7 Texas Drive-In Theaters That You Can Still Visit

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Photo by Andrew Dupont
The Starlite in Brenham still stands as a reminder of the halcyon days of drive-in theaters

The Starlite Drive-In Theater lies abandoned just off of Highway 290 in Brenham, looking like a dead monument to a time long gone. Anyone taking that route between Houston and Austin will have seen the back of its single screen and a tall metal fence around the perimeter.

Scattered around America, there are many old drive-ins. Most are lifeless husks, either abandoned and slowly being claimed by the elements, or having been repurposed into something entirely different. In other cases, they're simply gone, demolished so the land they sat on could be redeveloped into something more profitable.

Those that have disappeared entirely are relegated to the memories of locals who can still remember going to see movies there, but as time goes on fewer people are around who went to movies when they were open for business. There's a definite ghostlike quality to those old, boarded up drive-in theaters. It seems that most of the ones still standing are usually scattered on the outskirts of small towns where land is plentiful, and not in high demand. There's no rush to buy the theaters, and in those cases they simply stand vacant, as a reminder of a long gone era of American entertainment.

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6 Best Places in Houston to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Categories: Pop Culture

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Photo by Daniel Hollister
"Hi, I'd like to talk to you about BRAINSSSSSSSS...."
Zombies are everywhere, finally seeping (as zombies are wont to do) out of a spectacularly violent sub-genre of horror films into mainstream popularity. As a longtime horror fan, this phenomena has been really surprising to me, but audiences everywhere have embraced the flesh-eating, reanimated dead.

One thing that zombie movies and television shows seem to bring out in most people is a game of "What would I do if this shit really happened?"

For some reason, the concept of a zombie apocalypse is appealing to many people. Perhaps watching a few episodes of "The Walking Dead" has led them to believe that they would prosper if zombies were really ambling around, munching on the brains of people too slow or stupid to walk quickly away from them. Assuming that they weren't the first to be ambushed and devoured or nipped on the hand by their former babysitter, many people play through scenarios in their heads figuring out the ways that they would stay alive while everyone else was turned into a panicking buffet for the hoards of multiplying corpses.

I've done it myself. Ever since watching the original Dawn of the Dead as a young teen, the idea of finding the perfect place to hunker down and survive a zombie apocalypse has crossed my mind a few times.

For the sake of fun, let's consider a few places in the Houston area that would be fit as locations to repel or at least hide from murderous, flesh eating zombies.

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Pop Rocks: Something Named Connor Franta (and His Association with O2L) Is Trending

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Connor Franta explains to his legion of YouTube fans he's "just a normal person."
"YouTube Celebrity." I read those words earlier today when checking out the trending topics on Twitter and trying to figure out why some kid named Connor Franta was dominating hashtags. I admit that I'm not up on every element of celeb gossip. In fact, it might be fair to say that my knowledge of it extends only as far as the trash magazines I buy my wife for trips to the beach and the weekend I spent as a stringer for US Weekly.

Still, when rumors about Beyonce and Jay-Z crop up or photos of Zac Ephron and Michelle Rodriguez getting hot and heavy appear in my Facebook trending stories feed, I'm aware of who these people are and may even know some of the back story. And when those things cross paths with sports or Internet nerdery, it triggers a part of my brain reserved for obscure statistics and trivia from sci-fi films. In short, I'm not completely clueless.

But, when #WeLoveYouConnor and other variations on this hashtag appeared on Twitter, I was stumped. First, to Google. No Wikipedia entry? That was surprising. I'm pretty sure one of my cats has a Wiki entry, so who is this guy who is so popular he can drive massive traffic on Twitter but not have some reference on the Encyclopedia Britannica of the web?


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Doctor Who: 5 Doctor Who Films That Were Never Made

Categories: Pop Culture

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When The Day of the Doctor was shown in theaters as part of the 50th anniversary celebration it was a huge success. In fact, it had the third-highest rated box office take of that day, which is doubly impressive considering you could stay home and see almost the exact same thing for free.

It's gotten plenty of folks interested in the idea of more cinematic outings. Perhaps a film with starring Paul McGann, whose Doctor has experienced a significant renaissance of late. Or maybe the Christmas specials could be regular holiday events at the movies. The possibilities are endless

Of course, there's not a good precedent for this sort of thing. Lots of people have tried to bring The Doctor to the big screen before, and almost none of the succeeded.

Flashback
Doctor Who: We Need Purely Historical Stories Again
Doctor Who:It's Time to Start Talking About a Female Doctor


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A Farewell to Gumbys: Monty Python Calling It Quits

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The Flying Circus in their heyday.
The surviving members of venerable British (plus one American) comedy troupe Monty Python are reuniting for a series of shows at London's O2 arena starting today. There will be ten performances total, featuring much more than mere re-enactments of their Flying Circus material:

In addition to famous Python skits, it will be a fully staged theatrical extravaganza with dancers and an orchestra. It will also feature a filmed appearance by Python Graham Chapman, who died in 1989, and a cameo for British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the Pythons said at a news conference.

The final show, on July 20, will be broadcast worldwide for the teeming hordes of you who won't be able to pop across the pond to see them live (tickets are still available, BTW). As I understand it, you'll be able to purchase tickets to see it streamed live in select theaters (go here for a list), with rebroadcasts on the 23rd and 24th. I also wouldn't discount the probability of a DVD release somewhere down the line.

As a lifelong Monty Python fan, this is bittersweet if not entirely unexpected news. Part of my childhood Saturday night viewing experience was watching Saturday Night Live, then switching over to PBS to watch the Flying Circus, and like many other nerdy adolescents, I annoyed the hell out of everyone in earshot with my ability to repeat entire Python movies from memory. It's the end of an era, and as such, I will reach back to my awkward teen years to share my favorite bits.

No, not those bits.


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Trying to Understand How the Modern Never Land All Fits Together

Categories: Books, Pop Culture

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Recently I bought my daughter the latest Tinker Bell movie, The Pirate Fairy. It's a good enough film, and one of the better in the series. The real reason I was excited is that Tom Hiddleston was playing a young version of Captain Hook. If the thought of Loki flying around with tiny winged pirates who use sewing pins as swords doesn't make you smile, then I can't help you.

But it's starting to bother me because there are three current adventure series in Never Land. There's the two proper Peter Pan movies, Tink's films, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. All three of them are vastly different but take place in the same setting and share characters. I've spent way more time than an adult should trying to figure out how it all fits.

First thing to remember is that fairies and Never Land have an intimate connection to our world, though they are separate. Fairies are born from the laughter of human babies, and I've shown elsewhere how Never Land is more or less created to be the afterlife of dead children.

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5 Ways The Incredibles Is Ayn Randian Propaganda

Categories: Books, Pop Culture

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Most adults love Pixar movies because Pixar movies are awesome. I'm not arguing that point. However, when you're an adult watching a Pixar movie you just kind of experience it like any other flick and go on about your business.

Once you have children you can now expect to watch any given film at least a dozen times in a row until you pray for the sweet release of death in order to not hear cartoon animals talk about friendship. In my house, my daughter has recently rediscovered The Incredibles, or as she calls it, The Amazing I-Man.

Somewhere between the eighth and the ninth run through last week I started to realize that the whole thing is really just a cartoonish representation of the ideas put forward in Atlas Shrugged. It doesn't mesh up perfectly, as we'll see, but sometimes it really is eerie how well the two works compliment each other.

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Get Your Steampunk on at ApolloCon 2014

Categories: Pop Culture

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ApolloCon, Houston's science fiction, fantasy and horror convention, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year at the DoubleTree Intercontinental Hotel. Unlike other pop culture conventions that bring in Hollywood stars as their big draw, ApolloCon is more of a "thinking person's con" that caters to crafters, writers, readers and makers.

Programming Director Angela Hardy promises an epic event. "This year, we have 60 programming participants and over 120 different events and panels spanning over three days," she says. This year's Guests of Honor are novelist and screenplay writer David Gerrold (perhaps most recognized for writing the Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles), artist Theresa Mather (known for her detailed sci-fi themed paintings on natural canvases such as feathers and rocks), Vampire Files author P.N. Elrod, ├╝ber playtester and gamer Al Griego and Jonathan "Skippy" Schwarz, of the Skippy's List and creator of Redshirts, a card game.

"Our scheduling is packed with a wide range of geeky panels and events that should pique varied interests," says Hardy. Panel topics range from thoughtful ("Medical Concepts In Science Fiction") to practical ("Intro to Corset Making") to downright whimsical ("Steampunk Ghost Hunting").

This story continues on the next page.


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Is the Word Faggot Still Offensive?

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Photo by Guillaume Paumier
The word "faggot" keeps popping up in the news, and each time it's taken just as poorly as the time before. Alec Baldwin used it derogatorily towards a photographer last year. John Lacy who was playing Big Daddy in a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was fired after an audience member screamed the slur at the stage during a performance and the actor jumped off the stage and got physical. And then earlier this month, actor Jonah Hill was caught on camera yelling at a paparazzo to "suck my d*ck, you faggot."

The last one surprised many as Hill is very open on his views of gay rights; he has been overtly supportive of the LGBT community.

Of course, after the incident, Hill went on a media blitz apologizing to everyone and their mom about how awful he felt, and he really didn't mean it, and he hoped that everyone would forgive him and go see his new movie 22 Jump Street.

Regardless of how sorry he is that it happened, or that he got caught, the incident raises a few questions. Firstly, where does this word even come from and why is it so offensive?

And, wait, is it still offensive?

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10 Best Buddy Cop Duos (Including One Trio) to Date

Categories: Pop Culture

It's always the same story... two very different cops... are forced to be partners and despite their differences--they wind up friends and take down the big bad guy. Like so many movie formulas this is a common one, but in spite of its predictability most of these buddy cop films are pretty awesome in their own unique way.

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21 Jump Street

Jenko & Schmidt in '21 Jump Street'
With the theater release of '22 Jump Street' last week, it's only appropriate that I start with these two lovable goofballs. Originally I was skeptical about how teaming up beefcake Channing Tatum with a very non-sexy Jonah Hill (sorry!) was going to work, but this pair proved me wrong as two rookies forced to partner up and go undercover as high school students. Watching these two try to adjust to a modern day high school, which now includes 'hipsters' and skinny jeans, is hilarious on its own, but it's really the 'opposites attract' bromance that forms between these dudes that makes this flick funny.

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