Tenor Stephen Costello Withdraws From Cosi, Norman Reinhardt Will Do Double Duty in Two Operas

Categories: Breaking News

Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera
Norman Reinhardt
Proving that real-life opera can be as dramatic as the tumultuous scenes and lives it portrays, Houston Grand Opera has just announced it is making a last-minute switch of one of its lead singers in its upcoming production of Cosi fan tutte.

Stephen Costello, last seen here as the duke in last season's HGO production of Rigoletto, has had to withdraw due to illness, HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers announced. "We wish Stephen Costello a speedy recovery."

Instead, tenor Norman Reinhardt will sing the role of Ferrando. He happened to be in town because he's singing the role of Cassio in Giuseppe Verdi's Otello which starts next week.

Now he'll be singing both roles -- a pretty daunting proposition and one that has HGO officials saying that there will be no advance interviews with him while he takes special care of his voice.

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Breaking: Watching Movies Can Give You Unrealistic Expectations About the Real World

Seriously, fuck this guy.
I've been a horror movie fan since I was old enough to sneak into the living room and turn on the TV after my parents were asleep. I used to keep myself up nights imagining vampires lurking just out of sight in my closet, or that hungry reptiles lived beneath the floorboards of my house, just waiting for the right moment to drag me screaming to my doom (thanks Channel 39, for repeatedly airing that trailer during Battle of the Planets at 4 PM).

I still watch them, but I've maintained for years that one big reason I'm not really bothered by horror movies is because -- with a few exceptions -- the everyday atrocities we humans visit upon ourselves are more shocking or brutal than most directors are capable of.

Case in point, the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian high school girls by West African Islamic terrorists. The group, Boko Haram (loosely translated as "Western education is forbidden"), intends to sell (or has already sold) the girls into "marriage" for about 12 American dollars. It's heartbreaking and infuriating and there isn't a goddamn thing anyone can do about it.

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No More Issues: Houston's Only Magazine Store Closes Today

Categories: Breaking News

Photo by Flickr user blackbiscuits
I was sad to hear, a few weeks ago, that Houston's only magazine store, Issues, would be closing at the end of the year. But I was even more dismayed to find out, while at lunch with a friend yesterday, that the store's final day is actually today.

If you're like me and have been procrastinating that final visit, they'll be open until 9 p.m., but after the holiday, Issues will be no more. One source told me the store -- which shared some prime South Shepherd real estate with Azur Salon, a Kumon tutoring school and the Neptune Society ("America's Trusted Cremation Provider since 1973") -- lost their lease. An employee at Issues did not want to confirm that information, and we are still waiting on a return call from Issues owner Bang Tran, who was not at the store yesterday.

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Caroline Collective is Officially Closed

Courtesy of Caroline Collective
After five years, Caroline Collective, Houston's largest co-working space, is saying goodbye. Sadly for its members, the time came sooner than expected. Last week, a shooting that occurred outside of the studio space, which is nestled along the quiet, tree-lined Caroline Street in the Museum District, put Caroline's inevitable closure on the fast track. Ned Dodington, co-founder and director, had hoped they could stretch the space's end into the next month, but the majority of the staff no longer feels safe since the incident. Caroline Collective is officially closed to the public as of yesterday.

Dodington and his team always knew that this day was inevitable. When Caroline opened, it was under a five-year lease with the consideration that the building was always for sale. As long as the owners of the property had the building, Caroline was welcome. However, over the past two years Caroline Collective was on a month-to-month lease playing something of a waiting game.

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Ryan Gosling Temporarily Retires from Acting Under Weight of His Own Sexiness

Categories: Breaking News

Last week, while we were all worried about whatever the fuck (North Korea, Macklemore & Lewis, the Astrodome), it was revealed that actor Ryan Gosling was taking a break from acting -- semi-retirement -- to spend some time away from "himself."

Some intrepid Brits have created a hotline, "The Gosline," for depressed Gosling fans to call into to listen to lines from his films, and to waste money.


TRAILER PARK: Ryan Gosling, Motorcycles, Guns and Bradley Cooper

For us normals, it is hard to fathom. Who just walks away from such a fulfilling craft as big-time Hollywood acting? This should be cause for worry, except that Gosling is temporarily taking leave of acting as Ryan fucking Gosling, with millions of dollars and with most white women ages 18 to 35 willing to set their houses on fire to touch his abs.

If you remember, back in 2011 Gosling brought up retirement himself in press interviews for Drive, pointing to burnout from having worked since he was 12.

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Houston Symphony Announces New Music Director: Andres Orozco-Estrada

Categories: Breaking News

Andres_Orozco-Estrada 560.jpg
Photo by Martin Sigmund
The Houston Symphony has announced Andres Orozco-Estrada as the music director designate, replacing the outgoing Hans Graf in the 2014-2015 season. The Colombian born conductor is just 35 years old, less than half as old as the orchestra which is set to celebrate its centennial season. Orozco-Estrada trained at the Vienna Music Academy before going on to conduct the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein. He is currently the Music Director of the Tonkünstler Orchestra and serves as Principal Conductor of the Basque National Orchestra (Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi) in San Sebastián, Spain.

Mayor Annise Parker, one of the dignitaries on hand at Jones Hall to welcome Orozco-Estrada during a noon press conference, told him, "You are the right person for this job, a perfect fit for the city." Giving Orozco-Estrada a crash course in what he'll need as a Houstonian, Mayor Parker suggested he get a pair of boots, a cowboy hat and a belt buckle large enough to use as a dinner plate if need be.

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Your 2013 Golden Globes Liveblog: Revenge Of The Golden Bozos

"We're not forcing it at all! Honest!"
I hate to go all deja vu on you, but just like last year, the Golden Globes are taking place the same days as a Houston Texans divisional playoff game. And like last year, the Texans are going home while the Patriots and Ravens play for the AFC Championship.

So I want to welcome everyone to drown their sorrows and livers in what proves every year to be the booziest awards celebration: the Golden Globes. Once again, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has cast its net as wide as possible in order to ensure as many people attend to afford them autograph opportunities.

Let's do this. I can only get drunker.

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UPDATED "Picasso Vandal" Uriel Landeros Turns Himself In

Categories: Breaking News

Uriel Landeros: A fugitive no more.
Uriel Landeros, who fled Houston after vandalizing Pablo Picasso's Woman in a Red Armchair last June at the Menil Collection -- and then gloated about it on social media -- has surrendered to authorities.

According to several news reports, U.S. Marshals took Landeros into custody at the international bridge in McAllen during an arrangement orchestrated by Landeros's lawyer, Emily Detoto. News wires are also reporting that Landeros is currently being held at the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and could be extradited to Harris County soon.

Art Attack reached out to the Menil Collection on Tuesday night for a reaction, but they declined to comment. "We have none for now," says Vance Muse of the Menil. "[We] need to know more of what has actually happened or will happen."

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Rest In Peace: Nekst, Houston's Most Successful Graffiti Artist

Photos by Marco Torres

To be successful in this crazy world, a person needs to have talent and determination. Some individuals exhibit natural talent, but are limited by their lack of drive. Others are blessed with a sense of purpose and a strong work ethic, but lack the talent that is required to achieve those goals. To have both is a gift that is reserved for only the most special examples of humanity.

And now, one of those special ones has passed on.

His name was Nekst. He was the most successful Houston artist that most outside of the graffiti world have never heard of. His style was bold. "My work has always been about scale and visibility," he once stated in an interview. For each of his pieces, his choice of structure, colors, size and location was always meticulously planned, legible and in high traffic areas.

In the graffiti world, there is a status pyramid. At the bottom you have the Toys, beginners to graffiti who have not yet earned respect nor established their art or name beyond a fundamental/amateur level. At the top, you have the Kings, who have established themselves as the best of the best through years of hard work, determination, talent and aligning themselves with other great graffiti writers.

Nekst was an All-City King. Everywhere he went, he did it big and owned the city with his graffiti. He started here in Houston. His crew here is/was DTS (Def Threats). He went on to New York City, but also hit New Orleans, San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and many other great cities along the way. He became part of the MSK crew (Mad Society Kings), which includes some of the best and most notorious graffiti artists in the world. He began writing his name as Next in 1996, then evolved to Nekst.

Perhaps his best and most traditionally artistic work was done during a six-month detention in a Dallas-area prison, during which he drew dozens of touching and contemplative portraits of his fellow prison inmates with simple pencil and paper.

We offer our condolences to his family and crew. May he forever rest in peace.

"At this point I just tell people I'm from America. I've lived in and painted in every region in this country. I've been writing graffiti for 18 years and have always been significant to every city I've lived in. I try to make sure that what I make is as large as possible and always legible. I feel like you aren't succeeding if you arent making civilians want to start painting. " - Nekst

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Houston Artist Natalie Irish Appears on Conan, Paints a Coco Portrait (W/VIDEO)

Photo By Kristie Barron
Social media was all a-buzzin' last night as Houston lip print artist Natalie Irish appeared as a special guest on Conan, painting a portrait of a virile, masculine Conan O'Brien cradling a guitar, natch.

The Pearland-bred Irish was the subject of a cover story for us here at the Press just a few years back in which writer Mandy Oaklander profiled the artist and her husband, Dennis Bateman, who live near Manvel.

REWIND -- Cover Story: Natalie Irish Paints With Her Lips

Almost immediately her Facebook, Twitter and professional sites lit up, and Irish even applauded her newfound fans for crashing her site.

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