10 QUESTIONS FOR COCO VANDEWEGHE

Ken Hoffman serves up 10 questions for tennis star CoCo Vandeweghe

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Last year, this same week, I interviewed Swiss tennis star Belinda Bencic who was competing in the Oracle Challenge Series at Rice University.

Bencic was coming off a serious injury and her ranking had fallen outside the Top 50. I asked Bencic 10 questions, some serious, some silly, and boom — she had her best year ever on the tennis tour in 2019, winning three tournaments, making her first Grand Slam semifinal, returning to the Top 10 for the first time since 2016 and qualifying for the year-end Women's Tennis Association Finals.

I don't see a coincidence.

So, this week, I sat down with CoCo Vandeweghe, my favorite American player, another former Top 10 star coming off an injury, at the Oracle Challenger Series currently underway at Rice. Vandeweghe's ranking has fallen outside the Top 300. She plays next against Anhelina Kalinina from Ukraine (no quid pro quo here) in third-round action.

Here are 10 questions with CoCo and I totally expect her back in the Top 10 where she belongs in 2020. It won't be a coincidence.

CultureMap: Your grandmother (Colleen Kay Hutchins) was Miss America in 1952. Have you ever thought about wearing her tiara during a U.S. Open match, just to freak out your opponent?

CoCo Vandeweghe: That's a funny story. Her tiara was stolen from an apartment in New York when she was Miss America, right out of a safe. So we don't have her tiara.

They didn't give her a replacement, this was back in the '50s. We kept the trophy, which we gave back to the organization as memorabilia when she passed away (in 2010).

CM: Tennis players have to stay in shape, but what do you dive into on a cheat day?

CV: My birthday is coming up (December 6). I will be having steak, baked potato, asparagus, and chocolate cake. That's my menu for my birthday, and that's a cheat day. I will have butter on the baked potato— the full nine yards. I don't care, calories don't count on your birthday.


Continue on CultureMap to find out if CoCo ever gets genuinely mad at an opponent, and much more.

British composer Howard Goodall will reveal the magic of The Beatles in an exclusive engagement. Photo courtesy of Apple Corps. Ltd/The Beatles Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

If you're a Beatles fan, a splendid time is guaranteed for all when British composer, music historian, and Paul McCartney's good buddy Howard Goodall brings his "Magic of the Beatles Explained" presentation to Houston on Monday, December 16.

Goodall will dig deep into the Beatles' legacy and reveal how John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr wrote and recorded some of the greatest songs in popular music history. It's a lecture that's got a good beat — and you can dance to it.

His presentation, making its U.S. debut, is sponsored by Gow Media (CultureMap's parent company) and St. Luke's Methodist Church Friends of Music. It will take place at The George Theater, home of Houston's A.D. Players repertory company (5420 Westheimer Rd.). Doors open at 6:30 pm, with Goodall taking the stage at 7:30 pm. Tickets, ranging from $30 to $50, can be purchased here.

After Goodall's presentation, I will host a Q&A session with the British composer. Since I'm listed as "perhaps Houston's biggest Beatles fan," I will pose fun questions for Goodall from a fan's perspective. If you've got a question that's always bugged you about a Beatles song, feel free to "Help!" me.

For example, I've wondered why the early Beatles spoke in thick, heavy Liverpudlian accents, but sang with Middle American newscaster accents, and what did their fans back at the Cavern Club think about that? It would have been weird if the Beach Boys recorded "I Get Around" sounding like Prince Charles. Putting my airfare where my mouth is, the day after Goodall's show, I am taking my son to Liverpool as a graduation gift. He's a Beatles' fan, too, and never been to the Fab Four's birthplace.

In addition to his Beatles work, Goodall is a celebrated composer and songwriter in his own right. He has written shows for London's West End, television, and movies. He was named Composer of the Year by the Classic Brit Awards (England's version of the Grammys), in 2009. He also won a U.S. Emmy Award for the HBO film, Into the Storm.

Much of Goodall's presentation will center on The Beatles' legendary Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, named the greatest rock 'n' roll album of all time by Rolling Stone. Goodall will examine several songs from Pepper, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "She's Leaving Home," "Being For the Benefit of Mister Kite," and "Lovely Rita" — plus two songs originally intended for the album, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever," which instead were released as a double A-sided single.

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"Magic of the Beatles Explained" takes place at The George Theater, 5420 Westheimer. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with Goodall taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, ranging from $30 to $50, can be purchased at here. Special VIP tickets are $100 and include premium seating, a meet-and-greet and photo op with Goodall, early admission at 6 p.m., plus light snacks and drinks before and after the show.


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