wow, Kimberly "Paigion" Walker and Shorty da Prince.

Mykie currently flies between cities to tape, but she's planning on making a permanent move to New York soon. Altamese Osborne


The 5 Greatest Goth Albums of All Time

5. Christian Death Catastrophe Ballet (Cleopatra, 1984): Theatre of Pain was a great album, don't get me wrong, but Catastrophe Ballet is where Rozz Williams stopped trying to be some kind of beat poet and showed that he really could do some awesome singing. He was also doing a lot of mushrooms and getting into Dada when he wrote it, so it's deliciously surreal. Warning: This album is basically a gothic aphrodisiac. Don't put it on if you don't want to knock boots. JEF WITH ONE F

4. Siouxsie & the Banshees

Kaleidoscope (Geffen, 1980): Like Joy Division's Closer, released the same year, the aptly named Kaleidoscope helped set goth apart as something different besides strictly post-punk rock, with the added benefit of being a lot more fun to listen to. Singles "Happy House" and "Christine" showed the Banshees' growing command of popcraft, but with plenty of darker nooks and crannies ("Tenant") and odd instrumental touches — the clicking camera shutter of "Red Light," wheezing accordion of "Skin" — to go along with it. Elegant and mysterious. CHRIS GRAY

3. The Cure

Disintegration (Elektra, 1989): Somehow the Cure managed to secrete two of their best pop songs (and biggest hits) into the forest of despondent keyboards and guitars that is Disintegration. But strangely enough, lengthier meditations like "Fascination Street" and "Pictures of You" are just as melodic and captivating as "Lovesong" and "Lullaby." Eventually Disintegration drifts off into, well, "The Same Deep Water as You" and songs that grow to seven, eight and even nine minutes, but before that happens, the Cure has already made a record of stunning beauty and haunting sadness. Stick around to the end and it gets sadder. CHRIS GRAY

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