• The Center for Texas Cultural Heritage
    Rendering courtesy of Bailey Architects
  • Photo by Tyler Rudick
  • Exhibits at the Center will be geared towards a younger audience, ranging fromgrades four through seven.
    Rendering courtesy of BRC Imagination
  • Many of the displays, however, will offer an extra layer of historical detailfor curious adults.
    Rendering courtesy of BRC Imagination
  • "Birth of the Republic of Texas" — one of the many conceptual designs sumbittedby BRC Imagination Arts, the firm behind Space Center Houston.
    Rendering courtesy of BRC Imagination
  • With an additional hotel coming to the Discovery Green area, the new heritagecenter will be at the apex of the thriving tourist-friendly neighborhood.
    Graphic courtesy of The Center for Texas Cultural Heritage

Mayor Annise Parker joined noted Houston businessman John Nau Thursday to reveal the full scope of the plans for the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage — a new educational facility and visitors center dedicated to the unique history and culture of southeast Texas.

"Two years ago, John and I sat down and began to have some serious conversations about this project," Parker said at a press event on the future building site, located along Avenida de las Americas between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park.

"I had just a very small idea. I wanted a simple tourism center. It was a really nice vision, but it was way too small for John."

"I had just a very small idea. I wanted a simple tourism center that could capture the folks from the convention or sports venues to explore our amazing cultural heritage . . .

"It was a really nice vision, but it was way too small for John."

Geared toward students in fourth through seventh grades with additional material for adults, the forthcoming center is expected to become a new starting point for tourists to delve deeper into the history of both the city and the entire region.

"If you're really passionate about NASA, for example, it's not just about going to Space Center Houston," Parker said. "It's about going to the City of Houston's own Gragg Building, the headquarters of our parks department which was the first home of mission control and has some nifty space artifacts."

During the ceremony, John Nau — chairman of the center's new board and CEO of Silver Eagle, the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products — announced he would be donating $8 million to the $40 million capital campaign to construct the facility. Houston First Corporation, which manages the convention center and surrounding hotels, is providing an additional $15 million to see the building to completion.

Historical inspiration

"There really hasn't been a place to direct visitors and conventioneers to places like Washington-on-the-Brazos or San Jacinto, one of the most important battles in the history of the U.S.," Nau told CultureMap in an interview after the event.

"Houston thinks big, dreams big and takes action. That message has to come out to inspire the young people."

"This will be far more than just a visitor building. After we traveled to cultural and heritage centers in place likes Philadelphia, Gettysburg and Springfield, Illinois, it became clear that this project should have a strong educational component if it's going to succeed."

Early organizers of the Center for Texas Cultural Heritage assembled a diverse group of leaders from across the region to discuss how to present the rather complex and many-layered history of the greater Houston area.

"Out of these first meetings came this notion that Houston has big ideas. People here have vision and they back it up with action," Nau said, naming the Houston Ship Channel and the Texas Medical Center as but two of the city's seemingly-impossible achievements.

"Houston thinks big, dreams big and takes action. That message has to come out to inspire the young people. It's not just learning about Texas history. It's about being inspired to think bigger than they might normally think."

  • Sarah Rothenberg
    Photo by Tina Psoinos
  • Rothenberg enlisted Shepherd School of Music composition faculty, Prix de Romeand Stoeger Award winner Pierre Jalbert to note an antiphonal fanfare thatevoked a sense of grandeur.
    Photo by © David A. Brown/dabphoto.com
  • Rothenberg is enlisting the help of Da Camera artists past and present forMendelssohn's Octet and the continuo orchestra for Bach's Keyboard Concerto No.1 in D Minor, including violinist Vera Beths. . .
    Photo by Carine Bijlsma
  • and violinist Harumi Rhodes, alongside emerging musicians currently in the DaCamera Young Artists program and alums.

Connecting the notes: Da Camera's 25th anniversary show brings creative musicand cake together

Let them listen to Bach

Over that past 25 years, Da Camera of Houston's artistic director and founder Sarah Rothenberg has conceived a je ne sais quoi approach to programming music that's akin to a brilliant work of visual Pointillism. Think of George Seurat's Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte - 1884.

As it majestically hangs center stage in one of the Impressionism galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago, the image is scientifically cohesive from afar. But get too close and the shapes diffuse into a mystery or dots begging to be unraveled — and connected.

Each blotch of paint behaves as if it were its own island.

Da Camera's strategy is no different. Look too close and very little makes sense. But once you understand how each particular element plays on the other, the significance that is embedded in the interdependence and the dialogue between the works just makes you smile. Because it's thoughtful, it's masterful and you couldn't imagine it any other way.

So what does Pierre Jalbert, Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn have in common? Other than they are all composers in the genre of classical music. And their oeuvres are on the printed playbill for Da Camera's "25th Anniversary Celebration" at Wortham Theater Center Friday.

Within inches of the program, it's a nonsensical arrangement, especially as this concert celebrates the nonprofit's silver anniversary. One would think — and one would be correct for doing so — that Rothenberg has a justification for this bricolage of new and old tunes, that they are fused around some sort of motif.

There is a sound reason. Yet this time, such theme isn't about Debussy or Shostakovich or the genre of folk music. Rather, it's about Da Camera's journey itself.

"When I think of Da Camera, I think of creative and unique programming and great chamber music. So I wanted the piece to somehow reflect that."

"There's a wonderful practice in the Baroque period to commission pieces in light of momentous occasions," Rothenberg explains. "Think of Handel's Water Music or Bach's Brandenburg Concerti — commissioning new works is a time honored tradition dating back to the time of Bach."

Rothenberg imagined the sounds of brass instruments tolling a reverberant flourish that herald the accomplishments of an arts presenting organization thriving in the 21st century. She enlisted Shepherd School of Music composition faculty, Prix de Rome and Stoeger Award winner Pierre Jalbert to note an antiphonal fanfare that evoked a sense of arrival, an ethos of grandeur.

"When I think of Da Camera, I think of creative and unique programming and great chamber music," Jalbert explains. "So I wanted the piece to somehow reflect that."

Instead of assembling a large ensemble on stage, Jalbert opted for three musicians positioned throughout the hall to create spatial and antiphonal effects. His Fanfare Da Camera for brass is scored for two trumpets and one trombone.

"The trombonist is placed on stage and each trumpet is placed in a balcony on the right and left side of the auditorium," he explains. "The trombonist functions as a kind of soloist while the trumpets echo each other in canonic imitation. The three come together at the very end to present a more chordal, homophonic texture in celebratory fashion."

Jalbert's harmonic language is wonderfully colorful, says Rothenberg, the kind that would welcome something fantastic in the Baroque era.

"I am performing Bach because of a variety of reasons," Rothenberg explains. "Da Camera also presents jazz. And just as Bach appeals to classical tastes, Bach has inspired some of the giants of jazz of this and past generations."

She is right. Bach has mused pianists Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson, trumpeters Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis, among other musicians of international repute.

"I am performing Bach because of a variety of reasons. Da Camera also presents jazz. And just as Bach appeals to classical tastes, Bach has inspired some of the giants of jazz of this and past generations."

"Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, the first showcase piece he wrote for harpsichord — though it's important to note that it isn't early Bach — was a daring work in its kind," Rothenberg says. "Because of the instruments softness, it hadn't yet been put in a soloistic light."

For the continuo orchestra and for Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat Major, Rothenberg gathers Da Camera artists past and present, including violinist Ken Goldsmith, who performed in the inaugural Da Camera concert, violist James Dunham and cellists Norman Fischer and Desmond Hoebig with emerging musicians currently in the Da Camera Young Artists program (Joanna Becker, Creston Herron, Derek Powell and David Connor) and alums (Sonja Harasim and Whitney Bullock) — many who refined their skills with violinist Vera Beths — alongside violinists Harumi Rhodes, Nicolas Kendall, violist Ivo-Jan Van Der Werff, Theresa Hanebury and Jim Vassallo on trumpet, trombonist Thomas Hulten and former Da Camera education director, cellist Evan Leslie.

"Mendelssohn revived Bach — whose music was largely forgotten after his death in 1750 — by producing the first St. Matthew's Passion in a concert setting in 1829," Rothenberg added. "His sister Fanny Mendelssohn (who was an accomplished pianist) performed many of Bach's works, including the D Minor Concerto."

Brahms learned much from Mendelssohn's music and discovered Bach through Mendelssohn's study. As such, Rothenberg has chosen a cadenza Brahms penned for her performance of Bach's Keyboard Concerto. Brahms' reaction to the concerto, written two centuries prior, travels from a conventional Baroque aesthetic to thicker textures typical of Romanticism. For the last concert of this season, Rothenberg will re-context Brahms' late piano compositions for In The Garden of Dreams, a staged production commingling text, images and music of turn-of-the-century Europe.

As for Mendelssohn's Octet, "there isn't a more celebratory piece in the world," Rothenberg says. "Like champagne and cake."

Cake? In keeping the festive tenor of the musical evening, champagne and desserts will follow at an after party at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance. Because there's no question that Jalbert loves and Bach and Mendelssohn loved cake.

Who doesn't?


Da Camera of Houston presents "Opening Night: 25th Anniversary Celebration" on Friday at 8 p.m. at Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $28 dollars and can be purchased online or by calling 713-524-5050. Admission to the after party at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance is $50.

A 25-year toast: George R. Brown employees there since the very beginning take(a brief) break

Pix of the day

When the George R. Brown Convention Center first opened on Sept. 26, 1987, city officials couldn't forsee the change that it would usher in for the city of Houston.

It is now part of a thriving district, with a neighboring public park, a second hotel on the road to development and a solid master plan laying out the foundation for the coming decade, and it remains one of the premier convention spots in the United States.

A handful of devoted employees remember that opening day, and took a few moments from their busy schedules on Wednesday (the convention center is currently playing host to two events) to toast to their and center's longevity.

Peter Radowick of Houston First submitted this Pix of the Day, saying "The George R. Brown Convention Center opened its doors 25 years ago today and these five employees — from left, Luther Villagomez, Anita Mendieta, Charmaine Pilgrim, Frank Randolph and Joey Granado — were all on the scene in 1987 making things run smoothly."

Got a great photo of a Houston happening or everyday occurrence? Or just a fun photo that shows why Houston is so unique? Send it to barbara@culturemap.com, along with details (who, what, where and why it's special). It might make our Pix of the Day.

New convention center hotel is full speed ahead: See the striking look that willpave over a parking lot

1,000 rooms

Houston First Corporation is entering into exclusive negotiations with locally-headquartered Rida Development Corporation to develop the new hotel that will be adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Rida has teamed with Morris Architects for the design of the 1,000-room hotel, which will be attached to the George R. Brown by sky bridge.

The project will take the district one step closer to a "four-corners" hotel concept envisioned in the 2025 Master Plan, which includes a hotel "planned for the corner of Polk Street and Chartres Avenue, one block southeast of the Convention Center" and another on the corner of Rusk Street and Chartres Avenue. And it comes in the same week that the George R. Brown is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The project will take the district one step closer to a "four-corners" hotel concept envisioned in the 2025 Master Plan.

The overall goal is to expand the holding capacity of the convention center district, which has been eliminated from convention-hosting consideration in the past due to inadequate downtown accommodations.

"This new convention center hotel will increase our convention business and bring new energy to the city's convention district," Ric Campo, chairman of Houston First, said in a statement. "The hotel will bring significant sales resources for the convention market and will be a welcome addition to the Houston sales teams."

The new convention center hotel will be built directly north of Discovery Green — mirroring Hilton Americas-Houston, the 1,200-room hotel connected to the convention center by two skywalks — on a 6.7-acre space that is currently a surface parking lot.

Houston First says that it will construct a 1,800-space parking garage on the north side of the George R. Brown with first-floor retail space. The process for that garage, which will serve both the general public and convention hotel visitors, is expected to begin later this year.

  • City Dance Company
    Photo by David Brown
  • The TSU Jazz Ensemble played for guests outside of the museum.
    Photo by David Brown
  • Ballerinas with the City Dance Company performed on the grassy lawn.
    Photo by David Brown
  • Houston Council Member Ellen Cohen presented Josef Helfenstein, director of TheMenil Collection, with a city proclamation.
    Photo by David Brown

Jazz, dancing & scavenger-hunting on the lawn: The Menil celebrates its 25thbirthday with a block party

Pix of the Day

Twenty-five is a big year, a quarter century, a milestone worth marking with a big, blow-out party.

The Menil Collection did just that, inviting friends, neighbors and patrons to join in celebrating the Houston treasure's 25th birthday on Saturday.

Sweltering afternoon heat didn't stop the hundreds that flocked to the grassy lawn to celebrate, listening to music from the Kashmere Reunion Stage Band and the TSU Jazz Ensemble, watching ballerinas from the City Dance Company and peeking inside at the current exhibitions.

Attendees brought lawn chairs, blankets and picnics, and guests queued up for complimentary ice cream. Children participated in a scavenger hunt and played in the grooves of the Michael Heizer installation.

If you weren't able to make it out to the party, no worries — there's still time to help the Menil celebrate its special year. The museum will host free performances and public programs, fancy dinner benefits and posh cocktail parties through December. Find more information here.

Got a great photo of a Houston happening or everyday occurrence? Or just a fun photo that shows why Houston is so unique? Send it to barbara@culturemap.com, along with details (who, what, where and why it's special). It might make our Pix of the Day.

  • Founded in Los Angeles by Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston in 1998, Johnston Markleehas made a name for itself with a deep dedication to architectural history andtheory.
  • View House, Rosario, Argentina, 2009.
  • Hill House, Pacific Palisades, CA, 2004.
  • After several years of searching for an architecture firm to take on its newMenil Drawing Insitute, Menil officials announced this week that JohnstonMarklee will lead the design project.
    Courtesy photo

Menil picks Los Angeles architects Johnston Marklee to design new DrawingInstitute

public meets private

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Menil Collection's public debut, museum trustees have announced their unanimous decision to select Los Angeles architecture firm Johnston Marklee as the designers of the new Menil Drawing Institute (MDI).

Board members and museum officials packed into the lobby of the Menil library in late May for two days of presentations from the four finalists announced in April: Pritzker Prize-winners Sanaa, Menil master plan designers David Chipperfield Architects, the quickly-emerging Mexican firm of Tatiana Bilbao and, finally, Johnston Marklee, a relatively lesser-known architecture team with a deep commitment to architectural history and theory.

"It may have been two of the greatest days of my professional career," Menil director Josef Helfenstein told CultureMap in a phone interview. "All four firms showed an impressive understanding of the subtle balance between public and private life on the campus, not to mention a deep respect for the museum's history."

"This is a huge institutional moment for us," said Menil director Josef Helfenstein. "We were unbelievably thrilled when they arrived with this completely innovative proposal to create an intimate new facility."

During final deliberations with the board of trustees, Johnston Marklee distinguished itself with a refined approach to the scale and landscape of the museum campus as well as a forward-thinking consideration of how delicate works on paper can be displayed with regard to the bright Houston sun.

"This is a huge institutional moment for us," said Helfenstein. "There has never been a building designed specifically for modern and contemporary drawings. We were unbelievably thrilled when they arrived with this completely innovative proposal to create an intimate new facility."

On the horizon

After founding their semi-eponymous firm in 1998, architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee and have established themselves as a leaders in technical innovation with projects like the Hill House — a residential design placed along a 47-degree slope in Pacific Palisades — and a fully up-cycled "green" gas station in the heart of car-centric Los Angeles. Other works like the View House in Argentina stand as a testament to the firm's penchant for modernist reinvention.

The firm presented a single-story structure built around a trio of open courtyards, two of which would serve as entry points at either end of the building. A dedicated research area wraps around the third courtyard. A "living room" space would be situated at the center of the MDI to provide a casual and intimate zone of interaction for staff, scholars and the public.

Just off this central common area, the drawing institute's exhibition gallery — like the Renzo Piano buildings that house the Menil's main collection and Cy Twombly holdings — is proposed to be lit from above by a highly-controlled system of reflected natural daylight.

"One of the major challenges of this project is the sensitivity of the materials to light," Mark Lee told CultureMap from the firm's LA headquarters. "On the other hand, you have to take into account the gradations of light as one moves from the outdoors to the indoor. The proposal calls for a gradual progression so you don't feel like your suddenly in the dark, producing a so-called 'matinee effect.'"

"There's a relation between architecture and open space that's tremendously important to the campus' rich tapestry of residential and institutional buildings," said Johnston Marklee co-founder Sharon Johnston.

"There's a relation between architecture and open space that's tremendously important to the campus' rich tapestry of residential and institutional buildings," explained Sharon Johnston.

"Philip Johnson's original house for Dominique de Menil (on San Felipe in River Oaks) was essential to us in that it provides a kind of DNA found in Renzo Piano's designs and throughout the campus, particularly in the way domestic scale and courtyards factor into the overall visitor experience."

Details of the project, such as building materials and a site selection, are expected to emerge this summer as Lee and Johnston begin their collaborative meetings with the museum's architecture committee. Helfenstein stressed that the selection of Johnston Marklee has never been about choosing a specific design, but rather about establishing an architectural working relationship.

"Sharon and Mark take this very holistic approach to the project," he said. "Buildings need to come from their surroundings and this idea couldn't be more true for the Menil campus. The MDI has to be philosophically part of this family of buildings here. Johnston Marklee completely got it. Their point of departure into something new is just right."

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Top things to do in Houston this  weekend: Big Beyoncé takeover, a cool pool party, and more


This weekend, the biggest female pop icon in the world comes home for her wildly popular Renaissance World Tour stops at NRG Stadium. To honor local girl — and now queen — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, locals have been shopping for that perfect fit to slay like Bey (check out our guide here) and hitting special Beyoncé-themed events (see more here).

While this weekend is rightfully dominated with all things Queen Bey, plenty of other fun activities await. Cooler temps mean more outdoor fun at the Houston Arboretum, East River, and the Dew Berry Farm Festival. Some hilarious comedians hit town, and the insider-y El Segundo Swim Club makes a splash as we say farewell to summer.

El Segundo Swim ClubDive into a chill weekend at El Segundo Swim Club.Photo courtesy of El Segundo Swim Club

Enjoy; here are your best bets for this Beyoncé homecoming weekend.

Thursday, September 21

Houston Arboretum presents Sip & Stroll

The start of fall will be celebrated with the Houston Arboretum’s Sip & Stroll outdoor event. Participants will enjoy a quiet evening out on the arboretum trails. The sunset walk will include two glasses of wine or Saint Arnold beer, cheese and charcuterie offerings from GRAZE HTX, and a specialty wine glass to take home. New to this year’s event, participants will enjoy an additional wine tasting featuring a variety of wines from The Cause Urban Winery, founded by Jennifer Rossi. 5:30 pm.

Nerdy Night Market at Neil’s Bahr

Nerdy Night Market will be back outdoors in the Neil's Bahr Cantina lot, giving you more space, more vendors, and the perfect opportunity to hang out, enjoy drinks al fresco, and connect with your favorite nerdy enthusiasts. Join them for an evening of geeky treasures, great company, and the coolest finds you won't want to miss. From collectibles to unique creations, there’s something for every geek and pop-culture enthusiast to explore. Must be 21 or older to attend. 6 pm.

6 Degrees presents POP DEMO

6 Degrees premieres Toni Leago Valle’s dance/theatre experience, a blend of political commentary, offbeat theatre, aerial, contemporary dance, and visual projections, set in a stylistic Pop Art décor. The performance provides a historical perspective through cartoons of how the ideas of popular democracy, extremism, and propaganda have shaped and warped American political and cultural beliefs, ultimately attempting to overthrow democracy. 7:30 pm (2 and 7 pm Saturday).

Friday, September 22

Houston Art Gallery Association Fall Celebration

As visitors wander through the Houston Art Gallery Association member galleries on Friday and Saturday, they will embark on an enlightening journey where each gallery offers a unique experience. From contemporary masterpieces that challenge traditional notions of beauty to thought-provoking installations pushing boundaries, HAGA encapsulates the vibrant diversity of artistry in Houston. Galleries include Anya Tish Gallery, Foltz Fine Art, Foto Relevance, Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Koelsch Gallery, Thornwood Gallery and many others. Noon.

East River presents Live Music Weekends

East River 9 will be kicking off Live Music Weekends, which will happen every Friday and Saturday night through December. All ages are invited to experience free, live musical performances while taking in unmatched views of Buffalo Bayou and the city skyline on the expansive, open-air terrace. The fall artist lineup is sure to make a splash with a wide variety of local and regional musicians. Kicking things off will be Lucas Jagneaux on Friday and the Sheila Marshall Duo on Saturday. 7 pm.

Alley Theatre presents American Mariachi

Family, love, and tradition are at the core of this heartwarming play about the freedom to dream big. It’s the 1970s and girls can’t be mariachis … or can they? Will Lucha and her spunky cousin hunt for bandmates, dodge disapproving relatives, and bring Mom along for the ride? This play is infused with vibrant, infectious, live mariachi music and reminds us how music and love can make the impossible come true. Through Sunday, October 22. 8 pm (2:30 and 8 pm Saturday; 2:30 and 7:30 pm Sunday).

Ilana Glazer Live!

Ilana Glazer is mostly known as the co-star/co-creator of the Comedy Central show Broad City. But along with movies and TV, she’s also out here doing her stand-up thing. Her debut stand-up comedy special, The Planet Is Burning, is on Amazon Prime. She is also the co-founder of the non-profit Generator Collective, which defines minimal civic engagement and aims to humanize policy through people-powered stories on social media. 8 pm.

Saturday, September 23

Dewberry Farm Fall Festival

Every Saturday and Sunday, Dewberry Farm's Fall Festival will feature fun, pumpkins, food, and over 40 rides and attractions. Visitors can explore the pumpkin patch, paint pumpkins, follow a trail of glowing jack-o-lanterns inside "Pumpkin Hollar!," take photos by the life-sized pumpkin house, spin out on the new Jumping' Jacks ride, meet barnyard animals, and get lost in the 8-acre, Houston Astros-themed corn maze. Through Sunday, November 12. 10 am.

End of Summer Weekend at El Segundo Swim Club

El Segundo Swim Club is a total IYKYK, where locals and hip Houstonians gather for pool parties that are less about raging and IG stories and more about low-key vibes. For the last weekend of the season, the club is offering day passes for $20. Sip on $4 beers, at-cost champagne, and a bunch of great cocktail specials. DJ/podcaster Jason Stewart (who also goes by @themjeans on Instagram – we just thought that was funny) will be keeping everything cool and groovy with his DJ set on Sunday. 11 am (Noon Sunday).

Still Here at East End Backyard

Swishahouse, The Waxx Club, and others are coming together to throw a bash that celebrates 50 years of hip-hop and family. There will be a hip-hop stage where MCs and DJs (along with graffiti artists, who’ll get together for a graff session) will do their thing. But there will also be a synthesized area, where such DJs as DJ Comp 1, Steve Swift, and Joe B will be spinning everything from hip-hop to funk to reggae to soul all through the night. 6 pm.

Houston Museum of African American Culture presents The Art of Making It

This 2022 documentary explores the art-world ecosystem through the prism of young artists at pivotal moments in their careers, revealing the secret sauce that thrusts some into the stratosphere and leaves others struggling to survive. Why does it matter who we anoint to tell the stories of our time? Including the voices of luminaries and disruptors, the film leaves one to question whether the new world order will make art more accessible for all. The screening will be followed by a conversation with producer Debi Wisch. 7:30 pm.

Sunday, September 24

Brews & Browse End of Summer Market

This weekend, Urban South HTX will say goodbye to this hot-as-heck season with an end-of-summer market. Bring the entire family out for a fun filled day of surprises including a bounce house, face painting, raffle prizes, market vendors, food, treats, and more. GastroCraft will be there at noon, serving some delicious gastro pub fare. This family, dog-friendly event is free to the public. 1 pm.

Avant-Art Gallery Soft Opening

Aspen-based painter and gallerist Christopher Martin’s eponymous Upper Kirby gallery is changing names and ownership. The high-profile Houston Gallery Row business is being reborn under former Christopher Martin Gallery directors Ally Ondarza and Abigail Henningsen. The gallery will host its soft opening to debut “Emerging Perspectives.” The exhibit will feature artwork from their entire portfolio of artists to share their community vision. Through Saturday, October 14. 2 pm.

Bert Kreischer: Tops Off World Tour

After starring in his very own movie The Machine (where Mark Hamill played his dad!), comedian, actor, podcaster, and author Bert Kreischer is back to take off his shirt and do some good ol’ stand-up. He also has his fifth stand-up special, Razzle Dazzle, on Netflix. Shameless and shirtless as ever, Kreischer spills on bodily emissions, being bullied by his kids, and the explosive end to his family's escape room outing. We’re sure he’ll hit you with more tales of family hell when he hits the Toyota Center stage. 7 pm.

Countdown to Beyoncé: Party, dance, shine – and stretch — at these Houston events honoring Queen Bey

bey there, do that

Houston is just days away from Beyoncé’s big Renaissance tour homecoming this weekend. The lights don’t go down at NRG Stadium until Saturday, September 23, but as Bey’s song says, we like to party. That means plenty of events and food and drink specials to toast the Queen.

Locals in the Beyhive who are still searching for those perfect Bey-inspired looks can show them off at these fun happenings, which include silent disco jams, a huge downtown party, Bey-themed yoga, and a special exhibit of Beyoncé’s most legendary photo.

Break out those flawless silver threads and get ready to slay at these Beyoncé events in Houston.

Thursday, September 21

Color Factory will immerse fans with a Beyoncé playlist running inside its silent disco all weekend long. The immersive art experience has teamed up with Houston legend DJ Rob G to elevate the fan-favorite disco to a party fit for the Queen and her BeyHive. 10 am.

Post Oak Hotelis “Calling All the Single Ladies” to exclusive helipad yoga classes. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed slaying in silver. Tickets are $200 per person and includes access to the pool after class. 5 and 6:45 pm.

02 Loungewill host a video and live music tribute to Beyoncé, presented by The Vibe Curator Keto Gentry The Consultant. It’s also known as a Touch of Silver Ladies Freakum Dress Theme Party. 8 pm.

Friday, September 22

The Warwickserves up two exclusive, Beyoncé-themed cocktails. Sip on a blackberry tequila lemondrop known as Alien Superstar. Later, order up a smooth sidecar riff they call the Pure/Honey Lemonade. 11 am.

Blossom Hotel raises a glass to Beyoncé's H-Town stop with a specially crafted, themed cocktail menu, including the Crazy in Love and the Break My Soul. Bonus points: The Blossom Hotel is less than 10 minutes away from where Blue Ivy’s mom will take center stage. 4 pm.

Nosie Yogiis making a strong pull by bringing back Bey-Asana, the original Beyoncé inspired yoga class. For one night only, participants can stretch in an all-level, non-heated flow session set to Queen Bey’s music. Registration is $20. 6:30 pm.

Saturday, September 23

Tootsies and Nicole Longnecker Gallery will celebrate both Beyoncé and celebrity photographer Markus Klinko. The artist will be in attendance, along with many of his larger-than-life photographs of A-list celebs like David Bowie, Lady GaGa, and Beyoncé, including the iconic cover photo of her debut album Dangerously in Love. Fans can also look forward to a close-up view of Klinko’s Diamond Dust images of Queen Bey in her unforgettable, diamond-studded spiderweb top and jeans — which she says are her favorite. 1 pm.

Radio Milano at The Moran CITYCENTRE presents a Queen Bey Kick Off, offering specialty cocktails inspired by Beyoncé’s greatest hits. Dance and sing along while sipping on such Beyoncé-inspired libations as the Cuff It and the Heated. 4 pm.

The Plaza at Avenida Houston invites the city to Hou Run the World: Beyoncé’s Homecoming Party on the Plaza. This welcome-home bash will feature live music, fireworks, and outdoor fun. Be sure to stick around for the special drone show: More than 400 drones will light up the evening sky, creating Beyoncé-related themes to dazzle viewers. Event runs at The Plaza at Avenida Houston (between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green Park). 6:30 pm-8:45 pm

Sunday, September 24

Bar Boheme treats Bey-loving — and brunch-loving — fans to a special, Renaissance-edition drag brunch. Enjoy delicious brunch fare, live music from DJ Athenz, and a Beyoncé-themed drag show where performers pull out all the stops to Beyoncé hits. Registration is required. 11 am.

Da Hookah Plug Lounge makes a splash with a Beyoncé & Brunch Paint & Sip Special. They’ve got the music to karaoke to, food, hookahs, and more. Guests who wish to paint must RSVP under one of the painting tickets. 12:30 pm.

Bar Louieshakes things up with a perfectly pink diva martini for Beyoncé weekend. Enjoy an array of happy hour specials, including $6 premium liquors, $7 signature martinis, $7 select house cocktails, $6 wine by the glass, 50 percent off select bar bites and more. 4 pm.

Next week: Thursday, September 28

Rooftop Cinema Club goes open air with A Queen Bey Rooftop Party. The night starts at 7 pm, where a DJ will spin tunes as tunes during a pre-game cocktail hour. Then comes a special screening of the 2001 cult classic Carmen: A Hip Hopera — starring a young Beyoncé, natch — and directed by Robert Townsend.

After the film, head to the lounge area for a silent disco/dueling DJ battle featuring electrifying Beyoncé-inspired sets. Choose the channel through the wireless headphones and move to the left, to the left all night. Live DJ set and games run 7 pm-8 pm; movie runs 8 pm-9:30 pm; dueling DJ sets and silent disco run 9:30 pm-11:30 pm.

Houston pizza maestro retools his wildly successful new Heights restaurant after overwhelming response

that's a lot of pizza

Pizza-loving Houstonians have accomplished something that once seemed impossible. They’ve left chef Anthony Calleo speechless — sort of.

The first week of service at Gold Tooth Tony’s, Calleo’s new Detroit-style pizzeria in the Heights, has so vastly exceeded his expectations that he’s had to rethink his plans for operating the restaurant. Even with limited hours of 4-10 pm, it’s been selling out of pizza. As a reminder, Calleo has sold Houstonians a lot of pizza between the Pi Pizza food truck, the Pi Pizza restaurant, and in his current role as executive chef and co-owner of Montrose favorite Rudyard’s.

“I’ve done this before. I’ve sold a bunch of pizza. We know how to do that. The fact that we’re running out of food, we didn't really expect,” Calleo tells CultureMap. “What we thought we’d do in a 14-hour day after a couple months of practice is what we’re doing in a three-and-a-half hour day.”

He adds that on Sunday Gold Tooth Tony’s sold more pizza in a single hour than in any hour he can remember from the Pi days. That’s a lot of pizza for a restaurant that occupies a 1,000-square-foot former doughnut shop.

Having survived a hectic weekend, Calleo closed on Monday and Tuesday to give its cooks a well-deserved break. The restaurant reopened for dinner today (Wednesday, September 20) with dough that he and chef Adam Bitner made for the restaurant.

In the meantime, he’s ordered more pizza pans and is looking into adding a larger walk-in cooler to deal with the unexpected demand. Whatever he decides, it will be done with his staff in mind.

“I’m not going to grind those dudes into dust. They deserve a break. They busted their ass for us at a brand new job,” he says. “They did great, period.”

Part of meeting the demand for pizza means temporarily slimming down the menu by cutting dishes such as queso and mac and cheese. Although Calleo had planned to roll out lunch as soon as this week, the restaurant will remain dinner only for now.

“I didn’t get into this business to tell people no, but it’s mathematics and physics. If I could argue with those, I wouldn’t be a chef — I’d be a super villain,” he says.

Meanwhile, the search has already begun for a second location. Calleo aims to strike while the iron is hot — and Houstonians are eating him out of pizza.