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Photo courtesy of Cinnaholic

Health-conscious foodies or those with food allergies who’ve longed for the zing of a sweet cinnamon roll are in luck. Cinnaholic, the plant-based cinnamon roll/dessert national chain, will open its newest location in Uptown, the company announced.

Cinnaholic — Uptown will open in the Galleria-area Sage Plaza Center on Friday, July 29. To heat things up, the new Uptown locale will host a grand opening party from 10 am to 2 pm on opening day (July 29). For that day only, each guest can nab a cinnamon roll of their choice for $2 (limit one per customer).

This new Uptown location joins several stores in the Houston area, including, most recently, Spring and Woodlands. A CityCentre store is slated to open later this month, with plans for a Sugar Land location also in the works. The brand, which is based in Atlanta, has been rising in popularity of late, with 70 locations nationwide and Canada, and Canada, more than 30 in development, and 50 more locations anticipated for 2023, per press materials.

For the uninitiated, all Cinnaholic products are 100-percent vegan, dairy and lactose-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free, and are allergen-friendly. Notably, the only guaranteed gluten-free item on the menu is the Dole Whip, the brand’s soft serve that is also dairy-free.

The popular cinnamon rolls are customizable with more than 20 frosting flavors and 20 topping choices. Cinnaholic’s most popular cinnamon roll flavors include:

  • Old Skool – classic cinnamon roll with vanilla frosting
  • Cookie Monster – cream cheese frosting, cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce
  • Caramel Apple Pie – caramel frosting, homemade pie crumble, fresh apples, caramel sauce
  • Campfire S’mores – marshmallow frosting, graham cookies, marshmallows, chocolate sauce

For those looking for party trays and more the Uptown store will offer catering and large-size ordering as well for events, meetings, and more, according to a press release.

Each Cinnaholic franchise is locally owned and operated; Douglas and Maggie Spigolon, a Brazilian couple who both have a background in engineering and have worked at their family’s restaurants, will operate the Uptown store.

“Though native to Brazil, we have been living in Houston for almost two years, and seeing all the amazing changes to the city has been exciting to watch,” said Maggie Spigolon, in a statement. “Opening Cinnaholic helps us to be part of this community as local business owners, and bring the best cinnamon rolls to H-Town!”

Sweet-toothed locals can follow the Uptown location’s developments on the store’s Facebook page, on Instagram (check out @cinnaholic.houstonuptown), or online.

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Cinnaholic – Uptown; 5161 San Felipe Street, Suite 180; Hours are Sunday through Thursday 10 am-9 pm, and Friday and Saturday 10 am to 10 pm. For more information, call (346) 319-5896 or visit Cinnaholic online.

Cinnanholic - Uptown opens July 29.

Photo courtesy of Cinnaholic
Cinnanholic - Uptown opens July 29.
Photo by J. Thomas Ford

Houston's Rooftop Cinema Club heats up with summer scorchers, romances, and scary fun

summer on the rooftop

Three-digit temps are here, no doubt, but that’s not stopping locals from hitting the hottest rooftop in Uptown for seasonal hits. Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown ((1700 Post Oak Blvd. at BLVD Place) has released its new schedule that’s cool for summer.

As always, the club promises theme events centered on our oppressive heat, summer love and zodiac signs, and even bookish fun. Favorites returning are the dog-friendly Wooftop series, the Singalong shows, and more.

Features recent hits such as the Robert Pattinson-led Batman and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Potter fans can look forward to weekly Harry Potter screenings every Sunday in July and every Saturday in August to toast Harry Potter’s July 31 birthday. Anniversary screenings include a 25th anniversary screening of Con Air and the 40th anniversary of the beloved Lone Star State classic, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Here’s a look at some of the summer fun:

Crazy for Swayze
Houston’s beloved hometown star gets in a showcase of films in honor of what would’ve been his 70th birthday.

The Heat is On
In a witty nod to our soaring temperatures, the club is bringing the heat with summer classics such as Bad Boys, Mamma Mia!, and Dirty Dancing, and Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s seminal look at America on the hottest day of the year.

Rooftop Romance
August offers a lot to love with Romeo + Juliet, the Hollywood classic Casablanca, modern tales such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Love Jones, Bridesmaids, and more.

Leo Season
Kicking off a new tradition, Rooftop celebrates signs of the Zodiac, starting with Leo on . July 23. Movies will star the club’s favorite cinematic Leos — including namesake Leo DiCaprio.

Virgo Season
Following Leo Season, Rooftop celebrates their favorite Virgos from August 23 through September 22.

Summerween
The club scares up some spooky fun with zany flicks such as Practical Magic, Death Becomes Her, and Hocus Pocus. More fun comes via Tales From the Hood, Friday the 13th, and Scream.

National Book Lovers Day
Bookish film fans can celebrate National Book Lover’s Day (August 9) with two iconic adaptations: Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby and Jonathan Demme’s unforgettable The Silence of the Lambs.

Tickets range from $17.50 to $25.25 depending on the day of the week and choice of the venue’s new double Adirondack Love Seat, a single Adirondack, or Lounge Seat with or without popcorn.

Fans can enjoy favorite concessions and snacks, an extensive menu of beer, wine, and canned cocktails to purchase on-site. Notably fans can bring outside food; no outside drinks are permitted.

Find tickets, showtimes, and the full schedule of Rooftop summer films online.

Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects

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

going up in uptown

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

Commercial Observer was first to report the news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rendering courtesy of Ziegler Cooper Architects
Promising a “work, play, live” approach, the new 2120 Post Oak Blvd. high-rise promises a rooftop pool.
Photo by J. Thomas Ford

Houston's Rooftop Cinema Club showcases sizzling summer favorites, dog-friendly flicks, and more

summer on the rooftop

Houston’s most popular outdoor movie experience is rolling out hot movies for our warmest days. Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown has announced the first half of its upcoming summer lineup, which kicks off May 2 at the buzzy BLVD Place in Uptown.

This new lineup, which runs through July 4 weekend, promises a host of cult classics, new releases, and Rooftop’s signature, themed collections, celebrations, and events — especially of summer favorites, natch.

Tickets for the summer season are on sale now and range from $17.50 to $25.25. Options include the venue’s new double Adirondack loveseat (a fave for couples), a single Adirondack, or deck chair with or without popcorn.

Movies starting before 4:30 pm are open to all ages; those starting after 4:30 pm are strictly 18 and up. As always, the club will serve up its own concessions, food, wine, beer, and canned cocktails for purchase on-site.

Notably, guests can bring outside food to enjoy (perfect for kids’ snacks), but no outside drinks are permitted. Rooftop is also bringing back its popular, dog-friendly Wooftop screenings and the audience-participation-themed People’s Choice showcases, a press release notes.

As for the flicks: Fans can expect summer favorites such as the musical Mamma Mia for Mother’s Day; the 25th anniversary of the Bruce Willis-led sci-fi dazzler, The Fifth Element, Friday the 13th on Friday, May 13; a special “Cruise Control” weekend of Tom Cruise hits; fan favorite The Birdcage, to kick off Pride Month; Straight Out of Compton for Black Music Month; celebrations for Prince’s and Tupac’s birthdays; and much more.

Monthly special events include the following, per Rooftop:

May

  • May 8 – Mother’s Day: Bring Mom and sing along to the toe-tapping smash Mamma Mia at 6:30 pm.
  • May 12 – People’s Choice: May’s theme is “time travel” and in salute of the summer opening of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Rooftop is asking fans to choose which time-bending cinematic epic to celebrate (vote here). Voting closes May 2 and the winning film will be announced May 3.
  • May 13 – Friday the 13th: Scream with your friends to the original summer slasher at 10 pm.
  • May 21–22 – Cruise Control: To toast the upcoming release of the highly anticipated Top Gun: Maverick, Rooftop takes off with a “Cruise Control” weekend, featuring Tom Cruise hits ranging from Jerry Maguire to Risky Business.
  • May 28-29 – Prom Season: In Rooftop’s first dedication to the cherished (and sometimes terrifying) high school tradition of prom, fans can catch high school classics 10 Things I Hate About You, Back to the Future, Carrie, She’s All That, and 21 Jump Street.

June

  • June 1 – Kickoff to Pride Month: Throughout the month, guests can expect variety of LGBTQIA+ hits, starting with the hysterical Robin Williams comedy, The Birdcage at 6:30 pm. Other themed screenings include, But I’m a Cheerleader on June 15, Set It Off on June 22, and more.
  • June 16 – Black Music Month and Tupac’s Birthday: Partnering with Houston Cinema Arts Society, the venue will host a variety of films focused on Black music and culture. Things kick off with Poetic Justice on the late and legendary Tupac Shakur’s birthday.
  • June 19 – Juneteenth: On the heels of Black Music Month celebrations, Rooftop will showcase Black filmmakers and actors with the films Love & Basketball and the evocative, provoking horror remake, Candyman.

July

To celebrate Fourth of July, Rooftop will screen The Sandlot, Dazed & Confused, and the July 4 action blockbuster Independence Day (and that unforgettable Houston scene!).

For a full list of movies and schedule for May, June, and July, visit the Rooftop Cinema Club website.

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Rooftop Cinema Club is located upstairs at BLVD Place in Uptown, 6 BLVD Place, 1700 1, 1800 Post Oak Blvd.

Photo by Brittany Werges/303 Magazine

Magical museum celebrating 'Black girl magic' pops up in Uptown

working magic

A new, interactive experience aimed specifically at Black girls and “Black Girl Magic” is coming to Uptown Park.

Dubbed a “love letter to Black women and our unique experiences,” by founder Charlie Billingsley, The Museum for Black Girls will pop up in Uptown Park (1141 Uptown Park Blvd.) noon, Saturday, October 16. The experience is expected to run through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Organizers chose Houston as the newest exhibition city after a successful museum run in Denver, according to a press release.

Houston’s museum will highlight and promote 10 artists and creative women of color who will use the venue to create their own interactive pieces, including art installations, performances, and events.

The hope is to bring more diversity to the Uptown Houston District and strengthen Black women’s voices in the local community, according to the museum creators.

“‘Black Girl Magic,’ is more than a buzz-phrase or trend — it is the essence of Black girls and women,” said Billingsley in a statement. The Museum for Black Girls was created to celebrate and educate everyone about our journey, from our past to present state of liberation.”

Some of the featured collaborators include Kayla Washington, Aunjanee Niblett, TJ Hudson, Kaylee Bender, Yazmin Atmore, KB Brown, Madd Kyng, Khia Ancalade, Chandrika Metivier, Kanika Blair, Iyesha Williams, and Johnnie Jackson.

Museum hours are noon to 8 pm, Thursdays to Sundays, admission runs $15-$32 for one hour. Packages are available. For more information, visit the official museum site.

Photo collages tell a vibrant, powerful story.

Photo by Brittany Werges/303 Magazine
Photo collages tell a vibrant, powerful story.
Photo by Rooftop Cinema Club Houston

Houston's Rooftop Cinema Club scares up new Halloween lineup with dog-friendly nights and more

october on the rooftop

If the return of pumpkin spice lattes and masses of candy, costumes, and decorations in stores are any indicator, Houston is gearing up for Halloween.

Now, the city’s only rooftop cinema club has released its new lineup perfect for locals to get spooked while enjoying scenic Post Oak skyline views.

Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown’s new schedule kicks off October 4 at the popular BLVD Place locale in Uptown. Guests who show up in their best Halloween costumes at any October showing will be treated to free candy to enjoy while they watch seasonal flicks, another favorite, and even dog-friendly “Wooftop” screenings.

This new schedule runs (appropriately) through October 31 with tickets now on sale; some screenings are already sold out, according to the cinema. As is the case with the club, themed nights abound, including:

  • Grease Sing-Along: October 4
  • Wooftop Cinema Club” (dogs invited and must be cleaned up after and leashed) featuring Ratatouille and Jurassic Park: October 9 and 22
  • Open-caption screenings (for deaf and hard-of-hearing guests) featuring Coming to America, Beetlejuice, and Hocus Pocus: October 9, 15, and 25
  • Back to the Future Day (which marks the day of Marty's fateful trip in Doc's DeLorean): October 21
  • Scream double bill (back-to-back billing of Scream and Scream 2 with discounts available for second screening): October 28
  • People’s Choice — Stephen King (guests vote online for the King film to feature): October 29

Naturally, all this culminates with Halloween weekend with screenings starting October 30 with favorites including Monsters, Inc., Practical Magic, a late-night screening of The Exorcist, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and, natch, the original Halloween from 1978.

Tickets (find them here) include a single lounge seat with or without popcorn, a new beanbag option with popcorn, or an Adirondack chair that comes with popcorn and a side table to share starting at $17.50 for adults and $13.50 for kids under 12 during matinee screenings, per a release.

Here is the October movie lineup:

October 4: Grease; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

October 5: La La Land; A Quiet Place Part II

October 6: Cruella; A Nightmare on Elm Street

October 7: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial; Urban Cowboy; House Party

October 8: The Goonies; Love Jones; The Great Gatsby

October 9: Ratatouille; Hocus Pocus; Coming to America

October 10: The Sandlot; Black Panther; Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood

October 11: Pretty Woman; Zombieland

October 12: Poetic Justice; Step Brothers

October 13: A Quiet Place Part II; Get Out

October 14: Corpse Bride; Cruella; Donnie Darko

October 15: The Nightmare Before Christmas; Beetlejuice; Blade

October 16: Space Jam; The Princess Bride; Top Gun; The Thing

October 17: Night at the Museum; Hocus Pocus; Death Becomes Her

October 18: The Notebook; The Lost Boys

October 19: Ghost; Texas Chain Saw Massacre

October 20: Clue; Child's Play

October 21: Back to the Future; Hocus Pocus; Candyman

October 22: The Addams Family; Jurassic Park; Friday The 13th

October 23: Paranorman; Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone; Beetlejuice; Poltergeist

October 24: Casper; Labyrinth; The Rocky Horror Picture Show

October 25: Hocus Pocus; It

October 26: Edward Scissorhands; Carrie

October 27: The Craft; Eve's Bayou

October 28: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets; Scream; Scream 2

October 29: Coraline; T.B.D. (People’s Choice); Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

October 30: Monsters, Inc.; Halloweentown; Practical Magic; The Exorcist (theatrical cut)

October 31: The Nightmare Before Christmas; Hocus Pocus; Halloween

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Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio returns heart to the classic tale

Movie review

There have been many instances of competing movies telling similar stories in the same year, but rare is the time when two movies try to tell their version of the exact same story. A few months ago, Disney released a “live action” version of their classic Pinocchio, an unimaginative, soulless film that should have never seen the light of day. Now, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio has come to save the day, bringing an allegorical story that has much more depth to it.

Co-directed by Del Toro and Claymation legend Mark Gustafson, and co-written by Del Toro and Adventure Time’s Patrick McHale, the basics of the film will be familiar. The wood toymaker Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley) creates a wooden boy soon dubbed Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) who is looked over by a cricket, this time called Sebastian (Ewan McGregor). Pinocchio is brought to “life” by a blue fairy named Spazzatura (Cate Blanchett), and Pinocchio soon causes all sorts of trouble for himself and everyone else.

But instead of going straight into that story, Del Toro and his team take the time to fill in some blanks about Geppetto’s life and give some meaning to his wooden creation. An opening sequence showing a tragic backstory sets the mood for the film, one that is serious while not being overwhelmingly dark.

Inspired by but not beholden to Carlo Collodi’s original fantasy novel, the film is a lively and yet somber adventure story, with Pinocchio’s impetuous nature leading to him getting in a lot of sticky situations. Del Toro has set the film in Italy during World War II, referencing real-world figures like Nazis and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to ground the often-fantastical story.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Geppetto and Pinocchio in Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio.

As the film goes along, the idea of whether or not Pinocchio is “alive” is confronted in a unique way, and also juxtaposed with actual life-and-death moments that go right to the edge of the film’s PG rating. While still appropriate for older elementary-aged kids, it is unmistakably a Del Toro movie, with creepy creatures, storylines, and more that make it much more than just something aimed at children.

The stop-motion animation, assisted by the Jim Henson Company, is a wonder to behold for a variety of reasons. The flow of movement is astonishing, and a testament to the level of detail and time spent perfecting every moment by the entire filmmaking team. The characters are clearly made of clay, and yet they quickly become believable as living entities, a fun comparison to the story of Pinocchio himself.

While the film has stars like McGregor, Blanchett, and Christoph Waltz, none of them are showcased in ways where their celebrity overwhelms their character. Geppetto and Pinocchio are played by lesser-known people, allowing them to be interesting just for their voice talent, and not a pre-conceived notion of them.

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is by far the superior version of the story to come out in 2022, returning the heart to the tale that is so clearly needed. With just enough off-the-wall elements and a style that’s all its own, the film from Netflix may just be a contender for best animated feature at next year’s Oscars.

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Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio debuts on Netflix on December 9.

Giant sea creatures made of recycled beach trash wash onto Galveston Island in must-see new exhibit

inspiring sea change

A giant great white shark, massive bald eagle, oversized octopus, and more enormous sea life are invading Galveston Island — just in time for the holidays.

Washed Ashore, a compelling and traveling art of giant sea animal sculptures made of trash collected from beaches opens in Galveston on Saturday, December 10 across 19 locations.

The clever showcase features more than 20 pieces — most more than six feet tall and as much as 17 feet wide — such as coral reefs, jellyfish, penguins, sunfish, and more.

Sculptures can be found at museums, hotels, parks, attractions, and popular outdoor spaces. Thanks to a partnership between Oregon-based non-profit Washed Ashore and the Galveston Park Board, the exhibit, which is open though March 5, 2023, is free.

This innovative, powerful exhibit to educate the public about the hazards of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways and comes at a touchstone environmental moment. Some 35 million metric tons of plastic entered the global aquatic ecosystems in 2020, according to the Ocean Conservancy’s research partners.

Similar Washed Ashore exhibits have been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens, across the nation. Notably, this Galveston debut marks the first time the exhibit will not be behind a paid gate, per press materials.

“The sculptures are impressive,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody said. “But they’re even more impressive when you look at them closely. The artists at Washed Ashore placed recognizable objects – like buckets and shovels – at a child’s eye view. This way, hopefully, they will learn to take with them what they bring to the beach.”

For more information on the exhibit, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Visit Galveston

Meet Greta the great white shark.

Bad 'a' Hawaiian coffee shop brews up plans for 10 Houston-area locations

curiously strong coffee

A new coffee shop will brings the flavors of Hawaii to the Houston area. Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii has signed a development agreement that will bring as many as 10 locations to West Houston and Galveston in the next five years.

Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii was founded on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1989 to serve Hawaiian-sourced coffee to locals and tourists. Franchising on the mainland started in 1985, but an acquisition in 2019 paved the way for its current expansion. Currently at about 30 locations nationwide, Bad Ass announced plans to open five locations in Dallas earlier this year.

The cafe serves hot, cold, and frozen coffee drinks as well as tea and smoothes. Food options consist of a tidy menu of breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and muffins.

Bad Ass Coffee’s colorful name comes from the donkeys who carried coffee beans along steep mountain passes in Kona, Hawaii. Locals named them the “bad ass ones” for their stubborn but friendly nature, the company states.

Houston franchisees Kyle Price and Heath Rushing bring experience from the health care industry to their new role as entrepreneurs. In a release, they explain that Bad Ass Coffee’s values help fueled their interest in bringing the brand to Houston.

“We love how the brand honors its Hawaiian heritage and creates a culture that differentiates itself by embodying its island roots,” Rushing said. “Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii also isn't just a brand, it's an identity and the vision is to fuel the inner badass in all of us. We hope to unlock inner badasses by fueling customers with energy and kindness every single day.”