04/23/14 8:30am

former downtown macys

Photo of Hilcorp building construction at former Downtown Macy’s site: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/22/14 1:15pm



Layers of lacquer lend some extra shimmer to the glossed interior of a 1978 contemporary home located in Raintree Place. The gated community of 86 homes — built in a variety of styles over a 20-year period — lies east of the West Loop near the end of Post Oak Blvd. The reflective residence was listed last week with an asking price of $975,000.


Polishing Silver
04/22/14 10:00am

HOW THE BEER CAN HOUSE GOT ITS BEER, AND OTHER ESSENTIAL STORIES OF ENSHRINED HOUSTON WACKINESS Painting the Town OrangeSomebody oughta write a history, you’ve probably thought at some point, of the singular, weird art treasures like the Orange Show, the Beer Can House, the Flower Man‘s house, and okay, maybe Pigdom and TemplO and Notsuoh — that give Houston legitimate license to call itself funky. But it took a relative newcomer — writer Pete Gershon moved to Houston in 2005 — to conduct all the interviews and get these and other stories down on paper. Gershon’s new book, Painting the Town Orange: The Stories Behind Houston’s Visionary Art Environments, weaves together tales of the creation and preservation of these and other unique urban places, giving a detailed view of the thinking (and in at least one instance, drinking) that put them together and drew others to them. Sections on Grace Bashara Green’s stuffed-to-the-gills house at 414 Avondale St., David David Smalley’s Miniature Museum at 1406 Welch, Dolan Smith’s Museum of the Weird, and Bill Davenport’s 11th St. junk shop art studio on 11th St. were cut from the manuscript before it was published, but posted separately on the art blog The Great God Pan Is Dead. [Brazos Bookstore]

04/22/14 8:30am

chevron building

Photo of Chevron building at 1400 Smith: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/21/14 3:30pm

Future Site of Micro Center, 5205 S. Rice Ave., Uptown Crossing, Houston

The 3.5-acre field at the corner of S. Rice Ave. and Westpark shown here, where the Wald Relocation Services complex stood until 6 years ago, will be the site of the new Micro Center store later this year. The site plan for the Uptown Crossing shopping center intended for this location shows a big-box store set way back in the right distance, at the end of a new curvy street-drive thing cut through to it from S. Rice, across from Sam’s Club. That’s the most likely spot for the 32,000-sq.-ft. building Micro Center is planning. Micro Center sold off its larger 47,759-sq.-ft. West Loop location to Amegy Bank earlier this year. Here’s a rendering of the new, terrifically brown-and-boxy big box Micro Center:


Big Computer Box in Field
04/21/14 1:15pm

Jaguar Stuck in Concrete at Buffalo Speedway and Southwest Fwy., Greenway Plaza, Houston

This photo of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S stuck in a patch of freshly-poured concrete started making the rounds of internet auto-fan sites last Friday afternoon. The earliest online reference appears to be this tweet from SpeedSportLife before noon — but the Houston car publication was apparently just passing on a photo it had no more information about. In several forum appearances readers immediately speculated that the scene had likely taken place in Houston, and on the Houston Reddit board a poster tersely declared that the site was the intersection of Weslayan and 59. But a couple of other commenters help peg the incident location a couple of overpasses to the east:


Stuck in Traffic
04/21/14 11:00am

IT’S HIGH SIGN SEASON IN HOUSTON Appliances Wall Mural, HoustonSpring has sprung, notes local film curator Peter Lucas. And that means a fresh crop of hand-painted signs has already sprouted: “Each spring — that all-too-brief time when the sun starts to shine in a few bright spurts but hasn’t yet begun to make being outdoors nearly unbearable and opening our eyes wide nearly impossible — this town begins to reveal an exhibition rivaling those in any of our art galleries and museums. Colors pop against each other. Structures pierce the blue sky. Degraded materials reveal complex textures. Drop-shadows create depth interplay with architectural flourishes and telephone lines. Emerging amidst these illuminated color fields and intersecting shadows are countless hand-painted signs. All around us, unique paintings of tires, kitchen appliances, people, foods, animals, and collages of typography show themselves and remind us that this is quite literally an art town.” [Glasstire] Photo: Peter Lucas

04/21/14 10:00am

Construction of The El Cantina Superior, 602 Studewood St., Houston Heights

This photo, looking northwest northeast from BB’s Cafe catty corner at the intersection of White Oak and Studewood on the western border of the Woodland Heights, shows construction on the former gas station where serial Heights-area restaurant opener Ken Bridge plans to piece together his latest spot, The El Cantina Superior. Bridge, the initiating force behind Lola, the Shepherd Park Draught House, Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions (and Dragon Bowl before that), and the growing Pink’s Pizza chain, hasn’t bothered to get rid of all of the Conoco fixin’s onsite — there’s the canopy angled slightly toward the streetcorner, which is being incorporated into the new building under construction around and under it. And the sign for The El, which has been up on the site well in advance of construction, hoods the gas station logo but still shows the per-gallon pricing slots of the predecessor’s liquid offerings.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Fill ’Er Up!
04/21/14 8:30am

avis frank gallery

Photo of Avis Frank Gallery at 1606 White Oak Dr.: Ruben S. via Swamplot Flickr Pool

04/18/14 5:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SO CONDOS ARE FOREVER? Condos“My condo complex sits on about 6 acres of land on the western edge of River Oaks. We’ve been approached a few times by developers, but our bylaws require 100% owner approval to terminate the condo regime. There was a reported offer of $39M, which comes to about $270,800/unit (not accounting for differences in common ownership). That wouldn’t buy squat inside the loop today, so we will probably never get every owner to sell. Fine by me!” [roadchick, commenting on Randall Davis Trying To Buy an Entire Westhaven Estates Townhome Complex, in One Fell Swoop] Illustration: Lulu