Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Yes, yes, Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock at The Oscars on Sunday, March 27 after Smith took offense at Rock’s jab at Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair. Whether a publicity stunt or a true display of husbandly gallantry, people are certainly talking.

But here in Houston, the real buzz should be directed to Beyoncé. Queen Bey, no stranger to the Academy Awards, opened the 94th awards with a dramatic performance of her song “Be Alive” from the Smith film King Richard. Smith scored an Oscar for Best Actor for the film that also received six total nominations.

Venus and Serena Williams introduced Queen Bey; apropos, as King Richard, the gripping biopic of their father, Richard Williams (Smith played him in the film) centers on his passionate and epic pursuit of greatness for his daughters. (Also apropos: Mathew Knowles is much-heralded in the industry for his work with his daughter Beyoncé, much like Richard Williams.)

Rather than a typical Dolby Theatre event, Beyonce’s “Be Alive” was straight outta Compton, the Los Angeles neighborhood where the Williams sisters honed their monumental skills. Shout outs to Compton were everywhere, including a poignant nod to the Compton Cowboys.

Speaking of nods, Beyoncé and her performers donned lime green outfits with white stripes, in an obvious homage to haute tennis-themed couture. As People points out, even the violins and music stands played to the theme. People adds that thoughtful details included the performers’ braids — noteworthy, as the Williams sisters often drew criticism for sporting them during high-profile tennis tournaments.

So while the nation analyzes (even micro-scrutinizing Smith’s blow frame-by-frame), Houstonians would do well to revisit our hometown girl’s grand-slam performance.

Photo by Wilson Parish

Young voices soar in Houston Grand Opera's prestigious annual showcase

young voices

After reaching that supreme high note, becoming a finalist for best opera company in the world, Houston Grand Opera continues to scale great musical heights, hosting one of the most prestigious singing competitions in the U.S, the Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers during its 31st Annual Concert of Arias.

Chaired by Elizabeth and Richard Husseini, the evening helped raised over $600,000 to benefit Houston Grand Opera Studio’s ongoing outreach efforts to identify, attract, and nurture young artists who have the potential for major careers in opera. Over 700 guests witnessed examples of such great potential as eight finalists participated in this final stage of the competition that began with 525 applications from singers around the world.

Winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges that included HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers and HGO managing director Perryn Leech, along with guest judge Lawrence Brownlee, star of the HGO production The Pearl Fishers.

After charming the Wortham Center Cullen Theater audience — as well as a opera-lovers at home following the competition livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube — with their delightful taped introductions, all eight competitors sang two arias. During intermission, concert guests cast their votes for the Audience Choice Award while streaming viewers voted online for the Online Viewers’ Choice.

The concert then continued with excerpt performances from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni, performed by current members of the HGO Studio.

With the dramatic tension reaching it peak, the winners were finally revealed, with first prize going to William Meinert, second to William Guanbo Su and third to Nicholas Newton. But there were many a winner that night with Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award going to Yunuet Laguna, as well as the Audience Choice to Elena Villalón, and Online Viewers’ Choice to Katherine DeYoung.

Following the concert, more than 500 Concert of Arias patrons and artists were seated in the Grand Foyer for a sold-out dinner catered by City Kitchen Catering with modern décor by The Events Company.

Seen reveling in the operatic competition were David Duthu, Dominic Domingo, Dian and Harlan Stai, Judy and Dick Agee, Beth Madison, Frances Marzio, Steve Hamilton and Tom LeCloux, Janet and John Carrig, Linda and Willie Chiang, Anne and Albert Chao, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Abby and Chris Venegas, Dr. Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies, Reinnette and Stan Marek, Jill and Allyn Risley, Glen Rosenbaum, Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth, Zane Carruth, Ishwaria Subbiah, Rini Ziegler, Damon Chargois and Rebekka Peltzman, Dr. Larry and Mary Ann Faulkner, Bryn Larsen, Terrylin Neale, Laura and Brad McWilliams, Doug and Sarah McMurrey, Marcia and Alfredo Vilas, Monica Fulton, Gabriel and Sara Loperena, Tony Bradfield, Marguerite Swartz, Ann and Stephen Kaufman, Teresa and José Ivo, John Evatz, Louise Chapman and Shoocha Kuqi, Sid Moorhead, Kellie and Robert Collier, C. C. and Scott Ensell, John Serpe and Tracy Maddox, DonNell and Tom Rushing, Katherine Thomasson and Michael Talbot, and Sholto Davidson and Laura Bielinski.

Concert of Arias Winners Yunuet Laguna, Katherine DeYoung, William Guanbo Su, Elena Villalón, William Meinert, Nicholas Newton.

Concert of Arias: Yunuet Laguna, Katherine DeYoung, William Guanbo Su, Elena Villal\u00f3n, William Meinert, Nicholas Newton
Photo by Wilson Parish
Concert of Arias Winners Yunuet Laguna, Katherine DeYoung, William Guanbo Su, Elena Villalón, William Meinert, Nicholas Newton.
Photo by Merrick Morton

CultureMap film critic's guide to the 9 Best Picture Oscar nominees

Awards Season

The nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards have been revealed, with nine films garnering nods for Best Picture. But are all of them deserving? Take a look back at what CultureMap's film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nine nominees when they were originally released. The Oscars will be handed out on March 4.

Call Me By Your Name
The structure and slow pace of Call Me by Your Name make it a bit of a test, but the reward of the central relationship make every minute of the film worth your time. The performances of Armie Hammer and the Oscar-nominated Timothee Chalamet make the movie what it is, along with the Oscar-nominated script by 89-year-old James Ivory.

Darkest Hour
The biggest reason for the film’s success is the incredible performance by Gary Oldman, one of the most fully realized performances of a historical figure in recent memory. He and the film’s makeup crew are the clear front runners in their Oscar categories. It also makes for an interesting double feature with the next nominated film, Dunkirk.

There are certain movies that must be seen in as big a format as possible, and Dunkirk is one of them. Nominated director Christopher Nolan and his team paid extra attention to every possible audio and visual detail, making the film that much more immersive. Hans Zimmer’s propulsive and foreboding (and now, Oscar-nominated) score is essentially a main character, making up for when dialogue is sometimes unintelligible.

Get Out
A social commentary disguised as a genre movie, Get Out rises far above its horror movie trappings. Anchored by an Oscar-nominated performance by Daniel Kaluuya and an insightful Oscar-nominated script by writer/director Jordan Peele (who's also nominated as a director), the film educates even as it fills you with dread.

Lady Bird
My personal No. 1 movie of the year, writer/director Greta Gerwig (nominated in both categories) brings new life to the coming-of-age story by mining her personal history of growing up in Sacramento. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, both Oscar nominees, give lived-in performances as daughter and mother, making every moment resonate deeply.

Phantom Thread
A latecomer to the awards season party, Phantom Thread earned a surprise six nominations thanks to another stellar Daniel Day-Lewis performance, a scene-stealing role by Lesley Manville, and direction by Paul Thomas Anderson that brings out the best in everybody involved. Anderson did not get a screenwriting nod, but he deserved it for a film that was often wickedly funny.

The Post
There's no more relevant movie this year than The Post, which used a nearly 50-year old story as a way of making comparisons to the current presidential administration. Tom Hanks (unjustly snubbed) and Meryl Streep (as always, deservedly nominated) headline the Steven Spielberg-directed film that inadvertently became a prime example of why women deserve more opportunities than they're often given.

The Shape of Water
Some have dismissed this film, which which has a leading 13 nominations, as merely a creature feature, but Sally Hawkins' wordless, Oscar-nominated performance elevates the movie. Director Guillermo del Toro was nominated for his unique sense of style, getting you to believe a romance between a mute woman and an Amphibian Man is as interesting as any normal human relationship.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
One of the leading contenders after winning at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, the film features three nuanced, Oscar-nominated performances by Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson. What makes the film especially different is that it offers no easy answers. It uses violent means toward emotional ends, and winds up being the richer for it.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Actress for Frances McDormand.

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Photo by Merrick Morton
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Actress for Frances McDormand.
Courtesy of Kartemquin Films

Oscar contenders in controversial films highlight Houston Cinema Arts Fest lineup

Houston Cinema Arts Fest

Two films with big Oscar potential are among the flicks that will take center stage at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, officials announced Thursday.

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are expected to be up for top acting prizes for their roles in Carol. Director Todd Haynes' adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, The Price of Salt, follows two women from disparate backgrounds in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York.

Mara won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival but is expected to snare a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Academy Awards so as not to compete with Blanchett, who is likely to garner her sixth Oscar nomination.

Michael Caine has been acclaimed for his role in Youth, the second English language film directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty). The plot centers around a retired orchestra conductor contemplating the indignities of old age and the trappings of celebrity at a luxurious mountain resort. The film, which has a stellar cast including Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda, received a mixed reaction at Cannes.

Now in its seventh year, fall's biggest local film fest offers Houstonians a chance to catch up on some of the year’s most lauded films, from big studio releases to under-the-radar documentaries. It will take place November 12 through 19 at designated times and venues, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Miller Outdoor Theatre.

The early lineup also includes two international political films: Fringe Story (Israel) and Ash and Money (Estonia). The directors for each will attend the premieres and participate in a panel on the subject of “Fringe Theater and Politics.”

The 2015 festival will pay tribute to Gordon Quinn and Kartemquin Films, the Chicago media production center behind internationally acclaimed documentaries such as Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters. The announced schedule includes screenings of three Kartemquin documentaries about art, Golub, Almost There and On Beauty, and two panel discussions at Rice Media Center featuring documentary film scholar Patricia Aufderheide and director Dan Rybicky (Almost There).

The complete HCAF program will be announced on October 20.

The Houston Cinema Arts Festival is organized and hosted by the non-profit Houston Cinema Arts Society. For more details and the complete list of 10 announced films and related events, head to the HCAS website.

Gordon Quinn will be honored with a special tribute at the festival.

Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Festival, September 2015, Gordon Quinn
Courtesy of Kartemquin Films
Gordon Quinn will be honored with a special tribute at the festival.
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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.