Sad and Pissed, Rachel Hecker's standout show at Texas Gallery, turned a relationship gone wrong into a powerful, poignant and witty body of work starring Hello Kitty spin-off characters. The show was punctuated by "explosion" paintings that riffed on Batman fight scene graphics, with "OOF!" and "POW!" replaced by succinct expletives that encapsulated the "pissed" aspects of breaking up. Hecker is an art-community favorite for both the high caliber of her pop-appropriating work and her enthusiastic support of fellow artists, first via the Core Program as assistant director of the Glassell School of Art and currently as assistant professor of painting at the University of Houston. Hecker is also pursuing a personal/conceptual art project titled "Rachel Hecker's Global Mission to Date Carlisle Vandervoort," referring to the board president of DiverseWorks. She has formed a grassroots organization to assist in her quest. To date, Hecker's project has included promotional buttons with slogans like "Carlisle rocks," an informal brochure and a petition signed by 101 people who feel the two should make a love connection.
For years, Union Pacific map maker D.D. Smalley's eccentric attic museum delighted children and adults alike with the residue of his myriad hobbies. Petrified dinosaur dung was shelved cheek-by-jowl with, among thousands of other things, model ships, homemade objets d'art, an extensive arrowhead collection and cigar boxes full of hundreds of thousands of commonplace postage stamps tied with string into identical bundles of 100. After Smalley's death, his grandchildren Frank Davis and Vikki Fruit operated the museum sporadically until they sold the house in 1994. Then the museum was boxed up and sent into exile at Fruit's Hill Country barn, until this spring, when Brazos Projects, the Rice Building Workshop, the Davis grandchildren and indefatigable volunteer Helen Fosdick teamed up to reinstall the museum, knick by knack, in a space next to Brazos Bookstore. If anything, its long absence from Houston has made our hearts grow fonder of this wondrous curiosity cabinet and testament to knowledge for its own sake.

For years, Union Pacific map maker D.D. Smalley's eccentric attic museum delighted children and adults alike with the residue of his myriad hobbies. Petrified dinosaur dung was shelved cheek-by-jowl with, among thousands of other things, model ships, homemade objets d'art, an extensive arrowhead collection and cigar boxes full of hundreds of thousands of commonplace postage stamps tied with string into identical bundles of 100. After Smalley's death, his grandchildren Frank Davis and Vikki Fruit operated the museum sporadically until they sold the house in 1994. Then the museum was boxed up and sent into exile at Fruit's Hill Country barn, until this spring, when Brazos Projects, the Rice Building Workshop, the Davis grandchildren and indefatigable volunteer Helen Fosdick teamed up to reinstall the museum, knick by knack, in a space next to Brazos Bookstore. If anything, its long absence from Houston has made our hearts grow fonder of this wondrous curiosity cabinet and testament to knowledge for its own sake.

Got one of those must-be-told stories buried deep inside your soul? There's no place better for burgeoning writers to be these days than an Inprint class. There, some of Houston's finest authors (past instructors include award-winning novelists such as Farnoosh Moshiri, Gail Storey and Olive Hershey) will teach you everything you need to know about the craft of writing, from the basics of what makes a good story to the fine art of line editing. If poetry or essaying is your bag, Inprint's got that covered, too. Each writing workshop meets once a week for two months. During that time, you and 11 other aspiring writers (the classes cap off at 12) will meet for an evening of round-tabling over your work and theirs. And if you're a lucky, into-the-night hardworking writer, you just might come out with a piece that's polished enough to send out for publication.
Got one of those must-be-told stories buried deep inside your soul? There's no place better for burgeoning writers to be these days than an Inprint class. There, some of Houston's finest authors (past instructors include award-winning novelists such as Farnoosh Moshiri, Gail Storey and Olive Hershey) will teach you everything you need to know about the craft of writing, from the basics of what makes a good story to the fine art of line editing. If poetry or essaying is your bag, Inprint's got that covered, too. Each writing workshop meets once a week for two months. During that time, you and 11 other aspiring writers (the classes cap off at 12) will meet for an evening of round-tabling over your work and theirs. And if you're a lucky, into-the-night hardworking writer, you just might come out with a piece that's polished enough to send out for publication.
The St. Louis transplant with a degree from Rice University mixes clever quips with celebrity impersonations, all the while keeping his material at a 12th-grade level -- okay, maybe a remedial 12th-grade level. In just a few years as a stand-up, he's already headlined his own show at Houston's only real A-room, the Laff Stop, and he appeared earlier this year on Premium Blend, Comedy Central's showcase for up-and-coming comedians. (You can view a clip of the performance online at comedycentral.com.) Now a professional touring comic, MacRae is often out on the road, but occasionally he can be found tuning up new material at Houston's major comedy open mike (also at the Laff Stop). Catch him before stardom inflates the price of admission to a car payment.
The St. Louis transplant with a degree from Rice University mixes clever quips with celebrity impersonations, all the while keeping his material at a 12th-grade level -- okay, maybe a remedial 12th-grade level. In just a few years as a stand-up, he's already headlined his own show at Houston's only real A-room, the Laff Stop, and he appeared earlier this year on Premium Blend, Comedy Central's showcase for up-and-coming comedians. (You can view a clip of the performance online at comedycentral.com.) Now a professional touring comic, MacRae is often out on the road, but occasionally he can be found tuning up new material at Houston's major comedy open mike (also at the Laff Stop). Catch him before stardom inflates the price of admission to a car payment.
Before the privileged daughter of an aristocratic Japanese family crossed paths with a working-class lad from Liverpool, she was an artist who put the "avant" in avant-garde. Loosely associated with the Fluxus movement, Yoko Ono made works ranging from socially and artistically provocative performances like Cut Piece (1964), which invited members of the audience to snip off bits of her clothes, to the poetry of Ceiling Painting (Y E S Painting), the same work that introduced Lennon to Ono at her 1966 Indica Gallery opening when he climbed a white ladder and used a magnifying glass to view the simple word "yes" written on the ceiling. "YES YOKO ONO," a retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum, presented a fascinating range of Ono's work, ripe for reassessment. Through her art rather than media hype and distortion, emerged the portrait of a talented artist of tremendous intellect and quiet wit.
Before the privileged daughter of an aristocratic Japanese family crossed paths with a working-class lad from Liverpool, she was an artist who put the "avant" in avant-garde. Loosely associated with the Fluxus movement, Yoko Ono made works ranging from socially and artistically provocative performances like Cut Piece (1964), which invited members of the audience to snip off bits of her clothes, to the poetry of Ceiling Painting (Y E S Painting), the same work that introduced Lennon to Ono at her 1966 Indica Gallery opening when he climbed a white ladder and used a magnifying glass to view the simple word "yes" written on the ceiling. "YES YOKO ONO," a retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum, presented a fascinating range of Ono's work, ripe for reassessment. Through her art rather than media hype and distortion, emerged the portrait of a talented artist of tremendous intellect and quiet wit.
Donations of every imaginable variety show up weekly: horns, doll heads, a film canister of Tommy Lee Jones's spit, balls of Saran Wrap, clumps of hair, an appendix, color photos of fallopian tubes and contemporary art of a disquieting nature. Artist/nutball Dolan Smith has turned his Heights bungalow into a mecca for all things weird, including his own artwork, an ongoing series of drawings that details a host of physical and psychological scars featuring Smith's own brand of black humor. Visitors are invited to write down and contribute their own scars to the Scar Room as well. Smith is supplementing his empire of the bizarre with a two-thirds-complete pet cemetery. Last year, Tropical Storm Allison took its toll on the nascent final resting place for pets. Rising floodwaters filled the jars of 32 dead rats, inadvertently creating biological pipe bombs. Smith plans to complete the columbarium this fall. For a strange time, call to schedule a visit.

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