May 24th, 2010
The Week That Was 5.23.10
Monday is depressing enough, most weeks. I would hate to add to any of that, but some news that came across the wire on Sunday still has me thinking. Former Houston Astros pitcher, Jose Lima, died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack at the much-too-young age of 37 this weekend. Considering that most of the Astros coverage is negative these days with the team dwelling in the cellar and a staple of the pitching staff, Roy Oswalt, demanding a trade, the news about Lima was more than sobering.
It’s hard to imagine baseball being as entertaining to me as it was during those years of Lima Time at the Astrodome. There was a certain energy that followed the team around back then. There was a buzz about the city and it wasn’t just the Killer B’s that were causing it. Maybe I was just more aware back then or maybe I just had more time to follow the sport, but even when the Astros were making their run at the World Series in 2005, it seemed like there were far more diehard fans back when the team was about to leave the Dome and head to Union Station in downtown.
I’ll miss Jose Lima’s borderline theatrics on the mound. I’ll miss him talking to that tiny man inside his glove, him singing the Star Spangled Banner and the lust for the game with which he played. The Casa Olé theme will always be stuck in my head because of Lima. And that’s a good thing. In ten years I’m not going to remember that Matt Schaub was trying to sell me a Mercedes Benz, but I still want to go grab some fast-food enchiladas because of the pitch man behind them.
I hope you find peace in that big bullpen in the sky, Jose.
The Bartender’s Apprentice (Paul)
First of all, I would like to applaud myself for not writing about Anvil Bar & Refuge for a total of two weeks straight. Please, please. No more clapping. We’ve got a show to get to… I could not pass up the opportunity to check out the festivities at Anvil on Monday with the Houston Area Chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild having their first showcase. Beaver’s, Catalan, Yelapa and a host of other restaurants all had representation behind the bar serving up their specialty cocktail to all the masses who dared to live the adventure. Each drink drew the hefty price tag of eight dollars, but when you have to only make one stop for a cocktail tour of Houston what are you willing to pay? I had to stop myself from ordering each of the concoctions. Eight drinks on a Tuesday just doesn’t sound like a productive Wednesday in the making. Keep tuned for the next HACoUSBG (is that a convenient enough acronym?) event, it will be worth your while.
Happy Birthday, Sis. I’m Off to See a Show. (Paul)
It was my sister’s birthday on Thursday. After dinner at my parents house to honor my younger sibling, I was driving back to town when I got a call from a friend asking if I could take care of his wife’s cat for a couple weeks. Yeah, sure thing. I hate cats, but I don’t really want to be the reason your wife never forgives you for her beloved pet’s death. Then he tells me he’s at Continental Club to watch Mike Stinson open for The Knitters and he’s just put my name on the list. Maybe watching this cat won’t be such a bad thing after all. There are a few things in this world that are impossible for me to turn down. Getting to watch a concert for free at Continental Club is one of those. While sitting outside checking out the last couple songs by Beatles cover band, Beetle, I came to the realization that Continental Club and Big Top very well could play host to the best patio in Houston. This is the question I pose to you, readers: What bar, restaurant, music venue or coffee shop has the best patio in Houston? My short list is Continental Club, Hans’ Bierhaus and Cafe Brasil.
Showing My Age (Paul)
This is our safe place, right? This is a place where I can admit my shortcomings, flaws and vices without fear of judgment, correct? In that case, I would like to tell you that on Friday night I bailed on the Wild Moccasins show. You said that you wouldn’t judge… please, spare me. It was uncomfortably hot, the crowd was decidedly nineteen and younger, even the moms and dads in attendance out “cooled” me on Friday night. After the Giant Princess opener, I grabbed the new release, Skin Collisions Past and made way to the more quiet confines of Ernie’s on Banks. Outdoor darts, cornhole/bags/whatever you want to call it, strong drinks and Blue October on the jukebox were waiting for me and my wound licking as I realized I’m just not as young as I used to be. If a Loopster out there made it the length of the show, let us know how it turned out in the comments. After giving the new album a few listens already, I’m sure it was a great performance.
A Voyage Northeast, Not to Yankee Territory (Richard)
I traveled far across this great state over the weekend, to the town of Cooper Texas. My wife’s boss, in his generosity, invited their entire work program to his retirement home, which he does once a year, for a break from the city. Who doesn’t need a break from all of those Loopsters in their pro-Houston T-shirts? The treck was about what you’d expect driving through rural East Texas; pines with winding incisions of black asphalt, wild flowers, and a barbecue establishment or beer joint located near each new county line. While the friendly company and the beautiful country were certainly reasons enough for the drive, the hosts and their continued history in that home were truly fascinating. I’m a sucker for older buildings, even more so if they’ve been painstakingly repaired after a time of near condemnent. Houston’s gotten slightly better about preserving its history as of late, which offers a glimmer of hope. You’d still be hard-pressed to find many older buildings surpassing the century mark. Call me ignorant in the comments if I’m wrong. Whatcha got?
Gearing Up for Summer Fest (Paul)
It’s safe to say that one of the events that I’ve been looking forward to most since last year is the second edition of Free Press Summer Fest. Without saying too much, I wrote an exorbitant 5,000 words about last year’s late summer event. This year they’ve moved up the two-day concert to the beginning of June hoping to capitalize by being the first music festival of the year. On Saturday, Cactus Music and the Record Ranch hosted the Summer Fest poster art event. Each of the major players commissioned its own poster by a separate artist and revealed for giddy fest fans. The poster for Uh Huh Her was by far my favorite. Perhaps it was the blue and orange color scheme that resonated with me. Maybe it was just the simplicity of the design. Either way, it got me looking up a band I’ve only heard of in passing and getting excited for the festival extravaganza. Now if I can only get my hands on some passes to Bonnaroo.