So Gabrielle Hale's Winedale Publishing isn't exactly new (she founded the press in 1996). But at the beginning, it looked like Winedale might be little more than an excuse to bring back into print the scattered remains of husband and Houston Chronicle columnist Leon Hale's oeuvre (some of which surely was penned at Hale's "old place" in Winedale, Texas). But as the years pass and Windedale's list grows, it becomes increasingly clear that Hale has larger ambitions for her small house. Yes, Leon's older work is happily back in print, alongside a new remembrance of foods past by the inventor, for better or worse, of the shopworn "Soupwich." But Winedale's list also now includes the novel Gabriel's Eye by SMU eminence C.W. Smith, and four fiction titles, including the new Drinking with the Cook, by the well-reviewed Laura Furman. Look for forthcoming titles by first-time Texas novelists Lynn Miller and former Press staff David Theis.

The Original Red Rooster
When All D. Freemon was looking for a venue to replace the vacuum in black comedy that followed the demise of the Jus' Jokin' club, he turned to the former BYOB discotheque founded by Houston NewsPages publisher Francis Page Sr. in '71. Though primarily an open mike for comedians of all stripes and colors, the Thunder Thursdays showcase has already landed such talent as blaxploitation icon Rudy Ray Moore (a.k.a. Dolemite) and Renaldo Ray of BET's Comicview to kick off the evening. Here's to keeping diversity in the local comedy scene.
When All D. Freemon was looking for a venue to replace the vacuum in black comedy that followed the demise of the Jus' Jokin' club, he turned to the former BYOB discotheque founded by Houston NewsPages publisher Francis Page Sr. in '71. Though primarily an open mike for comedians of all stripes and colors, the Thunder Thursdays showcase has already landed such talent as blaxploitation icon Rudy Ray Moore (a.k.a. Dolemite) and Renaldo Ray of BET's Comicview to kick off the evening. Here's to keeping diversity in the local comedy scene.
Mary Benton stands out in the KPRC-TV crowd as a tough, capable, "no frills just the story" reporter. She was omnipresent during the aftermath of the June 9 flood, holding court in knee-deep water clad in galoshes and wielding a cordless mike. A native of Harlingen, Benton earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas while specializing in government and political science. She started her professional TV career in the Central Texas market at KCEN-TV and later moved to KTBC-TV in Austin as education reporter. Since joining KPRC in 1994 she has provided a welcome face of professionalism at a station engulfed by Buzz Ladies, traffic reporters-turned-news anchors and flash-trash graphics. Benton is not the only member of her family to have a high profile in Houston. Her brother, Levi Benton, is a Republican district judge appointed by then-governor George W. Bush.
Mary Benton stands out in the KPRC-TV crowd as a tough, capable, "no frills just the story" reporter. She was omnipresent during the aftermath of the June 9 flood, holding court in knee-deep water clad in galoshes and wielding a cordless mike. A native of Harlingen, Benton earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas while specializing in government and political science. She started her professional TV career in the Central Texas market at KCEN-TV and later moved to KTBC-TV in Austin as education reporter. Since joining KPRC in 1994 she has provided a welcome face of professionalism at a station engulfed by Buzz Ladies, traffic reporters-turned-news anchors and flash-trash graphics. Benton is not the only member of her family to have a high profile in Houston. Her brother, Levi Benton, is a Republican district judge appointed by then-governor George W. Bush.
Jon Marans's Pulitzer Prize finalist, Old Wicked Songs, is an elegant, understated play about art, music and the exquisitely terrible power of history. In it, two Jewish musicians find themselves in Austria, one of the most paradoxical places in all of the Western world, for it gave us Mozart, Schubert and Hitler. There, they must come to grips with history as they struggle to find themselves through the power of music. It is a delicate story, rich with the sort of nuance that requires intelligence, patience, generosity and reserve from its director, which is exactly what the gifted director Mark Ramont brought to Stages this past winter. First he put together a perfect cast, with Daniel Magill as the hotheaded young man and William Hardy as a world-weary jade. Then Ramont put these fine actors into motion, sparking up a rare chemistry on stage, filled with a tender grief and a wild passion for the power of art to make a moment better.
Jon Marans's Pulitzer Prize finalist, Old Wicked Songs, is an elegant, understated play about art, music and the exquisitely terrible power of history. In it, two Jewish musicians find themselves in Austria, one of the most paradoxical places in all of the Western world, for it gave us Mozart, Schubert and Hitler. There, they must come to grips with history as they struggle to find themselves through the power of music. It is a delicate story, rich with the sort of nuance that requires intelligence, patience, generosity and reserve from its director, which is exactly what the gifted director Mark Ramont brought to Stages this past winter. First he put together a perfect cast, with Daniel Magill as the hotheaded young man and William Hardy as a world-weary jade. Then Ramont put these fine actors into motion, sparking up a rare chemistry on stage, filled with a tender grief and a wild passion for the power of art to make a moment better.
Try though we may, we don't always get geek humor. But Peter Hughes has a way of clueing technophobes into the joke. No ordinary straight man, Hughes is a Web developer for J.P. Morgan Chase Bank during the day. At night -- or at least Wednesday nights -- he is the John Stewart of the high-tech world. Like the host of Comedy Central's mock news magazine, The Daily Show, Hughes delivers the headlines with an ever-present awareness that many technology developments are the absurd product of public relations flacks and are richly deserving of ridicule. On the other hand, if you've ever wondered what the United States vs. Microsoft is really all about, Hughes's running commentary on the PC giant's predatory business practices is a fine place to start. Hughes admits Microsoft is a "good fat target" and that all he really has to do to get a laugh is "add a little megalomania." Hughes's biting asides will probably become only more toothsome now that the Bush administration has opted not to break up Microsoft. Hughes, for one, is suspicious of the decision. "The whole reason for the breakup was that it was less onerous and would have less impact on their operations," he says. "It's kind of an odd flip for a Republican administration -- unless it's a setup for backing off the company altogether."
Try though we may, we don't always get geek humor. But Peter Hughes has a way of clueing technophobes into the joke. No ordinary straight man, Hughes is a Web developer for J.P. Morgan Chase Bank during the day. At night -- or at least Wednesday nights -- he is the John Stewart of the high-tech world. Like the host of Comedy Central's mock news magazine, The Daily Show, Hughes delivers the headlines with an ever-present awareness that many technology developments are the absurd product of public relations flacks and are richly deserving of ridicule. On the other hand, if you've ever wondered what the United States vs. Microsoft is really all about, Hughes's running commentary on the PC giant's predatory business practices is a fine place to start. Hughes admits Microsoft is a "good fat target" and that all he really has to do to get a laugh is "add a little megalomania." Hughes's biting asides will probably become only more toothsome now that the Bush administration has opted not to break up Microsoft. Hughes, for one, is suspicious of the decision. "The whole reason for the breakup was that it was less onerous and would have less impact on their operations," he says. "It's kind of an odd flip for a Republican administration -- unless it's a setup for backing off the company altogether."
Give the rest of the world Emeril (please!), we'll keep Houston's very own Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola. We can forgive this Italian restaurant family empire for taping the show in New York, because there is no question when you watch them that these guys call the Bayou City home. And there is no question that they equate food with fun. They laugh and kid around in the kitchen, with Damian breaking into song several times per episode. And you can't help but sing along and laugh right along with these guys. In fact, if you're really watching the show for recipes and cooking tips (and we would be if we weren't watching our waistline), we suggest you videotape it and pick up the details on the second go-round. Otherwise, you might get so caught up in the repartee and reverie that you miss a key ingredient, but for Johnny and Damian, the most important ingredient is merriment.

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