3/8/10

houston

the most colorful thing we saw all day

yesterday tod and i thought we would go do something somewhere else. we have a short list of places nearby that we might consider moving to. houston being the closest, that is where we went.

according to online sources, discovery green in downtown is supposed to be a nice big area to bike/walk... it was actually a sparse offering in both humans and otherwise. its basically one big block with a 'lake' and not much else. the outdoor market consisted of about 6 tents with barely any offerings of anything. there was a little play area for kids. dogs. little dogs being walked by people. tod and i could not get over how quiet everything was. houston is clean. quiet. polite. and ultimately the most boring looking city we have ever seen. i drove around plenty too.

we drove to the Rothko Chapel where we sat a few minutes with the other dumbfounded people. we drove in and around Montrose, a neighborhood that is purported to be full of gays and artists and other people that i suppose stand out...nothing stood out to me though. we drove to the Rice University, adjacent to Hermann Park. the park is a big sculpture park but again, all we saw were big bronzes that appeared dated and un-challenging. we went to the rice gallery on campus which took us an hour to find because while it is called the rice gallery nowhere on the maps did it say rice gallery (and students we asked didn't seem to know where it was). instead we found out it is called sewell building. the gallery is used for large installation works. their featured artist is El Anatsui. we were also non-plussed. maybe after walking around a campus that was mind numbingly devoid of personality, and a city that was brown and beige we had nothing left. i suppose they just chose to exhibit works that weren't as interesting, large hanging pieces made from liquor bottle tops and metal foil collars from the bottle necks while astounding in scale, once i realize he had workers making these and its basically just piece after piece stitched together with copper and once i saw on the video that he had other works that were much more diverse and dimensional i felt jilted. maybe nothing could make me happy that day.



bench in downtown discovery park

the last stop on my list was the central market. when we finally found it, we were blasted with visuals and sounds. an outdoor band was playing a tom petty song at an alarming volume while on a nearby patio people in all forms of fancy attire dined. we were the sore thumbs sticking out amongst designer bags, shoes and velvet slacks. once inside it was mournfully packed with too many items for one human to absorb and as many people bumping into each other. all quiet. all polite. no music blasting. only a silent clashing of too many food samples crushing my olfactory receptors. my desire to find good food vanished. i just wanted out. i was suddenly repulsed by delectable cuisine. a few sausages, a bag of whole wheat pastry flour and one lemon bar for the road was all i could muster. tod bought a bit more and we shared an irish soda bread (which we sampled in the car and it was so damn good i wanted to buy more but couldn't fathom going back in there so we left)

on the drive home, as our peripherals drowned in beige blur, tod matter of factly said '99% of what is out there we dont want'. i almost stopped the car right then and there. he was right. sweet jesus he was right. everything suddenly made sense to me about my life. no wonder it feels so hard. i dont want all that that is out there. the billboards trying to entice us to buy a home or telling us we need healthcare or that we need to live in this community or drive this vehicle. we discussed the recent frontline show we watched as recommended on elle's site and realized that it wasn't as awful as we thought. not that we really thought it awful, it just woke us up for a moment about mindless surfing or checking of things online. what we realized on our drive home was that the virtual world is slowly becoming MORE INTERESTING than the real one. by that i mean, what we are interested in isn't out there as much as it is on here. your blog. your website. your video....some of that stuff i would take forever and a day over mile after mile of consumer wasteland. and while there is plenty of crap on line, i dont have to see it as i float around. and i can find handmade goodies and i can get what i want without being stuck in traffic. i can learn things online and meet people. i didn't meet anyone yesterday. we realize that society would probably collapse were it not for all those boxes out there, but come on. how can there be 40 miles of highway lined with redundancy? how many walmarts and walgreens and bad restaurants does one need?

tod and i realize we probably wont find that place. that place we are searching for. we probably wouldn't want to live near a hub of 'us'. we do need to live around people who buy art~ not poor minimalists such as ourselves. yet we'd like to live around a few people who are artistic so as to be stimulated and feel a sense of community. your guess is as good as mine. probably better because i'm too dazed to think.

15 comments:

Michelle said...

Paula,
I really wish you that you
find the Place you want to live and
share your fantastic Art with
fantastic People there!!!

Janet said...

Why don't you check out Austin? - it's supposed to be a fantastic liberal and artistic city.

paula said...

yep its on the list. although i'm beginning to think after all my reading that texas is texas. nice people but...it aint pretty here and the weather sucks. i've talked to a few people from austin and so far i'm a little afraid.

CMC said...

I was just reading an article on the Bishop Arts District in Dallas...maybe you should check it out.

andrea said...

At least you're formulating thoughts and articulating them on your blog. That seems a step in the right direction. In my experience it's all about baby steps with the occasional revelation like you had today.

As for location, do you want to stay in Texas? Is that it? Or is it just easier? (If it was me I'd head for Hill Country: Austin, San Antonio, etc.)

paula said...

we want more west for sure...weather (more arid better to work outside and keep my wood stuff metal stuff from degrading), mountains...texas is probably not it.

Lisa said...

We were in Houston the same day - maybe even at the Rothko chapel at the same time - hm...

Interesting!

paula said...

lisa,did you see a skinny hairy man and a woman sitting with her back to the front and looking at the back wall with a dumbfounded expression?

CTStudios said...

I lived in Houston for 20 years. Although there is culture tucked here and there, it is a huge metropolis; a good place to earn a living if it's for Corporate America. Festivals, Events, Intrigue, Beauty ... probably not. Alhough the intrigue and beauty part is always in the eye of the beholder. A place will not make us happy, we make the place happy.

Ellen said...

Northern New Mexico sounds cool, but like all great places, they're taken over by rich people and tourists and the pioneering energy gets sucks out of them. Still, there's something about you, your work and the desert that fits in my head. You lived in Arizona as a different person in a way, could you go back?

paula said...

yeah ct i know. believe me i know...it may not sound like it but i do know. we have a small list of 'hopes' and would love just a few things to fit. its 'us' not the place.

elle...arizona, it just doesnt feel close enough to art markets. but right now absolutely nothing feels right. its like Goldilocks over here trying to find the right room. we feel no pull anywhere and its driving us nuts.

Lisa said...

I spent time in the chapel at 3 different times on sat and sun - and I too spent most of my time looking at the back wall.

Loved the yellow lights of the hallway contrasting with the pinkish black filtered light in the chapel.

Stunning.

Lisa said...

Another of my fav places I visited over the weekend was the contemporary craft gallery/museum or whatever it is called.

http://www.crafthouston.org

Cynthia said...

Sorry you had such a bad day in Houston! (And sorry I somehow missed reading this ealier.) It's a big city with a pretty good art scene but doesn't sound like you found it. Go west young woman! Have you thought about Marfa at all? There are mountains out there, some interesting people, dry climate, and an art scene. The bad part I guess is miles and miles from anywhere else, and still basically a small town. Maybe worth a look.

sarala said...

Keep on looking. I'd guess Texas won't be it but some other part of the west might. Serendipity might just do it for you. Maybe life is just one big experiment and you are waiting for the big (psychic) payoff.