The campaign may include some ingredients that remind us of its predecessors — the new video reintroducing Houston to potential visitors, for example, features a rockin’ sound track from a New York band and lots of images of happy people enjoying mostly Inner Loop attractions — but make no mistake: This new branding effort from the Greater Houston Partnership is fundamentally different from the mostly goofy and un-self-aware “Houston’s Hot,” “My Houston,” “Space City,” “Expect the Unexpected,” and “Houston Proud” campaigns from other organizations that preceded it. “Houston: The City with No Limits,” a concept and campaign unveiled yesterday, centers on a catchy slogan that rings true, because it highlights an essential part of the city’s ever-expanding built landscape and our unquenchable urge to spread ourselves out.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY GIVE UP ON TOURISM NOW, WHEN WE’RE SO CLOSE? “The appeal of San Antonio as a tourist destination is completely lost on me. Riverwalk is poorly done and the Alamo doesn’t exist (and is not a point of pride in any case). Do they really get that many tourists who are not there for a convention?
I honestly believe that if they turned the Astrodome into an indoor ski center and updated the Spacecenter then that + great food + Schlitterban + Menil + reasonable prices makes Houston worthy of a 1-week family vacation in the summer.” [Patrick, commenting on Comment of the Day: Houston Is Not a Destination]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON IS NOT A DESTINATION “The population of Orlando in 1950 was @ 140k. Vegas was @50k. Walt Disney bought up a bunch of cow pastures and swamp land to build Disney World. Vegas was just a place for nuke bomb scientists to live safely away from a-bomb test ranges before Bugsy Siegel showed up and bought desert land that no one wanted to build casinos (dooming Galveston as a gambling venue, ironically). Anyone wanting to build a tourist-worthy venue in Houston will go broke just trying to buy the land. Houston is a great place for visitors. Everyone I have ever hosted had a whale of a time. But, when those folks go home, they don’t tell their friends “you should visit Houston.’ They say ‘if you are ever in Houston, you should . . .'” [Old School, commenting on Comment of the Day: Where To Put a Tourist Gauntlet in Reliant Park]
HOW ITALIAN ARTISTS GET STUCK IN GALVESTON Art writer Debra Barrera gets the inside scoop on some of the banana-peel art put up by Italian artist Davide Savorani for this past weekend’s exhibition at the Galveston Artist Residency compound at the corner of 25th St. and Ships Mechanic Row: “Savorani explains The Can’t Get Away Club as part of the nature of living in a place like Galveston; the calm sea breeze, the cheap booze, and endless reasons to never return to a big city can keep people stuck. Each year promises are made, ‘Maybe next year I will move to Houston . . . Maybe I will finally start that popcorn ball franchise.’ From Firenze, a small town in the north of Italy himself, Savorani is familiar with this syndrome and decided to immerse himself in Galveston: ‘I came here with nothing and I wanted to try to understand the city. Something I experienced was this idea of a place where you really face yourself.'” And face others who are celebrating, apparently, Barrera continues: “What I admired most about both Savorani and [his assistant, Michelangelo] Miccolis was their ability to immerse themselves in a completely foreign place and use materials that were part of their daily lives. In the studio, when I asked about a strand of plastic beads hanging on the wall, Miccolis remarked, ‘Yes! We were at some parade and they were just throwing them! We kept grabbing at the air! This is what the city gave us; why not make art out of it?’” [Glasstire] Self-portrait at cottages between 28th and Winnie: Michelangelo Miccolis
The cartoon horse speaks! Alas, Grand Texas Theme Park’s well-heeled mascot isn’t saying where you’ll join him. But at least the theme park’s website is now open, claiming that developer Monty Galland “has determined three different desired sites: Two are in Montgomery County, while the other is in Fort Bend County.” And there are now several new renderings of the park’s proposed “territories” with detailed descriptions of the Texas-themed activities and amenities to come.
The same architecture firm that transformed Wilshire Village into the H-E-B Montrose Market across town has been pegged to redo 1910 International Coffee Company Building (aka Sunset Coffee Building), resuscitating the derelict shell on Allen’s Landing into use as a Downtown tourist attraction and kayak rental shop. San Antonio firm Lake Flato submitted this drawing of the building at the coffee-with-cream-colored confluence of White Oak and Buffalo Bayou underneath Main and Fannin to Buffalo Bayou Partnership, which plans to begin the project in April.