Top Five: Houston Arts Bummers of 2010

While 2010 delivered some major art events that raised eyebrows beyond Texas, calling attention to Houston's rising status as an arts destination, we were also dealt some blows. They were mostly psychological wounds, and it's yet to be seen what the tangible impact will be. If anything, 2010's most disappointing arts stories got us talking, debating and evaluating the importance of things we take for granted.

5. Houston Central Library Closes on Fridays While usage continues to rise, the Houston Public Library was forced to make cuts in staff and hours. After a study of usage patterns, the City determined it would close the library on Fridays. Burgess Meredith's famous Twilight Zone episode seems more terrifying than ever.

4. Movies! The Store Goes Out of Business Film lovers collectively laid a big ol' guilt trip on themselves when owner Rob Arcos announced on October 12 that his beloved video store would be closing its doors indefinitely. While we acknowledge the convenience of services like Netflix and the still-to-be-determined impact of Apple TV, it broke our hearts to watch a cinephile's labor of love fade into obsolescence.

3. The Death of Murder By the Book's David Thompson Loyal patrons of Murder By the Book mourned the passing of the bookstore's assistant manager Thompson, who was only 38. Thompson was a successful independent publisher and an encyclopedia of the mystery genre, deftly coaching fans toward authors they should sample and generally acting as a consummate advocate for the mystery-writing industry. Murder By the Book remains a major murder-mystery resource and one of the top places for author signings thanks to his dedication.

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2. Angelika Film Center Closes When downtown's Angelika Film Center closed in August, inner-loop moviegoers were shellshocked. The best spot to catch an indie or mainstream film seemed to disappear completely without warning (even though the run-up of maintenance issues like A/C outages and poor projection quality in hindsight make us slap our foreheads like we should have seen it coming). The loss of a centrally-located arthouse cinema left indie cinemas like the MFAH, Aurora Picture Show and 14 Pews (formerly the Aurora) scrambling to pick up the slack (and bruising some egos in the process). A sign remains in the Angelika's former box office window, heralding the arrival of another cinema soon, and we hope--like others--that the deal goes down. Most embarrassing part about all this? There's still an Angelika in Plano.

We were shocked at the news of MFAH director Peter Marzio's death from cancer.
We were shocked at the news of MFAH director Peter Marzio's death from cancer.
AP

1. The Death of Dr. Peter C. Marzio, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston At the helm of the MFAH for 28 years, Marzio turned the MFAH into an internationally-recognized fine arts destination. During his tenure, the collection ballooned from13,000 works of art to 62,000, and attendance rose from 380,000 to over two million. Marzio had a major hand in the commission of internationally-known artist Cai Guo-Qiang's gunpowder drawing Odyssey for the museum's Arts of China Gallery, and the events surrounding the work's preparation, ignition and installation were some of the most exciting happenings in Houston this year. On finding a replacement for Marzio, Contemporary Arts Museum director Bill Arning said: "It's going to be hard to find anyone as dynamic as Peter, but he's built a museum that's going to be there forever, and his contributions and that legacy is a monument to him."


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