Culture of Houston: Wikis

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Houston Bayou City Art Festival

Houston is a multicultural city with a thriving international community supported by the third largest concentration of consular offices in the United States, representing 77 countries. Officially, Houston is nicknamed the "Space City" as it is home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located. Because of this, "Houston" was the first word spoken on the moon. Many locals, however, prefer to call it the "Bayou City." Other nicknames include "H-Town", "Clutch City", and "Magnolia City".

About 90 languages are frequently spoken in the Houston area.[1] Some neighborhoods with high populations of Vietnamese and Chinese residents have Chinese and Vietnamese street signs in addition to English ones. Houston has two Chinatowns—the original located in Downtown and the other along Bellaire Boulevard in the southwest area of the city. The city also has a Little Saigon in Midtown and Vietnamese businesses located in the southwest Houston Chinatown.

There are many popular events held in the city celebrating cultures of Houstonians. The largest is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that is held over 20 days from late February through early March. The event begins with trail rides that originate from several points throughout the state, all of which convene at Reliant Park for a barbecue cook-off. The rodeo includes typical rodeo events, as well as concert performances from major artists and carnival rides. Another large celebration is the annual Gay Pride Parade held at the end of June to commemorate the struggle for gay liberation, gay rights, gay pride, and the Stonewall riots of the late 1960s in New York City. The event is held along Westheimer Road in the Montrose area—home to many gay establishments, such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and coffeehouses. Other events held annually include the Greek festival and Houston International Festival.

Contents

Arts and theatre

Houston's Theater District is ranked second in the country (behind New York City) in the number of theatre seats in a concentrated downtown area with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats.[2] The Theater District is located in the heart of downtown and is home to nine of Houston's performing arts organizations and six performance halls. Houston is one of only five cities in the United States with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: opera (Houston Grand Opera), ballet (Houston Ballet), music (Houston Symphony Orchestra), and theatre (Alley Theatre).[3] The city has visual and performing arts organizations, along with a dose of homegrown folk art such as Art Cars.[4] Houston is widely recognized as an important city for contemporary visual arts. The city is a stop for touring companies from Broadway, concerts, shows, and exhibitions for a variety of interests, ranging from the nation's largest quilting show to auto, boat, home, and gun shows.

Adjacent to the Texas Medical Center is the Museum District, which is home to most of the city's major museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Cullen Sculpture Garden, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Children's Museum of Houston, Lawndale Art Center, the Houston Zoo, the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science, and The Menil Collection. Approximately 4 million people visit institutions in the Museum District every year.

Houston is also home to several multicultural arts organizations including: MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts), Kuumba House Dance Theatre, and Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.

Tourism and recreation

Cockrell Butterfly Area, Houston Museum of Natural Science

Space Center Houston is the official visitors’ center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Space Center Houston includes many interactive exhibits—including moon rocks and a shuttle simulator—in addition to special presentations that tell the story of NASA's manned space flight program.

The Theater District, a 17-block area in the heart of downtown Houston, is home to Bayou Place Entertainment Complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, and parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building that is home to restaurants, bars, live music, billiards, theatres, and art house films. The Houston Verizon Wireless Theatre stages a variety of live concerts and the Angelika Theatre presents the latest in art, foreign, and independent films.

Houston is home to many parks including Hermann Park, which houses the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Memorial Park. What was once the Houston Civic Center was replaced by the George R. Brown Convention Center, one of the nation's largest; and the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. The Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall have been replaced by the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Other tourist attractions include the Galleria, Texas' largest shopping mall located in the Uptown District; Old Market Square; Tranquility Park; and Sam Houston Historical Park, which contains restored homes (built between 1824 and 1868) and reconstructed buildings. The San Jacinto Battlefield is in the nearby city of Deer Park.

Sports

Houston hosted the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2005 World Series, the 2005 Big 12 Conference championship game, the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, and the Tennis Masters Cup in 2003 and 2004, and the annual Shell Houston Open. The city hosts the NCAA College Baseball Minute Maid Classic every February. Houston formerly hosted the NCAA football's Houston Bowl in December, but now hosts the Texas Bowl in January.

Houston has a franchise in nearly every major professional sports league including: Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Comets (WNBA), Houston Aeros (AHL), and Houston Texans (NFL).

In early 2006, the Champ Car auto racing series returned to Houston for a yearly race, held on the streets of the Reliant Park complex. The city had previously been home to a Champ Car round from 1998 to 2001.

Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets, Comets, and Aeros) are located downtown. The city has the first domed stadium in the United States and also holds the NFL's first retractable roof stadium—Reliant Stadium. Other sports facilities in Houston are Hofheinz Pavilion, Reliant Astrodome, Robertson Stadium, and Rice Stadium. The now infrequently used Reliant Astrodome hosted World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania X-Seven on April 1, 2001.[5]

On December 15, 2005, the San Jose Earthquakes relocated to Houston and became the Houston Dynamo. They play at Robertson Stadium until plans for a soccer-specific stadium can be finalized.

Club Sport League Venue
Houston Aeros Ice hockey American Hockey League Toyota Center
Houston Astros Baseball Major League Baseball (NL) Minute Maid Park
Houston Comets Basketball Women's National Basketball Association Toyota Center
Houston Dynamo Soccer Major League Soccer Robertson Stadium
Houston Havoc Basketball American Basketball Association TBA
Houston Rockets Basketball National Basketball Association Toyota Center
Houston Texans Football National Football League (AFC) Reliant Stadium

Media

Houston Press headquarters in Downtown Houston

Houston is served by the Houston Chronicle, its only major daily newspaper with wide distribution. The Hearst Corporation, which owns and operates The Houston Chronicle, bought the assets of the Houston Post—its long-time rival and main competition—when it ceased operations in 1995. The only other major publication to serve the city is the Houston Press, a free alternative weekly with a circulation of more than 300,000 readers.

Houston is also home to several radio and television stations that serve the metropolitan area.

KTRK's Marvin Zindler was the most recognized television journalist in Houston and Texas. His week-long expose on the Chicken Ranch brothel became the basis for the Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and his consumer and health reports on local restaurants have made the phrase "slime in the ice machine" immediately recognizable to any local.

KHOU-TV's investigative team, "The 11 News Defenders", began an investigation into the failure of Firestone Wilderness AT tires on several vehicles (including the Ford Explorer). These reports garnered the station and the team of Anna Werner, investigative producer David Raziq, and investigative photojournalist/editor Chris Henao several national awards, including the Edward R. Murrow, George Foster Peabody, and Columbia University DuPont Award. Among the journalists who have worked for KHOU, the best known are former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, Linda Ellerbee, and Jessica Savitch.

KXLN Houston's Spanish language Univision and its "En Su Defensa" (in your defense) segments have garnered regional acclaim, and "En Su Defensa" month was proclaimed by Mayor Bill White in 2004. Led by Investigative reporter Patricio Espinoza, the segment generated strong community following and historic ratings along with several Emmy awards through 2005.

Houston Not-For-Profit News is a subsidiary of World Internet News Cooperative. It is one of Houston's few non-profit news sources which receives no money from advertising. It totes itself as being unbiased with the ability to be more objective than the commercial news media due to the fact that it is not tied to advertisers. Stories covered by the cooperative range from consumer rights, to corporate welfare, to working-class issues. Their work has also been nominated for a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial journalism award.

Cuisine

Tex-Mex cuisine is very popular in Houston. Many Mexican cuisine restaurants in Houston have aspects that originate from Texas culture. In his book Ethnicity in the Sunbelt: A History of Mexican Americans in Houston, Arnoldo De León said that the recent immigrants from Mexico to Houston add foods that are popular with immigrants to menus of Mexican restaurants in Houston. Robb Walsh of the Houston Press said "You might say that the immigrant flow is what keeps the "Mex" in Tex-Mex." In Houston, as in other places in Texas, the existing Chicano community influences the cooking methods used by recent immigrants.[6]

See also

References

External links

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