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Houston's year in entertainment bids farewell to icons and hello to drive-ins

Houston's year in entertainment bids farewell to beloved local icons

AMC Studio 30
Houston bid adieu to a beloved film landmark. AMCTheaters

Editor's note: This year forced myriad Houston industries to screech to a halt, however, entertainment in Houston was hot in 2020. Safe choices such as drive-in movies were all the rage and show no sign of slowing. In keeping with 2020, this year's most-read entertainment story centered on the curtain call of a local movie favorite. 

1. Longtime cult-favorite Houston movie theater permanently shutters. Opened in the summer of 1997, the southwest Houston-based AMC Studio 30 was one of the prime locations for people in the city to not only see the latest, big-budget studio blockbusters, but indie and foreign films. Sadly, the spot shut down not due to COVID, but contractual issues.

2. Houston's rooftop cinema unveils new spring lineup full of hot hits and cool themed nights. Before the pandemic struck, Houstonians were abuzz with the release of Rooftop Cinema Club's new spring lineup, offering outdoor movies in BLVD Place in Post Oak. 

3. An insider's view of the Houston Ho family — HBO Max's newest stars. Viewers — and readers — flocked to Houston's Ho family, the newest clan to join the reality show circuit. CultureMap enlisted an insider to dissect the show, its cultural nuance, and broad appeal. 

4. New 'floating cinema' movie experience sails into Houston. Australian entertainment group Beyond Cinema announced global sensation Floating Cinema, made up of 12 to 24 mini boats in front of a massive screen. The concept has yet to debut in Houston.

5. New drive-in theater revs up movie-watching fun at Sawyer Yards. Proving the buzzy popularity of Rooftop Cinema Club, the chain premiered Drive-In at Sawyer Yards, behind Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. The socially distanced series was a smash. 

6. Houston entertainment veteran jazzes up Memorial with new Cajun restaurant/music venue. Memorial is seeing explosive growth in dining and entertainment. Scott Gertner's Rhythm Room at 5535 Memorial Dr. — in the location once inhabited by Peruvian restaurant, Che Inka — serves as a boon for both. 

7. Heights-area watering hole shakes up new drive-in movie nights. With local drive-ins all the rage during COVID, a Heights bar smartly launched The Best Little Drive-In in HTX. 

8. Bon Iver cancels Houston modern dance performances after sudden scandal. In a year marked by COVID cancellations, Bon Iver shocked the local scene when the acclaimed artist cancelled scheduled Houston performances of Come Through with the Minnesota dance company TU Dance following allegations of sexual misconduct. 

9. Life-size dinosaurs stomp into Houston for December drive-thru safari. Houstonians swarmed to Katy to meet enormous prehistoric beasts from the comfort of their cars. 

10. 8 most Instagrammable spots at Houston's new amazing art adventure. Part art adventure, part futuristic museum, Seismique offers a multi-sensory journey for all ages — plus plenty of Instagrammable spots for that perfect video and selfie. The new, 40,000-square-foot art experience just opened in west Houston and is more than worth the drive.