2015 Houston Firefighters Calendar Premieres October 10

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Firefighters out on the street, covering blazes, are almost always kitted out in boots, helmet, heavy gloves and figure-concealing coats.

Once a year, all that comes off, though, to benefit the the non profit Houston Fire Fighters Burned Children Fund. Twelve models grace the pages in the hopes that by unveiling all that eye candy underneath the protective gear, they can raise money for the fund and the children it serves.

This Friday, the 25th Anniversary Silver Edition of the Houston Fire Fighters Calendar will be unveiled complete with appearances and signings by some of its models at an 8 p.m. event at Whiskey River Houston at 7637 FM 1960.


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A Banned Books Week Celebration at Brazos Bookstore, and Thanks, Highland Park High!

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Read deeply, read dangerously -- celebrate Banned Books Week!
What banned book are you reading this week? Salinger's Catcher in the Rye is always a favorite, along with Things Fall Apart, The Grapes of Wrath and Brave New World. You know, the classics. NBD. If you're fresh out of banned titles, a high school in Dallas helped us all out this week by offering up seven more options by pulling the following books from any classroom: Siddhartha, Song of Solomon, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, The Glass Castle, An Abundance of Katherines, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Art of Racing in the Rain. Thanks, Highland Park High!

For those of us with Very Dangerous Taste in Books, the celebration is going on all week long over at Brazos Bookstore, where they will cap off the week with their annual "Read Dangerously" party on Saturday, September 27 -- and you're invited.

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Dallas Author Merritt Tierce's Love Me Back a Tour de Fierce for Female Protagonists

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The word "unflinching" appears frequently in reviews of author Merrit Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back; so do words like "searing," "raw," and "unrelenting." The book follows its protagonist Marie through one bad decision after another, leaving the reader to wonder why? Of course, the book isn't just about "why" but about "who"--who is Marie, and why are we more curious about the answer to that question than she is?

Tierce created Marie in her own image, drawing on her own tumultuous years working in the restaurant industry. If you've ever worked in foodservice, the (mostly) afterhours sex- and drug-fests in which Marie seeks refuge may not be as shocking as they are familiar.


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Houston Film Critics Society Hosts David Fincher Double Feature at the Alamo Drafthouse

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Brad Pitt (and his abs) star in "Fight Club."
This Saturday, September 27, the Houston Film Critics Society is hosting a David Fincher double-feature at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park:

Join us for two back-to-back films from one of our great modern directors. We're showing FIGHT CLUB, an adaptation of the once-thought unadaptable novel from Chuck Palahniuk - a film that pummeled its way into audience's psyches, changing everything we thought we knew about reliable narrators, male bonding and social satire. It's inventive, heart-racing, breathless filmmaking that became an instant cultural mainstay. The first rule of FIGHT CLUB is that everybody talks about FIGHT CLUB.

And we're pairing it with a special SURPRISE SCREENING of another Fincher title to be announced later. But c'mon: it's Fincher. You guys can trust us.



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"45 Days: Explore the Arts in Houston" Initiative About Halfway Through Its Run

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Photo courtesy of Houston Arts Alliance
Houston Cinema Arts Festival
More than two weeks into this year's "45 Days:Explore the Arts in Houston" initiative, Jonathon Glus, president and CEO of the Houston Arts Alliance, says the campaign "to drive cultural tourism and to drive people who already partial to the arts to do something new " is working well.

"The response has been great. More than 50 organizations are participating.," Glus says. They've been encouraging an Instagram program through social media, asking people to send in their photos of themselves having fun at arts events.

The program's efforts seem to be working, Glus says and the crossover factor -- where someone interested in one type of arts attends others -- is especially high in Houston. And he and his office later provided statistics to back that up:


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Don't Worry, Rene Steinke's Novel Friendswood Is Not About You

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Photo by Michelle Ocampo
The inspiration for her novel Friendswood came when author Rene Steinke was back visiting friends in her hometown of the same name. "They were talking about a neighborhood on the edge of town that had to be demolished," explained Steinke. "It was close to an old oil refinery where chemicals had been dumped in a field for decades." Her friends were referring to the real-life Brio Superfund site, which Steinke thought made for an excellent jumping off point for a new book.

"[My friends] were talking about how this place had become something of a ghost town. I was fascinated by the stories they were telling. My friends knew someone who had lost their home, another person who had cancer, and someone else who was related to [a refinery owner]." The interconnectedness intrigued Steinke, who saw potential in a setting where all of the characters' fates are so intertwined, that there would be repercussions for all in the end.

Steinke will present Friendswood at Brazos Bookstore on Thursday, October 9, at 7 p.m.

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Houston's Newest Woodhouse Day Spa Location Opens September 20 in Tanglewood

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Photo by Lubyanka
Attention writers--you need this.
In which I show up for a tour, and receive a luxurious, complimentary volcanic massage.

Located at the corner of Bering and San Felipe, Houston's newest luxury day spa is preparing for its grand opening on September 20. A modest sign hangs along the San Felipe side of the building, but the spa itself is accessed, quietly, from the interior court of the building where Dish Society is also located.

Upon entering, a friendly staff is ready to greet spa patrons in the combination reception and retail boutique area. At this point, it's important to resist the shelves full of Skinceuticals, Clarisonic, and other luxury bath and body products--proceed to the counter for pampering, and shop later.

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Incendium Gallery Gathers Houston Jewelry Artists to Show Off Local Flare at WhiteSpace

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Irrepressible by Houston jewelry artist Melanie Hoo. Hoo's work is among that of nine artists showing with Incendium Gallery on Friday, September 12.
When Goldesberry Gallery closed a few years ago, local jewelry artist Ruth Brenton felt a gap open up in the local arts scene. "They were around for many years, and were a great supporter and resource," Brenton recalled. "After the owners retired, no one stepped into that niche." As time passed, Brenton felt that it was time for a personal transition, and the idea to start her own gallery took hold. Hoping to step into the void left by Goldesberry's exit, Ruth created Incendium Gallery and kicked it off with a premier at this year's White Linen Nights, showing the work at WhiteSpace Houston, where "Local Flare" will also be held.

"We had a focused show on Jan Arthur Harrel's work. She's a great enamellist, and very well-known in that segment of the art world," said Brenton. "She's taught enameling at Glassell for many years. Her work showed beautifully in the space, and it's kind of full steam ahead now."

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Politics Aside: Senator Wendy Davis Signing Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir at Brazos Bookstore on September 13

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Maybe you #StandWithWendy, maybe you don't, but on Saturday, September 13, you'll have the chance to stand in line to meet her at Brazos Bookstore. Senator Wendy Davis will be signing copies of her highly-anticipated new book, Forgetting to be Afraid: A Memoir, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and the event was an anticipated sell-out before it was even announced.

"The book is coming out next week, and there is a lot of excitement about it," said Brazos manager Jeremy Ellis. "We certainly expect a huge crowd, which is why we are limiting tickets to one per person." Ellis anticipates about a thousand tickets will be sold for the two-hour event, and is urging patrons to order tickets early to ensure a spot in line. Tickets are $27.95, and include a copy of the senator's memoir; a second copy of the book may be reserved and purchased, but tickets are strictly limited to one per person.

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Houston Theater District's Open House and Our Theater Awards Issue

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Photo by Marie Noelle Robert
For entry level opera-goers: Sweeney Todd
Besides the ballet, the theater companies and the symphony, this year's 21st Annual Theater District Open House will feature food trucks in Jones Plaza, tango lessons from the Society for the Performing Arts and has expanded to include Bayou City Music Center and Bayou Place (known rather more for their rock music than classical works).

And even though Alley Theatre has moved to a temporary home at the University of Houston where its first show of the season The Old Friends opens Wednesday, its personnel will still be on hand to show visitors through its production rooms to plumb the mysteries of costumes and wigs and rehearsal halls.

Perryn Leech, acting board chair of the Houston Downtown Alliance and Houston Grand Opera's managing director, says this year as always gives visitors an up-close-and personal (and free!) look at the Houston arts scene with the added benefit of being able to sign up for discounted subscriptions. "There are good bargains to be had," he says.

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Tying in to all the occasion, the Houston Press this week presents its annual Houston Press Arts Guide as well as the third year of our Houston Theater Awards, in which we draw attention to what we believe were the outstanding theatrical performances in our city during the 2013-14 season.


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