They don't call it the Shady Tavern for nothing. The "tavern" part is really more of an icehouse, but the "shady" part -- an expansive side yard -- is blessedly covered with plenty of tall sheltering trees. And nestled among the pines in this low-rent bar west of the Heights is a small but serviceable stage where Bert Wills might be crying in his beer to a bunch of Harley-riding bikers. Or someone else might be singing to a more genteel crowd as kids play on the grass and run free. Outdoor concerts in a Houston summer are usually pretty dicey affairs unless you're in the a/c bubble of the Woodlands Pavilion, but the Shady Tavern offers a nice bit of music under the trees, served up without any frills but with a fine sense of place.
Shady Tavern Ice House
They don't call it the Shady Tavern for nothing. The "tavern" part is really more of an icehouse, but the "shady" part -- an expansive side yard -- is blessedly covered with plenty of tall sheltering trees. And nestled among the pines in this low-rent bar west of the Heights is a small but serviceable stage where Bert Wills might be crying in his beer to a bunch of Harley-riding bikers. Or someone else might be singing to a more genteel crowd as kids play on the grass and run free. Outdoor concerts in a Houston summer are usually pretty dicey affairs unless you're in the a/c bubble of the Woodlands Pavilion, but the Shady Tavern offers a nice bit of music under the trees, served up without any frills but with a fine sense of place.
As usual, John Tyson stole the show when he showed up on the Alley Theatre's stage during Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream with big blown-up balloon boobs tucked in his shirt. He was Flute, who plays Thisby in Shakespeare's play inside the play. And it makes delicious sense that Tyson, Houston's consummate clown (who can also weep the saddest tears), should have frolicked his way into our hearts once more in such a crazy getup. The audience roared with laughter when he walked across the stage and giggled in his girly squeak. Then they literally rocked in their seats, holding their bellies as they howled with laughter when one boob burst and Tyson deadpanned straight out, "you know what's coming next," before he reached up and popped the other airy orb. No, it wasn't serious, but it was brilliant; there is no performance from the entire season more memorable or more deserving than Tyson's hysterical clown.
As usual, John Tyson stole the show when he showed up on the Alley Theatre's stage during Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream with big blown-up balloon boobs tucked in his shirt. He was Flute, who plays Thisby in Shakespeare's play inside the play. And it makes delicious sense that Tyson, Houston's consummate clown (who can also weep the saddest tears), should have frolicked his way into our hearts once more in such a crazy getup. The audience roared with laughter when he walked across the stage and giggled in his girly squeak. Then they literally rocked in their seats, holding their bellies as they howled with laughter when one boob burst and Tyson deadpanned straight out, "you know what's coming next," before he reached up and popped the other airy orb. No, it wasn't serious, but it was brilliant; there is no performance from the entire season more memorable or more deserving than Tyson's hysterical clown.
The explosion of downtown drinking establishments provides crowds with more choices than ever for the forays into the central city: disco, rock, retro, high-dollar, lowbrow, jazz, freak/geek/sleek and so on. And that makes the other option -- none of the above -- that much more valuable for visitors and regulars alike. Market Square Bar & Grill serves as a needed rest stop of sorts for any ultimate destination downtown. The place is centrally located. It a well-stocked bar and pours a good drink at a reasonable price. And there's no one type of crowd -- everybody can shed the social airs and just feel comfortable awhile, before the rest of the barhopping or mate-hunting resumes for the evening. Best of all, this bar offers quality grill fare -- top-notch burgers, tasty salads and more -- to stabilize stomachs for the drinking sessions ahead. And the back patio would make New Orleans proud as a fine retreat from the rigors of downtown hustling.
Bitterman's Market Square Bar & Grill
Photo by Houston Press Staff
The explosion of downtown drinking establishments provides crowds with more choices than ever for the forays into the central city: disco, rock, retro, high-dollar, lowbrow, jazz, freak/geek/sleek and so on. And that makes the other option -- none of the above -- that much more valuable for visitors and regulars alike. Market Square Bar & Grill serves as a needed rest stop of sorts for any ultimate destination downtown. The place is centrally located. It a well-stocked bar and pours a good drink at a reasonable price. And there's no one type of crowd -- everybody can shed the social airs and just feel comfortable awhile, before the rest of the barhopping or mate-hunting resumes for the evening. Best of all, this bar offers quality grill fare -- top-notch burgers, tasty salads and more -- to stabilize stomachs for the drinking sessions ahead. And the back patio would make New Orleans proud as a fine retreat from the rigors of downtown hustling.
Steven K. Barnett's exquisite set built into the wide-open space at Atomic Cafe for Infernal Bridegroom's production of Maria Irene Fornes's The Danube was most charming for all its stunning detail. Painterly and delicate, the minimalist creation started with a stage Barnett built in the middle of the playing space from rough-hewn planks, framed at the corners with brown towering four-by-fours. Across the back wall hung a drop that looked like a wall-sized postcard from the Hungarian countryside where the strange avant-garde play takes place. Each time the scene changed, a wall-sized card was removed, revealing the one beneath it, as lovely and fantastical as the one before. These dreamscapes stood in stark relief to all the terrifying strangeness happening in the scenes. Poignant and beautiful, Barnett's carefully wrought set was simply magical.

Steven K. Barnett's exquisite set built into the wide-open space at Atomic Cafe for Infernal Bridegroom's production of Maria Irene Fornes's The Danube was most charming for all its stunning detail. Painterly and delicate, the minimalist creation started with a stage Barnett built in the middle of the playing space from rough-hewn planks, framed at the corners with brown towering four-by-fours. Across the back wall hung a drop that looked like a wall-sized postcard from the Hungarian countryside where the strange avant-garde play takes place. Each time the scene changed, a wall-sized card was removed, revealing the one beneath it, as lovely and fantastical as the one before. These dreamscapes stood in stark relief to all the terrifying strangeness happening in the scenes. Poignant and beautiful, Barnett's carefully wrought set was simply magical.

Lilting accordion swirls over rhythmic dance steps echoing through the auditorium. The dancers are not professionals, just community members of different ages polishing some basic "folkloric" steps. For 24 years, Talento Bilingue de Houston has fostered and showcased the cultural wealth readily mined in Houston's East End and beyond. The center recently featured an exhibit of the area's mural art. Shot by photographer Richard Sanchez, the photos highlighted the astounding array of this popular form, which graces walls along Navigation, Maxwell and other local streets. Talento began in 1977 as a theater program and has since branched out to include mariachi music, video and film production, dancing and a summer art camp for children. The center frequently teams up with institutions like the Houston Symphony for special events.

Talento Bilingue De Houston
Lilting accordion swirls over rhythmic dance steps echoing through the auditorium. The dancers are not professionals, just community members of different ages polishing some basic "folkloric" steps. For 24 years, Talento Bilingue de Houston has fostered and showcased the cultural wealth readily mined in Houston's East End and beyond. The center recently featured an exhibit of the area's mural art. Shot by photographer Richard Sanchez, the photos highlighted the astounding array of this popular form, which graces walls along Navigation, Maxwell and other local streets. Talento began in 1977 as a theater program and has since branched out to include mariachi music, video and film production, dancing and a summer art camp for children. The center frequently teams up with institutions like the Houston Symphony for special events.

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