Houston Symphony presents Joshua Bell + Shostakovich 5

Houston Symphony presents Joshua Bell + Shostakovich 5

Photo courtesy Houston Symphony

After Shostakovich’s music was publicly denounced for failing to conform to the Soviet ideal, his Fifth Symphony was a work on which his life depended - literally. The monumental creation he produced was a crashing success, appeasing the establishment, thrilling audiences, and crackling with covert defiance.

Music Director Designate Juraj Valčuha draws out every nuance of this all-time-great masterpiece, superstar Joshua Bell performs Sibelius’s sparkling Violin Concerto, and the concerts open with a world premiere from one of today’s most celebrated American composers, Nico Muhly.

Billy Joel in concert

Billy Joel in concert

New York’s quintessential son, Billy Joel, is one of the greatest musicians of our time. Joel ranks as one of the most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in history. The singer, songwriter, and composer is the sixth best-selling recording artist of all time and the third best-selling solo artist. Joel’s songs have acted as personal and cultural touchstones for millions of people across five decades.

Joel’s biggest hits include “Uptown Girl,” “Just The Way You Are,” “The Longest Time,” and “Vienna,” among others. In 2016, the Library of Congress selected "Piano Man" for preservation in the National Recording Registry for its “cultural, historic, and artistic significance.”

Photo courtesy of Katt Williams

Katt Williams: 2023 And Me Tour

Katt Williams: 2023 And Me Tour

Stand-up comedian, actor, and rapper Katt Williams has developed a career seeded with thousands of stage shows, as well as roles on TV and in movies. The veteran entertainer is known for his insightful, often polarizing material.

Photo courtesy of Miller Outdoor Theatre

ROCO presents Family

ROCO presents Family

ROCO will kick off its18th season with Family, part of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation In Concert Series, featuring the full 40-piece chamber orchestra led by Artistic Partner Mei-Ann Chen, in a program inspired by community, family, and hope, honoring Houston’s cultural diversity.

Juan Pablo Contreras’ Mariachitlán will take the audience to the colorful streets of the composer’s birthplace in Jalisco, Mexico, featuring a guest mariachi band, and the Vietnamese folk song Bèo dạt mây trôi by composer Hòa nhạc tells the story of longing to be reunited with missing loved ones.

Grammy-nominated guitarist Mak Grgic features as soloist in the world premiere of a ROCO-commissioned guitar concerto written by Michael Abels (composer for the films Get Out and Us), echoing themes of strife and healing. Ludwig van Beethoven’s dramatic Symphony No. 5 (nicknamed the “Fate Symphony”) closes the evening, reminding us that fate is in our hands and encouraging us to write our own stories.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Pickering

Bob Mould in concert

Bob Mould in concert

Bob Mould comes to Houston in support of his new EP, The Ocean.

Photo courtesy of Drew Wilson

The Secret Group presents The Suparich Big Birthday Comedy Show

The Secret Group presents The Suparich Big Birthday Comedy Show

From the suburbs of Houston to the Vegas Strip to national television, Rich Williams is a comedy staple. He has opened for Arsenio Hall, Rob Schneider, and Snoop Dog, but for this event he will be hosting his annual birthday event alongside his friends in comedy, including Enrique Chacon, Eli Perez, Ku Egenti, DJ Debanaire, and magician Robby Bennet.

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Houston charges up new program to help locals buy and install affordable solar panels

sunny days

Alternative-energy-seeking locals now have a sunny way to buy into a solar. The City of Houston has launched Texas Solar Switch Houston, a new program aimed at helping Houstonians purchase and install rooftop solar panels and battery storage.

In partnership with Solar United Neighbors, the Solar Switch program offers hassle-free way to purchase solar panels by creating a massive, group discount for residents, be it home or small business needs.

This comes with the new Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy incentives and is part of the City of Houston's Climate Action Plan goal to generate 5 million MWh per year of local solar, per a press release. Customers who install solar also receive a 30-percent tax credit, thanks to the The Inflation Reduction Act.

Registration for the program is free and available online. The City of Houston assures that there is "no obligation for homeowners to purchase solar panels." Discounts and installers are determined through a competitive auction process, per the City.

"With energy prices increasing, homeowners and small businesses are looking for opportunities to save on their energy bills and increase their resilience to climate-related events," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Texas Solar Switch Houston provides our community with a simple and straightforward way to become better informed about solar energy and access a competitive offer from a vetted, experienced solar installation company."

Signed and passed into law by the Biden Administration in August, the Inflation Reduction Act will invest some $369 billion in domestic energy production and manufacturing with a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. That federal mandate means locals can now take steps towards power backup, while potentially easing up on the beleaguered Texas grid.

“More and more Houstonians are looking to solar and battery storage for self-sufficiency, which has the added benefit of making our grid more resilient,” said Hanna Mitchell, Texas program director for Solar United Neighbors, in a statement. “With the recent passage of the IRA, now is a particularly good time to go solar.”

Luxury living with room to roam awaits at new community just north of Houston

On The Market

Want to be semi-close to Houston's hustle and bustle yet still enjoy your space? Just head north of the Loop to Hockley, where the new luxury gated community of Stallion Lakes is starting to take shape.

Lots are now being sold — in sizes ranging from 1.5-3.5 acres — that future residents can base their new dream home on.

You'll have your choice of five builders — Jeff Paul Homes, Kickerillo Companies, Matt Powers Custom Homes, Morning Star Builders, and William David Homes — to create your new custom home, in a community which will feature private concrete streets, natural gas, and fiber optic cable.

Residents will also enjoy a low tax rate and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that none of the lots sit within a flood plain.

"Once again, we are creating a project of extraordinary design and quality," remarks Kelli Kickerillo, CEO of Kickerillo Companies, which is overseeing the development. "Stallion Lakes sits on more than 400 acres of rolling land with five lakes and a nature preserve surrounded by landscaped walk/bike trails. This land truly takes your breath away. We are thrilled to be able to bring together Houston's best builders to deliver luxury living in the heart of Hockley."

Founded in 1957, Kickerillo Companies has been responsible for the construction of over 16,400 homes in more than 40 prestigious Greater Houston neighborhoods, including Lakes of Parkway, Kelliwood, Twin Lakes, and Vintage Lakes.

The firm has joined forces with local businessman Bill Bean, who originally purchased the land with his wife, Karen, approximately 12 years ago from iconic A. J. Foyt.

The Kingshill Martini Group will be the exclusive listing agent for Stallion Lakes lots, and co-founder Diane Kingshill agrees about the beauty and convenience of the area.

"Located just 40 miles from downtown Houston, Stallion Lakes is one of the closest areas to the city that offers this stunning, rolling terrain," she explains. "I own a home in Hockley and can personally endorse the quality of life here. Getting back and forth to Houston is easy, even on a daily basis. Minutes away, Fairfield Town Center offers a large variety of shops and restaurants, and The Clubs at Houston Oaks is only two miles down the road, adding to the community's tremendous appeal."

Lot prices range between $300,000 and $690,000. Those interested in the custom builds should note that the development requires at least 4,500 square feet for one-story plans and at least 5,000 square feet for two-story homes.

"We are excited about the initial response to Stallion Lakes," says Kickerillo Companies president Jim Miller. "Stallion Lakes is on track to be a great success because it is the perfect destination community for families looking to escape the city while still being within arm's reach."

Diane Kingshill and Ashton Martini lead The Kingshill & Martini Group at Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, a dynamic partnership responsible for more than $1 billion in combined sales throughout the Greater Houston area. This award-winning duo is deeply involved in both local real estate and the Houston community, with multiple industry accolades and substantial nonprofit fundraising accomplishments to their credit.

Photo courtesy of Stallion Lakes

Welcome home.

Rebranded East End cafe reveals new Italian-American menu and opening date

Louie, Louie!

Café Louie’s transformation into an Italian restaurant is nearly complete. Louie’s Italian American will open for dinner this Sunday, December 11.

As CultureMap has previously reported, Café Louie closed last month to focus on the Italian American fare that it had begun to serve during its popular Red Sauce Sunday dinner special. The Mediterranean-inspired, all-day cafe had earned considerable media attention for chef Angelo Emiliani’s classic bistro fare and pastries made by his sister, pastry chef Lucianna “Louie” Emiliani, but the six-month-old restaurant struggled to build a sufficient following. Sunday night’s success prompted them to make the change.

“Louie and I grew up with Italian American cooking, and we launched Red Sauce Sundays at Café Louie to honor that tradition,” Angelo Emiliani said in a statement. “Little did we know it would resonate so much with seemingly everyone, and we had to take a good look in the mirror when Sundays started to regularly outperform Saturday nights. We poured our hearts into Café Louie, but we must be responsible as small business owners and give the people what they clearly want.”

While Red Sauce Sundays featured a prix fixe menu, Louie’s Italian American will offer an a la carte, family-style menu. Meals will begin with selections such as a chopped salad or a Caesar salad along with Café Louie’s fan favorite shrimp cocktail with verde cocktail sauce and lemon aioli.

Louie will make four pastas in house — rigatoni, tajarin, tagliatelle, and spinach ravioli – each of which can be paired with difference sauces such as rigatoni with vodka sauce or meatballs and gravy, tajarin with mushroom masala or vongole, and spinach ravioli with cultured butter sauce or a classic red sauce. Entree choices include chicken parmesan, redfish piccata, and steak and shrimp fra diavolo made with wagyu New York strip.

Vegetable sides such as roasted pumpkin and seared cauliflower round out the savory options. While the menu may be new, the chefs remain committed to utilizing ingredients from Texas farms, ranches, and other producers.

Pastry chef Luciana has put her spin on Italian-inspired desserts such as tiramisu, Meyer lemon posset, carrot cake, and a daily gelato. She also developed the restaurant’s cocktail offerings that include a frozen Negroni, different spritzes, and a martini.

Photo by Lindsey Cooper-Trevino and Sergio Trevino

Tajarin alla vongole.

Louie's Italian American aperol spritz An Aperol spritz.Photo by Lindsey Cooper-Trevino and Sergio Trevino

Inside, the space has been given a makeover that includes floral wallpaper, bistro-style wood chairs, framed recipes, and lace curtains along the kitchen windows.

Located at 3401 Harrisburg Blvd., Louie’s Italian American is part of The Plant. The East End mixed-use development is also home to wine bar How to Survive on Land and Sea, popsicle and gelato shop Popston, the Little Red Box Grocery, and others.