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Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

Joel Luks

Listings Editor

Arts/Entertainment, Food/Drink

Joel Luks, a native of Lima, Peru, moved to Toronto, Canada, upstate New York, and later Houston in a never ending quest for enlightenment through higher learning. A classically trained flutist at the Eastman School of Music and Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, Joel developed a love for the arts, arts education, and diverse cultural experiences.

Food and cooking became an obsession early in life, as his mother introduced him to perfectly cooked scrambled eggs. The curiosity of how ingredients metamorphose into delectable dishes translated into a fetish for learning and experimenting with different cuisines, flavors and techniques.

After working at McDonald's through high school, Joel transitioned slowly into a vegan lifestyle. While abstaining from animal products, he reinvented his definition of a meal and developed alternatives — sometimes nutritious, sometimes sinfully indulgent. Joel takes a personal interest in developing vegan recipes that satisfy the vegetable lover and the carnivore alike, challenging the stereotype that vegans and rabbits share similar sustenance. His concoctions can be found on Vegan Good Eats

Joel joined the CultureMap contributor team in May 2010. In January 2011, he joined the CultureMap editorial staff as the Listings Editor.

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Raising the Barre

Houston's hottest chefs and ballet stars play together in the kitchen: And young professionals eat the spoils

By Joel Luks

We all know that Houston Ballet dancers can bust a move. The question is: Can they cook? It's this pickle that was on the plate at the fifth annual ...

Groundbreaking Menil

Dream project: $40 million Menil Drawing Institute finds innovative ways to tame the light

By Joel Luks

When Menil Collection director Josef Helfenstein first placed a phone call to Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee's founders Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, he posed two questions: "Are ...

Calendar Closeup

Houston's hottest weekend happenings: Five (plus) don't-miss events

By Joel Luks

On the itinerary this weekend is an honest musical that will rip your heart out, an elegant recital filled with promise, a reading series of new American theater, a choral ...

Arts Drama

Disrespected artist at center of Convention Center controversy settles: Work on showcase piece begins

By Joel Luks

"It's time to get to work." With that statement by Ed Wilson, it appears as though the local artist is letting bygones be bygones. The five-month public controversy involving ...

Art Scandal Settled

Convention center art scandal gets a (somewhat) happy ending: But where's the Houston Arts Alliance apology?

By Joel Luks

In a strange turn of events, the major Houston Arts Alliance scandal that started with a high-priced commission being rescinded from a popular local artist appears to have come full ...

The Review is In

No sex, still worthy: Once is a weird love musical that somehow makes you fall for it (slowly)

By Joel Luks

There's always that one night owl at the bar — you know the one — with a loud flamboyant personality, the life of the party surrounded by a large throng of ...

Chamber Music Schedule

Houston concert news: New groups are headed to town — and the Chamber groupies will be shocked

By Joel Luks

Chamber Music Houston groupies won't recognize many of the personalities that are scheduled for the presenter's 2015-16 season, which just got revealed Tuesday night during the Vienna Piano ...

Chamber Music Houston Concert

Acclaimed piano trio airs its dirty laundry: On the road friendships, black socks and traveling mayhem

By Joel Luks

Not many friendships are made thanks to dirty laundry. If you happen to be one of the world's most acclaimed piano trios, the schedule of which demands being away ...

Calendar Closeup

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — from bone labyrinth to kosher chili cookoff

By Joel Luks

On tap this week is theater in which lovers act like asses, a boat race that's one hell of a party, a one-day interactive installation that responds to violence ...

Calendar Closeup

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — early Houston Rodeo fun guide included

By Joel Luks

I'm sure your life has been a complete bore since I took a two-week hiatus from writing this column to enjoy some down time on a Peruvian beach somewhat ...

Where Cultures Meet

Puppet masters bring ancient art form out of the shadows in spectacular ways

By Joel Luks

In a celestial epic of good versus evil and between light versus darkness, it's the shadows that appear to be the hero, at least as a mysterious, ancient and ...

The CultureMap Interview

Singing mobs inspire a wave of change: Concert celebrates peaceful revolution through music

By Joel Luks

In the 1980s, as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania staged coups against their Soviet oppressors, music became a source of unity as the trio of Baltic nations regained control of their ...

Video Tale

Naughty, naughty: Reading someone else's love notes is irresistible — and encouraged for a limited time in Houston

By Joel Luks

You know how it feels to read someone else's journal without permission. To be purview to someone's thoughts that were never meant to be said out loud. To ...

Care to dance?

Ghosts, folk tunes & fallen heroes: Houston Ballet's exciting new season keeps dancers on their toes

By Joel Luks

Romance, dramatic deaths, sex, power, money, politics — one would think that we were talking about an irresistible novela. But we aren't. These are characteristics of some of the works ...

Calendar Closeup

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — from pig feast to Mardi Gras

By Joel Luks

"I'm too busy." "I need more sleep." "I am stressed at work." "My boss is riding my derrière" — ugh, I've heard it all, folks. I am here ...

Happy Anniversary!

Winter wonderland: Warehouse that sparked Houston's artistic renaissance celebrates big time

By Joel Luks

Adjacent to the train tracks in Houston's First Ward was a run-down old warehouse on Winter Street that — as many in real estate often say — had "potential." Although it ...

Naughty Surprises

Murder, orphans and cheating wives: TUTS musical season is filled with naughty surprises

By Joel Luks

Musicals never before seen in Houston dot Theatre Under the Stars' 2015-16 lineup. The local presenter's 48th season, which was announced on Saturday, is filled with romance, laughter, mystery ...

Riotious Word Play

Grown-Up Spelling Bee combines comic commentary and riotous word play for a good cause

By Joel Luks

You know what they say: Spelling is only noticeable when it's wrong. Brave and courageous were the scholarly teams that stepped up to the lectern as they attempted to ...

Calendar Closeup

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — Oscar shorts & ballet in the buff included

By Joel Luks

On tap this week is dramatic opera, a narcissistic bitch, unknown Oscar movie screenings, Japanese medieval music and a contemporary ballet with tunes by one of the most iconic legends ...

Talk Opera to Me

Arts scoop: Houston Grand Opera's new season is packed with sexy world premieres

By Joel Luks

A melange of old and new, tradition and innovation, and favorites and unknowns are what opera buffs can expect for the Houston Grand Opera's 2015-16 lineup, which the organization ...

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