One of the foremost sellers of Waterford Crystal in the world, Houston-based Bering’s is the proud purveyor of one of only six full-scale crystal guitars ever produced by the design house. This one — handmade, mouth-blown and fused by master craftsmen in Waterford City, Ireland — was shaped in the form of a Gibson L-7. Bering’s is selling the one-of-a-kind instrument — yes, the strings do play — for an impressive $30,000. Clearly unique!
HOUSTON FOODIES ARE out this month, and those in the know are getting from restaurant to restaurant in the rideshare service that has taken the industry by a storm.
Alto started driving in Houston in late 2020, and it has quickly become a favorite way to get around. The experience is unparalleled. Think luxury SUVs with leather captain chairs, thoughtful amenities like complimentary water and umbrellas, and even curated playlists to choose from in the Alto app. Those who have ridden know that Alto is more than a ride from point A to B, but a journey to be enjoyed — because the recap of every dish on the ride home should be just as good as the dinner.
Community is at the heart of Alto. Rather than hiring independent contractors, Alto has hired W-2 employee drivers who are trained and supported by a local Houston team. The service also offers a Membership that unlocks Alto benefits as well as unique offers from Houston partners. Those who join Alto’s exclusive Membership gain full access to the Alto fleet during the busiest "Members Only" hours, savings on every ride, and Alto’s prescheduling feature for booking rides in advance (Pro tip: Lock in your ride when you lock in your dinner reservation!). Join a community of adventurous, in-the-know Houstonians, at only $12.95 a month.
Alto shared the top pick-up and drop-offs that make up their Members most recommended spots — and also happen to be celebrating Houston Restaurant Week! — so you can plan the perfect night out.
Trattoria Sofia A top drop-off among Alto Members, we recommend Trattoria Sofia for authentic Italian with the perfect atmosphere.
The Annie Cafe Another frequent destination, The Annie Cafe and Bar serves classics, totally reimagined.
MAD Houston A spot as innovative as your Alto. Book a ride to MAD for a night of tapas with a twist that are sure to be a new adventure.
Ouzo Bay The Alto team’s go-to modern Mediterranean spot for a perfect night out.
B&B Butchers and Restaurant This upscale steakhouse and traditional butcher shop is a classic Alto favorite.
FLORA A must try this month — FLORA is a culinary journey through the small towns of Mexico with a Texas touch.
ASTROS STARS LANCE McCullers, Jr., Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker hosted a glam slam at Tootsies to raise money for their respective organizations, and their teammates and fashionable fans showed up in support.
Guests — including Alex Bregman and his wife, Reagan, who just welcomed a son; Yordan Alvarez and his wife, Monica; Jose Urquidy and his wife, Estefania; Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney; and emcees Julia Morales and Johnny Holloway — were greeted by a fleet of Bentleys and puppies available for adoption, a nod to pitcher Lance McCullers, Jr.'s nonprofit that supports no-kill shelters. Everyone enjoyed mixing and mingling with the 'Stros stars, who are in the midst of yet another winning season.
Live and silent auctions solicited tons of attention (and cash!) thanks to covetable items like a private lunch with the player-hosts at Turner's, and a chance to throw the first pitch at an Astros game. Pop artist Jason Skeldon, known as Skel, attended the event, bringing with him custom portraits of McCullers, Altuve and Tucker that generated ample excited bids.
Through his eponymous foundation, Altuve and his wife Nina support children's charities like The Sunshine Kids Foundation, while Tucker's cause is generating awareness and support for Hospice care. All of their nonprofits are managed by Athletes and Causes Foundation.
The Team Up at Tootsies event raised a total of $370,000.
David Hensley and Alex Rich (photo by Jacob Power)
Jose Urquidy and Estephania Duran (photo by Jacob Power)
Chelsea Collmer and Julia Morales (photo by Jacob Power)
Whitney and Jim Crane (photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Fady Armanious, Hallie Vanderhider and Michael Vanderhider (photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Tina Faust and Tama Lundquist (photo by Jacob Power)
Kara and Lance McCullers, Fady Armanious and Kyle Tucker (photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Taylor Porter with puppy she adopted (photo by Jacob Power)
Josh Villerreal, Sarah Wilber, Victoria Osburn and Guy Bonner (photo by Jacob Power)
Sonia Soto, Jenna Lindley and Cheryl Boblitt (photo by Jacob Power)
Monica and Yordan Alvarez (photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Katherine and Rine Doncik (photo by Jacob Power)
Skel and Jose Altuve with signed artwork (photo by Jacob Power)
Spencer and Clayton Harkness (photo by Jacob Power)
Travis Torrence , Lauren Varnado, Samantha Evans and Paul Moak (photo by Daniel Ortiz)
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ELEANOR HOLDRIDGE COULDN'T be more pleased to be directing the Alley Theatre world premiere of Lend Me A Soprano, playwright Ken Ludwig’s gender-flipped version of his Tony Award-winning play Lend Me A Tenor. Revised by Ludwig, this remix of one of the 20th century’s greatest farces, with the lead characters now re-imagined as women, retains all of the door-slamming, screwball madness of the original, but is imbued throughout with a more “feminine” subtext. “It’s a horrible thing to say,” laughs Holdridge, “but I wouldn’t want a man to be directing it!”
Lend Me A Tenor premiered in London’s West End in 1986 before making it to Broadway in 1989. It was Ludwig’s first play for Broadway and continues to be performed all over the world in dozens of languages. While the basic plot remains the same — a world-renowned opera star scheduled to perform at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company is, due to a series of marital-related misunderstandings and one or two too many tranquilizers, unable to take the stage — throughout the rehearsals, Holdridge and the cast discovered unexpected opportunities for nuance in what is, at its core, an over-the-top comedy of Shakespearean proportions. “In some ways it’s the same,” says Holdridge of the new play. “In some ways it’s incredibly different.”
The cast of Lend Me A Soprano includes Ellen Harvey as Lucille Wylie, the opera company’s tyrannical manager, Mia Pinero as Jo, Wylie’s timid assistant, and Alexandra Silber as Elena Firenzi, a fiery but burnt-out soprano who is scheduled to perform the lead in Bizet’s Carmen, a role that is traditionally a mezzo-soprano. “‘Lend me a mezzo’ doesn’t quite have the ring of ‘lend me a soprano,’” laughs Holdridge, who adds there are plenty of “opera in-jokes” throughout the script.
The dramatic differences between the two plays are apparent in how sexual situations, however awkward and ridiculous they may be, are acted out onstage. In one seduction scene, which originally featured the wiles (and legs!) of the opera company’s resident ingenue, the roles reversed as Leo (played by Steven Good), an ambitious and “absolutely fabulous looking tenor,” comes on to Jo who doesn’t reciprocate, but clearly has a crush on the guy. Under Holdridge’s direction, Good plays the scene not so much like a Lothario, but as a man who is at ease with his sexuality. “He’s not so much coming on to her as he is exuding the charm that he has,” says Holdridge. “So many conversations in the rehearsal room and with Ken have been about making sure the women in Lend Me A Soprano have agency in their sexual desires.”
And then there’s the scene where Elena, who has, as Holdridge puts it, “lost the feeling for her art,” attempts to instruct Jo in the art of operatic singing. Whereas in Lend Me A Tenor, the scene is played with maximum buffoonery, the exchange between Silber and Pinero is more warmhearted, even affectionate. “It seems very female, this idea of teaching,” says Holdridge. “This moment doesn’t just teach the young student; it also brings hope and life and joy in the art back to the somewhat jaded soprano.”
Both Holdridge and Ludwig hope to see Lend Me A Soprano become as popular as its predecessor, while remaining a unique 21st century spin on the classic tropes of traditional Broadway farce.
“I think the original Lend Me A Tenor had a lot of heart,” says Holdridge. “But because the main characters in Lend Me A Soprano are women, there’s more latitude to find real love between the characters. There’s a sense that these women are strong and need each other.”
Lend Me A Soprano opens Wednesday, Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 9.
Mia Pinero in Alley Theatre’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Soprano.
Alexandra Silber in Alley Theatre’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Soprano.
Mia Pinero, Ellen Harvey, and Alexandra Silber in Alley Theatre’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Soprano.
Ellen Harvey in Alley Theatre’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Soprano