Monday, May 23, 2011

Zachary Breaux: A talent before his time
Doris Hayes is sending T-shirts to Australia and England and would love to outfit all of Port Arthur. The shirts promote the fourth annual Zachary Breaux Jazz Festival, June 10-11 at the Procter Street Pavilion in downtown Port Arthur. About 15 bands are lined up to pay tribute to the late Port Arthur jazz notable.
Hayes said she’s spoken to musicians on the other side of the world who sing his praise.
“They feel that Zachary was a guitarist before his time. A talent before his time. He was doing things at a young age that musicians are just doing now. That’s like what we would call an E. F. Hutton.”
She referred to the stock brokerage firm with a commercial saying that when E.F. Hutton spoke, everyone listened.
Breaux was 36 when he died in 1997, vacationing in Miami Beach, after trying to save the life of a swimmer who was caught in a riptide.
Call 982-8394 or visit to get your tickets.

Courtyard's new look
Karen Theis credits Angel Contreras of Shoogz with the new look at Courtyard Cafe, This' famous eatery in downtown Groves. Black and white swirly patterns on oil cloth go with cast-iron look chairs that are surprisingly comfortable, and plastic, when you ease in. Jackets of a certain M. Brown and C. Zummo matched the tablecloths on their recent outing. Wooden flower boxes hanging from chains hold the Southeast Texas must-have of Tabasco and other condiments complete the garden feel.
If you haven't yet, try Theis' sugo sauce with meatballs.

Fong fix
Robert Fong of Port Arthur has always given a little something-something to any role he takes. I was enchanted by his opening lines, delivered before the lights come on, in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The Beaumont Community Players production has him as a set-in-his-ways gentleman entertaining his audience by playing a record of his favorite play, which he has never actually seen. His imagination brings the cast of this mishap musical into his apartment, with entrances through a double-door refrigerator or his boudoir. The Man in Chair dances and sings with his beloved characters and shares his insights into life as the record plays. The story inside the story is a wedding day for a wealthy young man and a show girl willing to leave her showy behavior behind.
There’s one more week of this show. Call 833-4664 for details.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The yoga pants/ pizza tour of NYC
My friend has a walking tour plans for New York City. Dressed in yoga pants and Shape-Up shoes, she plans to try every Manhattan-style pizza she can find and walk off the calories. May I suggest to her Lolly yoga pants, which, to my delight, are designed with “curvy girls” in mind. The texture is superior and the comfort is second-to-none. I don’t even do yoga, but her love of the yoga pants has convinced me that sweats are generally sloppy by comparison.

Lube for the lips
Essential Journeys will take you to the most aromatic places with products such as Soap by the Slice, Salt for the Tub and Lube for the Lips. Lotion for the body scents with chamomile and white tea extract for what I call a fine hotel quality feel. Ginger Quince soap suspends curlicue and flower shapes in a field of green. A stack of bars will upgrade your bathroom d├ęcor.

21 drops
Remember roll-on lip gloss? I remember reading in a magazine, perhaps 16 or Teen Beat, that Shaun Cassidy had kissed a girl with strawberry lip gloss. Now more mature women, and men who kiss them, can try 21 drops in a sleek roll-on with a textured case. I tried #01, Invigorate, designed to roll on wrists and stimulate circulation, motivate and energize. It’s a warming oil to help oxygenate the blood and promote blood flow. Black pepper and dried fruit oil , juniper fruit oil and rosemary leaf oil are just a few components.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mid-County talent radiant in 'Hairspray'; talent kissed and made up

You can’t stop the beat of color, humor and music in “Hairspray,” a production that’s a few miles down the road, but exploding with local talent. Orange Community Players, in partnership with Lamar State College-Orange presents this madness. If you sat on the front row, you’d be knee to knee with young actors singing the story of Ample American Tracy Turnblad in ‘60s Baltimore who turned the local teen dance show upside down by integrating the races and getting the hot guy.
A double dose of Mid-County sparkle comes through Skylar Huckaby and Amber Martin, double cast as Tracy. Brook Doss, director of theater at Nederland High School, directs this crazy-fun show and her husband, Kevin, plays Tracy’s overbearing mother Edna with a fine-tuned skill.
Every actor/singer/dancer is good in this show, but be on the lookout for Nederland and Port Neches residents Huckaby, Martin, Daniel Sharpless, Britni Davis, Justin Sanders and Jessica Henderson. Choreographer Mandy Dowden, is also a Nederland native.
See this 2003 Tony Award winning musical, May 12-14, at 7:37 p.m., and May 15 at 2:37 p.m., at the Orange Community Playhouse , 708 W. Division Street. Tickets are $8 for students, and $15 for adults. For reservations, call 882-9137.

Hope you didn’t miss ‘Kiss’
"Kiss or Make Up" is a family affair, director Robert Freeman announced before curtain at the Act 1 Scene 1 production at The Courtyard Cafe. He was carrying Raggedy Ann, who he credited as co-producer. His daughter Nikolle Freeman aced the lead as Casey, whose apartment is hopping with an incognito neighbor, an engagement, former classmate/federal agent, the police and more. Roxane Gray as Morgie, who fancied making up a dead husband would get her more dates, has facial expressions that get laughs before she gives her lines. This troupe produced another winner with Joey Nortman, Benny Bryan, Cater Holland, Phillip Gray and Ann Holland filling a tiny stage with big personalities. In addition to these characters, a giant '70s-style cheese ball helping disguise a Mickey Mouse hat as a cracker dish gets attention. The cast took a bow in getups ranging from an orange bath towel and pink P.J.s to a bathroom and bed sheet toga.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bed of ‘nails’ the new relaxation go-to
My physics teacher at Lamar University walked on glass to demonstrate pressure distribution. I know the Indian fakir/yogi “secret” of reclining on a bed of nails, but I never imagined a mini Swedish version would be the new, hip way to peace out in your own home.
I woke up craving a 10-minute session on the “halsa wellness acupressure mat, designed for athletes, soccer moms, stressed businessmen and others who are not pregnant, hemophiliacs or on blood thinners.
Plastic discs attached to a high-quality mat form 8,820 pressure points to relieve muscle tension, backaches and headaches. Work up to 45-minute sessions on these little spikes and you may naturally stimulate release of endorphins and oxytocin, what makers call the body’s own pain relief hormones released during exercise, touch, excitement and infatuation. Sign me up.
They don’t mention that these little scratchy spikes are like those toys that have cats rolling around on their backs for a luxurious back rub. It’s euphoria. Don’t be ashamed.
I tried this mat the very week I was having back pain, possibly due to not being faithful to the YMCA. I’m hooked. First I roll out my yoga mat, so my halsa mat won’t touch the floor. It’s one of many uses I have for the yoga mat that don’t involve yoga. So now I’ve got mat-on-mat bliss that can be achieved while catching up on favorite TV shows. You can also try the halsa mat on your stomach or from a chair. There’s also a pillow version.

Oklahoma in art
I spent 20 minutes in Oklahoma, just to say I’d been there, then crossed back into Texas to attend a wedding. J. Don Cook knows what I missed. “Shooting from the Hip” is this photo journalist’s celebration of the spirit of the people. Essays help tell his story behind images so vivid you can hear wind whipping flags in a cemetery, feel the tickle of a child’s haircut and taste a cool Dr Pepper at a lunch counter. These aren’t all “happy” photos. Beauty, joy, poverty and more fill these pages in an elegantly-bound University of Oklahoma Press coffee table book.

Backyard Brew
The Sunday grill is about more than who cooks what for dinner. It’s ceremony, Man Time and a family bonding over meat. McCormick has new Grill Mates products that keep the grill exciting. I grabbed Fiery 5 Pepper Blend first and spiced up boiled eggs to stock my Barbie lunch kit. I love the “daring blend of coarsely ground ancho, chipotle, cayenne, black peppers and roasted chile peppers,” but beware, the first ingredient in this pepper blend is sea salt. By Father’s Day, I hope to have also tried Backyard Brew Marinade, Carolina Country Marinade and Cowboy Rub. Go to for more ideas.

Friday, May 13, 2011

sort of
I steal from legendary News columnist Martha “Toodlum” Ferguson in proclaiming:
Port Arthur, I love you and everyone in it.
I’m lovin’ the city in a different way, from down the road. I’ve spent 23 years covering the Port Arthur area’s people through their high times and pastimes, in sickness and in health.
I’ve left to accept a position at the Port Arthur Convention & Visitors Bureau, promoting the area in only a slightly different way. The seawall, Larry Judice and family, Pompeiian Villa and Museum of the Gulf Coast are still some of my favorite things about the city, and now I get to help visitors from all over appreciate them, too.
Reporter Mary Meaux’s column outing us as the Odd Couple brought me emotions as well as calls and e-mails asking “what’s up?” She cited our differences in a comic sense. Our likeness is our passion to tell our readers’ stories.
I arrived at my new office in time for a tour from East Texas Tourism Association members and National Tourism Week, May 9-13, and got busy. I’m so pleased that the PACVB board and News management supported my continued columns. So I don’t have to say “farewell” just yet.
But, I have had the challenge of attempting to reduce more than two decades into a couple of plastic bins and the lid won’t close on the memories.
In piles of files I found thank you notes and tokens from people who have made impressions on me. This includes the Jesus-on-sardine-can in a frame of crochet purple yarn and a stamped cross with recognition to Hurricane Rita that sources gave me.
Readers, I’ll see you around!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Moms rock the day Sunday
There’s no telling the tally of flowers, candy, diamonds and dinners going around Mid-County in the name of Mother’s Day.
All I ever ask for is a clean house, and maybe some yard work, and it always seems the “free” gift is the hardest.
Families, do not underestimate the value of homemade coupons Mom can redeem for meal prep, dishwashing, foot massages and smooches-on-demand from anyone in the house. It’s probably exactly what she wants.

Prizes and doodads are motivational rewards for meeting goals, Rich Hatfield writes in “Triorities,” but make sure you read his “crazy talk” chapter on Give-Aways. “Hold on to your checkbook,” is his opening for an area of discussion on the good of good deeds. Use your annual bonus to buy your child braces, is one example. Going undercover to help a church member get a car is another. Large or small, the idea is to share from your abundance. The book cover features a brass scale with three measuring areas, representing a balance of God, family and work.

Remember cassettes?
chicBoom and RockBoom Cassette speakers for iPod are groovy little deals that aren’t what they seem. They look like old-fashioned cassette tapes, but are portable speakers that can pump out the volume. Makers offer it with a warning that these cool deals may cause others to stare. It’s the kind of attention you’ll want. As soon as my daughter saw the chicBoom, it was never again in my hands. Listen to this tagline:
“Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but loud enough to get the party started.”
Then listen to your tunes. Connect to any listening device with a standard 3.5 mm stero jack. Built in rechargeable battery for up to two hours of distortion free sound. Stereo cable and USB cable included. This’ll set you back about $20. Visit to learn more.