"There's a sucker born every minute," or so said Phineas Taylor Barnum, the greatest American huckster who ever lived. He honed his flimflam skills to such astonishing heights that he eventually became the owner and hawker of "The Greatest Show on Earth," a grand colossus of a circus that lately has turned into a lumbering behemoth of chicanery. To make things right, last Christmas the company that now bears the old trickster's name brought a whole new kind of circus to town. Barnum's Kaleidoscape harked back to the days of sideshow grifters, a mythical past where real corn popped, golden beer frothed and lithe, sequined performers danced close enough to be touched. Held under a real big-top tent, with clanky, brassy music drifting from an old-timey band, the show delighted children and adults alike with its amazing acts, which included brave trapeze artists, erotic gold-painted muscle men and a gaggle of silly geese that sent the kids into peals of high-pitched giggles. Trinkets got sold, money flowed like water, and everybody laughed as they spent their last dimes on piles of pink cotton candy. P.T. Barnum would have been proud.
Some of y'all guys probably don't know this, but when you saw American Pie for the 40th time last year just to see that Czechoslovakian chick take her top off in the bedroom of the guy who humped the pie, those were Houston-born breasts you were ogling. Those were local breasts, hometown breasts, your breasts you were staring at. And you should be proud of them. Texas Monthly may have given her all the local love she needed in its recent "Texas Twenty" issue, but let us here at the Houston Press give a shout out to the young regionally reared (okay, she spent her later years in Waco, but she was here first, dammit!) actress who showed that something beautiful (those rosy red cheeks!), funny (her sarcastic death scene in Scary Movie was inspired) and talented (who knew she could do accents?) can come out of this friggin' town after all. Elizabeth proved that Houston can give more to the world than the two-ton terror that is Anna Nicole Smith. (To paraphrase Dean Stockwell from Married to the Mob, she disappointed the shit out of us.) It's up to the men and women of this city to remind her where she comes from. On the off chance you might see her on the street, tell her that no matter where she goes or what she does, she'll always be a Houstonian -- and she should never forget that. We lost Renée Zellweger (that Katy defector), but dammit to hell, we're not gonna lose her. Not on our watch.
Some of y'all guys probably don't know this, but when you saw American Pie for the 40th time last year just to see that Czechoslovakian chick take her top off in the bedroom of the guy who humped the pie, those were Houston-born breasts you were ogling. Those were local breasts, hometown breasts, your breasts you were staring at. And you should be proud of them. Texas Monthly may have given her all the local love she needed in its recent "Texas Twenty" issue, but let us here at the Houston Press give a shout out to the young regionally reared (okay, she spent her later years in Waco, but she was here first, dammit!) actress who showed that something beautiful (those rosy red cheeks!), funny (her sarcastic death scene in Scary Movie was inspired) and talented (who knew she could do accents?) can come out of this friggin' town after all. Elizabeth proved that Houston can give more to the world than the two-ton terror that is Anna Nicole Smith. (To paraphrase Dean Stockwell from Married to the Mob, she disappointed the shit out of us.) It's up to the men and women of this city to remind her where she comes from. On the off chance you might see her on the street, tell her that no matter where she goes or what she does, she'll always be a Houstonian -- and she should never forget that. We lost Renée Zellweger (that Katy defector), but dammit to hell, we're not gonna lose her. Not on our watch.
Ever since Channel 39's Straight from the Streetz, hosted by the KBXX-FM's omnipresent Madd Hatta, sadly disappeared from television airwaves a while back, rap-video enthusiasts who can't afford cable for BET or public access have had to get their weekly fix from KUHT's Saturday-night video fest. But not all folks love the program. According to the people at the local PBS station, a number of African-American women have called to complain about the demeaning way in which women are depicted in some of the videos. So far, the female backlash hasn't affected the show's content, but it is becoming somewhat of a bitch to locate the show's producers and its host, Daryl "D-Solo" Harris. The program does, however, manage to hype up local rap acts that wouldn't regularly get attention on the television airwaves. And yes, the videos do show some women with immense posteriors wobble-wobbling and dropping it like it's hot. It's unfortunate that rap videos have to cart out scantily clad, booty-shaking gals to garner some attention, but at least it's not showing bootleg footage of Freaknic or spring break videos.
Ever since Channel 39's Straight from the Streetz, hosted by the KBXX-FM's omnipresent Madd Hatta, sadly disappeared from television airwaves a while back, rap-video enthusiasts who can't afford cable for BET or public access have had to get their weekly fix from KUHT's Saturday-night video fest. But not all folks love the program. According to the people at the local PBS station, a number of African-American women have called to complain about the demeaning way in which women are depicted in some of the videos. So far, the female backlash hasn't affected the show's content, but it is becoming somewhat of a bitch to locate the show's producers and its host, Daryl "D-Solo" Harris. The program does, however, manage to hype up local rap acts that wouldn't regularly get attention on the television airwaves. And yes, the videos do show some women with immense posteriors wobble-wobbling and dropping it like it's hot. It's unfortunate that rap videos have to cart out scantily clad, booty-shaking gals to garner some attention, but at least it's not showing bootleg footage of Freaknic or spring break videos.
Jason Nodler is without a doubt the best thing that has happened to Houston theater in a long, long while. An artistic hoodlum of the most provocative sort, the thirtysomethinger has tenaciously built his vagabond theater company, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, from the gutter up. And now, after many years of late-night rehearsals (which apparently required many, many beers to get through), the man has created a solid company of smart, creative and devoted folks who've worked hard enough and stayed wild enough to pique the interest of Obie Award-winning playwrights and nationally recognized regional theaters. Nothing has shown off Nodler's extraordinary vision better than his production of David Mamet's Edmond. The show, which was filled with shadowy, sophisticated pockets of rage and lust, practically burned with Nodler's demonic director's energy. His artful articulation of Mamet's strange minimalist poetry included scenes in which the primary focus became a man's graceful hand or the gloomy darkness of a skanky bar. At once painterly and highly dramatic, Nodler's aesthetic is unlike any other in town. It is just this sort of terrifying, intelligent and electric imagination that has made IBP and all its wonders manifest.
Jason Nodler is without a doubt the best thing that has happened to Houston theater in a long, long while. An artistic hoodlum of the most provocative sort, the thirtysomethinger has tenaciously built his vagabond theater company, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, from the gutter up. And now, after many years of late-night rehearsals (which apparently required many, many beers to get through), the man has created a solid company of smart, creative and devoted folks who've worked hard enough and stayed wild enough to pique the interest of Obie Award-winning playwrights and nationally recognized regional theaters. Nothing has shown off Nodler's extraordinary vision better than his production of David Mamet's Edmond. The show, which was filled with shadowy, sophisticated pockets of rage and lust, practically burned with Nodler's demonic director's energy. His artful articulation of Mamet's strange minimalist poetry included scenes in which the primary focus became a man's graceful hand or the gloomy darkness of a skanky bar. At once painterly and highly dramatic, Nodler's aesthetic is unlike any other in town. It is just this sort of terrifying, intelligent and electric imagination that has made IBP and all its wonders manifest.
Boy meets Girl. Boy gets Girl. Boy is "hard all the time." Girl is young and lithe, with pert breasts and slim hips. Boy chases Girl across stage, naked and giddy. Boy pulls Girl's towel off, exposing her body under bright lights. Boy describes the tremendous trek through the divide between Girl's pale breasts, across her soft navel, into the dark furrow below. Girl says that when Boy lets her lick his armpit, she almost faints. Boy remembers when some bullies broke his arm. Boy is frightened. Girl puts her nipple in Boy's mouth. Boy suckles, ravenously at first, then quietly, comforted. Boy and Girl are innocent. Boy and Girl are in love. Boy and Girl have a Baby. Man and Woman take it away.
Boy meets Girl. Boy gets Girl. Boy is "hard all the time." Girl is young and lithe, with pert breasts and slim hips. Boy chases Girl across stage, naked and giddy. Boy pulls Girl's towel off, exposing her body under bright lights. Boy describes the tremendous trek through the divide between Girl's pale breasts, across her soft navel, into the dark furrow below. Girl says that when Boy lets her lick his armpit, she almost faints. Boy remembers when some bullies broke his arm. Boy is frightened. Girl puts her nipple in Boy's mouth. Boy suckles, ravenously at first, then quietly, comforted. Boy and Girl are innocent. Boy and Girl are in love. Boy and Girl have a Baby. Man and Woman take it away.
Christian De Vries did a lot of living before he took over the small space on Washington Avenue and turned it into Bienvenue Theatre, one of Houston's most successful small theaters, gay or otherwise. In past lives he'd been a carpenter, a painter, an electrician and an actor. But no talent has served the man better than his flirty charm and his steel-hearted business acumen. No producer in town knows more about his audience and is less afraid of giving them exactly what they want. He provides free concessions and gives lots of warm welcomes to out-of-town audience members, and last but certainly not least, almost every show he's produced has filled up the stage with men in the buff. Take, for example, his most recent production, which bears the enticingly illicit appellation of Naked Boys Singing! The musical revue features ten -- count 'em, ten -- buck-naked men of various singing abilities who strut about the stage flinging their full frontal nudity much to the delight of the entire audience. The theater's seats have been filled to capacity ever since the show opened this summer. And what started out as a "gay thing" is beginning to find a place for itself with straight women who know a good thing when they see it. The shows are funny, solid and entertaining. And best of all, they're captivating to look at.

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