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Houston Newswire

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More Texans Traveling for Labor Day; Football Fans Heading to Houston

posted on: 08/28/2014

More than 2.5 million Texans will likely travel this Labor Day weekend, according to AAA Texas. 

If that predication holds true, it would be the highest number of Texans to travel for Labor Day in six years and a nearly 2 percent increase from last year.

The vast majority of those traveling for the holiday weekend will do so by car, AAA says.

Here in Houston, a lot of travelers are coming to the city this weekend to see the Louisiana State University Tigers take on the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the inaugural Advocare Texas Kickoff. The game marks the beginning of the season for both teams.


Hermann Park’s McGovern Centennial Gardens Opening Soon

posted on: 08/20/2014

Source: Greater Southeast District
By: MK Bower

Seven months into the yearlong centennial celebration of Hermann Park, a culmination remains on the horizon with the grand opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens.

The 13-month transformation of the 15-acre site formerly home to the Houston Garden Center will reach its zenith on Oct. 18 with the grand opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens, a homage to the lore of Hermann Park (6100 Hermann Drive) and its ties with Houstonians.

The new McGovern Centennial Gardens will offer tastes of the traditional (a rose garden) and the modern (an interactive family garden, an arid garden, a 30-foot garden mount, and a sculpture promenade featuring public art donated by countries around the globe).

The Houston Garden Center was beloved as a community focal point, serving as a hub for patrons to gather and admire the natural beauty of the city and for children to discover an oasis of nature centered in a booming metropolis. The McGovern Centennial Gardens will maximize all that its predecessor had to offer, both in aesthetics and functionality.

For all the scenic wonder developed by the collaborative team of Hoerr Schaudt (landscape architecture), White Oak Studio (garden design) and Dr. William C. Welch (consultant), the new parking lot on Hermann Drive will increase accessibility and traffic flow. The new Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, designed by famed architect Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, will draw eyeballs while the pedestrian and vehicular entrances along Hermann Drive will expedite access from neighboring residential areas and cultural landmarks including the Children's Museum, the Health Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston...Read more on GreaterSoutheastOnline.com.

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Largest Free Skatepark in U.S. & Park Without Limits Opens to Public in Spring

posted on: 08/13/2014

Two new parks are open for fun starting today, Thursday August 14, at the 10-acre Greenspoint Spring Recreation Area on Kuykendahl and Rankin roads. On one side is Dylan Park, named in honor of a local child and designed specifically for special-needs children, and on the other is the largest free skateboard park in the nation, according to the organizations website. Dylan ParkThroughout the entire 10-acre campus visitors will enjoy public art by Dixie Friend Gay and Andrew Carson.

Dylan Park is completely wheelchair accessible and offers features for visitors of all abilities. The special-needs park has areas designed to engage children who are sight-impaired, hearing-impaired, autistic or wheelchair-bound. The fenced- in park will include open grassy areas for unstructured play, plus walking trails and a community center.

On the other side of the complex is the 72,000-square-foot skate park including a competition-scale Texas bowl featuring a full pipe, a 12-foot vertical ramp, a 10-foot bowl, banked spring skate parkwalls and speed hips. In addition, there is a section designed to emulate the street-skating experience and will have ledges, rails, benches, banks, quarter pipes and stair obstacles. With this latest addition, Houston is now host to two world-class skate facilities, the Spring skate park and downtown's Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park.

The entire facility's $5.5 million price tag will also provide walking trails and a community center. The Greenspoint District and The Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority are also working together, with other public and private sources, to create a system of trails connecting the area's parks to Greens Bayou.


New Event Space on the Bayou Slated to Open Summer 2015

posted on: 08/11/2014

There will soon be a new multi-purpose event space in Houston. Slated to open Summer 2015, The Dunlavy will be a private event and dining space overlooking the banks of Buffalo Bayou and Lost Lake at the western end of Buffalo Bayou Park.

The Dunlavy will showcase the different cuisines of the Clark Cooper restaurants including Ibiza Food & Wine Bar, Brasserie 19, Coppa Ristorante, Coppa Osteria and Punk's Simple Southern Food.

The 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park stretches from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street and represents one of the largest urban greenway initiatives in the country right now. Construction on the $58 million renovation, headed by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, includes destinations like Lost Lake and The Water Works visitor center, as well as new trails, gardens, two pedestrian bridges, a dog park and a nature playground.

Grab and Go @ The Dunlavy will provide counter service breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Additionally, the building will house a park visitor center and a canoe and kayak rental facility, operated by Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

The 3,800 square foot indoor space will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, gallery-like interiors and a large wraparound 850 square foot outdoor patio.

Patrons booking The Dunlavy can choose menus from any of the Clark Cooper Concept restaurants or have the culinary team create custom menus and wine pairings. The Dunlavy is also expected to become the setting for high-profile events, such as product launches, art installations, pop-up retail, weddings, gallery show and filmmaking.


10 Can't Miss Shows in Houston this Season

posted on: 08/04/2014

Houston's 2014/15 performing arts season has something for everyone -- world premieres take the stage and timeless classics return. We've scoured the calendar and developed our list of the 10 don't-miss shows for this season. No need to thank us. We'll see you at intermission.

From Houston to the World brings together three very different pieces for Houston Ballet's second performance of the season. The one combining thread in this mixed-repertory program choreographed specifically for the Houston Ballet is technical prowess. Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo brings wit and humor to the extreme virtuosity that he demands in ONE/end/ONE. Inspired by flocks of birds flying in breathtaking unison, Edwaard Liang's Murmuration is a deeply spiritual work for nine men and eight female dancers. Closing the program is Stanton Welch's vivid interpretation of the third act of Paquita, a challenging, Spanish-flavored ballet first performed in 1846. Sept. 18-28, 2014.

The Jerusalem Quartet returns to town, bringing its "powerful sense of drama" [The Oregonian] to Chamber Music Houston's stage. The group will lend their energetic and lyric style to a program combining groundbreaking masterpieces by Beethoven and Bartók with Ravel's striking String Quartet. Oct. 21, 2014.

Diavolo - Architecture in Motion combines dancers, gymnasts, and actors brilliantly to explore the space where reality ends and imagination begins. Under Artistic Director Jacques Heim, and outrageous and surrealistic sets, Diavolo takes movement, athletics, and daring to the extreme to create abstract narratives of the human condition. This year Diavolo performs the final work of a trilogy titled Fluid Infinities. Choreographed to Philip Glass' Symphony No. 3, this work is set on an abstract dome structure on which performers explore metaphors of infinite space, continuous movement, and humanity's voyage into the unknown future. Jan. 9, 2015.

Jerusalem String Quartet    

TUTS Underground is offering up several witty shows in its second season. Waiting for Johnny Depp is a one-woman musical that follows the zany adventures of struggling New York actress Rita Donatella in her desperate attempts to land the role of a lifetime - to star in a film with Johnny Depp. Jan.22-Feb.1, 2015.

When Puccini heard the story of a young Japanese girl who sacrifices everything for a faithless U.S. Navy lieutenant, he knew he had found a winning idea for a new opera and immediately began work on Madame Butterfly. It would become one of the most beloved operas of all time. Puccini's score, infused with atmospheric Eastern motifs, is mesmerizing. Houston Grand Opera brings this opera for the ages back to Wortham. Jan. 23-Feb. 8, 2015.

River Oaks Chamber Orchestra celebrates its 10th season with a series of exciting performances. Divas and Ballerinas will be one not-to-miss. Violist Tawnya Popoff will take the audience on a romantic journey through Puccini, Bizet, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Gershwin and more in a performance of popular suites from opera and ballet. Jan. 25, 2015.

Kinky Boots took Broadway by storm and now Theatre Under the Stars is bringing the risqué hit to Houston. The story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, the unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible. Feb. 10-22, 2015.

The musical Once took home eight Tony Awards in 2012, including best musical. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights... but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. March 10-15, 2015.

All My Sons, Arthur Miller's first commercial success, to was inspired by a true story about a successful businessman who sold the government defective airplane parts during World War II. The play takes place following World War II, as the Keller family desperately hopes that their son Larry, who was missing in action three years earlier, returns home. As their other son prepares to propose to the woman he loves, who was Larry's girlfriend when he went missing, the Kellers confront realities as family secrets are revealed. Alley Theatre will perform the work at its temporary home at the University of Houston while its Downtown building undergoes a major renovation. April 1-19, 2015.

Branford Marsalis

NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Leader of an acclaimed jazz quartet, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Marsalis and his Quartet of musical friends recently released Four MFs Playin' Tunes. The Los Angeles Times puts Marsalis in "the highest echelon of jazz tenor saxophonists." Hear the group perform live with An Evening with Branford Marsalis through Da Camera of Houston. April 18, 2015.



Destination Houston in National Spotlight

posted on: 07/31/2014

Houston ranks among the top destinations in the country in a new study out this week.

Travel research group Resonance Consultancy looked at the top 50 destinations in the U.S. and ranked Houston No. 12 citing the city's numerous recent accolades, expanding shopping opportunities and new infrastructure investment.

Instead of just examining the total number of visitors to a city and how much they spent, Resonance examined additional criteria such as number of direct flights, the quality of third-party reviews and major attractions. More weight was given to leisure travel than business travel-though the experience for both appears to be on an upward trajectory In Houston.

"With a thriving arts scene, abundant green space, local food, theme parks and nightlife, Houston was ranked #7 on the New York Times list of 46 Places to Go in 2013," the report stated. What's more, Houston saw the largest increase in overseas tourists of any American city between 2012 and 2013, due in part to an increase in flights from foreign cities.

Destination Houston is also getting some love from the Huffington Post this week. HuffPo offered this rundown of favorite destinations along with both the iconic and hidden gem attractions of each. In Houston, the Galleria is one of the most recognizable places. But HuffPo points out that the less well-known tunnel system underneath Downtown is a unique element that often gets overlooked.




Tiger Woods’ First U.S. Golf Course Breaks Ground in Houston

posted on: 07/25/2014

Houstonians can soon play golf like Tiger Woods, or at least practice to play like him on a golf course built by the golf legend. Construction has officially begun on Woods' first U.S. golf course at a Houston-area private club and community in Montgomery County northwest of Houston.

The 755 acres of Bluejack National will include Woods' 18-hole golf course, natural water features and wooded countryside, as well as a short course also designed by Tiger Woods Design and ideal for families and entertaining, coined "The Playgrounds", according to the Houston Business Journal.

Bluejack National is being developed on the site of the former Blaketree National Golf Club, at 4430 S. FM 1486 in Montgomery northwest of Houston. The Playgrounds and the practice facilities will open to members in the spring 2015, and the championship course is slated to open later that fall 2015.

The course is described as having limitless shot-making opportunities, no rough, wide fairways and fast-playing conditions. A variety of natural lakes and streams will also dot the property to create a serene backdrop while playing.

The private golf club and community, Bluejack National, also will include 400 private residential units, the Blake Fishing Dock and an indoor-outdoor recreation center called "The Fort" where golfers and non-golfers alike can relax with friends.

Houston-based civil engineering firm Jones & Carter Inc. is spearheading the entire Bluejack National project. Dallas-based Lantern Asset Management, which has experience in luxury resort and mixed-use residential communities, is also working on Bluejack National.


Bikesharing Booms in H-Town

posted on: 07/16/2014

Bikesharing is growing in Houston.

The city's B-Cycle program that launched in 2012 with just three stations has dramatically expanded, both in terms of stations and usage.

In the first six months of this year, B-Cycle logged more than 43,500 checkouts, according to data published by the Houston Chronicle. The system now has 29 stations, well above the three stations it launched with in 2012. Program administrators hope to expand the program to include 100 stations by 2017.

In the month of June alone, the program averaged 220 checkouts per day.

The B-Cycle program allows riders to check out bikes with a daily, monthly or annual pass. Costs range from just $5 for the day to $65 for an annual membership. Once they have a membership, each time a rider checks out a bike it's free for the first hour and $2 for every 30 minutes after that.

So what's the most popular spot to check out a bike? The Houston Zoo station nabbed that honor, with more than 4,500 checkouts in the first six months of the year. The Sabine Bridge and Spotts Park kiosks, both on Buffalo Bayou, ranked second and third.

Read more on the Houston Chronicle and check out the full list of stations on the B-Cycle site



Charles James: A Thin Wall of Air at The Menil Collection

posted on: 07/02/2014

Charles James: A Thin Wall of Air is featured this Summer from May 31 through September 7 at The Menil Collection. The term "a thin wall of air" was coined by James's close friend Bill Cunningham to describe what James called the area where the possibilities of design were

Charles James
Photograph by Paul Hester

found: the gap between the fabric and the body.

This atypical exhibit focuses on the works of Charles James, the first couturier, commissioned for his friends the de Menils. Born in 1906 in London, Charles James began his fashion career as a milliner, but once he moved to New York he became widely known for his new style of dressmaking. James focused on the curves of the body, often hand-sewing, cutting and draping fabrics specifically fit for each client. This new approach to design inspired the "New Look", where outfits were nipped in to the waist then blossomed out to flowing skirts.

The showing displays the one of kind pieces James designed specifically for Dominique de Menil, including her evening gowns, daywear, coats, and the furniture James selected for the de Menil home.

The de Menils enlisted James for his only foray into interior design for their home in River Oaks in 1950. The stark modernism of the home contrasted sharply with James's bright, fluid style. James draped the walls in unique combinations of mauve, aqua, fuschia and butterscotch, and brought in furniture pieces the likes of which included a lip shaped loveseat, and a curvaceous lounge with a yellow underbelly.

The de Menils were close personal friends of Charles James and as longtime supporters of his work, The Menil Collection honors his artistry and the de Menils role in his expanding range of work.


Business Insider: Houston the Best City in America

posted on: 07/02/2014

Houston has a new moniker thanks to the editors of Business Insider: best city in America.

The business publication cites 18 reasons why the Bayou City is tops in the nation -- everything from job growth and great food to low cost of living and diversity.

Business Insider calls Houston an "economic juggernaut" and offers praise for the city's job creation prowess, abundant green space and even its prolific hip hop scene.

Click here to read more of the 18 reasons Houston is the best place in the country.


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