People & Places

  • Chris Bell

    Comeback Kids!

    It isn't every day a politician wins the inside track to one office by getting beaten in a race for another. But that's exactly what happened to attorney and former at-large Houston city councilman Chris Bell, who turned a third-place finish for mayor in 2001 into a front-running candidacy as the Democratic nominee for the 25th Congressional District.The 42-year-old Bell… More >>
  • Dan Hunt, co-owner, TOC Bar

    Comeback Kids!

    Tropical Storm Allison reigned over downtown like a nightmare turned horribly real. How did the folks over at TOC Bar deal with the aftermath of this pernicious force of nature? With complete and utter denial. "We never closed," declares co-owner Dan Hunt. "We always stayed open. We didn't give people the chance to find out if we were closed or… More >>
  • Infernal Bridegroom Productions' Jason Nodler

    Comeback Kids!

    Back in the early '90s, The Axiom was the coolest hellhole in Houston. In a best-of issue of its own, Details magazine listed the bar (in its Catal Hüyük incarnation) as the punk place to visit when in town. Skanky, dark and perpetually sticky, the punk rock bar hunkered on the eastern edge of downtown and filled the night air… More >>
  • Astro Alan Zinter

    Comeback Kids!

    To a lot of people, perhaps, the scene was desultory: a mid-June game between two teams far below .500, the seventh inning of a 7-1 blowout, Milwaukee's Miller Park two-thirds empty. Houston Astro Alan Zinter waited in the on-deck circle. To the fans barely paying attention in the stands, Zinter was just another no-name pinch hitter strolling to the plate.… More >>
  • Gilbert Johnson, co-owner, The Chocolate Bar

    Comeback Kids!

    That's right, folks, chocolate's making a comeback. Did it ever go away? you may ask. Well, for most of us, no. But health-conscious types now have a new reason to indulge: Chocolate is good for you. A recent Penn State review says cocoa beans are loaded with flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant effects and can lower cholesterol levels and improve… More >>
  • Chef Mark Johnston and general manager Soufiane Elaamili, Charley's 517

    Comeback Kids!

    "Back in the '80s, people used to tell me I had the best restaurant downtown," says Clive Berkman, owner of Charley's 517. "I would laugh and mutter under my breath, 'I have the only restaurant downtown.' "Charley's 517, which opened in 1971, was originally an old-school dinner house, with waiters in tuxedos and a stuffy private-club atmosphere. But a succession… More >>
  • Best Shortcut

    Museum District to West U through Rice campus

    Take entrance no. 2 off Main, mosey through Rice campus and see what they've done to the place. Rice has one of the few college campuses that you can actually drive through without being accosted by the police or hitting a dead end every 20 feet. If you don't lose your nerve when you see the stadium parking lot (it's… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Enron Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow

    Andy Fastow was the creator of those infamous outside partnerships with the Star Wars names that diverted millions from the company to his family foundation and the bank accounts of fellow employees. After winning a conviction of accounting giant Arthur Andersen for illegally shredding Enron documents, government prosecutors have given every indication that they may go after Fastow's scalp next.… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Rusty Hardin

    After years of successfully defending local celebrity clients like QB Warren Moon (spousal abuse) and Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich (DWI), former Harris County prosecutor Rusty Hardin finally jumped to the major leagues with national coverage of his roles in the Anna Nicole Smith probate jamboree and the Arthur Andersen shredding trial. Hardin got so under Smith's skin during cross-examination that… More >>
  • Best Polling Place

    Minute Maid Park

    God bless that American tradition of elections -- those august times when the populace flows into frayed schoolhouse hallways or churches or even humble homes or garages to exercise their voting rights. But the downtown crowd, at least the Republicans, got a better deal on this democratic notion in the party primaries. While the lesser Democrats of the same precincts… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Carol Alvarado

    East End native Carol Alvarado has been crusading for other people's municipal campaigns ever since she could walk, and last fall she finally won her own place on Houston City Council. The former aide to Mayor Lee Brown weathered an acrimonious contest against two opponents to win the District I seat without a runoff. This success came to her despite… More >>
  • Best Republican

    State Representative Kyle Janek

    Kyle Janek, a West U anesthesiologist, knocked off former GOP county chair Gary Polland by a decisive 66-34 percent margin in the spring primary for State Senate District 17, effectively putting to sleep Polland's incipient political career. Janek also may have ended Polland's reign as political payout king of the Harris County courts, where Republican judges for years have showered… More >>
  • Best Democrat

    District 147 State Representative Garnet Coleman

    This 40-year-old native Houstonian went public with his battle with severe depression in 1994, and since then he's become a leader in public health care legislation. He's been repeatedly lauded by Texas Monthly in its yearly evaluation of lawmakers and honored by the Texas Medical Association. After disclosing his illness, Coleman began taking antidepressants to control his condition. Last year… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs

    Shelley Sekula-Gibbs feels compelled to add her personal two cents to anything any citizen happens to say during the City Council public session. A dermatologist, Sekula-Gibbs has also appointed herself the resident expert on all matters medical. Like any gadfly, she means well but can drive colleagues up the wall with her time-consuming gab. … More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Tony Sirvello

    Retiring Harris County elections supervisor Tony Sirvello, a veteran at the county for two decades and a favorite with media, oversaw the computerization of county election returns as well as the installation of a new computerized voting system to replace the much-maligned "hanging chad" punch ballots. He wanted to stay through the fall general election, but County Clerk Beverly Kaufman… More >>
  • Best Champion of the Underdog

    Brenda Flynn Flores,

    Brenda Flynn Flores, an Arkansas-born mother of ten, is the electronic bullhorn for a group of municipal workers who call themselves "The Silent Voice." Since HOUSNITCH's founding three years ago, hundreds of would-be whistle-blowers have found a forum to vent their grievances -- and internal documents -- for all to see. Flores, nicknamed Juera, or Blondie, is far from perfect,… More >>
  • Best Whistle-Blower

    Sam Levingston

    The beauty of Houston, in a perverted way, is the wealth of opportunities for individuals to rise up amid corruption and misconduct and take their moral stand, consequences be damned. Just in the last year, there was the implosion of Enron, the callous cunning of Arthur Andersen and the market manipulations from other energy companies here. So has the Bayou… More >>
  • Best Activist

    Bob Lee

    Bob "Alwalee" Lee proclaims himself "Da Mayor of Fifth Ward." This retired social worker is already a legend in his northeast Houston community for his person-to-person efforts to help the disabled and elderly. And he's backed by a prime political connection. His brother is none other than Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee. Those on Da Mayor's mailing list are… More >>
  • Best Fetishist

    Yaqi the Tickler

    Most fixations require cross-dressing midgets, trailer-park love triangles or an element of Satan worship to be worthy of the tabloid TV circuit. But the odd obsession of this industrial filmmaker is a touchy-feely affair. Yaqi, who derives his name from Carlos Castaneda's Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, believes tickling is the road to enlightenment. Yes, there's… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Socialite Sanam Soudavar

    Soudavar flew back from a visit with her Iranian relatives to find a greeting party of HPD robbery detectives at Bush Intercontinental Airport awaiting her arrival. A friend, Christina Girard, had ratted Soudavar out to the police for allegedly stealing some pricey earrings and a watch from her home and peddling the baubles at a posh Galleria resale shop. Soudavar… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Bo the warthog

    Bo is his real name, Pumbaa his stage name. Our zoo was able to acquire the five-year-old critter from a Denver zoo with a little help from Disney. The corporation felt, not unreasonably, that the Lion King franchise would benefit if thousands of parents dragged their offspring past his pen and said, "Look, it's Pumbaa." An actual warthog, however, offers… More >>
  • Best Drag Queen

    Empress Crystal Rae Lee Love

    Drag. Some have attempted to explain the source of the word as Shakespearean. Bard Willie would often leave the costume directions "dressed as girl" in his scripts. Others say it's a reference to cross-dressing actors' long frocks dragging across the stage. The roots of the word (bleached, highlighted, tinted or otherwise) we may never know, but quite a few fellas… More >>
  • Best Local TV News Anchor

    Gina Gaston, KTRK-TV, Channel 13

    Gina Gaston tried for the big time, leaving Houston three years ago to take a job with MSNBC in New York, and ended up coming back last year. Given how few people tune in to MSNBC these days, she probably got out while the getting was good. At any rate, Houston's been the better for it -- Gaston has an… More >>
  • Best Source of Free Stock Information

    Business Radio, KIKK/650 AM

    What does a city full of businesspeople need? How about a radio station that follows the stock market? Brent Clanton's morning drive-time show updates listeners on yesterday's market movement so they'll be ready for the opening bell. Street Talk, the afternoon drive-time show with investment planner-financial adviser Lance Roberts, wraps up the trading day and provides more specific stock and… More >>
  • Best Local TV News Reporter

    Wayne Dolcefino, KTRK-TV, Channel 13

    Wayne Dolcefino has become a brand name in Houston -- the name that government bureaucrats hate to see on their "While You Were Out" message pads. His melodramatic touches can be a bit much -- and Lord knows he doesn't need to do anymore strip-club pieces -- but the fact is Dolcefino, 45, comes up with some impressive stuff each… More >>
  • Best Traffic Reports

    Susie Loucks The KIKK Chick, KIKK/95.7 FM

    Where in the world is traffic reporter Susie Loucks (a.k.a. Elaine Closure) after the Clear Channel blowout? (And to make things perfectly clear, she was not fired but replaced by Clear Channel's own in-house traffic service.) These days, you can find her wild and wacky style of traffic reporting on 95.7 FM with Rick Lovett, and on their sister stations… More >>
  • Best Religious Leader

    Joel Osteen

    Quick, finish this sentence: "We believe in new beginnings, we..." If you answered "believe in you" without skipping a beat, you are one of the thousands who have gladly been sucked in with one of the best marketing campaigns in Houston history -- that of Lakewood Church. The catchy jingle is the brainchild of Joel Osteen, our pick for best… More >>
  • Best Church for Atheists

    Houston Church of Freethought

    Why let a little thing like a lack of belief in God keep you from going to church? The Houston Church of Freethought has been hosting monthly services, minus the religion, since 2000. Sunday-school sermons can cover such topics as the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance or Darwin's theory of evolution. Just because you've strayed from… More >>
  • Best Consumer Advocates

    Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston

    Some BBBs have standards that hardly go beyond mounting membership plaques correctly. And Houston has historically lagged behind more progressive areas in policing scam artists. But the current aggressive bureau has stepped in repeatedly to warn naive consumers about schemes and scams before they can be ripped off. The feat is due in large part to Dan Parsons. The former… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit Organization

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Texas

    At a time when most organizations are paring down, Big Brothers Big Sisters is pouring it on. Under the guidance of president Deborah Ortiz, Houston-based BBBS has expanded into an incredible 31 counties that stretch from the Gulf Coast upward into East Texas. The organization manages to be dead serious about its mission -- and yet not make the mistake… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Sherron Watkins

    Although she's technically not a whistle-blower, Enron executive Sherron Watkins's memo to Ken Lay warning him of the coming catastrophe last fall made her the Cassandra of the biggest business scandal ever to hit the city. Watkins managed to stay on the Enron payroll while becoming a national hero through appearances before congressional interrogators. She's now collaborating with Houston writer… More >>
  • Best Criminal Judge

    U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes

    Republican Lynn Hughes hardly blinked when he advanced from his state district court (a civil one, no less) to the federal bench some 12 years ago. That characteristic aplomb has yet to be erased by some of the most demanding cases at the federal courthouse. He's coupled a healthy disdain for the traditional veil of legalese with a quiet but… More >>
  • Best Civil Judge

    State District Judge Jane Bland

    Harris County's state district courts were in big trouble in 1997, when the judicial ethics commission in effect bounced then-judge William Bell from the 281st Court bench. Stepping in after that mess was quiet newcomer Jane Bland, a pregnant lawyer who was only 32 -- and looked about ten years younger. Soon, however, even veteran jurists were noticing the unique… More >>
  • Best Court Ruling

    U.S. District Judge David Hittner

    Too bad for Harris County and the state of Texas. Those damned technicalities keep getting in the way of another good execution! All the law asks is that defendants get a fair trial and adequate legal representation. And it's exactly those onerous standards that have stymied the county and state in putting down Calvin Burdine. Even though his attorney snoozed… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    George Parnham

    A severely mentally ill Andrea Yates had drowned her five young children. Her competency was the supposed issue, but it was hard to find much sanity anywhere in these weird proceedings. Into all that madness came attorney George Parnham. Along with defense co-counsel Wendell Odom Jr., Parnham brought a soothing calm into the chaos. His matter-of-fact demeanor, wisdom and insight… More >>
  • Best School

    HISD's T.H. Rogers

    Stepping into the large building of T.H. Rogers school a mile or so west of the Galleria is almost always an uplifting experience. First there's the incredible mix of students: The school's a magnet program, so every socioeconomic level is represented; it's both an elementary and a middle school, so there's a wide range of ages; and it's home to… More >>
  • Best Place to Hang Out with High Schoolers


    Directly across the street from Lamar High School is the place to find out what the kids are wearing, what they're listening to and what's cool. Rid your mind of all of the negative press about teenagers these days, and go hang out at 31 Flavors. You'll meet friendly, open, intelligent kids who, according to the staff there, do nothing… More >>
  • Best Trophy Room

    Lobby of Lanier Middle School

    Okay, it's not really a room, per se, but the huge trophy case next to the front entrance of this old school holds bizarre and fascinating pieces of Houston memorabilia. Track-and-field trophies from the '20s sit alongside photographs of generations of local junior-highers with funny haircuts who brought home the brass for good ol' LMS. There are women's trophies from… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Birthday Party

    Houston Museum of Natural Science

    As the song goes, "Ain't nothin' like the real thing." If you're doing a dino-party, you really can't beat the ambience of celebrating amid actual dinosaurs. Consider the price regularly paid to set up moonwalks and hire magicians and hungover clowns. Then consider cleaning it all up off a suburban lawn. Think about it too long and you're likely to… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Meeting the dancers after The Nutcracker

    The Nutcracker ballet matinee performance just before Christmas is kid central. Any fidgeting, screaming, crying or other nontraditional theater behavior by your offspring will disturb only the other, already harried, parents. Afterward, take them backstage to meet the dancers. All are welcome. A six-year-old we know got her ballet shoes signed, took them home, built an impromptu shrine to them… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    On-ramp to I-45 from Allen Parkway

    Whether you're going north or south, get your kicks for free anytime you like with hot merging action. Spin out into the frenetic traffic after taking a hairpin curve on this wily on-ramp. Feel your senses come alive with the zooms, whirs and honks of passersby. Recent landscaping on the north side raises the stakes by obscuring the uphill view… More >>
  • Best Flood Recovery

    Theater District

    After Tropical Storm Allison, the Wortham Theater Center, home of the ballet and opera, had six feet of water in its basement. The two bottom floors of the Alley Theatre were totally submerged, ruining the stage, rehearsal hall and electrical systems. Jones Hall, home of Society for the Performing Arts and the Houston Symphony, was so full of water that… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Penthouse suite at the San Luis Hotel

    Galveston needed a four-star hotel, and the San Luis gave it one, complete with a truly fabulous steak house (one of the top ten in Texas), a completely redesigned pool area with swim-up bar, and all the little niceties any sophisticate would expect. What you might not expect, but what you do get nonetheless at this upper-crust refuge, is good… More >>
  • Best Houston Info on the Web

    If you want to see really funny pictures of your friends, and possibly yourself, making waves in Houston's nightlife, this is the site to visit. There are pages and pages of pics from Houston's clubs and their raucous partyers. From the Lotus Lounge to the Social, you can peruse photo albums of people gettin' jiggy with it. Some of you… More >>
  • Best Bathroom for Bowser

    Fire Museum of Texas

    Face it. Even the friskiest Fido eventually gets bored doing those leg lifts in the same old neighborhood spots. And the Great Dane becomes mundane when marking the same trees day in, day out. The leash, uh, least one can do is break the monotony with a pilgrimage to every mutt's mecca. There's an hour or so drive involved, but… More >>
  • Best Secret

    The Unknown Grave at HSPVA

    The legend is so old that some of the current students don't even know the sordid past of their school's basketball court. But we do. The High School for Performing and Visual Arts is located in the older section of the Montrose that used to be all houses. Legend has it that a couple lived there with their young daughter.… More >>
  • Best Hidden Neighborhood

    Van Buren Street

    While driving through the maddening traffic of West Gray from Waugh to Montrose, take a turn down Van Buren. What you will find is an enchanting little neighborhood, filled with duplexes, fourplexes, gingerbread houses and pink stucco homes that would fit in well in Bermuda. The residents are mostly young working people on their way up and eccentric folk who… More >>
  • Best Lost Landmark

    Allen Park Inn

    It was a place for sipping fruity cocktails from the thatched-roof bar by the pool, partying with the band after a great downtown gig, spotting Bill Murray during the filming of Rushmore, watching the fireworks over the bayou on the Fourth of July, getting away from the usual Montrose haunts for a quiet drink on the lush patio and scarfing… More >>
  • Best Place to Wait for Traffic to Die Down


    Just around the corner, human temperatures and internal-combustion exhaust rise to a rush-hour crescendo. Travis teems with idling autos, igniting road-rage fuses at the pace of a few feet per minute. Solero, however, is the place that has known how to tame the savage commuter since the antebellum era. It's easy to see why. Chef Arturo Boada's exotic tapas are… More >>
  • Best Swells of Houston Pride

    Jennifer Garner

    As you watch Jennifer Garner kick a guy square in the jaw while wearing thigh-high vinyl boots with that peach of a heinie wrapped in a rubber cocktail dress, do you think to yourself, 'That girl is doing Houston proud'? Probably not, but as the second season of the baffling yet exciting superspy show Alias gets under way, you can… More >>
  • Best Architect

    Carlos Jimenez

    The architect's architect, Carlos Jimenez is a local lad -- graduated from the University of Houston, tenured at Rice -- of Puerto Rican extraction, who unfortunately is better known outside of Houston. With a slew of awards, visiting professor positions, competitions to which he has been invited, exhibitions and published articles, this young designer should be doing a lot more… More >>
  • Best Antidote to Enron

    David Berg

    Back not so long ago, when Ken Lay was God in Houston and Enron was regarded as a collection of corporate geniuses rather than crooks, David Berg helped torpedo a city push to award a billion-dollar wastewater plant contract to an Enron subsidiary. As chairman of the Houston Area Water Commission, the veteran criminal and civil attorney detected a fishy… More >>
  • Best Elevator

    Continental Airlines Center

    1600 SmithThe 732-foot sparkling white Continental building, designed by Morris-Aubry, is a Houston hallmark. But we bet you don't know who Fujitec America Inc. is. Give up? It's the company responsible for the building's lovely elevators. These babies will take you all the way to the 53rd floor in style. Fujitec's simple motto is "The World's Smoothest Riding Elevators" --… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Stroll with Your Camera

    Glenwood Cemetery

    If you're looking for a quiet, peaceful place to take a walk and snap a few pics, you can't do much better than Glenwood Cemetery. The final resting place for some of Houston's most famous names, including billionaire Howard Hughes, Glenwood boasts a collection of gorgeous monuments scattered over its manicured hills (yes, there are hills in Houston). Zoom in… More >>
  • Best Grocery Store Music


    Who'da thunk it? This modest Montrose favorite has the ass-kickingest soundtrack around. You can sniff the ripe mangos to Blood Sweat & Tears, grab a six-pack of Sierra Nevada while jamming to Stevie Wonder, and squeeze the Charmin while gettin' your Beatles on. And there's no Muzak in this joint -- oh, no -- just like the Coke you're buying,… More >>
  • Best Place to Feel Zen

    Japanese Gardens at Hermann Park

    Stressed? Tired? Tired of feeling stressed and tired? Walk past all the people on blankets soaking up the sun in the boring part of the park and stroll into the Japanese gardens. There's a suggested donation, but we've yet to see someone sitting in the booth. When you walk in, there are little pagodas and rock gardens and beautiful flowers.… More >>
  • Best Lemons to Lemonade

    Jus' Stuff

    All right, all right. We know what you're thinking. But remember, this is the issue where we're supposed to be nice. And anyway, who fits this award better? Linda Lay knew she wasn't winning any fans after her Tammy Faye Bakker moment on the Today show ("We've lost everything!"). So rather than continue the pity-me route, Lay took the much… More >>
  • Best Lobby

    JP Morgan Chase Bank Building

    This is how bank lobbies are supposed to be: gilded, titanic, chock-full of patterned marble and with a ceiling as soaring as a newly minted MBA's ambition. The ceiling of this grand banking hall is a full six stories above the worker ants below. It's clear that Jesse Jones -- at whose behest this majestic edifice and more than 100… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Rich

    The Houstonian

    This is where the rich people go. The place looks like a plantation. As soon as you drive up under the towering oaks, you expect someone to rush out and hand you a mint julep or a big straw hat and a cane. This is a place where the locker rooms have fluffy towels, robes and fresh fruit. Sneak in… More >>
  • Best T-Shirt Made in Houston

    "Purple What?"

    The best T-shirt we saw all summer was "Purple What?" Targeting the Willy Wonka-esque theme of rapper Big Moe's "Purple Stuff" video, it featured a purple Oompa Loompa pouring a cup of lean, or drank, or whatever the hell you wanna call it on the floor. On the back was a poem eloquently revealing the evils of the notorious cocktail.… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go Downtown


    No, diversity isn't the name of a bar or restaurant or nightclub or coffeehouse or loft or even theater or sports stadium. But it applies to them all and more. And that's the ultimate attraction of a downtown that's alive. With the central city's growth (under those clouds of construction dust), no one or two clubs or eateries can lay… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date


    It took you three weeks, but you finally worked up the nerve to ask for his number, that sexy hunk at the gym. And you were thinking the hard part was over. But wait! You still have to woo him with your natty clothes, wow him with your classy ride and wallop him with your fabulous taste in dining. You… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    Art Car Museum

    With its gleaming silver spindles, strips of barbed wire surrounding the front door and a big red "look over here" star affixed to its roof, the Art Car Museum is hardly the staid sort of building that pops into one's mind at the mention of the word museum. But its collected set of beautiful art cars is uniquely Houston, and… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Graffiti

    Rudyard's Pub

    "Do you remember when I was an elephant? The elephant is always here!" It's a familiar set of phrases for any woman who has used the facilities on Rudyard's first floor. (For the uninitiated, the elephant is the coat hook on the back of the bathroom door, with ears and a body penciled in to make him look like a… More >>
  • Best Landlord

    Ted Callaway

    Ted Callaway is the kind of landlord who leaves flowers in the apartment on move-in day and drops off a bottle of wine for your housewarming party. But that's not why we're naming him Best Landlord. He gets the honor for the buildings he has bought and preserved: ramshackle old Victorians and beautiful brick retail centers from the 1920s. He'd… More >>
  • Best Reminder of Houston's Industrial Roots

    Turning Basin observation deck

    There was a time several decades ago when Houstonians bore their city's brute industrialism with pride rather than shame. We bragged about the black gold we refined. On the stench of this process, we just told sneering outsiders, "That's the smell of money, buddy." Those days are long gone, as the forlorn observation deck at the highest navigable point on… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Jillian's - CLOSED

    So the bloom's gone off the rose, has it? Her laughter has become annoyingly loud. She ends every sentence with a verbal question mark. You can't bear to watch another episode of Sex and the City. It's time for you to move on. But you also have a healthy fear of public humiliation -- and loneliness. So take her somewhere… More >>
  • Best Houstonian You Didn't Know Was a Houstonian

    Jeff Martin

    You're probably saying to yourself, "Who the hell is Jeff Martin?" Well, there's a good chance the man, a highly successful television comedy writer, has made you laugh on more than one occasion. After all, this is a former Houstonian (and former AstroWorld employee) who started out writing for that temple of subversive, relentlessly hilarious comedy, Late Night with David… More >>
  • Best Shotgun Shack

    Bert Long and Joan Batson's home

    4739 Buck RoadTucked at the end of Buck Road in the Fifth Ward is the oddest but coolest shotgun house in Texas. World-renowned Houston artist Bert Long, known to many for his massive public ice sculptures, lives there with his partner Joan Batson, a painter from Scotland. The house, rehabbed as part of a thesis project by Rice University architecture… More >>
  • Best Company to Work For

    St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital

    As the fall TV season approaches, the ultimate worth of Houston Medical remains under debate. But one thing is certain: The media has picked up on our Med Center excellence. Case in point: Fortune magazine, that bastion of biz lists, heralded St. Luke's Episcopal Health System as one of the nation's top 100 places to work. The chronicle of commerce… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Houston Zoo

    Usually the animals aren't up to much. Anybody ever seen one of those gators so much as blink? Some time back, it was even revealed that one of the snakes in the reptile house was made of rubber, and nobody cottoned on for more than a year. Far more fascinating is the people-watching at this cheapest and most democratic of… More >>
  • Best Roadside Memorial


    Hit the southern tip of the Piney Woods of East Texas and turn the car north through the town of Kountze. As the Sonic and the Dairy Queen dissolve in the rearview mirror, the highway takes on a rural tone. And just beyond the city limits, the humble shrine shows itself ever so briefly at 60 mph. Roadside weeds suddenly… More >>
  • Best Place to Spot Celebs

    Maverick Supper and Whiskey

    Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, Cher, P. Diddy, Gwen Stefani, Busta Rhymes, Shirley Manson, the Goo Goo Dolls…Everybody who's anybody stays at Hotel Derek when they come through Houston. But how can you get a peek at the stars without staking out their hotel rooms and looking like a psychotic stalker? Just casually order a drink at Maverick (the bar… More >>
  • Best Backyard

    Dr. Richard Patt

    Once upon a time, Dr. Richard Patt had a teddy bear in his front yard. It reached 20 feet, give or take, into the sky. His neighbors hated it. But it wasn't enough. The backyard was empty and boring. So he and Joe DiPaulo, the man who designed the park across from St. Joseph Hospital, planned a fantasy theme-park-style spread.… More >>
  • Best Lobbyist

    Elizabeth Cary Grace

    This Houston assistant city attorney took over direction of the city lobbying team last year and had a promising maiden session. The 42-year-old neophyte impressed capitol veterans with a low-key approach combined with a tenacity that belies her five-foot-one, 110-pound frame. Grace volunteered for the job when her boss, City Attorney Anthony Hall, took over supervision of the lobbying program… More >>
  • Best Local TV News

    KHOU-TV, Channel 11

    When it comes to local news in the Houston market, Channel 11 truly stands alone in terms of quality. That doesn't mean it's great: Local TV news around the country has been in a general decline for some time. KHOU is fighting that decline better than anyone else around here, though. They've got a great investigator in Anna Werner (of… More >>
  • Best Flack

    Joe Householder

    This former KTRH reporter left journalism and signed on to flack for legal giant Vinson & Elkins. He then took a sabbatical to help the Lee Brown mayoral campaign sweat out a narrow victory over Orlando Sanchez. Then he had the good sense to leave V&E just before the heat got turned on over its role in the Enron collapse.… More >>