Bayou Theater: Houston Research Boat Will Have Movies on Sail

Here’s a showboat custom-made for Houston’s bayous: an aluminum pontoon deck outfitted for exploring inland waterways . . . and screening videos along the way. Assembled by a design-build sculpture collaborative called Simparch, the Tex Hex has its official maiden voyage scheduled for May 21, the night before Houston’s Art Car Parade. The boat will dock in front of the concrete steps where White Oak Bayou spills into Buffalo Bayou, behind the loft building at 1011 Wood St., for a program of films about — what else? Car culture. They’ll be projected onto the Tex Hex’s onboard rear-projection screen. Downtown skyscrapers are expected to hang out in the background, just for effect.


The Tex Hex project got its start during the 2008 Houston residency of LA’s deadpan Center for Land Use Interpretation, sponsored by the Mitchell Center for the Arts at UH. The vehicle is sponsored by the Mitchell Center and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. In the week before the big car show, the Mitchell Center promises its ship will come in for a few “sneak peek” preview screenings at various points along Buffalo Bayou. (They’ll be announced on Twitter.) After its waterway screen debut, the Tex Hex is expected to settle down for more gritty floating-lab ventures: “It will be used as a live-aboard structure, developing and refining self-contained and energy efficient living systems, including solar power and water treatment technologies.” Plus: Movies!

Photos: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

12 Comment

  • They do realize that date, May 21, is the beginning of the Rapture? Right?

    Wouldn’t want to make any long term plans for the 22nd.

  • I had a flashback to an evening loooong ago when I was spending the night with a friend in Pasadena and a recent windstorm had damaged the high fence around the Red Bluff Drive-In, infamous for offering XXX adult fare. Friend’s dad didn’t know and we got one heck of an eyefull. By the time he figured out what we were choking & snorting about, it was too late to speed up. Hope the traffic sign prankster doesn’t board ship….

  • As far as the rapture business goes, most of us won’t be going anywhere.

  • If the Rapture comes, can I have your car?

  • Beautiful shot, by the way. Keep Houston Ugly!

  • So is this art? I don’t know anymore.

  • Thems needs to put a HUGE bobble head doll on top that spits CANDIES TO ALL!!!


  • Magic,

    You are the Coolidge of Swamplot.


  • When I worked in the seismic exploration business, we used boats that were almost identical to this (down to the unpainted aluminum hulls) for doing shallow-water “transition zone” oil exploration. (Ours lacked the on-board entertainment system, unfortunately.)

  • Umm…ok I don’t get this? Are people able to board the boat, float and not see the movie (because it’s rear-facing), or just stand along the bayou to catch a glimpse of the movie as it floats by? Either option sounds terrible to me.

  • Hey! anybody notice them original bricks on Washington Ave? Pretty cool. They are resurfacing the roads on Washington and you can see lots of the original brick. Swamplot should do a story on them bricks!


  • J – i think they will be docking near amphitheater type areas (i.e. steps) so people will sit on land and watch..