Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre

Houston young professionals who loves theatre are invited to the Ensemble Theatre's Act One Night, a social networking event. Act One is a young professional society that supports youth programming at The Ensemble Theatre.

Light food and drinks will be provided, and two tickets to the stage production of Phenomenal Woman will be raffled off.

Photo by Daniel Ortiz

Red-hot Houston crowd revs up posh Porsche palace's grand opening

porsche party

The highly anticipated opening of an luxurious automotive and lifestyle brand’s landmark locale recently revved up Houston’s social season.

More than 500 partiers and car enthusiasts joined Dr. Kjell Gruner, president of Porsche North America, and Sonic Automotive CEO Dave Smith and president Jeff Dyke to pack the posh new Porsche River Oaks.

More of a showroom and architectural/design gem, the new outpost is so much more than a typical dealership. Those familiar with the area will no doubt recognize the space on 4007 Greenbriar Dr. as Stahlman Lumber Company’s former home.

Local event guru Deborah Elias of Elias Events engineered a red-hot affair that spanned two floors and more than 40,000 square feet. Aside from drool-worthy Porsches of every type (including gorgeous classic rides), the grand opening soiree featured a surprise performance by country singer Clint Black, and an appearance by Houston’s “Rocket” Hall of Fame pitching legend Roger Clemens and Dynamo icon Brian Ching.

As they arrived, guests were greeted by (literally) high-flying aerial acrobats, then with glasses of champagne topped with sugar cubes emblazoned with the iconic Porsche logo.

A shimmering wall step and repeat, pyrotechnics, and 360 photo booth, plus DLG Ice Factory’s ice wall raw bar (featuring the Porsche logo), and a cocktail chemistry station with drinks created in tail-pipe-inspired vessels set the mood. As visitors strolled, they were met by balloon clouds, a strolling sax player, and a psychedelic, interactive art installation with motion tracking.

Then it was time to hit the pop-up nightclub, which was held in the dealership’s spotless shop, and boasting multiple bars, digital 3D mapping elements and motion lighting, and tasty treats by Los Angeles-based Gastro Garage.

Upstairs, the second-floor showroom starred a “rockestra” band and delicious, cheese wheel pastas tossed with truffle. The car crowd was quick to check out the Fitting Lounge, where customers can choose everything from leather finishes to shift knob designs, doubled as a Porsche design watch showcase.

Aside from the show-stopping, collectible vehicles, artwork came courtesy of The Whale Tail Project, an eye-catching sculpture series from European artist Johans Lamic, which reinterpreted the iconic 930 turbo spoiler and mingled with stunning red rose arrangements.

Also upstairs, Clemens, the Hall of Famer and former Astros legend, shared a stirring story of how he offered his beloved Porsche for charity and how it moved him in a speech that inspired laughs and thunderous applause.

Clearly, no one was eager to leave, but when they did, those departing were gifted with pina colada popsicles and goodie bags of Porsche swag. More partners making the night a success included Bravo Entertainment, Premier Sound and Lighting, Louie Balloonieville, Kirksey Gregg Productions, and AFR.

While brand new on the scene, the new dealership is hardly a secret: One guest shared with us that he’s already placed an order for the coveted and wildly rare ride that’s set for delivery soon. In all, it was a grand prix night for an elite new venue.

Seen on the scene: Roger Clemens, Brian and Mary Elizabeth Ching, David Gow, Marcelo Saenz and Adrian Duenas, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Andrew Pappas, Kyle Rottet, Ally Ondarza, Jose Ocque, Heather Almond, Jessica Rossman, Jennifer Roosth, Hayden Jefferies and Isrel Fonseca, Dom McGee, Lisa Gochman, Chong Yi, Kayvon Sohrabi and Dr. Roland Maldonado, Beth Muecke, Roz and Alan Pactor, and many more.

The Gastro Garage.

Porsche River Oaks grand opening Gastro Garage
Photo by Daniel Ortiz
The Gastro Garage.
Photo courtesy of Night Court

Hilarious Houston lawyers summon audiences to musical comedy romp for a good cause

court is (back) in session

Call it an adjournment, ladies and gentlemen of the jury: After a two year break — due to a certain global pandemic — a beloved annual musical performance starring some talented Houston attorneys returns to downtown’s glitzy venue.

Night Court, a fun, cleverly written musical that plays to legal themes (and is chock full of puns) and stars solely local lawyers, is back at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. This new version, entitled Justice by the Dozen, celebrates more than 30 years of the institution and runs Wednesday, August 17 through Saturday, August 20 at 7:30 pm each night.

Tickets, proceeds of which goes to several charitable organizations, start at $31.05 and are available online.

So why call it Justice by the Dozen? “This performance is about jury duty, hence, dozen,” Tara Taheri, a longtime Night Court star and Houston-area attorney, tells CultureMap. “It’s our 30-year anniversary that was pushed from 2020. I’m sure audience members will be ecstatic to see the show in person. They’ll love the theme, since it’s so relatable.”

If this group can make something as soul-sucking as jury duty fun, audiences are no doubt in for a treat. Justice by the Dozen will call back to favorite past Night Court musical numbers, such as “Metro Train to Downtown” from 2004’s Law in Black and White; “Thriller from 2007’s Draculaw; and “Cell Block Tango” from 2008’s Law of the Sea— among other surprise tunes.

“There are some great skits and incredible dance and singing numbers, which include hits such as “Time Warp,” “Thriller,” songs from Madonna, and many more,” Taheri adds.

Aside from watching local legal scions exhibit their flair for the dramatic, the show offers a chance to support myriad legal-centered charities, including Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Beacon Law, Houston Area Women's Center Children's Court Services Program, Lone Star Legal Aid Military Veterans Unit, South Texas College of Law Houston Legal Clinics, Child Advocates, and Houston Volunteer Lawyers.

To date, Night Court has raised a whopping $1.4 million to these causes (that’s a lot of billable hours, indeed).

Last year, the legal performers pivoted to an online show, appropriately dubbed Virtually Legal. “We’re really excited to be back on stage working together as a family to help others,” says Taheri.

For those in the audience who too may be attorneys, the show is truly worth the time spent: Night Court is approved for two hours of CLE Ethics credits.


Night Court: Justice by the Dozen runs at 7:30 pm Wednesday, August 17-Saturday, August 20 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. For tickets and more information, visit the official show site.

White Linen Nights/Facebook and Monica Kressman

13 hottest White Linen Night events in the Heights, from pub crawls to pup parties

white linen night is back

One of Houston's most popular weekend events in arguably the city's buzziest 'hoods is back. White Linen Night returns to the Heights and promises to be white-hot. Taking over a small strip in the Heights, the party starts early and goes late, with folks donning their coolest white looks as they sip, shop, and shake it on Saturday, August 6.

Founded in 2006 (post-Katrina) by New Orleans transplants Chris and Kay Thayer, the night draws thousands of Heights locals and revelers from all over town. The smart play is to ride share in, as street and neighborhood parking on even a regular Saturday is a challenge — let alone White Linen Night.

With that in mind, we've rounded up a list of best White Linen Night events, listed by start time. Dress cool, drink responsibly (if applicable), and expect a jam-packed night.

Houston Young Professionals will host its official — and appropriately titled — White Linen Night Pub Crawl in The Heights. Open to the public, the event takes place in the pavilion between Tacos a Go-Go and Christian's Tailgate. Party band Mango Punch headlines, with a DJ spinning tunes. Participating watering holes include Bobcat Teddy's, Christian's Tailgate, Little Woodrow's, Onion Creek, Permission Whiskey and Public House. 11 am.

Heights Antiques on Yale, LLC will have a White Linen Night in the Heights sale and party. Shoppers can look for a 20-to-50-percent off sale on storewide items, as well as a sidewalk sale and a complimentary buffet. 10 am.

Moonshine Deck will throw a White Linen bash, complete with a selfie booth and backdrop, white linen-inspired cocktails and more. Bryan Rhymez, DJ Nonstopp and DJ Ebonix will be on hand providing the grooves. 11 am.

Benny Thunders, the self-pour wine/craft beer tavern, will have both a grand opening and a White Linen soiree. Artista Elisabet will be around to show off her murals, which celebrates the beauty and diversity of Houston. Noon.

Little Woodrow's Heights will get florescent with its shindig, also known as the White Linen Glow Party. Come light up the night at the biggest party in the Heights. They will have DJ sets all day and night, drink specials and more. Noon.

Tikila's White Linen jam will include a live set from Yacht Rock USA. That's right — listen to covers of Christopher Cross and Michael McDonald classics white rocking your white threads. There will also be a photo booth and drink specials all night. Noon.

Heights Bier Garten's White Linen gathering will include live performances from Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws and Mykawa. In the middle of those sets, there will be a best-dressed contest. 4 pm.

Railway Heights Market will have its first-annual Doggy White Linen Party, presented by dog park Sit Bar. Expect live music, doggie adoption, and drinks and shopping, while supporting your local Houston businesses. Fur babies and their white-clad parents are invited to come party. 4 pm.

BB's Tex-Orleans (Houston Heights) will be turning all the way up for its White Linen night. Amin Safari will be on the main stage providing live music, and you can get a Saint Arnold H-Town Pils with any full-size po' boy. 5 pm.

Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery will get hella artistic for its White Linen get-together. Jesus and Maria Lozano of BOSSA ll will provide the music, while Lizbeth Ortiz and other local artists will provide the artwork. 5 pm.

Cedar Creek Bar & Grill promises a rockin' White Linen party, complete with food and drink specials, swag, dancing, and more. DJ Dayta will get the party going and warm you up for The Moment HTX to rock all through the night. 6 pm.

Onion Creek Cafe will also be rocking hard for its White Linen festivities. We're talking about a parking-lot party, complete with an air-conditioned VIP tent. Shotgun Sally will be on the main stage and DJ Fredster will drop the all-night beats. 6 pm.

La Coqueta and dance school Two to Tango will host their first White Linen party. Celebrate art, culture, and community in the Heights — and, maybe, learn how to get your tango on. 7 pm.

Photo via Pixlr

Houston clocks in as one of the fastest-growing cities for freelancers

wfh ftw

Visitors to Memorial Park on an early weekday afternoon probably have to stop and wonder where all these people are coming from. Don’t they have work to do?

Maybe they do, but on their own schedules. Fiverr, a marketplace for connecting freelancers and new clients, released its fifth annual Freelance Economic Impact Report, ranking Houston as the tenth fastest-growing city for freelancers.

According to the report, some 144,000 workers in Houston made $6.6 billion. That means the Bayou City led Texas with around $46,000 for per capita income.

Elsewhere in Texas, Austin came in as the fourth fastest-growing city for freelancers. The city's 77,262-person independent workforce earned $3.4 billion in 2021. In Dallas, which came in at No. 8, some 177, 500 workers made $7.6 billion.

Joining Houston, Austin, and Dallas in the top 10 were:

1. Orlando, Florida
2. Nashville, Tennessee
3. Miami, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Las Vegas, Nevada
7. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Portland, Oregon

Although on the surface the report focuses on geography, it collected data that shows eight out of 10 freelancers believe they can live anywhere and work anytime. However, fewer than half reported that it was “a primary factor” in becoming freelancers, and a third said that work was “a primary influence” in their choice of location.

Most important, 70 percent of respondents said they were “highly satisfied” with working independently.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Beyoncé brings dazzling Renaissance Tour to big screens with new concert film

big-screen bey

“The goal for this tour was to create a place where everyone is free ...and no one is judged.”

So declares Queen Bey in a just-released trailer for RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ, a new documentary and concert film coming to major movie theaters on Friday, December 1 across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The new film chronicles Houston-born Beyoncé's journey from concept to performance as she treks across the globe in her worldwide, 56-performance, 39-city Renaissance tour.

Houstonians are still buzzing from the two-day H-Town homecoming (read our review here) that near-capacity crowds pack NRG Stadium for the often breathtaking, three-hour shows that featured a cameo by fellow Houston-born superstar Megan Thee Stallion.

Tickets for the concert film — a joint production between Parkwood Entertainment and AMC Entertainment — are on sale now at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com. Fans can also find tickets at Cinemark, Regal, Cinepolis and Cineplex, all of which will screen the movie. Tickets will also be available at numerous movie theatre circuits in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico later this week, according to an announcement. Admission for all standard showtimes will start at $22, plus tax.

RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ is a must for any Beyhive member — as well as those who want to reminisce attending the epic shows, or those who missed her tour stops. The big-screen treatment is fitting: short of seeing the shows live, there is no better way to take in the Renaissance tour's dazzling effects, lasers, and pyrotechnics, mind-bending visuals on huge screens, unforgettable costumes (A.I.!), Megan's surprise, and of course, Queen Bey riding through the air atop a glittering Reneigh, her trusty, mirrorball, shimmering steed.

Fans can look forward to multiple showtimes daily on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, for a minimum of four weeks, according to press materials.RENAISSANCE will also be available in IMAX (the ideal viewing) at AMC and Dolby Cinema at AMC, and other branded premium large format screens.

Kicking off atthe opening show in Stockholm, Sweden and documenting each stop to the grand finale in Kansas City, Missouri, the film captures rarely seen, behind-the-scenes moments of a Beyoncé tirelessly working and preparing and sharing tender moments with her children and family.

Meant to further articulate her “everyone is free/no one is judged” mantra, scenes will depict the more than 2.7 million fans from around the world who dressed in silver and shiny outfits, took part in her Joy Parade, and nailed the Mute Challenge at each show.

Call us biased, but we can't wait for the up-close Megan scenes and backstage action before and after she shocked NRG Stadium — and all of Beyoncé's Houston moments as the queen returned to the kingdom where it all started.


Find RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ tickets at at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com.

J.J. Watt, wife Kealia, and his family and friends ring it in at Ben Berg's swanky supper club

turned up for watt

Houston celebrated J.J. Watt’s triumphant homecoming this past weekend, as No. 99 was fittingly inducted into the Houston Texans Ring of Honor during the team’s 30-6 win Sunday, October 1 over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Watt donned the Texans red jacket during halftime, officially joining the late Houston Texans founder/owner/CEO Robert “Bob” McNair and NFL Hall of Fame nominee (and Watt’s former teammate) Andre Johnson.

“It feels like you’re at a family reunion and it feels like I’m back with all my family in a place that feels like home and I’m just loving it,” Watt told the packed NRG Stadium. “The fans have been great, the McNairs have been great, the whole organization has been really, really great and I'm just thankful to have my whole family here. My wife and my son are here, my parents are here, my brothers are here. It’s my mom’s birthday so it all kind of culminates into a great day today.”

Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair placed the jacket on Watt’s mountainous shoulders as Johnson, Watt’s family, and nearly 90 former Texans players cheered him on for his induction. Adding to the memorable day, Watt’s brother T.J., currently on track to be 2023’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year at very least, served as the Steelers opposite our Justin James as coin toss team captain.

The Watts and crew ring it in

While Houston showed up and out for Watt, where did No. 99 celebrate? He and his family and friends opted for Ben Berg’s famed, swanky speakeasy supper club, Turner’s.

The Berg connection comes from Watt’s retirement announcement dinner last year, where he and some close friends and teammates celebrated at B&B Butchers. “So the Texans reached out to us and asked if we could do a dinner at Turner’s for J.J. and his family,” Berg explains to CultureMap.

Watt posted photos on Instagram with his lovely wife Kealia sitting in his lap, he and his brothers Derek and T.J., mom Connie and dad John, and their close friends at Turner’s, which Berg closed for the private celebration.

“It’s a big honor,” Berg notes. “You know, when you create these spaces, the goal is to be a memorable part of people’s lives. And so the fact that we were chosen for him to celebrate with his family, loved ones, and his closest friends — for such a huge accomplishment and huge honor — was a big responsibility.”

What’s J.J. eating?

For the big bash, Berg and company crafted a special — and beefy — steak-stacked menu, with special treats for Connie, who was celebrating her birthday — and her son’s big day. While Berg and the staff didn’t create specific themed items — like, say, the Onion Rings of Honor that Trill Burgers fried up for the weekend — “we made sure we brought over some of his favorite dishes from B&B,” says Berg.

Those dishes included the A5 Japanese Wagyu Katsu Sando, the always popular Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, Chef Tommy’s Bacon slabs (served with blue cheese and truffle-infused honey), and more of No. 99’s favorites. Other items included buttermilk fried quail, Maine lobster gnocchi, and a feast of sides like mac and cheese casserole. Sweet finishes included a signature triple chocolate layer cake, a walnut caramel tart, and the Berry Butter Cake from B&B.

Though we’d have imagined tearing up a Porterhouse or massive ribeye, Berg reports that Watt ordered the Wagyu Filet Rossini (decadently dressed up with foie gras and spinach truffle jus) and the IYKYK classic Turner’s Wedge salad.

Speaking of orders, partiers ordered up some song requests from Turner’s resident vocalist and pianist Thomas Cokinos, who’s always on fire at the supper club, but really turned up for Watt. No. 99, an ol’ softie, requested Beatles classic “Here Comes the Sun” for Kealia (also writing “I love you” on the ticket — well played, J.J.), while others opted for tracks by country stars Zack Brown and Morgan Wallen.

Derek Watt requested Lil’ John’s “Get Low” with a shout out to his two brothers, leaving us disappointed that nobody asked for “99 Problems” in honor of J.J. (Next time, gents).

Ryan Reynolds + J.J. = goals

J.J. Watt Turner's Houston songs family friendsHey J.J., something you wanna share with the rest of us? Photo by Thomas Cokinos

Our favorite shout out? One “Ryan Reynolds” requested the bro singalong classic “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers. Watt fans will recall that he buddied up with the handsome Canadian actor and soccer fan and backer when he and Kealia announced their investment in UK football side Burnley FC. (Kealia also seems to be a big fan of Reynolds, as we reported in May).

Berg made sure to let Watt and Co. enjoy themselves until late, but also made sure to stop by and greet his VIP guests. “I wanted to say hello and thank you; it was really an intimate affair for him, his family, his brothers, and really close friends,” says Berg.

“J.J. is just a super nice guy and just super down to earth,” Berg adds. “And, you know, he’s really big.”

J.J. Watt Kealia Watt Turner's Houston

J.J. Watt/Instagram

Hometown hero J.J. Watt and his wife Kealia pose at the Turner's party.

Familiar farmers market face goes wild with new dinner series at mystery Montrose venue

run wild

Houstonians will once again be able to enjoy Jane Wild’s food in air conditioned comfort. Best known for her time at Tomball’s Jane and John Dough bakery and The Dunlavy on Allen Parkway, the chef is launching a new dinner series to showcase her perspective on farm to table fare.

Titled Jane’s Dine Inn, the bi-monthly dinner series will supplement the sweet and savory baked goods Wild sells at farmers markets across the Houston. The intimate, five-course meals will be served to only 22 diners per night. Unlike outdoor markets, serving diners in a more traditional, restaurant-style setting allows Wild to serve a wider variety of dishes that meant to be eaten hot.

“Jane’s Dine Inn is a space for me to share another side of my story with food,” Wild said in a statement. “Where art has a narrative that celebrates the seasons. A place where I can honor localism in all its forms. To nurture the regeneration of connections, with each other and the land around us.”

It begins this Saturday, October 7 with a meal titled “Texas Autumn.” Wild’s menu includes pumpkin and tomato soup, apples and celery salad, roasted pork with peaches, and a persimmon shortcake.

Meals will take place at a local venue in Montrose that will only be revealed to ticket holders. They begin with pre-dinner snacks. From there, diners take their seats at communal tables ($190 per person or a complete group of six for $1,000) or at a kitchen table with a better view of the action ($225 per person). Each meal will mix both individually plated and family-style dishes. Add wine or non-alcoholic pairings for $60 per person.

Wild plans to hold similar dinners on October 21, November 4 and 18, and December 2 and 16. A monthly brunch pop-up will be announced in the future.