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What a year!

Favorite photos of 2013: Monumental, memorable and just plain fun

Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images
Beyonce Houston concert December 2013

As photo editor of CultureMap, I scour through hundreds of photos every day. Here are some from the past year I consider monumental or memorable in Houston's 2013 history, along with some damn good captures and others just for fun, along with a few of my personal favorites.

Narrowing it down to 10 (plus one) was like, well, impossible, but I gave it my best shot.

Thanks to all the photographers out there, professional and amateur, who chronicle events every day and share them with us. You're doing an awesome job. Keep up the amazing work, and keep 'em coming in 2014!

The Beautiful One
Beyoncé's handlers tried their best to keep unflattering photos of our hometown gal in concert from circulating on the Internet. A hardworking singer/dancer/entertainer is undoubtedly going to look strained sometime during a live performance.

But she obviously liked this high-energy shot from her December concert in Houston that was supplied by her team. Looking awesome, Bey!

Photo by © Michelle Watson/
J.J. Watt nose

Yes, the Texans had a rough year - to say the least. Maybe this photo of J.J. Watt with bloodied nose taken after the team's loss to the Seahawks in September sums up Houston's 2013 football season.

After his plastic surgery, Watt should be looking as hunky as ever. Hopefully, the Texans will follow suit with a knock-out comeback in 2014.

Photo by Tyler Rudick
Macy's Foley's implosion explosion building demolition

Farewell, Foley's/Macy's
Hundreds of cameras focused on the implosion of Macy's downtown. Branded a Macy's in 2006, the vintage 10-story behemoth long marked the center of Houston's downtown retail district since it opened just after World War II. CultureMap reporter Tyler Rudick snapped this photo as the building came tumbling down.

Signs of the times
I found this on Twitter, and while it's not the sharpest photo, it represents a nostalgic tribute to the Astrodome during a giant sale and auction. I was there and walked away empty handed, but with new friends after standing in line for six hours - and a lot of memories reeling inside.


Photo by © Michelle Watson/
Astrodome towers demolition Dec. 8, 2013

Lost Wonder?
In December, the round cylinders, which were added in the late 1980s to accommodate an expansion of 10,000 seats and luxury suites to keep the then-Houston Oilers from moving to another city (the team eventually left anyway), quickly imploded into a pile of concrete rubble as a group of onlookers watched. CultureMap contributing photographer Michelle Watson captured the moment.

Photo by © Bruce Bennett
Hans Graf Houston Symphony final concert May 2013

Maestro Hans Graf completes his impressive tenure in May as Houston Symphony's longest music director with Mahler's breathtaking Symphony No. 2 in C minor, the "Resurrection." Standing "O" and thank you for more than a decade of incredible direction and dedication.

Photo courtesy of Office of George Bush
 George H. W. Bush shaved head with Patrick son of Bush Protective Division Jon member of Secret Service

Bald is Beautiful
Former President George H.W. Bush joined members of his Secret Service team in July by shaving his head in support of a team member's 2-year-old son who has lost his hair during treatment for leukemia. Publicity photo, yes. Priceless, of course.

Photo by © Julie Soefer
Karen Pulaski Tribute Goods linen collection September 2013 Earth-Meadow 2

Take Your PIck
Gosh, do you want to roll in the green grass first? Run through the pine trees? Rip off the covers and hop into bed? Or just sit for a while and take it all in? I know my answer...but I'm not telling. (This photo was taken by Houston photographer Julie Sofer.)

Photo by Paula Murphy
Matt Markus of Eatsie Boys James Coney Island hot dog July 2013

Best Profile Pic
Eatsie Boys Chef Matt Marcus just cracks me up as a participant in James Coney Island's Chefs And Show Dogs series. As part of the company's 90th anniversary, the hot dog chain invited high-profile Houston chefs to create a dog that's sold at Coney Islands across Houston.

And I hear the dog was excellent!

Photo by © Chinh Phan/
Party reflection in window against city-scape backdrop at Houston Symphony Young Professionals Backstage's Luck be a Lady event November 2013

Magical Night
We feature parties out the wazoo, but this image from a Houston Symphony Young Professionals Backstage event really stuck in my head. By shooting a reflection in a window, CultureMap contributing photographer Chinh Phan combines the action inside and city lights outside.

Photo by Debora Smail/RealityPhotography
Shelby, Best of Everything, Etoile, March 2013, roasted duck breast

Food Porn
This photo of the roasted duck breast at Etoile by food photographer extraordinare Debora Smail is just a tribute from me to all those great Houston foodie photographers. Ambiance, check. Delectable food, check. Can I devour this on my laptop, no, drat it!

Thanks to all for your mouthwatering images - and I'm blaming you for the 10 pounds I gained just by looking at your edible work.

But as I said earlier, keep 'em coming!

Happy New Year to everyone.