Houstonia's On the town blog pumps out dozens of reviews, hot takes, and news updates each month, which usually makes it hard to keep track of what sticks with the readers. But this year, y'all made one thing exceptionally clear: Standing ovations are bad.

Clifford Pugh's thorough takedown of the practice was far and away our most-read arts and culture story of 2018—but plenty of y'all were dying to hear who was playing the rodeo, what's going on at the MFAH, and why the hell a bunch of pink trees are popping up across Montrose. Below, catch up on the essential arts and culture stories you might've missed this year.


Richard Short as Richard Burton and Lisa Birnbaum as Elizabeth Taylor in the Alley Theatre’s World Premiere production of Cleo, by Lawrence Wright.

Image: Lynn Lane

1. Please Stop Giving Absolutely Everything a Standing Ovation

By Clifford Pugh

"Call me old-fashioned, but I believe a standing ovation should be a precious thing saved only for that rare occasion where something is so extraordinary and superlative that you can’t help but want to salute it in a special way.

I’m obviously in the minority."


2. This Is the 2018 Houston Rodeo Lineup

By Morgan Kinney

"Now that Houstonians have recovered from the ground-shaking revelation that Garth Brooks will play his first rodeo since 1993 (and after the first round of tickets sold out in 18 minutes), RodeoHouston announced Thursday evening the remaining musical acts."


3. 7 Things That Happened at Post Malone’s Houston Show

By Abby Ledoux

"Even I, a bona fide Post Malone fan, was surprised by how good he sounded as he worked his way through his repertoire, cigarette in hand, effortlessly weaving back and forth between rapping and singing in the genre non-conforming way that’s earned him legions of fans and critical acclaim."


4. Will Restoration Island Be the Next Fixer Upper?

By Anna Lassmann

"The show (which was known as Saving Galveston until last week) will follow the couple as they look for historic homes set to be demolished, and take on the task of bringing them back to their former glory."


Image: Anna Lassmann

5. You’re Not Crazy: Lego Humans Have Arrived in Houston

By Anna Lassmann

“The viewer is encouraged to sit with the art, to feel it and even to converse with it,” says artist Nathan Sawaya. “These life-size figures are there to keep people company. They are there to brighten a family portrait. Or, just be a new friend for social media. They are there to be a confidant, and, they will never reveal any secrets.”


6. Houston Is Basically the Reason Crazy Rich Asians Exists

By Nicki Koetting

On his time at Clear Lake High School:  "I had so much fun in high school passing notes that I graduated at the very bottom of my class with a 2.54 GPA, and I didn’t even take the SATs. I skipped them because I think that day I had to go camping out for Madonna tickets.”


7. These Trees Speak for Montrose, for Montrose Has No Voice

By Brittanie Shey

"To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a tree is more than just a tree."


Attributed to Hendrick van der Broecke after Michelangelo Buonarroti, Venus and Cupid, oil on panel, c. 1550–70, Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples.

8. Yes, Michelangelo Touched That, and That, and That...

By Morgan Kinney

"But even more remarkable than the brand-name artists is the visual timeline formed by their work, and the unique studies and sketches that offer glimpses into the process that yielded, say, The Crucifixion of St. Peter—Michelangelo’s massive fresco decorating the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel."


9. The Menil Collection Will Close Soon for Restoration. I’m Going to Soak it Up While I Can.

By Dana DuTerroil

"And maybe, when the floors are restored and the double glass doors to the Menil Collection swing open once more, my Magritte will be there to greet me."


10. So Long to Those Colorful MFAH Admission Stickers

By Morgan Kinney

"As of August 21, the Museum has retired the adhesive admission stickers, and will be using admission tags from now on."

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