April 5th, 2010

The Week That Was 4.4.10

Exhaustion set in some time around Thursday’s lunch hour. That’s when I grabbed my bootstraps as firmly as possible and resolved to make the most of it. If ever there were a week that needed two Pauls, this was it. Then again, I don’t think the world would be ready for such a thing. Rupturing the space-time continuum is in the top three on my list of things to “Never Attempt.” The other two are “have an affinity for Dallas” and “eat peas.” This really deserves to be a two part TWTW (Ed. Note – Indeed, it will. The Saturday That Was will publish a little later), but let’s see what we get…

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The Road Show Blondes Get Lucky(’s)
With a sponsorship under our belt for the Road Show Blondes’ cause, not to mention an insightful interview with the duo, it was only right to halt all Wednesday night plans and make some time for the send-off party. Flying solo, I arrived about an hour late to the backroom of Lucky’s Pub where I immediately ran into Jayme. She was nice enough to throw me into a Houston luminary tour and twitter digiratti meet-n-greet. Out of my element? Definitely. By the time Jayme stopped pulling me around by my elbow, I found a nice quiet corner to stand in. “Wallflower” is one of those titles that fits me well most of the time, especially in new scenarios. Couple that with my twitter-envy at being the only person among the supporters of the Road Show Blondes‘ cause with less than 100 followers and a private account… well, let’s just say I wasn’t walking around introducing myself by my Twitter handle. By the end of the night, I broke away from the safety of my dark corner and ended up having tremendous conversations with the likes of @MagsMac, @JRCohen, @timmayd, @aimeewoodall, @GunsandTacos, and a whole host of other people self-proclaimed as “being funny” on Twitter. Being someone (read: “self-loathing wallflower”) that is desperately seeking affirmation, I unblocked my twitter account the next morning just to be part of the crew. Still waiting on those follows, people. They’re not coming, are they? Remember, you can still donate to the Jed Foundation for the Road Show Blondes. Every $5 counts. Consider this your call to arms.

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The Party Never Ends
What’s the best idea after having a few beers on an empty stomach while hobnobbing at the send-off party? Abscond to a shady bar that you’ve always been scared of to have a couple more pints. Was the answer not obvious? There is a bar on Richmond between Hazard and Woodhead that is worthy of nothing more than a passing glance. It sits back from the road, hiding behind the tall fence of the house to the left and the facade of the business to the right. Ruthie’s Place (1829 Richmond Avenue) is a place that isn’t exactly the most inviting of bars. Those facts are all the more reason for it to have been on my radar as one of the “must visits” for an experience. My friend was waiting on me, as friends of the bartender are wont to do: sitting alone, making sporadic conversation and hoping that none of the zombified regulars approach. Once inside, I was generally disappointed with the decor. I was expecting a shoddy, rundown, and decrepit orgy of bar lights, broken stools, and felt-less pool tables. What I was met with was much more inviting. Damn the luck. Out of the four beers on tap, I chose a Fat Tire for my nightcap and watched the only two patrons sway out the door, leaving my companion and I to fend for ourselves with the bartender. There will have to be a return visit to get the full feel of Ruthie’s, but for now all I can say is that it failed my expectations by exceeding all of them.

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Hockey. The Band. Not the Sport.
Without putting too much thought into it (who would have guessed), I bought tickets to the Thursday show at Warehouse Live to see The Postelles, The Constellations and Hockey. If I had done a little bit more research (or if I had just been paying attention to Your Regular Scoop 3.24.10) I would have kept my schedule open to see the tour kick-off for Wild Moccasins at Walters on Washington. There is one very important thing to remember here: Live music is live music. There’s usually no way you can go wrong. Unless the marquee has those viral words “open mic” on that particular night. Not being a huge fan of Hockey’s album Mind Chaos, I was pleasantly surprised by their live performance. The best way I can describe Benjamin Gruber’s voice is if Bob Dylan had been a rat-pack style crooner. In fact, one of the songs was a complete acoustic guitar and harmonica throw back to the 60’s icon. Bob Dylan, he’s so hot right now. Even with the headliner playing a strong set to finish out the night, it was the middle band, The Constellations, that provided the most entertainment. The band’s lead singer, Elijah Jones, has a larger than life presence on stage with a bucket hat pulled down over his eyes and mangy curls escaping from underneath. Interesting to me, Wes Hoffman on bass proved to be the best musician on stage. The most enlightening part of the whole evening was watching Jaime Gordon on the keyboards. He was a child of the music all night. A dancing, twitching, tweaking nut job from the first note to the last. Call me crazy, but I think these guys (and two gals) are going to be making a name for themselves soon. They have their first major album release – Southern Gothic – coming on June 22nd.

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Journey to the End of the Night: The Harp
With my old roommate in town for the holidays and to introduce his Yankee girlfriend to his oldest friends, we couldn’t just stop the party after the concert. Instead we made our way down to our old stomping grounds, The Harp. We walk in, say our hellos, and then walk in to grab our first drink. Unfortunately, having a way to buy a drink is helpful. Leaving your credit card at Warehouse Live is not helpful whatsoever. My friend and I excuse ourselves, hop in the car, retrieve the plastic from the concert hall and repeat the previous steps. Some things are worth doing twice. Some people put faith in making an entrance. I prefer to make two; one with my tail between my legs. That’s how impressions are made, people.

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SHO Me the Punny
Shell Houston Open’s acronym provides plenty of puntastic headlines. I’m not above using one of them. A friend of mine told me he had extra tickets through his sister to the SHO. With a day off on Friday, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to check it out. With an urge for a story, it was the perfect chance to see if a new friend could help me out. Within the span of four text messages, I was offered one of the elusive media passes to the event. It was one of the first perks to this TLS gig. I ditched my four other friends as soon as we reached the parking lot, finding my way to the golf carts to take me to the media room, free food, and a chip on my shoulder (technically, a badge on my chest). Playing a round of golf with friends is very similar to watching the pros play with friends. You’ve got the long walk, the cold beer, and the chauvinist conversation. The only thing missing is the frustration over hitting into the water hazards umpteen times. After walking the course and taking in the professional play of more than a dozen groups on the course, we eventually chose to head home. Walking around and drinking beer is hard work after all. Don’t tell that to Maggie, though. She’ll rip my head off since she was actually working the event. I did it all in the name of a damn good photo essay that will run tomorrow.

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Always Split Test (I Mean “Split Checks”)
On the way home from the Redstone Golf Club, an idea struck the driver. A visit to RDG + Bar Annie would be a perfect cap to an exhaustive afternoon of walking. There’s nothing like pampering the palette after a day of hard work. I was hesitant to agree to such a continuation of the day. A nap, a cup of coffee, anything other then having to “do it up” at one of Houston’s finest restaurants. My protest only lasted an hour before I was changing into proper attire. We sat out on the patio of Bar Annie while four more joined our party, bringing it to a robust six at our table. My first choice of the night was a glass of Oban 14 year old Scotch. It’s always a favorite of mine and I rarely turn down the opportunity to order it when the urge for the good stuff arises. Next, it was on to the meal. My companions ordered a swath of starters including Tortilla Soup, Asian Nachos, and Lobster Balls. My personal choice was the Baked Potato Fritters served with a Bacon Cheddar Chive Dip. Absolutely fantastic, my appetizer could make for finger food on any occasion. If I hadn’t run out of the fried nuggets, I wouldn’t have stopped eating. Thankfully, my main course showed up in front of me soon thereafter: Slow Cooked Beef Rib Enchiladas w/ Handmade Enchilada Sauce (which I tend to think is a descriptor that treads the line of being redundant at a place like RDG). The enchiladas were just enough to be filling and not enough to overdo it. I’d tell you about how each bite tasted, but they were gone before I knew it. Just trust me when I say they were delicious. The entire affair lasted just a hair short of four hours. Perhaps a tad too long, but when you’re given the opportunity to soak in every minute of an RDG experience, you’ve got to seize it.

[Stay tuned... More to come.]

— Paul

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