Image via Megan Thee Stallion/Instagram; photo by Ramona Rosales for Forbes

Houston's Hot Girl Megan Thee Stallion is having yet another red-hot year.

Fresh off dropping her sophomore studio album Traumazine (one that she calls "vulnerable") and hosting Saturday Night Live, the Bayou City native — née Megan Pete — has made history as the first Black woman to grace the cover of Forbes 30 Under 30 Magazine.

In the new issue, Megan (27) discusses the pressure of releasing a highly anticipated follow-up album, her work ethic (“I’ll take a break when I’m dead,” she tells Forbes), and being authentic as a brand: “I cannot fake it,” she says. “If I’m not naturally into it, I don’t want to sell it.”

Megan Thee Stallion Forbes cover 30 Under 30 The H-Town native makes quite the cover model.Image via Megan Thee Stallion/Instagram

In a revealing article, Forbes writer Jabari Young crafts a timeline that succinctly captures Megan's astonishing rocket to the top:

Before she was Megan Thee Stallion, she was Megan Pete. Her mother, Holly Thomas, a bill collector and aspiring rapper, raised her in South Park, a Black neighborhood in Houston. By 2016, Megan was studying nursing at Prairie View A&M, one of the largest historically Black colleges in America, while creating hip-hop videos on YouTube. In 2018, she caught the ear of hip-hop manager Travis Farris, who first heard about Megan from Houston strippers who vouched for her sound.

Fast forward to 2022, where Megan has earned a legion of fans (Hotties) worldwide, been featured in Forbes twice now, landed lucrative deals with Nike, Revlon, Cash App, Popeyes, and Frito-Lay, and magazine covers such as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. She's now worth some $13 million per Forbes and has also netted a deal with Netflix to produce content. (Oh, and she finally got that diploma, too.)

Despite intense personal losses and slights from other superstars, Megan has risen to the point where she'll soon be as synonymous as her idol, fellow H-Town native Beyoncé.

“She’s so empowering and so sexy,” rapper Cardi B tells Forbes. “She’s mega-million Megan.”

Sounds like our Hot Girl may have a new moniker.

Stockyards Hotel

New self-guided walking tour showcases Fort Worth Stockyards’ many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years has debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, taking place November 10-12 in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.

Photo courtesy of WTA

World's top women tennis players start final showdown of 2022 in North Texas

Game, set, world-class match-ups

While all eyes in Houston are on the Astros as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of the World Series, tennis fans also have an eye on North Texas.

Though not as famous as Wimbledon or the US Open, the WTA Finals will crown a new queen of the women's pro tennis tour in North Texas this week — and all are invited to court.

For the first time, Fort Worth hosts the prestigious year-end finale for the WTA, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world. Singles players vying for title, and their rankings, are:

No. 1 Iga Swiatek (Poland)
No. 2 Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
No 3 Jessica Pegula (United States)
No. 4 Coco Gauff (United States)
No. 5 Maria Sakkari (Greece)
No. 6 Caroline Garcia (France)
No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka*
No. 8 Daria Kasatkina*

U.S. superstars Gauff and Pegula are also competing in doubles.

The "round robin"-style competition will take place October 31-November 7 at Dickies Arena, and tickets start at $20.

The prestigious year-end finale has been moved to Fort Worth from Shenzhen, China, for one year only, WTA officials say. It's the first time the contest has been staged in North Texas, and the first time it's in the United States in 17 years. The total prize money pool is $5 million.

Players assembled at Fort Worth's Hotel Drover for a celebration and "draw party" on Friday, October 28. (More on the groupings, draws, and prize money each player picks up throughout each round here.)

Each day in the first rounds, play starts at 3 pm, and both singles and doubles matches will be played. Friday through Sunday, play begins at 1:30 pm. The finals in both doubles and singles will take place at 5:30 pm and 8 pm respectively, Monday, November 7.

The initial order of play, on October 31 and November 1 is:

Monday, October 31
3 pm:
(1) Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) & Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) vs (8) Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)
Not before 5 pm:
(3) Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (5) Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Not before 7 pm:
(2) Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) vs (7) Aryna Sabalenka
Followed by:
(3) Coco Gauff (USA) & Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (6) Yifan Xu (China) & Zhaoxuan Yang (China)

Tuesday, November 1
3 pm:
(4) Veronika Kudermetova & Elise Mertens (Belgium) vs (5) Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) & Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Not Before 5 pm:
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) vs (8) Daria Kasatkina
Not before 7 pm:
(4) Coco Gauff (USA) vs (6) Caroline Garcia (France)
Followed by:
(2) Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) & Giuliana Olmos (Mexico) vs (7) Anna Danilina (Kazakhstan) & Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)

"I’m super excited to be in the finals," says top-ranked Swiatek. "I feel like it’s a celebration of what we’ve done in the past year. I’m just proud to be here."

The eyes of the tennis world will be on DFW, too. According to NBC5, the matches will be broadcast in 160 countries to a projected viewing audience of 900 million people. Find coverage at tennischannel.com.

To keep up with the tournament, follow WTA on Facebook or visit the website.

(*Per WTA style, players native to Russia do not have their country listed.)

Photo by Louie Banks

Shania Twain rides into Houston to reclaim her throne on upcoming world tour

Concert news

Country music star Shania Twain is embarking on an expansive world tour dubbed the Queen of Me Tour, which will come to Dos Equis Pavilion in the Houston area on July 22, 2023 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands.

The Houston date is one of the last of 44 North American concerts currently scheduled on the tour before Twain heads to Europe for five final shows. In addition to Dallas, she will also play in Houston on July 21.

This is Twain's first tour in nearly five years; she last played in Houston in June 2018. She'll be joined on the tour by a variety of well-known current female stars; Arlington native Mickey Guyton will be her special guest in both Houston and Dallas.

The tour was announced in conjunction with the news of the upcoming release of her new album, also called Queen of Me, due out on February 3, 2023. Her first album since 2017, it is also the first with her new record label, Republic Nashville.

The sales of that album will add to her record of being the best-selling female artist in country music history, a record she's achieved despite releasing only five albums in her 30-year career.

Twain has remained a star all these years thanks to three massive albums - 1995's The Woman in Me, 1997's Come On Over, and 2002's Up! - each of which sold over 11 million copies in the U.S. alone. She also has seven No. 1 hits and eight more top 10 hits from those three albums.

Tickets for the tour will go on sale starting 10 am Friday, November 4 at LiveNation.com. Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning 10 am Tuesday, November 1 until 10 pm Thursday, November 3 through the Citi Entertainment program.

Barstool Sports founder-internet celeb Dave Portnoy tears into 2 Houston pies for famed One Bite Reviews

one bite in Houston

America’s most prolific pizza reviewer offered his opinion on two popular Houston pies this week. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy sampled pizzas from The Gypsy Poet in Midtown and downtown staple Frank’s Pizza.

Portnoy, in town to promote the High Noon brand of boozy seltzers, is well known for his One Bite Pizza Reviews. To date, he’s reviewed hundreds of restaurants all over the country on a one to 10 scale. Restaurants that score an eight or better can count on an influx of business from his 4.4 million Instagram followers, 2.7 million Twitter followers, and almost 770,000 Youtube subscribers.

Unable to make it to Gypsy Poet in person, Portnoy has it delivered approximately one mile to the Spec’s in Midtown. Typically, Portnoy reviews pizzas fresh out of the oven, but Gypsy Poet’s pizza takes about 10 minutes to reach him.

Initially, he regards the pizza skeptically, but the local favorite wins him over. “Wow,” he says. “Pizza’s really good.”

He awards it a 7.8 “with a legit chance to be in the eights” if he had eaten it hot. Owners Vanessa Fernandez and Cesar Monticelli told Fox 26 they’ve received an influx of orders since the review debuted Monday night.

Frank’s, unfortunately, doesn’t fare as well. “This is drunk pizza. What are people doing at 2:30 pm on a Thursday acting like this is the best delicacy in the history of the world? Come on, Houston,” Portnoy declares.

“Frank’s is a 5.4,” he concludes. “I cannot lie.”

With the Astros in the World Series, perhaps Portnoy will return and sample a few more pies. Given his affinity for New York-style slices, perhaps he’d enjoy Pizaro’s, Romano’s, or, if he doesn’t mind a bit of a drive, Energy Corridor favorite Brother’s.

Courtesy of Kendra Scott

Texas jewelry icon Kendra Scott marks 20-year milestone with very exclusive collection

Great Scott

Texas entrepreneur, designer, Shark Tank guest shark, philanthropist, and author Kendra Scott is reaching a big milestone this year. After starting her jewelry business from home with just $500, the female founder marks two decades in business in 2022, and she's releasing a special collection to celebrate.

Nowadays, Austin-based Kendra Scott is a household name, and customers of every age deem her chic, affordable accessories to be essential wardrobe staples. The hashtag #KendraScott trends every year during rush season for Greek societies at colleges across the country, with 131.3 million views to date.

Scott also just released a telling — and best-selling — book, Born to Shine: Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love, which chronicles her two-decade journey from hopeful jeweler to nationally prominent businesswoman. (Read our interview with Scott here.)

”I am so proud of what my team and I have been able to create over the past 20 years at Kendra Scott," she tells CultureMap via email. "It’s incredible to see an idea that started in my spare bedroom turn into a fashion brand with over 2,600 employees and 130 stores nationwide. As a company comprised primarily of women, our core values of Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy are at the forefront of everything we do and have played a huge role in our success today."

Even 20 years later, Scott stays true to those core values of family, fashion, and philanthropy, giving back to local, national, and international organizations every year. To date, she has donated over $50 million in philanthropic efforts; partnered with over 10,000 local causes through the Kendra Gives Back program, virtually and in-person; funded over 6,000+ research hours dedicated to improving treatment and prevention of metastatic breast cancer; and raised over $475,000 to support families touched by tragedy in national and local disasters.

As part of celebrating 20 years in business, Scott is releasing a limited edition 20th Anniversary Collection for the holidays.

Kendra Scott 20th Anniversary Collection The extremely limited collection launches Friday, October 14.Courtesy of Kendra Scott

With just three styles, the special collection features a Dira gold diamond 38mm watch in ivory and mother-of-pearl ($8,995); the elegant Ellen 14K yellow gold drop earrings in white diamond ($4,500); and a delicate Dira 14K gold cushion pendant necklace with yellow lab-grown diamonds ($4,000). The extremely limited collection launched Friday, October 14, and will only have 20 pieces of each style available for purchase.

"I cannot wait for the next 20 years," Scott shared, "to continue to show up for our customers, support our communities, and create beautiful, timeless jewelry for all.”

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Iconic Austin blues club brings the show to fans with new indie livestreaming platform

Live on Live

If legendary Austin blues club Antone’s is your vibe, but the drive down I-35 isn't, know we get it. Saving San Antonians the trip, Antone’s Nightclub launched a new service for livestreaming its shows in November.

Kicking off with New Orleans-based funk and jam band Dumpstaphunk, for their special “Phunksgiving” show last month with Michael Hale Trio, the full lineup is delineated on the Antone’s website. Specifics were still loose before the launch, allowing the famous blues club to call the shots. The partner agency that created the streaming service, 3rd + Lamar, created the system to give Antone’s as much freedom as possible.

"Partnering with Antone's to build their livestreaming platform and produce each of their shows is an incredible opportunity for 3rd + Lamar," said the agency’s co-founder Nick Schenck in a press release. "The amazing talent that performs at Antone's – and their fans worldwide – deserve best-in-class live production quality, and we're thrilled to play a part in this operation."

Not that Antone’s needed to stand out more in the music industry (the nearly 50-year-old venue has always been one of the best places to see both local and national talent), but this achievement places it among relatively few venues across the country, especially those that operate their system independently.

The intimate Antone's shows are filmed by four Blackmagic 4K cinema cameras on tracks overhead, which ensure that the whole space is easily visible without having camera operators amid the audience.

“We did over 430 individually ticketed shows in 2019 and we felt like we were bursting at the seams,” said Antone’s owner Will Bridges. “Then when livestreams became more prominent during the pandemic we realized, this is our opportunity to take Antone’s outside of our four walls. … [W]e see people in the comment threads all the time saying ‘If I could only be teleported to Antone’s!’ Well now they can.”

The release emphasizes that the system means Antone’s “fully retain[s] ownership of their content, which can then be utilized at their discretion.” It also calls the service “an add-on option for all artists performing at Antone’s,” positioning the service as not just an audience luxury but a performer’s low-cost marketing tool. Suddenly, artists playing at Antone’s are afforded a choice without needing to be invited to record or pay an independent video team, while reaching even more viewers with no extra time spent advertising.

“Our ultimate goal is to make these amazing musical experiences accessible to everyone. Life is busy, but we want to give everyone the opportunity to participate no matter where they are or what they have going on,” said Bridges. “We want to make livestreams from Antone’s totally commonplace. When we announce our upcoming shows, fans have two options: watch it at the club our watch it at home.”

Livestreams are at antonesnightclub.com, and links also appear with each applicable event across the site. Prices are listed on the website, and livestreams start 10-20 minutes before each show.

Alt-rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers heading to Houston for 2023 North American tour

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most pioneering and enduring acts is headed to Houston to close out a highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25, 2023 as part of a North American trek that kicks off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29.

Houston lands the honor of the closeout city for the North American tour (the band will also play a slew of dates in Europe). Effortlessly hip, celeb-fave modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers, along with the talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale this week at 10 am Friday, December 9 online.

Houston fans who can't get enough can also catch the Chili Peppers when they hit The Alamodome in San Antonio on Wednesday, May 17 — the only other Texas date.

Aside from The Strokes and Thundercat, supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have been played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with major names such as Notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

announced their 2023 Tour, in support of their two No. 1 studio albums that were released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen. Following a recent Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song for “Black Summer,” the band will embark on a 23-date global trek that kicks off on Wednesday, March 29 at BC Place in Vancouver, BC with stadium shows and festival stops across North America and Europe in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna and more before wrapping up on Saturday, July 23 in Glasgow, UK at Hampden Park. The Strokes, Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, Thundercat, and King Princess will join the band on select dates.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 Tour rolls into the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, and Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX, on Thursday, May 25, 2023, both with the Strokes and Thundercat.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 Tour comes close on the heels of the band’s largest 40-date stadium tour to date, which included massive sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more. Notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson .Paak, Beck, HAIM and more joined the band on the road through 2022. After completing the wildly successful tour across North America and Europe this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers continue into January 2023 with eight dates across New Zealand and Australia, featuring Post Malone.

Tickets go on sale starting on Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m. at redhotchilipeppers.com.

As a result of the two album releases this year going No. 1, Red Hot Chili Peppers notably stand out as the first rock band in 17 years to achieve the feat. Moreover, Return of the Dream Canteen bowed at #1 on the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart —just like its predecessor Unlimited Love did back in April. Both albums were produced by longtime collaborator and creative confidant, Rick Rubin. Plus, it reached #1 in numerous countries around the globe.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently took home the prestigious Global Icon Award, and delivered a show stopping performance at the MTV VMAs. Their No. 1 single “Black Summer'' also won the award for Best Rock Video. This year, the band also garnered an MTV Europe Music Award nomination for Best Rock and scored three American Music Awards nominations for "Favorite Rock Artist," "Favorite Rock Album" for Unlimited Love and "Favorite Rock Single" for "Black Summer."


Wed Mar 29 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place *~

Sat Apr 01 – Las Vegas, NV – Allegiant Stadium #~

Thu Apr 06 – Fargo, ND – FARGODOME ^~

Sat Apr 08 – Minneapolis, MN – US Bank Stadium ^~

Fri Apr 14 – Syracuse, NY– JMA Wireless Dome ^~

Fri May 12 – San Diego, CA – Snap Dragon Stadium >+

Sun May 14 – Phoenix, AZ – State Farm Stadium ^+

Wed May 17 – San Antonio, TX – Alamodome ^+

Fri May 19 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Music Festival =

Thu May 25 – Houston, TX – Minute Maid Park ^+

Fan-favorite, wood-fired Houston pizzeria quietly opens in the Heights

enough (pizza) to love

A popular Houston pizzeria has opened its second location in the Heights. The Gypsy Poet has begun a quiet soft opening in the former Fegen’s space at 1050 Studewood St.

Since its 2019 debut in Midtown, the Gypsy Poet has earned a devoted following for its wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant’s personal-sized, 13-inch pizzas exist somewhere on the spectrum between traditional Neapolitan and classic New York — too crispy for the Italians but not quite foldable like an East Coast slice. Options include a classic Margherita and the signature Fancy Backpacker, which is topped with prosciutto, truffle oil, and arugula.

Part of the restaurant’s appeal stems from its friendly service and easy going atmosphere. It regularly hosts informal musical performances and other artistic happenings.

Taken together, Gypsy Poet has earned legions on fans. Yelp users ranked it as Texas’s second best restaurant in 2021. More recently, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy awarded it a high 7.8 rating during a pizza review.

The restaurant opens at a time of transition for pizzerias in the Heights. Dallas-based Neapolitan restaurant Cane Rosso closed last year, and suburban favorite Crust Pizza Co. opened this summer in the former Mellow Mushroom space at N. Shepherd and 20th.

The Heights location of Gypsy Poet will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9 pm; Friday from 12-2 pm and 5-10 pm; Saturday 2-10 pm; and Sunday 2-9 pm.