For Your Arts & Entertainment

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

THE NEED FOR SPEED

At MSR Houston, you can hop into a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche and reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Now that’s something to get revved up over!

by Tom Flynn

group_shot_track_lzEver gone from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds? How about tested your driving skills in a $300,000, 562-horsepower Italian muscle car, on a La Mans styled track? Sound fun? Your opportunity is near at MSR Houston.

MSR Houston is a motor complex near Angleton, Texas, about 35 miles south of Houston on Highway 288. You can ride go-karts, or if you have your own racecar, become a MSR member and race around the real track. Then again, you can wait until Exotic Driving Experience comes to town, crawl behind the wheel of one of their sexy imports and put it through its paces on the MSR track.

The rides are impressive: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audi RS and the classic Porsche 997 S. You pick your machine from the lineup, almost like you choose your racecar in a video game. It cost a few quarters more to pilot the Ferrari 458 Italia than it does the Porsche ($419 versus $169) so choose wisely. You get six laps (7.8 miles) with a personal instructor in the passenger seat giving advice and holding the kill switch in case you lose control.

The total experience for our group of six drivers was less than two hours. After waivers are signed and witnessed, there is a short class on how to drive performance machines and the layout of the track. Then it’s out to pit row to meet your instructor and get a first look at your dream car. They shoot pictures of you next to and in the car and insert a USB in a video recorder in the console. A camera is trained on you the entire time while you are driving with another camera on the track. And, of course, you can buy the pictures and video at the end.

Lap one is the “learn the car lap.” Paddle shifters on the steering wheel take some getting used to, as well as the responsive handling of a racecar on a tight track. By lap three you are anticipating turns, positioning the car to glide through them and hitting speeds near 100 miles per hour on straightaways. You won’t believe you completed lap six and the ride is over—it all happens so fast!

Following your spin on the track, you have an after action review with your instructor and get pointers on how to improve your performance, along with the opportunity to practice improvement. You will start feeling stiffness in your shoulders about the time you cross over the 610 Loop coming back to Houston; throwing that sleek machine around the track is more work than you know—but worth the ride!

Find out more about the fast lane at www.msrhouston.com.


HOT HITS FOR THE SUMMER

Take a little bit of Houston with you wherever you travel this summer with these great reads by local authors.

by Torre Puckett

HERE AND NOW

here-and-nowby Bobbye Marrs
(Tate Publishing & Enterprises;
Paperback, $12.01; Kindle Edition, $8.99)

When Katherine wakes up in a hospital bed, she finds her world has changed forever. She has no memory of where she’s been, what she’s done, or who the man sitting at her bedside could be. All that anyone knows about the accident that caused her to fall into a coma is that it was no accident. Someone tried to kill her. He’s still on the loose and he hasn’t given up—he’s still coming for her, stalking her from the shadows.

Meanwhile, Grant Barton is forced to face a situation he can’t imagine how to handle. His training as a pastor has given him no way to prepare for helping Katherine recover from her trauma and amnesia, much less escape the murderer hunting her down. And worst of all, he’s never been trained for the revelation that the woman he loves may harbor dark and terrible secrets he could never have imagined and that could put them both in a race against a madman with their very lives at stake.

Here and Now is a story of a past forgotten, a future unknown, and a present haunted by uncertainty, loss and brokenness. Bobbye Marrs of Brenham, Texas, emerges with a debut novel thick with intrigue, danger and romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathlessly anticipating more.

HOUSTON’S TOP 100 FOOD TRUCKS

Houston100FoodTrucksby Paul Galvani
(Paul Galvani Publishers; Paperback, $20;
www.houstonstop100foodtrucks.com)

In a city as vibrant as Houston, it is possible to find its people’s diversity reflected most in its cuisine—and one of the most unique new restaurant revolutions to hit its streets is the food truck.

Originating on the West Coast, these mobile food trucks come complete with a fully equipped kitchen and represent every ethnic background found in Houston. These mobile eateries offers delicious gourmet food without the formality of a fine dining experience. But with so many of these roving restaurants to be found, how is a hungry foodie to distinguish the good from the bad and the ugly?

With Paul Galvani’s Houston’s Top 100 Food Trucks, finding the best of this new culinary sensation is a snap. Not only does Galvani professionally review every food truck mentioned in the book, but he also explores the history of the Houston food truck, the unique stories behind each individual truck and the current trend that this restaurant revolution is following.


EXPERIENCE MOVIES LIKE NEVER BEFORE

A new state-of-the-art movie theater, the Santikos Palladium AVX, offers visitors more than just a typical movie night experience. With 22 movie screens, an arcade, a gift shop, restaurants and more, the Palladium is an all day adventure.

by Shayli Lones

santikoJust in time for summer, Santikos Theatres has opened its largest venture yet, the Palladium AVX. Located in Fort Bend County, just off of Highway 99/Grand Parkway, the new Greek-themed, luxury entertainment destination is the only facility in the greater Houston area to feature the newly released Dolby Atmos sound system, 80-foot movie screens and the latest in projection technology. And, while movies have always been able to “move” us emotionally be it through tears, laughter or new ideas, the Palladium’s AVX, D-BOX seats literally move visitors, giving them a chance to feel the action of the movies while sitting in motion seats.

What’s a movie without edible treats? Here, movie goers can munch on more than just popcorn and soda with multiple dining and beverage options available. There is something for everyone at the Palladium including sushi, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and frozen yogurt. There’s even a Starbucks coffee shop as well as two bars for cocktails and Texas wines.
If you have some time to kill before your movie begins, then, check out the bowling center, arcade room, or specialty candy and movie-themed retail store. For those with more discerning tastes, local Texas artists have pieces on display in the featured art section.

And no more long lines for tickets. The Palladium has simplified the movie going experience by offering 27 interactive, self-service ticketing kiosks as well as a mobile app. Appealing to the movie lover in all of us, the Palladium features a “theatre-within-a-theatre,” where four screens are dedicated to art, independent films and mainstream biopics. Those looking for a more luxurious movie going experience can visit one of the eight auditoriums that offer a VIP section with separate box seating areas. VIPs may also order food and drinks before and during the movie that will be delivered right to their seats via waitstaff.

Going to the movies will never be the same again! For movie times, special promotions, or to book an event, visit www.santikos.com.


FASHION FORWARD

Kourtney, Khloe and Kim launch their fashion line at Sears.
by Marisa Byers

The three Kardashian sisters were at Houston’s Willowbrook Mall to promote their new KardashianKollection, sold exclusively at Sears. Fans waited for hours to get a glimpse of the fashionistas.

H Texas had the opportunity to sit down with the superstar trio and ask about their new brand.

HTX: Why Sears?
Kim: Our flagship DASH store in California carried mostly pricey, high-end brands. As our fan-base grew, we realized average fans couldn’t afford those luxury pieces and wanted to create a line that would be fashionably chic and affordable. All of us felt partnering with Sears would accomplish these goals without compromising quality.

kardashiansHTX: What inspired the designs?
Kourtney: Inspiration comes from everything we see. We keep our eyes open as we travel because inspiration can strike at any moment, even when looking at wallpaper.

Khloe: We use these inspirations to create classic silhouettes that work with trendier, modern pieces for a well-rounded wardrobe.

HTX: Who are your fashion icons?
Kourtney: I obsess over iconic Audrey Hepburn, and her classic, effortless chic style.

HTX: What’s next for the KardashianKollection?
Kim: We currently have sunglass, lingerie, and denim lines and are interested in maternity wear, fitness apparel and menswear. But, a children’s line is next on the horizon.
Khloe: Each collection is a labor of love. Our prints are handmade, in-house and the fabrics are of the highest quality.

All three were decked out in their trendy animal prints and breezy fabrics, boasting very classic silhouettes for under $100. Their personalities were as fresh as their clothing line. And, by the end of our visit, the well-stocked racks were empty behind us. It looks like these successful sisters launched another winner! Happy shopping!

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