Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Doug and Sandy, a Rockport couple that have been Airbnb-ing their condo since 2021, have been crowned the most hospitable hosts in Texas in Airbnb's nationwide report in 2023.

They received the award thanks to their 100 percent five-star ratings for top-tier cleanliness, check-in policies, and excellent communication skills at their Reel Paradise 507 condo. The couple have over 400 raving reviews between all three of their Rockport listings.

"Host hospitality can take many forms – a spotless listing, a quick response to a guest need, a seamless and straightforward check-in process that makes kicking off a vacation easy, and going above and beyond to prioritize health and safety," the report says. "Superb Hosts have always been what sets staying in an Airbnb apart from other travel experiences and it starts with the hospitality they provide their guests."

In their day-to-day lives outside of being Superhosts, Sandy is a special education teacher in Corpus Christi, while Doug is retired. The couple previously lent their condo to their friends and acquaintances prior to making the decision to list it on Airbnb.

"After a year of that and [those friends] telling us how wonderful it was we decided we could make more money and support our retirement by doing Airbnb," the couple said in a release.

Their breathtaking waterfront condo is the ultimate getaway from Houston's busy city living. The charming one bedroom, two bathroom home can accommodate up to four guests for a relaxing vacation with stunning panoramic views of Little Bay.

Rockport Reel Paradise Doug and Sandy Airbnb best hosts in TexasWatch dolphins from the deck. Photo courtesy of Airbnb

The listing says the condo is "perfect for outdoor enthusiasts," who can dock their own boat at one of the eight private boat docks offered on the property at no extra charge. Other outdoor recommendations include dolphin watching and fishing from the wraparound back porch, or kayaking to Rockport Beach.

Doug and Sandy said in the report that they don't just treat the money they make from their Airbnb as passive income, but as ways to improve experiences for their guests.

“We work hard to ensure we offer an experience that makes our guests want to return," they said. "We are constantly maintaining and upgrading. We don’t want our guests to arrive and feel they need to go to the store to get supplies that may be missing or forgotten at home (phone chargers, spices, cooking equipment, charcoal and grill supplies, plenty of towels, beach chairs and toys, plenty of coffee and tea selections).”

True Texas hospitality is not lost on Doug and Sandy. The couple added that they always try and meet their guests in person during their stay, as they only live 10 minutes from their Airbnb properties. It just goes to show how above and beyond Airbnb hosts can go to make a vacation more memorable.

More information about Doug and Sandy's Rockport properties can be found on their host profile, and the full report of the best Airbnb hosts around the country can be found on news.airbnb.com.

Rockport Reel Paradise Doug and Sandy Airbnb best hosts in Texas
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Have a drink and enjoy the sunset from the back porch at Reel Paradise 507.

Photo courtesy of Turnkey Visuals

Posh and palatial Post Oak penthouse towers on market with a potentially historic $5.9 million asking price

all about the views

A monumental 26th floor penthouse with a mighty price tag in downtown H-Town has commanded the eyes and ears of our city’s highly active real estate market.

The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom condo spans across 9,503 square feet in the Astoria building at 1409 Post Oak Blvd. Stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious balcony allow guests to overlook the beautiful downtown skyline.

Access to the penthouse is provided by a private elevator entrance, allowing future owners and guests to retain their privacy in a city that knows it all. Once inside, guests are introduced into a world of elegance with the home’s designer finishes and resort-style amenities.

The master suite boasts two walk-in closets, a private spa-like bathroom with separate his-and-her vanities, a glass-enclosed shower with entrances on two sides, and a deep tub for a relaxing bath.

Other extravagant features of the penthouse include:

  • Chef’s kitchen with Eggersmann cabinets
  • Miele appliances and a wine chiller
  • Formal dining room
  • Media room
  • Steam room
  • Sauna
  • Gym
  • Pool
  • Two assigned parking spaces
  • Downstairs storage unit

If the condo is sold for the list price of $5.9 million, it will be the fifth most expensive penthouse sold in Houston’s history, calling to mind the River Oaks’ Penthouse Two West and Astoria’s 28th floor penthouse that sold in 2022.

The condo is situated within the heart of the Galleria, bringing its future owners within walking distance of all the high-end shopping excursions, fine dining experiences, and more. And for any necessary traveling on the Loop and beyond, the Astoria building is just minutes away from 610 and 69.

The listing is held by agents Geron Fuller and Nadia Jubran of Geron Fuller of Nan and Company Properties.

1409 Post Oak Boulevard 26th floor penthouse.

Photo courtesy of Turnkey Visuals

Who can say no to a skyline view like this?

Rendering courtesy of Residences at The Allen

This oasis in the Houston sky takes luxury living to a whole new level

The Suite Life

The Houston skyline has a hot new neighbor that you’re going to want to meet. Residences at The Allen may be a new kid on the block, but the innovative hotel-condo project is already leveling up and making a name for itself in the prestigious 77019 ZIP code.

Right next door to Buffalo Bayou Park, this oasis in the sky ushers in 99 ultra-luxe residences with exquisite interior design details, 360-degree unobstructed views of downtown, and hotel amenities, not to mention the activities, nature, and peacefulness of its park-side locale.

“Our goal is to change the way Houstonians think about high-rise living and deliver a lifestyle that is representative of luxury hotel living without sacrificing the privacy of your own home,” says Roberto Contreras, president and CEO of DC Partners, the Houston-based luxury developer behind the one-of-a-kind landmark development.

Here are 10 reasons why you’ll be crushing on the Residences at The Allen in no time.

It’s really, really, really good-looking
From the outside, the modern tower soars 35 stories above the city, where the Thompson Houston hotel will occupy floors one through 15 and the elegant condos and penthouses perch above on floors 16 to 35.

Inside, each luxury floorplan is well-appointed with the finest details — think Thermador and Gaggenau kitchen appliances, Pedini Italian cabinets, heated bathroom floors, and integrated low-voltage lighting in kitchen cabinets. An exclusive selection of luxury porcelain and quartz finishes are also available, as well as tailored flooring options like wood and porcelain slabs.

It has sweet views
Each residence boasts floor-to-ceiling windows for breathtaking views of the glimmering Houston skyline and lush park-side setting. Spacious private balconies offer a customizable — and coveted — range of features to celebrate the view even more. Yours can have a plunge pool, summer kitchen, sky garden, or even your own mini pet park with real grass.

It has “suite” amenities, too
Your high-rise hideaway delivers on incomparable amenities, with everything from a private resident lobby with dedicated 24/7 concierge and valet to private elevator access and a private resident lounge and conference room.

Because of the Thompson hotel, you’ll also have direct access to all the perks of impeccable hotel life, starting with turn-down service and 24-hour room service. There are also three onsite restaurant concepts from world-class chefs along with a beautiful, award-winning spa and a holistic fitness center.

It raises the roof with a helicopter pad
With a sheer cool factor — and convenience — the Residences at The Allen’s private helistop ensures traveling is a breeze for residents. Both of Houston’s airports are easily accessible with a short helicopter ride from the roof.

It’s like living in a vacation
Speaking of that suite life, Residences at The Allen is really like a retreat — every day of the week. The impressive one-acre pool deck seals the deal on vacay vibes with incomparable views, private cabanas, a specialty bar, and more.

Its location is everything
Nestled between bustling downtown and the posh River Oaks neighborhood, the residences put you at the intersection of business and leisure with easy access to fashion, art, food, and nightlife.

It’s a walk in the park
Overlooking 160 acres of the Bayou City’s most prized green space, you’re also just steps away from beautiful parkland with walking and biking trails, art installations, canoe and kayak rentals, picnic grounds, and a large dog park as well as a restaurant and event venue.

It’s perfect for your plus-one pup
Even though Buffalo Bayou Park is in your backyard, you don’t even have to leave the premises with the option for a plumbed pet relief station on your private patio. You can also take advantage of concierge services to schedule a dog walker.

It’s a tech-lover’s dream
Each of the condos are pre-wired for state-of-the-art technology, allowing for full home automation with lighting, music, temperature control, and security. Special EV charging stations are also available in the garage.

Its future looks bright
As part of the visionary work of art and architecture that is The Allen, there’s so much more to love about this six-acre, mixed-use development that’s carving out a new destination community in the heart of Houston. Renowned brands, exclusive lifestyle shops, high-end retail, and exquisite dining options will all come together in one stunning expanse. It's the best of Houston in one place.


To explore more of this new era of urban living in Houston and schedule a gallery tour, visit residencesattheallen.com.

Residences at The Allen

Rendering courtesy of Residences at The Allen

The impressive one-acre pool deck seals the deal on vacay vibes.

Photo by fstop123/Getty Images

Texas first-time buyers need $10,000 more to afford a home this year, report shows

The price is not right

The hurdles are raised for first-time homebuyers in Texas yet again, as rising interest rates demand an overall higher income for mortgage approval.

The Texas Real Estate Research Center released findings in its new Texas Housing Affordability Outlook that Texans buying their first homes need $10,000 more in income than at the beginning of last year to be approved for a $229,000 house.

Purchasing power, the center explains, and mortgage interest rates are indirectly related. Higher interest means higher monthly payments; it takes a higher income to keep up. “... As long as the rise in home prices continues to outpace the increase in income, purchase affordability, or the ability of a household to buy a home, will continue to diminish,” explains the report.

The $229,000 figure represents the first-quartile home price in Texas in Q1 2022, described as "the highest home price among those lowest-priced 25 percent of homes sold" in the state. The state's median home price for the first quarter of 2022 was $319,000. Year-over-year growth was slightly higher for the median figure (18.4 percent) than first-quartile figure (17.5 percent), but both are at their highest rates since the beginning of the chart in 2012.

The Austin-Round Rock area is, of course, driving a large part of this growth, with a 29.2 percent change in first-quartile prices since Q1 2021. That figure in Austin now sits at $420,000, almost double the state's first-quartile home price. Dallas’ numbers are slightly above the state average, San Antonio’s nearly exactly match.

Houston’s are slightly below, at 17.2 percent. Here, per the report, the median home sales price was $320,000, while the first quartile sales price measured $249,000.

Unfortunately for many Texans currently renting, only 37.4 percent of them are making the qualifying income ($61,652) to buy one of those first-quartile homes with a 3.4 percent interest rate (that was the national interest rate at the beginning of the year; by mid-May the interest rate had risen to 5.25 percent).

In some good news, the report finds that from 2021 to 2022, median family income in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA increased 13.8 percent. But, the report adds that if the trend in home prices outpacing the increase in income, Houstonian's ability to buy a home, will continue to diminish.

Photo courtesy of The Parklane

These 3 home trends are soaring, and a Hermann Park high-rise has them all

On Trend

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but chief among them is what people are looking for in their next home. A few "would be nice" items suddenly became "must-haves," and suddenly high-value features are getting harder and harder to come by.

Unless you're looking at a newly renovated condo, that is. The Parklane, a tony high-rise right on Hermann Park, encompasses the three biggest home trends right now. And even better, these condos come in all price points, starting in the $300s and offering a range of one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts.

"The events of the past year have caused homebuyers to shift their priorities while shopping for new homes," says Casey Ebel, a Realtor with Elevated Group, Compass. "The importance of work from home spaces, amenities, and walkability have shifted to the top of the list. At The Parklane, we offer all of the above."

Here's what you can look forward to if you move here:

Work spaces
With many office buildings closed indefinitely (or even permanently), home offices have once again become coveted real estate. Working from home has forced buyers to reconsider the function and design of their space, putting an emphasis on designated home offices.

The Parklane's expansive open floorplans offer flexibility for WFH comfort, whether you set up in an extra bedroom or turn a corner of the spacious living area into your own office.

The building's coffee bar provides necessary caffeine breaks, while the resident business lounge can handle printing, faxing, and small meetings. 24-hour concierge can also sign for all incoming packages, meaning you'll never miss an important document delivery.

Upgraded kitchens
Home cooking is on the rise nationwide, putting even more emphasis on the importance of a beautiful and functional place in which to do it. Luxury condos currently on the market offer the latest trends in kitchen design, addressing all the features consumers may need or want, such as smart appliances, built-in coffee machines, induction cooking, minimal kitchen hardware, and matching the backsplash to the countertops.

Kitchens at The Parklane are outfitted with Eggersmann USA cabinets, which feature soft-close cabinets and doors that improve safety and reduce wear and tear. Bosch appliances include counter-depth refrigerators, induction cooking that can boil water in less than 60 seconds, convection ovens, and dishwashers.

Today's open concept floorplans are also perfect for entertaining (when we begin doing that again), and provide homeowners with functionality, comfort, and aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Outdoor access and walkability
Suddenly a green space in which to relax and recharge seems like paradise. Each unit in The Parklane has its own private balcony, and there are outdoor grills, a sparkling pool with cabanas, a tennis court, and an outdoor fitness experience just waiting to welcome you when cabin fever hits.

Being located in the Museum District also means easy access to key amenities such as grocery stores, retail shopping, restaurants, work, cultural hot spots, and more. Residents have direct access to Hermann Park for running, golfing nearby, the Houston Zoo, top-tier restaurants like MF Sushi and Lucille's, and so much more.


The remodeling of The Parklane began in January 2020, with a portion of residences currently ready for move-in. Completion is slated for December 2021.

To schedule an exclusive sales presentation and tour a furnished model, please visit www.theparklane.com.

We're all in the kitchen a lot more now.

The Parklane interiors
Photo courtesy of The Parklane
We're all in the kitchen a lot more now.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Favorite Montrose brunch restaurant's major setback leads week's top stories

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Favorite Montrose brunch restaurant's highly anticipated return hits setback. The restaurant's reopening has been pushed back to 2024.

2. Houston's newest soup dumpling house sets opening date in familiar Midtown space. We're looking forward to future dumpling crawls to decide on our favorite.

3. Houston pizza maestro retools his wildly successful new Heights restaurant after overwhelming response. The chef says he'd be a "supervillain" if he figured out how to meet so much demand in such a short amount of time.

4. New York Times names 2 must-try Houston eateries to coveted 50 most exciting restaurants list. A new Southern restaurant and a classic Mexican establishment made the list.

5. Ken Hoffman applauds new Texas law that fines service animal impersonators $1K. "As much as I love my dog, I don’t impose her on others," our columnist writes.

Mega-celebrity photographer of Beyoncé's all-time favorite portrait holds court in Houston to honor Queen Bey

royal portraits

Only a select few humans — ever — have been photographed as often as pop culture’s undisputed queen, Beyoncé, over her illustrious, 26-year career. Even at her young age, Houston’s queen possesses a singular trait that elevates her above even the most apex celebrities: immortality.

Just how do the ultra-famous unlock the loftiest achievement of immortality? For many, it’s often through a single, transcendent photograph, which can transform a performer into an icon — and rocket a mere mortal into immortal status. And few photographers on the planet can bestow immortality on the globally famous like A-list artisan Markus Klinko.

To celebrate Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour homecoming — and his now legendary photos of her over the years — Klinko will meet fans from 1 pm to 3 pm Saturday, September 23 at Tootsies for a showcase of some of his most famed works — including the ultra-rare Beyoncé “Diamond Dust” series, on view at Nicole Longnecker Gallery.

A statuesque, towering presence (he’s six-foot-four) with chiseled features and a flair for fashion, the Swiss-born Klinko looks every part a celeb himself. That star quality has no doubt helped him break the ice when photographing superstars like our Beyoncé, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell, and Iman — to name a few. Not a bad resume for a former professional classical harp soloist who — sort of amazingly — only fell into photography after a hand injury (more on that later).

Before she became a one-word brand, Beyoncé Knowles was just 22 when she experienced Klinko’s wizardry firsthand in 2003. Already drawing It Girl attention as a member of Destiny’s Child, the young Houstonian had met Klinko during a Destiny’s Child photo shoot for Vibe magazine in 2000. With his trademark, sixth-sense for superstardom, Klinko pointed to Beyoncé while she was lounging with the group and told her mother, Tina Knowles, “Her, she’s going to be huge.” Tina’s response: “We know.”

Three years later, Sony reunited Beyoncé and Klinko to shoot the cover of Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé’s now legendary 2003 debut solo album. The match, now, seems predestined: both Beyoncé and Knowles were in the early stages of their careers. Beyoncé and Klinko vibed immediately, and in a simple snap of his Fuji camera, Klinko shot the stunning and shimmering photo that Queen Bey recently told French newspaper Le Figaro is her most favorite of any portrait taken of her.

Staying true to his organic, in-the-moment approach, Klinko flawlessly captured Beyoncé’s effortless pose in her now-famed diamond top and created one of music’s most iconic celebrity photos and yes, helped cement Beyoncé’s immortal status. And it only cost him his pants. (More on that later, too.)

CultureMap caught up with Klinko ahead of his Houston appearance and fresh off the opening of his latest installation: His celebrity images are on display at the legendary Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in, naturally, the vaunted Elvis Presley Suite. Perfect timing, then, for Klinko to star as a cover model in the familiar Tootsies window displays.

CultureMap: Congratulations on landing the Tootsies window display. It looks gorgeous.

Markus Klinko: Oh yeah, it’s spectacular, isn’t it?

CM: Quite! So, what’s it like seeing yourself as one of the main features of an exhibit — as opposed to being behind the camera?

MK: You know, I’ve never been in the window of a major fashion department store, so this is pretty fun.

CM: Never in the window, but you’ve certainly been the focal point of attention as an acclaimed harpist.

MK: Yes, I started my life on the ‘other’ side, and as you say, as a classical concert harpist. I was signed to EMI Classics and represented by Colombia Artists and traveling around the world making recordings. I was on television very often and on magazine covers and all that throughout my 20s and early 30s — everything from Italian Vogue and Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar and GQ and all those fashion magazines for which I later worked as a photographer. So it’s not completely. new. But this is sort of a different twist.

CM: You clearly had an understanding of being in the spotlight, and the butterflies-in-the-stomach pressure to put on a great performance and give of yourself to an audience. Did that experience help you relate to your celebrity performer subjects in a way that just maybe a Mark Seliger or an Annie Leibovitz — not disparaging either — could not? Do you have a window into these performers’ worlds where they relate to you, and you to them?

MK: You know, that’s an amazing question and I’m glad you’re asking me this.

I switched from my classical music career, which was very successful at that time, to becoming a photographer at 33 under dramatic circumstances. It was tragic; basically a hand injury forced me to abandon my career at the height of my success in the summer of 1994.

I was forced to cancel recording sessions, touring engagements and all of that. I had no clue where my income would be coming from, so it was not like the happiest moment in my life. It was actually sort of a panic-stricken time.

CM: And then came the moment.

MK: Yes, I had this epiphany that I will become a fashion photographer, actually had no intention at all to ever become a celebrity photographer. In the beginning of my photo career, I was 100-percent interested only in shooting models — mainly female models to be honest. I would have liked to be a Playboy magazine photographer or something.

So in other words, I just wanted to have fun. It was the last thought on my mind to help other musicians succeed.

CM: You almost seem like you were dragged into fashion and celebrity photography.

MK: A few years into my photo career, around 1999, I was still completely focused on shooting models, models, models. I wasconfronted with proposals from record labels and magazines to shoot covers for them. And I distinctly remember telling my agent at the time that I was not interested and that why would I shoot musicians, when I could just shoot models who are more beautiful in general. And that was that.

CM: And how did that go over?

MK: At some point my agent picked up the phone and screamed at me and said, ‘Markus, you’re an idiot! We have record companies wanting to pay you $100,000 a day and you would rather shoot some girl.’ And I said, ‘Okay, fine, I’ll try it.’ My first record cover shoot was Vitamin C; at that moment she had the biggest hit of the year.

I asked my friends from Interview magazine to style it and she was lovely and I had no problem with it. But about a month later, I got up in the morning and I went to the gym. As I walked through the streets of New York, there were thousands and thousands of posters of Vitamin. I saw my image of Vitamin C a million times on the way to the gym. And I was like, ‘Hmm, that’s not so bad.’

A couple of months later, GQ called me from the UK and wanted me to shoot these different celebrities. And I told GQ — it was very funny — I said under one condition, I’ll shoot the celebrity you want me to shoot, but I want you to let me shoot some nude girl for the centerfold of GQ. And they just said, ‘Okay, whatever you want.’ So I invented the GQ Pin Up 2000 and for a whole year as a reward of shooting some British pop star girl for them — who I couldn’t care less but whatever, I did it. But then I shot Little Kim and Molly Sims and a bunch of really big models and supermodels.

CM: And then you shoot the world’s biggest supermodel, Iman, for her book, which leads to shooting a rock god David Bowie — her husband — for his now-famous album cover [Heathens, 2002] in 2001. Talk about a word-of-mouth reference.

MK: By that time, I was already inundated with. requests from labels. I shot nonstop for different labels and then Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez. That all came as a reaction basically to that first celebrity shoot with Vitamin C, and I guess just my style. The way I shot models was very different from what was in fashion at the time. I just sort of did my own thing. And that really appealed to major advertising record covers, iconic photo shoots, big comeback shoots for artists like Mariah. Mariah really needed a big comeback shoot in 2005 when she launched The Emancipation of Mimi.

CM: Let’s go back to that magical moment in 2003 when you shot perhaps the most legendary photo of Beyoncé ever.

MK: Sony music called me and they said, 'Beyonce from Destiny’s Child is going solo and she requested you shoot her album cover. Apparently, you had worked with her before for Destiny’s Child and she wanted to only work with you for this.'

So then, Sony Music organized a phone call between me, Beyoncé, the Sony team, and her mom Tina [Knowles] who was styling it. Beyoncé on the phone mentioned specifically my photograph of Leticia Costa, the French supermodel and actor in the "Spider Web" shot. And she said she really loved that photo — She called it the Diamond Spider or something. And she said she would love something like that, but smaller on her. And to be honest, I had no idea what that meant, but I was just like, 'Okay.'

Fast forward to a week later when the photo shoot actually happened and they arrived in the morning. I noticed that there was this diamond top and I grabbed it and I went up to Beyoncé. I said, 'This is exactly what you were talking about. We could do this.' And then she said, 'Oh yeah, I was thinking about it, but my mom has these skirts and I don’t wanna wear those because it reminds me of a prom and I don’t wanna look like a prom on my album cover.'

And I said, 'Yeah, of course not. Let’s do it with denim.' And then Beyonce said, 'No, we don’t have any, we didn’t bring any denim.'

CM: And then...?

MK: And so I said, 'Oh, don’t worry, maybe you’ll fit into mine.' And she said, 'Oh, really? Can I try them?' And so that’s the story.

CM: I’m guessing you had another pair handy?

MK: Oh, sure, I just grabbed another pair from upstairs I had. You know, back then and until now, my favorite pair of jeans are always DNG — Dolce & Gabbana.

CM: I love the story of how she returned them to you.

MK: She brought them back a couple months later. She had dry cleaned them and she packed them into some sort silk paper thing and a ribbon. She brought him back and said, 'Please don’t sell them on eBay, ever.' And she laughed.

I thought that was really sweet and I just took them and I put them somewhere. This is crazy, but I’m actually talking to Botswana Diamond Dealers to fill up a bathtub at the Vegas suite and to put those Beyoncé jeans into the bling bathtub as a joke. You know, almost as a shrine.

CM: Markus, it certainly seems to me that right when you looked through the viewer and fired off that exposure, she went from Beyoncé Knowles from Houston, Texas to the immoral global brand all in one second.

MK: You are right, yes. Absolutely she did. I had a jolt in my, in my whole body when that moment happened. And I told her that right then as soon as I clicked that shot. I said, 'We got the cover, you’ll see.' There's alternate shots of that, which are all beautiful, and some of them will be in Houston.

CM: It seems you predicted her future while announcing her to the world. Is that fair to say?

MK: Well, the way I see it is with that image, I sort of anticipated who Beyoncé was going to become. I think that my job that day was to take a young girl from Houston, Texas, a member of an R&B group, and present to the world who she will be. And she would have become that regardless of whatever I did photographically, because she’s such an enormous, enormously talented musician and performer and icon. She’s a great actress. But, my opportunity was to showcase to the world quickly and immediately who she will be. And so that’s what I’m proud of.

CM: You have shot countless celebrity portraits — many the most memorable of said celebrity, like Britney Spears. How does it feel to hear that your 2003 shot is Queen Bey’s favorite of all time?

MK: The fact that Beyoncé is probably the biggest celebrity in the world today, and having photographed the most famous photo — of the most famous celebrity — is an honor that I take with great humility. I’m not saying that to show off — I’m saying that to thank God for the opportunity. I am glad that Beyoncé loves the photo so much. I’m glad that the world recognizes it as her most famous photo: It's been said many, many times that it is the most recognizable Beyoncé photo. So I'm very honored that people feel that way about it.

CM: What do you remember of the Beyoncé then, and the Beyoncé you've worked with since for other projects?

MK: I remember Beyoncé and being around her, seeing her as an extremely kind, very humble, very normal person. I’ve never felt any sort of diva behavior from her. Beyoncé was just really, really nice and normal. And she’s extremely hardworking, obviously extremely talented, not just with music and singing and acting, but also in the process of collaboration of a visual product such as these photographs I’ve done with her. She’s a very, very good collaborator.

There are people who are very famous, especially actors who sometimes, in front of the still camera, feel awkward. Sometimes comedians and actors need the movement, the momentum, the storytelling, the words in order to showcase their brilliance and their talent.

Not everyone is able in a 2/50th of a second to express all of that, but Beyoncé certainly has that incredible ability and I think that’s innate and subconscious and subliminal. She just knows where the light is coming from and she knows how to position it all in the most phenomenal way. And I guess I subliminally know how to catch it. So it’s really one of those very, very easy collaborations.

CM: Speaking of collaborations, you are able to crystallize a pop icon’s entire era in a single exposure unlike perhaps anyone I’ve ever seen. Did you know that Beyoncé, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lizzo are all from Houston — they all grew up just a mere 30 minutes from each other.

MK: Wow, I did not know that.

CM: Yes, we’re home to three of the biggest female pop stars in the world. So I wonder: Megan Thee Stallion is truly in the midst of her moment. Is she someone you’d like to shoot next?

MK: Well, let me answer it this way...I hope that Megan reads your interview, because I absolutely love Megan and I would love to work with her — and they should call me. I love her.

CM: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask: What is your favorite Beyoncé song?

MK: Oh, I would say “Crazy In Love” is one of my favorites. There are obviously many, but I'm probably biased to that album. That's one of my proudest collaborations, so, of course, I’m biased. Can you blame me? [Laughs]

Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Beyonc\u00e9 Dangerously in Love

Courtesy of Markus Klinko

Markus Klinko captured Beyoncé's favorite portrait in 2003 for her Dangerously in Love debut solo album.

Courtesy of Markus Klinko


Countdown to Beyoncé: Trill Burgers shortens hours to serve massive NRG Stadium crowd

respect the beyhive

Since it opened in June, Trill Burgers has been unstoppable. Bun B’s burger joint has seen lines out the door, fed celebrities ranging from Drake to Mike Tyson, and caused literal traffic jams with its drive-thru.

But even a juggernaut like Trill Burgers knows better than to mess with the Beyhive. For this weekend only (September 23 and 24), the Montrose-area restaurant will only be open from 11 am to 2 pm. Operating with such limited hours will allow Trill Burgers to feed the sold out crowds flocking to NRG Stadium for Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour.

“We want to make sure that we have our stations fully stocked so that people don't miss this amazing show that she's bringing,” Bun said in a video posted to social media. “We know the Beyhive don't play and Trill Burgers don't play either.”

In order to ensure people get their burgers as quickly as possible, Trill Burgers is slimming down its menu to only serve beef burgers — sorry, vegans. In addition, it will impose a limit of two burgers per person.

Due to the stage setup, Trill Burgers will only operate two of its usual four stands. They are Sections 135 and 548.

Of course, CultureMap has you covered for everything related to this weekend’s concerts. Don’t miss our guides for what to wear, events celebrating Beyoncé, and the latest traffic and parking info.