From left to right: Bill O’Brien, Miley Cyrus, Daniel Alarcón, Reginald Hatter, Martha Turner, Megan Schwartz, Melissa Reyna, Willie Robertson

This month, we decided to gather up a bunch of folks facing unique sets of challenges, and then offer them the additional challenge of surviving one of our parties. There’s Bill O’Brien, the new coach of the Texans, who certainly has his work cut out for him. (Help us, Bill. Please!) Does figuring out what to do with yourself now that twerking has faded to a half-hearted shake of the rump qualify as a challenge? It does if you’re Miley Cyrus, performing here this month, Mar. 16. Which is about all she has in common with writer Daniel Alarcón, born in Peru, raised in Alabama, reading from his acclaimed new novel At Night We Walk in Circles (Inprint, Mar. 24), and constantly confronting people’s assumptions about growing up poor and coming to the US illegally. For Reginald Hatter, co-director of Workshop Houston, the challenges are obvious: supporting Third Ward middle-schoolers with after-school programs both academic and creative—in fashion, music, even welding. Martha Turner, whose real estate empire was recently sold to Sotheby’s, has hardly been reduced to a figurehead. She’ll remain co-president of the company, and as such face the same challenge she’s always had—selling vast amounts of Houston property valued from $20,000 to $20 million. It’s National Nutrition Month, which makes Houston nutritionist Megan Schwartz a timely invite, even though you’ve gotta believe she’s got her work cut out for her in a town where caterer Melissa Reyna runs The Brownie Bowl (we’ll seat them far apart), baking numerous delectable varieties of fudgy goodness even though she’s legally blind. And who could forget Willie Robertson (appearing with some of his Duck Dynasty costars at Champion Forest Baptist Church’s Northland Christian School). Any guy with a father like Phil has to have challenges, especially now that the codger’s out there equating homosexuality with bestiality and saying he can’t recall ever seeing an African American mistreated in the South during his 916 years on this planet. That’s okay, Willie. Phil may have forgotten and A&E too, but we’ll remember.

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