LOCAL UP-AND-COMING bartender and hand poked tattoo artist Elena Vann, 28, is someone who knows that life happens to you when you're least expecting it to. Vann, who is of mixed Venezuelan, German and Cherokee decent, has been a staple bartender at Montrose's Toasted Coconut since it first opened a couple of years ago and has been giving "stick-and-poke" tattoos — a form of analog, non-electric tattooing that uses a single needle instead of a tattoo machine — to both her friends and paying customers since she was still in high school.

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People + Places

Filmmaker Marcus Pontello, also a social media provocateur, debuts 'Friday I'm in Love' this weekend. (photo from @marky_desade on Instagram)

THERE ARE FEW places in Houston as hallowed as Montrose's Numbers Nightclub. For nearly 50 years now, the nightclub, which started out as a risqué dinner theater in the late '70s before turning into a gay disco in the '80s and then into the dance club and live music venue it is today, has served as a safe haven for generations for Houstonian outliers and mainstreamers alike. And now, thanks to Houston-reared producer, director and fashion designer Marcus Pontello, 33, the venerated Houston nightlife staple is getting the silver screen treatment.

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Art + Entertainment

Artist Angel Lartigue in costume for "Hyper Putrefaction," a photo collaboration with Tere Garcia

"QUEER AND TRANS archaeology lives within the deteriorations of history," reads part of a poem included in a recent performance by Houston-reared trans artist-activist Angel Lartigue. Her work, which she calls "bacteriomancy," often involves using bacteria and fungi — including some gleaned from the occasional human cadaver — to explore ideas rooted in forensic anthropology, biotechnology, race and gender identity.

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Art + Entertainment