downtown }arts profile: houston ballet pirouettes into a new space
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clean + safe initiatives spring events calendar page 31 brazilian burgers
Houston hosts the basketball event of the year
hoopla! Transportation Roundup:
The ultimate guide to getting around downtown
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downtown houston spring 2011
volume 3 number 3
Inside 14 Hoop it up
Thanks to the imminent arrival of the Final Four in Houston, downtown is the place for sports lovers this spring. And we’ve got the full rundown on all the action.
3 NEWS + NOTES
A new entertainment venue at Houston Pavilions, a new home for the Houston Dynamo and a new tenant (and name) for MainPlace.
5 CLEAN + SAFE
2 publishers’ note
The Final Four, college basketball’s biggest event of the year, is coming to Houston. It’s a major score for a city that is starved for a sports championship, even if it’s not one of our own. by MASON LERNER
21 Ready, set, go
Houston has always had a somewhat thorny relationship with public transit, but that seems to be changing. From Metro’s new transparency to innovative transportation options such as pedicabs and REV cars, the city is definitely turning the corner on getting around town. by SANDRA COOK
Whether it’s helping you find your way or directing the homeless to the right social service agency, Downtown Pubic Safety Guides make it easier to navigate the city center.
6 hot companies
NRG is putting Houston on the cutting edge of green energy production . by PHIL HUDSON
9 ARTS + CULTURE
Exciting premieres, family fun and dramatic performances make for an outstanding spring schedule in the Theater District. by HEATHER PRAY
Theater, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
Churrascaria Samba Grille mixes quick pre-theater service with delicious Latin specialties. And find the perfect spot to chill with our new listing – sip.
Downtown’S SPRING CALENDAR IS BURSTING WITH EVERYTHING FROM FESTIVALS TO FARMERS MARKETS.
47 destination downtown map
Questions or comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Arts and Culture Editor Heather Pray, Houston Downtown Alliance Copy Editor Barbara Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design ph Design Shop
Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography Jack Thompson Contributing Writers Sandra Cook, Phil Hudson, Mason Lerner, Lauren McClendon, Barbara Mendel, Heather Pray Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010.
Public transportation has always been a hot-button topic for Houston, and in particular, for downtown. People have strong opinions about how the city should be moving forward, whether it’s additional light rail lines, a better bus system or easy-to-find taxis. One thing we can all agree on is there are more options for getting around downtown than ever before and starting on page 21, our in-depth look at transportation covers all the bases. To help get you moving, we’ve got the scoop on everything from MetroRail to pedicabs to REV cars. We’ve always known Houston is a great sports city and as host of this year’s NCAA Final Four, we’ll be showing the world. Although the games will be at Reliant Park, rest assured downtown will be in on the action with plenty of parties and events. Flip to page 14 for more information. Don’t forget that Plate has a great new nightlife component that makes it easy to plan a night out on the town. And of course, with spring finally here, our event listings are jam-packed with downtown activities, festivals and theater productions. The Art Car Parade, the Houston International Festival, the Buffalo Bayou Regatta and more will keep your calendar completely booked. As always, keep your issue handy for whatever leisure activity you might be planning. And please be sure to send your comments and suggestions our way.
our in-depth look at transportation covers all the bases.
Houston Downtown Alliance
ON THE COVER Anticipation is in the air and cover model Charlie Trent is ready for some basketball action. A huge thank you to Fonde Recreation Center for allowing use of their facility. Fonde is operated by City of Houston’s Parks and Recreation and is free to the public. Not only do they have great basketball courts but also a work-out room and exercise classes. We love their retrofeel and be sure to check out their Hall of Fame cabinet showcasing NBA superstars that have passed through.
Cover photograph by Jack Thompson 2
New Stadium Rising
onstruction of the only soccerspecific stadium is well underway downtown after a February groundbreaking ceremony for Houston’s own Dynamo. As neighbors to Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park, the new stadium will be a dream come true for Houston soccer fans. “This is big for the team, franchise, and MLS, but it is even bigger for all those kids that play soccer for the future,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who along with Houston Mayor Annise Parker, worked to make the stadium a reality. “It provides the nexus that we need to take soccer in Houston to the next level.” The Dynamo will oversee construction of the stadium, which is scheduled to open in April 2012. “It will make a really dynamic triangle with the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, and now the new Dynamo stadium – with the George R. Brown Convention Center right in the middle of the action,” said Parker.
A New Name
811 Main is getting a new tenant and name. BG Group will move from the Galleria-area to the new building later this year and will christen it BG Group Place. The natural gas company will occupy 164,000 square feet at the recently completed tower. Under the terms of their lease they have additional expansion capacity in the 46-story, one-millionsquare–foot building, which has attained LEED Platinum pre-certification. Martin Houston, executive director of BG Group, praised the company’s relationship with Houston.“We are delighted to extend our commitment to the city as we prepare for the next phase of BG Group’s growth across North America and beyond,” he said.
One of Houston's best-known impresarios is bringing his music savvy to downtown.
Scott Gertner, who for more than a decade brought big-name talent to his Skybar in Montrose, is reinventing the venue on the third floor of the Houston Pavilions. Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions will be a bi-level club with approximately 8,200 square feet of space in the main area and amazing outdoor spaces including a 3,500- square-foot rooftop deck with a full bar, cabanas, lounge seating and couches, and a DJ booth. Expect the club to play host to local and national performers on an arena-style stage with dancing throughout. It also will serve a full dinner menu. “We’re so pleased that Scott chose Houston Pavilions as the new home of his venue,” said Geoff Jones, principal/developer of Houston Pavilions. “It’s in lockstep with the mix we initially envisioned for the development. It will be a new interpretation of a Houston institution, with a loyal following and an atmosphere that is perfectly in keeping with our desire to make Houston Pavilions a destination unlike any place in the city.” downtownhouston.org
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Taking it to the streets Say hello
Your guide to downtown
If you’ve ever been downtown and needed some help finding a parking garage or been approached by a panhandler, you probably wished there was someone around who could lend you a hand. The Downtown District’s new Downtown Public Safety Guide Program does just that – making it easier for everyone to navigate the city’s center. Whether it’s directing a homeless person to appropriate social services, showing a visitor the way to Discovery Green or helping you find that pub where your friends are waiting, the guides are there. They have received intensive training in everything from first aid to conflict management and are an easy-to-spot presence, serving as additional eyes and ears on the streets of downtown. They patrol daily, focusing on the busiest pedestrian areas and they are also available during special events for extra support. Their role is simple but vital to a safe, pleasant downtown. Some of their responsibilities include:
The guides monitor the streets Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Of course in an emergency you should call 911, but for questions about the program or to get assistance, give them a call, send an email or just walk up to one of the guides and say hello. email@example.com 713.223.2003 downtowndistrict.org
• Reporting problems to proper law enforcement officials • Discouraging aggressive panhandling • Helping the homeless population by connecting them with social service organizations. • Checking in on businesses • Serving as an on-the-street concierge service, assisting visitors, residents and worker with maps, directions and basic information about downtown. Bob Eury, executive director for the Houston Downtown Management District, says the program grew out of focus group meetings with downtown stakeholders, including residential, commercial, corporate, arts and hospitality. Over the years, many have expressed concerns with issues such as panhandling. The new guides are a way to address not only that concern but others as well. “We have listened to the needs of our downtown community and believe the new Downtown Public Safety Guides will provide businesses, residents and the public with an additional tool to help keep our streets safe and have a positive downtown experience, Eury says. “What we have now is a dedicated group of guides who are trained to connect problems with solutions – be that a homeless person to social services or a pedestrian in need of directions.”
Similar programs have been successful in cities such as Seattle and Washington D.C. and Eury said Houston’s program has been designed to adapt to the city’s unique needs and issues.
Keeping it clean
While the Downtown Public Safety Guides are new to the streets, the District’s Street Teams have been on the job since 1992. It’s hard to miss them in their bright teal and yellow uniforms, but you may not know what they do. It’s the Street Teams who keep downtown looking good by maintaining the appearance of public pedestrian areas, cleaning sidewalks and maintaining
landscaping. They also pick up litter and patrol the streets. Other operations they handle include:
• Sidewalk sweeper operation • Maintenance of Main Street Square and Market Square Park • Graffiti removal • Special event assistance • Subscription curbside trash pick-up • Power washing Downtown District Operations Center 1119 Milam 713.223.2003 downtownhouston.org
A houston Company’s vision of the future
Can NRG’s plans for a low-carbon future put Houston on the cutting edge of green energy production?
By phil hudson There are many things that contribute to creating a great company: strong leadership, quality products and services, clear goals and successful execution of business strategy chief among them. Today, many would argue that list must also include a dedication to sustainable business practices and providing products and services for environmentally conscious consumers. NRG Energy, one of the United State’s largest independent power producer, is a powerhouse of a company, recording 2009 sales of nearly $9 billion. NRG is also an industry leader in developing low- and no-carbon energy, pursuing a wide-ranging multi-technology portfolio of clean energy products and services. Mention a cleanenergy technology and chances are NRG is working on it – generation from solar and on and offshore wind, new nuclear production, biomass, clean coal carbon capture and charging services for electric vehicles. NRG sells electricity in the retail market through Reliant Energy, the one of the largest full service power retailers in Texas and Austinbased Green Mountain Energy, the preeminent retailer of renewable energy for the committed green customer. “We understand generating and selling electricity and how it affects our world,” said John Ragan, NRG’s regional president for Texas. “That’s why we’re focused on reducing the carbon footprint of our operations and transitioning our portfolio to an era of low- and no-carbon generation while ensuring that we remain economical and competitive. We’re making investments today that will ‘decarbonize’ future energy.”
The green future NRG’s regional focus on developing no- and low-carbon energy production allows the
NRG’s regional president, john ragan
company to provide that renewable power at a competitive price – wind generation in Texas and offshore resources along the Eastern Seaboard; solar in California and throughout the southwest United States; biomass in New England and Louisiana, and nuclear in Texas. NRG is part owner of the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear facility near Bay City, Texas, which provides the state with the most cost competitive and reliable of all zero-emission energy technologies. With this incredible proven capacity, NRG is working to double the emission-free generation capacity at STP. This expansion represents the first new nuclear development in the United States in more than three decades. Developing new nuclear production at STP will provide enough power to support an additional two million Texas households cleanly and affordably. If traditional fossil-fuel plants were supplying that power, more than 21 million tons of greenhouse gases would be emitted into the atmosphere every year. Wind is also a vital element in NRG’s growing Texas renewable energy portfolio. Spread across west Texas, NRG’s four wind farms are capable of generating more than 450 megawatts of energy, enough to meet the needs of more than 360,000 homes when operating at peak capacity. The company is driving clean energy forward on Texas roads. NRG has partnered
with retailers, electricity providers as well as car and charger manufacturers to build the nation’s first privately funded, comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in Houston and is working to bring this network across the Texas triangle. NRG is installing home chargers and a public network of fastcharging stations across the city to give electric vehicle drivers complete range confidence anywhere Houston. “We believe an increasing number of Americans are seeking a more sustainable lifestyle,” said Ragan. “The EV helps Americans cut tailpipe emissions and arrest climate change, all while cutting our country’s dependence on foreign oil. Our commitment to the EV starts at home and our new headquarters at the Houston Pavilions will have a bank of charging stations for our employees.”
Top two photos by jack opatmy
A model of urban sustainability As the new headquarters for its Texas employees, NRG selected Houston Pavilions, a mixed-use center with retail, dining and entertainment, including House of Blues, Forever 21 and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. NRG committed to operating from a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified green office, and employs an open work environment to break down barriers between work groups and employees. “We wanted to bring everyone together in a building that was more than just an office tower,” said Ragan. “When we found Houston Pavilions, we knew this was the right place for us. Here, we have a dynamic working environment with lots of natural light complemented by great options for dining; lots of entertainment venues and convenient access to everything that downtown Houston has to offer.” The new offices break down the walls, literally and figuratively. The work area has the feel of a brand new start-up firm rather than a long-established energy company. Simple, modern desks abound, charts spin across rows of flat-screen monitors and people work collaboratively in connected workstations. The clean aesthetic reflects NRG’s focus on supporting new initiatives and more creative approaches to meeting the energy requirements of 21st-century America. “We’re known for being quick on our feet,” said Ragan. “We’re good at making fast decisions, and operating in this open-space environment and with a flat organization enhances communications and teamwork even more. When you can hear conversations and see what’s going on, people can be more active and effective.”
NRG energy production at a glance Ownership interest in 44 power-generating facilities 24,005 MW (megawatt) net ownership Projects located in United States, Australia and Germany North America Texas 11,440 MW Northeast 6,910 MW South Central 4,129 MW Western 2,150 MW Other 115 MW Total North America 22,925
The move brings together NRG’s wholesale generation business alongside Reliant’s retail capability, allowing greater communication Australia 605 between the two separate businesses. Europe 400 Sharing spaces also minimizes the Total International 1,005 impact on the environment. According to Ragan, “Bringing Total 25,749 together the two areas is very natural because ultimately we both serve the Texas electrical consumer. And working together we’re designing new products that best meet the consumer’s needs.” While NRG produces power using both conventional and innovative technologies, the company also has taken on the more subtle role of showing the world what it looks like to be a company committed to moving clean energy forward. “We’re committed to leading the industry in producing no- and low-carbon energy at the lowest cost,” said Ragan. “Our new Texas operation is a strong statement of our vision. Here, at Houston Pavilions, we can envision a number of green initiatives, and we have the infrastructure and resources behind us to deliver. Here, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.” downtownhouston.org
Anthony Freud, General Director Patrick Summers, Music Director
APriL 15 – 30, 2011
Wortham Theater Center, Downtown Houston
A count, a countess, his valet and her maid: Mozart’s musical comedy of manners is a cherished favorite around the world. Count Almaviva guards his wife jealously, while lusting after her maid Susanna. On the eve of her wedding to Figaro, Susanna and the Countess use their charm and wit to give the Count a taste of his own medicine, with the help of the lovesick page Cherubino. Patrick Carfizzi / Adriana Kučerová / Luca Pisaroni Ellie Dehn / Marie Lenormand / Susanne Mentzer James Gaffigan, conductor / Harry Silverstein, director
tiCKEtS StArt At $24! Houston Grand Opera Orchestra & Chorus — Richard Bado, Chorus Master
Also playing: R. Strauss’s AriAdne Auf nAxos April 29 - May 10, 2011
Call 713-228-OPERA (6737) or visit www.HoustonGrandOpera.org The General and Mrs. Maurice Hirsch Opera Fund The Brown Foundation, Inc.
Official Airline of Houston Grand Opera
Official Vehicle of Houston Grand Opera
sept. 27– oct. 9, 2011
Jan. 24 – Feb. 5, 2012 dec. 6 –18, 2011
april 24 – May 6, 2012
March 20 – april 1, 2012
June 5–17, 2012
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art s & cultur e
ing. Choose your own adventure this spr res, From timeless tales to world premie a delightful path awaits you.
SPA brings Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet to the stage.
his season you’ll find new life in old favorites and fresh, new creations from outstanding artists as timeless tales and world premieres make their way to Houston Theater District stages. Music, comedy and murder become intertwined in Curtains, which had a limited run on Broadway and is now on its first tour. With a well-known lineage including the creators of Chicago and Cabaret, this fastpaced musical comedy whodunit is exciting and filled with mystery. Curtains runs March 29 through April 10 at The Hobby Center.
Fast forward a few decades to when big guys wore even bigger hair and you’ll be humming the tunes of Journey, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister and more when Constantine Maroulis reprises his acclaimed performance as Drew in Rock of Ages, May 31 through June 12 at The Hobby Center. Gexa Energy Broadway, brings Cats here April 12-17. Winner of seven Tony awards including Best Musical, Cats features 20 of Andrew Lloyd Webber's timeless melodies, including the hit song Memory. Storytelling
becomes even more magical as you take a trip down the aisle with the timeless music of ABBA in Mamma Mia! Every night June 21-26, expect to see theatergoers having the time of their lives in this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. A richly entertaining, dysfunctional family juggles the hilarious, the poignant and the appalling on a scale seldom seen in Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County running through March 13 at the Alley Theatre. A riveting tale of obsession and vengeance, loosely based on the lives of Viennese court
composer Antonio Salieri and his young rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, shocks and fascinates. See Amadeus April 6 through May 1. As part of Alley Theatre’s New Play Initiative, Alley company artist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph presents his newest play, The Monster at the Door, on the Neuhaus Stage. This darkly funny play brings five very different people together as the world crumbles around them. Their dreams of health and prosperity are threatened by something terrifying just outside their door in this world premiere May 4-29. Closing out a fantastic season is the dazzling romantic comedy by George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, May 25-June 12. Blue Man Group visits Houston at Jones Hall with Society for the Performing Arts March 9-13. Their intensely exciting and wildly outrageous performances will leave you in a blissful, euphoric state. A thrilling dance adventure integrating ballet with contemporary and popular styles hits the Cullen Theater stage by way of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on April 1. Connecting the world’s neighborhoods is the mission of the Silk Road Project, which uses music to promote innovation and learning through arts and different cultures together. On April 2, Yo-Yo Ma with The Silk Road Ensemble
will bring their own unique perspectives steeped in the musical culture and heritage of their homelands. Another Houston favorite returns to dish out his trademark satire in hilarious doses on April 19. David Sedaris will be reading from new and unpublished works. Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida Jazz Ensemble blend soaring trumpet sounds with the music of classical guitarist Gil Gutierrez and violinist Pedro Cartas to create an electrifying experience of classical Spanish music with a jazz flair at Jones Hall on May 6. Instill discovery, friendship and cooperation into the lives of your little ones with Thomas & Friends Live! May 7-8. And to wind up a wonderful SPA season The Intergalactic Nemesis returns on May 12 with the sludge-monsters from the planet Zygon! Imagine 1,250 hand-drawn, fullcolor, action-packed images projected one-by-one onto a huge screen; three actors voicing dozens of characters; and one sound engineer creating hundreds of sound effects before your very eyes. Mozart’s musical comedy of manners, The Marriage of Figaro, is a cherished favorite around the world and arrives via Houston Grand Opera. Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni plays the smooth Count Almaviva,
who guards his wife (Ellie Dehn) jealously, while lusting after her maid Susanna (Adriana Kucerová). Conclude the opera season wanting more with Ariadne auf Naxos, April 29 through May 10. Strauss’s elegant and moving meditation on the conventions of the theater pits a comedienne against a prima donna at a high-society dinner party in Vienna. Three glamorous and acclaimed leading ladies join forces onstage: sopranos Christine Goerke (Ariadne / Prima Donna) and Laura Claycomb (Zerbinetta) and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (Composer). After his unanimously acclaimed appearances as Cavaradossi in Tosca, Alexey Dolgov returns to Houston Grand Opera as Bacchus and the Tenor in this lavish, sparkling production directed by John Cox and conducted by Patrick Summers. A total of 216 costumes for 98 men and 118 women will grace the Wortham Theater Center stage when Houston Ballet revives Ben Stevenson’s staging of The Sleeping Beauty, March 10-20. A gargantuan production, the show requires 31 crew members –13 of them wardrobe crew alone. Based on the classic French fairytale by Charles Perrault, with spectacular designs by Desmond Heeley, magic, drama and whimsy will awaken the princess in all of us.
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Cons tanti ne Maro ulis and Rebe cca Faulkenbe rry in Rock of Ages .
arts organizations through Uniquely Houston? Divas World presents a jazz series inspired by Chicago and New York on March 11 and May 13, respectively. Plus, don’t miss your chance to be a star with their onstage jazz brunch on Sunday, April 17. Musiqa presents a unique blen of music and theater on the Zilkha stage when Enso String Quartet performs world premieres by Kurt Stallmann and Rob Smith, as well as Karim Al Zand’s The Art of Conversation and more on March 26. Grammy Award-nominated Matthew Dirst’s Ars Lyrica presents Bach’s setting of the passion narrative from the Gospel of John in St. John Passion on March 27. A government-enforced ban on the use of private toilets forcing citizens to use public
Celebrate with Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy students as they cap their studies with two performances showcasing the gifted young artists at their best at Cullen Theater, April 29 and April 30. Houston Ballet continues Raising the Barre in their spring repertory program featuring a powerhouse of 21st-century ballet, including a world premiere by the celebrated Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo and company premieres by Christopher Bruce and Christopher Wheeldon on the Wortham stage, May 26-June 5. Lavish scenery and costumes and John Cranko’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew close out the 40th anniversary season of Houston Ballet. A masterful choreographic depiction of Shakespeare’s perpetually battling lovers, Petruchio and Katherina, accompanied by Shakespeare’s wit, brilliant comic intervention, and sharp understanding of human character bring this staging to life, June 9-19. Old and new worlds collide when the electrifying St. Lawrence String Quartet ensemble returns to perform one of Beethoven’s profound late quartets and a new work written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Adams in Zilkha Hall at The Hobby Center on March 4. Pianist Geri Allen graces the Cullen Theater stage on March 19. The Geri Allen Trio also includes veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz, who played with Charles Mingus and Miles Davis before launching a distinguished career. Inspiration
amenities leads to a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in, Urinetown: The Musical with Masquerade Theatre. Inspired by Brecht and Weill, this irreverent humorous satire will catapult anyone into laughter April 1 through April 10. Showstopping numbers are synonymous with Frank Wildhorn and Jekyll and Hyde is no exception. This worldwide smash sensation and gothic tale of murder, mystery and the opposing forces that rule our human nature appears May 20 through May 29. It’s “All Walsh” with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in a satisfying mixed repertory including the Houston premiere of his inventive Time out of Line and Walsh’s world premiere of a work set to Clair de Lune, along with other Walsh favorites, May 5 through May 7.
from Charles Mingus shapes The WATTS Project, a 21st century foray into percussion and politics, swing and sarcasm, improvisation and irony, and features Jeff “Tain” Watts combining forces with Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, and David Sánchez
on April 8. Debussy, Fauré and Ravel are the program when Ebène Quartet makes their Houston debut on April 15 at The Hobby Center with Fin-de-Siècle Paris featuring turn-of-the-century Parisian masterpieces that have brought this group to stardom. Old meets new in a program of much-loved pieces of chamber music inspired by folk songs. Luciano Berio’s imaginative and colorful arrangements of songs from around the world are a tour de force for acclaimed mezzo-soprano and cabaret performer Jean Stilwell on May 7. Houston Symphony takes you on a
Houston grand opera
Did you know The Hobby Center hosts smaller
The Mar riag e of Figa ro
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Icon Ton y Ben nett join s the Hou ston Sym pho ny.
Mezzo soprano Jean Stillwell performs with Da Camera.
whirlwind tour through time, emotion and legend April 8, 9, and 10. Then travel to locale starting with Rachmaninoff’s Scotland April 14, 16 and 17 with Rhapsody, May 4-6, and dazzles you with Mendelssohn’s Scottish Plus Josefowicz – a Gabriela Montero on piano. Knock yourself dramatic symphony ranging from hushed out with the greatest classical hits of all to majestic. Now speed back up in time to a time such as O Fortuna from few decades ago when The Music Carmina Burana and of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Pachelbel’s Canon with Symphony takes you Pops Knockouts back to experience March 18-20. The the music of one classic, timeless of the greatest tale of Richard rock bands of Strauss’ Don all time, Quixote lets April 15. you live Ashley vicariously Brown, the through the celebrated stories of leading lady this of the delusional Broadway knight March stage in 24, 26, 27. The Disney Han s Graf expl ores entrancing blockbusters Mah ler's fina l mas terp iece . temptress Mary Poppins and Scheherazade Beauty and the Beast, lee chris helps you relive this exotic revisits Houston and
Har per Wat ters of Hou sto n Bal let II daz zles in Rai sing the Bar re.
performs your favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein songs along with selections from her Broadway roles, April 21-23. Tony Bennett lends his golden voice to create memories and touch our hearts on April 26. Prokofiev transports you to the 13th century for a tale of war, treason and the power of the common people united by a hero in Alexander Nevsky, April 29-May 1. Hans Graf and Fred Child explore Deryck Cooke’s completion of Mahler’s unfinished final masterpiece, May 13-15. Musical fireworks describe Dvorák’s Cello Concerto – rich in expansive melodies, beautiful lyricism and extraordinary brilliance, May 19, 21 and 22. Ellis Hall performs the best of Ray Charles. A former protégé of Charles, Hall pays tribute to his friend in a concert dedicated to his music and memory with hits like I Can’t Stop Loving You and Hit the Road Jack, May 27-29. It’s always a new adventure when a production, old or new, comes to life onstage. Houston Theater District brings world-class options right to your doorstep and we hope you choose your own.
& Profile ARTS
If you have been in the old Houston Ballet Studios on West Gray and heard their stories you know that it was time for a move. The downtown Center for Dance will increase studio space and efficiency for the company. Nine dance studios, a dance laboratory that seats 200 for presentations as well as rehearsals, an on-site dormitory, and artistic, administrative and support facilities for Houston Ballet and its academy will be open for business by the beginning of April. Houston Ballet will be able to house a season’s worth of costumes rather than having to schlep from the warehouse, and dancers will be able to move easily between performance and practice with the help of their own sky bridge linking the Center for Dance with the Wortham Theater Center. Sustainability is a big part of the new Center for Dance. In an effort to maximize natural light, the building uses daylight harvesting, which allows lights to adjust automatically as the amount of sunlight changes throughout the day. Automatic blinds will lower as the afternoon sun increases on the windows of west-facing studios. And Houston Ballet managing director Cecil C. Conner beams By Heather Pray what looks like decor when talking about the new Center for Dance. on the windows is a well-thought attraction; the white ceramic inlaid windows help reduce energy consumption while allowing natural light in. Take note building managers: Due to the building’s energy efficiency, Houston Ballet will be able to pursue a substantial rebate from CenterPoint Energy, a reward for installing systems that reduce their summer peak loads. The general public also will reap rewards from the Center for Dance. In 2009-2010, Houston Ballet served 19,000 with its community outreach program. Thanks to their new space, they will be able to reach 30,000. Houston Ballet will continue their adult ballet dance classes and ore than 40 years ago, 15 dancers made the dance laboratory will provide a small-sized venue in the Houston Theater their stage debut at Sam Houston State District for more intimate performances and smaller scale productions. Teachers College. Their practice space It’s time Houston’s renowned dance company had a home to match its reputawas a renovated garage in Montrose. tion. This new building will give Houston Ballet time to focus on what has brought Today, with a company of 53 dancers, a budget of $18.4 them from a remillion, an endowment of more than $47 modeled garage million and a state-of-the-art performance In 2009-2010, Houston Ballet served in Montrose space designed especially for them in the 19,000 with its community outreach 1980s, Houston Ballet is opening the largprogram. Thanks to their new space, to locations all around the est professional dance facility in the counthey will be able to reach 30,000. world – dance. try – the Houston Ballet Center for Dance.
HOUSTON BALLET Becomes new full-time downtown resident
H ou s to n
Shoots Scores By Mason Lerner
It’s been a long time since someone won a major championship in Houston. That will change when the NCAA Final Four hits Reliant Stadium this April. It might not be the kind of championship the city is so hungry for, but maybe some mojo will rub off on us. The 2011 NCAA Final Four is coming to town, and the city could not ask for a more timely breath of fresh air. The 2011 Final Four will be the first time Houston has been on the national sports radar since the 2005 World Series. And that was kind of a buzz kill. The Final Four will bring a gravitas to the Houston sports scene that has been missing for far too long. We need it.
Outside of the Super Bowl, the Final Four is the largest annual sporting event in the U.S. in every way. Every year, the best moments of the Final Four are permanently etched into the national consciousness to be replayed on Sports Center ad nauseum for all of eternity. Of course, Houstonians all know this. Who doesn’t feel like they are getting ‘Spalding’ tattooed on their forehead every time ESPN runs a clip of Lorenzo Charles dunking an air ball to bury the University of Houston Phi Slama Jamma
Cougars in the 1983 NCAA championship game? How did that happen? It still doesn’t quite register. This will be the first time Houston has hosted the Final Four since 1971. Kansas edged Houston 78-77 in that year’s Midwest Region semifinal, denying Guy Lewis an opportunity to coach a Final Four in front of a home crowd. In those days, the Cougars were always in the thick of things. The loss to Kansas was a bump in the road in the middle of five Final Four appearances by the Cougars under Lewis.
It is fitting that the Final Four is returning to Houston after all these years. After all, Houston is where college basketball came of age. When Elvin Hayes helped the Cougars snap UCLA’s 47-game winning streak in front of 52,000 plus at the Astrodome in 1968, the trajectory of sports in America was changed forever. “The Game of the Century” was the first nationally televised college basketball game, and Houston got the W. Unfortunately, UCLA got revenge by beating the Cougars in front of their home crowd at the 1968 Final Four in Los Angeles. In most quantifiable ways, the Final Four, and March Madness in general, have grown immensely since 1971. Almost everybody on the planet fills out their brackets every year, even if they don’t know the first thing about hoops. If there is life on other planets, certainly the March Madness brackets have become an interstellar phenomenon. It’s irresistible.
The early rounds of the Madness might not lack for drama and excitement, but the Final Four is when the big boys come out and play.
ore importantly, in a cynical, here today, gone tomorrow world, March Madness always just seems to get better. There is never an off year. It doesn’t matter if freshman are forbidden from playing on the varsity, as they were when Kareem Abdul Jabbar (then Lou Alcindor) first stepped onto the UCLA campus. It doesn’t matter if players go straight from high school to the NBA or if the NBA forces them to be guns for hire for one season at the college level. The Final Four brings incredible excitement every single time. The first two days of the tournament are a flurry of comebacks and buzzer beaters that never fail to contain a few surprises. Watching the first two days from buzzer to buzzer is one of the greatest treats in all of sports. And there is empirical evidence supporting this. In fact, urologists report that they perform 50 percent more vasectomies just before the NCAA tournament begins. Could anything better illustrate the lengths to which men are willing to go to get out of work during the first two days of the tournament than an elective surgery involving their reproductive organs? There is no doubt that the first week of the tournament produces more singular superlatives than you can squeeze into a Jennifer Hudson rendition of One Shining Moment. It’s always fun to watch the first round produce instant stars, like Bryce Drew after he hit his incredible buzzer beater in Valparaiso’s 1998 upset over Mississippi. Interestingly, what became known simply as “The Shot” was made possible by two missed free throws by Willowridge High School graduate Ansu Sesay, who played forward for Ole Miss at the time. Of course, Bryce Drew parlayed the shot into a stint with the Rockets. But individual shining moments don’t endure like winning the whole shebang. There is nothing like watching a guy put his team on his shoulders and carry them to the games that really matter. It’s been a while since a team from Texas had one of those guys. TJ Ford led the Texas Longhorns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947 before ultimately bowing to Syracuse in 2003. Although they did not win it all, the Longhorns raised the bar in the state of Texas. And teams across the state have blossomed ever since. Both Texas and Texas A&M are legitimate dark horse picks to make the Final Four this year. The Longhorns are firmly entrenched in the top 15 in 2011, and 16
they have looked solid against good competition. Of course, Rick Barnes teams have always had trouble shooting free throws, and that is huge come tourney time. The Aggies have every right to feel like they have the team that will break through and represent Texas in Houston. The Aggies might have their best team ever, and there is no reason for them to take a backseat to anyone. Aggie fans would lose their minds in a way the world of sports has never seen if their squad takes the floor at Reliant. The city would drown in a maroon wave. Dare we dream of an all out Longhorn/ Aggie match-up in Houston? Why not? That would give the city an extreme vested interest, and hey, hope springs eternal in Houston. Simply put, the Final Four is a legend generator. Whoever makes it through the preliminary mayhem and lands in Houston has a chance to be remembered alongside greats like Kareem, Michael Jordan and Christian Laettner. That’s right. Christian Laettner. The fact that Laetner could ever be mentioned in a sentence with Kareem and MJ is a testament to the power of the Final Four. Laettner might have done bupkis as a pro, but he played in four Final Fours in his four years at Duke and won two championships. That earned him a spot on the original “Dream Team.’ It also entrenches him as one of the greatest college players of all time. The early rounds of the Madness might not lack for drama and excitement, but the Final Four is when the big boys come out and play. Since the tournament expanded to a 64-team format in 1985, the Final Four has been primarily a clash of the highest seeded teams. George Mason made it from the 11 seed in 2006, and LSU did the same 20 years earlier. The University of Pennsylvania made it from the nine seed in 1979, but aside from that, every Final Four team has been at least an eight seed. And the trend is actually getting stronger. 2009 marked the first time that all 12 of the one, two and three seeds made it to the Sweet 16. In 2008, all four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four, the only time that has happened since the NCAA began seeding in 1979. In 2010, every team that made it to the Final Four was at least a five seed, and the eventual champion Duke Blue Devils were a one. While this might not speak much for parity at the highest levels of college basketball, it pretty much ensures that one storied program or another will be fighting for the title come springtime in Houston. There has been a No. 1 seed in all but two Final Fours. There has been a UCLA, Duke, Indian, Kentucky, North Carolina or Kansas in every Final Four since 1985, often more than one at a time. And some squad called the Georgetown Hoyas won it all in ’85, so basically there is always a legendary program on hand for the festivities. And if you are still alive in your pool when the Final Four rolls around, all the better. Then the games not only have historical meaning, but they could be the deciding factor on whether or not you will get to staple your winning brackets to the bulletin board in the office break room after you do your Urban Cowboy strut to collect your winnings (over the top Ric Flair “awooo” optional). Is there a better bang for your buck in a down economy? Houston has always occupied an important place in the history of college basketball. The 2011 Final Four will be an extension of that history.
P l ay B e g i n s M a r c h 1 5
The Stats WHAT: The NCAA holds a single-
elimination tournament each spring in several U.S. cities. The tournament, including the national semifinals and championship game (the Final Four), has become one of the nation’s most prominent sporting events.
More than 330 NCAA colleges and universities are initially eligible for the championship; each year 68 teams begin play in the annual championship tournament. After the first weekend of competition, 52 teams are eliminated by losing in any of the first three rounds of the championship. The remaining 16 teams advance to the next round of games known as the NCAA regionals. Traditionally these remaining teams are referred to as the Sweet 16. One team from each regional will advance to the Final Four in Houston.
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center When: Thursday through Monday, March 31-April 4 An interactive basketball extravaganza that includes basketball courts for exhibitions and fan games, a play-by-play television studio where fans have the opportunity to be sports commentators, hands-on championship experiences in other NCAA sports, a 2,500 seat arena that will host several fan activities including the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Championship as well as the Battle of the Bands involving mascots, bands and cheerleaders. A Kids Zone filled with interactive games, and special appearances with former NCAA players and coaches, as well as other sports personalities, tops off the fun-filled atmosphere. Ticket pricing is family-friendly, starting at $10.
Events take place March 31 - April 4 with the semifinals on Saturday, April 2 and the national championship on Monday, April 4.
WHERE: Reliant Stadium (estimated attendance is 77,000 based on an in-the-round set-up.) 18
Connect to all of the activities through your mobile device. Go to FinalFourMobile.com to engage with all of the action both on the court and in the Houston area.
THE BIG DANCE Where: Discovery Green When: Friday through Sunday, April 1-3 This special concert series takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the Final Four weekend and features both local and national acts. Past appearances have included Fergie, Daughtry, LL Cool J, Goo Goo Dolls and Parachute. The concerts typically start in the late afternoon and feature team pep rallies, as well as interactive games, activities and refreshments provided by the tournament’s sponsors. This is a free event sponsored by the NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola.
FINAL FOUR FRIDAY
Where: Reliant Stadium When: Friday, April 1 The day before the semifinal games, each of the Final Four teams will come to an open practice at Reliant Stadium. The open practices are free and give Houstonians and fans a chance to see all of the teams in action. Special programming and tributes throughout the practices lend to the exciting atmosphere, which also includes a college all-star game.
GETTING AROUND DOWNTOWN
If you are going to Reliant Park, consider parking downtown and taking the MetroRail to the stadium. If you are staying at one of downtown’s hotels, you can walk to all the ancillary events downtown More than 2,000 volunteers and to the many will be recruited, trained, restaurants and bars. Please refer outfitted and deployed by to page 21 for the Houston Final Four Local more info on taxis, Organizing Committee. An pedicabs, REV cars online sign-up is at ncaa.com. and other ways to get around.
HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR THE FINAL FOUR?
FINAL FOUR DRIBBLE Where: Begins at City Hall and ends at George R. Brown Convention Center When: Sunday, April 3 This unique event takes place on the Sunday of the Final Four weekend. Thousands of children (registered online and onsite) will
be given their very own official NCAA basketball and dribble it along a route all the way to the entrance of Bracket Town. This free event includes not just the basketball, but a complimentary ticket to enjoy the entire Bracket Town experience.
Parking is abundant around Bracket
Town and The Big Dance but be aware that the lots will be charging extra because of this mega event. If you are OK with walking, remember that the farther away you park, the cheaper it will be. On-street parking is metered (please note that there are also time limitations at the meters) and free after 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday. For downtown maps and parking recommendations for the Final Four weekend, please visit downtownhouston.org
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READY Set GO! BY SANDRA COOK
Downtown’s sophisticated urban landscape supports everything from business meetings to musical theater and play dates to dinner dates. It’s also complemented by a wide range of ways to travel to and from those destinations. Think about it. Making your way around the downtown grid is as customizable as ordering the exact type of coffee you’re craving. The choices start before you leave home. Take your car to the office and leave it in the garage while you grab a $6 cab or $5 REV car for lunch. Easy enough, right? Or leave your car (and all those parking worries) at home and take the MetroRail or a bus to see how carefree car-free can be. Buses, trains and taxis are the traditional options, but today we have the REV eco shuttles, pedicabs and soon we’ll have more rail lines, a bike share system and Greenlink circulator buses. Countless combinations will enhance your downtown experience, and we know you’ll discover new favorites from the menu.
How Metro got its groove back Navigating the 250 blocks of downtown Houston can be daunting, even for seasoned downtowners. Houston’s car-obsessed masses are often frustrated by the urban maze of one-way streets, hard-to-read parking signs, blocks that look shockingly similar to each other and so on. A word of advice: If you are a frustrated car driver, change your mode of transportation. Metro’s buses, rail, vanpools and rideshares, MetroLift vehicles, Park & Ride services provide proven alternatives to driving (and parking) your own car. Just ask any of the thousands of people who ride a Metro vehicle to their jobs downtown or into downtown for dining and entertainment on a regular basis. More than 73 percent of Metro’s routes head into downtown, so you too can avoid the hassles of driving to and from work by taking advantage of the proven Park & Ride, local bus and rail systems. If you’re a cyclist, you can bike part of your journey into work and then hop on a bus or MetroRail into downtown.
A transition for transit
Perhaps you don’t ride because of its reputation. The good news is that’s changing. Suffice it to say that for the past few years it was widely perceived that Metro was not the most responsive organization in town. But when Mayor Annise Parker replaced five of nine Metro board members in March of 2010, the backward slide of Metro screeched to a stop. Gilbert Garcia was elected chair of the revamped board. (See Meet Your Metro Board, p. 25). By year’s end, a sixth new board member was sworn in as one of Harris County’s representatives. The new board proceeded to dismiss Frank Wilson as CEO and appointed George Greanias as the transit authority’s interim leader and then as its official CEO. Greanias, a longtime Houstonian, is a former elected official, management consultant, college professor and playwright. Granted, his resume doesn’t scream “transit experience,” but his strengths are public service, business management and education. These are things that the old Metro was desperately lacking, especially at the top. Recognizing its troubled past, the organization now refers to itself as the New Metro. The logical, likeable Greanias immediately called upon the collective assets of the board and the 3,400 employees of Metro. And since accepting the ominous task of taking the wheel at Metro, Greanias has repeatedly highlighted the immense talents and expertise of Metro’s employees. He has compared the old Metro to an eight-cylinder engine kicking on just two cylinders. “Much of this talent was not given a chance to perform. Instead, it was stifled,” says Greanias. “My job is to open things up and stand aside. No one single person can make this organization work.” “You can see the changes in attitude,” Greanias continues. “These 3,400 employees are committed to public transit. It helped that we didn’t give raises to executives last year. My goal was to avoid layoffs – if we get rid of employees, we have to get rid of services. And that’s certainly not going to serve the public any better.” 22
Mayor Annise Parker appointed her former campaign chair Gilbert Garcia, among others, to the new board of Metro. This Yale grad with a strong background in economics and finance (managing partner with Garcia Hamilton & Associates) wasn’t expecting to trade the title of campaign chair for chair of Metro’s board, but has clearly taken on the challenge. “When the mayor asked me to chair the board of Metro, I said, ‘Mayor, I am not a conventional choice,’” says Garcia. “And she said, ‘that’s why you are perfect for this. We need to do things differently.’” Garcia admits that once the new board was assembled, they had plenty of work to do. “We knew we had to regain the public trust,” says Garcia. “Morale was low among the employees. And we had financial challenges.” “We eliminated a lot of perks for executives,” says Garcia. “We’ve eliminated car allowances and all executives are required to use the system on a regular basis.”
So, what’s new about the New Metro? Every Metro employee is now a customer service rep. It’s true. All Metro employees are required to carry a bright red and blue Customer Care Referral card, printed in English and Spanish. Employees of every level and department are encouraged to help the public better use the system and refer them to Metro’s Customer Care team for additional information or action. “There are no secrets at the new Metro,” raves Garcia. “I’m so proud of the award we’ve just received from the State Controller’s office. We were just awarded the State’s Gold Award for Transparency. All board and committee meetings are streamed live online. Our checkbook register and credit cards – it’s all online for anyone to see. We take our fiduciary duty to serve the public seriously – they are our customers.” Garcia reports that the members of the new board are much more active than past incarnations of the board. Greanias has
Metro had a lot of work to do to change course of the past administration. Their tasks: Rebuild the organization’s relationship with FTA. Cancel the rail car contract with Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, which is based in Spain. Get pre-approval letters from the federal government for rail projects. Receiving “Letters of No Prejudice,” means that Metro can expect to receive federal reimbursement for about half the cost. The funds were received as of Dec. 28, 2010 and contractors began work in early January. Obtain $50 million installment of the nearly $150 million budget for the two rail extension projects – a sign that the Fed has faith in the New Metro.
Metro board chairman Gilbert Garcia downtownhouston.org
implored the board members to pool their talents, experience and expertise to help propel Metro forward – and not just for rail, but for all of its services. “That takes culture change, real change,” says Garcia. “We started at the top, working with Frank Wilson to negotiate a separation.” Garcia and Greanias quickly settled into a positive groove as capable collaborators. “When it came time to select a permanent CEO, we could have done an outside search,” says Garcia. “We could have spent thousands of dollars and several months of critical time on that, but we realized we could utilize George Greanias’ expertise and local grounding. He is a former city control-
ler. He has dealt with city budgets and really understands Houston.” The respect is mutual. “Gilbert brings incredible commitment, enthusiasm, great energy, and a sound, strategic approach,” says Greanias. “He’s able to sort out the important from the unimportant and understand the board’s role versus management’s role.
What does the New Metro offer downtown?
“It’s hard to conceive how downtown could function without a robust public transit system,” says Greanias. “Not only do you have to think about where all those people would park, but could they afford to? It’s the same
and even more for the Medical Center.” Garcia says a thriving system has side benefits. “The more we make it easy for people to get around, the more surprised they will be at what downtown has to offer and the more living and working downtown becomes attractive and a real possibility for people,” says Garcia. “Our approach today is that we want to find solutions. A thriving Metro is vital to the success of downtown. Downtown is the heartbeat with arteries that lead to the rest of the city. It’s the actual focus of the city. We’re trying to connect all of these different areas to downtown.”
in the 1880s. The North Line will also include stops at Burnett (a planned intramodal station), Quitman, Boundary, Moody Park, Cavalcade, Graceland and Melbourn streets and end at the Northline Transit Center, providing access to Houston Community big impact 42 percent called for more spending “to College’s Northline Campus. The completed Most Houstonians have vivid memories of expand existing highways.” line will connect residents Super Bowl XXXVIII weekend in Houston. “Yes, people will be mad if we build rail, of the North Side not only to downtown, but The downtown-engulfing Main Event, the but more people will be mad if we don’t also to the Texas Medical Center and Reliant intense game between the Patriots and Panbuild it,” says Greanias, CEO of the New Park. thers (New England, 32-29), the wardrobe Metro. “And it’s worth noting that the The 6.2-mile Southeast Line (Purple Line) malfunction and (perhaps slightly more existing Main Street Line, as short as it is, will run across the width of downtown newsworthy) the grand debut of MetroRail has the second-highest ridership per mile in along Capitol and Rusk streets, travel several in Houston. the U.S.” blocks on Texas just east of US 59, carve This shining star of Super Bowl fame has its own path as it turns south to run along Rail to reality endured to make a permanent and posiScott, then Wheeler, then Martin Luther So here we are seven years later, finally tive impact on the city’s economy since its King to the future Palm Center Transit Censeeing the comprehensive rail system taking opening day on Jan. 1, 2004. MetroRail has ter on Griggs. shape, with the construction on two of the become not only the preferred mode of The Southeast Line will include 13 stafive planned rail extensions given the green transportation for vast numbers of Texas tions and a maintenance facility. The last light in the form of $50 million in federal Medical Center workers and visitors (easing portion of the track, shared with the East funding received at the end of 2010. This parking woes for those two groups, which End Line, will enable riders to transfer at means the already begun North Line and total more than 250,000 daily), but also the the Bastrop Station and travel through the hoards that flock historic East End to Reliant Park to the Magnolia Look at the amount of development between downtown and the Medical for major events Transit Center. Center on either side of the Main Street rail line: within 500 feet on each throughout the Southeast Line ridside of the rail you have $1 billion in development; within 1,500 feet it’s year, including ers also will be able closer to $2 billion on each side. Texans games, the to transfer to MeHouston Livestock troRail’s existing Southeast Line could be in operation by Show & Rodeo, home shows, boat shows, Red Line on Main Street. When completed, 2014, with the East End line to follow soon large conventions and trade shows. the Southeast Line will connect students and after. “People will notice more visible signs residents in the UH/TSU area to the core of All aboard of progress on the rail projects – there’s downtown, as well as to the recreational faSeven years later, the Main Street rail line more being done now,” says Greanias. “We cilities along Buffalo Bayou. The East End Line averages close to 40,000 riders daily, with know we don’t want to disrupt the flow of (Green Line) is approximately four miles long, large events spiking ridership upwards of traffic any longer than necessary.” and includes nine stops along Harrisburg from 55,000 riders daily. In spite of all the nayThe North Line, which is a direct extenthe Magnolia Transit Center. This line will sayers and political roadblocks, rail is worksion of the existing Main Street Line (Red connect the East End to central downtown. ing for Houston. And it’s growing – finally. Line), will add a 5.2-mile, double-track line The proposed University Line (Blue Line) According to the Houston Area Survey running from the existing UH/Downtown would include 19 stations between the 2010 by the Institute for Urban Research, station in the north edge of downtown up Hillcroft and Eastwood Transit Centers with Rice University, when survey participants to the Northline Transit Center. This line stops near Greenway Plaza, the University of were asked what they considered to be the will run approximately parallel to I-45. The St. Thomas, Texas Southern University and best way to spend our transportation dollars, North Line travels through the historic North UH Central Campus. An additional line that 52 percent said the money should be used Side, a neighborhood that developed along would serve the Post Oak/West Loop area is “to improve rail and buses” and the old Hardy Rail Line during its expansion currently in the design phase. 24
YOUR METRO BOARD MEMBERS The board of directors has nine members. Five are nominated by the mayor of Houston and confirmed by Houston City Council. Two are appointed by the mayors of Metro's 14 other member cities. Two are appointed by the Harris County Commissioners Court. Board meetings are held each month in the Lee P. Brown Metro Administration Building, 1900 Main on the second floor. See Metro’s website for meeting updates. www.ridemetro.org/AboutUs/Board/Meetings.aspx Note: Meetings are streamed live.
Airport Direct offers better service at a cheaper price
The initial version of Metro’s Airport Direct, the airport shuttle service, has evolved. The new airport direct program still runs from downtown to Terminal C at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and vice versa, but now includes stops at major downtown hotels and the George R. Brown Convention Center. And the big news: It’s only $4.50 each way. “With Airport Direct we had to make a big change,” says Metro CEO George Greanis. “It couldn’t continue as it was, because it was losing money. So we looked at it from the customers’ point of view. We discovered that the potential customers are at the hotels, realizing that we needed to tap into business travelers and the convention business. So we’ve dramatically reduced the price – from $15 to $4.50 one way. We’re still running every half hour, seven days a week. We want to do everything we can to make this successful.” That’s right – local residents and visitors alike can catch a ride to or from IAH for $4.50. The new service started in late January and includes stops at these downtown locations: • Airport Direct Passenger Plaza – 815 Pierce @ Travis • Hilton Americas – Houston • Four Seasons • Downtown Hyatt • MetroRail Main Street Square Station “Convenience means everything in the convention business,” said Dawn Ullrich, director of the City’s Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department, which manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and other downtown municipal properties. “When visitors come to an unfamiliar city, it’s important for us as their host to de-mystify every aspect of the
Board Members Gilbert Andrew Garcia, CFA, chairman (city) Allen D. Watson, vice chairman (city) C. Jim Stewart, III, secretary (member cities) Gary Stobb (Harris County) Burt Ballanfant (member cities) Honorable Dwight Jefferson (city) Carrin F. Patman (city) Trinidad “Trini” Mendenhall Sosa (Harris County) Christof Spieler (city)
experience. Providing quick and easy – and inexpensive – transportation from the airport to downtown is an amenity certain to be well received by meeting planners. I applaud Metro for its responsiveness in making Airport Direct a reality.” Airport Direct offers a handy alternative to bumming rides from friends or driving your own car and paying for parking at the airport. Passengers ride in pristine MCI electric-hybrid commuter coaches. Adjustable, upholstered seats and concierge service lend a first-class quality to the experience. Heading home from the airport? The Airport Direct concierge is located in the baggage claim area in Terminal C. Grab your bags, book your ride and you’re off to downtown Houston. Buses leave every 30 minutes.
TELL them WHAT YOU THINK X ridemetro.org (use the comment form under About Metro) facebook.com/ridemetro 713.658.0180 Drop them a line. Pick up a "How Was Your Ride Today?" brochure and mail in your ratings and comments on Metro bus service, rail service, operators, Park & Rides and bus shelters. downtownhouston.org
Getting it done Currently, the prevailing frustration Metro is hearing is “get it done already.” The good news is the combination of the delivery of federal funding and Metro’s retooled leadership and attitudes bring more momentum than ever to making these rail projects reality. “Our strategic challenge is to get people to say, ‘not only do I support public transit, including rail, I believe Metro is the agency that can deliver it,’ ” says Greanias. Metro’s board chairman Gilbert Garcia agrees. “We have to ramp up the rail projects and show the public we can get it done right,” he says. “And we know we have to watch our finances and be good stewards of public funds.” “If Atlanta’s MARTA trains can get you to the airport in 35 minutes for $2, and if Dallas can build 100 miles of rail, why can’t Houston do it,” asks Garcia. “Isn’t this the city that put a port 50 miles inland and built the Texas Medical Center?”
Go REV GO Back in April 2007, Erik Ibarra observed pedicabs shuttling baseball fans to and from their cars for the Astros opening day game. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be an easier way,’ and that thought stuck with me,” says Ibarra. He immediately started pondering possible alternatives for short trips, figuring there had to be a faster, eco-friendly way to get across downtown. Was there something that offered a relaxed, pedestrian-type experience – but faster?
Wheels started turning
Soon after, Ibarra sparked on multi-passenger electric vehicles. His fleet of REV cars looks something like a lineup of futuristic golf carts with three rows of seats, but offers a concept that has been around for decades, the compact, electric-powered car. GEM vehicles are battery-electric, operate on a 72-volt battery system and plug into a standard 110-volt outlet. Ibarra chose American-built GEM cars, manufactured by Global Electric Motorcars, in Fargo, N.D. This subsidiary of Chrysler Group produces the battery-electric vehicles for low-speed transport. They are used nationwide in city centers, gated communities, resorts, sports stadiums, job sites, and neighborhoods. The cars are street legal in almost all 50 states on public roads posted at 35 mph or less. With a top speed of 25 mph, GEM cars have a range of up to 30 miles on a charge. REV began with just one four-seat GEM car, but as of January 2011, boasts four six-seat GEM cars, thanks to public demand.
In this era of eco-conscious innovations, it would seem that this sort of green transportation would be a no-brainer for a city whose emissions have been under federal scrutiny since 1990. Harkening the theory that Peruvian natives could not see Spanish ships approaching their shores because they had no knowledge of such a vessel, it took city regulators about a year and a half to fully see the purpose of an electric shuttle service. After the first REV car began offering rides in April 2008, drivers were cited for not complying with taxi regulations. But they weren’t exactly taxicabs. Ibarra then began working with the city to apply for a permit to operate his REV cars. The process took several twists and turns through the
permitting maze, but finally in October the city created an ordinance that allows for low speed shuttles and pedicabs. “For the most part it was a valuable experience for us as a company, and we are fortunate to be the only city in America with a specific ordinance for low-speed shuttles,” says Ibarra.
REV it up
REV is the first all-electric jitney service in the City of Houston and quite possibly the country. The company operates a total of four vehicles painted in REV’s signature electric green. Each car offers seating for up to five passengers (plus one driver), with safety-belts and REV-inspired, innovative roll-up side doors for protection from the elements. The allelectric vehicles (Eco-Shuttles) are quiet, efficient and produce zero emissions. You can find REV Eco-Shuttles in downtown/midtown and along Washington Avenue for just $5 within those zones or $10 between the zones. If you’d like to ride the REV, simply call 877.GO-REVGO. Wait times are usually about seven minutes. You can also book a ride in advance online at gorevgo.com. downtownhouston.org
Within downtown take a cab and pay just $6 whether it’s day or night. Introduced in 2006, this flat-rate fare program provides a quick, economical way to get across town in a New York minute. Bring your friends and colleagues, even with multiple riders, the fare is just $6. The special fare applies to the downtown area, bounded by I-45, I-10 and US 59. The $6 rate does not change at night and there are no additional fees for evening hours. Of course, tipping is encouraged when you receive prompt, friendly service. It’s a great option for downtown workers who commute via mass transit. Office workers can use the Six in the City fare to expand lunchtime dining choices. Think The Grove is too far to walk from your office? Grab a cab and enjoy door-to-door service. And you never have to worry about finding a parking spot or paying for parking. Where to find a cab? If you’re heading out to a meeting, lunch or dinner, simply call a cab before you leave your loft or office. Ask the dispatcher for front-door pick-up service. If you need a cab ride back to your
SIX IN THE CITY
office or to another downtown location, let the cab driver know, give him a time, and he'll be happy to return and take you back to the downtown location of your choice. There are more than 20 cab stands across downtown. Look for signs that designate the area as a location where drivers can stand and wait for a fare. There are also 30 taxi signs (called “hailing cab” icons) on various downtown streets, which mark that particular site as a three-minute zone where taxis can briefly stop to pick up and drop off passengers. Taxi! Choose from one of the many cab companies for a quick, $6 ride within downtown. City Cab, 713.649.2000 Fiesta Cab Company, 713.225.2666 Liberty Cab Company, 713.695.6700 Lone Star Cab Company, 713.794.0000 Red Sea Cab, 281.437.5971 Square Deal Cab Company, 713.659.7236 United Cab Company, 713.699.0000 Yellow Cab Company, 713.236.1111
dos + don’ts Here are several to keep mind: DO Look for the City of Houston safety inspection decal.
Street Smart – Pedicabs Pedicabs have been working the crowds of Houston since 2003, providing festive, laidback, pedal-powered transport at events such as Rockets or Astros games, concerts at Toyota Center and downtown festivals, such as the Houston International Festival and Bayou City Art Festival. From these bicycle/rickshaw hybrids, you can survey the street scene, maybe relieve your feet from your fashionable footwear choice and even give the royal wave to your adoring public. Pedicabs are meant to be a fun option for getting around a crowded area. And now the city has taken measures to make sure all pedicabs and the people in them are as safe as possible. Last fall, City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring permits, licenses and criminal background checks for pedicab owners and drivers. It also requires the owner of the pedicab to have a minimum $1 million insurance policy. All pedicabs must have seatbelts for each passenger, exterior lights and reflectors. The ordinance also requires all pedicabs to be inspected by a city transportation official and must display a City of Houston inspection decal. The things to look for when choosing to ride in a pedicab are similar to when you get into a cab. By law, pedicab drivers must display: their driver’s license, the pedicab company’s name, their permit number, the City of Houston safety inspection decal and the number to call for complaints. If you see unsafe cabs, drivers and/or pedicabs operating with no decal, write down (or snap a photo of) their identification info and contact: City of Houston Administration and Regulatory Affairs/Transportation 5050 Wright Road, Houston, TX 77032 Phone: 281.233.7860, fax: 281.233.2052 28
DON’T ride in cabs that are damaged or in disrepair. Exposed rust, sharp edges and ripped upholstery are no-nos. DO expect a pedicab without prejudice. No discrimination of passengers is allowed. DON’T ride with drivers who are smelly slobs. Drivers are required to be clean and presentable. DO expect a safe ride. Drivers must obey the same rules as bicycles and may not hop curbs or drive on sidewalks. Passengers must be let off at the curb. DON’T hop on or off a pedicab in a taxicab zone or other restricted zone. DO know the cost to ride. This can vary, but this info must be displayed for passengers. Some pedicab drivers may not charge a fare and work for tips only, others may charge a flat fee within a certain district, or they may charge a dollar amount per block. Cabs are required to display their rate structure and fares.
An exercise in mobility
Greenlink & bike share
Before we talk about the future, let’s take a ride down memory lane. Remember the downtown circulator services of past decades: those flags-a-wavin’ Texas Special buses and the Mister Rogers-esque rubber-tire trolleys? Those handy crosstown cruisers delivered paying customers to restaurants and retail shops by the dozen. While downtown is Houston’s most significant concentration of office space, restaurants, entertainment, residential projects and retail shops, in true Texas style, it’s big. Downtown is approximately 5 miles wide and 7 miles long. That’s not always walkable on your lunch hour … in your business attire ... in July. Since the trolleys disappeared in 2005, their dedicated link to various facets of downtown life has become increasingly missed. The big news is that a new circulator service will soon be on the streets, thanks to popular demand. The Houston Downtown Management District has championed an effort to create a cost-effective and eco-evolved circulator service, dubbed Greenlink, in downtown Houston. Don’t feel like following the flock? Prefer a more independent mode of earth-friendly conveyance, maybe one that allows you to get some exercise, like a community bike system? Well, the wheels are turning on that, too. Bike sharing is en route to our city.
Getting the Circulation Going
The concept for Greenlink is reminiscent of services past, but HDMD is re-inventing the circulator. The concept looks to the future, using sustainable energy and minimizing environmental harm. Going above and beyond (so that emissions don’t), an environmental education center to be located downtown will feature the technologies being used and their environmental benefits. Greenlink will provide not only muchneeded connectivity for downtown, but also raise sustainability awareness in our area. Bob Eury, president of the Houston Downtown Management District, views the sustainable energy approach with this sentiment: We are the old energy capital, let’s be the new energy capital of the world. Already several years in the making, the Greenlink project has received an initial installment of federal funds with local sponsorship by Senator John Cornyn and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and selection of vehicles in the works at press time. The federal funds will cover equipment purchase. Among the alternative fuel vehicles being considered are compressed natural gas 35-40 passenger buses. The vehicles will be highly visible and easily identifiable on the street. The buses will be free – repeat free – with wait times around seven minutes at peak hours. They will feature low floor vehicles for easy on and easy off, much like bus rapid transit, often described as light rail on rubber wheels. With just one route, the service will be simple to navigate for seasoned downtowners and unfamiliar visitors alike. The 2.5-mile route will connect major office buildings along Smith and Louisiana to the
convention corridor and shopping and entertainment destinations such as Main Street Square, Discovery Green, George R. Brown Convention Center, The Shops at Houston Center, Houston Pavilions and Macy's. With hotel guests, conventioneers and office workers being chauffeured to the restaurants and shopping all over downtown, it’s an economic and environmental win/ win. “We see it as a way to help Houston do the right thing,” says Eury.
GREENLINK will provide not only much-needed connectivity for downtown, but also raise sustainability awareness in our area.
Catering to downtown residents, students and visitors more than professionals in pinstripes, bike sharing is headed to Houston. The concept first caught on in Europe and was pioneered in the 1960s by the Dutch (no surprise, there). Spreading from Paris to Portland to Pottstown, PA, bike sharing has caught on in cities large and small across five continents. So now that all of those cities have worked out the kinks, Houston is ready to take it for a spin. Bike-sharing programs work like so: Bicycles are stationed around the city for the public to use for short trips inside the city and then return to any available docking station. These programs are gaining popularity as an alternative to motorized public transit or cars, thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise and air pollution. The Houston program is in its very early stages. The development process, being led by Houston Advanced Research Center, initially focuses on the downtown area to take advantage of the density and variety of destinations. Denver’s bike sharing is one of the key models for the Houston program. Denver uses the Trek B-cycle, which is also used in Chicago. B-cycles can be checked out at a kiosk with a credit card for single-use rental, or the users can become a program member with monthly or yearly limited use. The process will be about as easy as a Redbox movie rental. There’s even a mobile app that helps bike users locate kiosks and check availability. Here in Houston, there will be just a few stations initially, with perhaps five bikes at each station. This first phase will function as a technology demonstration to introduce the idea to the city, with a full-scale rollout to come later. Look for the initial bike kiosks to hit downtown by this summer. This will give the bike-curious an opportunity to try out the bikes and experience the process of check-in and checkout. This will also demonstrate the program to potential sponsors. The demo phase will help determine who can best run the program as well. In other cities, separate 501c3s have been created to run the bike-share programs. The goal for the larger scale program is to have 40 to 50 share kiosks distributed strategically throughout the entire city in areas of greater density. Proponents cite affordability, accessibility and health benefits for users, along with environmental and mobility benefits for the community. downtownhouston.org
datebook Theater 32 : Festivals & Special Events 34 : Concerts 38 : Market Square Park 40
Discovery Green celebrates their 3rd birthday with an amazing performance by Galumpha. discoverygreen.com
datebook THEATER AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Through Mar 13 Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County is the grand, gripping story of the Westons, a large extended clan that comes together at their Oklahoma home when their alcoholic patriarch disappears. Recommended for mature audiences due to strong language and adult situations. Tickets $26-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
Life have made this musical a worldwide smash sensation, and Masquerade is excited to revisit it. Based upon the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde is a gothic tale of murder, mystery and the opposing forces that rule human nature. Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org PYGMALION May 20-Jun 12 A unique masterpiece, Pygmalion is one of George Bernard Shaw’s most popular plays. It is the story of phonetics professor Henry Higgins who bets that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into
BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL Through Mar 13 A joyous celebration of one young boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. Billy discovers a passion that inspires his family and his whole community. With its award-winning creative team and music by Elton John, Billy Elliot enchants the Performing Arts dreamer in all of us. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.TUTS. tuts.com
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC: DA CAMERA YOUNG ARTISTS Mar 2 A Little Day Music concerts help Da Camera develop the audience for chamber music and jazz by making it accessible to everyone. Enjoy the lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy a wide variety of artists and ensembles. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com 12 MINUTES MAX! Mar 3-4 12 Minutes Max! returns to DiverseWorks with a stellar lineup of new and seasoned choreographers. The
CURTAINS Mar 29-Apr 10 What Broadway musical combines music, comedy and murder in one killer package? It’s Curtains, the smash-hit from the creators of Cabaret and Chicago. This musical comedy whodunit where the leading lady’s been bumped off and everyone’s a suspect, knocks ‘em dead every time. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558. TUTS. tuts.com
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO Apr 15-30 The smooth Count Almaviva guards his wife jealously, while lusting after her maid Susanna. On the eve of her wedding to Figaro, Susanna and the Countess use their charm and wit to give the Count a taste of his own medicine, with the help of the lovesick page Cherubino. Tickets $37-$284. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org
URINETOWN THE MUSICAL Apr 1-10 In a Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led to a governmentenforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides he’s had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
BLUE MAN GROUP
Mar 9–Feb 13 Blue Man Group is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts, which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The New York Times heralds the show as “One of the most delightful performance pieces ever staged.” People of all ages agree, Blue Man Group is an intensely exciting and wildly outrageous show that leaves the entire audience in a blissful, euphoric state. Tickets $24-$59. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
ARIADNE AUF NAXOS Apr 29-May 10 A feast for the eyes and for the ears, Strauss’s elegant and moving meditation on the conventions of the theater pits a comedienne against a prima donna at a high-society dinner party in Vienna. Tickets $24-$207. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org THE MONSTER AT THE DOOR Apr 29-May 29 Alley company artist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph returns to the Alley with the world premiere of his latest project, The Monster at the Door. In this darkly funny play, five very different people are drawn together as the world around them crumbles, and their dreams of health and prosperity are threatened by something terrifying, just outside their door. Recommended for mature audiences. Tickets $40-$55. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org MAMMA MIA! May 10-15 Mamma Mia! is the global phenomenon based on the songs of ABBA. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island paradise they last visited 20 years ago. Tickets $38.50-104.70. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. ticketmaster.com JEKYLL AND HYDE May 20-29 Show-stopping numbers such as This Is The Moment, Someone Like You, Once Upon A Dream, and A New
a lovely lady and pass her off in high society. The story inspired the well-known Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady (1956). Recommended for general audiences. Tickets $21-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org ROCK OF AGES May 31-Jun 12 In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s. It’s Rock of Ages, an arena-rock love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, Reo Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and more. Tony Award nominee and American Idol finalist, Constantine Maroulis, will reprise his acclaimed performance as Drew. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center. 800 Bagby. 713.558.TUTS. tuts.com PERFORMING ARTS MARIE Through Mar 6 Villain or victim? In his full-length Marie, artistic director Stanton Welch offers a new perspective on the often controversial and always fascinating life of Marie Antoinette. Choreographed specifically for Houston Ballet, Marie makes tremendous use of the company’s acting abilities and dancing talent. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
program showcases new works, works-in-progress, and excerpts from 2011 Houston premieres. Curated and co-produced by Dance Source Houston and DiverseWorks, 12 Minutes Max! features Daniel Adame, Lydia Polhemus Hance, Maggie Lasher, Karen Stokes and Toni Leago Valle. Tickets $10-$5. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org ST. LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET: ADAMS AND BEETHOVEN Mar 4 Old and new worlds collide when this electrifying ensemble returns to perform one of Beethoven’s most profound late quartets and a new work written for them by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Adams. Adams, best known for the operas Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, was recently described as a “post-minimalist titan” by The New Yorker. Tickets $25-$45. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com RACHMANINOFF’S RHAPSODY Mar 4-6 Rachmaninoff himself played its first performance in Philadelphia, with former Houston Symphony Music Director Leopold Stokowski on the podium. You’ll be dazzled by piano virtuoso Gabriela Montero, known not only for her impeccable technique and musicality, but also for her incredible ability to improvise on any given theme. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
NO LIMITS YOUTH DANCE FESTIVAL Mar 5 This professionally produced concert features the best ensembles from Houston-area high schools and studios. Tickets TBA. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.526.1049. dancehouston.org AISHEL HOUSE 7TH ANNUAL BENEFIT CONCERT Mar 6 Featuring Yehuda Glantz, maestro of Latin klezmer music. Tickets $54-$136. 7:30 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.522.2004. aishelhouse.org THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Mar 10-20 A flagship work for Houston Ballet, The Sleeping Beauty is one of the supreme achievements of classical ballet. The ballet is based on the classic French fairy tale by Charles Perrault: A beautiful princess is cursed by an evil fairy, and doomed to sleep for a hundred years – only to be awakened by the kiss of the handsome prince who loves her. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org POPS KNOCKOUTS Mar 18-20 Hum along to some of the greatest classical hits of all time such as O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, the 1812 Overture and Pachelbel Canon, featuring Houston Symphony musicians in the solo spotlight. Come out and enjoy the orchestral classics that you know and love. Tickets $25-$112. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org GERI ALLEN TRIO WITH GARY BARTZ, SAXOPHONE Mar 19 Pianist Geri Allen makes her long-awaited first appearance on Da Camera’s jazz series. Allen released two new recordings in 2010: the jazz trio with tap dance recording Live, featuring her Timeline group, and Flying Toward The Sound, her ambitious and critically lauded solo piano project. Veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz played with Art Blakey, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis before launching a distinguished career as a bandleader. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com JEANNE ROBERTSON: COMEDY WITH CLASS Mar 20 Tickets $37.58. 7 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 800.745.3000. ticketmaster.com PINK IN THE BROWN Mar 24 Enjoy some of Houston’s best-known performing arts groups including Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera and Society for Performing Arts with guest artists Houston Boys Choir and Houston Girls Chorus. The 75-80 minute performance will have no intermission and will be followed by a dessert and champagne reception with the signature balloon pop raffle. Tickets $30-$200. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.PINK. pinkribbons.org RICHARD STRAUSS’ DON QUIXOTE Mar 24-27 Live the stories of delusional knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, from tilting at windmills to his imaginary ladylove, Dulcinea. Tickets $25-$112. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org KRISTINA WONG: CAT LADY Mar 24-26 Acclaimed solo performer Kristina Wong tackles aggressive pick-up artists and musty cat ladies in her first hilarious and slightly frightening full-length ensemble work. With incisive wit and delectable comic timing, Wong bends the parallel worlds of the pathetically lonely into an intersection of characters living at the margins of gender and society, confronting inter-species betrayal, and seeking solace and celebrity on reality TV. Tickets $20-$10. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org DIM SUM AND THEN SOME – A FOREIGN AFFAIR Mar 26 Whisk away with us on a whirlwind tour to exotic destinations around the world as we share the stage with the United Nations Association International Chorus and various ethnic groups. We will take you on a hop-andstop trek around the globe with music and dance that shows the power of diversity in its true meaning and provides you with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Tickets $24-$55. 7:30 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.521.7464. bayoucityperformingarts.org THE ART OF CONVERSATION Mar 26 Musiqa presents a unique blend of music and theater. The Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet performs world premieres by Kurt Stallmann and Rob Smith, as well as Karim Al-Zand’s The Art of Conversation and Marcus Maroney’s Three Pieces for String Quartet.
Tickets $20-$40. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org ST. JOHN PASSION Mar 27 Bach’s setting of the passion narrative from John’s Gospel is sacred drama of the highest order. This beloved work, presented in collaboration with the Moores School of Music Concert Chorale, features tenor Michael Kelly (as the Evangelist) and a stellar lineup of soloists and players. Tickets $31.25-$41.25. 5 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org LANKA – THE PROPHECY OF THE BLOOD LINE Mar 27 A unique stage production that combines martial arts, dance and music in a mythical story from the ancient world. Tickets $25-$50. 6 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 512.299.7766. agnidance.com CEDAR LAKE CONTEMPORARY BALLET Apr 1 Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet offers audiences a thrilling dance adventure, where daring, athletic movement integrates ballet with contemporary and popular styles. This company of 16 dancers offers a wide-ranging spectrum of both American and international repertory. Tickets $24-$54. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org AMADEUS Apr 1-May 1 Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play is a riveting tale of obsession and vengeance. Loosely based on the lives of Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri and his young rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Amadeus follows a murder plot that shocks and fascinates. After committing his life to God in order to be blessed with the ability to create the world’s most sublime music, Salieri believes that God graced the rebellious Mozart with greater inspired creativity. Envious Salieri schemes to destroy Mozart and, in so doing, rebukes God. Recommended for mature audiences. Tickets $21-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org YO-YO MA WITH THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE Apr 2 The Silk Road Project uses music to promote innovation and learning through the arts and to bring different cultures together. The Silk Road Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma, is a group of internationally renowned musicians, composers, visual artists and storytellers from more than 20 countries. Tickets $35-$105. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org A NIGHT IN MADRID Apr 2 Italian by birth, Luigi Boccherini lived most of his working life in Spain, having a heavy influence on his works. This program features his famed Fandango Quintet for Guitar and Strings and his Symphony La Casa del Diavolo. Also on the program is Boccherini’s Night Music in the Streets of Madrid, a brilliant thematic work depicting the sounds of Madrid. Tickets $20-$55. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0800. mercurybaroque.org SYMPHONY IN SPACE Apr 2 On a concert stage not so far, far away sits an orchestra ready to launch into out-of-this-world music. Prepare for liftoff and buckle up for visits to the planets and stars. Keep your lightsaber handy for music from Star Wars, and you might want to phone home after hearing the theme from E.T. Tickets $14-$22. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org A LITTLE DAY MUSIC: JAZZ PIANIST JOSE MIGUEL YAMAL & FRIENDS Apr 6 A Little Day Music concerts help Da Camera develop the audience for chamber music and jazz by making it accessible to everyone. Enjoy the lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy a wide variety of artists and ensembles. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com THE WATTS PROJECT Apr 8 Called a “rhythmic juggernaut” by NPR Music, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts combines forces with Nicholas Patyon on trumpet, David Sánchez on saxophone and Christian McBride on bass. Inspired by the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles and by legendary bassist Charles Mingus, the WATTS Project is a 21st-century foray into percussion and politics, swing and sarcasm, improvisation and irony. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
SCHEHERAZADE Apr 8-10 Relive the exotic legend of the young entrancing temptress, Scheherazade, and her tales told over 1,001 nights. Tickets $25-$116. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org MENDELSSOHN’S SCOTTISH Apr 14-17 Mendelssohn’s travels to Scotland inspired this dramatic symphony, which ranges from hushed to majestic. Tickets $25-$101. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org 15 ON THE 15TH Apr 15 Celebrating their 15th anniversary season, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company presents 15 on the 15th. The company, composed of 15 dancers, will perform three works from the company’s repertoire and will premiere three works. Tickets $15-$45. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. houstonmetdance.org THE MUSIC OF LED ZEPPELIN Apr 15 Following the success of a sold-out performance in summer 2007, the Houston Symphony takes you back to experience the music of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. With songs from the chart-topping catalogue of Led Zeppelin, this show combines the power of an orchestra and a full rock band enhanced with dramatic lighting effects. Tickets $25-$80. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org EBÈNE QUARTET FIN-DE-SIÈCLE PARIS Apr 15 Hailing from France and rapidly establishing themselves as a major international musical force, the Ebène Quartet’s recording of the Debussy, Ravel and Fauré quartets was named Gramophone magazine’s 2009 Record of the Year. Da Camera presents the Houston debut of the quartet in a program featuring the turn-of-the-century Parisian masterpieces with which this chamber group has risen to stardom. Tickets $25-$45. 8 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com JAZZ BRUNCH: NEW YORK Apr 17 The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in April, Divas Jazz Brunch is a memorable, intimate concert experience that includes a champagne brunch enjoyed on Zilkha Hall’s stage accompanied by the cool sounds of a live jazz performance. Songs for April will feature compositions named specifically for the delightful spring month. Tickets $25-$35. 11 am. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN & MORE Apr 21-23 Ashley Brown, celebrated leading lady of the Broadway stage in such Disney blockbusters as Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, recently came to Houston to reprise the role of Mary Poppins in the national tour. She comes to Houston again as part of an unforgettable concert with the Houston Symphony and Robert Franz. Hear her perform your favorite Rogers and Hammerstein songs along with selections from her Broadway roles and much, much more. Tickets $25-$112. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL Apr 21-23 Now celebrating the 16th anniversary season in Houston and 19th season since its inception in Brussels, Belgium, Dance Salad Festival promises another gathering of world-class performers. Famous in their own countries, the dance companies have won praise from critics and audiences wherever they have toured. Tickets $19-$47. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 877.772.5425. dancesalad.org TONY BENNETT Apr 26 A true American icon in every sense of the word, Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums chart from the 50s to the 90s, and into the new millennium. His golden voice has created memories and touched hearts with songs like I Left My Heart In San Francisco, Because of You and The Shadow of Your Smile. Now hear him live with the Houston Symphony for this one-night-only concert. Tickets $39-$175. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org ALEXANDER NEVSKY Apr 29-May 1 Prokofiev transports you to the 13th century for a tale of war, treason and the power of the common people united by a hero. Tickets $25-$116. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
datebook BEN STEVENSON ACADEMY SPRING SHOWCASE Apr 29-30 The gifted young artists of Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy cap their studies with two performances of a program featuring works tailor-made to show them at their best. Tickets $25-$48. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org EMILY JOHNSON/CATALYST DANCE: THE THANK-YOU BAR Apr 28-30 A new performance/installation of dance, live music, storytelling and film, The Thank-you Bar asks, “What is a true home?” connecting ideas of displacement, longing, and language to history, pre-conceived notions, architecture and igloo-myth. Created and performed by Alaska-born choreographer Emily Johnson with composers from Blackfish. Tickets $20-$10. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org BLACKFISH Apr 30 A special music-only performance featuring the musicians of The Thank-you Bar, Blackfish features multi-instrumentalist composer James Everest and improviser/composer Joel Pickard to create spontaneous sounds and songs that span from spare to dense, layered, sonic constructionsv in a series of surround-sound installations. Tickets $20-$10. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org A LITTLE DAY MUSIC: HSPVA CHOIR May 4 A Little Day Music concerts help Da Camera develop the audience for chamber music and jazz by making it accessible to everyone. Enjoy the lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy a wide variety of artists and ensembles. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com SPRING MIXED REP May 5-7 This satisfying all-Walsh mixed rep features the Houston premiere of his inventive Time out of Line that will merge dance with a unique sound design, visual art aspects and video. The evening will also include his world premiere of a work set to Clair de Lune, along with reprises of favorites The Dying Swan and For the Two of You. Tickets $24-$54. Hobby Center., 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org DOC SEVERINSEN & EL RITMO DE LA VIDA JAZZ ENSEMBLE May 6 Best known as bandleader of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Doc Severinsen brings his band El Ritmo de la Vida (The Rhythm of Life) to Houston for one night only as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Severinsen’s soaring trumpet sounds will blend with the music of classical guitarist Gil Gutierrez and violinist Pedro Cartas for an electrifying experience. Tickets $24-$54. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org FOLK SONGS TRANSFORMED: OLD INTO NEW May 7 Da Camera’s celebration of old and new culminates in a program of much-loved pieces of chamber music inspired by folk songs. Luciano Berio’s imaginative and colorful arrangements of songs from around the world, from the Appalachians to Azerbaijan, are a tour de force for acclaimed mezzo-soprano and cabaret performer Jean Stilwell. Evocative of klezmer music, Prokofiev’s delightful overture was inspired by Jewish folk music. Rising-star Israeli cellist Amit Peled joins pianist Sarah Rothenberg and an outstanding ensemble of guest musicians. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com THOMAS & FRIENDS LIVE! May 7-8 A story for the whole family unfolds when Thomas and his engine friends work together to save the Magic Lantern Festival from a big storm rolling onto the Island of Sodor. Encountering adventures along the way, Thomas, Percy, Diesel and friends create a meaningful story that teaches valuable life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Tickets $19-$49. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org CELEBRATION OF CULTURE May 8 For the final concert of the season, three vivacious Houston singers join TMCO to transport you to Rome. Join in an exploration of the wonders of Rome with music written to celebrate the city’s culture – from her
fountains to her culinary delights. Tickets $15-$35. 5 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. tmcorchestra.org THE INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS May 12 They are back! Those sludge-monsters from the planet Zygon are invading Houston again, but this time they are armed with an even more dangerous weapon: original artwork by the incomparable Tim Doyle. In fall 2007, Houstonians had a chance to see The Intergalactic Nemesis, the story of Pulitzer Prize winner Molly Sloan and her intrepid assistant Timmy Mendez in the form of a radio drama. Now the show is back with 1,250 hand-drawn, full-color, action-packed images projected one-by-one onto a huge screen, three actors voicing dozens of characters and one sound engineer creating hundreds of sound effects before your very eyes. Tickets $24-$44. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org JAZZ SALON SERIES: NEW YORK May 13 Always at the vanguard of creativity, New York has cultivated some of the most brilliant minds in the arts. Diva World will explore the exciting music that has kept the Big Apple bustling and thriving 24/7 for years. Tickets $25-$35. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org EXPLORING MAHLER 10 May 13-15 Through musical examples and images, Hans Graf and Fred Child, host of radio’s Performance Today, explore Deryck Cooke’s completion of Mahler’s unfinished final masterpiece. Tickets $25-$101. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
INPRINT CHITRA DIVAKARUNI AND GISH JEN READING Mar 7 South Asian writer Chitra Divakaruni and Chinese-American writer Gish Jen will read from their latest novels One Amazing Thing and World and Town, as part of the 30th anniversary season of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Tickets, $5. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.521.2026. inprinthouston.org
MOZART’S REQUIEM May 14 Mozart’s Requiem is one of music’s greatest masterpieces. Shrouded in mystery, the Requiem has been a source of controversy and debate for decades. Musicologists still question just how much of the work was completed by Mozart before his death. Mercury Baroque will give Houston its debut period instrument performance of it. Tickets $20-$55. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0800. mercurybaroque.org
AN AFTERNOON WITH HELOISE Apr 1 An afternoon with Heloise at the Houston Public Library. Heloise is best known for her household advice and is one of the most recognized lifestyle managers in the world. Her column appears seven days a week in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and foreign countries, and she is a frequent guest on national television and radio, where she shares her insight for saving time, saving work, and saving money. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
DVORAK’S CELLO CONCERTO May 19-22 As impressive as anything the composer ever wrote, Dvorák’s Cello Concerto is rich in expansive melodies, beautiful lyricism and extraordinary brilliance. Returning to Houston, charismatic cellist Alisa Weilerstein brings her passionate interpretation to Dvorák’s masterpiece, closing the 2010–2011 season with musical fireworks. Tickets $25-$126. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org RAISING THE BARRE May 26-Jun 5 Houston Ballet’s spring repertory program will feature a powerhouse of 21st century ballet, including a world premiere by the celebrated Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo and company premieres by Christopher Bruce and Christopher Wheeldon. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org TRIBUTE TO RAY CHARLES May 27-29 Let the good times roll with Ellis Hall as he performs the best of Ray Charles. A former protégé of Charles, Hall pays tribute to his friend in a concert dedicated to his music and memory with hits like I Can’t Stop Loving You and Hit the Road Jack. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org SPEAKER SERIES EMERGING LEADERS VISION LUNCH FEATURING LAURA SPANJIAN Mar 2 Enjoy lunch in a historic setting while hearing about the future of downtown Houston. Laura Spanjian, sustainability director of the City of Houston, will speak about her upcoming plans to “green” the city and how residents can help in the effort. 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Tickets: individual $45-$65, tables $650-$1,500. Magnolia Ballroom, 715 Franklin. 713.658.8938. houstondowntownalliance.com/el DR. JANE GOODALL Mar 9 Jane Goodall’s lecture is entitled Gombe and Beyond: The Next 50 Years. She will sign her latest book, Jane Goodall: 50 Years at Gombe, at the end of the evening. Tickets $14-$74. Wortham Center, 501 Texas Ave. 832.251.0706. progressiveforumhouston.org
DR. SYLVIA EARLE Apr 5 Called “Her Deepness” by The New York Times, Earle is widely acclaimed as the most important advocate for research and protection of the world’s oceans. She will discuss the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill with an enthralling big-screen, audio-visual presentation and sign books at the end of the evening. Tickets $14-$74. Wortham Center, 501 Texas Ave. 832.251.0706. progressiveforumhouston.org INPRINT KAY RYAN READING Apr 11 Kay Ryan, former U.S. Poet Laureate and author of the collections The Niagara River, Say Uncle, Elephant Rocks, Flamingo Watching, and the latest, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, will read from her work as part of the 30th anniversary season of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Tickets, $5. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. 713.521.2026. inprinthouston.org DAVID SEDARIS Apr 19 David Sedaris, an SPA favorite, returns to Houston to dish out his trademark satire in hilarious doses, reading from new and unpublished works. Sedaris slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness with social critiques that have made him one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. Tickets $24-$59. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org AN EVENING WITH AUTHOR ROBIN OLIVEIRA Apr 20 An Evening with author Robin Oliveira. She will discuss her latest novel, My Name is Mary Sutter. 6 pm. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS JONES PLAZA LIVE! Mar 1-May 1 Catch a free lunchtime/happy hour performance and enjoy spring weather on the plaza before the summer sizzles. Cash/credit bar. Various lunch/evening showtimes. Free. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana. jonesplaza.org
39th ANNUAL BUFFALO BAYOU REGATTA Mar 12 The Buffalo Bayou Regatta is Texas’ largest canoe and kayak race. Houstonians of all ages are encouraged to participate in the 15-mile USCA-sanctioned race along scenic Buffalo Bayou. Those not wanting to paddle can catch the outdoor fun and cheer on the racers. Free live music, awards ceremony, and food and drinks will be available for sale at the finish line. Registration $40. 11 am. Sesquicentennial Park, 550 Preston. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE Mar 12 Everyone is Irish for a day! Free. Noon. Start/End at Minute Maid Park. hsppc.org NCAA COLLEGE SLAM DUNK AND THREE POINT CHAMPIONSHIP Mar 31 The 22nd Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship is making its first official appearance at the Men’s Final Four. This event brings together college basketball’s top three-point shooters and slum dunk artists competing in four separate competitions, men and women’s three-point shooting, men vs. women’s three-point championships and the slam dunk competition. 9 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. ncaa.com/finalfour NCAA FINAL FOUR BRACKET TOWN REFRESHED BY COCA-COLA ZERO Mar 31-Apr 4 Play the best at Bracket Town—the ultimate fan experience. Fans of all ages can test their skills and enjoy championship action with basketball competitions, clincics, performances, autograph sessions and photo ops. Tickets $6-$10, 5-8 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.853.8000. ncaa.com/finalfour THE BIG DANCE Apr 1-3 This special concert series takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the Final Four weekend and features both local and national acts. Past appearances have included Fergie, Daughtry, LL Cool J, Goo Goo Dolls and Parachute. The concerts typically start in the late afternoon and feature team pep rallies, as well as interactive games, activities and refreshments provided by the tournament’s sponsors. This is a free event sponsored by the NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. ncaa.com/finalfour NCAA FINAL FOUR DRIBBLE Apr 3 Basketball fans under the age of 18 will have the opportunity to dribble from City Hall to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Participants will receive a
free basketball and T-shirt courtesy of the NCAA, Lowe’s Senior Class Awards, Wilson Sporting Goods and the Houston Local Organizing Committee. Participants must be present to receive complimentary items and be accompanied by a parents or guardian. Free. Dribble starts at 2 pm, all check-ins before 1:30 p.m. Register at ncaa.com/finalfour BAYOU BASH Apr 9 Join Bayou Buddies (young professional group of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership) for their biggest fundraiser of the year. Live music, pontoon boat rides, crawfish and libations along the bayou. 1-4 pm; Cost: $25 Bayou Buddies members/ $30 non-members + $5 increase DOE. Sabine Promenade; 713.752.0314 ext. 5. buffalobayou.org HOUSTON CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL Apr 9-10 It’s a child’s dream world with a stellar entertainment lineup, family adventure, music and tons of fun. Located at the area surrounding City Hall, the Central Library, Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park. Tickets $10, kids under 3 free. 10:30 am-6:30 pm. houstonchildrensfestival.com DOWNTOWN HOME TOUR Apr 16 Get a taste of downtown living on a tour of private residences. Guests receive complimentary bites, beverages and access to some of the finest homes downtown has to offer. Noon-5 pm. Tickets $15-$20. Post Rice Lofts, 909 Texas Ave. 713.658.8938. houstondowntownalliance.com DOG DAY AT MINUTE MAID PARK Apr 17 Bring man’s best friend to Houston Astros Dog Day at Minute Maid Park and see your Houston Astros take on the San Diego Padres at 1:05 p.m. astros.com/dogday
HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Apr 30-May 1, May 7-8 Spotlighting the Silk Road Journey Across Asia, there’s something for everyone at iFest. Enjoy family fun, music from eight stages, food from all over the world, and six international art markets. There will be plenty of kids’ activities, dance entertainment, cooking demonstrations and much more. Tickets $12 (advance purchase), $18 day of, $3 kids under 12 and May 1 is Free Kids Sunday presented by Conoco Phillips. Hermann Square at City Hall, Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park. ifest.org TEXAS DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL May 7 Competing for the revered Dragon Cup, 30 corporate and community teams will race on a 250-meter stretch of Buffalo Bayou at historic Allen’s Landing in downtown Houston. This signature event is co-sponsored by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. The festival also features Asian cuisine, music, arts and crafts, and cultural performances for the whole family. Free. Allen’s Landing, Commerce at Main. texasdragonboat.com ART CAR PARADE SNEAK PEEK May 21 Celebrate Houston’s Art Car Culture. Get your first look at the new cars for 2011 and see some old favorites from years past. This year the art car parade will include a group of enthusiasts from more than 50 countries. Enjoy live music with illuminated Art Cars and entertainment throughout the park. Free. 5-9 pm. orangeshow.org ART CAR PARADE May 22 Come and see the world’s oldest and largest art car parade. Watch more than 250 colorful sculptures — each with a different theme—transform the streets of Houston into a moving gallery. Free. 1 pm-3 pm. Route begins at Allen Parkway at Taft and loops around Sam Houston Park. 713.926.6368. orangeshow.org FILM FLICKERLOUNGE: SHORT FILMS BY MICHELLE HANDLEMAN & CAROL SAFT Mar 11-Apr 16 Aurora Picture Show has curated short films and video art works by two inventive artists working with video and performance, Michelle Handleman and Carol Saft. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
April 15-17 Celebrate invention, innovation and eco-efficiency as the streets around Discovery Green become a test course for tomorrow’s vehicles. College and high school teams from around the world design, build and test vehicles for maximum fuel efficiency. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. discoverygreen.com or shell.com/us/ecomarathon.com discoverygreen.com or shell.com/us/ecomarathon.com
TEX HEX: POP-UP CINEMA MAY 21 The Mitchell Center and Buffalo Bayou Partnership present Tex Hex, an artist-made boat created by the design-build group Simparch. This unique vessel will travel along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, becoming a mobile, self-contained cinema. Tex Hex will provide pop-up screenings to audiences gathering in nearby Buffalo Bayou parks, on bridges, and many downtown locations along the water’s edge. Tex Hex will provide pop-up screenings to audiences gathering in nearby parks, on bridges, and many downtown locations along the water’s edge. 8-11 pm. Free. Various locations along Buffalo Bayou. buffalobayou.org and mitchellcenterforarts.org For movies in the park check out Discovery Green on page 36 and Market Square Park on page 40.
tan Dance Company and Urban Souls Dance Company celebrate important anniversaries in a free performance. Free. 7 pm. AURORA PICTURE SHOW PRESENTS EL GESTO EN EL MOMENTO (THE GESTURE IN THE MOMENT) Jun 3 Aurora Picture Show showcases a rare selection of works from some of the leading and emerging talents of contemporary Colombian film and video. Free. 7 pm. GEXA ENERGY BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA FILMS GEXA Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center presents the films that inspired these Broadway Musicals. Free. Mar 18 Cat in the Hat 7:30 pm. Apr 29 Mamma Mia 7:30 pm.
SPECIAL EVENTS DISCO GREEN 2 ELECTRONIC MUSIC FEST Apr 9 Disco Green returns with international DJs and a gathering of people who share a passion for dance music, community, art and our future. It’s a message of going green and sustainability that creates human energy that is free for all. Free. 2-10 pm. DISCOVERY GREEN’S 3RD BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Apr 13 Galumpha, a trio of acrobatic dancers performs “movement magic” and “human architecture.” Free. Noon and 7 pm. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE May 28 The Fab 40 channel the Beatles to recreate Abbey Road from start to finish, along with a few musical surprises. Free. 7 pm. ENTERTAINMENT SERIES THURSDAY CONCERT SERIES AT DISCOVERY GREEN PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE BANK Family-friendly concerts showcasing the best music of Texas and the Gulf Coast. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages. Free. May 19* Carolyn Wonderland May 26 Del Castillo plus Norma Zenteno Jun 2* Raul Malo Jun 9 The Fab 5 and Ted Roddy: Beatles versus Elvis Jun 23 The Mother Truckers Jun 30* Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds * Recycle your empty Saint Arnold’s six-pack carriers for double reward points at this concert
IKEA HOUSTON SCREEN ON THE GREEN AND THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE Mar 19 Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 7 pm Apr 30 School of Rock 7:30 pm May 14 Blues Brothers (Rated R) 8 pm BLUES AND BURGERS Lunchtime concert, co-sponsored by KTSU-FM. Free. Noon-1:30 pm. Mar 16 Texas Johnny Brown Mar 23 Zydeco Lady D Mar 30 Eugene Moody & Blues Back Band Apr 6 Zydeco Dots Apr 13 Celebrate Discovery Green’s 3rd Birthday with Galumpha! Apr 20 Texas Johnny Boy Apr 27 Pee Wee Stephens & Blues For Two Band featuring Pops Stewart May 4 Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy May 11 Milton Hopkins Band May 18 Jabo “The Texas Prince of Zydeco” May 25 Rue Davis “The Man with Many Voices” ART SERIES PRESENTED WITH SUPPORT FROM THE WORTHAM FOUNDATION KUHF SILENT FILM CONCERT SERIES These silent films have been updated with fresh scores performed live by Texas best indie classical musicians. Mar 25 Steamboat Bill Jr. with music by Two Star Symphony 7:30 pm. May 13 Battleship Potemkin with music by Golden Arm Trio 8 pm DA CAMERA JAM AT DISCOVERY GREEN Join Robert “Doc” Morgan and Da Camera for jazz Appreciation Month. Made possible by a grant from the Kinder Foundation. Free. 6:30 pm. Apr 7 Bob Chadwick and Harry Sheppard open for Jazz vocalist Horace Grigsby with the Bob Henschen Trio Apr 14 Paul English Jazz Quartet opens for Sebastian Whittaker and the Creators
HEALTHY LIVING SERIES FITNESS IN THE PARK Mondays TNT Mondays 6:30-7:30 pm. Tuesdays Joyful Yoga 6:30-7:30 pm Wednesdays Zumba! 6:30-7:30 pm Saturdays Slow Flow Yoga 9:30-10:30 am Sundays Discovery Hoop Dance 10:30-11:30 am RECYCLING SATURDAYS Bring your glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station at Discovery Green. On the second Saturday of each month, bring old computers for Comp-U-Dopt, a non-profit organization that refurbishes and donates your old computer to a child who does not have one. No event April 2. 10 am-2 pm. STRICTLY STREET SALSA Saturdays beginning Mar 12 (no event Apr 2) Free. 11-Noon. BICYCLE REPAIR WORKSHOPS Saturdays beginning Mar 12 (no event April 2) Bring your bike and learn how to fix it. Free.11 am-3 pm. DISCOVERY GREEN TOURS PRESENTED BY HOUSTON GREETERS Mar 13, May 1, Jun 5 Meet the Houston Greeters in front of the Alkek Building and explore Discovery Green with an insider. Learn more about the gardens, art, architecture and history of Discovery Green. Free. 1 pm. FAMILIES & CHILDREN SERIES YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOPS Saturdays Mar 12-Jun 25 (no event April 2) Writers in the Schools, HPL Express and Discovery Green team up to offer Houston’s only free and open writing workshop for kids. Free. 9:30 am. TEATRO ALLEY Saturdays Mar 12-May 7 (no event April 2) Open up a magic door to language, learning and adventure as kids explore and perform culturally diverse stories and tales in this dual language English and Spanish workshop for students 7-10. Noon performance on May 7. Free. 10-11:30 am. TODDLER TUESDAYS Tuesdays Mar 15-Apr 26 Storytelling and more for your little ones. Free. 10:30-11:30 am.
Apr 21 Jazz Guitar Summit featuring Mike Wheeler and Mike Nase with Tim Solook, and David Craig followed by Thomas Helton’s Birth of the Cool Project Apr 28 HSPVA Jazz Combo No. 1 opens for The Bobby Lyle/ Everette Harp Project DANCE SOURCE HOUSTON Mar 16 Brazilian Arts Foundation, Houston Metropoli-
ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER’S SPRING BREAK AT DISCOVERY GREEN Mar 14 Houston Dynamo Kick-Off Party, 10:30 am-12:30 pm Mar 15 Leah White and The Magic Mirrors, 10:30 am Mar 16 Houston Ballet II, 2 pm plus Cirque-inspired performers celebrating Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo! Mar 17 HGO Storytime Mar 18 HGO To Go presents Romeo and Juliet, 10 am WITS YOUNG WRITERS READING May 1 A citywide event celebrating the best student writing as part of the Writers in the Schools program. Students will read their work in front an enthusiastic audience of parents, teachers, and peers. Free. 3-5 pm.
EVENTS PRESENTED BY… Discovery Green welcomes these public events to the park. Ticket prices may apply. FRIENDS FOR LIFE MOBILE ADOPTION Mar 19, Apr16 and May 21 The Friends For Life Mobile Adoption Vehicle is a 26-foot-long, state-of-the-art adoption center on wheels that brings the pets to the people in style. Featuring both cats and dogs for a meet and greet and information on fostering, adopting, volunteering and some fun free giveaways for visitors! 12-4 pm. Free. EARTH DAY FESTIVAL April 23 Presented by Air Alliance, the 3rd annual Earth Day Festival is Houston’s Party for Our Planet, a free, daylong festival and Green Expo. Free. earthdayhouston.org. New events are added frequently. Sign up at discoverygreen.com for their weekly email newsletter to learn about all the activities at the park each week! Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages, please. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
FOOD & DRINK CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET Though Jun 29 Don’t miss Urban Harvest’s City Hall Farmers Market. The market hosts more than 40 vendors around the City Hall Reflection Pool with an array of locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as a variety of prepared lunch items made from local ingredients. Free. Wednesdays. 11 am-2 pm. 901 Bagby. 713.880.5540. urbanharvest.org SAUSAGE FEST Mar 28 Part cooking class, part competition, all delicious good fun, FoodFests at Kitchen Incubator are unlike any food event you’ve attended before. Watch as chefs demonstrate how to prepare handmade, artisan sausage and create creative dishes in a sausage competition. Think you can compete? Join the Home Cook Competition and bring your sausage to the table. Tickets $35. Kitchen Incubator, 907 Franklin. kitchenincubator.com PAINTINGS & PAIRINGS AT CAFÉ DES ARTISTES Apr 10 On a few rare occasions, the Café at Kitchen Inc transforms into Café des Artistes. Sip on your favorite wines and enjoy a themed menu from the featured chef as the resident artist takes you through the creative process of painting your own masterpiece. Painting supplies are provided. Kitchen Incubator, 907 Franklin. kitchenincubator.com CHILEFEST Apr 25 Part cooking class, part competition, all delicious good fun, FoodFests at Kitchen Inc are unlike any food event you’ve attended before. ChileFest, allows you to watch as chefs demonstrate how to prepare creative dishes with chiles including Hatch green chiles from the New Mexico Green Chile Company. Think you can compete? Join the Home Cook Competition. Tickets $35. Kitchen Incubator, 907 Franklin. kitchenincubator.com SPRING FLAVORS FESTIVAL May 1 Taste the many flavors of Kitchen Inc at the Spring Tasting. Chefs will sample gourmet foods ranging from farm fresh salads and relishes to fried empanadas and cakes. Chefs will host demonstrations and tastings, with a variety of prepared and specialty foods
available for sale. Free. Kitchen Incubator, 907 Franklin. kitchenincubator.com MOTHER’S DAY HIGH TEA COOKING CLASS & TEA ROOM May 8 In celebration of Mother’s Day, the Café at Kitchen Inc will transform into a traditional English High Tea Room, filled with trays of scones, dainty confections and delightful cream teas. Mother/daughter teams will learn to prepare a variety of traditional tea cakes and scones before feasting in the Tea Room. Tickets $65 per team. Kitchen Incubator, 907 Franklin. kitchenincubator.com EXHIBITS AND VISUAL ARTS TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER: BUILDING THE HEALING CITY Through Mar 11 The exhibit chronicles through photographs, drawings, and models, the phenomenal growth of the Texas Medical Center since its charter in 1945 and the groundbreaking at Baylor College of Medicine. Also included are the Texas Medical Center’s plans for the next 50 years of growth. Free. ArCH, 315 Capitol, Ste. 120. Mon-Thu 9 am-5 pm, Fri 9 am-3 pm. aiahouston.org/arch.cfm THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN Mar 11-Apr 16 DiverseWorks partners with Artadia and Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center to showcase some of the best artists in the South and the Midwest through an exhibit exchange of the 2008 Artadia awardees. Houston
represents in Chicago and Chicago represents in Houston in this cross-country cultural showdown. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org GRANDALISM FEATURING ABELS Mar 11-Apr 16 DiverseWorks has commissioned new large-scale works from one of the most notorious graffiti artists in Houston, ABELS. He is known for his clean and consistent letter form and recognized as all-city, meaning not bound by one neighborhood or area in graffiti terms. Curated by GONZO247 of Aerosol Warfare. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org HILL/FINGER LECTURE-HOUSTON JAZZ COMMUNITY HISTORY, LIZETTE COBB Mar 17 Learn about the history of the prolific jazz scene in Houston during the mid-to late-20th century. Lizette Cobb is the daughter of famed American jazz tenor saxophonist, Arnett Cobb, whose career began locally in the early 1930s and expanded to a national and international platform through the 1980s. Noon. Tickets $5 for non-members. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org PARALLEL NIPPON: CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ARCHITECTURE 1996-2006 Mar 24-Apr 22 A showcase of Japan’s contemporary architecture and how it is affected by Japan’s significant social and economic changes ”post bubble” starting in the late 1990s. This exhibit is developed by the Japan Foundation and the Architectural Institute of Japan and has been traveling the world since its debut in Tokyo in 2007. Free. ArCH, 315 Capitol, Ste. 120. Mon-Thu 9 am-5 pm, Fri 9 am-3 pm. aiahouston.org/arch.cfm CULTURE IN FRONTIER TEXAS: 1820–1870, Apr 19-Sep 4, The Heritage Society will display objects from its permanent collection and from local private collections in celebration of the rich, diverse culture of frontier Texas. Free. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org THIS IS DISPLACEMENT: NATIVE ARTISTS CONSIDER THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LAND AND IDENTITY Apr 28-Jun 11 Featuring the work of nearly 50 contemporary Native American artists from 19 tribal nations across the U.S., this exhibition featuring various disciplines of work relates to experiences of displacement – its effects, ills, joys, discomforts and neverending complexities. Curated by Carolyn Lee Anderson and Emily Johnson. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
datebook GRANDALISM FEATURING W3R3 Apr 28-Jun 11 Houston-based graffiti artist, W3R3, creates large-scale, eye-popping works on the DiverseWorks dock to give viewers a unique look into a fantasy world where letters come alive in a vibrant array of color and movement. Commissioned by DiverseWorks and curated by GONZO247 of Aerosol Warfare. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org MICHAEL G. MEYERS STUDENT DESIGN & SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION Apr 29-May 13 Students focus their designs on a community grocery store and its potential to provide other services tailored to its location, an actual construction site for a grocery store located in Houston. Winning entries by students of local high schools will be on display at ArCH. Exhibit will begin with an awards ceremony Mar 29 at 6 pm. Free. ArCH, 315 Capitol, Ste. 120. Mon-Thu 9 am-5 pm, Fri 9 am-3 pm. aiahouston.org/arch.cfm SPORTS HOUSTON AEROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.974.7825. aeros.com HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. University of Houston Robertson Stadium, 4800 Calhoun. 713.276.7600. houstondynamo.com HOUSTON ASTROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the web site. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com HOUSTON ROCKETS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the web site. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.4HOU.TIX. rockets.com CONCERTS VERIZON WIRELESS THEATER Mar 1 Diana Ross Mar 12 HLSR/Go Tejano Committee 20th Annual Mariachi Invitational Mar 26 Michael McDonald Apr 6 Dierks Bentley Apr 14 The Avett Brothers Apr 29 Ke$ha May 10 Kylie Minogue May 19 Yanni Verizon’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 713.230.1600. livenation.com TOYOTA CENTER Mar 30 Juanes Apr 8 Lady Gaga May 18 Celtic Woman Toyota Center’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. toyotacentertix.com HOUSE OF BLUES Mar 2 Ice Cube Mar 3 Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain Mar 4 Iration in the Bronze Peacock Mar 5 Old 97’s Mar 7 Parkway Drive plus special guests Mar 8 Fat Tuesday with Cowboy Mouth and Dash Rip Rock Mar 11 John Oliver Mar 11 Bob Schneider Mar 16 Orchestral Monoeuvres in the Dark Mar 19 Ryan Bingham Mar 20 Raphael Saadiq Mar 23 Apocalyptica Mar 24 Winter Greens Tour Featuring Rebultion Mar 25 Arlo Guthrie Mar 26 G. Love & Special Sauce Apr 2 Chris Cornell Apr 6 Guster Apr 7 All Time Low and Yellowcard Apr 15 Kathleen Madigan Apr 23 Umphrey’s McGee Apr 26 George Thorogood and The Destroyers May 20 My Chemical Romance HOB’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com
EXPOS 36th ANNUAL HOUSTON FISHING SHOW Mar 2-6 Explore the world of fishing at the largest consumer fishing show in the country. See fishing tackle and fishing boats, displays, clinics and movies. Tickets $8 adults/$2 kids (6-12). George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.350.2741. houstonfishingshow.com HOUSTON WEDDING SHOWCASE Mar 5 Meet Houston’s top wedding professionals without driving all over town. Spectacular fashion shows. New ideas. Expert advice. Tickets $10, cash only. 12 and under, free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.952.5252. houstonweddingshowcase.com FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION Mar 17-19 This varsity sport for the mind combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. usfirst.org HOUSTON HOME SHOW Apr 8-10 See the latest in home décor, outdoor living, pool and spas, home remodeling, green living and learn at how-to workshops. Tickets $9/$7 seniors. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.529.1616. thehomeandgardenmarket.com 2011 HOUSTON NATIONAL COLLEGE FAIR Apr 19 Meet with recruiters from numerous colleges and universities from around the country. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 703.836.2222, ext. 123. nacacnet.org I-SWEEEP 2011 May 4-7 I-SWEEEP, the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, and Environment) Project Olympiad, is a groundbreaking science fair open to high school students. I-SWEEEP 2010 brought 470 top projects from 70 countries and 43 U.S. states to Houston. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.343.3333, ext. 227. isweeep.org 33rd ANNUAL BARGAIN BOOK SALE May 13-15 More than 80,000 books for sale, benefiting Houston Public Library. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 832.393.1387 friendsofhpl.org/annualbooksale.htm HOUSTON BLACK EXPO May 21-22 The largest African-American tradeshow in the state. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 832.200.0540. houstonblackexpo.com COMICPALOOZA May 27-29 A multi-format convention celebrating not just comics, but also sci-fi and fantasy, horror, steam punk, new media, movies, film and gaming of all types, Comicpalooza draws a costumed crowd. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. comicpalooza.org HUMANA HEALTH FAIR Apr 30 The Houston Public Library and the Humana Foundation present this kickoff to a series of programs designed to inform the public on health- and wellness-related issues. Special guest speaker, Julie Hersh, will present information from her book, Struck by Living. Various organizations in the medical community will be represented at the health fair, and light, healthy snacks will be provided. 1-4 pm. Free. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org TOURS BUFFALO BAYOU WALKING TOUR Mar 5, Apr 2, May 7 Explore the city from a vantage point most people don’t see: the waterway that gave Houston life and has been its backbone for 175 years. Architecture Center Houston (ArCH), with the cooperation of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, invite you to a stroll along Buffalo Bayou Parkway for an overview of downtown Houston’s history and architecture from its beginnings in 1836 to the efforts to revitalize the central city today. Meets at Market Square Park, 301 Milam. $10 for arch, AIA
Houston and Bayou Buddies members. 713.752.0314 buffalobayou.org BAT TOURS BY PONTOON BOAT Mar 11 and 25, Apr 18 and 22, May 13 and 27 You’ll enjoy an amazing view of the bats’ dusk emergence and learn more about these magnificent flying mammals that share the city with us. Cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the boat tour. Depart at dusk, time depends on day of the month (reservations required). Cost: $35/$20 for children 4-12; Allen’s Landing, 713.752.0314 buffalobayou.org SATURDAY BUFFALO BAYOU BOAT RIDES Mar 19, Apr 9 and May 14 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family and friends. First come, first serve, no reservations, 21-person max per trip. 10 am-2 pm. Tickets $7/$5 for children 4-12. Sabine Promenade along Buffalo Bayou. 713.752.0314 buffalobayou.org LOOKING BACK HISTORY TOURS WITH LOUIS AULBACH Mar 20, Apr 3 and May 2 Learn about Houston’s rich history from local historian Louis Aulbach while cruising down the bayou. Reservations required. 10 am-noon west of downtown, 1-3 pm east of downtown. Tickets $40. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org PICS & PADDLES Apr 2 and May 1 Capture a unique perspective through your camera lens during this on-water photography workshop. As you paddle in your tandem kayak trip along Buffalo Bayou, you will learn why this historic waterway provides fantastic views of urban nature. April: from Woodway and I-610 to Sabine Promenade, May: from Shepherd to Allen’s Landing. 9 am-noon. Tickets $70 (reservations required) Start: I-610 and Woodway Drive, End: Allen’s Landing. 713.752.0314 ext. 3. buffalobayou.org TWILIGHT TOURS AT BUFFALO BAYOU May 7 and 21 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to see downtown under a moonlit sky. First come, first serve, no reservations, 21 person max per trip. 5-8 pm. Tickets $7/$5 for children 4-12. Sabine Promenade along Buffalo Bayou 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architecture tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert and has been conducting downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $10 adults, $8 seniors and free for kids under 18. Tue-Sat 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm and Sun 1 pm, 2:30 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park, including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth or press boxes, Astros’ or visitors’ dugout, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3-14. Mon-Sat 10 am, noon, 2 pm. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com TOYOTA CENTER’S BACKSTAGE TOUR The one-hour backstage tour will take you behind the scenes of Houston’s premier destination for sports and entertainment. Tickets $7 adults, $5 for kids 12 and under and seniors. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7715. houstontoyotacenter.com SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOURS Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery in their new location. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 am and groups will rotate in and out of the facility in an open-house format until the final group is allowed in at 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Tickets $7, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com
FREE SELF-GUIDED AUDIO WALKING TOURS Put on your headphones, hit play and let local insiders, captivating voices and an original soundtrack envelop you in stories of Houston’s past and present. No need to worry about which way to go or what to look for, we’ll point out everything along the way. Three tours are available: The Ultimate Downtown Tour, Museum District Walk & Roll and A Walk in the Park: Discovery Green Walking Tour. Tours are free and available to download to your iPod or MP3 player at downtownhouston.org or as a podcast on iTunes. Be sure to also download the accompanying map for reference.
LIBRARY STRESS RELIEF & RELAXATION SERIES Mondays beginning Mar 7 Unwind at this hands-on series on yoga and how it benefits your body and mind. Yoga mats will be provided. Free. Noon. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org STRESS-BUSTER SERIES WITH SHARON HUGHES Tuesdays Learn ways to de-stress and relieve muscle strain through breathing exercises, yoga postures, and other techniques you can do at your desk and at home. Yoga mats will be provided. Free. Noon. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org REGGIE’S WORKOUT Tuesdays and Saturdays Whether your fitness goals involve weight management, muscle toning, stress relief, or just total health, there is something for you in one of Reggie’s classes. A modern form of total body exercise that can be adapted to any fitness level is set to fantastic music and will keep beginners and veterans coming back for more. Free. Tue, 5:30 pm; Sat, 10:30 am. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
BUFFALO BAYOU KAYAK TOURS
Mar 26, Apr 16 and May 27 Celebrate Houston in a whole new way and join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. All equipment is supplied for you including the tandem (2-person) sit-on top kayaks. 9 am-noon. Tickets $60 per person (reservations required) Start: I-610 and Woodway Drive, End: Allen’s Landing. 713.752.0314 ext. 3. buffalobayou.org
CUSTOMIZE YOUR SEWING PATTERNS Tuesdays Take a sewing pattern and learn how to customize it with Usha Shah. Shah will also give tips on the following topics as well: selecting a pattern, reading a pattern, layouts of a pattern, tools needed, tips to remember before cutting a pattern, and handy sewing tips. Free and open to the public. Free. 3-4:30 pm. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org LAUGHTER YOGA WITH LAINIE DIAMOND Wednesdays Laugh your way to health and joy with this fun and life-changing Laughter Yoga exercise group. Lainie Diamond will lead everyone in playful, value, and yogic-breathing-based exercises. No mats or exercise clothing needed, just bring yourself. Free. 5 pm. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org PUBLIC POETRY SERIES Apr 2 Inaugural event for the Public Poetry Series at the Houston Public Library. The poetry series includes local celebrities and public figures invited to read a favorite poem, plus four featured local or visiting poets. Guest
poets for this event will include Rich Levy, Martha Serpas, Eva Skrande, and D.E.E.P, as well as students from the WITS (Writers in the Schools) Program. Free. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org NETWORKING EMERGING LEADERS NETWORKING HAPPY HOUR Mar 10 and May 12 Join the Emerging Leaders for their monthly networking happy hour! Members receive their first drink free, complimentary appetizers for all. Free. 6-8 pm. Alden Hotel Houston, 1117 Prairie. 713.658.8938. houstondowntownalliance.com/el ST. PATRICK’S DAY AT HOUSTON PAVILIONS Mar 17 Be one of the lucky ones at the Third Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant at Houston Pavilions. Enjoy great drink specials, Irish-inspired fare and more at this outdoor happy hour in the Center Court at Houston Pavilions. The DJ will spin great tunes while you enjoy this festive holiday party. Free. 5-9 pm. 832.320.1200. houstonpavilions.com
SPRING HAPPY HOUR … HOUSTON PAVILIONS IS HOT THIS SPRING! Apr 1,8,15,22,29 Celebrate spring weather with an outdoor happy hour in the Center Court at Houston Pavilions. The DJ will spin great tunes while you enjoy happy hour pricing for drinks and good eats from McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. Free. Fri 5-9 pm. 832.320.1200. houstonpavilions.com CINCO DE MAYO AT HOUSTON PAVILIONS May 5 The Third Annual Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour at Guadalajara del Centro will take place outside in the courtyard in front of the restaurant. The DJ will spin great tunes while you enjoy happy hour pricing for drinks and good eats. Free. 5-9 pm. 832.320.1200. houstonpavilions.com INDUSTRY NIGHT May 17 After an action-packed weekend, kick back at DiverseWorks for Industry Night. If you are an artist, work in the art community or want to meet other people in the business, join us for happy hour. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
Market Square Park for 25- to 40-mile bike rides to explore the bayous of Houston. These rides are open to all comers and riding abilities. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. Free. 8 am. PAW IT FORWARD DOG TRAINING PRESENTS “TAILS ABOUT TOWN” Mar 10, Apr 7 and May 12 See for yourself the benefits of dog training and obedience. Come with or without your furry friend, and leave with amazing information. Class attendees will receive a welcome gift plus handouts of the topics covered. You will also have the chance to enter to win a free one-hour private session with owner and lead trainer, Chrissie DeCesare. Don’t miss out. Free. Thursdays, 6-7 pm. Register: pawitforwardtraining.com HERITAGE TEXAS PROPERTIES PRESENTS THE HOUSTON SOUND SPRING CONCERT SERIES Mar 18 & 25, Apr 8 & 22 and May 6 A neighborhood music series celebrating Houston’s incredibly diverse music scene and supporting the mission of The Houston Sound. Free. Fridays, 6:30-8:30 pm.
NIKO NIKO’S SANGRIA SATURDAYS Enjoy sangrias and Niko Niko’s breakfast until 1 pm every Saturday (served only at the Market Square location). Don’t myth it! NIKO NIKO’S MIMOSA SUNDAYS Enjoy mimosas and Niko Niko’s breakfast until 1 pm every Sunday (served only at the Market Square location). Be there or be square! HOUSTON PRESS PRESENTS THIRSTY THURSDAYS AT MARKET SQUARE Mar 3, Apr 14 and May 5 Get happy from 5-8 pm at Niko Niko’s. Each month there will be a different happy hour special along with live music, brought to you by Houston Press. BAYOU BIKERS Mar 6, Apr 3 and May 1 The first Sunday of every month, Bayou Bikers meet at
FINAL FOUR VIEWING PARTY PRESENTED BY NIKO NIKO’S Apr 2 & 4 Don’t have tickets to the championship games? Don’t sweat it and join the Greeks for some mega madness. We’ll be bringing in flat screens and serving up Greek food, beer and wine all night long. Saturday 3 pm (games begin at 5:20 pm) and Monday 6 pm (game begins at 8:20 pm). AURORA PICTURE SHOW: FEATHERS AND FUR Apr 16 Animals have played a central role in some of the best family films of all time. Join Aurora Picture Show for a special series of short artist-made films (including William Wegman’s) about your favorite lovable creatures inspired by and in partnership with The Houston Humane Society and in collaboration with the Downtown District. This dog- and family-friendly evening of flicks about kitties, pooches, and all other pets will include fun activities for Fido including demonstrations to train your dog for the gold medal at
MARKET SQUARE PARK 2011
the next Westminster dog competition. A musical performance at sunset will take us to dark when the pets will come out to play on the big screen. Free. Saturday, 4-9:30 pm (screening at 8 pm). ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE ROLLING ROADSHOW Apr 29 Back to the Future May 13 My Big Fat Greek Wedding For those of us who don’t want to schlep out to the burbs, we’re bringing the Alamo experience to Market Square Park. Enjoy these “quirky classics” under the stars. Free. Fridays, 7:30 pm. CANINE GOOD CITIZEN (CGC) PREP CLASS Apr 30, May 7,14,21 and 28 and Jun 4 Jun 18 (tentative date for CGC test) This six-week goal oriented class is directed towards attaining the CGC certification for your dog. Classes focus on polite greetings, basic obedience commands, interaction with other dogs and people and loose leash walking. A wonderful reward for dogs (and their owners) that have good manners at home and in the community. $150 for the six classes, $20 for the test (if passed, you will receive a certificate from the American Kennel Association). Saturdays, 11 am-noon. Register at pawitforwardtraining.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome. Food and beverages (including beer and wine) are sold at Niko Niko’s (open Mon-Fri from 7 am to 8 pm and Sat-Sun 9 am to 9 pm, extended hours during events). Alcohol is not allowed to be brought into the park; it can only be bought at the café. Metered on-street parking is available Mon-Sat and is free after 6 pm and all day Sun.
The Guide to eating downtown
Angie Bertinot & Heather Hinzie
A Brazilian twist The juicy Samba Grille Burger is a favorite lunch special at this churrascaria nestled in the Theater District at Bayou Place. The perfect spot for pre-theater dining or a night out with friends. Page 43 >>
L17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Alden Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$ L Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.1200. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ L Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ Atrium Lobby Lounge Contemporary Located inside the Doubletree Hotel overlooking Allen Center courtyard. Relax after a busy day and enjoy your favorite beverage or a bite to eat while you catch up on the day’s news on the wide screen TV. Doubletree Hotel, 400 Dallas, 713.759.0202. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$ new! BB’s Café Cajun A relaxed café atmosphere with a menu of “Tex-Orleans” fusion food, which includes nearly two dozen overstuffed signature po’ boys, mouth-watering Mexico City-style tacos, homemade gumbo and more. They are open until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights to satisfy those late night crawfish po’boy cravings! bbscafe.com. 509 Louisiana, 713-2368269.L, D, LN Daily. $ Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. innattheballpark.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas Avenue, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $ L Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$ Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas Ave, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ L Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the Saag Paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon-Fri, D Mon- Sat. $ Bon Jour Café Deli Offering soups, sandwiches and salads. 945 Capitol , 713.237.0419. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food A burrito bar with tons of ingredients and sides that allow you to create
the burrito of your dreams. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $ Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texas-chic atmosphere. Newly refurbished, black booths and white tablecloths offer elegance and décor not typically found in hotel restaurants. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith, 713.495.7854. B, L & D Daily. $$$ L Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for their fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $ Burger King Fast Food 810 Capitol, 713.223.4114. B & D Mon-Sat; L Daily. $ B.U.S. Sports Grill and Bar American The ultimate hangout spot before or after a ballgame. Come and enjoy your favorite cold beverage or bite to eat while cheering the home team to victory. B.U.S. is also a great place to catch the latest sporting event on the big screen! Two locations. Before/after Rockets games, 1410 Bell. Before/after Astros games, 1800 Texas. $ L Byrd’s Market & Cafe American Byrd's features a chefdriven, casual dining restaurant. Also, a prepared food market where you can find freshly baked breads and pastries and a limited selection of wines, grocercy essentials and basic household necessitates. Grab a seat on the mezzanine level, overlooking Main Street and enjoy a butternut squash roasted pork sandwich with sweet potato fries! byrdsmarket.com. 420 Main, 713.225.0100. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ Cabo Mexican The “Mix-Mex” grill is a spicy blend of South and Central American flavors. A fun downtown spot with the ultimate outdoor balcony for dining overlooking the streets of downtown. cabomixmex.com. 419 Travis, 713.225.2060. L & D Mon-Sun; LN Mon-Sat. $$ The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. One of the originals in the fast casual restaurant category, you can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat; D Mon–Fri. $ China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L MonFri; D Daily. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for their large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon-Fri. $ new! Convey Sushi A very cool new sushi spot located at Market Square. The same owner as next door neighbor, Les Givral’s Kahve, Convey is affordable sushi. A conveyer belt, thus the name, runs down the center of the bar or you can also get table service. Lots of natural light and a modern aesthetic make this a feel-good neighborhood restaurant. 803 Congress, 713.518.7219. L & D daily. $$ L Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Decafe Fast Casual Located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, visit this marketplace cafe anytime, day or night, when you are craving something delicious. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.654.1234 x 4088. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ Domino’s Pizza 804 Main, 713.227.3030. $
Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. donpatron.com. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$ L The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000 gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$ Downtown Donuts Bakery This little shop puts out a large assortment of breakfast goodies. Daily fresh baked choices include glazed, iced or filled donuts, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and turnovers and they also have kolaches—be sure to try the spicy boudin kolache. 1207 Prairie, 713.236.0500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L Mon-Fri. $ L Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill Mediterranean This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon-Fri. $ Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a burger downtown? Popular for their juicy burgers and greattasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon-Fri. $ L El Rey Taqueria Cuban/Mexican This fast casual Cuban and Mexican eatery is home to tasty plantains and juicy roasted chicken. El Rey opens early for those craving breakfast tacos and is open late on weekend nights for night owls craving a Cuban sandwich. elreytaqueria.com. 233 Main, 713.225.1895. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L Mon-Fri. $ Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer-drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $ L Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves
} key to symbols These listings are not reviews but are a guide to downtown dining spots. "Recommended" restaurants are selected by Downtown Magazine editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.
L recommended new! just opened average price of an entrée $ - $10 or less $$ - $11-$19 $$$ - $20-$29 $$$$ - $30+ B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner LN: Late Night
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“We’ve structured the kitchen to get food out as fast as we can,” said Nathan Ketchum, managing partner of Samba Grille. “We take care of the theater rush before every show.”
Samba the Night Away
GREAT EATS, DONE FAST AT SAMBA GRILLE By Lauren McClendon Perched in the heart of the Theater District at Bayou Place, Samba Grille is a sleek and inviting churrascaria providing speedy service to timecrunched theater patrons and on-the-go lunch crowds. Chef Cesar Rodriguez, a Nicaraguan native, has carefully constructed a menu that spans a wide spectrum of South American flavors, whether they choose churrascaria service or the a la cart option.
Each meal starts with a basket of pão de queijo – Portuguese for cheese bread – a small, gluten-free biscuit that’s crusty on the outside with parmesan cheesy goodness on the inside. It’s the Cadbury Egg of cheese biscuits. And with the flip of a card, waiters are shaving fire-roasted sirloin or grilled shrimp from rotisserie skewers right onto your plate. About a dozen different meats are served on any given night. Don’t miss out on the cinnamon-glazed roasted pineapple. It’s a sticky sweet delight. The glowing amber bar is fully stocked with the usual suspects along with a robust South American wine menu and specialty drinks. The star cocktail is the muddled caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil, made with fresh lime, sugar and cachaca – a Brazilian liqueur made from sugar cane. Samba Grille attracts a smart lunch crowd who can snag a three-course meal for less than $20. With a salad, entrée and dessert in less than 45 minutes, it’s no wonder that Samba Grille has become a favorite choice for business entertaining. Afternoon favorites include the sanduíche de churrasco, Samba’s version of the Philly cheese steak; sirloin steak topped with manchego cheese and sautéed veggies on ciabatta bread. Lunch sandwiches are served with fried yucca wedges, a crispy, delicious alternative to fries. On the lighter side, the Boston wedge salad is a satisfying alternative to meaty entrees. Featuring crisp lettuce and roasted tomatoes topped with manchego cream dressing, this salad is full of familiar flavors with a Brazilian twist. Still have room for dessert? Try the fruit tart featuring guanábana cream or the tres leches, two Latin sweets that never fail.
SAMBA GRILLE 530 TEXAS , 713.343.1180. Open for lunch, SUN-FRI, and dinner daily. downtownhouston.org
plate up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ L The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s newest park. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. The Tree House roof deck bar features casual bar snacks and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere for cocktails. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ L Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$ Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an All-American menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston. com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon-Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy American food with all menu items (except for sampler platters) less than $10. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during offseason so call first). $ Hong Kong Diner Chinese A favorite of downtown locals, Hong Kong Diner will not disappoint with its expansive menu and delicious chef’s specials. Be sure to try their dumplings. 909 Franklin, 713.236.1688. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L House of Blues Southern Classic HOB serves Southern-inspired signature classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, Tennessee baby back ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss House of Blues’ famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ Houston Tamales Factory Mexican Family recipes made with fresh ingredients. Great breakfast tacos and of course the tamales are the specialty of the house. houstontamalesfactory.com. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon-Sat. $ L Hubcap Burger Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $ Humble Cafe American The Humble Cafe is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ L Hunan Downtown Chinese You’ll be impressed by the elegant décor, and their Chinese cuisine is as impeccable as the restaurant itself. Guests can indulge in traditional favorites or try new creations. 812 Capitol, 713.227.8999. L & D Mon-Sat. $$ L Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $$ L Irma’s New Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L
Mon-Fri. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ L James Coney Island Fast Food This local favorite has been serving delicious hot dogs to downtown Houston patrons since 1923. The chili recipe has stayed the same, but new menu additions include Polish sausage, a Chicago-style dog and a New York-style dog. jamesconeyisland.com. 815 Dallas, 713.652.3819.B, L & D Mon-Sat. $ Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced 7-grain bread or try the low carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $ new! Korma Sutra Indian The name comes from the chef’s love affair with fine Indian cuisine. The fine Indian establishment takes a menu-less approach were every dish can be custom ordered to your liking. Wait staff will let you know the daily specials, but if your palate is set on chicken masala or lamb curry, they will happily oblige. We also recommend trying the cilantro-mint limeade! korma-sutra.com. 706 Main, 832-721-9977. L & D Mon- Sat. $$ L The Lake House Fast Casual The Lake House offers family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby amphitheater stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. Tue-Wed 11-3; Thu-Sun 11-8. $ L La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Lacey’s Deli Deli The sandwiches are fresh, tasty, and affordable. We recommend the Italian Stallion which has homemade meatballs and marinara with sliced beef and sausage. laceysdeli.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & Live Music Tue-Sat. $ L Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & Live Music Tue-Sat. $ L Les Givral’s Kahve Vietnamese Winner of the 2006 “City’s Best” award for Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Les Givral’s offers up a delicious menu and great service. Located in downtown’s historic Market Square. lesgivrals.com. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $ Little Napoli Italian Offering southern Italian items in a casual setting, you can opt for indoor seating or take a spot on their large patio right on Main Street. Their healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 1001 Texas, 713.225.3900. L, D & LN Daily. $$ Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ L Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$
new! Macondo Latin Bistro Latin The menu is a tasty fusion of Latin dishes with a strong influence of Colombian cuisine. Try the migas on an English muffin for breakfast. Macondo also has a full coffee bar, featuring delicious Colombian coffee, a juice bar and a great selection of affordable wines and beers. macondobistro.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. B &L Daily; D Fri & Sat. $ Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinesecuisine. Located in the Skyline District, Mandarin’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a great view of the streetscape. 777 Walker, 713.224.1212. L & D Mon-Fri. $ L Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicago-style neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon-Sat. $ L Massa’s Restaurant Seafood An upscale and elegant restaurant offering a fine selection of American and seafood cuisine. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable experience. massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.6500.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a great spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$ McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ L Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill Italian A dedication to authentic Italian cuisine makes Mingalone a special place. Just seconds away from all the major theaters, Mingalone is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner before or after a show. mingalone.com. Bayou Place, 540 Texas, 713.223.0088. L & D Mon-Sun. $$ new! Minuti Coffee Coffehouse The coffee is created by a ‘roast master’ in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a perfect pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas St., 281.265.3344. B, L, D, LN Sun–Sat. $ Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare— sandwiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. mollyspubs.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $ L Morton’s The Steakhouse Steak House This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features their new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with their specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$ Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. 601
Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ New Orleans Cajun Po-Boy Fast Food A great place to grab a fried shrimp or crawfish po-boy. 648 Polk, 713.750.0007. L Mon-Fri. $ new Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe last fall at Market Square Park. Favorties such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L, D daily. $ Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ L Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon-Fri. $ Paul’s Snack Shop Deli Sandwiches, salads and snacks to-go.1213 Prairie, 713.224.4701. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $ Ponte Vecchio Ristorante Italiano Italian Don’t let the cafeteria-style service at Ponte Vecchio fool you, everything is prepared from scratch. You’ll find many delicious, healthy selections on the menu at this luncheon eatery, all at a reasonable price. alpontevecchio.com. 507 Dallas, 713.659.9400. L Mon-Fri. $ Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Quizno’s Fast Food 811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon-Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon-Sun. $ Rachel’s Sandwich Shop Deli A good little sandwich shop. 421 San Jacinto, 713.223.3913. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Red & White Bistro International A Chef’s Table buffet features a variety of world cuisines and an assortment of delectable desserts. Compliment your meal with a selection from Red & White’s two 1,500 bottle wine towers. houstontoyotacenter.com. 1510 Polk, 713.758.7534. Open 90 minutes prior to the start of Toyota Center events; call ahead for reservations. $$$ The Sam Bar American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love their happy hour and cocktail offerings. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ new Samba Grille South American Samba Grille offers a vast lunch selection of appetizers, homemade soups, fresh salads and choice meats and seafood. At dinner service, gauchos weave their way through the dining room to bring the most exquisite churrascaria service, from their meat-loaded rotisserie spears, directly to the plate. sambagrillehouston.com. 530 Texas at Bayou Place, 713.343.1180. L Mon-Fri & Sun; D daily. $$-$$$ L Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu
includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon-Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$ SG’s Express Vietnamese Vietnamese You’ll find all your Vietnamese favorites here: vermicelli bowl, the sandwich, egg drop soup, egg rolls and many different smoothie flavors. 1225 Travis, 713.659.0200. L Mon-Fri. $ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. mcelroyspub.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Great American Cookies, Longhorn Uptown Café, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Robeks, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $ L Shula’s American Steak House Steak House Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand-painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall of Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steak House An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$ L Spindletop Seafood A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue-Sat. $$$ State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. thestatebar.com. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $ L Strip House Steak House Only minutes from the convention center and Toyota Center, Strip House’s mouth-watering steaks are accompanied by a seductive ambiance. Red walls and carpet give this steak palace a unique interior. An international collection of wines puts the finishing touches on the restaurant. striphouse.net. The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney, 713.659.6000. L Mon-Fri; D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$$$ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $ L Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. The bistro serves a selection of artistically and generously presented cuisine. Happy hour weekdays offer $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and its happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713-227-4800. B, L & D Daily. $ Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great
setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ L III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly-cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$ Travis Chinese Restaurant Chinese All your favorites at affordable prices. 1122 Travis, 713.655.8787. L Daily. $ L Treebeards Cajun Homestyle A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try their famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $ Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is casual simple yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ L Voice Restaurant & Lounge Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$ Warren’s Inn Fast Casual The good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks, and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Yao Restaurant and Bar Asian The menu at Yao’s is a mix of standard American Chinese fare, like sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, along with more exotic dishes like braised abalone. Sushi rolls include the Yao Roll, with snow crab and black caviar topped with lobster. yaorestaurant.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Main, 713.739.9267. L Mon-Fri, D Mon – Sat. $$ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $ new! Ziggy's Bar & Grill American Ziggy’s offers healthy comfort food in their new Main Street location. Counter service is offered during the day and table service at night. Happy hour specials include pomegranate martinis and Ziggyritas made with fresh citrus juice. The location is conveniently located along the light rail line and just a few short blocks from the Theater District. Brunch Sat and Sun 9-3. ziggysbarandgrill.com. 702 Main, 713.527.8588. B, L & D Daily. $ Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon-Fri. $
sip. The Brewery Tap | 717 Franklin
Sit at one of the long wooden picnic tables (think biergarten.) and chill with one of the 35 beers on tap. Laid-back and friendly, a great place to catch a soccer game and play some darts. Mon-Thu 4-10 pm; Fri & Sat 4 pm-1 am; Sun 4-11 p.m.
Char Bar | 305 Travis Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Strike up a conversation with gregarious Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance; he’s never met a stranger. Mon-Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu-Sat 10 am-2 am
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites—from the quintessential dive to swanky lounges, you’re sure to find something that will quench your thirst!
more). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music Tue through Sun nights. Tue-Fri 1 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun 3-9 pm. lastconcert.com
elegant design make for an amazing location. Enjoy your favorite drink inside, or hang outside on the patio with the locals. Sun-Wed 11 am-midnight, Thu 11 am-1 am, Fri 11 am-2am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am. sambucarestaurant.com
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis
Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts
Located across the street from the main Metro bus station and a few blocks from the Greyhound hub, the Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share havebeen-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon-2 am
Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers who enjoy colorful dialogue and witty conversation. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am. mcelroyspub.com
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge | 1201 San Jacinto @ Houston Pavilions
State Bar | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts
Part vintage clothing store and part bar. Much of the original building was preserved when the 30s department store was converted into a bar. If you’re lucky, you can snag the table in Houston’s first electric elevator tucked away in the corner. Listen to live music by local artists every night, buy the local art on the walls, sift through vintage clothes, and drink frozen cosmos while taking in the ever-changing downtown scene. Sun-Wed 8 pm-2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm-2 am
Swanky upscale bowling alley with a separate restaurant/ lounge area. Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Great lunchtime and Sunday brunch bowling specials. Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. bowlluckystrike.com
1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main
Dean’s | 316 Main
Located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. Small flat-screen TVs dot the bar, allowing patrons to keep tabs on games while not being the center of attention. This isn’t the place for screaming sports nuts, this is more the place for friends to kick back in the black leather chairs and discuss the game in a civil manner. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is opened up and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-man skills. Daily 4 pm-2 am
Flying Saucer | 705 Main Offering over 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. A cool and relaxed atmosphere along with a hip crowd gives downtown visitors a great place to enjoy the night. Check out their website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon-Wed, 11am-1am, Thu & Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. beerknurd.com
House of Blues | 1204 Caroline Street @ Houston Pavilions A well-known national franchise with a lively, fun atmosphere. A 1,500-person concert venue is onsite and some of the best touring shows in the country come through on a weekly basis. A members-only Foundation Room is available for VIPs. Show times and events vary nightly. Call or check out the website for details. hob.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon-Fri noon-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance One of Houston’s best kept secret treasures! You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not any-
Located on the second floor of the Rice Lofts, this upscale bar presents a classic richness all its own. Much of the furniture and memorabilia are from the old Rice Hotel’s Capitol Club. Leather couches make for great seating and
This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found, and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and downtown. Daily 11 am2 am. mollyspubs.com
Notsuoh | 314 Main The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm-2 am.
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin @ Houston Pavilions Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed-Sat, 7 pm-2 am Wed-Sat 7 pm-2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street @ Alden Hotel Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails, both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun-Thu 11 ammidnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. aldenhotels.com
Sambuca | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Guests can enjoy live music most nights of the week in this upscale and eclectic environment. The plush interior and
conversation, while a grand veranda overlooks the city outside. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat 6 pm-2 am. thestatebar.com
Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon-Sat 2 pm-2 am.
Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 pm, Sun 2 pm-2 am.
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832.582.7671 4601 Washington Ave. 100 832.582.7671 Houston, Texas 77007 4601 Washington Ave. 100 Houston, Texas 77007
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air air 713.225.1066 809 Congress Street 713.225.1066 Houston, Texas 77002 809 Congress Street Houston, Texas 77002
i n v i tat i o n d e s i g n a n d b e yo n d.
24. 25. 26. 27. 28.
11. 12. 13. 14.
Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District JP Morgan Chase Observation Deck Main Street Square Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park Wells Fargo Plaza Observation Deck
Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday - Saturday and all day Sunday.
46. 47. 48. 49. 50. Cameron Pocket Park 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. Sesquicentennial Park 56. 57.
43. 44. 45.
33. Museum District (via METRORail)
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58. Byrdâ€™s Market 59. CVS 60. Phoenecia Specialty Foods (Coming May 2011) 61. Wolfeâ€™s Cleaners
Groceries & Conveniences
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62 27 71
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Embassy Suites Hilton Americas Holdiay Inn Express Hotel Icon Hyatt Regency Downtown Inn at the Ballpark Lancaster Hotel Magnolia Hotel Athens Hotel Suites