Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
As noted on CBSDFW.com, Gene Simmons and longtime partner Shannon Tweed hosted a live-music event coordinated by The Aces & Angels Foundation, which was later featured on Simmons's A&E reality show. The party was just one of many fundraisers that the nonprofit organization has created to provide assistance for active-duty and former members of the United States Armed Forces. They visit US military installations with a cadre of famous musicians, Hollywood celebrities, and athletes, doing their part to boost morale and the instances of excited, high-pitched screaming within the armed forces. They also organize charitable, star-studded events such as poker tournaments, VIP parties, and chili cook-offs.
Proceeds from the events benefit charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps veterans recover from physical and mental injuries, and The Gleason Initiative Foundation, which raises public awareness of ALS and provides equipment and services to individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.
"Don't worry if you don't know much about wine," Manager Mike Kurth told the Houston Press just after the restaurant's grand opening in 2010. "I'll find you something you like." Drawing from a palette of more than 170 wines, Cork Soakers' bottle-handlers exude a casual confidence in dispatching potions to pair with a menu of artisanal meats and cheeses. As they consider the flavor notes of herbed Da Vinci gouda, chévre goat cheese, and smoked duck breast, the wait staff never cross over from savviness into snobbery: as Kurth notes, "Anyone who says they know everything about wine is lying. You can always learn more."
While continuing to build their knowledge base, the Cork Soakers team marinates in an atmosphere of full-on wine culture: cork-covered tabletops and menus, wine-barrel light fixtures, and a giant grapevine slowly entrapping the kitchen staff. At the center of the rustic space, a big table carved from a single mighty tree trunk holds a scrumptious brunch spread every Sunday. In fine weather, diners can take their beverages and bites out to the expansive patio.
The coaches at Urban Movement channel diverse backgrounds in yoga and personal training to lead parkour classes where pupils learn to navigate any environment with creative, fluid maneuvers. In their indoor playground, they instill basic movements—such as running, jumping, rolling, and vaulting—in their students, helping to conquer fear through repetition and progression. Outdoors, they practice many of the same skills, using the city's landscape as their arena. They scoot along cement ledges hanging by their fingertips, run up walls, and roll on pavement. The coaches welcome beginners into all indoor and outdoor sessions, capably scaling the exercises so that students build the right kinds of strength to maximize their natural agility and perfect their natural animal roars.
John and Dominique de Menil began collecting art in the 1940s, shortly after they had relocated from France to the United States. It didn't take long for the couple to amass nearly 16,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Tired of tripping over Byzantine statues on the way to the kitchen, the de Menils decided to share their collection with the world.
The result is The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987 and has since become a fixture of Houston's Museum District. Here, visitors can browse priceless artworks and artifacts with origins that span the globe. With its minimalistic exterior and sweeping stretches of glass, the building itself is also something of a masterpiece. This is no accident—Dominque de Menil made sure that its design allowed for plenty of natural light to enhance visitors' experience and help the artworks grow big and strong.