Sunday, June 20, 2010

Houston is NOT boring because...

A few blocks away from my place, what used to be the old Rollin Salloon, is back open, with new ownership. The Railyard had a busy soft opening this weekend with no signage whatsoever. Later today, they will be integrating their new visual entertainment elements for a polished & updated version of sports bar atmosphere the Rollin once offered. This week, they expect to be on the ball with sports line ups. I met Dana, a local resident, among the low key area high rollers from River Oaks, Westheimer Oaks, Galleria and "Uptowneers." We are both pleased with the outcome and expressed our approval to the men in charge. Word has it, a mexican restaurant is expected to open in the same renovated shopping strip, from which Railyard will market selected tasty bites. Stop in and say hello to the new men in charge, Trey, Clinton and their bartender Tony.

I also stopped by Avant Garden to see yet another (quite consistent, hence, intriguing) Shina Rae fashion show production and I have to say at this point and she has earned it... In my eyes, Shina Rae has officially become the "Go-To Girl" for a new designer or any solid designers brave enough to have their line shown in Houston these days. I say this for many reasons, but I have to hand it to her mainly because I know for a fact, she loves to do shows, all the time, for people who both, create and want to SHOW their work, no matter what time of year. Tonight, I saw about 15 gorgeous fresh faces in 3 designer's lines, all unique, colorful and fun. VINTEDGE, a presentation of reworked vintage, was probably my favorite because I grew up wearing vintage I reWERKed myself. I AM KOUTURE was another beautiful line of short dresses with catchy patterns made for daring free spirits. ANOMALI STREETWEAR, a line of unique tight t-shirts and accessories for men and women looked SO sexy on these models. Another designer, JAJO COUTURE had a rack of unique items to select from. Ms. Crystal Lee was also there to support Shina, wearing hosiery I spotted in Miami during WMC yet have not been able to find in Houston. The lady is sparkling, so it was nice to see her on-hand to support Shina's show!

My last stop was Temper Tantrum at the bar inside Gravitas for a special birthday party for Charro Beans DaBarge. I arrived late, after peak time, which was from 11pm-12:30am. I may have missed the crowd by the time I arrived at 1am, but I was definitely on time for the performance of the night. Charro dancing to "Single Ladies" after drinking a few (of her own and some other people's) birthday cocktails, was so hysterical. I admit, I did partake in the dance, following Charro's lead, which was pretty accurate. That is, until Charro TOOK OVER with leaping half-turns on the furniture and bar foot rests until she literally LOST her wig! Bravo Charro!!!

So many people are doing things to entertain Houston, that it's tough to keep up w it all. Honestly, I didn't make half the stops I wanted to make, so this isn't even half the fun this Heightstonian could have had tonight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Fest 2010 and more...



Summer Fest 2010
Houston has embarked on something new thanks to the talent of Houston and people who stand behind it. Summer Fest means hope for those who miss the spirit of the original Westheimer Arts Festival. It’s a stretch to compare it to Woodstock, but the parallels of painted people and mud dancing around getting high, WITH permission still stand. This along local budding talent tells me, as a native Heightstonian, that Summer Fest has the potential to be better each year. Supporters like Wayne Coyne, lead singer of headliner, The Flaming Lips and the thousands in attendance applauded his hope for the future of Summer Fest. “I hope Summer Fest goes on for 100 years,” Coyne said during their set. The Flaming Lips were nothing short of spectacular. They brought all their toys including the slide, bubble for Wayne to surf the crowd, the gong, the hands, his strobe necklace, the camera mic, and of course the bear (who’s also half man), who didn’t mind giving Wayne a piggyback ride onstage.


Houston talent entertained Houston for 2 days straight on 5 stages in Eleanor Tinsley Park June 5 & 6th. The people behind the scenes who have made this happen for the second year in a row and hopefully 100 years to come are Omar Afra and Jagi Katial. Both were literally behind the scenes. They were moving cables & mics to accommodate main stage acts.
Patrick with the cowboy hat pull out the hose and begin dousing people with water as they slathered on paint. One by one, people started barreling down the slip-n-slide hill of color. An ambulance showed up as a precaution, but I heard more about people passing out than actual injuries. Then it rained. Hard!
Thanks to the courtesy of nervioshop.com’s Jason Poland and his crew, I snagged a spot under a tent with my precious cargo. I was there when a huge gust of wind knocked down a lego tower that took 2 days for Poland to complete. Some helped pick up the pieces. Suddenly, a huge crowd of people waiting to slide, all decided to go down together. THAT was an amazing moment! No word on any injuries. Then I went down the hill & by that time, many were still sliding in the mud... not all by choice.
Then came a glimpse into the idea of “no water” which I find to be reoccurring more lately. Many washed their faces and rinsed their sunglasses in muddy water, and put them back on. New arrivals in pristine pink and white, stepped in muddy holes a foot deep. I was under a water tent this time, where people were coming up wanting to be sprayed with water but there was none to spare in the water tub. Others were recycling their 10 bottles for a free water, & asking for 2 to clean and drink. Anyone who wore a bathing suit sported it! After a while, going up the hill was the biggest challenge of the day.
I didn’t get to see as many bands as I’d hoped. The Flaming Lips played a lot of great songs, including “She Don’t Use Jelly,” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot,” ending their set with “Do You Realize.” Which like SummerFest itself, “you had to be there.”


Aron catches the Flaming rabbit
Recently, someone posted a job opening on Facebook for the SummerFest 2010. My friend answered the ad with the hope of just seeing the Flaming Lips at no cost. He could even make a few bucks, so why not?!?! When he showed up the second day, he arrived an hour early. He told me that when he was reading, he “looked up and saw a bushy haired man in a suit walking along Allen Parkway. In a suit!” He said the man looked like his favorite lead singer so he started walking to see who it was. “Let’s just say I picked up the pace,” he laughs. “And sure enough, it was Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips.” Aron said “Hi Wayne.” Wayne said “Hello.” “He’s real down to earth,” Aron said.
A: “Hey man, I don’t mean to bother you, but I jut want you to know, I’ve really enjoyed your music for many years.”
WC: “Thank you. Thanks a lot. Yeah, I like to be here early to be sure all the sound check and make sure everything is right for the show. Are you staying for the show?
A: “Yes. I’ll be here." Wayne asked Aron for directions to the stage. It turns out, Aron may have been the very first fan Wayne saw on performance day. The whole encounter was very special to Aron.