Comment of the Day: Bringin’ Da Funk East

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BRINGIN’ DA FUNK EAST “The East End is getting Voodoo Queen and Moon Tower while Montrose gets a world-class croissant place, Vinoteca Poscól and The Susanne. The funk and character of Houston still exists but has relocated.” [Dana-X, commenting on Voodoo Queen ‘So Close’ To Opening in the East End] Illustration: Lulu

17 Comment

  • Funk and Character can’t afford Montrose, so they bought a bungalow in Eastwood, they seem very happy

  • Good riddance, and keep on movin.

  • “Good riddance, and keep on movin.”
    Should I state the obvious? :)))

  • I the comment might be confusing “funk” with “junk”. Poscol is just moving to a larger venue that had once been junky rug store. The bakery is going where there was a little antique place and the burnt out remains of an art gallery. While the Fiesta was fun, it was in a dingy low slung strip center that was an eyesore. Montrose has had a lot of high profile upgrade, but it also still has lots of dives, tattoo parlors, resale shops and other funk that does not exist on the east end.

  • @ Old School: Dive bars, tattoo parlors, and resale shops may have weighed heavily toward the funkiness of Montrose when those places were inhabited by genuinely interesting counterculture-type people, but the counterculture got mainstreamed. It was made nice and safe, trendy, fashionable, and no longer the slightest bit interesting.

    Living and socializing in Montrose now is ‘the thing to do’ for millenial youth that desire a traditionally youthful experience among their own cohort. They are the anti-pioneers, the people that follow trails blazed by others. They’re boring!

    By contrast, the East End also has dive bars, tattoo parlors, and resale shops, but they cater to a close-in Mexican community that is still exotic, genuine, interesting, and slightly insular; and it is a neighborhood that is physically and financially accessible to youth, artists, students, and drunk interlopers.

    It is the same cultural, socioeconomic, and spacial recipe that once made Montrose (and Austin for that matter) worth experiencing. Enjoy it while you can. These things never last.

  • It seems that character, funkiness, and all the things that made Montrose unique are on life support–sure there are still patches of the old Montrose here and there, but they seem to be quickly disappearing–I appreciate that the neighborhood is less dangerous and sketchy, however I’d like to see Montrose retain some of the character that made it interacting in the first place–few will miss the run down Fiesta or most of those seedy apartment complexes, but when they start ripping down all of the cool bungalows to build ugly double townhouses, they’re destroying the very thing that made the area desirable in the first place–ditto The Heights

  • @TheNiche,

    Do you really think a counterculture even exists any more? It’s all been co-opted by the mainstream. Your lament that Montrose has somehow been “taken over” by hipsterism is sort of nonsensical. Global hipsterism has eaten the entire counterculture.

    Countercultures are a means to rebel against the Establishment and one’s parents. But when all of the old deviant habits–tattoos, piercings, loud music, recreational drug use, kink–are being promoted on the covers of status quo magazines, can a deviant alternative culture even exist anymore?

    I’d venture that any new counterculture would have to rebel in ways that the mainstream can’t even fathom. (It’s certainly not found in dive bars in the East End. Mere geography doesn’t create an anti-establishment.) Counterculture, by its nature, has to shock and even scare society’s norms. It has to be weirder than what society can imagine.

  • @niche: You have over romanticized the old Montrose as well as the current denizens of the Eastside. Your rejection of the current “funkiness” of Montrose comes more from class resentment than from any substantive issue with the actual people who are living in Montrose. If you really want to “safe, trendy, fashionable and no longer the slightest bit interesting”, go to the Woodlands Town Center. By comparison, Montrose still has plenty of funk, just a lot less junk.

  • @ Matt J: You’re right, the counterculture got mainstreamed. Go back and read the third paragraph, where I focus on Mexicans as the exotic anchor-point for the urban pioneer of our times.

  • I think you are referring to Hispanics, not just Mexicans…

  • Everyone who lives south of McAllen and all the way down till you see penguins is from some Mexican country. :)

  • @ Old School: Yeah dude, its not lost on me that EVERYTHING pertaining to this discussion comes back to the romanticization of place among various demographic and market segments.

    But let’s be clear, we’re talking about “the funk”. What are the definitions applicable to urban funk? According to Merriam-Webster, these may include: 1) having an earthy unsophisticated style and feeling, 2) lacking style or taste, or 3) unconventionally stylish.

    I might could argue that one who references a dictionary definition of the funk is inherently not funky, necessitating rethinking of what that person thinks they know, but be that as it may…Montrose is certainly not unsophisticated. Not any longer. It has style and it has taste, and yes that includes when such things are embraced with irony by hipsters. Even the vestiges of formerly funky places are now very conventional, not edgy or pioneering at all.

    Contrast that with a place like Super Happy Fun Land or the D&W Lounge…

  • Hispanics, exotic? In Texas?
    And tattoos as an emblem of counterculture? Really? As a marker of class, yes, but since the class that doesn’t bear them is now entirely negligible, that hardly signifies.
    It was not Montrose but leafy Southampton where Ken Kesey, a genuinely countercultural figure, in that he was transitional between the Beats and the hippies, and then retreated from the scene he started before mainstream America had even cottoned to it, hung out:
    Of course the Pranksters are mainly remembered for promoting a substance developed by the military for Cold War use.
    Two things I read last night: a sentence in a sci-fi novel – “… he also saw a certain sense in the notion that burgeoning technologies require outlaw zones, that Night City wasn’t there for its inhabitants, but as a deliberately unsupervised playground for technology itself”; and, while dining, a lovely article about the black market organ trade and the leadership of Kosovo.
    A true counterculture, in the current climate, would not look very much like what we have lazily come to expect in that department. It would require a value shift, perhaps like that imputed to the Apostles: “Those that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.”
    Indeed, Hispanics, with their “exotic” Catholicism, may have to save the world.

  • I could easily list 100+ cool things about Montrose. I could maybe list 5 cool things about the East Side. If anyone wants to go live over there and wait 20-30 years hoping the neighborhood someday catches up with Montrose, be my guest.

    I could list 5-6 cool things about Garden Oaks / Oak Forest too, but you won’t catch me moving there either.

  • @ luciaphile: Yeah, I know its absurd to fall back on Mexicans, but that’s what seems to pan out in Houston’s geographic sweet spots. (This trend was addressed in ‘King of the Hill’ season 12 episode 14.)

    @ Bernard: Cool is NOT the same as funky. For example, an art gallery might be cool but an art studio is typically funky. This applies perfectly in making geographic comparisons between Montrose and the East End of the concentrations and directions of flow of “the funk”.

  • is it okay to love them both? Montrose & East Side distinct neighborhoods (with some obvious similarities), at different stages of development. It’s not a bad thing that Montrose’s unique funk is creeping in other areas of our culture and that Montrose’s residents from the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s now have more money and are improving their digs. And attracting residents and businesses to match it. It’s growing up, y’all.