Best Movie Theater That Will Never Show Gladiator

Aurora Picture Show

Sure, there are other places in town that show cool stuff, but it's hard to compete with a video kaleidoscope for a marquis, a converted church for a venue and a quirky Sandy Duncan look-alike running the place. But don't expect big reclining seats and a tub of $5 popcorn when you go. The Aurora Picture Show is not that kind of place. You sit in pews. Your drinks come in cans. Filmmakers with a lot of money and big names behind their projects should seek distribution elsewhere, because this place isn't interested. The only flicks shown here are of the handmade variety, with nothing going for them except a little vision and a lot of determination to be seen. Tickets are $5.
With his partner, John Granado, Zierlien is co-host of The Bench, heard on KILT from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. each weekday. When it comes to a sports background, Zierlien was raised right. His dad was offensive line coach for years with Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston. But in addition to his insights, Zierlien is at his radio best when he takes on the voices and personae of others in the world of sports. On any particular morning, Zierlien may transform into Rudy T, Van Chancellor or -- best of all -- South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz. Word has it Zierlien even takes his microphone in hand and paces about the room like the annoying Holtz. Says program director Mike Edmonds, "I told him he could do anybody but me."
With his partner, John Granado, Zierlien is co-host of The Bench, heard on KILT from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. each weekday. When it comes to a sports background, Zierlien was raised right. His dad was offensive line coach for years with Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston. But in addition to his insights, Zierlien is at his radio best when he takes on the voices and personae of others in the world of sports. On any particular morning, Zierlien may transform into Rudy T, Van Chancellor or -- best of all -- South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz. Word has it Zierlien even takes his microphone in hand and paces about the room like the annoying Holtz. Says program director Mike Edmonds, "I told him he could do anybody but me."
You gotta give some much-deserved credit to the man they call Jay Mack. How many brothas out there you know who are as suave as a Julio Iglesias song and can still not take themselves too seriously? There seems to be a shortage these days. Thankfully, the cat who co-commands the mike every weekday afternoon on the city's most widely listened to urban radio station is one of them. Every day during drive-time hours, this chrome-domed gentleman co-pilots the popular program and serves as the show's prime source of comic material. And not just in the goofy-ass way you get from other FM radio shifts. The unintentional humor that pops up on this show is smooth, charismatic and effortlessly funny, with Mack himself on the receiving end of many of the one-liners top dog Madd Hatta and other contributing crew members hurl at him. But Mack can take it because he knows this: 1) they're just jokes; and 2) no matter what, he'll still be able to get laid at the end of the day. The lucky sum-bitch.
You gotta give some much-deserved credit to the man they call Jay Mack. How many brothas out there you know who are as suave as a Julio Iglesias song and can still not take themselves too seriously? There seems to be a shortage these days. Thankfully, the cat who co-commands the mike every weekday afternoon on the city's most widely listened to urban radio station is one of them. Every day during drive-time hours, this chrome-domed gentleman co-pilots the popular program and serves as the show's prime source of comic material. And not just in the goofy-ass way you get from other FM radio shifts. The unintentional humor that pops up on this show is smooth, charismatic and effortlessly funny, with Mack himself on the receiving end of many of the one-liners top dog Madd Hatta and other contributing crew members hurl at him. But Mack can take it because he knows this: 1) they're just jokes; and 2) no matter what, he'll still be able to get laid at the end of the day. The lucky sum-bitch.
Remember Brandon Teena, the 21-year-old female who was murdered because she tried to live her life as a man? This true-life cautionary tale about a young person's desperation to find herself was brought to passionate life last fall in Leigh Silverman's minimalistic stage play Brandon Teena at The Little Room Downstairs Theater. The one-woman show was caressed into glimmering life by Natalie Maisel's dazzling performance as the angry, naive and ultimately tragic Teena. With intelligence and tender subtlety, Maisel captured the complex paradox that confronted Teena. The young woman had to construct a male identity inside a white-trash world where men beat women, stole cars and barfed up beers in the bushes. Maisel's Teena learned her lessons well. Wearing tight blue jeans and slicked-back hair, she was a sexy snake, the sort of manipulative hoodlum who was willing to take advantage of every woman she took to bed. But Maisel's character also had the heart of an alarming innocent and a damaged child who lived her secret life in true isolation. With grace and an obvious capacity to embrace the sad strangeness of life, Maisel created the ultimate bad-girl-boy character, the sort who'd curl up in your arms and weep as she stole your wallet and your aching heart.
Remember Brandon Teena, the 21-year-old female who was murdered because she tried to live her life as a man? This true-life cautionary tale about a young person's desperation to find herself was brought to passionate life last fall in Leigh Silverman's minimalistic stage play Brandon Teena at The Little Room Downstairs Theater. The one-woman show was caressed into glimmering life by Natalie Maisel's dazzling performance as the angry, naive and ultimately tragic Teena. With intelligence and tender subtlety, Maisel captured the complex paradox that confronted Teena. The young woman had to construct a male identity inside a white-trash world where men beat women, stole cars and barfed up beers in the bushes. Maisel's Teena learned her lessons well. Wearing tight blue jeans and slicked-back hair, she was a sexy snake, the sort of manipulative hoodlum who was willing to take advantage of every woman she took to bed. But Maisel's character also had the heart of an alarming innocent and a damaged child who lived her secret life in true isolation. With grace and an obvious capacity to embrace the sad strangeness of life, Maisel created the ultimate bad-girl-boy character, the sort who'd curl up in your arms and weep as she stole your wallet and your aching heart.
The restaurant is dim and empty; you have arrived too early for a late dinner. A dark-skinned young man in a pressed white shirt shows you to a table far away from the stage. Halfway through your baba ghanoush or hummus appetizer, a stoic-faced band begins to play Middle Eastern music, although it's clear they are not playing for you. Around 10:30 p.m., limousines begin to pull up outside the door, depositing dark-suited businessmen and their handsome offspring, or protégés, or girlfriends. They double-kiss each other as they file past to the tables surrounding the stage. They drink from special bottles of water and smoke from ornate hookahs -- neither of which has been offered to you. Gathering more and more energy, they clap to the rhythm of the music and shout greetings across the room. The owner of the restaurant sings a song and then shakes hands knowingly with the patrons. Finally Veronica rushes to the stage in a blur of gold sequins and mesh. She shakes her stomach muscles and undulates her abdomen, letting her long, curly hair fall over her face like a soft-core porn star. The dark-suited businessmen and their handsome companions put money in Veronica's clothes. You strain to see. You want to be closer to the action, enveloped in the moment, invited to join this club that hints at wealth and family and sex and foreign lands. But you realize that you are lucky just to be sitting where you are, a fly on the wall.

The restaurant is dim and empty; you have arrived too early for a late dinner. A dark-skinned young man in a pressed white shirt shows you to a table far away from the stage. Halfway through your baba ghanoush or hummus appetizer, a stoic-faced band begins to play Middle Eastern music, although it's clear they are not playing for you. Around 10:30 p.m., limousines begin to pull up outside the door, depositing dark-suited businessmen and their handsome offspring, or protégés, or girlfriends. They double-kiss each other as they file past to the tables surrounding the stage. They drink from special bottles of water and smoke from ornate hookahs -- neither of which has been offered to you. Gathering more and more energy, they clap to the rhythm of the music and shout greetings across the room. The owner of the restaurant sings a song and then shakes hands knowingly with the patrons. Finally Veronica rushes to the stage in a blur of gold sequins and mesh. She shakes her stomach muscles and undulates her abdomen, letting her long, curly hair fall over her face like a soft-core porn star. The dark-suited businessmen and their handsome companions put money in Veronica's clothes. You strain to see. You want to be closer to the action, enveloped in the moment, invited to join this club that hints at wealth and family and sex and foreign lands. But you realize that you are lucky just to be sitting where you are, a fly on the wall.

Spero Criezis, producer of The Great Caruso, seems hell-bent on yanking the quaintly dated idea of dinner theater into the 21st century. And with his production of Ain't Misbehavin', the Fats Waller Musical Show, the man just might succeed. The tiny Caruso stage, built into a snooty strip center in far west Houston, looks like some sort of throwback to the Old West. Dining tables crowd the tiny gilded room; there's even a dark spiraling staircase that leads to an ornate mahogany-framed balcony. This ostentatious setting is perfect for the hair-raising tunes that Fats Waller wrote. And Criezis's cast is full of kitteny women and brawny men with big gorgeous voices who know how to love up these astonishing songs. Everything from badly behaving lovers to the opiate dreaminess of reefer gets a moment on stage. And all the while, the audience can sip wine and digest the old-style artery-hardening prime rib. The show is worth every bite.

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