Category Archives: Hot City Spots

wicked-playbill

Houston Adventures: A “Wicked” Time at the Theatre


Hello, Brouhaha fans! It has been a while since my last adventure, and my penchant for procrastinating never helps. It has been a busy year for me but there is always time for a little pleasure. After all, we have to remember that all work and no play make @Budom a dull girl.

Houston is a versatile and diverse city filled with many opportunities not just for work but for entertainment. Although it is a long drive from the lights of Broadway in New York, it doesn’t mean that Broadway can’t come to us. This year for my birthday a lovely friend treated me to a night at the theater. Along with my daughter and her friend, the four of us enjoyed a special night watching the play, Wicked. I was so excited and the bonus was that we were seated in balcony box seating!  The stage was so close I felt like I could reach out and touch Elphaba. wicked-playbill

The play was well written and followed pretty close to the books written by author Gregory Maguire.  While reading the books would give more insight to the characters we all know that it won’t happen in a play.

When I saw original Wizard of Oz on television as a youngster, I always wondered if there was some back story for the witches. I have always been fascinated by witches and their magical lives. So, when Maguire’s stories hit bookshelves I devoured them like manna from heaven. The perceptions that Maguire’s books gave me were not what I expected to see. Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West was the good guy (or girl) standing on her soapbox while nursing insecurities about herself, Glenda the so-called good witch, was actually an entitled self-absorbed brat, who later became more likable but not brave enough to follow her own path. In all reality, Dorothy was just an unexpected accident to the land of Oz. Dorothy was a literally a lost little girl who was used by the Wizard of Oz, as was everyone else in the story. The Wizard’s character was depicted most like L. Frank Baum’s version.  He is still the ever glorified con man he was in the real world. I never expected to like Elphaba and agree with her fight, and I didn’t expect to want to smack some sense into Glenda.

orchestra-playbill

The Hobby Center stage brought all the characters to life. The actors and actresses portrayed the characters to a tee. Elphaba’s sister Nessa Rose’s (aka the Wicked Witch of the East) character was well played balancing her sweetness and obsession to be normal as well as loved. While she is mentioned in the book I feel the play really told her story better. Her story gave fans a look at how still waters can run deep. Now I must also give credit to the orchestra. The music emanating from the pit wove an even more magical feel into the story. It was a lovely time and a wonderful theater experience. I will definitely do it again. Until then Brouhaha Fans “Defy Gravity”.

 

A Night Of Music With David Justin


David Justin performing in Houston at Stereo Live  Oct. 23, 2014
David Justin performing in Houston at Stereo Live Oct. 23, 2014

On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.

David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.

However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.

The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.

© 2014 Budom@brouhaha-access.com
The interview with David Justin at Stereo Live

Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?

David: Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.

 Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?

David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.

Budom: I read in your bio that you started at a very young age. Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?

David:  I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that  he was the main person that I looked up to.

Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18  I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends  and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.

So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.

Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.

I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able  to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.

Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people? 

David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.

Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?

David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to.  I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.

Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.

Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?

David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.

Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist? 

David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.

Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.

David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.

Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.

David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.

Budom:  Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.

© 2014 budom@brouhaha-access.com
Houston performance.

I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and  you can hear it in his music.

“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin

David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor (Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.

Apple Recruits University Of Houston Students For At Home Advisors


Apple is not out of reach for college students. Photo courtesy of Kelly Hodgkins @kellyhodgkins.

Recently my state of employment has given me a new status titled ” job hunter.” I have been introduced to the challenges and opportunities that are part of the job hunting foray.

As I eye each job or corporation seeking people to fill their empty spots, I find a diamond in the rough.

While searching through Fortune 500 companies that use Flexjobs.com to help fill their positions, I am often on the look out for employment possibilities for others.

Flexjobs.com specializes in telecommuting, remote/work at home jobs, but has plenty of location jobs to apply for as well.

Apple is today’s employer pick of the “job hunter” guild. Apple’s AppleCare College Program works with University of Houston to hire enrolled students to work for their organization. Students with excellent organizational skills, high critical thinking skills, and has a GPA of at least 2.7 should apply for an at home technical support position.

The position requires a quiet work space and high-speed Internet to learn more requirements click here.

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Amsterdam or Bust ヅ


The drive to Frankfurt Airport went quickly. The three boys slept just about the whole way there. We arrived somewhat early and I had a beer in the restaurant while the boys looked around. The Frankfurt Airport was vast and full of shops in which you can buy souvenirs or a designer handbag. When it was finally time to board the plane we were all so excited. I have been to the wonderful city of Amsterdam many times and always I find something new to see there.

When we arrived at the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam the rain was drizzling on us, but we did not let that dampen our spirits. We quickly wound our way past other arriving passengers and headed to get our baggage. We were on an adventure and wanted to start it as soon as possible. We hired a taxi to take us to the Hem Hotel/ Hostel which is split into two parts: a hotel and a hostel. The hotel is not bad and cost a little more but has more creature comforts; while the hostel part of the Hem is much smaller and for the person or group who will not spend too much time in the room. We stayed in the four person hostel room, the room was very small to bed for people but bunk-beds took care of that. It could have been cleaner but I was not going to argue when we were only paying €20 a night.

After putting our things away the boys and I decided we were going to head out to eat. Not far from our hotel we found a greatly priced restaurant with delicious authentic Thai cooking called Thai Xpress. It was the best Thai food I have had since I moved overseas. Even the boys were a big fan of the restaurant. We tried a couple more times to eat there for lunch but the restaurant is only open from 16:00 to 22:00. Oh well, at least I know where to go when I make another visit to Amsterdam.

After our bellies were filled with good food the boys and I head out to the center of Amsterdam to peruse the shops and delicacies that Amsterdam could offer. We took the tram ( this is like a bus which moves on a track) which cost €2,70 per ride but there are day tickets for around €7,50 as well as a weekend pass. We looked at smart shops, souvenir stores, and eyed the coffee shops. We rode the tram to the Leidseplein Square, one of the busiest squares Amsterdam. The Leidseplein is where you will find the famous Bulldog Coffeeshop and restaurant as well other great places to eat or just have a drink. If you’re in for a little comedy Boom Chicago is right next door to the Bulldog. The picturesque square is scattered with  tables setup outside the café and restaurants filled with people drinking their cappuccino, beer, or imbibing in their favorite strain of wacky tobaccy. The square is not filled with only bohemian or hippy flower children, but a variety of people from all over the world including families with small children.

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The Bulldog Coffeeshop and restaurant-bar located in the Leidseplein Square. It is one of the few scattered through out the city of Amsterdam.

Finally, although we were a bit damp and the weather had turned chiller nothing could dampen our first night in Amsterdam. Of course, there is more adventure to come…so stay tuned for more. ヅImage

Spring is in the Air!


Spring is in the Air!

It’s that time of year when the snow has melted away and the flowers are about to bloom,even in

Have a Dutch experience…get on a bike and ride through the streets pass the houses set along the canals of Amsterdam. It’s an awesome experience and one you’ll never forget.

Germany. It’s a time when a person can step out of their house and feel alive again. It’s no wonder that baby animals are made in the Spring. It’s also a time when there is a week of freedom from school, work, and other worldly pressures of life. My second son will be graduating high school this year and does not want to go to the senior trip.So I decided we could take a trip to Amsterdam where there is fun to be had all around. The Netherlands have a laid back atmosphere which engages you regardless of what type of experience you are expecting to have when visiting. Amsterdam is well known for the city where Coffee Houses are abound, a place where marijuana is sold freely and the mostly infamous Red Light District. 


But Coffee Houses and the Red Light District are not the only things of interest in Amsterdam. There are the famous canals, beautiful buildings, and many museums which exhibit artworks from the most famous, such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh, to artist of today. Anne Frank’s home in which her and her family hid during the war sits ideally along one of the canals. The home of Anne Frank looks as any other building on the canals and without Anne Frank’s diary we may never have known the people who hid in within the rooms, praying and hoping that they would never be caught by German soldiers and sent to a concentration camp.This home connected to one of the saddest stories of our history sits among other buildings which may house homeowners, stores, and other businesses; never standing out except for the fact that Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank gave the house as a museum, so that other’s may remember the plight he and his family endured, as well as millions of other people worldwide. 

I am excited to be visiting the bustling city once again, which seems so alive and wakes up even the most dormant of people. I will keep updates as I travel for my three night, four day stay. I want to let my readers see and feel in their mind how a trip to this special place can make you smile and feel like a new and refreshed person when you get back to your own bustling and busy life. Until next time…auf wiedersehen.