Since opening in 2003, The Tasting Room has morphed from a wine bar to a full-service restaurant with four locations—all while retaining its wine-bar charm and racking up numerous awards and accolades. Diners can select libations from a list that boasts more than 200 wines, pairing them with contemporary dishes whipped up by executive chef Jonathan LeBlanc. TTR offerings run the gamut from small plates of mini grilled sandwiches and classic bruschetta to entrees including creole-spiced quail and Jamaican jerk chicken breast, which diners can savor at windowside tables or on the plant-ensconced patio and garden area.
The eatery doesn't just sate hunger for eclectic classics and thirst for fermented grapes. It also hosts live music, meetings, and events such as 2011's Grapes vs. Grains, which pitted beer against wine in a liquid wrestling match. The owners have their hands in other culinary enterprises, too. There's the Houston Cellar Classic, for example, an annual celebration of food and wine. Also popular is MAX's Wine Dive, a destination for gourmet comfort food best defined by its slogan—"Fried chicken and champagne? ... Why the hell not?"
In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
Jennifer Buergermeister is very flexible. She not only moves from job to job—she's an entrepreneur, independent filmmaker, spiritual healer, and app designer—but also from pose to pose while teaching yoga. She has created two yoga DVDs and has a third coming out in November. She's also the owner of Jennyoga, where she works with a deep bench of fellow yoga teachers, offering a variety of classes for all levels. These include Sunrise and Awakening, Hatha Flow, and Deep Relaxation and Restorative yoga classes.
The team at Jennyoga strives to make coming to the studio easy. They built a Jennyoga app for mobile devices that allows students to schedule classes on the fly. And they run an in-house store, where visitors can pick up any yoga gear they might need before heading into one of the studios. They even made a short film to inspire attendance, a sort of narrative commercial about the beneficial effects of yoga in our noisy, modern world where neighbors rev motorcycle engines and fire alarms scream in delight whenever you get home.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program.
Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.
Occupying a prominent space within the 95-acre Sculpture Fields at Nova’s Ark, the 7th annual ArtHamptons event celebrates post-war and contemporary artwork. In recognition of the Hamptons' international reputation as an inspiring summer playground for culturally savvy individuals, "Escape" will be celebrated in all its incarnations this year. The fair's 50,000-square-foot museum-like space will feature more than 3,000 different works of art, which are all available for acquisition.
Although the scope of its exhibits is international—consisting of works by more than 500 different artists as presented by galleries from more than 10 countries—ArtHamptons continues to celebrate the creations of established masters as well as emerging talent from the East End. Over the course of three days, attendees can take in the displays and attend various cultural events and programming.
Memorial City Mall’s chirping cash registers and department-store scanners give way to the scraping of blades against ice inside Ice Skate USA. There, a full-sized rink large enough to host official IHL and NHL games reinvigorates bodies worn from shopping by imparting the freedom and fun of uninhibited speed during open-skate sessions. The rink also keeps a squad of instructors on hand who host hockey academies to sharpen everything from basic skating skills to puck control to discerning between team mascots and roving packs of wolves. Additionally, Ice Skate USA also works to expand the community’s appreciation for ice-bound culture during scheduled events such as The Nutcracker on Ice, with try-outs for the production encouraged for all students, and open to skaters of any skill and age.
Although the 24- to 28-member Houston Chamber Choir resists categorization, there may be one thing that defines the group: flexibility. Equally comfortable performing Bach's B minor mass with period instruments or singing along with Dave Brubeck and his quartet for an evening of choral jazz, it's no wonder Everett Evans of the Houston Chronicle dubbed the choir "one of the jewels of the city's cultural scene." And together they're a jewel that shares its sparkle with the world. The choir's concerts have spanned from the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City all the way to Wales while taking special care to promote the music of Texas composers.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
Professional photographer Daniel Moreno has had an eye for images since the birth of his first son, which imbued him with the passion to pursue photography as a career. Though he still snaps precious shots of his two children, he now shares his gift with other families, harnessing natural light and the pastoral backgrounds of local parks to frame unposed photos of newborns, babies, and children. He also takes his equipment on the road to capture maternity portraits, quinceañeras, engagements, and graduation sessions for high-school seniors or dogs that have completed clown college.
Each year, the Houston Beer Festival attracts fans of libations, music, and merriment with an extensive lineup of breweries, food vendors, and bands. In years past, the gathering has attracted craft brewers such as Stone and New Belgium alongside such worldwide heavyweights as Anheuser-Busch and Guinness, whose creations flow from kegs into a variety of vessels, from 2-ounce samplers to 24-ounce glasses. On multiple stages, bands from Houston and abroad lay down a live festival soundtrack, as karaoke singers replace classic hits with lyrics from the Cheers theme song.
Owner Valerie Johnson leads a team of dynamic dance and fitness instructors dedicated to keeping bodies energized and elegant with classes ranging from ballet and pointe to hip-hop and tap. In addition to teaching feet the difference between tangos and two-steps, the studio’s instructors nurture tuneful talents with music lessons in disciplines including drum, guitar, piano, and voice. The 3,400-square-foot studio also hosts Kindermusik programs, which inspire creativity in toddlers with song, dance, and alphabet recitation set to the overture of Don Giovanni.
Offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m., Minute Maid Park tours provide an insider’s guide to a great American ballpark in a fact-filled approximately one-hour stroll. Reflecting Houston’s historical relationship with railroads, the park’s most distinct feature is a full-sized locomotive that runs along 800 feet of track in left field and is regularly held up by a tatterdemalion gang of thieving cowboys. Incorporating red brick masonry, a lush natural grass surface, and a retractable roof, “The Juice Box” boasts a 40,976-person capacity for baseball games and is a also a prime locale for recreating Braveheart battle scenes. Visitors will be led by a pleasantly colloquial tour guide that usually provides illuminating access to areas such as the broadcasting booth, press boxes, the dugouts, luxury suites, and lightsaber training areas–all of which are much more interesting than the Alamo’s basement.
Pecos showcases three distinct pieces. With a specially commissioned score from Matthew Pierce, Stanton Welch's whimsical Pecos Bill is a folkloric romance between an idealized Texas cowboy and Sluefoot Sue, a perfectly matched sassy tomboy. Ballo della Regina is a bel-canto-esque set of variations created by Balanchine and set to music that was once cut from Verdi's Don Carlos. Enjoy brilliantly crafted movements and perfectly timed humor choreographed by dance superstar Mark Morris in Sandpaper Ballet, a performance that gleams amid green and white costumes designed by Isaac Mizrahi.
Supporting the Texas Center for the Missing, Champions for Children presents benefactors with an evening of hilarious standup and delectable cuisine while helping fund the Center's philanthropic mission of missing-child prevention and recovery. Guests dig into toothsome chow, choosing from a variety of vegetarian and meat-laden dishes while chortling at hilarious standups and mad libs whispered to the comedians by the servers. After an opening set from Cliff West, nationally recognized laughmeister Bob Smiley headlines the event, bringing his manic energy and quirky physicality to anecdotes on relationships, raising kids, and everyday life. Live and silent auctions offer further opportunities for charitable largesse, and an event-wide raffle gives guests the chance to win fabulous prizes and impress dates with their raffle-fixing abilities. Attendees' vehicles can eagerly listen in on the show from free parking spots.
The High School for the Performing Arts (HSPVA) commemorates 40 years of artistic and academic cultivation with an extravagant showcase of talent starring current students and illustrious alumni. A nationally renowned institution of performance and visual arts, HSPVA allows burgeoning young artists to build upon their craft in a creative environment free of pirouette wedgies. To celebrate four decades of entertainment stewardship, the school's vocal, instrumental, theater, visual arts, and dance departments come together to dazzle audiences with a mélange of pomp and avocation. Fresh-faced thespians share the stage with a slew of postgrad success stories, including Támar Davis from Madea's Big Happy Family and Michelle DeJean from Broadway's Chicago, as they strut their ingenuity in a series of musical numbers, chased with rounds of choral and symphonic performances. Chandra Wilson from ABC’S Grey's Anatomy plays Mistress of Ceremonies at the preshow reception, offering notes of inspiration to a school that flaunts its myriad Presidential Scholars in the Arts in the stage-frightened faces of Mount Rushmore.