Photo by Analee Micheletti

A well-known luxury high-rise had to be evacuated amid possible structural issues. The Royalton at River Oaks, which overlooks Allen Parkway, is recognizable by its crown rooftop.

The high-rise condominium complex is popular with wealthy Houstonians, including Senator Ted Cruz in the past.

According to an email sent to residents on Thursday August 11, structural engineers were called to evaluate the building after concrete on the first floor buckled. The whole first floor is a mess, with water and sand all over the bottom floor of the building. Water main lines also ruptured on some residential floors, according to the email. Two remediation companies were working to repair the "extensive" water damage.

Residents were told to evacuate around 9 pm Thursday, and tell ABC13 that some of them heard kind of a boom or a loud noise. One couple reported that water started coming into their condo unit.


Continue reading this story, with accompanying video, on our news partner ABC13.

Photo courtesy of DC Partners

Haute Houstonians toast luxe new high-rise's artsy ambassador

Better Together

As all of Houston eagerly awaits the arrival of its newest luxury high-rise, the Residences at The Allen, a major step has been made with regards to its design.

Adrián Dueñas, CEO and partner of Houston’s luxury European furniture and design house BeDesign, was recently named an official brand ambassador for the development.

Future residents and guests toasted Dueñas with Veneno Tequila cocktails at a gathering held at the onsite sales gallery, which showcases furniture exclusively by BeDesign.

"BeDesign's understanding of our vision and their dedication to delivering a luxury experience was completely in line with what the Residences at The Allen offers," says Roberto Contreras, CEO of DC Partners. "So much so, Adrián and Marcelo purchased a home in the building. Adrian’s keen eye for style, Italian design and furnishings, and his diverse connections with people from all over the world make him a natural ambassador for all that the Residences at The Allen have to offer."

The Residences at The Allen features 99 luxury condominiums atop Houston’s first Thompson Hotel.

Floorplans consist of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom condos, as well as 17 thoughtfully designed penthouses ranging, all ranging from 919-10,000 square feet.

Residents will enjoy floor-to-ceiling glass, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry by PEDINI, ample art gallery wall space, private outdoor living with summer kitchens, optional sky gardens, or a uniquely engineered pet relief area on the balcony.

BeDesign offers premium upgraded custom closet systems by luxury Italian craftsmen Molteni&C as a special amenity to buyers of the Residences at The Allen.

Unmatched services and full amenities provided by the Thompson Hotel are also standard, including 24-hour resident valet and concierge, room service, a lavish spa, signature restaurants, and breathtaking views of the city on the pool deck with cabanas.

The helistop will be available to hotel guests and residents and is engineered to accommodate drone deliveries and transportation of the future.

The Residences at the Allen is expected to deliver in 2023 and is currently 65 percent sold.

"It means a lot to be partnering with one of, if not the strongest, development projects in the city," says Dueñas. "To represent this company with their portfolio is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. DC Partners believes in me and my brand, and my brand believes in the project. In turn, that means I can go anywhere in the world and talk about the project, and my personal home, with the same passion I have about my brand. I am very proud to be a part of it."

The Allen includes a luxury, mixed-use development anchored by the Thompson Hotel and elevated by the Residences at The Allen.

The $500 million landmark project is situated across six acres at the southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Gillette Street in Houston, overlooking the award-winning Buffalo Bayou Park.

Adrián Dueñas is an official brand ambassador for the Residences at The Allen.

Residences at The Allen BeDesign party
Photo courtesy of DC Partners
Adrián Dueñas is an official brand ambassador for the Residences at The Allen.
Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential

Posh new Boulevard Oaks tower replaces controversial Ashby high-rise

introducing the langley

Some 15 years ago, a turf war ensued between Boulevard Oaks/Rice University-area residents and the developers of a mixed-use tower, then dubbed the Ashby high-rise.

While locals filed a suit against Buckhead Investment Partners, a judge eventually sided with developers in 2016, though the embattled property at 1717 Bissonnet St. has yet to be developed.

That all may change, as national developer StreetLights Residential has teamed with El Paso-based Hunt Companies, Inc. to now construct The Langley, a new luxury rental community. The targeted completion date is 2025, per StreetLights press materials.

The Langley will offer 134 apartment homes in two- and three-bedroom floor plans, according to a press release. Aimed at luxe renters and downsizing empty nesters and single-family-home owners, the project promises “the valet and concierge services of a five-star hotel and the craftsmanship of a custom home,” per StreetLights.

Average rental unit spaces are just under 3,000 square feet and are targeted to long-term leases. The Langley’s approach will mirror StreetLight’s other Houston properties: The James and The Ivy, neighboring projects in Highland Village, and upmarket community The Carter.

“The Langley will be a high-rise residential building with stunning views that match the surrounding community's standard of excellence,” said Stephen Meek, senior vice president of development for StreetLights Residential, in a statement. “Nestled between Rice University and the Museum District, and drawing inspiration from the historic charm of the immediate Boulevard Oaks and Southampton neighborhoods, The Langley’s location demands the highest level of detail in building design, amenities, finishes, and services.”

First proposed in 2007, the Ashby high-rise consisted of a 23-story tower with 17 floors of units. In effort to blend with the community, developers planned an aesthetic that matched that of nearby Rice University. However, the project drew widespread protests from area residents who objected to the potential influx of traffic it would create in the affluent, Inner Loop neighborhood.

At the center of a walkability/quality of life maelstrom, the Ashby space was either damaging to the neighborhood, traffic flow, and residents’ privacy, or, a boon to Inner Loop development—depending on the source.

With petitions and familiar “Stop the Ashby high-rise” signs and bumper stickers en vogue at the height of the years-long quarrel, tensions have since died down. Time will tell how area dwellers will respond to this new iteration.

The Langley takes the place of the embattled Ashby high-rise.

The Langley Houston
Rendering courtesy of StreetLights Residential
The Langley takes the place of the embattled Ashby high-rise.
Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects

New mixed-use tower planned for Uptown aims to elevate scene

going up in uptown

The Uptown/Galleria area is set to add an elevated, mixed-use destination to its skyline. Real estate investment firm DeisoMoss will develop a new, 43-story, mixed-use tower located at 2120 Post Oak Blvd. set to break ground next year.

Commercial Observer was first to report the news.

According to Commercial Observer, DeisoMoss secured $26.1 million of funding from Manhattan-based Northwind Group to secure the 551,905 square-foot development. Plans call for 355 multifamily units, 100,000 square feet of Class A office space, and high-end retail, which should be a fit with the upscale area offerings.

“The pre-development loan with Northwind is instrumental in bringing us through to a foundation excavation to get to the floor-up construction loan,” Andrew Deiso, founder of DeisoMoss, tells Commercial Observer. “It’s probably the most coveted piece of undeveloped dirt in Houston.”

Renderings provided to CultureMap from acclaimed Houston firm Ziegler Cooper, the 2120 Post Oak’s project architect that is also behind some 45 familiar high-rises including The Driscoll, Autry Place, and Granduca Residences, reveal a tree-lined roof replete with a pool overlooking the bustling street.

Notably for foodies, Deiso adds that his firm has already attracted interest from “nationally recognized white-tablecloth” restaurant chains for the retail/dining space.

Touting a “work, play, live” approach to the destination, which is still unnamed, DeisoMoss founder Taylor Moss tells Commercial Observer that this new project will match those in other major markets.

“You see these mixed-use towers in other primary markets like New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, but it’s kind of a novel concept for Houston,” he notes. ”We’re taking the model of these other primary markets and other very successful developers that have come before us and taking a page out of their playbook and trying to introduce these luxury high-end, what we call “Class double-A” [assets] to the Houston market.”

Future apartment tenants can expect a considerable price tag for rent. “Uptown rental rates are growing at a rapid pace,” Moss tells Commercial Observer. “We are looking to continue that trend with our product.”

For some perspective, as the Houston Chroniclepoints out, rents at the nearby new luxury Aspire Post Oaks apartment towner range from $2,300 to about $6,000 per month.

Promising a “work, play, live” approach, the new 2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise promises a rooftop pool.

2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise
Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects
Promising a “work, play, live” approach, the new 2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise promises a rooftop pool.
Photo courtesy of Nan and Company Properties

Houston's second-priciest penthouse sells in posh Post Oak high-rise

the (really) high life

With more locals opting for the lock-and-leave lifestyle, elevated living is on the rise. Little surprise, then, that a highly coveted penthouse, Houston’s second-highest priced, has just sold.

Located on the 28th floor of the tony Astoria(1409 Post Oak Blvd.), the high-rise was listed at $6.9 million by Nancy Almodovar of Nan and Company Properties. While the final sale price wasn’t disclosed, it’s estimated to be between $5.8 million and $6.76 million, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

Boasting six bedrooms and six 6 bathrooms, the 9,500-square-foot space features sweeping views of the Post Oak area. Amenities start with a private elevator entrance, Italian Bardiglio marble flooring, a four-screen video wall, floating shelves, and custom lighting fixtures. The unit is marked by high ceilings and wide windows.

In the dining room, Calacutta gold marble floors balance two contemporary chandeliers while opening into a modern chef’s kitchen. The cooking/gathering space is home to custom Eggersman cabinetry, quartz countertops and glass backsplash, stainless steel Miele appliances, and a butler's catering kitchen that is also home to an ample amount of storage space, per the property description.

Oenophiles will no doubt make use of the 600-bottle, climate-controlled wine room featuring custom cabinetry and considerable storage space. Cinephiles, meanwhile, can enjoy a private movie screening room with a 125-inch screen, Milliken carpet, and 12 sound-deadening wall pads. A game room has nine — yes, nine —large screen TVs and a view of downtown.

After watching sports, sporty residents can take a swing in the private, 3D golf simulator room outfitted with Astro-turf, or hit the weights in a private home gym with its wall of full-length mirrors, built-in TV monitor, and direct access to a private outdoor space.

A private, cull-cedar sauna and steam room with built-in aromatherapy, cooling sprays, shower and speakers provides a post-workhouse paradise.

The primary bedroom provides floor-to-ceiling windows, a custom see-through fireplace, a spacious private outdoor balcony, a coffee bar and coved floor, and ceiling lights. Its spa-like primary bath features a standing glass shower, soaking tub, his and her Japanese Toto separate toilets, and mirrored TV. Details aren’t spared in the bedroom closets; they come with custom, Calacatta marble countertops.

Though dwellers couldn’t be blamed for staying indoors exclusively, outside, the penthouse features a private oasis pool that overlooks the city with over 1,300 square feet of space outfitted with lush turf for outdoor fun.

This Astoria high-rise is the brainchild of Randall Davis and DC Partners; lobby and residential areas were designed by Eric Clough of the award-winning firm, 212 Box.

The outdoor space features a pool and sweeping views.

Astoria penthouse Houston
Photo courtesy of Nan and Company Properties
The outdoor space features a pool and sweeping views.
Rendering courtesy of Greystar

Luxurious new high-rise elevates living near Memorial Park

introducing the westcott

The resurgence and renewal of Memorial Park means thousands of more visitors and, not surprisingly, more nearby development. Towards that end, a new high-rise community aims to elevate the lock-and-leave just steps away from the Memorial Park trails and golf course.

Dubbed The Westcott — and smartly located at 929 Westcott St. — this new development promises luxurious amenities and white glove service — especially for young professional who flock to the Washington Avenue/Memorial Park area. The Westcott’s 315 residences all feature balconies that showcase vistas of Memorial Park and city skylines.

Floorplans include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom options, ranging from 788-square-feet one-bedroom and one-bath apartments to 3,235-square-feet penthouses featuring three bedrooms and three baths with 29 floorplan options in between.

Select penthouses boast layouts that reflect traditional inspiration with gallery entries, primary suites with large sitting rooms, a study, and a wine cellar, per a press release.

Amenities and lifestyle perks include valet service and a rideshare lounge, athletic club, and a pool with private cabanas. Those working from home can get busy at the conference room or the outdoor mezzanine lounge. Speaking of outdoors, the emerald sky deck overlooks downtown and is home to a wine bar and piano lounge, perfect for unwinding after a day at the office.

Busy residents can get an assist from the concierge staff, who help with personal trainers at the athletic club, dinner reservations, tee times at the Memorial Park course, or even a groomer for the onsite coat trim for fur babies. Onsite dry cleaning means no waiting in line at the cleaners.

A new promotion offers the first 40 leases signed access to the Founders’ Club, which delivers branded gifts, experiences, and exclusive services.

“The Westcott offers a charm that is rare when paired with the caliber of the community’s services and amenities,” said Mai Olaussen, director of development at Greystar, in a statement. (Greystar partnered with J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives on the development.) “There’s something special about every square-inch of this property.”


The Westcott; 929 Westcott St.; 713-929-9292 or The Westcott online.

The Westcott boasts views of Memorial Park.

The Westcott high-rise
Rendering courtesy of Greystar
The Westcott boasts views of Memorial Park.
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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.