Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Happy Hour

    Shiloh Club

    This blue-collar Heights hangout doesn't draw the sexiest crowd, but for colorful characters and unusual enthusiasm, you can't beat it -- especially on weekdays at 6:30 p.m., when Wheel of Fortune is on. Looking at the long bar flanked by two large TVs (both tuned to the show), you'd think it was game seven of the '94 NBA Finals. It's… More >>
  • Best New Club


    Sadly, this is another posthumous award. Stuka as we know it is closing down; when the club reopens it will be under a new name, concept and management. Stuka was harder to pigeonhole than its competitors Numbers and the Proletariat, and former manager Tim Murrah liked it that way. Since its opening last winter, Stuka dive-bombed the competition by bringing… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse


    Tucked behind trees on the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer in the heart of the Montrose, this funky, mellow hangout is the place to go for a cup of joe. Sure, there's a wide variety of coffees to choose from, but what turns this cafe into a hangout is the ambience. Brasil offers what Starbucks can't: a relaxed, homegrown vibe.… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    Caligula XXI

    There's something appropriate about naming a titty bar after an insane, bloodthirsty, incestuous Roman emperor. And, as if that weren't enough, they have free lunch until 3 p.m. during the week. In fact, there's always something to nibble on: The good folks at Caligula XXI offer a barbecue buffet on Saturday and a seafood buffet (insert joke here) on Friday.… More >>
  • Best Bar Decor

    Leon's Lounge

    Even though the front bar at Leon's Lounge is hung with brilliant chandeliers, the place isn't what you'd call opulent. After all, the twinkling lights illuminate a sandy shuffleboard table. But the lounge's contradictions are what make it interesting. Its two back rooms couldn't be more different. One is dark, with a piano inside. The other is a brightly lit… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    The Stag's Head - CLOSED

    Any Irish or English transplant would be right at home at The Stag's Head, where the bangers and mash and fish 'n' chips measure up to the exacting standards of the old country. Competing with them are American finger-food favorites: fajita nachos and stuffed jalapeños as well as succulent Angus burgers and a bevy of fine sandwiches. But The Stag's… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Mike Hildebrand

    After the legendary Junior Brown made his exit from the stage at the Continental Club recently, the patrons at the crowded nightspot were greeted with a shock. Out of nowhere came a tall, curly-haired young man who leapt on stage and began to dance like a monkey. "Woo-hoo!" he hollered at the top of his lungs, "Woo-hoo, Junior Brown! Woo-hoo!"… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Under the Volcano

    Most jukes these days are stocked by companies armed with demographic studies. Not so at Under the Volcano, where owner Pete Mitchell don't need no steenkin' studies. Instead, this box is full of stuff he likes, which ranges from Cesaria Evora to New Orleans brass bands to sacred steel to mid-period Rolling Stones to Scott Miller to Hank Williams. Whether… More >>
  • Best Club for Your Grandparents and/or Grandchildren

    Pe-Te's Cajun Barbecue

    This funky and authentic slice of Cajun country offers a great time to both the Geritol and Flintstones Chewables sets. Every Saturday afternoon for the last 20 years, Pe-Te's has morphed from a Cajun barbecue stand to a whirling zydeco dance hall. The Saturday dances start at two and last until six -- perfect for those for whom the nighttime… More >>
  • Best Place to Hang with High Schoolers


    After a hot, sweaty night of dancing and slamming to punk rock legends the Queers on the bottom level of Fitzgerald's, a group of tough-looking teenage girls waited in line for the bathroom. As they leaned against the wall, wiping their Manic Panic hair out of their eyes, they couldn't help but check out the three women in their late… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink Alone

    The Wine Bucket

    The Wine Bucket is part fancy boutique, part bar -- which may be one reason it's such a comfortable place to drink alone. The store adds an air of casualness to the dimly lit bar. So you can stop in for a glass of wine after a day of shopping or working (depending on your lot in life), and there's… More >>
  • Best Place to Smoke

    Last Concert Cafe

    These days, it's hard for a smoker to enjoy himself. Even sitting in the smoking section of a restaurant, puffers get accusing stares. The fact is, lighting up in a big room is kind of like peeing in a swimming pool: The whole shebang gets contaminated. That's why there's nothing like smoking at the Last Concert Cafe. Its back area… More >>
  • Best Downtown Bar

    St. Pete's Dancing Marlin

    This seafood restaurant/saloon stands out as a NoDo rarity: a bar with a commitment to live music. John Evans has enjoyed a long Thursday-night residency here, and if you add to that frequent gigs by Greg Wood, Jimmy's Pawn Shop and Little Screamin' Kenny, it's plain to see that this isn't a stuffed-shirt kind of place. This is a bar… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Pudding Wrestling

    R&R Sports Bar & Grill

    Beer? Check. Shot specials? Check. Half-naked women flailing about in a tub of vanilla pudding? Checkmate! Thursday night is now "Pudding Night," thanks to this venerable Katy club, which invites the gorgeous women of the Association of Pudding Wrestling to get down 'n' dirty for your pleasure. Matches run from about 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. But be sure to… More >>
  • Best Cure for the Sunday Blues

    Sherlock's Pub

    It's Sunday. The work week stretches ahead, and from this vantage point, it seems as endless as the universe itself. Piled on to the sense of doom is a sense of regret -- for having spent too much money, kissed an idiot or lost your cell phone over the weekend. You could go to bed early with a good book… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    Verizon Wireless Theater

    In a perfect world, we would all get to see our favorite superstars in an intimate setting, like a tiny club or bar. But as long as there are superstars, there are going to be thousands of people who want to see them perform. So why not see them in the next best thing to that small space: Verizon Wireless… More >>
  • Best Hip-hop Concerts

    The Engine Room - CLOSED

    We can thank the Engine Room for giving traveling hip-hop shows a reason to make a stop in our city. Last October, the club hosted three consecutive hip-hop shows: the Rhymesayers Tour, starring Minneapolis MCs Atmosphere, Murs and Brother Ali; the Cali Comm 2002 Tour, featuring such West Coasters as People Under the Stairs and Lifesavas; and Definitive Jux's "Revenge… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Club Tropicana

    At Club Tropicana, the tables may seem empty, but that doesn't mean you can sit down at them. Die-hard dancers get there early and claim their seats with napkin- covered cocktails. Of course, you probably won't even think about sitting once you get to shaking your ass on the dance floor. On typical weekends, Latin bands with lots of members… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Miss Ann's Playpen

    Sadly, this is a posthumous award -- Miss Ann's shut its doors early this summer. But, boy, was it fun while it lasted. We remember being asked to sit in with Sherman Robertson and politely declining because, well, we can't play a lick. We remember seeing I.J. Gosey tear the roof off the place back in 2000. We remember the… More >>
  • Best Club for Local Acts


    Whether you pick blues on a six-string or spin dance records on the decks, Helios will give you a place to perform. The rambling converted three-story house on lower Westheimer has a total of three performance areas: There are stages upstairs, downstairs and one outdoors for special occasions. On any given night you might find erotic poets, belly dancers, hip-hoppers,… More >>
  • Best Band

    Chango Jackson

    Every Chango Jackson show is different. Sometimes they wear pimp clothes and other times chemical suits. Lately, they've taken to hurling out free tamales from the stage while they roar a tribute to the pre-Columbian snack. Musically they are like no other band on earth: a jazzy, post-punk blend of metal and classic rock, with almost exclusively Spanish lyrics. On… More >>
  • Best Unsigned Band

    J.W. Americana

    Plenty of Houston bands get signed. They just rarely get famous. J.W. Americana wants fame. And while unsigned, the band (Rodney Elliott, Shane Lauder, Doug Kosmo and Arthur Moreno) has promise. Wickedly named after a controversial American expat, the band's music is just as uncompromising, bold and rooted as a suicide bomber's conviction. But we'd be missing the point if… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up


    We put this excellent rap-rock band on the cover last summer with a kiss-of-death "next big thing" headline. We thought they were going straight to the top. Well, they played about five more gigs and then broke up. Like Billy Joel said, and the continuing career of Ezra Charles confirms, only the good die young. Happily, there are rumors that… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar

    Rudyard's Pub

    This is the perfect bar. It has good local and touring bands playing upstairs for those interested in checking out something new; and it has well-worn stools downstairs for the fat-bottomed dudes who show up for every happy hour. There's a full menu of greasy food to absorb the oceans of beer and liquor you will invariably accept from the… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Amish Acid Dealer

    Who hasn't been dosed by a bearded guy in a black hat at some point in their lives? Amish Acid Dealer's got all a band name needs: a drug reference, a humorously unlikely concept, even a little assonance, not to mention a nice flowing rhythm. Their song titles are clunkier if no less warped, as attested to by their debut… More >>
  • Best Up-and-Coming Singer

    Michelle Thibeaux

    Sometimes you have to wonder if people fail to pay attention on purpose. How else could they not notice this great local singer? You don't have to look hard to find her. She's performed alongside the rock-funk outfit Snowshoe 'N Lewis at the Gatsby, DJ Sun at his Monday-night stint at Brasil, and DJ Joe B at Azteca's. Michelle Thibeaux… More >>
  • Best Battle DJ


    DJs in Houston generally don't get much respect on the national scene. Not including the late DJ Screw, you'd be hard-pressed to find a spinner from our fair city who has established a crowd outside its limits. Enter Fast4ward, a young, hip-hop-reared, experimental turntablist known for inciting near-riots of sound under his needles. Influenced equally by hip-hop forefathers like Afrika… More >>
  • Best Retro DJ

    DJ Mod Scott

    Picture this: You're hanging out at a bar, guzzling down some cheap beers, getting just wasted enough to enjoy yourself. And then, the DJ plays a song -- not just any song, but a song that wakes you up, a song that makes you question everything you've ever known, a song that makes you stand up and testify, like someone… More >>
  • Best T-Shirt Designer

    B-Boy Craig

    It's his "Corporate Hip Hop Sux" shirt that has been known to start confrontations -- not because of its blunt statement emblazoned in six three-letter rows, but because everyone wants to say they were the first to wear it. Like an Astros throwback jersey, the "Corporate Hip Hop Sux" shirt is an article of clothing that causes heads to do… More >>
  • Best Music Gadfly

    Guy Schwartz

    A guitarist, songwriter, music journalist, record producer and bandleader, Guy Schwartz is omnipresent on the Houston scene. His New Jack Hippies "band" now boasts more than a hundred members, based on Schwartz's open admissions policy: If you jam with him once, you're a New Jack Hippie for life. Schwartz's recent collaborations and productions include the pro-marijuana compilation Texas Homegrown Collective,… More >>
  • Best CD by a Local Musician

    Houston Guitar Blues, Little Joe Washington

    While the inimitable Little Joe Washington did make this CD in Austin, the man himself is Houston to the bone, as are the sounds on this CD. Little Joe's blues can put a hurt on ya, make you holler out loud and make you want to shake a tail feather, sometimes all in the same song. Those who've only seen… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    Star 790

    Even though it's owned by an evil radio monolith, golden oldies station KBME manages to contradict every criticism cast the company's way. You say Clear Channel won't play local music? KBME does -- everything from Grady Gaines to the El Orbits. You say CC doesn't allow personalities to flourish? KBME does, as evidenced by local radio legends Paul Berlin and… More >>
  • Best Thing to Happen to Houston Radio

    "Country Legends" KTHT/97.1 FM

    After KIKK-FM switched to smooth jazz, Houston was left with a mere two country stations. Cox Communications saw an opportunity and seized it. They took a struggling rap station -- the weakest of four in the area -- and flipped the format to classic country. A few months later, it is the No. 1 country station in Houston, and the… More >>
  • Best Spanish-Language Radio Station

    KEYH/850 AM

    We're not big fans of overly formatted radio, and that's why we love KEYH. Neither a Tejano nor a strictly regional Mexican station, KEYH plays the music of the Caribbean islands and the east coasts of Central and South America, from Matamoros down to Colombia. Salsa, cumbia, sonidero and merengue are just some of the genres you'll hear every hour,… More >>
  • Best Place for Cocktails

    The Social - CLOSED

    When you walk into this bar, it feels like you're stepping onto a set for Sex and the City. The furniture is funky and the people are pretty. The Social helps them stay pretty, too -- even in hot, hot Houston. The outdoor patio is outfitted with pose-worthy sofas and sweat-stopping fans. And the fruity mixed drinks have enough juice… More >>
  • Best Hip-hop Radio Show

    Vinyl Frontier

    Dennis Lee's radio show, which broadcasts every Tuesday night out of the student center at Rice University, is three hours of unadulterated hip-hop ecstasy. Lee scours the earth looking for undiscovered hip-hop finds, and it's amazing how he can fill a three-hour show with nothing but unsuckable music. We're serious -- the man's tracks never blow. On any given installment,… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Paul Berlin

    In 1950, 19-year-old Paul Berlin came to Houston and became an immediate success as a DJ. Back then, he promoted concerts and dances with the likes of Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and the Platters. Today he takes the knowledge he's gained over the course of his life and applies it to his midday gig at KBME. From… More >>
  • Best New Magazine

    Rap Illustrated

    There's not enough written on Houston's thriving independent rap scene. A few local magazines and newspapers have come and gone, and the major hip-hop rags haven't given up much ink on anyone from H-town but the Geto Boys. So it's about time that someone local stepped up to document the happenings within one of the world's biggest rap markets. Rap… More >>
  • Best Nightlife Trend

    Bike rides

    It comes as some surprise that an increasing number of just-turned-bar-legal adults are turning to night-time cycling rather than partying. You can see them, thrift-store-outfitted, cruising the Montrose in intimate packs, looking like defiant, asexual Morrisseys on sparkly retro two-wheelers. Riders usually alert folks of their intentions on public Internet message boards, like And after stocking a portable CD/MP3… More >>
  • Best Comedian

    Chingo Bling

    If anyone else in the world tried to do what Chingo Bling does, it wouldn't work. But he's got the shtick down pat. This comedic genius has taken the Latino hip-hop community by storm and is sure to cross over to the mainstream. When Chingo strolls on stage wearing his ostrich boots with the pimped-out Nike swoosh, tight black jeans,… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    River Oaks Theatre

    This lovely movie palace -- really, it has to be described that way -- is an antique in a city that doesn't normally cherish old things. Built in 1939, it's the only theater in town that's gotten its very own mayoral proclamation. (River Oaks Theatre Day was March 26, 2000, in case you forgot to celebrate.) Its memorable red art… More >>
  • Best Austin Import

    Alamo Drafthouse

    Dinner and a movie just got easier. The Alamo Drafthouse shows first-run features as well as repertory films usually showcasing a specific genre, like zombie flicks or chicks-in-prison movies. It also offers a full menu and a good selection of imported and domestic draft beers. You get served right there at your seat in the theater (there are tables), and… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    The Margarett Root Brown Reading Series

    For more than 20 years the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series has been an oasis for those who crave the literary arts. Presented by Inprint, Inc. and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, this series of readings and talks has brought some of the best writers on the planet to the Bayou City: Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros and Seamus… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues by Roger Wood

    It's been said that Houston doesn't hang on to its history, but longtime resident Roger Wood is out to challenge that theory with his new, lovely book, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues. Wood, a Houston Community College literature professor (and sometime Press contributor), has woven together a masterful piece of art that covers nearly every important Houston blues musician,… More >>
  • Best Poet

    Adam Zagajewski

    First, he's courtly in a way that only an Eastern European intellectual could be. Just imagine him sipping imported tea from a tiny porcelain cup in his attic apartment as he composes his exquisite poems. Second, he is one of the kindest thinkers living among the rest of us troglodytes; he listens with the patience of a saint. But most… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    The Ripcord

    Ripcord, let us count the ways we love thee. Your walls are painted with an eye-catching image of a guy's nutsack hanging below the parted cheeks of his ass. Shirtless men on flashing roller-skates zip around your tables taking orders. Your patrons wear chaps, tiny shorts and leather, and if they get drunk and kinky you're kind enough to offer… More >>
  • Best Cultural Center

    The Orange Show

    C'mon, the Orange Show founded the Art Car Parade, the most uniquely Houston cultural event in existence. If that's not enough for you, the organization is also nationally known for its programs, projects and files on self-taught, folk and outsider artists. In spite of its success, the Orange Show remains a tribute to the common man, to the artist in… More >>
  • Best Spectacle

    Art Car Ball

    Houston institutions have been done in by many forces through the decades -- "progress," development or sheer stupidity. But success shouldn't be the cause of death. Yet a couple of years ago, there it was: Houston's signature event, the Orange Show's Art Car Ball, bloated and expiring right there on the floor of the Astrodome. The ball had grown up… More >>
  • Best Museum

    The Menil Collection

    It's still about the building. Renzo Piano's light-washed galleries are the standard by which to measure all other museums. But the building only sets the art in the best light. It's the curators who choose what goes into the beautiful galleries. And chief curator Matthew Drutt, in his first year, has shaken out some of the dust and cobwebs that… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery


    Kerry Inman's stint in Doug Lawing's downtown space has invigorated the gallery owner, her staff and her artists. Coping with all the street construction is enough to keep anyone on her toes; and while Inman's shows have always been hung well (make of that what you will), it's been especially true this past season. The space has not only allowed… More >>
  • Best Hipness Quotient

    Mixture Contemporary Art

    If you've been feeling a bit quadrilaterally sharp-angled and clueless lately, go to an opening at Mixture. Between the art (on the walls and elsewhere), by some of the hippest young talent in Houston, L.A., Chi-town and New York, and the youngish hipsters meandering about sipping wine, you'll soon be feeling rounded off and filled in. Under director Lisa Cooley… More >>
  • Best Use of Old Sonys

    Brian Heiss

    TV boldly goes where it's never gone before in the artwork of Brian Heiss. An amalgam of architect, sculptor and tinkerer, Heiss is on a crusade to change the way we look at television. Heiss changes both the forms and the electronics of new and vintage sets, creating art objects that also function as innovative design. His show at Lawndale… More >>
  • Best Curator

    Kim Davenport

    University art galleries aren't typically known for cutting-edge contemporary art. But when Kim Davenport arrived at Rice Gallery almost ten years ago, she transformed a moribund institutional space into a venue for dynamic site-specific installations. The gallery was only the second U.S. institution -- after the Museum of Modern Art -- to host a project by Shigeru Ban, the Japanese… More >>
  • Best Artist

    Jeff Shore

    Billed as "networked electro-mechanical kinetic sculpture with integrated music," Jeff Shore's work is far more haunting and poetic than its literal description. The artist builds tiny models of everything from low-rent living rooms to airplane interiors. Then his elaborate mechanical contraptions move tiny surveillance cameras through the miniature worlds. The results are screened on nearby video monitors. Add to all… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Artist


    His whereabouts these days are unknown, but take a walk or a drive down any one of Houston's center-city streets or freeways, and you're bound to see some of his work. Possibly the most "up" graffiti writer in Houston, NEXT took over this city for a couple of good years, leaving our cops perplexed and other taggers in the dust.… More >>
  • Best Art Show

    Dario Robleto, "Roses in the Hospital/Men Are the New Women"

    When The New York Times nominates you to win a Nobel Prize and be first lady -- in the same sentence! -- you know you've got something going on. But New York's just finding out what Texas art lovers have known for quite a while: San Antonio's Dario Robleto is one of the smartest young artists at work today. In… More >>
  • Best Dive

    Charlie's 804 Club

    True dives are almost always found downtown. True dives have to serve liquor -- a divelike bar that doesn't is called a beer joint. True dives have to make you wonder what really pays the bills. True dives have to have really weird jukeboxes and have to open as early in the day as the law allows. True dives are… More >>
  • Best Theater Season

    Alley Theatre

    One of the best things about the Alley Theatre's 2002-2003 season was its diversity. The productions ran the gamut from Kaufman and Hart's 1930s comedy You Can't Take It with You to Shakespeare's daunting Hamlet. Then there were the shows covering such oddball subjects as sex with goats and conspiracy theories on the Kennedy assassination. Put it all back to… More >>
  • Best Production

    Alley Theatre's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    In the 1960s one critic called Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? "a sick play for sick people." Who can argue with such a statement when the infamous couple at the center of Albee's tale are the sort of middle-aged vipers Americans love to hate? And of course, now that it's 2003, most of us are willing to admit… More >>
  • Best Performance by Out-of-Towners

    Charlie Victor Romeo, Collective: Unconscious

    Suspense on stage is difficult to achieve. But New York's Collective: Unconscious succeeded with its play Charlie Victor Romeo. The title refers to a plane's black box, or cockpit voice recorder. The theater group took public-domain transcripts of plane crashes and staged the scenes with a cockpit mock-up. Before each of the six scenes, title slides indicated the flight information… More >>
  • Best Gay-Themed Show

    Stargaze Theatre's Dream Boy

    The gothic setting of rural North Carolina, with its hidden back roads and lost graveyards, is part of what made Stargaze Theatre's spring production of Eric Rosen's Dream Boy so gripping. But it was a terrible paradox -- that such a bucolic setting could hide puritanical repression and extreme violence -- that was the real triumph of the show. There… More >>
  • Best Two-Man Show

    Alley Theatre's Stones in His Pocket

    Most of the time it's the stars who get all the attention. But Irish playwright Marie Jones turned all that around with her story about two extras on location in a small Irish village. The Alley's April production of Stones in His Pockets starred Todd Waite and Jeffrey Bean as the quintessential Irish blokes, working for 40 quid a day… More >>
  • Best Special Effects

    Infernal Bridegroom Productions' Phaedra's Love

    No theater group in town is better equipped to pull off Sarah Kane's fiery Phaedra's Love than the folks at Infernal Bridegroom Productions. All about incest, murder and mayhem, the fall 2002 production, under Jason Nodler's direction, was filled with the technical magic that sets IBP apart. Fires blazed, bellies were cut open, and every gory thing the Greeks and… More >>
  • Best Family from Hell

    Main Street Theater's The Little Foxes

    Medea has nothing on Regina Giddens. The matriarch at the head of Lillian Hellman's Southern Gothic melodrama The Little Foxes is one of the most treacherous villains ever to walk across a stage. And with her slithering brothers Benjamin and Oscar Hubbard, she completes a gruesome troika. The cast of Main Street's wicked spring production lived up to the deliciously… More >>
  • Best Ensemble

    Main Street Theater's The Weir

    Conor McPherson's The Weir revolves around a tiny cast of five actors who spend the entire evening on stage together, telling spooky stories and getting soused. It's imperative that the actors be perfectly in tune with one another in this demanding play. And the players in Main Street's luminous production last spring were more than up to the task. Rutherford… More >>
  • Best Playwright

    Edward Albee

    Oh, we are the lucky ones. Thanks to the University of Houston, Edward Albee, who is arguably the greatest living American playwright, chooses to grace our fair city with his presence some four months out of the year. Even better, the Alley Theatre often produces one of his astonishing plays while he's in town. This January, the theater decided to… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Thomas Prior, Syncopation

    Thomas Prior made an unlikely heartthrob in Stages' January production of Syncopation. He played Henry Ribolow, a middle-aged meat-packer who sweated, stomped about and lived with his harping mother. But at night, in the tenement walk-up he'd rented for dancing, Ribolow was a true Fred Astaire, filled with grace and tenderness. It was Prior's ability to be an average joe… More >>
  • Best Icehouse

    West Alabama Ice House

    Sure, it's the obvious choice, but you just can't front on the good-time atmosphere at this airy juke joint. Cheap beers, pretty bohemian bartenders, roots rock and free hot dogs on Friday make this icehouse in the heart of the Montrose a weekly stop for many River Oaks rednecks, broke punk rockers, bikers, yuppies, dog enthusiasts and lager lovers in… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Elizabeth Heflin, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?

    Redheaded diva Elizabeth Heflin reigns supreme at the Alley Theatre. She can't really help it. Besides the fact that she's drop-dead gorgeous, with porcelain skin and flaming hair, she's also a firecracker of energy on stage. Anyone who saw her in Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? felt her red-hot energy as she exploded on stage. Heflin portrayed… More >>
  • Best Dancer

    Dominic Walsh

    Balletomanes have been eyeing Nicky Walsh for years at Houston Ballet. He shines in the classical works as well as contemporary pieces by the likes of Christopher Bruce. But this past season was a real breakthrough: Walsh simultaneously solidified his role as one of the ballet's leading males (snagging the lead in the new Paul Taylor piece) and launched his… More >>
  • Best Lighting Designer

    Tony Tucci

    Tony Tucci may call Austin home, but his lustrous lighting in last season's revival of Ben Stevenson's Cinderella proves that he's still the best lighting designer working in Houston. From ballet to musical theater to film, Tucci's work has inspired directors, choreographers and audiences alike. He's won numerous awards and worked with such impressive ballet names as Christopher Bruce, Mikhail… More >>
  • Best Modern Dance Company

    Hope Stone

    The tide has raised all boats in Houston's modern dance community. And the consistently improving quality of contemporary dance here is at least partially attributable to the arrival of dancer and choreographer Jane Weiner in 1997. Today, new companies, like Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, are exploding onto the scene, while older ones, like Suchu Dance and Weave, are hitting their… More >>
  • Best Ballet

    Madame Butterfly

    Stanton Welch may have clinched the artistic directorship of Houston Ballet when he set his highly stylized 1995 Madame Butterfly on the company last fall. This not-quite-full-length story ballet married a moving tale with crisp, modern movement. And Ben Stevenson's dancers looked at home in the choreography -- a sign that the company's transition from the longtime director to the… More >>
  • Best Circus


    Like the great huckster P.T. Barnum, the folks at Cirque du Soleil know how to elicit the sort of oohs and aahs that come only with, well, the greatest show on earth. They proved this once again this past spring when they pitched their grand white tent downtown for a long run of Alegría. From the opening clown who delighted… More >>
  • Best Show to Make You Want to Break into Song

    My Fair Lady

    Anyone who loves old-time musicals walked out of TUTS's February production of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady humming just a little -- though most probably waited until they got into their cars before fully launching into the grand lyrics of such terrific tunes as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "Just You Wait!" or "With a Little Bit of Luck." These… More >>
  • Best Rock and Roll Theater

    A Soap Opera

    In 1975, Dave Hickey wrote in The Village Voice that A Soap Opera, created by Kinks star Ray Davies, was one of "only two really successful rock theatricals." Judging by Infernal Bridegroom Productions' performance of the rock classic last November, A Soap Opera hasn't lost anything to the passing years. The wild performers of IBP made the story about a… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Fast Eddie's

    When you play pool at a bar, cigarette burns, drinks stains, crappy cues and uneven tables go with the territory. But when you play at a pool hall, you expect well-maintained equipment. The thing is, some halls are better than others about upkeep. At Fast Eddie's, you won't find any torn felt or worn-down cues. And the tables are always… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Two Rows Restaurant & Brewery

    It wasn't too long ago that Houston was awash in brewpubs. There was the Rock Bottom Brewery, the Village Brewery, the Bank Draft and the Houston Brewery. One by one, they all went overboard, leaving the craft-brew aficionados almost dry. Thankfully, there's still Two Rows Restaurant and Brewery to quench our thirsts. Head brewmaster Ian Larsen has been handcrafting awesome… More >>
  • Best Musical

    Houston Grand Opera's The Little Prince

    Don't get technical on us: Rachel Portman's The Little Prince was an opera, to be sure, but it was so opera lite (under three hours long and sung in English) that we're calling it a musical -- the best musical. Houston Grand Opera premiered the work last June, and the late Maria Bjørnson's sets and costumes created a fantasyland for… More >>