Tootsies was, for once, more about baseball fans than fashionistas, as a fab crowd of Astro lovers gathered at the shopping mecca to hobnob with some of their favorite players. Beloved pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., MVP second baseman José Altuve, and three-time Golden Glove winner Dallas Keuchel hosted the event to raise money for a variety of causes close to their hearts, including The Sunshine Kids and McCuller’s own foundation, which promotes pet rescue and adoptions. Other ’Stros in attendance included Carlos Correa, George Springer and Justin Verlander, along with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. In the end, the sluggers and their supporters — like Judge Ed Emmett, Terri and John Havens and Vivian Wise — raised $360, 000. Now that’s a homerun!
HOW DID YOU get where you are today? The EMS industry, quite literally, never stops. Our staff and units are called to serve our community every hour of every day; there are no weekends, holidays, or “days off.” Obviously, the demands of EMS are not for the faint of heart, and we have established a culture of service and accountability that is different than nearly every other organization. Our leadership team sets this culture by exhibiting their passion for this industry daily. Their tireless dedication makes a better experience for our staff when they come to work and for our patients and clients when they call on us to transport their loved ones.
Who do you credit? Foremost, I credit the leaders and staff of my team. Beginning with Vice President Sumi Patel, who has been with ORION for 15 years, I am extremely proud to work with, and for, everyone who wears our logo. Houston has amazing diversity in the community, and ORION celebrates that both publicly and internally, as seen in the makeup of our leadership team and staff. The people who work at ORION do so because they are committed to our mission and to providing the most professional medical care to every patient we transport. Their devotion to and support of ORION has made us one of the best EMS companies in the city.
What lessons have you learned that might enlighten/inspire? One of the most important roles that Sumi and I play is mentoring and guiding our managers, so that they can effectively lead their departments. Watching their professional growth is very rewarding, but it also has clear benefits to the business, as it allows us to expand to meet new opportunities. Over the last 15 years, we have learned that complacency is not an option. The EMS industry is vibrant, especially in Houston, which requires ORION to have an agile and dynamic business model. We are constantly evaluating our processes to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community in ways that provide the most impact and value to them. We are tactical enough to respond to every day-to-day circumstance that arises, while, at the same time, maintaining a strategic focus on our goals for the future.
What’s new or upcoming for ORION? As we continue to fulfill our mission of service to the Houston community, we are excited to expand our reach into other hospital systems in the region. Our team and fleet are growing to ensure that we are always ready to serve the people of this community.
SOME OF THE CITY'S most influential VIPs gathered at Steak 48 in River Oaks District for the annual toast to CityBook’s “Leaders & Legends,” a recurring franchise for the publication whose past honorees have including a Tony and Grammy winner, a Nobel laureate, a member of Congress, an Olympic medalist, multiple billionaire business moguls, TV stars, artists and scientists of every sort, and the city’s most glamorous and generous socialites.
For the sixth time, Houston CityBook magazine in its fall 2023 issue featured beautiful new portraits of icons and rising stars in a variety of fields. In partnership with Steak 48 and Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Collection luxury auto dealers, Executive Publisher Lisa Holthouse and Editor-in-Chief Jeff Gremillion welcomed Leaders & Legends past and present and other notables to honor the ’23 class.
“The Leaders & Legends issue is the most prestigious and important feature we make all year,” says Gremillion. “And the annual party has become a top-tier social occasion, and we’re delighted.”
The editor added that the private space upstairs at the popular River Oaks steakhouse, decked out in florals in fall colors by Lexis Florist, was an ideal setting. A buttoned-up staff circulated, offering memorable bites such as fresh burrata with tomato jam, and sliced New York strip served on truffled hashbrown cubes. Wine and sophisticated cocktails were on offer; Old Fashioned’s were a favorite of the night.
Per the custom, the party is an unfussy affair in which speechifying is kept to a minimum, and luminaries are encouraged to rub elbows and enjoy each other’s company. The only break in the hobnobbing came when Gremillion took to the mic to officially toast this year’s honorees. They include record-breaking hip-hop star and Trill Burgers restaurateur Bun B; senior artist David Adickes, who at 96 is still a cultural force; renowned heart surgeon and researcher Bud Frazier, who’s invented several iterations of the artificial heart and also presided over more heart transplants than anyone on Earth; and high-impact and highly beloved philanthropist Cynthia Petrello.
Those feted by CityBook also include Alex Brennan-Martin, namesake and owner of the legendary Brennan’s of Houston; reigning James Beard Award-winning chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter of Street to Kitchen; oncologist and pioneering MD Anderson researcher Van Morris; Kristy Bradshaw, who’s currently serving in a top leadership role at both Houston Ballet and Hermann Park Conservancy; resilient sculptor Abbie Preston Edmonson, who overcame a devastating fire to establish a noted new arts studio; and real estate development titans Kendall Miller and David Weekley.
Guests included The Post Oak Collection’s Diane Caplan, Astros owner Jim Crane, meteorologist Frank Billingsley, modeling agency titan Page Parkes, artist Taft McWhorter, philanthropist Cheryl Byington, fashion designer and reality TV star Chloe Dao, and famous Houston Ballet dancers Lauren Anderson and Connor Walsh.
Jim Crane, Tony and Cynthia Petrello and Lisa Holthouse
Connor Walsh and Lauren Anderson
Robin and Alex Brennan-Martin
Tina Governale, Stephanie Paget and Peter Remington
Mario Gudmundsson and Cheryl Byington
Dr. Joe Rodgers and Sandra Burgess
Todd Ramos, Page Parkes and Frank Galvan
Bun B and Jalen Baker
Abbie Preston Edmonson
Dr. Bud Frazier and Dr. Van Morris
Jumer Adalin, Blake Taylor, Nicholas Glenn and Christopher Nodd
Danielle and Arch Rowan
Stephanie Paget, Meredith Beaumont, Tina Governale, Katherine Ross and Alison Young
Mitchell Greco, Jeff Gremillion and Brandon Weinbrenner
Vicki Luna, Katherine Ross and Jen Torres
Brian Spack, Walter Bering and Richard Hester
Tamara Washington, Alanna Murray and Alison Young
FOR THE HOLIDAYS and new year, Houston’s art scene is vibrant and alive. Make note of our hot list!
1. Get Groovy
Houston Contemporary Dance Company
Houston dance lovers are still talking about last January’s powerhouse performance by Ishida, the only U.S. company recognized in Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch” for 2024. See what the fuss is about when Ishida presents keepsake (Jan. 12-13), an evening of poetically imagined cutting-edge movement. And in the spring, Houston Contemporary Dance Company embodies the title of its show Electrostatic Attraction (Apr. 20), with a world premiere by Houston Ballet’s Jack Wolff and audience faves from the past four seasons.
2. 'Family' Man
Bestselling, award-winning author Bryan Washington, whose muse is the city of Houston, dropped his second novel, Family Meal, in the fall. “The broken queer men of color” in Family Meal, per a WaPo review, “are written as neither symbols nor archetypes but as an achingly and beautifully etched ensemble of young Americans learning to navigate a more universal and human struggle: grief.”
3. Galleries Galore
‘Giant Deer’ by Shayne Murphy
Houston’s galleries are always an embarrassment of riches — and that’s never more true than during the holiday season. Don’t-miss exhibits include Redbud Art Center’s Coastal Gardens (Dec. 2-30) — haunting, allegorically-based watercolors by Michael Collins. On view at Inman Gallery is Something Nice With Swans (through Jan. 13), David Aylsworth’s latest batch of wittily titled abstract paintings. Over at Anya Tish Gallery, Shayne Murphy brings his waking dreams and nightmares to life with Cataplexy (through Dec. 30). In Dyaspora at The Jung Center of Houston (through Dec. 21), Haitian-born artist Mathieu JN Baptiste’s oil-and-acrylic paintings decipher the American dream from the perspective of a first-generation immigrant. And with holiday shopping in mind, Hooks-Epstein Galleries presents Wear It Out, a group art jewelry invitational with all manner of baubles, bangles and beads crafted by nine different artists.
4. Totally 'Rad
Midtown’s popular beer-garden-slash-music-venue Axelrad, which has become beloved by the jazz community for its Wednesday-night jam sessions, has dropped its first album, a collaboration with Wonky Power Records. Live at Axelrad features five different jazz groups recorded at the venue on Sept. 6, and is available via its Bandcamp page.
5. Lab Grown
CAMHLAB featured artist Nate Edwards
Downtown’s Post Houston building is home to a fab food hall, cool rooftop garden, a bumpin’ music venue — and a few artists-in-residence. Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston’s CAMHLAB program at Post currently features the work of four local artists or collectives, all of which have created projects inspired by and telling the stories of Freedman’s Town, a neighborhood established in Houston in 1865 by more than 1,000 formerly enslaved people.
6. Holiday Hits
Houston Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’
This season, the Houston Symphony offers a range of holiday programming, including Tim Burton’s stop-animation film The Nightmare Before Christmas projected on the big screen as the score is played live (Dec. 9-10); Duke Ellington’s swinging version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (Dec. 12); and Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 15-17), featuring the angelic voices of the Houston Symphony Chorus. Meanwhile, the Alley Theatre’s annual production A Christmas Carol (through Dec. 30) is comfort food for the soul. At Stages, the Cheshire cat meets Bad Bunny in Panto Alicia in Wonderland (Dec. 1-31) — an all-ages, Latinx spin on the Lewis Carroll classic. And the Ballet’s Nutcracker takes center stage through Dec. 27.
7. 'Over' and Above
An untitled Janet Sobel painting
Janet Sobel’s paintings, featuring her “all-over” abstraction methods, may bring to mind the work of Jackson Pollock — but the skilled New York artist preceded Pollock by a few years. In February, the Menil hangs her major paintings all together for the first time in more than six decades.
8. Page Turner
A must-read thriller for 2024 is Nishita Parekh’s Night of the Storm (out Jan. 16). Set in Sugar Land during Hurricane Harvey, Parekh’s debut features a multigenerational Indian-American family who find themselves trapped by floodwaters in a house with a murderer — an inventive update of the classic “locked-room” mystery.