Monday, November 23, 2024

Of Turkeys and Holocausts

posted by Free Press Houston @ 6:41 PM

How I Stopped Hating Thanksgiving and Learned to be Afraid


I have stopped hating Thanksgiving and learned to be afraid of the holiday.

Over the past few years a growing number of white people have joined the longstanding indigenous people’s critique of the holocaust denial that is at the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday. In two recent essays I have examined the disturbing nature of a holiday rooted in a celebration of the European conquest of the Americas, which means the celebration of the Europeans’ genocidal campaign against indigenous people that is central to the creation of the United States. Many similar pieces have been published in predominantly white left/progressive media, while indigenous people continue to mark the holiday as a “National Day of Mourning”.

In recent years I have refused to participate in Thanksgiving Day meals, even with friends and family who share this critical analysis and reject the national mythology around manifest destiny. In bowing out of those gatherings, I would often tell folks that I hated Thanksgiving. I realize now that “hate” is the wrong word to describe my emotional reaction to the holiday. I am afraid of Thanksgiving. More accurately, I am afraid of what Thanksgiving tells us about both the dominant culture and much of the alleged counterculture.

Here’s what I think it tells us: As a society, the United States is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt. This is a society in which even progressive people routinely allow national and family traditions to trump fundamental human decency. It’s a society in which, in the privileged sectors, getting along and not causing trouble are often valued above honesty and accountability. Though it’s painful to consider, it’s possible that such a society is beyond redemption. Such a consideration becomes frightening when we recognize that all this goes on in the most affluent and militarily powerful country in the history of the world, but a country that is falling apart -- an empire in decline.

Thanksgiving should teach us all to be afraid.

Although it’s well known to anyone who wants to know, let me summarize the argument against Thanksgiving: European invaders exterminated nearly the entire indigenous population to create the United States. Without that holocaust, the United States as we know it would not exist. The United States celebrates a Thanksgiving Day holiday dominated not by atonement for that horrendous crime against humanity but by a falsified account of the “encounter” between Europeans and American Indians. When confronted with this, most people in the United States (outside of indigenous communities) ignore the history or attack those who make the argument. This is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt.

In left/radical circles, even though that basic critique is widely accepted, a relatively small number of people argue that we should renounce the holiday and refuse to celebrate it in any fashion. Most leftists who celebrate Thanksgiving claim that they can individually redefine the holiday in a politically progressive fashion in private, which is an illusory dodge: We don’t define holidays individually or privately -- the idea of a holiday is rooted in its collective, shared meaning. When the dominant culture defines a holiday in a certain fashion, one can’t pretend to redefine it in private. To pretend we can do that also is intellectually dishonest, politically irresponsible, and morally bankrupt.

I press these points with no sense of moral superiority. For many years I didn’t give these questions a thought, and for some years after that I sat sullenly at Thanksgiving dinners, unwilling to raise my voice. For the past few years I’ve spent the day alone, which was less stressful for me personally (and, probably, less stressful for people around me) but had no political effect. This year I’ve avoided the issue by accepting a speaking invitation in Canada, taking myself out of the country on that day. But that feels like a cheap resolution, again with no political effect in the United States.

The next step for me is to seek creative ways to use the tension around this holiday for political purposes, to highlight the white-supremacist and predatory nature of the dominant culture, then and now. Is it possible to find a way to bring people together in public to contest the values of the dominant culture? How can those of us who want to reject that dominant culture meet our intellectual, political, and moral obligations? How can we act righteously without slipping into self-righteousness? What strategies create the most expansive space possible for honest engagement with others?

Along with allies in Austin, I’ve struggled with the question of how to create an alternative public event that could contribute to a more honest accounting of the American holocausts in the past (not only the indigenous genocide, but African slavery) and present (the murderous U.S. assault on the developing world, especially in the past six decades, in places such as Vietnam and Iraq).

Some have suggested an educational event, bringing in speakers to talk about those holocausts. Others have suggested a gathering focused on atonement. Should the event be more political or more spiritual? Perhaps some combination of methods and goals is possible.

However we decide to proceed, we can’t ignore the ugly ideological realities of the holiday. My fear of those realities is appropriate but facing reality need not leave us paralyzed by fear; instead it can help us understand the contours of the multiple crises -- economic and ecological, political and cultural -- that we face. The challenge is to channel our fear into action. I hope that next year I will find a way to take another step toward a more meaningful honoring of our intellectual, political, and moral obligations.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I’m eager to hear about the successful strategies of others. For such advice, I would be thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2024

Rant of the Month: Bad Art as the Beginning of Genocide

posted by Free Press Houston @ 5:18 PM

This is incoherent and thoughtful at the same time
By Martin Boober

“Hi Liz. Miffy here. How are you? How are things in Iowa? As you know, I just moved here to Houston, and it is SO non-cornfield here in this bustling, dynamic, romantic city. I live in the COOLEST AREA called MONTROSE, but the cool people call it “THE TROSE”! So many cool places and funky old houses, (but I hope they get rid of a lot of them. They are musty and scary and, well, old. Besides, everyone who is on the go in this town wants new, new, NEW and those that don’t can just go die.) There are cool, cool, cool restaurants and bistros here, (a bistro is a cool way of saying restaurant) and things to do. Like last weekend, I went to this art show at this cool place called the Contemporary Arts Museum, but everyone in the know calls it the CAM. There was lots of stuff there and gobs of interesting people, I had to text and sext a lot, so I wasn’t sure what was going on but they were cool things, I know. Some cheesy guy sang a song about a house, and then this guy with a HOT BOD carried a big piece of wood around wearing only a g-string, (watching him made me wet, OMG). I wore a knee length gingham print dress, my yellow Donald Duck hair berets, and looked cute in my clunky black leather service station worker shoes that I got half price. Pretty edgy, huh? Oh, and I met this McDreamy guy there named Harmon. Harmon is tall and designs modern urban dwellings (they used to be called apartments, but that is SO yesterday). Harmon is very intellectual, and says he doesn’t even think about sex at all. Isn’t that wonderful? I’m a lucky girl. He is picking me up tomorrow night in his black Honda Element, and we are going for pasta at this cool place called Café Nexpresso or something like that. Well, I hope you move down here, Liz. I have my double chocolate honey-lime latte and am ensconced in my reading nook, with the latest issue of “Jealousy” magazine. A girl has to keep abreast of what is happening, you know? Please write soon. Love, Miffy!”
Genocide does not begin with a tortuous train ride to a hinterland shooting pit. Genocide begins with ignorance, denial, a notion, an inconvenience, an intolerant whim, an annoying unconformity, a perception, a projected shame, a disconnect from feeling and common human experience, a dulling of awareness, an absent point of reference. Art is to be experienced, not understood. Once art is said to be “understood”, it is killed. A Chagall, “understood” by a magnate, is, conversely loved warmly by an unsophisticated wage slave, who enters the museum for both shelter from the cold, and for spiritual rejuvenation. He is not a master of the universe. A Friedrich can melt a cold heart and gladden a sad one, but it is not understood. Five shots from a revolver, fired into a large, blank canvas may strongly reflect to the audience the fact that people without a sense of irony are terribly dangerous, but it is not fully understood. Much has been written about the artist’s responsibility, but the trauma of recent years renders those of WWI, and its child Dada, to the foggy, overlooked memories of yellowed silent newsreels and print in heavy, unread books.
Everything is Dada now, it is said. Vive irrelevancy, vive expediency, vive fame and flippancy. It makes what is really going on more palatable. “It is not that we have outlawed Shakespeare! We have merely created a society that renders Shakespeare irrelevant!” Laziness, fear, lack of thought and inspiration replacing artistic courage. A splash of paint here-and-there kind of guy can be profound, or a plagiarist of the other splash of paint here-and-there guy whose works are hot sellers at the moment. Bad art for its own sake. Active nihilism, and a still naked emperor. King Canute, wrapped in a clean white sheet. Presto. So cool. What indeed can move one if one has no point of reference? Point of reference—diluted, obfuscated, minimized, dumbed down.
What is viewed then may appear to be a refined joke, but it might be a naked emperor. What such art really is, is a little murder. It is a murder of aesthetic, of integrity, (as are all lies big and small. More and more, we are seduced into lying, to support larger lies). Little murders. Little art murders, a murder of sensitivity, (sensitivity—that curse of efficiency and groupthink), and awareness, of intelligence, of critical thought process. The ethic that began as a joke between a small group of obscure academics known as “postmodern deconstruciton” has become what it was never intended to be, a movement. Even more than a movement, an attitude, a TREND. Well, we all know that, when boiling a frog, one never throws the frog into a pot of already boiling water. One places the frog in a pot of cool water, and imperceptibly, slowly increases the heat. In this manner, once the frog realizes it is being cooked, it is too late. The recent “No Zoning” exhibit at the CAM was the “Sunset Boulevard” for many early, non-corporate, alternative Houston artists. (“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille.”) It was a congenial, back-slapping celebration, joking and hobnobbing, not even realizing that they were experiencing a collective throat-slitting and expulsion into oblivion. This is the NEW Houston after all, and where, indeed, will it end? The new new NEW Houston—gleaming, shining, awash in foreign cash and shady mega-deals, swarming with smarmy developers spewing sloppy solipsisms, forcing the public into reail-line friendly, overpriced, poorly-built shoeboxes constructed with planned-obsolescence integrity, (ever try suing a builder lately? Good luck). Pressboard shells built on shifting mud faults, and Miffy is perplexed as to why her print doesn’t hang straight on the wall. Many dwellers just forego having anything on their walls. After all, their surroundings must be as empty as their souls, and art, after all, might make them THINK and FEEL, and that is simply not politically correct. CAM is the riverboat pilot over the River Styxx for artists, local and otherwise. Once you’ve made it, you’ve had it. Several artists and movements from the period who could have been featured in this exhibit are far less annoyed at being excluded than one might assume.
Everything becomes illusion, for illusion is far more comfortable, entertaining, and downright easier. Illusion is easy to manufacture. Illusions of love, of fame, of quality, of beauty, of hope, of change, of prosperity, of freedom, of aesthetic. Bad art is the beginning, subtly, of genocide.

Friday, November 20, 2024

2024 Art Crawl Saturday November 21st

posted by Free Press Houston @ 10:28 AM

Helen Tellegen
Photo by Cahrlie Jean Sartwelle

Saturday November 21st, over eighty artists located in the Warehouse District will open their doors to the public for 17th Annual Art Crawl. From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., you can rummage around the dozens of open artist warehouse studios. The artists encourage those attending to bring their children as well.
The event, financed and planned by the artists, exposes the viewer to the art work outside of the sterile swanky galleries. The Art Crawl, a mainstay of the art scene, has earned a national name for Houston’s diacritic art community. To add to the list of things that makes this event unique, it exposes those from all over the Houston area to new art.
Like exploring dozens of old attics, the Art Crawl allow you to poke around artists’ studios cluttered with found objects, paint splatter, and sketches. You walk through each of the artist’s’ studios and see the mess, smell the oil paint and turpentine. The exposed pipes and plywood floors allow you to sense what the warehouses were like a hundred year ago
A few decades ago, a handful of artists moved to a district that the rest of Houston viewed as an elephant’s grave yard. The old shipping warehouses northeast of downtown were used as shanties for drifters from the local jail. Artists like John Runnels and Charlie Jean Sartwelle found the area had the ingredients for artists’ paradise, ample space and cheap rent. In 1984 they founded the Mother Dog Studio, which became the ring leader of the Art Crawl. Mother Dog found the atmosphere of the Warehouse District an asset, as it tied them to the roots of working-class Houston.
Mother Dog wanted to organize a different kind of art festival. To get complete community involvement they enlisted the support of the nonprofit organizations Diverse Works and Photofest. Part of their goal was to attract the part of the community that typically has little interest in local art. This included those living in the suburbs and in areas of Houston with little art exposure.
Thirty-six year old Artist Whitney Riley is entering her 5th year in the Art Crawl. While studying physics in college, she took a painting class. The class was an epiphany – she abandoned physics and became a professional artist. She and seven artists have founded Box 13, a warehouse studio that focuses on experimental work. Its welcoming environment and family atmosphere have caused it to grow to 16 artists. Her most recent work is a series of paintings depicting Sports Illustrated swimsuit models doing housework. Her concept is to juxtapose the two contrasting stereotypes for women.
In contrast, Ron Gordon studied art in college, but didn’t become a professional artist until age 48, when he retired from teaching. The Warehouse District was perfect place for him to set up studio and reenter the art world. Within ten years Gordon is a successful muralist, but he notes that he also likes to explore other genres of art. As he has advanced in his career he’s been able to buy time to work on abstract painting. To Gordon, the Art Crawl is liberating because galleries expect you to have one genre of work. He finds the atmosphere of the Warehouse District perfect for his eclectic work and thrives on the artistic inspiration he finds there.
The artists in the district feel their settling of the area has been a gift to the city. Unfortunately, the success of the district is attracting other developers. The paradox that artists face is that their move to cheap places eventually makes those places so attractive and expensive that the artists can no longer afford them. Runnels feel the days of the artists in the Warehouse District may be numbered. However he quotes Robert Hughes to say that “artists are as tough as weeds and can grow in the cracks of concrete.”

Click on full map below:

Thursday, November 19, 2024

Houston History: The Houston music scene forty years ago

posted by Free Press Houston @ 4:30 PM

By Alex Wukman

Like much of Houston’s history, the history of its music venues is always on the verge of being forgotten. There are few ‘historic venues’ in Houston (Fitzgerald’s and the El dorado Ballroom not withstanding) and most of the lineage of Houston’s music history has fallen to the bulldozer while the story of Texas’ impact on the psychedelic music scene of the 1960s and 1970s is only just now beginning to be told.

So Free Press Houston decided to compile as much of a list of the clubs that shaped the city’s scene forty years ago as could be found. Unfortunately, like most live music venues, many of these clubs have left little or no trace of their passing. While many bars and venues get wakes when they die almost none get obituaries; which makes piecing together their history almost impossible. However, the first club from the period that could be identified was Jimmie Menutis’ Lounge and Club, which was operating from the early to mid 1960s at 3236 Telephone Road. Jimmie Menutis’ Lounge has been described by Scarlet Dukes’ 1960s Texas Music website as “being as close to a ‘nightclub’ as anything in Houston at the time.”
Dukes went on to write that, like many of the supper clubs from the big band era, the venue featured a single bandstand surrounded by tables covered with red cloth. Dukes also stated that the club was filled “dark, short, white guys walking around” while acts like Bo Diddle, King Curtis and Jimmy Reed played onstage. Like many of the clubs from Houston’s hippie days the date and reason why Jimmie Menutis’ closed is lost to history and the wrecking ball. The second well-known establishment to open was Dome Shadows on 9218 Buffalo Speedway. Dome shadows opened in December 1963 and went through many different incarnations until it closed in the early 1980s. According to, the club was initially founded by Marshal M. Stewart who had a policy that all men in uniform, regardless of age, would be allowed in and treated well. For the first few years’ local bands like The Jokers, The Pastels and The Good Stuff held court in the shadow of the Astrodome.

Then in 1965 Houston wunderkind Roy Hoffheinz filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Stewart. The suit came about because a few years earlier Hoffheinz had been sued for infringing the copyright of the Colt Arms Company. Apparently Colt didn’t like Hoffheinz naming a baseball team The Colt .45s. Hoffheinz lost the suit and changed the name of the team to the Astros. He paid off the judgment and went looking for ways to make his money back. Hoffheinz hit on the idea of suing anyone he felt was infringing on his Astrodome trademark, so he sued Stewart for $ 1million. Stewart countersued for $1 million, he claimed that the word “dome” wasn’t trademarked. Unfortunately for Hoffheinz the judge who ruled on the case agreed that the word dome wasn’t trademarked.
Stewart ran the club up until 1970 when he leased it to AM radio DJ Paul Berlin. Berlin, who would later go on to gain notoriety for playing bands like Herman’s Hermits and The Animals on KBME, introduced such high concepts as the best leg and wet t-shirt contests to what had been a stalwart of Houston’s hippie Dom.

However, Berlin did book some skinny young kids in leather jackets from New York for their Houston debut in 1977. You might have heard of them. They went on to be pretty big. They were called The Ramones. In the late 1970s Berlin subleased Dome Shadows to a high stakes gambler named Martin Kramer. Kramer’s tenure at the club was short lived, mostly because he was shot dead in a card game. While Hoffheinz and Stewart were slugging it out in court another club catering to the counterculture crowd opened in what has come to be known as the Midtown area but at the time was considered part of Montrose.

La Maison opened in 1964 and stayed in business until 1966. Founded by George Massey and originally called La Maison du Café, the club was located in a house on the corner of San Jacinto and Wichita.

It started primarily as a small folk club, but by the summer of 1965 folk had given way to rock and roll and the club had outgrown its homey location. Massey decided to bring in a partner named Larry Kane and the pair moved the club to a defunct church on the corner of Bagby and McGowen.
After the move Massey and Kane decided to drop the café portion of the name and became the first club in Houston to use go-go dancers. The club became closely associated with bands like the Baroque Brothers and Sixpentz who were the house bands. However, the good times wouldn’t last and the club had to move to 1420 Richmond at least for a little while.

However they had to move again and went back to the old church, but under a different name. The last time anyone was mentioned performing there was in late 1966 when the chronicle listed Red Krayola as playing at a fashion show in a closed church. Around the time go-go dancers were grooving to the sounds of the Baroque Brothers and Massey and Kane were trying to figure out where to move to a club called the catacombs opened up in an area that would later be associated with the Galleria.

The club would be called the Catacombs and it was located at 3003 Post Oak. It would go on to become one of the best-known clubs in Houston’s hippie phase. The Catacombs played host to such seminal 1960s bands as the Mothers of Invention, Country Joe and the Fish and Jethro Tull. Since the club was open before the Texas legislature passed laws allowing the sale of liquor by the drink the Catacombs had a “membership application. “ Membership to the club was limited to people aged 15-20 years old and it prohibited members from bringing in “intoxicants of any kind” and required to them wear “school clothing.”

The age limit requirements were common amongst Houston’s teen clubs of the time and the lack of intoxicants didn’t prevent the Catacombs from hosting Houston’s first “pop festival” on August 31, 1968. Like La Maison and other clubs from the period, The Catacombs had to move after the lease expired. In the late 1960s the club relocated to University and Kirby in the then burgeoning Rice Village area.

It’s unclear as to whether the club changed management or ownership after relocating, but what is clear is that in 1970 the club located at University and Kirby was no longer called The Catacombs and was now known as Of Our Own. Despite the new name the club continued booking some of the biggest touring acts of the time including MC 5 and Ten Years After.

Like Jimmie Menutis’, the reason for and date of the Of Our Own’s closing is lost. Despite the incompleteness of the record, the history of The Catacombs/Of Our Own is fairly well documented. On the other hand, the history of The Living Eye, which was located on 1493 Silber and was open from 1966 until sometime in the mid 1970s, can be described as spotty at best. The Living Eye was owned by Scott Holtzman and is perhaps best summarized as being the location of a minor footnote in the annals of Texas’ drug war history.

In 1967, at the start of a six-month residency at The Living Eye, local Houston band The Misfits became the first Texas music group to get busted for possession of LSD. According to the website, the charges against the band were dropped because the drug wasn’t illegal, but the notoriety of the bust was having a negative effect on the band so they changed their name to The Lost and Found.

Aside from being the location of the first acid bust in Texas, the only other notable thing about The Living Eye was its marketing. A promotional flyer for the club touts its 15-20-age limit by saying “If you’re 21…you’re too old. If you’re 14…you’re too young.” The text of the flyer goes on to invite those “in between” to “take a fantastic voyage into the heart of an android.”

The date of the closing of The Living Eye is also lost to the annals of history.
While the dates of operation for the Houston branch of The Cellar are known the location is not. On December 7, 1964 Pat Kirkwood opened a Houston location of the venerable Forth Worth bar The Cellar.

The Cellar’s Houston location would operate until 1974. Like the five other bars in The Cellar chain, three in Fort Worth, one in Dallas and one in San Antonio, the Houston location was known for progressive music bookings, a relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous waitresses in skimpy clothing.

According to multiple sources, the waitresses at each of The Cellar locations wore bikinis while serving drinks. It is also said that at some of the locations girls in the audience would stand on a two foot high, two foot wide divider that separated the crowd from the band and due an impromptu strip tease to music from bands featuring the likes of Frank Gibbs and Roky Erickson. While The Cellar was well known amongst the Houston music community it didn’t achieve the type of breakout notoriety that the Love Street Light Circus did.

Despite being only open from 1967-1970 Love Street became something of a legend for its innovative visuals. Founded by local artist David Addickes after a trip to San Francisco in the mid 1960s, Love Street featured 24 slide projectors, which would be used to show things like birds flying around the room. Addickes has stated that he would take photos of patrons using slide film on one night, develop the pictures and put them in the projectors the next day.

“If someone came back the next night they could see themselves on the wall,” Addickes said at a 2024 lecture. Love Street was located in a three story building on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, standing on what is currently Allen’s Landing.

The house drew a 1019 Commerce Street address and featured a mural painted throughout the lower story of the building. The mural has been described as an optical illusion that shows a mid 1960s Houston skyline. Love Street was also known for not having a seating area, instead it featured cushions for customers to recline on and watch the bands and lights. Love Street was located just a few blocks from the Market Square area of downtown that was also the home of La Bastille. Founded by Ernie Criezis in the late 1960s as a jazz club the venue expanded into jazz influenced blues.

Criezis told Billboard magazine in September 1973 that booking the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Buddy Rich and Muddy Waters proved to be financially lucrative. However, Creizis stated that since Houston was so far off the touring track paying to fly down big name talents was expensive. Another club that opened in the late 1960s was Anderson Fair. Located at 2024 Grant Street, Anderson Fair is one of the few Houston musical venues that have been in constant business for over 40 years.

Anderson Fair gained notoriety for booking the emerging country folk acts that came to dominate Texas Music during the 1980s and 1990s. Despite the renown many of the Houston venues achieved it was Liberty Hall that became the most famous of Houston’s 1960s and 1970s venues. Originally built as a church the building, which stood at 1610 Chenevert, was converted into an American Legion Hall. Mike Condray, Lynda Herrera and Ryan Trimble then converted it into a music venue.

From 1971-1978 while it was a music venue Liberty Hall hosted everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the Velvet Underground . It was so well known that Springsteen even referenced it in one of his songs. It seems that no matter how big a club was at the time when it closes there isn’t much of a reference.

The same holds true for the closure of Liberty Hall. There doesn’t seem to be much written about why a music venue that hosted artists that came to define much of the last two decades of the 20th Century closed their doors. However, after it closed Liberty Hall became a Chinese movie theatre, but like many of the venues it was knocked down. Now, in the spot where the New York Dolls and Ted Nugent played, stands an empty lot with a view of the Toyota Center’s parking garage.
It seems that every year a small venue goes out of business and leaves behind no record of what happened there or what happened to it. Like the songs played on stages night after night throughout the city, all too often the history of Houston’s music scene only remains in the minds of the people who were there.

Interview : Hollywood Floss

posted by Free Press Houston @ 10:12 AM

By Omar Afra

There is a quote on Hollywood Floss’ webpage that says” I Wanna Save The World But I Gotta Get My Stacks First.” We could not agree more. But this philosophy plays directly into his music, as it is both conscious and ambitious. Floss rhymes are confident and aggressive yet he address a gamut of topics ranging from freeing ones thoughts to older women who like to bang younger men. Transcendent indeed. Either way, Floss’ sound is sparkly clean and he is making moves.

Tell us about the slick production on your recordings- are you responsible and what kind of approach do you take to songwriting?

I like the title of that "slick production”. Yea I’m def. 80% of my production. If it says Hollywood FLOSS then it’s me crafting the beat from start to finish unless I ask someone to play a live instrument for me. I'm giving them the melody by humming it out or referencing a vibe to where I want it to go.

Songwriting is different track by track - Sometimes it's with the beat and sometimes it starts as poetry and I craft sounds around it. Rarely do I use the fashionable Jay-Z approach of writing in my head.

You tend to have positive content to your lyrics yet spit them out aggressively. Is there a paradox here?

The theme behind Hollywood Floss has always been a positive approach. I remember when I first met Fat Tony, it was refreshing to hear someone from my hometown who was able to convey the same expression ... lol, it def. is a paradox, but nah that’s the only way to attack it for me, because if you don’t believe in your own lyrics who will? So I spit aggressively to show you I'm serious about what I write

Who are some of your favorite musicians in Houston?
Favorite musicians Neon Collars, hasHBrown, Kidd The Great, Dustin Prestige, John Dew, DnN, Fat Tony, Check Other, Thurogood Wordsmith, The Tontons, Karina Nistal, Mic Skills, Hip Phoenix, Black Rose

Mainstream - K-Rino, Scarface, Bun-B

Do you feel Amy frustration translating your music to a live context?

I don't think I ever have a problem translating my music live because I purposely create songs and shows to create to different crowds... ex: if its a mostly woman crowd - then I have a set list for them (its still me but it might be a diff. side to me)
Same for a "hip-hop" crowd or an avant-garde crowd

Plus I have my DJ and a backing band so it only gets better with each show
What's next for Hollywood Floss: Progression? Regression? Transgression?

Always Forward Progression... I have a new album House of Dreams and I feel it's progression for me and it shows my growth as an artist. Musicians should write what you like and if people feel you, that’s a bonus!

What say ye?: Hip-hop is dead or better than ever?

Better Than Ever my friend... I’m just getting warmed up!

Tuesday, November 17, 2024

Like The Ear Cut Off

posted by b.s. @ 11:19 AM

A Tribute to the Life of Jacob Scanlan
Like The Ear Cut Off

Opening Friday, November 20th
6 – 9 pm
Apama Mackey Gallery
628 East 11th Street
Houston, TX 77008

Join us in celebrating the life of artist Jacob Scanlan this Friday, November 20, 2024, from 6 – 9 pm at Apama Mackey Gallery, curated by Sean Carroll and Mark Hougham from the collection of the Scanlan family. Through Scanlan’s poems, paintings, origami and photographs we hope to reveal the intense zeal and creative mind that touched his family and friends.


Artist and writer Jacob Scanlan, aka JKOP, was born in Houston on November 29, 1979, and studied philosophy and poetry at the University of Houston. He delved into street art and public paintings that were bold, bright, and passionate. As a regular on the punk scene and with a keen ear for early hip hop, he quickly immersed himself into a chaotic lifestyle...


Sunday, November 15, 2024

Lee Powers: We Miss You

posted by Mills-McCoin @ 3:15 PM

The world and Houston and Montrose suffer a great loss in the passing of Lee Powers. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends that mourn his departure from this life. Lee was a noble friend, ready with a servant’s heart to accomplish what others were not willing. He was more than warm in his greeting; and a perpetual friend to everyone he met. Lee Powers may have exited this physical world but his spirit of selflessness will continue to inspire us all.

Friday, November 13, 2024

The Last Westheimer Block Party

posted by Free Press Houston @ 5:07 PM

Dear Houston-

This will be the last Westheimer Block Party. However, the next one will be the return of the Westheimer Street Festival. It may take 2 months or it may take 2 years but this festival has outgrown our singular capacity. There can only be a return of the Westheimer Street Festival. The streets must be shut down, the city must get behind the event, and I can no longer personally foot the bill. Our staff can no longer handle the capacity of the growing festival and squeezing all of these people into the same block is becoming hazardous. The streets must be shut down. We have an on camera commitment from Annise Parker, that if elected, she will support street closure if we can find financing for necessary portopotties, police, and clean up. She even shook my hand on it. But we need the community involved. So whoever is elected, we are asking for a big community turnout at the first city council open session the new mayor presides over. We need 500+ people to swamp city hall and show city officials that there is indeed a large constituency that supports arts and music. We will let you know when this transpires but we NEED your support. We love this community so much and want to see WestFest grow but it cannot in it's current form. We will be forming a non-profit to meet this challenge which will be made up of only Jedi's who have an unyielding love for arts and music. It is time to take BIG steps and we will do whatever it takes to shut down the streets. Thanks for all of your support and love.

Omar Afra

BTW- Summer Fest is gonna be GINORMOUS. You would pee your pants if you knew who we confirmed today.

God Bless the Trose'.

Omar Afra
Managing Editor

Cactus is Crunk-tus this weekend

posted by Free Press Houston @ 11:58 AM

Our homies at Cactus are keeping it crunk this weekend so make sure and stop by while your taking your necessary breaks from the Block Party. Most importantly, there is free booze as always.

The Eastern Sea

Friday, 11/13 5:30PM
I don't usually schedule in-stores on the fly, but these fellas dropped by a copy of their fine new EP on Friday, and it's pretty freakin' great. Really a fresh indie pop sound with great vocals. They wanted to play for the Cactus crowd before their Numbers performance and we couldn't be happier.

Henry Darragh

Saturday, 11/14 1PM
Henry has crafted a fine vocal jazz disc, Tell Her For Me, and he's performing at Ovations on Saturday to celebrate it's release. His Cactus in-store will be more of a stripped down affair without horns, so Henry will class up our joint with some jazz trio stylings. Maybe he'll break out the trombone for us if we're really nice.


Saturday, 11/14 4PM
These Colorado rockers will stop by Cactus to celebrate the release of their Atlantic Records debut. They'll play their hit tune Next in Line and you'll be able to say "I saw them at the record store before they sold a gajillion records". It's all about the bragging rights. We were disappointed that there are two guys in the band named Meese and that they weren't named after some kinda goofing on the plural of moose. Now that would be funny.

Is there such a thing as bad art?

posted by Free Press Houston @ 8:25 AM

Is there such a thing as bad art? from Free Video Houston on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2024

Behold The Block Party Schedule

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:04 PM

Click on the links below and behold the schedules for this weekend's Block Party.

Block Party Schedule Saturday 14 November

Block Party Schedule Sunday 15 November

(extra special love to Steven Burnett and Craig Hlavaty.)

Video Interview: An Albatross

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:09 AM

FVH interviews An Albatross from Free Video Houston on Vimeo.

Shonen Knife - three women and a hell of a lot of rock!!!

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:30 AM

Missed out on Shonen Knife on Sunday night? Well, yeah, you suck then but we didn't. Read the review in the music section! (link)

Monday, November 9, 2024

Interview: The Eastern Sea

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:48 AM

by Omar Afra

Alas, the dangers of being an indie-folk-button-plaid-acoustish-band are many. But the Eastern Sea has one ace in their hole that differentiate them from the legions of other beard-clad bands that compete with them in this new yet popular genre. The Eastern Sea has dynamic. Dynamic is a rare quality many new bands lack as they are unable to musically build a narrative, create rising and falling action, and crescendo into something greater than the individual parts the musicians play. This is what makes good songs great and the Eastern Sea has exemplified this on their soon to be released self-titled EP. The total band is comprised of about 10 people yet a handful of them makeup the core. This core took the time to answer a few questions about white people getting decapitated, songwriting, Puma stores, and Cardi’s 2024.

Tell us about writing and recording the new EP. Was it one of those seamless, easy processes or a challenging ordeal?

Zach: Well, it was seamless in comparison to making our last EP. But at the same time, it took a lot out of us. We started recording in July of 2024 and are just now putting it out, so it definitely took longer. Drum wise it simplified because I got to do all the drums at once, unlike the last EP where we recorded snare, bass drum, high hats, and cymbals all separately. Also, a lot of the bass guitar and drums were recorded once and then re-recorded after everything else was laid down. We went through a lot to get the perfect sounds. But even considering all of these factors, it was still more seamless than the first EP.

With 9 potential members in the band, is the recording process difficult?

Jess: Yes it is difficult. Luckily we haven’t had to deal with that yet, as you’ll find out when you get EPII

'The Snow' is a stellar tune. Where did that come from?

Matt: The Snow was written about 3 and a half years ago and it was originally just a really washed out acoustic guitar tune that I had played a few times at some shows at coffeeshops. I wrote it, originally, as another one of my bitter attempts at summing up a very unusual friendship I had, this time with a girl named Caitlin.

When I wrote the song, I had known her for about one or two years since she had first came to the university I was attending, St. Edward’s in Austin, and at the time she was dealing with a pretty harsh break up with her long time boyfriend. She was completely convinced, as most people are when they are going through an emotionally wrenching time in their lives, that she was going out of her mind and that it was her mental instability that was causing the majority of her problems. I was a confidant for her in a lot of ways, but over time, I began to resent my position as her friend and begin to see our relationship as painful because of my inability to help the situation or even convince her that the kind of care I was willing to provide her was beneficial.

So I wrote that song to tell her that she was wrong about a lot of things. And in the process I realized I was wrong as well. We continued being close friends all through college and began seeing each other romantically the last semester we were both at St. Edward’s. Now we are in love, she moved to Berlin and I’m going to stay with her for Christmas. Haha. It’s strange; no one really knows the end of the story to the Snow. For me, it’s a pretty happy song because none of it was necessary. For others, it just ends with you’re not dead. Our full length record that we are writing right now, in a way, follows up on the snow (not necessarily musically) and develops a lot of the complex things about the continuation of that story for me.

So your Myspace says you are an Austin band yet many of ya'll hail from Houston. Please tell us something disparaging about Austin and something wonderful about Houston.

Jess: Austin is a playground for people who don’t wish to grow up.

Houston makes you feel 10 years older (and wiser).

Matt: Austin is home to many hipsters and trustfundafarians.

Houston is home to their parents.

Zach: Austin is without the Eastern Sea on November 14th.

Houston has the Eastern Sea for the weekend.

Tomas: Austin Colt McCoy sucks ass.

Houston , The Puma store at the Sharpstown Mall has a sweet selection.

Kevin: Austin, whalebones

Houston. Whalebones

Your EP Release is scheduled the evening of Nov. 14th following the Block Party at Numbers alongside Dead Prez. Are you a little afraid they might decapitate one of you crackers?

Kevin: Yes.

Some of the new tunes have the potentiality to be expressed live with a larger cast of musicians. Can we expect the lineup to expand or simplify?
Zach : This lineup for the show at numbers will be the first show to feature 8+ people in the band, including string players and plenty of other new instruments. Who knows if it will expand or simplify. I think we’re just happy knowing we can do it with everyone or revert back to the four of us and still be proud of the product we’re putting out there.

Fill in the blanks: Houston is the music capital of the universe because of______?

Cardis 2024.
The Eastern Sea will be releasing the EP in Houston at Numbers following the Westheimer Block Party on November 14th alongside the unlikely coupling of Dead Prez and Japanther .

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Friday, November 6, 2024

Interview: Pat Greer

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:27 AM

Interview by Joel Hughes

A conversation with Pat Greer, co-founder of Central City Co-op, Houston’s original organic Co-op, as well as co-host of the 90.1 KPFT show , Eco-Ology which is dedicated to local hero's at the forefront of environmental action, ecology in and for our community, social justice, health, and spirit. She is also an owner and C.E.O. of Yaya’s RAW Rah and Pat Greer’s Kitchen located on the North end of Montrose. Her kitchen makes dehydrated cookies and crackers, kombucha, pizzas, salads, party geez, pies, and many more dinner entrees and desserts, all of which are gluten free, raw, vegan, use organic ingredients, and utilize as much produce as possible from local, organic/sustainable farmers.

Where does the benefit lie in eating raw/living foods?

Living enzymes: foods heated above 118 degrees have enzymes destroyed. Enzymes are necessary to digest food. Thoroughly chewing foods and ingesting living enzymes allows a body to have more fun, i.e. it doe not have to work to digest food. It can take the energy provided and play, go for a run/walk/swim, laugh, dance, WHATEVER!
Taste: pizza, burritos, lasagna, pecan pie, cookies, krackers and yes Virginia, You can have Your cake and eat it too.

Carbon footprint: no ovens are used, at Our kitchen, we do not use air conditioning or heat, we recycle, we compost our leftover green matter, we think loving thoughts while we prepare food

What inspired you to share raw food with your community?

A health challenge eventually took me to a raw food diet. My daughter and I started Central City Co-op after I started a raw food diet and when I made krackers and kookies for myself, I had a few extras and started selling them at the co-op. People started asking for them and here we are.
Can you explain your philosophy on the necessity to cook food with a positive attitude?

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and it did not feel right? You went ahead and ate there anyway and when you left, you did not feel right? Maybe the sous chef was having problems with a supplier or another employee got a ticket on the way to work which made the person late to work which got the person in trouble. When a person can thinking loving/positive thoughts while touching your food, the food is infused with those thoughts, or energy if you will.

Many movies like Food, Inc., Super Size Me, and Fast Food Nation have been examining the food industry in America. Do you think society is becoming more disconnected with the food chain than we were fifty years ago?

Yes and no. The movies you mentioned, farmers markets, the purported green movement ask people to examine their choices on many levels. Some folks examine and make changes; some folks dig in (pun intended) and have another order of fries.

When you envision a more sustainable Houston, what simple improvements do you see us making as a community?

Eating seasonally and closer to home

Knowing where food comes from

Making meals at home and eating with family and friends

Getting outside more

Supporting businesses and government that support a sustainable AND thriving approach to community

More hugs and smiles and community involvement.

Houston is a city that does not inherently cater to earth conscious people. On a day to day basis what measure to you take live sustainably?

I deeply appreciate being here, adore and love my children, grandchildren, friends, and community. I compost chronically and recycle religiously, watch my trips/mileage, eat locally, organic, work on saying thank you to every situation, don’t mow the yard until I have to, volunteer at KPFT, 90.1 Houston, have faith, trust, and pixie dust.

What are your spiritual notions on the connection between food and the soul?

Ready? I don’t think we have free will. I think we make choices/create based on history. Two lobes of the brain dictate creation and whether it be scientific or crazy inventive/imaginative. Soul implies more than a connection to All, Soul is All. Soul replenishes with nourishment beyond what we put in our mouths, it craves connection, craves loving, craves community. What does Soul have to do with creation?

Close Your eyes, remember a time when You thoroughly enjoyed a meal. Where were You? What did You have to eat? Who were You with?

What does your diet consist of?

Hugs, family, friends, and LOTS of leafy greens, seasonal fruit, squash, carrots, avocadoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, Texas pecans, sunflower seeds, hemp nuts/seeds, cilantro, a few other nuts, and seeds, lots of herbs. AND, my balance, HC loves to make beans, all different kinds of beans and bean soups, so beans play a part in my weekly diet. AND, my incredible granddaughter, Cassandra who is 13 years old, aspires to be a pastry chef and have a bakery someday. So, whenever she makes ANYTHING, I eat it with great joy and thankfulness.

What are your favorite local restaurants?

Brasil and Mango’s on Westheimer, Baby Barnaby’s and Latina Café on Fairview, Tafia, and Madras on Kirby.

Do you have any suggestions for literature that has inspired you to live the way you do?

A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein

Manís Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

Let Your Life Speak, Parker J, Palmer

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen

Behaving as if the God in all Life Matters, Machelle Small Wright

LOTS of recipe books

What do you feed your pets?

Raw liver and HC buys dry food from the big retailers. Balance

When is the last time you ate bacon?

Intentionally, about 12 years ago, unintentionally, 2 years ago when it was in some soup that I was given.

Do you miss bacon?


Pat Greer’s raw vegan kitchen is located at 412 W Clay St in the Montrose are of Houston. Her radio show, Eco-Ology is broadcast every Wednesday from 6-7 AM on KPFT Houston, 90.1 FM, and the Central City Co-op is located on Wednesday at 2115 Taft Street and on Sunday at Discovery Green.

Thursday, November 5, 2024

FVH at the polls - Battle rages against ABC staff!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 8:58 AM

FVH at the polls - Battle rages against ABC staff! from Free Video Houston on Vimeo.