Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Legal Question For The Atlanta Peeps

This is a question for the Atlanta people that are still reading. Have any of you used the Georgia Small Claims court?

I need to to start the claim process against Morehouse College for non-payment of services rendered. In October of 2006, I was part of an art installation team that worked for the college deinstalling a show at the Museum of Design Atlanta. I submitted an invoice that month, and I am the only person still unpaid. I'm loath to go the legal route but the formerly helpful contact at the college has stopped returning my phone calls.

So, any suggestions or constructive ideas? Thanks.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend: Misplaced in Houston, The Orange Show, Flower Man, "Field of Vision" + More

Part of the weekend was spent looking for The Orange Show and The Flower Man House. While I had a map, the convoluted streets around bayou got me happily lost near MacGregor Way and Spanish Trail area. As I passed neighborhoods I had never seen before, I felt that Houston's strange lack of zoning extends to individual houses. Often I would drive by homes with strange additions and extensions. Very much a Houston thing.

Keep Your Ass Off, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Driving in one of the neighborhoods I passed the house above...

The Orange Show, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

After much time, I found the Orange Show. The Houston Chronicle said of this strange attraction in the middle of a residential neighborhood, "....The Orange Show is a phantasmagoria, an eye- filling architectural circus, an unexpected oasis of pleasure..."

The Orange Show 2007 - a photoset on Flickr

Flower Man House, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Field of Vision 3, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Shipley Do-Nuts, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

Starting to really love this place. Kolaches are very good.

Roll-n Bar Sign, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

It's the perfect sign. A short name, a drawing of a drink, an arrow to show you where, and when you get there, you'll be staring at the large TV. Drink and watch the tube, that's what you'll be doing at the ROLL-N.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funeral History Museum & The Beer Can House

To help my wife be more productive, I decided to visit some of the local attractions (in other words, she was sick of me watching TV and kicked me out while she graded papers.)

I decided on the National Museum of Funeral History, as it was a bit of a drive and I wouldn't be in that part of the city for any other reason.

The museum closed and I drove back into town. I had spent a little time marking places of interest on my Houston road map, so I pulled that out. The Beer Can House was in Houston proper and from what I knew I could see much of it from the sidewalk. A shrine to beer, I'm glad I stopped by.

There are other places I'm eager to visit, but I think I'll have to drag the missus to those.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Black Velvet Painting: Where the Talent Really Shows

"You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece."

R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket (1987)

"...The so-called fine arts have been on the skids since the turn of the century, when impressionism was aborted into the birth of all "isms" of abstract painting. Art is, always has been and, if it is to survive, always must be emotional. To make it coldly intellectual by abstractionism and impressionism is to destroy it or mold it into a monstrosity that is better kept locked up in musty museums. I frankly would rather prefer to have my paintings displayed in a gin-mill rather than buried in a repository together with the rest of the dead art, which is where this modern crap will end up.

...I refuse to be converted. The other day one of these 'artsy artists' from the Metropolitan in New York was sitting right on this lanai and he did some sketching of this bay. He showed me his finished canvas. I wanted to vomit when he showed me what a sacrilegious abortion he painted of my beautiful Paradise. I was quite frank with him. I told him I had seen better similar art on a stableboy's shovel!"

-- a letter from Edgar Leeteg to Aloha Barney

The Father of Modern Velvet Painting
Spectator Magazine - Leeteg of Tahitis


Black Velvet Zell Miller


Leeteg of Tahiti: Paintings From the Villa Velour - Froogle
LA Weekly: Features: Pictures From the Unibrow Revolution
Flickr: Hecho en Mexico: Tacky Velvet Art

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baby Be Of Use: Books and Products for Useful Kids

Way before a baby of our own was on its way, I used to joke about having a productive baby. I suggested a way for the kid to work on mobility and dexterity while providing a service around the house: a onesie made out of mop-cloth. Genius, I thought!

As with most things, the Japanese beat me to it.

Picture from

All I can say is my baby mop looked better than the one above. I know the kid will be cuter.

As for educating the baby for other tasks, I found a great set of instructional guides by Lisa Brown.

While on vacation this summer, we took Baby Mix Me a Drink to show friends. Their amazing, great 6-year-old daughter wanted to have a look at it. After reading the whole thing, she looks at my wife (who explained what a Champagne Cocktail was) and said something like, "A baby can't make drinks, this is a book for older kids," (Who, we all know, can make a mean Old Fashioned [page 8].)

I plan on a preschooler who can mix a SoCo Manhattan for Daddy.

3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 - 1/2 oz Southern Comfort

Good, kid -- keep the tip!

Humming Birds, Tee Pees and Museums, Oh My

, originally uploaded by redhandcase.

Texas, home to so much uniqueness.

I had high hopes for a weekend trip but it will have to wait. I wanted to view the fall migration of hummingbirds in Rockport, TX and stay at/visit the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton TX, 60 miles outside of Houston. As I write this, CNN is talking about the motel and US Today wrote recently about the motel's restoration by lottery winners.

Instead of a road trip, we're going to be closer to home. I've been lazy about visiting the local art institutions. Tomorrow, we will be running around Houston's museum district, taking advantage of free admission.

While the hummingbirds will be gone after this weekend, the Tee Pee Motel will be there for another trip.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Giant Flying Banana. No, Seriously

The Lone Star state will be blessed with flying fruit near the Mexican border. Estimated cost, 1 million dollars.

Geostationary Banana Over Texas

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Originally found here - Artist will send 300 meter banana 50km above the earth - Boing Boing

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Weekend In Review: Haircut, Friendly Postal Employees, Art Galleries


I usually get my hair done by the missus. It saves money and she is unwilling to make me look bad. But since she started working, I was getting shaggy. After reading about Raymond's Barber Shop in The Houstonist I figured that was the place to go. I like going to the old-school barbers.

I got there, a couple of guys ahead of me, and a cop showed up afterwards. After removing it to sit down beside me, the cop asked me to keep an eye on his gun belt if he fell asleep. I don't know if he was joking. Between watching Divorce Court on TV and reading the Playboys and Penthouses supplied, he never feel asleep. The one-man operation was running slow, so I waited a good hour and a half. A long wait because the son was there without his father. When I got my haircut it looked fine, but not as good as my wife's work. My favorite part was that the two barber's chairs had ashtrays built into the armrests. I don't have that at home.

Went to Metro Retro Vintage on Washington. My wife and I once joked that we don't buy art; we buy lamps. The vintage place had this beautiful lamp, celebrating the Russian space program, that would have been a nice addition to our collection. A small, chrome rocket ship atop of a clear Lucite column of smoke and flame, lit orange from the inside. The Lucite column fanned out to make the base and around the bottom were symbols of Russian industry and history, such as factories, cars, a sword smashing a swastika. Far too pricey, but truly unique. Like so many things, something else that would look great in the apartment that we will never have.


I encountered the nicest postal employee while trying to use an automated mail system in the foyer of the local post office. The blank look of stupidity and confusion on my face must have tipped off the postal carrier. She came over and just plugged everything into the machine's menus.

"Yes, it's over 3/4s of an inch, no, you don't want this delivery confirmation crap..." Etc, etc, and so on until the label was printed and applied to the package and she put it in the slot to start it on its journey. She looked at the receipt the machine spit out and said something like, "After all that, don't forget to go online and enter the drawing for ten thousand dollars." Nice.

After that I went to Domy Bookstore, which I had read about but never visited. Full of beautiful graphic novels, art books, plushes and all sorts of other things that I didn't need but really wanted. I left without spending a dime but wished I could have bought a book on the London graffiti artist Banksy.

Party with the wife's coworkers that night. From what my wife has been saying her new job is turning out quite well and the party was more of the same goodness. Verdict: nice non-snobs who made the spouses and significant others feel right at home.


After an afternoon slacking off at the house I hit about six galleries in the evening. I joined a former Atlantan, who, like myself is employed by the arts. We both relocated to Houston at almost the same time and it was nice to see a familiar face. Funny thing about the galleries was that all they were within walking distance of my new place and I didn't even know about them. We were both really surprised that the opening ended at 8pm. In our experience, most art events like this run until 9 or 10 pm. It seemed to cut short the party, so we headed over to the Alabama Ice House for her first time and my second. It was a good introduction; the Rollerderby Girls were doing fundraising, dogs were running about, and a girl was twirling fire while a band played on the main stage. I'm liking the Icehouse more and more. $2.25 Lonestar beers, can't go wrong there.


Cleaning house, laundry, a quick trip to M2 Gallery in the Heights to see the 600 sq mi: Photos From Houston show, and blogging

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Baby... Now We Know

We are having a baby girl. Funny thing is, I had always anticipated a girl. Don't know why, but I just did. The last ultrasound confirmed it. The doctor (male) and the ultrasound technician (female) could have started a comedy routine with the timing that they had. Hand over heart this was the conversation.

Technician: Did you tell them the sex?

Doctor: Well, it looks like a girl, but if it's a boy...

In unison: It has a small pecker.

Doctor: And you know who we blame for that...


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For baby name fun: The Baby Name Wizard: NameVoyager

Monday, September 03, 2007

Houston Is Breaking My Heart

Even before I moved to Houston I knew it was going to break my heart in due time.

“Such appearance doesn’t fit for Red (communistic) Moscow!”

And Moscow after planned progress.

These propaganda posters (from English Russia) don't seem all that different from the current tendencies to demolish the old and historic for the new and (usually) mundane. In the US it's capitalism that often seems to be preservation's worst enemy. Houston is no different than many cities in its rush to tear down buildings that don't offer their owners modern convenience and/or profitability. Even before we moved I was reading the Houston Architecture Info Forum and they were lamenting the destruction of worthwhile buildings in the city.

Local blogger Guardian of the Non Sequitur already commented in the Alabama Theater Bookstop post that the building was endangered. And looking at the Houston Mod news page just confirms that. I had already planned on doing a photo shoot in the converted theater and now I need to do so even more than ever.

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Historic Shopping Center and Theaters in Danger

Tenants of the River Oaks Shopping Center have been told that the owners, Weingarten Realty Investors, plan to demolish the northeast section of the historic center and the River Oaks Theater building to make way for a multi-story Barnes & Noble bookstore and a high-rise residential building designed by Hermes Architects according to the Houston Chronicle. Hermes Architects is best known for designing the Portofino Shopping Center (below) of 2004 in The Woodlands, Texas, a Venetian-themed concoction made of Styrofoam and artificial stucco. The River Oaks Shopping Center at 2017-2047 West Gray Avenue, designed by Houston architects Milton McGinty and Stayton Nunn with Oliver C. Winston, opened in 1937. It was published nationally in Architectural Record and American City magazines shortly after its completion. It is of national architectural significance.

The former Alabama Theater Building at 2900 S. Shepherd Drive of 1939, which Weingarten Realty Investors also controls, may be endangered as well. Community activists fear that if Barnes & Noble opens a bookstore in the River Oaks Shopping Center it will close its location in the Alabama Theater Building run under the Bookstop name. Ironically, in 1989 Weingarten Realty Investors with Kaldis Development Interests commissioned Mike Treadway Architects to sensitively restore the theater for use as a retail space.

For more details on this story please see the following articles

More information on the River Oaks shopping center can be found in the Cite Magazine article on the River Oaks center

The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance has added these buildings to its endangered buildings list.

The New York Times - Fighting the Wrecking Ball to Save Houston Landmarks

Houston Chronicle - Historic theater could soon fade into history, 7/22/2006

Houston Chronicle - Battle to save River Oaks center, 7/28/2006

To sign the petition please go to

Battle to save River Oaks center
Cite Magazine article on the River Oaks center
Fighting the Wrecking Ball to Save Houston Landmarks
Historic theater could soon fade into history
The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What A Crazy Weekend It Was... Not

Watched TV on Friday night! Oh, the madness!

Saturday, went to the library to try and get a library card. Didn't have the right ID. Crazy! That night, audience participation Buffy the Vampire Slayer at River Oak Theater followed by House of Pies. That was really fun, actually.


Baby Instructions and Advice from the Internet and Other Reading Materials

Babies with blades, no brainer.

Baby/daddy/parent blogs have become pretty regular reading in the last couple of months. Even before pending fatherhood I was reading daddytypes. So far, the additional sites are pretty hit-or-miss, and much depends on how amused I am after reading the posts. But some of the best advice isn't from online but materials straight from the doctor's office. Some of the provided info makes a point of not assuming the gender of the kid. There are times when they should.

"If you plan on having your baby circumcised, let us know soon after his/her birth (sic) this will usually be done before you leave the hospital."

Um, no. (-- OMG -- Ed) Now on to the parenting/pop culture quote of the day.

"But sorry, lady. You’re three. You’re not wearing makeup. Really. So you can stop asking. It’s not happening. But you don’t stop. And I’m not surprised. I have to admit, though, I was a little taken aback by what you said the last time you were denied:

“But David Bowie wears makeup!”

Touché, Ms. Gladstone, touché. I’m not sure how a grown Englishman’s early 70s experiments with androgyny entitle a three-year-old girl to wear lipstick, but at least you shut us up."

Full story here at And I Was Afraid My Bowie Love Would Warp The Boy : Left Unsaid on I found the baby shaving poster here but saw it originally on some Russian site which I can't find. Again, a shout-out to K for editing.