Category Archives: Houston Activities

FIRST ANNUAL HOUSTON TEA FESTIVAL

texas-tea-festival-logo-385-x-592Don’t be late for a very important date! The First Annual Houston Tea Festival will take place on the scenic campus of the University of Houston – Clear Lake (Bayou Building Atrium II, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77062) on February 20 and 21, 2016 with the theme of Alice in Wonderland. This inaugural event will celebrate the world’s most popular beverage, tea, with tastings, samples, expert speakers, demonstrations and workshops, local vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, and more fun for the whole family.

Pearland’s own The Drink Station will be represented at the festival.

Highlights of the First Annual Houston Tea Festival will include a Mad Hatter Murder Mystery Dinner, a Sunday afternoon tea service, a movie screening of the documentary All in this Tea, an Alice in Wonderland costume contest, and a Lolita fashion show. This year’s keynote speaker will be America’s foremost authority on tea and recipient of the 2015 John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award, James Norwood Pratt.

Other notable speakers will include author Babette Donaldson; editor of TeaTime Magazine, Lorna Reeves; editor of Texas Tea Time Magazine, Lee Garcia; Secretary of U.S. League of Tea Growers, Mark Adams; Noli Ergas of Sugimoto Teas; and general manager of Tealet, an international tea farmers’ alliance, Rie Tutali.

The festival is presented by Lone Star Houston Tea Festival, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is co-sponsored by Waterfall Teas, PlumDeluxe Teas, TeaTime Magazine, Earlene Grey, Fresh Cup Magazine, Greensheet, KidsOutAndAbout Houston, The Tea House Times; Centerpoint Body, Mind and Spirit Houston, Houston Entrée, Indigo Sun, May Zest Tea Company of Taiwan, Natural Awakenings Magazine of Houston, Natural Awakenings Magazine of Southeast Texas, and The Tea Mistress, LLC.

Volunteers are needed during the festival. Volunteers will receive free admission to the festival and a swag bag containing giveaways from sponsors and vendors. Select sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Ticket Prices are $12 per day, $20 for both days in advance and $15 per day, $25 for both days at festival entrance. Additional information on tickets to special events including documentary screening, tea parties, and VIP admission can be found on the festival website at http://www.houstonteafestival.com. Free parking is available in Lots D1-4 and Lot R on the university campus.

Pearland resident and ex-NFL player invites community to ‘Dugout Dialogue with A.J. Hinch’

PRESS RELEASE

AJPearland insurance agent and ex-NFL player Albert “A.J.” Johnson is part of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in the greater Houston area. PCA is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

Johnson invites all interested parties to participate in “Dugout Dialogue with [Houston Astros Manager] A.J. Hinch” on Wednesday Feb. 10 at the Diamond Club in Minute Maid Park, located at 501 Crawford St. in Houston, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Hinch will be discussing coaching, sportsmanship, character and more regarding today’s athletics.

Sponsorships are available, ranging in price from $200 – $7,500, and all proceeds will benefit Positive Coaching Alliance – Houston.

For more information or to sign up for a sponsorship, visit HoustonPositiveCoach.com or contact Johnson at albert_johnson@positivecoach.org or call (281) 733-9936.

The Blue Angels are back in town

Two representatives with the Blue Angels came to Houston Thursday (Jan. 7) to meet with key Wings Over Houston Airshow staff and support personnel to begin planning the 2016 show, which will take place on Oct. 22 – 23 at Ellington Airport.

For the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Airshow will also feature a special tribute to the men, women and machines that trained and fought during WWII.

For more information, visit http://wingsoverhouston.com/.

Houston Auto Show returns Jan. 27-31

vcsPRAsset_3025822_60748_75252edb-05b0-4be3-8572-9dcd6145a6a7_0The 2016 Houston Auto Show is Texas’ first opportunity to see the latest and greatest in automotive innovation, January 27 through January 31, 2016 at NRG Center. More than 700 of the newest model year import and domestic vehicles, concept cars and even classics, along with extreme dirt road kings, modified vehicles and ultra-luxuries, will all be on display, covering the entire 700,000 square feet of NRG Center, in a truly Texas-sized event.

The Houston Auto Show, produced by the Houston Automobile Dealers Association and presented by the Houston Chronicle, features 30-plus car makers and offers an opportunity to test drive more than 70 vehicles all in one place. Manufacturer participants include; Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, JEEP, Kia, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lincoln, Lotus, Mazda, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo.

The newest additions for the 2016 show include a modified Camp Jeep with a dirt track, an interactive social media wall and more aftermarket vendors than ever before. This year’s entrance includes an Extreme Off-Road Parkway, featuring vehicles with specialty adaptations.

“The Houston Auto Show is one of most anticipated vehicle events of the year for people interested in purchasing a new car or just admiring the beauty of the automotive industry,” said Wyatt Wainwright, president of HADA. “It is the only place car buyers can see, touch and drive the widest variety of vehicles without the pressure of buying today.”

Vehicles debuting at the Houston Auto Show that are just barely arriving to dealerships include:

  • 2017 Ford Raptor
  • 2017 Ford Escape
  • 2017 Lexus GSF Sport
  • 2017 Lotus Evora 400
  • 2016 Nissan Sentra
  • 2016 Nissan Altima

Attendees will also get a chance to admire the following brand new vehicles plus more:

  • Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
  • BMW i8
  • Cadillac CT6
  • Fiat Abarth
  • Ford 2017 Super Duty Truck
  • Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
  • Hyundai 2017 Elantra
  • JEEP Renegade
  • Lamborghini LP700 Roadster

The Aftermarket Expo of the Houston Auto Show includes everything from the exotic to the extreme, from ultra-luxury to off-road and everything in between. New to the aftermarket areas this year is Canada’s Campagna Motors, the world leader in three-wheel motorcycles and the creators of the T-Rex. EVS Motors, who cater to the most discriminating auto enthusiasts, will once again display one-of-a-kind dream cars fresh from their Performance Studio. MSR Houston returns with new partner, Fittipaldi Exotic Driving. Sports Car Club of America will display a Formula Mazda racecar and Allout Off-road will present a half million-dollar H1 Hummer on tracks.

For true admirers of automation, the Houston Auto Show will also exhibit more than 75 classic vehicles throughout the lobby of NRG Center and in a specialty section called ‘Seldom Seen Classics.’ This area includes rare finds such as the 1954 Kaiser Darrin, a 1957 Oldsmobile J2 and even a fully restored 1927 Model T “barn find.”

The 2016 Houston Auto Show at the NRG Center is open daily, Wednesday, Jan. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 31.  Show hours are:

  • Wed. – Fri.: Noon – 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Adult tickets are $12 and $5 for children 6 to 12 years old when accompanied by an adult. Coupons for $2 off are available online and at participating Houston area new car dealerships. For more information, visit www.houstonautoshow.com.

Comedienne Kathleen Madigan to perform at Revention Music Center Center Jan. 15

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Courtesy of Kathleen Madigan

Kathleen Madigan is no newcomer to comedy. She has been performing for 25 years in clubs, on television and for the USO.

Madigan has performed on Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson and, most recently in 2015, on the new “The Nightly Show” with Larry Wilmore. She also recently filmed her fifth appearance on “Ron White’s Salute To The Troops,” which set to air in the spring of 2016 on CMT.

Madigan will be bringing her, “Wise-cracking best friend, office worker or martini-swilling mother-in-law” comedy to the Revention Music Center on Jan. 15.

Madigan was nominated for a 2014 American Comedy Award for Best Concert Comic and her third hour-long special, Madigan Again, which iTunes named one of the Best Comedy Albums of 2013, premiered exclusively on Netflix to rave reviews.  She’s released five CDs, three DVDs and has starred in a Netflix special, a Showtime special, two HBO specials and three Comedy Central specials.

Madigan has a long history in Houston. “I used to work the Laff Stop,” she says. “I love that Houston is so random and vague. It’s not so structured, like Dallas,” Madigan said.

So, what’s her favorite thing about H-Town? “Houston has the best late-night Mexican food in the country!” Madigan exclaimed. “I’m not talking about any crappy drive-thru, either. I mean places you can sit down at two in the morning and have a great meal,” she added.

Madigan regularly performs overseas for the USO. “It’s so weird to think that ISIS now occupies some of the cities we performed in,” she said.

Madigan had the pleasure of performing with the late Robin Williams for the USO in 2012. “Unfortunately, no one filmed it,” Madigan said. “The base was actually bombed while were performing. The soldiers didn’t even flinch, so we kept going,” she added.

Madigan will present new material at The Revention Music Center. “If you liked the movie, ‘Arthur,’ but you don’t remember why, then you should come to the show!” she said.

For tickets and information, visit ReventionMusicCenter.com. To learn more about Kathleen Madigan, visit KathleenMadigan.com.

WIN: Don McLean and Judy Collins at Arena Theatre

Win two tickets to see Don McLean and Judy Collins!!

McLeanCollinsThe Arena Theatre proudly presents two enduring icons of the folk movement of the sixties and early seventies in one concert: Don McLean and Judy Collins on Friday January 29, 2016!

Don McLean

“American Pie”: https://youtu.be/5QUYvRaQ4XM

“Vincent”: https://youtu.be/4wrNFDxCRzU

Don McLean is one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters and is forever associated with his classic hits “American Pie,“ ”Vincent (Starry Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air,” “And I Love You So” and “Crying”. Since first hitting the charts in 1971, Don has amassed over 40 gold and platinum records world-wide and, in 2004, was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by artists from every musical genre, most notably Madonna’s No. 1 recording of “American Pie” in 2000 and George Michael’s version of “The Grave” in 2003, sung in protest at the Iraq War. In 2007, Don McLean shared his life story in Alan Howard’s biography, The Don McLean Story: Killing Us Softly With His Songs. In June 2011 Don performed for an audience of 100,000 at the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. Don’s new album “Botanical Gardens” is set to be released, including the Youtube hit “Waving Man.“

Judy Collins

“Both Sides Now”: https://youtu.be/A7Xm30heHms

“Send in the Clowns”: https://youtu.be/KCE-Bijdvv0

Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.

The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy’s dreamy and sweetly intimate version of “Send in the Clowns” won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

Judy began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy, but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. In 1961, she released her masterful debut, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow.” As a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, she brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.

This year she released her first studio album in four years, “Strangers Again,” with a cast of icons and young talents from Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne and Jeff Bridges to Glen Hansard, Ari Hest and Bhi Bhiman.

WIN two tickets to see these legends LIVE at the Arena Theater on January 29! Email us and you will be entered to WIN!

Contest ends at noon on Monday January 25, 2016. One email per person please. Email must contain a valid phone number and first and last name. You will be notified via email if you win. Tickets will be delivered the week of January 25.

Tickets courtesy of Turn To Productions, LLC.

First annual SpaceCom sparks partnerships and collaboration, securing position as largest commercial space event in world

PRESS RELEASE

SpaceCom mainHOUSTON – Results from the first annual SpaceCom (Space Commerce Conference and Expo) reveal a great desire and need to harness space technology for practical business application and innovation across multiple industries. More than 1,700 professionals representing the aerospace, financial, energy, medical, maritime, satellite communications and advanced manufacturing industries registered for the three-day event, which took place Nov. 17-19 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

“SpaceCom surpassed expectations from attendees, sponsors and exhibitors with its cross-industry collaboration and exchanges,” said James Causey, executive director for SpaceCom. “The event also served as a catalyst for developing a sustainable, commercial space market that is not reliant on NASA as the sole customer. To that end, it was evident just walking the exposition floor that new industry relationships and partnerships were made around every corner.”

Satellite Applications Catapult CEO Stuart Martin commented in his November 18 keynote, “in the last 24 hours, SpaceCom has become the premier event for the commercial space industry.”

Highlights from SpaceCom 2015 include:

  • Attendees representing 37 states and 23 countries, with delegations from the United Kingdom and Italy
  • 100+ booths showcasing innovative and collaborative products and services
  • More than 50 media representatives from around the world
  • Taped address from Sen. Ted Cruz and two feeds from astronauts aboard the International Space Station
  • Keynotes from  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, Satellite Applications Catapult CEO Stuart Martin, Royal Dutch Shell CTO Yuri Sebregts, and author Chris Impey
  • Unique exposition floor with an opening reception, Innovation Theater, VIP Meet and Greets, NASA Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) and show floor tours
  • First-ever Commercial Spaceport Summit with representatives from 14 international spaceports

Causey continued, “2015 will be noted as a watershed year for a new era of space commerce. The enactment of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act and the successful launch and landing of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard followed within days of our inaugural event”

Plans are set for SpaceCom 2016, which will take place Nov. 15-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Companies can reserve sponsorships and booth space by contacting spacecomsales@ntpshow.com. Registration will open in the spring of 2016. For more information about SpaceCom, visit www.spacecomexpo.com.

Nutcracker Market Now Open Through Nov. 15

NutcrackerMkt

Houston Ballet’s largest fundraiser and holiday shopping extravaganza kicks off its 35th year, now – Nov. 15. Proceeds from each admission and special event ticket that you purchase, plus 10% of all the merchandise you buy, goes back to Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and Scholarship Programs.

The 2015 Nutcracker Market, chaired by Philamena Baird, is themed “Putting on the Ritz” and will proudly honor our shoppers.

For more information, visit http://www.houstonballet.org/Nutcracker-Market/Nutcracker-Market-Overview.

Inside the old Jordan Post Office

The Barbara Jordan Post Office, named in 1984 for Jordan, the first African-American to represent a Southern state in Congress since Reconstruction, is located on a 16.3-acre site at 401 Franklin Street in downtown Houston. The 516,978 square foot, five- story building opened in 1962 and closed down in May of this year.

A time capsule was opened on July 31, 2015 (53 years later) and contained newspapers; and an invitation to the dedication ceremony and photos, including one of former President John F. Kennedy.

Lovett Commercial recently purchased the site and is slowly remodeling it in hopes to attract multiple uses such as retail, creative office, residential and/or a boutique hotel. Underground tunnels connect the large campus, including a two-story industrial building.

The campus is the largest single development tract in Houston’s Central Business District. It has been on and off the market since 2009, when the U.S. Postal Service announced it would close the office to help offset huge financial losses amid plunging mail volumes.

The lower floors sit in an abandoned state, while the upper floors are being renovated. The rooftop offers a breathtaking view of parts of Downtown. Enjoy the slideshow!

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Thank you to Bob Fuldauer of Turn To Productions for inviting me to take a look!

San Jacinto Museum of History honors Craig Biggio

Larry Spasic, President of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, presents the award to Biggio.

Larry Spasic, President of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, presents the award to Biggio.

The San Jacinto Museum of History Association’s ninth “Special Evening with Texas History” celebration took place Thursday (Nov. 5). The recipient of the Star of San Jacinto Award for 2015 was National Baseball Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

Biggio played his entire baseball career with the Houston Astros from 1988 – 2007, playing second base and catcher positions, which he also played as an All Star.

By the end of his career, Biggio ranked sixth in National League history in games played (2,850), fifth in at bats (10,876), eighth in hits (3,060) and seventh in runs scored (1,844). He was ranked fifth in career doubles (getting a hit that allows the batter to make it to second base) with 668, which makes him the most achieved by a right-handed hitter.

Biggio was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year, and is the first Hall of Famer to be depicted in an Astros uniform.

The annual fundraising event included a cocktail reception, a seated gourmet dinner, music by the San Jacinto Central Chorale, a tour of current exhibits, “A Destined Conflict: The U.S. – Mexican War” and “Riding the Rails,” and rides to the Monument’s Observation Floor.

“We are honoring Craig Biggio with our special San Jacinto Star Award because of his long professional commitment to Houston through his 20-year career with the Houston Astros, which is a rarity in all sports,” says Larry Spasic, President of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association. “His accomplishments and the mutual pride, respect and genuine admiration between Craig and all Houstonians and Texans have permanently established his legacy in the history and culture of our state.”

Biggio signs props from the film.

Biggio signs props from the film.

The Museum presented a six-minute film depicting a Biggio-hit baseball flying out of Minute Maid Park, over Downtown Houston, out of the atmosphere and nudging the International Space Station. Afterward, Biggio signed props used in the film for a silent auction, with the proceeds going to children’s cancer charity Sunshine Kids, which Biggio has supported for over two decades.

Biggio was presented with a coin made from the same metal that the 1969 Lunar Lander was made of, along with the Star of San Jacinto Award.

Congressional Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy was honored posthumously as well. Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism.

Murphy received the Medal of Honor at age 19 after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.

Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971 right before his 46th birthday, and was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The San Jacinto Museum of History Association is in the initial phase of an expansion plan that will revitalize and reinvigorate the San Jacinto Museum and park to a degree not seen since the Monument was built and opened in the late 1930s. The centerpiece of the plan is the construction of the “San Jacinto Museum of History Association Annex and Visitors Center,” to improve the environment for the permanent collection of historical artifacts; additional space to promote the study and research of the region’s history; and a visitor’s center to convey an accurate interpretation of the significance of the park.

The Museum was established not only to honor those who fought at the site in 1836, but also to re-visualize the history of Texas and the Spanish Southwest. It was created as a steward of history and to promote friendship between Texas, Mexico, Spain, France and Latin America.

Special treasures can be found from Mexican Texas, the Texas revolution, and the Republic of Texas. The museum also holds art and artifacts from the Spanish conquest, French Texas (a small collection), Spanish colonial life, the Mexican Revolution and the Anglo colonization of Mexican Texas. Texas’s early statehood and the Civil War are also featured.

The San Jacinto Museum of History is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the purpose of which is to collect and preserve significant materials relating to the early history and culture of Texas, its constituent ethnic groups, and the region, and to promote the study of and appreciation for the role of Texas within American and world history through exhibits, publications and educational programs.

The Museum places special significance on interpreting the Texas Revolution and the Battle of San Jacinto, the period of the Republic of Texas and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park and associated sites.

The base of the monument was lit up for the occasion.

The base of the monument was lit up for the occasion.

The San Jacinto Museum is housed in the base of the San Jacinto Monument. Its exhibits provide an overview of 400 years of Texas history, from the Spanish conquest through the 19th century. Driven by its mission, the Museum has acquired over 18,000 objects, 26,000 volumes and 160 linear feet of manuscript materials from Texas and New Spain, the United States and Mexico.

The San Jacinto Museum and Monument are located on the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site near Houston in the Pasadena/Deer Park/La Porte area. For more information, visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org.

 To learn more about Sunshine Kids, visit SunshineKids.org.