Best of Houston®

Best Of 2006

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Original Show

Leave it to Jason Nodler, the long-absent founding artistic director of Infernal Bridegroom Productions, to return with a bang. After spending time working around the country, Nodler visited the Bayou City just long enough to create his best original show to date. Speeding Motorcycle, a surprisingly sweet rock opera, which Nodler adapted from songs by Daniel Johnston, told the story of a lonely guy longing for love. Cult musician/artist Johnston, who's been written about everywhere from Texas Monthly to The New York Times, suffers from severe bipolar disorder, and his musical world is inflected with mental illness and the extreme loneliness depression can bring. But the story Nodler constructed out of Johnston's powerful tunes was uplifting. There was a disarming innocence to the show and wonderful moments of strangeness -- angels, undertakers and Captain America all came together on the same stage. IBP and Speeding Motorcycle got a terrific write-up in The New York Times, proving yet again that Houston grows some original thinkers.

Best Influx

We've heard plenty about the problems Katrina washed onto our shores, but we can't forget those magical months right after the storm when our city was flooded (yeah, we said it) with the sounds of the Big Easy. Kermit Ruffins, Lil' Wayne, Glen David Andrews, Corey Henry, Dr. Michael White and several members of the Rebirth Brass Band were but a handful of the folks who blew their horns and banged their drums around town in the days after the storm. The influx was bitter, bitter, bittersweet, and we're not sure how to reconcile that. But, hey, we've got to be honest: For a few months, this town was alive.

Best Happy Hour
Cafe Adobe

If years and years of practice have taught us anything, it's that happy hours end pretty badly unless you get some food in your stomach before things really get going. Otherwise, you forget to eat altogether (and we all know how that turns out) or you end up snacking later in the evening and get a severe case of the yawns. And that's why we love Cafe Adobe. The drinks might not be the cheapest in town, but the $5.50 super fajita nachos and $3.25 mini chimichangas do a great job of greasing up our stomachs for the long slog ahead. Next to the cheap grub, all the other perks -- the discounted margaritas, the hip clientele, the view of Shepherd -- are nothing but gravy.

2111 Westheimer, Houston, 77098
MAP
713-528-1468
Best Artist

We love Francesca Fuchs's breasts. We especially love that she had the balls (so to speak) to devote an entire show, "MOM," to them at Texas Gallery. All six paintings were different shots of a breast-feeding baby, seen from above, through the mother's eyes. But this wasn't a foray into maternal sentimentality: The works were clean, muted, formal. Of course, not everyone agrees with our assessment, as was evident by the whining that went down on the Glasstire.com message board after Fuchs scored the $50,000 Hunting Prize earlier this year. But we think that, for once, a group of corporate grant-slingers got it right.

Best Artistic Collaboration

Last year was a paint-splattered banner for I Love You Baby. The collective -- consisting primarily of Will Bentsen, Andrea Chin, Rodney Elliott, Mark Flood, Paul Kremer, Chris Olivier and Dale Stewart, but involving whoever the hell shows up on any given Wednesday night -- showed pieces at DiverseWorks and the gallery formerly known as Mixture. But what really got us going was the group's crazy-ass musical performance at Rudyard's and its drunken office Christmas party at Commerce Street Artists Studio. So when we heard the boys (and girl) had decided to take some time off at the beginning of the year, we worried that the group was about to go the way of the Beatles. Thank goodness we were wrong. Come May, they got back to splattering paint and beer all over each other once a week, and all we can say is, We love you, baby.

Best Sports Bar
Bubba's Sports Bar & Grill
Photo by HP Staff

A stone's throw from Memorial Park sits a ramshackle house with a roof that appears to be caving in under the weight of two enormous satellite dishes. Inside Bubba's Sports Bar & Grill, flat-screen TVs fill every corner. With its worn wood floors and stone fireplace, this neighborhood favorite has retained its homey atmosphere since being converted from a residence more than a quarter-century ago. The friendly waitstaff serves up cheap beers and the best chili and burgers of any sports bar in the city. Whether it's the Astros, the Rockets or the Texans on the tube, Bubba's packs it in with families who go to chow down and root for the home team.

6225 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007
MAP
281-888-4215
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Best Original Show: Speeding Motorcycle

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