In 2016, Houstonian Nathan Graham was slowly developing followers on YouTube who came to his channel to watch him traverse through the mega game, Minecraft. Fast forward to 2022, where Graham is No. 5 on Forbes list of highest-paid YouTube stars, boasting more than 210 million monthly views, 35 million subscribers, and total content creator legend status among young fans.

Now, Graham is returning to his hometown with a live version of his popular Unspeakable show, where he and his buddies Nathan, James, and Gabe perform impossible (and impossibly goofy) stunts and challenges.

Unspeakable Livewill hit Toyota Center (1510 Polk St.) on Saturday, January 21 in a hybrid 'mega-event' that will also be globally livestreamed for frantic fans. Doors open at 4 pm; the show is slated to run until 10 pm.

Popular host and Graham buddy Preston Playz will also be on hand. Tickets are available online and start at $39.99.

Always one to look for the most over-the-top — and unspeakable — pranks and stunts, Graham has become famous for his "commit to the bit" feats like hanging in a moving truck for 24 hours or seeing who could last in a kitchen the longest.

To mark his return to H-Town, Graham plans to convert the Houston Rockets’ basketball court to the world’s biggest ball pit. (One wonders if Tilman Fertitta okayed that?)

“I can’t wait to share this event with all of my fans,” Graham said in a statement. “I have been dreaming about doing something like this since I started YouTube and I am so excited to make it a reality.”

Fans can score tickets, merch, and more information at unspeakablelive.com.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

11 reasons to escape the Houston bustle with a day trip to Dripping Springs


Dripping Springs has come a long way from being known as the place “just west of weird," exploding in recent years into a suburb of Austin (though many would frown upon that designation). Driving on Highway 290, the Dripping Springs water tower with its “Gateway to the Hill Country” motto in bold letters serves as a personal welcome for residents and newcomers alike.

Despite the rapid recent growth in the Austin area, Dripping Springs still has many of the small-town features that its local residents — and transplants — all love. Many old favorite culinary staples are still thriving, years after the COVID-19 pandemic threatened local businesses statewide. The annual April Founders Day Festival has been a must-see for families for decades.

Those in search of a new day trip spot should consider these 11 places to visit in Dripping Springs.

Where to Eat

Homespun Kitchen & Bar
Homespun is a farm-to-table American restaurant with European influences that serves brunch, lunch, and dinner with live music and kid-friendly spaces. Chef Michael St. Germain is behind all menu choices, applying his experience from San Francisco restaurants and bringing critical acclaim for his burgers, according to the restaurant's website. With weekday specials, fresh-made desserts and over 300 whiskeys to choose from, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. Reserve at homespunkitchenandbar.com.

Oak Creek Cafe
Who can say no to some good Southern comfort food? Oak Creek Cafe has been operating at the corner of Sportplex Drive and Highway 290 for several years. Must-try menu items include the chicken fried steaks, biscuits and gravy, and mushroom Swiss burger. The cafe regularly posts photos of its large plates of comfort food on Facebook, and Google reviewers love it as a breakfast spot above all.

Rolling in Thyme & Dough
A personal favorite: Rolling in Thyme & Dough’s original Highway 290 location is in the center of Dripping Springs, offering delicious pastries, breakfast, and lunch options. Fan favorites include the smoky chipotle breakfast sandwich, the TX two-step sandwich for lunch, and any of the freshly-baked pastries. They also have weekly BYOB bistro nights on Wednesdays in the spring, utilizing fresh ingredients from the Dripping Springs Farmers Market.

Mazama Coffee Co
Since its founding in 2012, Dripping Springs’ first independent coffee shop has been caffeinating the town for over a decade. They micro-roast their own beans from Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Brazil. They also have a bakery to provide customers with well-loved baked goods and lunch. Mazama’s was named the Best Coffee Shop of Dripping Springs from 2018-2021, according to their site.

The Great British Baking Company
This cozy food spot is a newer addition to Mercer Street. The Great British Baking Company adds to the growing food culture in town with their homemade sticky toffee pudding, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, and rotating soups. All of their menu items are made right behind the checkout counter in their open kitchen. Don’t forget to browse their selection of imported British goods, and make sure to take home a parfait or chocolate mousse in a jar.

What to Do

Dripping Springs Chocolate Company
The Wilson family created their chocolate business as a way to support local economies in Nicaragua after a family mission trip. In their mission statement, they aim to create the best chocolate while “improv[ing] the lives of the farmers and communities that grow the cacao.” They’ve since expanded their initial chocolate offerings to spice rubs, dessert and hot cocoa mixes, and chocolate-covered snacks.

The Sated Sheep
As a self-described “psychologist-turned-fiber-junkie,” this yarn shop owner has created her own community surrounding fiber crafts and a love of knitting. Allison’s shop has been a must-see for any visitors looking to pick up a new hobby, or wanting to grab a glass of wine and watch other knitters or crocheters create works of art. The shop offers affordable classes for any skill level, private lessons, and workshops for special events.

Vintage Soul
If you’ve never met Julie Crawford, you’re missing out on one of the most bubbly and welcoming personalities in Dripping Springs. Whether you’re in her Mercer Street shop or watching her weekly “Try-on Tuesday” Instagram stories, Julie makes everyone feel confident in her clothes and accessories. And let’s be honest, everyone loves information about true garment sizing before you try it on or buy online.

Starrs on Mercer
Two sisters with zero retail experience collaborated in 2015 to build a bustling “modern day department store” on Mercer Street. Born out of a love for shopping and convenience, Starrs on Mercer is a one-stop shop for women’s, men’s, and baby clothing, plus accessories, and gifts. The Starr sisters have since opened a travel agency, Starrs On The Go, to expand their endeavors.

Treaty Oak Distilling
You can’t write about Dripping Springs without including some popular distilleries. When it was founded in 2006, Treaty Oak says it was only the fourth distillery operating in the state. The distillery sits on a 28-acre property on Fitzhugh Road with plenty of space for children to explore while you sit back and enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail. Tours of the distillery are available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and classes are available on select Saturdays every month.

Desert Door Distillery
What was once a barren plot of land on Darden Hill Road has now developed into the only sotol distillery in the United States. Desert Door hosts a range of live music weekly, offers tours on weekends, and also has a rental space for private events. With a variety of cocktails and tacos made by James Beard award winner Jesse Griffiths and Spoke Hollow Steward, it’s definitely a go-to for any day trip itinerary.

Chris Stapleton shreds through fifth RodeoHouston show with Tennessee whiskey-fueled, outlaw country ride

the traveller returns

The dreariest, rainiest day at RodeoHouston this season (Thursday, March 16) cosmically coincided with Chris Stapleton's return to the neon cow and pony show. Maybe five songs in his growing discography match a sunny day, with the rest better suited for sepia-toned confrontations on prairies or a chilly kitchen table divorce request.

One of the biggest-selling country acts in recent history, Stapleton's pop culture seemingly knows no bounds of ubiquity. For the coming decades, generations will talk about hearing Stapleton throughout their lives. Sunday mornings spent fending for yourself in the kitchen for breakfast while Mom and Dad are blaring "Tennessee Whiskey" from the bedroom. The single mom in the school pick-up line wearing dark shades, playing "Broken Halos" until Spotify cries uncle. The emo cowpoke feeding the internet jukebox repeated plays of "Fire Away" at Buffalo Wild Wings at lunchtime. Making an NFL head coach projectile cry during his rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl.

Since his widescreen LP debut in 2015 with Traveller, Stapleton has done nearly everything in the industry besides winning a Tony or an Oscar. It wouldn't be surprising if somewhere under all that dirty blonde beard and Stetson is a Broadway show about a cattle rustler with a heart of fool's gold or a dirgy film score to end all film scores.

By the way, Traveller currently sits at No. 56 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, a mere eight years since the album's release. That kind of longevity is usually reserved for the likes of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (#133) and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (#29). His last album, 2020's Starting Over, is down at #79.

Chris Stapleton RodeoHouston 2023

Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Stapleton's bluesy country melancholy matched the rainy Thursday night.

Consistently stunning in his songwriting and studio pairings, Stapleton is in his myth-making era, the soundtrack for heartbreaking or babymaking, splitting the difference between Waylon Jennings and Otis Redding.

He's long crossed that imaginary, arbitrary pop threshold that most country artists find themselves in and went and made songcraft appreciated again. He paved the way for the likes of Zach Bryan and Maggie Rogers to top charts with ragged hearts and found time to collaborate with Justin Timberlake and Joy Oladokun.

Stapleton's big-time intimacy suits RodeoHouston like a well-worn pair of ropers and for his fifth performance since debuting at NRG Stadium in 2017. Opening with "Parachute," Stapleton and his four-piece band – with the legendary Paul Franklin – turned the stadium into the world's most expensive backyard ice house.

He always seems to channel ZZ Top whenever he enters Harris County, and on Thursday night, he was finding ways to interweave Billy Gibbons licks into nearly every song. There was a wink in "Second One To Know," a spiritual callback in "Arkansas," and his beard is pretty ZZ as it gets.

Eight years since its album debut, "Nobody To Blame" is the sound of Stapleton in a lab distilling the history of outlaw country into four minutes, showcasing his guitarwork as it chugs along.

So many people complain about rodeo shows for one nitpicky reason or another when many times, these are the first musical experiences that most kids even undergo. These are the kind of rodeo shows that inspire a kid to tug at their parents' sleeve during the show and ask for a guitar and set someone on a musical journey.

This was my fifth Stapleton show, and even I am pondering hitting up a pawn shop this weekend for a guitar.

"Fire Away" saw the crowd of 72,634 match Stapleton's glow from the stage with the lights from their phones, creating a bed of twinkling cellular stars in the stadium, so much so that even Stapleton seemed overcome by it.

Stapleton and company savored every sip of set closer "Tennessee Whiskey" as the Ford fleet arrived to whisk them off into the night. RodeoHouston books actual musical acts, and Thursday night was a reminder of how magic one of these communal experiences can be.



Second One To Know

Hard Livin’

Starting Over



You Should Probably Leave

Nobody To Blame

Worry B Gone (Guy Clark cover)

Fire Away

Broken Halos

Tennesse Whiskey

Houston's Top Chef World All-Star contestant and former Olympian speaks out after 'shocker' episode

top chef spoilers ahead

Spoiler alert. A Houston chef’s dream of being crowned Top Chef World All-Star has come to an abrupt end.

Chef Dawn Burrell, the Olympian-turned-chef who reached the finals of Top Chef: Portland, has packed her knives. While she’ll have the opportunity to fight her way through Last Chance Kitchen to return to the main competition, her time on the London-based season is done for now.

Viewers had a pretty good idea that Burrell’s number might be up. She got a classic “loser’s edit” throughout the episode’s elimination challenge, which tasked the contestants with creating a rice-based dish.

For example, viewers heard ominous sounding music as she spoke her about the black rice congee she planned to make for the episode’s elimination challenge. “Time is not on our side today,” Burrell says to the camera as the soundtrack plays. “I have to have pressure cookers.”

Uh oh.

Throughout the challenge, things got worse. The rice isn’t finished by the end of the two hour prep time. Just before service, fellow contestant Amar Santana tastes her finished dish — Black Venus congee with black bean and five-spice braised oxtail — and tells the audience that “Dawn’s congee is one dimensional. I’m actually very surprised, because on her season, her flavor profiles were always there.”

After Amar’s comment, we see her taste her dish and shrug her shoulders as if to say “tastes alright to me.” Double uh oh. Sure enough, the judges aren’t impressed.

“If Dawn didn’t tell me this was congee, I wouldn’t have known,” Padma Lakshmi comments. “It feels like broth and crispy rice, not a creamy congee,” Gail Simmons adds.

At judges’ table, Tom Colicchio tells Burrell she missed the mark. “It ate more like black rice soup than congee,” he says. “It was eating crunchy,” Simmons adds.

The final verdict comes swiftly. “Dawn, please pack your knives and go. I’m sorry,” Lakshmi says.

Reached by phone, Burrell acknowledges that leaving on the second episode stings, particularly due to the elimination challenge being focused on rice.

“I love rice. I think that it’s a bridge in life and culture,” she tells CultureMap. “To have been eliminated on a challenge and an ingredient that I hold so dear was really a shocker for me. It did not feel good at all.”

In Burrell’s opinion, the dish’s initial problems stemmed from not using enough liquid to prepare the rice during prep time. She thinks she also suffered when another contestant made a congee dish that the judges preferred.

“I think if they only had one to go on, there would not have been that stark comparison between the two,” she says.

While it’s an unfortunate outcome for the chef, her professional life is looking up. Late August, the Afro-Asian restaurant she’s opening in Midtown’s The Ion mixed-use development, is finally on track for an early summer opening.

“You’ll be eating at Late August very soon,” she promises.