Dinner and a movie just got easier. The Alamo Drafthouse shows first-run features as well as repertory films usually showcasing a specific genre, like zombie flicks or chicks-in-prison movies. It also offers a full menu and a good selection of imported and domestic draft beers. You get served right there at your seat in the theater (there are tables), and you communicate with the waitstaff through writing so as not to disturb your neighbors. An employee won't bother you unless you specifically flag one with your paper. This great system makes for a comfortable moviegoing experience. Letting us drink beer in the theater is wonderful. Now if only they'd add smoking screenings.

Dinner and a movie just got easier. The Alamo Drafthouse shows first-run features as well as repertory films usually showcasing a specific genre, like zombie flicks or chicks-in-prison movies. It also offers a full menu and a good selection of imported and domestic draft beers. You get served right there at your seat in the theater (there are tables), and you communicate with the waitstaff through writing so as not to disturb your neighbors. An employee won't bother you unless you specifically flag one with your paper. This great system makes for a comfortable moviegoing experience. Letting us drink beer in the theater is wonderful. Now if only they'd add smoking screenings.

For more than 20 years the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series has been an oasis for those who crave the literary arts. Presented by Inprint, Inc. and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, this series of readings and talks has brought some of the best writers on the planet to the Bayou City: Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros and Seamus Heaney, to name just a few. Last year's event featuring Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa at UH's Cullen Performance Hall was almost standing-room-only -- and no wonder; tickets go for the ridiculously cheap price of $5 (thanks to generous subsidies from several Houston corporations). Best of all, the series aims for diversity: Female authors and writers of color always make up a generous portion of the schedule.

For more than 20 years the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series has been an oasis for those who crave the literary arts. Presented by Inprint, Inc. and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, this series of readings and talks has brought some of the best writers on the planet to the Bayou City: Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros and Seamus Heaney, to name just a few. Last year's event featuring Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa at UH's Cullen Performance Hall was almost standing-room-only -- and no wonder; tickets go for the ridiculously cheap price of $5 (thanks to generous subsidies from several Houston corporations). Best of all, the series aims for diversity: Female authors and writers of color always make up a generous portion of the schedule.

It's been said that Houston doesn't hang on to its history, but longtime resident Roger Wood is out to challenge that theory with his new, lovely book, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues. Wood, a Houston Community College literature professor (and sometime Press contributor), has woven together a masterful piece of art that covers nearly every important Houston blues musician, from the legendary Lightnin' Hopkins to guitarist Little Joe Washington, who still plays local clubs. The 300-plus-page book, which includes great black-and-white photography by James Fraher, is comprehensive enough to impress any hard-core blues fan, but eloquent enough to draw in any novice to the genre. But the best thing about the publication is the way it unearths and documents a treasure that so many native Houstonians aren't even aware of: one of the strongest blues communities to ever exist in America.

It's been said that Houston doesn't hang on to its history, but longtime resident Roger Wood is out to challenge that theory with his new, lovely book, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues. Wood, a Houston Community College literature professor (and sometime Press contributor), has woven together a masterful piece of art that covers nearly every important Houston blues musician, from the legendary Lightnin' Hopkins to guitarist Little Joe Washington, who still plays local clubs. The 300-plus-page book, which includes great black-and-white photography by James Fraher, is comprehensive enough to impress any hard-core blues fan, but eloquent enough to draw in any novice to the genre. But the best thing about the publication is the way it unearths and documents a treasure that so many native Houstonians aren't even aware of: one of the strongest blues communities to ever exist in America.

First, he's courtly in a way that only an Eastern European intellectual could be. Just imagine him sipping imported tea from a tiny porcelain cup in his attic apartment as he composes his exquisite poems. Second, he is one of the kindest thinkers living among the rest of us troglodytes; he listens with the patience of a saint. But most important is his work. Never mind the fact that he's won multiple international awards and published well over a dozen books, and that he teaches aspiring poets at the University of Houston every spring. His poetry is the sort that can save you from the darkest night. Any doubters need only read his poem that The New Yorker published after September 11, 2001. The delicate Try to Praise the Mutilated World ended with these powerful lines: "Praise the mutilated world / and the gray feather a thrush lost / and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns."

First, he's courtly in a way that only an Eastern European intellectual could be. Just imagine him sipping imported tea from a tiny porcelain cup in his attic apartment as he composes his exquisite poems. Second, he is one of the kindest thinkers living among the rest of us troglodytes; he listens with the patience of a saint. But most important is his work. Never mind the fact that he's won multiple international awards and published well over a dozen books, and that he teaches aspiring poets at the University of Houston every spring. His poetry is the sort that can save you from the darkest night. Any doubters need only read his poem that The New Yorker published after September 11, 2001. The delicate Try to Praise the Mutilated World ended with these powerful lines: "Praise the mutilated world / and the gray feather a thrush lost / and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns."

Ripcord
Ripcord, let us count the ways we love thee. Your walls are painted with an eye-catching image of a guy's nutsack hanging below the parted cheeks of his ass. Shirtless men on flashing roller-skates zip around your tables taking orders. Your patrons wear chaps, tiny shorts and leather, and if they get drunk and kinky you're kind enough to offer them cock rings, chain mail and large black phalluses for a reasonable price. Despite your hardcore-ness, you have a lovely, intimate, shaded patio, perfect for a tête-à-tête.

Ripcord, let us count the ways we love thee. Your walls are painted with an eye-catching image of a guy's nutsack hanging below the parted cheeks of his ass. Shirtless men on flashing roller-skates zip around your tables taking orders. Your patrons wear chaps, tiny shorts and leather, and if they get drunk and kinky you're kind enough to offer them cock rings, chain mail and large black phalluses for a reasonable price. Despite your hardcore-ness, you have a lovely, intimate, shaded patio, perfect for a tête-à-tête.

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