Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.30.14 - Saturday In Houston

This is a collage of photos that I put together before the of the play yesterday.  See the previous post about my thoughts on The Old Friends.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Old Friends

Last year for Labor Day weekend, I was in New York helping a friend celebrate his 50th birthday party.  I didn't have much time that weekend but I did make it a point to see Kinky Boots.

This year, I didn't have any plans to go out of town.  I was OK with that I thought but as the days were counting down and friends were making plans to get away to NYC, New Orleans, Austin, blah, blah, blah, I was feeling a bit down.

So...I thought to myself, "Well, why travel when there are a myriad of things to do in Houston?"  And, I love the theatre so why not see a play? And why not see Betty Buckley?  I mean how many times do I get THAT opportunity?

So...I purchased a ticket to today's matinee performance of The Alley Theatre's production of Horton Foote's The Old Friends.  I'm a big fan of Betty and Horton so this was a win/win situation.  A native Texan in a native Texan's play with the playwright's daughter.  OY!

I'm not a theatre critic and I don't play on one on tv but I know great acting and a great production when I see it and let me tell you, I saw it this afternoon.

The cast consists of Jeffrey Bean, Betty Buckley, Veanne Cox, Michelle Elaine , Hallie Foote, Annalee Jefferies, Novella Nelson, Cotter Smith, and Jay Sullivan.  Small cast.  Powerful punch.

It was great to see Betty perform but it was also great to see Hallie Foote on stage.  Seeing Hallie onstage was a first for me.  Every actor contributed to the high range of emotions throughout the play: sadness; laughter; anger; jealousy...just to name a few.  And at one point, I realized how enveloped I was because I heard myself gasp.

photo credit: The Alley Theatre
The venue is perfect for this play.  It's small and cozy and sometimes I actually felt like I was in the home of the characters.  Sometimes I felt like I was being transported to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Last Picture Show and Designing Women with hints of Mama's Family. And it's all good.

The play is set in the fictional town of Harrison, TX, which is the fictional name for Wharton, TX.  I've been to Wharton many times and maybe that is why I got sucked into the setting.  (At the end of this post, I've copied from some of the information about the play.  No need to reinvent the wheel.)

The play ends its run on September 7.  I highly recommend you purchase a ticket as soon as possible.  And, if you're not familiar with the University of Houston campus, I recommend you allow some extra time.

Now, here is the REALLY exciting part of the day.  I really didn't plan on waiting for Betty but...

When the play was over I went to the Mens' Room.  It was then that I realized the cast would be exiting in the vicinity of the restrooms but first I needed to purchase Betty's Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway.  So I purchase the cd and I'm checking my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts because I complied and turned off my phone during the production.  And the next thing I know, out walks Betty! It was great to see her again and she was so gracious. And I think I told her twice that she was fabulous because I couldn't think of a butch word to use.

Thank you Betty and the cast of the play.  It has been a Saturday well spent in Houston!

From (click on the link for the entire review):
"Horton Foote's THE OLD FRIENDS is set in 1960 in the fictional town of Harrison, Texas. It's the story of two antagonistic, established Texas families who are waiting for the arrival of the family matriarch's son Hugo and his wife Sibyl. Sibyl arrives with devastating news, and the "old friends" on opposite sides must reconcile with such issues as loyalty, happiness, and family dynamics. This production, directed by the accomplished Michael Wilson, premiered Off-Broadway in 2013 with many of the same cast members and is much-anticipated as the first production in the Alley Theatre's 2014-2015 season.

Annalee Jefferies plays the disenfranchised family matriarch, Mamie Borden. Jefferies has a subtle style that is affective in playing this gentle and resigned character, and her comedic moments are endearing and welcome. Mamie unfortunately lives with her petty and dissatisfied daughter, Julia, played expertly by the entertaining Veanne Cox, and Julia's husband Albert, an angry man who likes his drink, played by Jeffrey Bean. Bean inhabits the role with intensity and appropriate rage, and Albert has plenty to be angry about- Julia is rather indiscreet in her dabbling with a younger man, played by nubile Jay Sullivan.

Gertrude Hayhurst Sylvester Ratliff, a wealthy woman who fills the emptiness in her life with drinking and power games, is played by Betty Buckley. Gertrude seems to have her greedy fingers in everybody's lives, and Buckley, known for her outstanding work playing larger-than-life-characters, is completely credible as the power-hungry Gertrude. The character would be easy to abhor, but Buckley infuses her portrayal with vulnerability and desperation, making Gertrude a woman you want to slap but then hug, or vice versa. One of the more chilling moments in the play occures when Gertrude presents a bribe to her sister in law, Sybil Borden, played by Hallie Foote. A veritable expert of her father's work, Foote is self-assured and even-keeled as Sybil, one of the few sober characters who seems to have her feet firmly planted on the ground. Foote executes the role with a studied gentleness and sensitivity, portraying a woman dealing with grief, money woes, and the glimmer of a renewed love with Howard, Gertrude's employee, brother in law, and Sybil's old flame 30 years ago. Cotter Smith plays Howard with skilled ease and humility, often being the voice of reason in the midst of a severely dysfunctional family."

Pic Of The Day - 08.29.14 - Stormy Weather

There's been a low pressure system in the Gulf that has been causing some weird weather in the Houston area. I think New Orleans to Beaumont probably bore the brunt of it. On Friday morning, I noticed this coming in from the southwest. It's the view I had from the fourth floor conference room at work. And no, that is not a UFO. It is the reflection of lights.

Pic Of The Day - 08.28.14 - Drink For Reason

It's been awhile since I stopped in at OKRA Charity Saloon. I was invited to after work drinks and I suggested this place. For every drink purchased, you receive a ticket that allows you to vote for one of four charities. Each month comes with a new slate of charities. It's great to drink for a cause.

Pic Of The Day - 08.27.14 - Watt?

I'm not sure that I would call this a plush toy but it sort of made me giggle because JJ Watt is a big guy (in a good way) and this is just a fraction of his size. I'm sure this will be a big seller!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.26.14 - National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day. It's a day to recognize our canine friends and all of the joy they bring to our lives. And in case you haven't figured it out, everyday is dog appreciation day for The Calvinator! This photo was snapped after he had finished his Frosty Paw and he wanted to play. Have you hugged your dog today?

Pic Of The Day - 08.25.14 - Dog Days Of Summer

The Calvinator was in a mood on Monday morning. I'm not sure what the mood was but he was intentionally blocking the hallway while I was trying to get ready. I'd step over him and he wouldn't move. I'd talk to him and he wouldn't move. And, the way he was positioned made him look like an inanimate, stuffed animal.

Pic Of The Day - 08.24.14 - Downtown

I went downtown on Sunday to check out the Theatre District Open House. Several venues were open to the public for a behind the scenes tour. Also, many of the arts organizations in Houston were showcasing their talent. My intent was to visit all of the venues but it was hot and I only made it to The Hobby Center and visited with my friends from TUTS. There was free parking in the garage and on my way back to the car, I got an up close look at the sculptures that are the entry ways to the park system along Buffalo Bayou.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And With Friends Like This...

...who needs enemies?
Question: How secure was her wig? She'd never make it in a hurricane. Question: How hard was water thrown? Question: And what kind of friend would throw a second round? I still laugh every time I see this. And I really do hope that she is OK.

But Then Dean Ditty Has Something To Say (NSFW)

The NSFW is for you M#$%*#r F*&^%rs who can't have profanity laced comments blared in your work space. This is funny and truthful all at the same time.
So did he take the challenge? Click here to find out.

And Then There's This:

Donatella Versace confronts the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

(Sexy) Ice Bucket Challenge - Dan Osborne

Dan Osborne bares it all for the cause.

Pic(s) Of The Day - 08.23.14 - Some Like It Marilyn

On Saturday evening, I went to see Marilyn: Forever Blonde presented by Brilliant Lecture Series. I wasn't quite sure of what to expect.

Sunny Thompson does a one woman show that consists of two acts.  The resemblance to Marilyn is stunning almost to point of being a good way.  I learned more about Marilyn and the show jolted some forgotten facts.

If the show comes to your town, I highly recommend that you see it.
One of my favorite views in Houston.  It is the grand foyer in the Wortham Center.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pic(s) Of The Day - 08.22.14 - RWB

I love going to parties that have themes! So...on Friday night I went to a Red, White & Blue party. I was a post-birthday celebration for Brian and pre-birthday celebration for John. They're always the most gracious hosts and are always opening up their home to guests and to non-profits for fundraisers. They're good eggs.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.21.14 - Summer Breeze

On Thursday evening's stroll with The Calvinator, there was a southern breezed probably coming in from The Gulf.  The Calvinator must have had his Wheaties because he was pulling me.  He loves to walk into the wind.  I snapped this photo just as we were turning around.  He is facing west so the breeze whipped up his fir.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.20.14 - Boogie Bear

The Calvinator was bathed, dried and fluffed at Dogtopia.  He obviously was feeling good about himself because he was strutting through the neighborhood on his evening stroll.

Many people have said he looks like a bear.  I've always called him my Boogie Bear.

Pic Of The Day - 08.19.14 - Happy Hour

It was a long day.  I left the house at 5:45a.m. and returned at 7:30p.m.  The Calvinator was at the spa.  Before I returned home, I did manage to have a few glasses of vino.  I deserved it.

Pic Of The Day - 08.18.14 - You Don't Bring Me Flowers

I worked late was leaving the office and spotted these on a co-worker's desk.  They're very autumnal and pretty.

P.S. I never get any flowers.  Just sayin' (hint, hint)

Pic Of The Day - 08.17.14 - It's Hard To Say "No"

So.  I went to buy some bottled water and I was going to buy some Smart Water because I need all of the help I can get but just as I was reaching for Smart Water I saw this Ozarka water with the Lone Star packaging.  Guess what I purchased?

Pic Of The Day - 08.16.14 - Now I Want A Funnel Cake

For months, I have been driving past this piece of public art on Montrose Blvd.  It is Funnel Tunnel by artist Patrick Renner.  It has a steel frame and the painted wood is reclaimed wood.  If you're in H-town looking for it, it is on the 1900 block of Montrose.  It's hard to miss.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.15.14 - I'm So Fancy

It's not everyday that I have lunch at place with chandeliers.  They're very fancy chandeliers at the Junior League.

Pic Of The Day - 08.14.14 - God Bless. Drink Beer.

It's quite obvious that sales reps from St. Arnold Brewing Company were at Kroger on W. Gray. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pic Of The Day - 08.13.14 - Some Like It Hot (or mild)

It's Hatch chile season!  Everywhere I go, there are chiles being sold, roasted and put into recipes.  This is a pic of part of a bin at Whole Foods.

Pic(s) Of The Day - 08.12.14 - Some Like It Blue Dog

This is a cake that has an image of George Rodrigue's Some Like It Hot.  Back in June when I was in New Orleans, Chree and I stopped at the gallery.  This was one of the selections available for purchase.  Chree fell in love with it.

One of the interns had this cake made for her birthday.  And...
later that evening at Tony's before the cotton candy arrived,

it was revealed that Chree IS the proud owner of a Blue Dog.

Side Note: The cotton candy photo caused quite a stir.  I posted it on my accounts and all of sudden, I was the one receiving happy birthday wishes.

Pic Of The Day - 08.11.14 - How Does Your Garden Grow (or stow)?

Made a quick trip to High Fashion Home to purchase a birthday present.  These are garden stools that can be used for a variety of things.  I really wish they had it in red or yellow because it would look great on the porch of The Calvinator's Crib.

Pic Of The Day - 08.10.14 - Postcard From San Antonio

Some photos of Hotel Havana and Calvin's last stroll on the Riverwalk before our departure from San Antonio.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pic(s) Of The Day - 08.09.14 - Postcard From San Antonio

The Calvinator and I didn't have any plans for Saturday so we just took the day as it happened. Hotel Havana is on the Museum Extension of the San Antonio Riverwalk so it is kind of quiet. We headed north and just strolled.

After a visit to Starbucks, I accidentally found a farmers market at Pearl Brewery. There were a bunch of dogs so I knew he would be welcome. After Pearl, I drove around the city and eventually made our way back to the hotel. It was a hot day in San Antonio so we enjoyed the dog days of summer and slept and relaxed.

Sunrise on the Riverwalk

View from the Riverwalk of Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

The Calvinator trying to decide if he should jump in and catch a duck.

The Municipal Auditorium has been repurposed and is now Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Pearl Brewery Farmers Market.

Aunt Pearl's Sausage Biscuits at Boiler House.

A mural on the Riverwalk.

The glass has a red film on it giving the hallway a pink hue.

Pics Of The Day - 08.08.14 - Postcard from San Antonio

Have you ever been in one of those moods where you just want to get away? Well, this mood swing started about a month ago. I was going to New Orleans with The Calvinator but then one thing lead to another and I decided to head west.

Based upon the recommendation of Marcus and Shannon, and upon further research, I booked a room at Hotel Havana.  I had never heard of it but the fact that they are dog friendly and not in the hub of everything Riverwalk, it sounded like the perfect place to get away...and it was.
The Calvinator trying out his bed.

The Calvinator checking out the San Antonio Riverwalk.

The Calvinator attended his first Happy Hour at Ocho at Hotel Havana.

Inside Ocho