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Gayest & Greatest 2019: Arts and Auto

Iconic actress Tamarie Cooper impacts Houston’s theater scene.

Tamarie Cooper, Favorite Local Female Actor

Tamarie Cooper would like to thank the Academy . . . oops, I mean Houston’s LGBTQ community.

“I have been very fortunate to win some other ‘Best of’ awards, but this one just has a special meaning. It gives me the warm fuzzies,” she says. “This is a community that I love and for which I am an ally. Growing up in ballet, I was always surrounded by gay people; my mother’s best friends were gay men and a lesbian couple, and I saw no difference between them and anyone else. It was a rude awakening when I discovered that so many people are treated differently for being gay.”

Cooper, who was born in Chicago but “moved all around” as a child, landed in Houston at age 14 and made lifelong friends among her fellow students at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), where she began dabbling in theater. She clocked more than 200 hours in college, but dropped out “for the last time” when she helped found the Infernal Bridegroom company with longtime collaborator Jason Nodler in 1993.

Now the co-artistic director of Catastrophic Theatre, which houses at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH), Cooper’s LGBTQ followers might know her best as the creator of The Tamarie Cooper Show, a dizzyingly original, full-scale musical extravaganza that will return in its 22nd installment next summer. However, Cooper says, “I’m not only The Tamarie Cooper Show.” She’s also a bona fide director of other plays, including Will Eno’s Tragedy: A Tragedy, which runs through October 20. Then she’ll portray Carol in Baby Screams Miracle by Clare Barron, November 22–December 15 at Catastrophic. “It’s a wild, crazy script that is really funny and strange and intense,” she says.

But back to Tamarie 20/20, which Cooper is currently writing. The superstar hyphenate teases that maybe, just maybe, she’s penning a special role for gay fave Walt Zipprian. “He will probably appear as Barbara Walters,” she says. – Don Maines


Best Art Gallery/Place to Buy Artwork

Archway Gallery
Finalists: Foto Relevance, Hardy & Nance Studios, Jumper Maybach Art

Best Community Dance Company

Urban Souls Dance Company
Finalists: Hope Stone Inc., Pilot Dance Project

Best Community Theatre

Stages Repertory Theatre
Finalists: Catastrophic Theatre, Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH)

Best Local Equity Theatre

Alley Theatre (tie), Theatre Under The Stars (tie)

Best Performing Arts Company

Theatre Under The Stars
Finalists: Alley Theatre, Society for the Performing Arts

Favorite Houston Museum

Menil Collection
Finalists: Contemporary Arts Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum of Natural Science

Favorite Local Female Actor

Tamarie Cooper
Finalists: Holland Vavra, Teresa Zimmerman

Favorite Local Male Actor

Colton Berry
Finalists: Dylan Goodwin, Mark Ivy

Favorite Local Female Fine Artist

Crystal Murley
Finalists: Nesreen Alawami, Jan Golden, Heather Gordy

Favorite Local Male Fine Artist

Hugo Perez
Finalists: Robin Baker, John Palmer, Steven Tilotta


Best Auto Body Shop

Ryan Automotive
Finalist: Master Car Care & Collision

Best Auto Mechanic

Tech Auto Maintenance
Finalists: Beckwith’s Car Care, RMS Auto Care

Best Car Wash/Auto Detailing

Mister Car Wash & Express Lube
Finalists: Aqua Hand Wash & Car Detail, Bubbles

Best Domestic Auto Dealership

Central Houston Cadillac
Finalists: Knapp Chevrolet, Planet Lincoln, Ron Carter Cadillac

Best Import Auto Dealership

Audi Central Houston
Finalists: Advantage BMW, Central Houston Land Rover, Fred Haas Toyota World, Subaru of Clear Lake

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Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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