Axios Houston

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πŸ¦₯ Welcome to Thursday! We're almost there.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: Sunny with a high of 75.

🌊 Sounds like: "Blue Bayou" by Linda Ronstadt.

Today's newsletter is 931 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Astros debut facial recognition entry

Photo: Alex Bierens de Haan/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Astros will use facial recognition technology to help fans get into Minute Maid Park faster starting with today's season opener against the New York Yankees.

The big picture: The use of facial recognition and biometric data has exploded in recent years, including in police surveillance and at retail stores and sports venues across the country.

  • Now it's landed at Houston's downtown ballpark. The reigning American League West champions are one of only four teams using Major League Baseball's new Go-Ahead Entry this season.

How it works: Fans have to opt in to use the feature.

  • Ticket holders take a selfie in the MLB Ballpark app that will be used to compare their face at special biometric-scanning kiosks at the center field, left field, right field, home plate and south home plate gates.
  • Once the tech recognizes the ticket holder's face, their tickets are validated and they can enter the park.

The intrigue: MLB says the selfie is given a numerical token, which is what the face-scanning kiosks use to confirm the ticket holder's identity.

Yes, but: While data collection is a major part of the decision-making process to use the tech, its accuracy is also part of the question.

  • A 2020 Harvard University study found that while 90% of facial scans were accurate, systems incorrectly identified those who were Black, female, and between 18 and 30 years old the most.

πŸ’­ Jay's thought bubble: I happily use my face to open my iPhone and my fingerprint to unlock my computer β€” but I fall short of jumping at every latest and greatest advance in biometric technology.

  • With the promises and policies of MLB's Go-Ahead Entry, I will be skeptically interested in trying it out once I make it to a game this season.

If you go: Tickets to tonight's home opener are still available, starting at $290.

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2. Sneak peek into fancy apartments

Photo: Screenshots from fancyapartmentshtx on Instagram

Spencer Moore is asking the question we're all wondering: How much do people with nice apartments pay for rent?

State of play: Moore posts reels on his Instagram, fancyapartmentshtx, asking Houstonians how much they're paying for rent and giving viewers a tour of what one can get for that cost, following New York TikTok star Caleb Simpson's format.

Why it matters: These videos scratch an itch for curious viewers, offering an inside look at what a loft or a penthouse looks like and costs.

The intrigue: Moore tours a $2,000 industrial-style loft of a man who's been living in the building for 13 years, and a $2,700 Midtown apartment with a stunning view of downtown.

  • He also tours a high-rise penthouse near Hermann Park with someone who does not disclose rent but has a rabbit in his shirt the whole interview.

What they're saying: "The comments that we're getting every single time are like, they cannot believe people are getting these Class A buildings for that price … people don't even think that these prices are real, and I guarantee you they are," Moore says.

  • "Our mission is to help Houston renters find the best apartment."

Behind the scenes: Moore, a real estate agent for 10 years, uses these reels to funnel views into seeing other available apartments in the city, adding that Fancy Apartments leases hundreds of apartments in Houston each month.

πŸ“§ Readers, is there another Houston-area content creator you want us to talk to? Let us know by replying to this email.

Go deeper

3. Bayou Buzz

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

🏘️ Mayor John Whitmire pledged to address short-term rental regulations after some Houstonians complained of "a living nightmare" in their neighborhood. (KHOU)

πŸ“š The Montrose branch of the Houston Public Library's last day will be today due to "safety concerns." The director informed staff yesterday. (Houston Landing)

πŸ¦ƒ Turkey Leg Hut's owner, Nakia Holmes, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a series of controversies surrounding the restaurant. Holmes is reportedly in upward of $1 million in debt. (Houston Chronicle)

πŸ¦… Texas game wardens are investigating a report that someone shot and killed a bald eagle over Lake Conroe. (The Courier)

4. Weekender Guide

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🎢 Buy last-minute tickets to Madonna's The Celebration Tour.

  • Thursday and Friday. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $70.

πŸ₯˜ Break fast together at the Yallah Social Community Iftar at The Discoll in River Oaks.

  • Friday, 7pm. $40.

πŸ₯š Bring a basket for an egg hunt at the Christ Church Sugar Land. There will also be a photo booth and an Easter story time.

  • Saturday, 10am-noon.

🍴 Eat from several Latin food vendors at the Sazon Latin Food Festival at Karbach Brewing Co.

  • Saturday, 11am-8pm. Free entry.

🌈 Celebrate Holi at Cross Creek Ranch on Sunday.

  • The event begins at 11am. Entry is $15.

⚾️ Stop by Biggio's Sports Bar for a cookout during Astros opening weekend.

  • All day Friday-Sunday.
Sponsored job listings

Fresh job openings around town

πŸ’Ό Take your career to the next level and see who's hiring.

  1. Program Director at Galen College of Nursing.
  2. Enterprise Internal Communications Director – Shared Services at Baker Hughes.
  3. Director of Marketing and Communications at Interface Behavioral Health.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. Miller Outdoor Theatre's season opens tomorrow

Photo: Ron Buskirk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miller Outdoor Theatre's 2024 season starts tomorrow night.

Why it matters: The free, weekly performances at Miller are a staple Houston experience.

  • From cultural pieces to classical tunes, Miller's stage features songs, dances and plays that inspire.

Driving the news: Singer Gesenia of the Ronstadt Revue will kick off this year's season singing songs by Linda Ronstadt, the eclectic, 11-time Grammy winner, at 8pm Friday.

Flashback: Miller Outdoor Theatre is fresh off celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2023.

If you go: The lawn is free for patrons on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Free tickets for covered reserved seating are available online and at the box office starting at 10am the day before the performance.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Khalid Adad and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

πŸ‡ Shafaq feels affirmed by all the readers who emailed agreeing that Cadbury eggs are the best.

πŸ’₯ Jay is recovering from some scrapes after wiping out on his bike.