Reading series come and go, but ever since Robert Clark rescued a dying gathering of beatniks at the Sand Mountain coffee shop back in 1975, First Friday has been plugging along under his direction. The location may have changed over the past 25 years, but loyal scribes have followed Clark to every nook and hobbit hole. Past venues have included Bowles Auction company, Hard Thymes soup kitchen, KPFT studios (where the series was broadcast live), the Firehouse, DiverseWorks's old location, and even outside in the elements on the Orange Show grounds. But Clark has happily spent the last three years at the snug but word-friendly Inprint House, featuring one established poet the first Friday of every month, followed by an open reading.
The newly renovated auditorium debuted with the premiere of a redone version of the 1984 Oscar-winning film Amadeus to show off, among other things, its new sound system. (The Oscar-winning sound man, Mark Berger, was even on hand to talk with the audience about the restoration.) The theater has family flicks, and movies like Star Wars and the works of Robert Frank to accompany the museum's exhibits. A whole festival was devoted to Iranian movies, which film connoisseurs consider to be among the most innovative in the world today, and the theater just launched the Latin American Film Festival this year, to great acclaim. The filmmakers themselves are often able to appear and personally answer audience questions. What's more, the admission remains a bargain at just $5 a ticket ($4 for students, seniors and members). That makes this the place to go to see quality films you won't find anywhere else.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston - Brown Auditorium Theater
The newly renovated auditorium debuted with the premiere of a redone version of the 1984 Oscar-winning film Amadeus to show off, among other things, its new sound system. (The Oscar-winning sound man, Mark Berger, was even on hand to talk with the audience about the restoration.) The theater has family flicks, and movies like Star Wars and the works of Robert Frank to accompany the museum's exhibits. A whole festival was devoted to Iranian movies, which film connoisseurs consider to be among the most innovative in the world today, and the theater just launched the Latin American Film Festival this year, to great acclaim. The filmmakers themselves are often able to appear and personally answer audience questions. What's more, the admission remains a bargain at just $5 a ticket ($4 for students, seniors and members). That makes this the place to go to see quality films you won't find anywhere else.
Fusion is most often associated with jazz, but this CD begs the question. A blend of flamenco, jazz and rock, Spoken Mercy has fused the three in this locally produced compact disc. The band's debut CD features Gary Norman on guitars and bass, with Tyler Essex doing the percussion and programming. Perhaps ironically, there are no vocals, but none are needed when the music speaks volumes. "Mission San Juan" is the first track, beginning with the sound of church bells tolling as they have in the California mission for centuries. The music is timeless, though. "Bitter Winter" is more traditionally jazz in sound, with "Inca's Revenge" presenting an interesting transition, tribal-like, with unsteady, low rumblings. Even after you listen to the entire CD, you're still left wondering, well, is it?

Fusion is most often associated with jazz, but this CD begs the question. A blend of flamenco, jazz and rock, Spoken Mercy has fused the three in this locally produced compact disc. The band's debut CD features Gary Norman on guitars and bass, with Tyler Essex doing the percussion and programming. Perhaps ironically, there are no vocals, but none are needed when the music speaks volumes. "Mission San Juan" is the first track, beginning with the sound of church bells tolling as they have in the California mission for centuries. The music is timeless, though. "Bitter Winter" is more traditionally jazz in sound, with "Inca's Revenge" presenting an interesting transition, tribal-like, with unsteady, low rumblings. Even after you listen to the entire CD, you're still left wondering, well, is it?

New York has the Statue of Liberty; Paris has the Eiffel Tower; St. Louis has the arch; even Huntsville has big old Sam Houston. And what does Houston have? Well, if architect Doug Michels, industrial designer Peter Bollinger and sculptor Cybele Rowe have their way, this car city will have a giant hood ornament. The 555-foot Spirit of Houston is imagined as the world's tallest woman, her hands raised to the heavens, her dress and hair trailing behind her in the wind. In fact, in artist's renderings, the dress is blown so tight as to reveal this Amazon woman's curvalicious bod. What will she be made of? Chrome, of course.
New York has the Statue of Liberty; Paris has the Eiffel Tower; St. Louis has the arch; even Huntsville has big old Sam Houston. And what does Houston have? Well, if architect Doug Michels, industrial designer Peter Bollinger and sculptor Cybele Rowe have their way, this car city will have a giant hood ornament. The 555-foot Spirit of Houston is imagined as the world's tallest woman, her hands raised to the heavens, her dress and hair trailing behind her in the wind. In fact, in artist's renderings, the dress is blown so tight as to reveal this Amazon woman's curvalicious bod. What will she be made of? Chrome, of course.
The unlikely triad of David Jones, Gloria Gonzalez Roemer and Gary Polland presents the only real weekly political talk show in town, Politics Unplugged. Jones is a veteran criminal defense attorney and Democratic activist who used to host his own cable show. Roemer, who produces Politics Unplugged, formerly chaired the Bush-Quayle campaign in Colorado in 1992 after unsuccessfully running for U.S. Congress against Democratic incumbent Pat Schroeder. Polland is the chair of the Harris County Republican Party. Together, the two conservatives often appear to verbally beat the pulp out of liberal Jones, who doesn't seem to mind, and likes being outnumbered. Says Jones, "That means when I score points it's even more significant because I've been outgunned." Call it the Custer at the Little Big Horn rationale. In July, City Councilmember Carroll Robinson literally crashed the telecast midway through the show. "He came walking in like he was going to sit down, so we invited him and gave him a microphone," laughs Jones. "From then on it was 'Carroll for mayor,' and that's all we talked about." Adds Roemer, "It's the kind of show where these elected officials feel very comfortable that they can come and speak their mind, and that's rare and unique." The threesome is gearing up for the coming elections, and hopes to have face-offs between the candidates in all the major races, even the top spot.
The unlikely triad of David Jones, Gloria Gonzalez Roemer and Gary Polland presents the only real weekly political talk show in town, Politics Unplugged. Jones is a veteran criminal defense attorney and Democratic activist who used to host his own cable show. Roemer, who produces Politics Unplugged, formerly chaired the Bush-Quayle campaign in Colorado in 1992 after unsuccessfully running for U.S. Congress against Democratic incumbent Pat Schroeder. Polland is the chair of the Harris County Republican Party. Together, the two conservatives often appear to verbally beat the pulp out of liberal Jones, who doesn't seem to mind, and likes being outnumbered. Says Jones, "That means when I score points it's even more significant because I've been outgunned." Call it the Custer at the Little Big Horn rationale. In July, City Councilmember Carroll Robinson literally crashed the telecast midway through the show. "He came walking in like he was going to sit down, so we invited him and gave him a microphone," laughs Jones. "From then on it was 'Carroll for mayor,' and that's all we talked about." Adds Roemer, "It's the kind of show where these elected officials feel very comfortable that they can come and speak their mind, and that's rare and unique." The threesome is gearing up for the coming elections, and hopes to have face-offs between the candidates in all the major races, even the top spot.
Dick is probably the second-most famous of the four golfing Harmon brothers, taking a backseat only to Butch, who is of course the golfing guru to Tiger Woods. Teamed with station regulars Lance Zerlein and John Granato, Harmon is informative and, more important, entertaining -- even if you don't play golf. A more suitable name for the show might be the Harmon Comedy Hour, as the pro spends most of his time cutting his co-hosts to pieces with his acerbic wit. Butch and PGA players are often guests, and they too get little respect.

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