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Improv Houston presents Michael Blaustein

Improv Houston presents Michael Blaustein

Photo courtesy of Neon Entertainment

Michael Blaustein has had appearances on the Comedy Central Campus Tour, The College Humor Tour, and the Oddball Comedy Fest. Along with his college campus experience, Blaustein performed at prestigious festivals such as Just For Laughs 42 and The New York Comedy Festival. Along with his comedic performances, his acting roles include Season 5 of CBS’s Person of Interest. He was also a cast member of the last season of MTV’s Punk’d, with Ashton Kutcher.

Photo courtesy of Houston Fringe Festival

Houston Fringe Festival

Houston Fringe Festival

The Houston Fringe Festival is a six-day event in which performers and companies present original work. The festival supports both emerging and established artists of all disciplines.

Among the groups performing will be The Magpie Parliament Society, Kristina Koutsoudas and company, Nia's Daughters Movement Collective, Dance Afrikana, The Pilot Dance Project, and more. For a full schedule of events, go to the festival website.

Photo courtesy of Theatre Under the Stars

Theatre Under the Stars presents The Secret of My Success

Theatre Under the Stars presents The Secret of My Success

Theatre Under The Stars will partner with Universal Theatrical Group to present the regional premiere of The Secret of My Success, a fresh new take on the 1980s hit film starring Michael J. Fox.

The updated production with a modern day setting is a wild look at redefining what success means to you when the world around you changes, corporate culture, ambition and making your own way in life.

Photo courtesy of Rec Room Arts

Rec Room Arts presents Put Your House in Order

Rec Room Arts presents Put Your House in Order

Something ominous is clearly happening: Sirens blare in the distance, and there’s word that all businesses have been ordered to close. Luckily, Caroline has a cooler full of water and juice boxes. Put Your House in Order is a romantic-comedy/horror/old-school thriller about a first date that spirals into a race against an invading force. When the city around them begins exhibiting signs that something is terribly wrong, Caroline and Roland quickly have to learn to trust each other to stand a chance against the horrors outside the gate.

This Houston premiere from playwright Ike Holter (Exit Strategy, Sender) explores new beginnings at the end of the world.

Photo by Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre presents Seascape

Alley Theatre presents Seascape

From major American playwright and Alley favorite Edward Albee comes Seascape, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that tackles two of the playwright’s favorite subjects: marriage and what it means to be human.

With his signature wit, Albee introduces a middle-aged couple, Nancy and Charlie, taking a stroll on a deserted beach. Facing retirement, they argue with comfortable familiarity about how to spend the rest of their lives. When a second couple, sea creatures Sarah and Leslie, arrives from the depths of the ocean, a pitched encounter, both surreal and profound, ensues. It seems that Sarah and Leslie are also at a turning point in their lives and they are also like no other couple Nancy and Charlie have ever met.

Photo courtesy of Stages

Stages presents Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson

Stages presents Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson, an innovative new work that blends spoken word, dance, music, and theater for a vivid and intimate look into Anderson’s rise to ballet royalty and her eventual triumphant rise to accept her authentic self.

In 1990, Anderson became one of the first Black principal ballerinas of a major ballet company when she ascended to Principal Dancer of the Houston Ballet. Unknown to her adoring audiences, she brought with her on stage the weight of her own tumultuous relationships, abuse, and battles with addiction.

In Plumshuga, audiences will share a conversation with Anderson at home, where she breaks the fourth wall to discuss her greatest trials and successes by reliving them in memories painted by music and dance. This is Lauren Anderson’s story in her words, for the first time ever.

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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 to Capital City isn't, you’re in luck. 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

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.