DVDs & Blu-rays: The Double and Mockingbird

Categories: Film and TV

The Double stars Richard Gere, Topher Grace and Martin Sheen.

The Setup: Ex-spies, double agents, assassins, desk jockeys and a decades-old vendetta come together in The Double. Richard Gere is Paul, the ex-spy, and Topher Grace is Ben, the FBI desk jockey he's paired with to find a Russian assassin who's just killed a U.S. senator. Martin Sheen is Tom, the head of the CIA and the man who has tapped Paul for the mission. Just to be clear, this is not a buddy movie, it's a straight-up thriller.

We're not giving anything away by saying, yes, there is a double agent, but director Michael Brandt (who shares co-writing credits with Derek Haas) manages to keep the who and why of it all under wraps to the very end. Brandt doesn't throw in any misdirects; he gives us all the information we need to figure out what's going on. Still, no matter what you think you know, you haven't got the full picture until the credits start to roll.

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Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia Part 2: Guy Roberts on the Long Arc

Categories: Stage

Photo by www.RicOrnelProductions.com
The Coast of Utopia: (L-R) Nicholas Ogarev (Kregg Dailey), Vissarion Belinsky (Joel Sandel), Alexander Herzen (Joe Kirkendall) and Michael Bakunin (Guy Roberts)
The most annoying and in some ways enthralling character in Voyage, the first part of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia trilogy, is revolutionary Michael Bakunin.

In fact, there are some parts of him that are so unlikeable that it was difficult at first to play him, actor Guy Roberts told Art Attack.

If it hadn't been that there were two more parts to go -- the upcoming Shipwreck and Salvage -- in which other sides of Bakunin are revealed, Roberts said he wasn't at all sure that he would have undertaken the massive endeavor now ongoing at Main Street Theater, helmed by director Rebecca Udden.

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Dry Mouth? Two Texans Have the Cure

Categories: Random Ephemera

The Little Green Disc
Have you ever been "that guy" sitting in a quiet theater, watching a performance and out of nowhere you get a tickle in your throat? You try to swallow it away, but it grows and grows and all of a sudden you have a full-on coughing fit right when everything is super quiet. It happens to the best of us and usually at the most inopportune moments. It's not just dry mouth that plagues the audience members; it is an affliction for the performers as well.

Suffering from performance-induced dry mouth is what caused husband/wife team Jim Price and Kaitlin Hopkins to take matters into their own hands. Price and Hopkins have been members of the theater, film and television world for years. Hopkins has played roles in a slew of Broadway productions and currently runs the theater program at Texas State. Price's résumé is just as impressive, with runs on Broadway and off, as well as a long list of playwrighting credits; he currently heads the playwrighting department at Texas State. So what do two thespians with the constant affliction of performance-related oral issues do? They create their own lozenge, of course!

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Hone Your Game with Free Online Flirt Off

Categories: Gaming, The Web

flirt off talk screen.png
"I gronk to blerf you," she said before taking a sip from her green Solo cup.

Your palms are sweaty, he's glancing over your shoulder. Cue the "I have to pee," and off goes the attractive stranger you were trying to flirt with at the bar. Real-life flirting takes practice, but there's a free online game to help you build confidence before having to face the disappointment of actual rejection.

Flirt Off comes from low-res artist and game designer Diego Garcia a.k.a. Radstronomical, and the objective is simple: Keep a conversation going until your target's heart meter maxes out and then click "Go for it!" to move in for a kiss. Start by selecting a man or lady bod, each with a blond and brunette option, enter your name, a catchphrase (See: Sup, chickens?) and the name of a person you came to the party with. You also get to decide whether you want to flirt with a dude or a lady, then press 'Start!'

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Channeling Carlos Cruz-Diez at Goldesberry Gallery

Categories: Visual Arts

Photo by Meredith Deliso
New work by Edward Lane McCartney at Goldesberry Gallery.

With the vibrant, chromatic works on paper and plastic currently up at Goldesberry Gallery, you'd think Carlos Cruz-Diez was back in town. You'd only be half wrong.

This past spring, Edward Lane McCartney took a course with the Venezuelan kinetic and Op artist while he was in town for his MFAH run, and Cruz-Diez clearly left a strong impression. Since that time, McCartney has produced an impressive amount of work in paper and jewelry now on display at the Upper Kirby gallery in Shift.

Like Cruz-Diez, McCartney's works employ stacked lines of solid bold colors that play with light and movement. But the Houston artist breaks away from just rectangular blocks, creating sculptures in the shape of circles, like neon pinwheels or Rolodexes, and empire lampshades. His technique is also all his own, as he inserts sheets of blue, green, yellow and red paper between the pages of paperback books to create his lines of color. Though like Cruz-Diez's work, the resulting pieces aren't meant to be viewed straight on -- moving slightly to the right or left changes the color and shape of each one for a nifty optical effect.

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Pop Rocks: Everything's Coming Up Tyrion in the New Game of Thrones Season 2 Teaser

Categories: Film and TV

"My name is Robb Stark. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
"Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very long shadow."

HBO didn't waste any time capitalizing on Peter Dinklage's Emmy win for Best Supporting Actor. The character of Tyrion figures prominently in this latest preview for season 2 of Game of Thrones, which premieres April 1. The clip played in front of the Luck last night. Along with the teaser for the next season of True Blood.

I didn't see that one, however. I'm guessing there was skin. And fangs.

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5 Oddly Positive Acts Done By Batman Villains

Categories: Comics

We recently did a piece on the most heartbreaking video game deaths, and looking back over that list we noticed something odd. Of the five deaths featured, two were out and out villains, one was at best neutral in a global good-vs.-evil struggle, one was a hero but part of the heartbreak was that she managed to use a villain's love for her to kill them both, and the last was more of an antihero whose actions included fratricide.

What the point? It's basically that the modern world of fiction demands more of its antagonists than one-dimensional malice. We demand a human face to identify with, even as we're rooting for that face to get punched. Mulling this over, we began to explore the world of Batman and his incredible rogue's gallery. Despite his having arguably the most psychotic group of adversaries in history, even that group of wackaloons managed to pull through and do the occasional good deed.

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Artopia 2012: See What You Missed

Categories: MasterMinds

Photo by Marco Torres
Collaborative street art mural created especially for Artopia.
Check out a slideshow from Artopia at Winter Street Studios.

If you weren't at Artopia on Saturday, you missed a lot of really cool stuff, not limited to the first-ever performance by a MasterMinds Award winner (in this case, Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux of the Buffalo Soldiers Museum performing as Harriet Tubman) and an ephemeral mural by Houston's best street artists that is probably being painted over at this very moment.

But seriously, Artopia is always a fun, kick-ass event and this year was no exception. There's a reason it sells out. In addition to performances by local arts orgs, lots of cool stuff to look at on the walls, tasting menus from Houston-area restaurants and plenty of wine to keep the vibe going, it's also a chance for the Press to recognize the MasterMind winners, who represent growth and promise in the Houston art community.

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Guys Get Gussied Up: Michael Bruggeman's OM4Men Skin-Care Line Caters to 'Men of the World'

Categories: Fashion


There wasn't a cloud in the sky Saturday, but inside One Green Street, Sherry Eichelberger's organic oasis for skin, hair and fashion apparel, it was raining men.

Well, men's skincare, at least.

Michael Bruggeman was the man of the hour (or two), and, aided by a spread of delicious cheeses and the soulful croons of local acoustic artist John Curry, he preached the gospel of organic skin care to a roomful of well-gussied guys.

"I'm passionate about helping men understand the importance of skin care," Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman is one of the enlightened when it comes to male grooming, and he has created a four-product ("4 Products"), four-step ("4 Steps"), four-minute ("4 Minutes") system of organic skin care, OM4Men: Skin Care 4 Men of the World, that appeals to men of all ethnicities and skin types -- and even attention spans, as Bruggeman attests that the ritual can actually be completed in two minutes and 30 seconds.

"Men are tough," said the Wisconsin native, who admits running into a slight male resistance over the complex system and refusing a "one-size fits all" product after being asked if he could shorten his four steps into three. "They want it simple. They want it fast. They want it easy."

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Luck: "You Don't Know Your Own Depth"

Categories: Film and TV

Gus and Ace: All the best characters have one-syllable names.
When word came out that David Milch was working on another series for HBO, the inevitable question arose: Would we be getting the David Milch that created the densely lyrical, critically acclaimed Deadwood? Or the David Milch responsible for the incoherent John from Cincinnati? As it turns out, Luck represents neither. And both.

The narrative of Milch's series about horse racing is much more straightforward than JfC, though understandably less verbose than his series about that town in South Dakota. There's an ease to the proceedings, owing in no small part to his own well-documented history with the sport (Milch used to go with his father to Saratoga, where a waiter would run his bets for him; he also owns thoroughbred horses). The result therefore comes with a familiarity and accessibility perhaps absent from his earlier works.

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