Elton John is coming through Houston on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour—sob—so of course we’re putting Rocket Man at the head of our table this month (Dec. 8–9, Toyota Center), where he can converse with a few local luminaries: Jim Allison, the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center immunotherapy researcher who, along with Kyoto University’s Tasuku Honjo, recently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine; Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, the Vietnamese human rights blogger known as Mother Mushroom, who was exiled from her country and is now living here in Houston; Tamara Curtis, the city park ranger recently honored by the FBI for stopping a bombing in Hermann Park; Durga Agrawal, who, with his wife, Sushila, made a generous gift to UH and is the new namesake of its engineering building; and Nancy Barnes, the Houston Chronicle’s now-former executive editor, who did tremendous work at the paper before taking a job as senior VP of news and editorial director at NPR in Washington, D.C. She’ll be missed.

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