The Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Fast Charging, Brilliant Screen Display and Fun for People Who Like to Handwrite Notes

Categories: Visual Arts

Ready to write the Great American Novel?
Welcome to the fast-charging world of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Being the proud possessor of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which has made it possible for me to play Angry Birds on a really big screen anywhere I go (yay!) and to stay in constant touch with my office (well), when our publication got the chance to try out the next generation of the same smart phone it made sense that I try it out.

What made even more sense was to share the assessment duties with my son Tim, a college student who loves all things electronic.

While Tim waxed poetic about 3GB RAM and 32GB of memory and that the "5.7 inch screen looks sharp and vibrant with 2,560 x 1.440 resolution..." I sidestepped the specifics to state at the screen which looked really clear with beautiful, sharp colors -- as good or better than HD TV.

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Earl Staley Tackles a Number of New Approaches in "The Resolution of Doubt"

Categories: Visual Arts

Photo courtesy of Zoya Tommy Gallery
Wonderer by Earl Staley
Earl Staley is not only a prolific artist, he is also a most inventive one, either re-inventing himself or tackling new approaches in his art, exhibition by exhibition.

His recent showing at Jung Center, "Reconstructions," combined traditional portrayals of Greco-Roman legends with abstract over-painting to create a wondrous method for showing the evolution of art, and himself, over a 30-year span.

Staley's new exhibition at Zoya Tommy Contemporary, titled "The Resolution of Doubt", is totally different, and includes a number of approaches within the same showing. His Wonderer suggests perhaps the chaos present as the physical world was formed, a vertical sliver of red controls the center, against a background of irregular blues and dark reds, while a pale green grape-shaped blob seems to have formed into something more definite. It is mysterious, and intriguing.

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Reviews for the Easily Distracted:

Title: Birdman

Is This A Sequel To Condorman? Yes, in the sense it's about a guy who played a bird-themed superhero in the movies. No, in the sense that -- unlike Condorman -- the movies in question grossed more than a buck-fifty,

Rating Using Random Objects Related To The Film: Three-and-a-half Judge Mentok the Mind-Takers out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Former superhero actor seeks validation (and an end to the voices in his head) on Broadway.

Tagline: [actually subtitle] "The Unexpected Value of Ignorance"

Better Tagline: "Batman vs. The Hulk! Sort of."

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The Best Comics in October Part 2: Edward Scissorhands Returns

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Yesterday we ran Part 1.

Goners #1: Jacob Semahn has an interesting new book out from Image about a famous demon-hunting family. There's not enough Belmont homages in the world for my tastes, and Semahn pulls out a great legacy showing exactly how something like an ancestral line of monster hunters might adapt to the modern world.

In this case they decide to start a reality television show. Good idea, but there's a reason they don't take TV crews into hostage negotiations and active battle zones most of the time. Needless to say, this idea goes quickly to shit.

It's honestly a little hard to follow this book. The dialogue is amazing, but the characters swirl in and out of recognition sometimes thanks to flashbacks and sudden appearances. It was also cool to see the bakaak (which I was raised to call the bay-kok) make a showing as a monster in a comic. The liver hunters always scared the crap out of me as a kid and aren't used nearly enough, in my opinion. Special love goes to artist Jorge Corona, who keeps things pulp but warm in his drawings.

Rating: 6 of 10

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Houston Stylist Shay Blaché's 'Hidden Closet' a Treasure Trove of Fashion

Categories: Style/Fashion

Photos courtesy of The Lenzz Photography
Model/stylist Shay Blaché of 'Hidden Closet'.
Model and stylist Shay Blaché doesn't follow any fashion rules but one: every look should be unique. A social worker by day, this stylist is a fashionista around the clock. "I change my look all the time," said Shay, dressed in a chic, patterned sheath dress and four inch black heels. "My co-workers are never sure who to expect on Monday! Maybe blond, maybe dark; maybe straight, maybe curly hair. I change up my own look a lot. I don't ever want to go anywhere and have another woman wear something I am wearing, and I don't want that for my clients, either. That's why I call my business the Hidden Closet."

When it comes to styling clients, Shay's keyword is also change, and finds it her mission to push them out of their comfort zone--but not too far. "I don't want to dress clients the way I would dress--I want to bring out their personality in the clothes I choose for them," explained Shay, who sends clients a questionnaire before the first consultation. "I want to know if they have pierced ears, where they shop, and even clothing materials and colors--and I like to know why they like something, or why they don't; that way, I can introduce things to them in ways they [accept]."

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100 Creatives 2014: Marc Boone, Sneaker Gang Founder and Designer

Categories: 100 Creatives

All photos courtesy of Marc Boone and Sneaker Gang
Marc Boone of Sneaker Gang
Marc Boone's a self-admitted sneaker-head. Boone grew up in what he calls "the hood," where he was "surrounded by thugs and drugs." He wasn't a member of a gang back then, but here recently he started one: the Sneaker Gang. The tag's a bit of a misnomer; Sneaker Gang is Boone's design firm specializing in street-wear fashion.

Given the culture that's grown up around sneakers, which can cost thousands of dollars and which have often been the target of thieves (including one cop recently busted for stealing sneakers), Boone often finds it necessary to say: "We're not condoning any gang related activities and we are not to be confused with one." He goes on to say, "we're affiliated" (a nice way of saying 'we got street cred but we aren't gangsters).

This story continues on the next page.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: The Noche de los Muertos Celebration, Byron Stripling and More

Categories: Top 5

From Marius
The 3rd Annual Mediterranean Film Festival adds films from Spain this year. Organized by the Houston-area consulates of Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Spain and Turkey, and in conjunction with Rice University Media Center, the festival screens several films from the region including an adult retelling of Snow White and what may be the first Christmas movie made in Turkey.

On Friday, there's an opening reception followed by the French film, Marius (6 p.m.). As the first film in Daniel Auteuil's remake of Marcel Pagnol's trilogy of plays, "Marius is a high-profile film...[and] a great costume drama," Dr. Charles Dove, cinema director at Rice University, tells us. Set in 1920s Marseille, the story follows Marius, a man with a wanderlust for the sea, and Fanny, the young woman who loves him.

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"Evidence" Shows Off a Variety of Work With Wit at d.m. allison gallery

Categories: Visual Arts

Photo courtesy of d. m. allison gallery
Allurement dominates with its colorful beauty
The d. m. allison gallery presents both emerging and established artists, and manages to exhibit a great number of works, somehow attractively arranged, in its fairly intimate space. Wit is often in play, as well as innovative approaches.

What is truly beautiful can be decorative as well, and can rise to the level of stunning art. Such is the case in this group show entitled "Evidence" with Allurement, by Erika Pochybova-Johnson. It is a portrait of a peacock, head turned, perhaps to admire its own magnificent multi-colored train. The colors are vibrant, gripping, and difficult to wrench one's eyes from - no wonder the peacock is straining to see.

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American Horror Story: Freak Show: The True Darkness

Categories: Film and TV

I can honestly say I have never seen an episode of any television show quote as perfect as last night's American Horror Story. It was a triumph of atrocity, and somehow it managed to have a happy ending on top of it.

It's the conclusion of the Edward Mordrake saga. Mordrake was an English gentleman with a second evil face that has since become the Death of Carnies. This allows him to guide us through some exposition on the lives of those in this Freak Show.

First things first; Mat Fraser should be in everything. What Peter Dinklage has done for little people Fraser is doing for the severely physically disabled. He owns every inch of scenery he is in, breaking the hearts of everyone that viewed as he recounts his life and the sad turns that brought him to the Freak Show. It was captivating television.

Rose Siggins as Legless Suzi also turned in a brief but unforgettable performance that would melt the coldest heart. All of these little back stories should feel sad and forced like they would in any other show, but here they throb and breathe and live. This is in no small part to the sheer brilliance of the cast of real human oddities that appear this season. Fraser and Siggins combine the classic figures of open-mouthed gawking of old with a 21st century attitude. I cannot possibly hope to see more from them.

All this is guided by the stately figure of Wes Bentley as Mordrake. He conjures a cloud of elegance all around him that takes his essentially corny premise and transmogrifies it into something almost Lugosi-esque. It's silly, but unbelievably compelling.

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The Best Comics in October Part 1: Harley Quinn Makes a Friend

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Check out Part 1 here.

Axis #3: Yet another X-Men/Avengers mega-event? It always seems weird to me that Marvel spends so much of its time making great personal stories but just can't seem to not have some mighty universe-wide arc going on every five minutes. It's literally like watching a Bryan Fuller drama and the third installment of a Michael Bay action franchise at the same time.

Where we are now in Axis is that the Red Skull has taken over the brain of Charles Xavier and has now unleashed Professor X's near-limitless psychic power to become Red Onslaught and start his Eternal Reich. In this he is aided by Iron Man's adamantium sentinels, designed as fail-safes against the world's heroes should they go rogue. The combined force of the X-Men and the Avengers is quickly decimated.

In a tremendous fight scene, Magneto leads an army of villains into the fray, including Carnage, Doctor Doom and the Absorbing Man. The huge battle is easily the best part of the book and a big reason why Marvel manages to keep pulling off the crossover events. Carnage alone is worth the cover price, as is Doom and Loki's bickering. This is supposed to be a series that shakes the Marvel universe to its core, and as annoying as that often is, it is also pretty fun.

Rating: 7 of 10

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