At the stroke of midnight from Monday to Friday, KCOH jock Paris Eley spins part of an electrifying sermon from legendary Memphis Baptist preacher Jasper Williams. As his congregation shouts out words of agreement, the Reverend Williams dwells at length in stunning rhythmic cadence on the nature of midnight, saying things like "rats and mice come out of their holes, looking for cheese -- at midnight," "the party is at its peak -- at midnight," and "Midnight is a most strange and peculiar hour." Eley then segues the song into something appropriate -- for a long time it was Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour." And then the show is off and running, five and a half hours of music fused with musings. Eley has that rare voice that seems to smile all the time, and between cuts of vintage Southern soul and contemporary blues, the DJ, nicknamed "the Prophet," expounds at length on philosophy, world religion and history. Eley should know a lot about history -- he's made plenty himself. After serving as KCOH's program director in the early '70s, Eley spent a quarter-century as a record exec for Motown, CBS and Atlantic and participated in the Harvard Black Music Studies of 1972 and 1997. Four years ago, Eley returned to KCOH, and the wee hours in his hometown haven't been the same since.
At the stroke of midnight from Monday to Friday, KCOH jock Paris Eley spins part of an electrifying sermon from legendary Memphis Baptist preacher Jasper Williams. As his congregation shouts out words of agreement, the Reverend Williams dwells at length in stunning rhythmic cadence on the nature of midnight, saying things like "rats and mice come out of their holes, looking for cheese -- at midnight," "the party is at its peak -- at midnight," and "Midnight is a most strange and peculiar hour." Eley then segues the song into something appropriate -- for a long time it was Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour." And then the show is off and running, five and a half hours of music fused with musings. Eley has that rare voice that seems to smile all the time, and between cuts of vintage Southern soul and contemporary blues, the DJ, nicknamed "the Prophet," expounds at length on philosophy, world religion and history. Eley should know a lot about history -- he's made plenty himself. After serving as KCOH's program director in the early '70s, Eley spent a quarter-century as a record exec for Motown, CBS and Atlantic and participated in the Harvard Black Music Studies of 1972 and 1997. Four years ago, Eley returned to KCOH, and the wee hours in his hometown haven't been the same since.
Consummate actress Anne Quackenbush often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to casting. The sweet-faced woman is often cast as the goofball, the loser or the whiny plain Jane. What's even harder, Quackenbush so deeply inhabits these quirky characters that it's sometimes too easy to overlook her extraordinary performances. Her acting pulses with the energy of real life. Such was the case with her performance as Lindy Love in the Alley Theatre's House and Garden. The ironically named Love suffers from domestic gloom and doom. Quackenbush padded about in a nylon warm-up suit, her mousy brown hair pinned back with silver clips, bearing the indifferent criticism of her dull-witted husband with the stoicism of an old dog. When she finally broke free at the story's end, you couldn't help but give a silent cheer for the woman whose heart was brought to with hysterically sweet life by this quiet queen of acting.

Consummate actress Anne Quackenbush often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to casting. The sweet-faced woman is often cast as the goofball, the loser or the whiny plain Jane. What's even harder, Quackenbush so deeply inhabits these quirky characters that it's sometimes too easy to overlook her extraordinary performances. Her acting pulses with the energy of real life. Such was the case with her performance as Lindy Love in the Alley Theatre's House and Garden. The ironically named Love suffers from domestic gloom and doom. Quackenbush padded about in a nylon warm-up suit, her mousy brown hair pinned back with silver clips, bearing the indifferent criticism of her dull-witted husband with the stoicism of an old dog. When she finally broke free at the story's end, you couldn't help but give a silent cheer for the woman whose heart was brought to with hysterically sweet life by this quiet queen of acting.

Angie Day grew up in the Braeswood area of Houston and graduated in 1990 from St. Agnes Academy, the sister school to Strake Jesuit. She put her hometown to good use in her debut novel, The Way to Somewhere, published by Simon & Schuster this year. Day's 18-year-old tomboy antagonist wants mightily to get out of Houston and away from the uninspiring men she meets; meanwhile she spends her time watching bands at Fitzgerald's, cruising through River Oaks's opulence, and having an affair with a University of Houston professor who lives in West U. The book garnered solid reviews from publications like Newsday and People magazine and marks a promising beginning for Day, who now lives in New York.
Angie Day grew up in the Braeswood area of Houston and graduated in 1990 from St. Agnes Academy, the sister school to Strake Jesuit. She put her hometown to good use in her debut novel, The Way to Somewhere, published by Simon & Schuster this year. Day's 18-year-old tomboy antagonist wants mightily to get out of Houston and away from the uninspiring men she meets; meanwhile she spends her time watching bands at Fitzgerald's, cruising through River Oaks's opulence, and having an affair with a University of Houston professor who lives in West U. The book garnered solid reviews from publications like Newsday and People magazine and marks a promising beginning for Day, who now lives in New York.
DJs come and go in this town. Sometimes they pack it in and move on to greener pastures. Or occasionally they just give up the life altogether. Just recently, Sista Stroke (or Oktober Davila, or whatever alias you might know her by) said farewell to Houston and fled to the more progressive streets of Chicago. She will surely be missed by her loyal following -- and yes, Sista Stroke did have a loyal following. As one of the handful of local female DJs (Soul Free and Rocky B, to name a couple others) who get their groove on at various clubs, she was the most visible, the most versatile and the most respected female turntablist this beat-droppin' town has come up with. Whether she was dropping heavy, soulful house sounds ("strokin' beats," she called them) at spots like Hyperia or joining forces with the music collective GrooveMatters as their resident decknician, Stroke was an integral component to the local dance scene. Plus, it didn't hurt that she had the dark, exotic looks and magnetic charisma that would make any dude wish he had an active interest in collecting vinyl records. Sista Stroke was a DJ who could save your life from a broken heart.
DJs come and go in this town. Sometimes they pack it in and move on to greener pastures. Or occasionally they just give up the life altogether. Just recently, Sista Stroke (or Oktober Davila, or whatever alias you might know her by) said farewell to Houston and fled to the more progressive streets of Chicago. She will surely be missed by her loyal following -- and yes, Sista Stroke did have a loyal following. As one of the handful of local female DJs (Soul Free and Rocky B, to name a couple others) who get their groove on at various clubs, she was the most visible, the most versatile and the most respected female turntablist this beat-droppin' town has come up with. Whether she was dropping heavy, soulful house sounds ("strokin' beats," she called them) at spots like Hyperia or joining forces with the music collective GrooveMatters as their resident decknician, Stroke was an integral component to the local dance scene. Plus, it didn't hurt that she had the dark, exotic looks and magnetic charisma that would make any dude wish he had an active interest in collecting vinyl records. Sista Stroke was a DJ who could save your life from a broken heart.
Swanky, cool and utterly gorgeous, Andrew Jackness's set for the Alley Theatre's fall production of Yasmina Reza's Tony-winning Art was an example of visual minimalism at its two-toned best. The large elegantly blank rooms of the set were framed with towering cream-colored walls topped with enormous curving crown moldings. Furnished with three simple gray chairs, the rooms epitomized New York chic, the kind that comes with wads of dough and a wonderfully pompous desire to be hip, even if it means living life as though it could be ordered from a J. Crew catalog. Visually arresting and wonderfully clever in the way it captured all our modern-day anxieties about what is beautiful, Jackness's set made cool both appealing and absurd all at once.
Swanky, cool and utterly gorgeous, Andrew Jackness's set for the Alley Theatre's fall production of Yasmina Reza's Tony-winning Art was an example of visual minimalism at its two-toned best. The large elegantly blank rooms of the set were framed with towering cream-colored walls topped with enormous curving crown moldings. Furnished with three simple gray chairs, the rooms epitomized New York chic, the kind that comes with wads of dough and a wonderfully pompous desire to be hip, even if it means living life as though it could be ordered from a J. Crew catalog. Visually arresting and wonderfully clever in the way it captured all our modern-day anxieties about what is beautiful, Jackness's set made cool both appealing and absurd all at once.

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