What Really Makes It All Worthwhile

WHAT REALLY MAKES IT ALL WORTHWHILE Meanwhile, Laura Lark is hoping that Houston’s 2 new art fairs don’t overshadow this town’s “wacky, welcoming” feeling: “Because, honestly, the coming of the first art fair in Houston reminds me a bit of my neighborhood, and I’m a tad conflicted. I live in Montrose. It’s a little funky, but it used to be REALLY funky, with drag queens and artist studios and a crack house on the other side of my fence. In the past several years it’s become gentrified. Instead of the charming fellows who used to steal magazines like Big Black Butt and moan while jerking off until I sprayed them down with the hose, I now have a couple from Katy whose friends roar at the game on the outdoor big screen TV and toss Smirnoff Ice bottles into my yard. I’d get in trouble if I hosed them down, which totally pisses me off. The people behind me are soulless jerks and a lot less interesting than even the worst-dressed transvestite, but my property value’s quadrupled, so I don’t complain as much as I should. So let’s hope, as an art community, we can maintain our character and keep the imported assholes to a minimum while still raising awareness of our fabulousness and the market value of works sold. That would make a Houston art fair, like the city itself, worth it.” [Glasstire; previously on Swamplot]

21 Comment

  • I am supposing the couple from Katy with the jerky friends and their outdoor big screen will be the first to bitch if someone decided to open a live music establishment nearby. They will be out with their little noise measuring devices and calling the cops if the noise got one decibel over the limit. Yet they feel it is okey dokey to disrupt your peace and quiet. This is what drives me absolutely stark raving mad about suburbanites who can’t seem to understand they are not in their master planned, sterile, boring little neighborhoods anymore. If it were me, I would be calling the police about the roar of the crowd at their place and dumping bottles in my yard. Fair is fair.

  • I find it incredibly entertaining to listen to the complaints of those snobby inner loopers who are getting priced out of their neighborhoods…They tear down our well maintained shacks, and replace them with a mc-fillintheblanks…the crack heads are gone and I cant spray some pervert down with my hose anymore…. Ya- sounds like a real utopia you had going for you…

  • Marksmu, you beat me to it. The condescension of many of the Urban Sophisticates on here is really something. If you happen to drive an SUV or previously lived in Katy or, God forbid, Sugar Land, you’re truly looked down upon. These of course are many of the very same people who pride themselves on being, uh, “welcoming” and “open-minded” but I suppose that attitude only applies if the new arrival is non-mainstream or lives one of the approved Alternative Lifestyles.

  • I wonder if her neighbors were throwing used condoms and crack pipes in her lawn- would that be preferable to the empty containers of a suburban-style beverage? I would wager that asking nicely for the new neighbors to keep it down/ stop littering would be equally as effective as turning a hose on a pervert.

  • It’s so hard to be surburban white people in America. We feel your pain!

  • As for the outdoor TV – anybody who thinks that putting that in earshot of their neighbors is acceptable is probably a lost cause. Be a shame of something heavy fell on it though, wouldn’t it?

  • I’m not a transvestite or even a Montrosite but I found your post to be quite funny.

  • My neighbor transplanted from Deadwood is OK enough…but what IS it with these former burbites and their fascination with bringing their TVs outside when a bunch of friends come over for a beering. Do they really spill that much that you don’t want them around the carpet, or what?

  • I also live in Montrose and am not a fan of the suburbs this person seems so bitter towards; but to each his own. Who cares if they are from Katy, they have as much of a right to move in as you do out. Get over yourself. If it is that tragic move to Manhattan; I hear real estate there holds well and can be had at quite a bargain.

    I wouldn’t live anywhere else in Houston (right now at least), but in 2 years I’ve had 2 bikes stolen and my care broken into twice. Even I know thats ignorant. One visit to Disco Kroger after visiting WASP Kroger on Buffalo Speedway and there is no doubt Montrose is still a bit unique for Houston.

    And why does gentrification have to have such an ugly connotation to it? The beat generation became our money spending baby boomers, yesterdays hippies are todays CEOs, and todays hipsters will be tomorrows leaders. Neighborhoods change and you’ve got a lot of room to find your spot if you dont like it anymore.

    And yeah the Katy people are just as annoyed at you sailing through the stop sign on your bicycle forcing them to slam the brakes on their luxury SUV. At least I know mine are…then again piss off…we’ll see who lasts longer :)

  • somehow i don’t find it surprising that those living in the middle of the city would often prefer a very diverse environment rather than a hood full of folks with the same upbringing, income range and daily office routine.

  • All of you condemning Laura Lark are full of it. She recognized that there were positives and negatives to the change that has happened to Montrose over the years in her post. (Furthermore, she is an excellent and interesting artist and a great cultural asset to our city.)

  • “Property values quadrupled”

    Long time resident.

  • Can’t we just all get along?

    Maybe she could, before the next big game, take over a welcome wagon basket with several cases of Smirnoff Ice and some back issues of Big Black Butt. Perhaps add in some other niche publications in case BBB isn’t their style. Kind of like the Native Americans showing the pilgrims how to plant corn and eat oysters – maybe they just don’t know the neighborhood traditions, but will be grateful for the help acclimating. It could make football games infinitely more enjoyable for them, and she’d have people to hose off once again.

    In the meantime, maybe HIWI can add another few images to their plague series, which currently has includes things like the heat, humidity, roaches, mosquitos, traffic. Big, oblivious families in SUVs, annoyed Inner Loopers frowning at lot-line houses, displaced residents of gentrifying neighborhoods, yet all of us still living here because even with all of the real estate angst, Houston is STILL worth it.

  • I love everything about Montrose and the Heights accept the “vanilla’s” and I am not referring to color. Prim and proper weirdo’s are a lot less fun than just plain weirdo’s.

  • Yeah, as a long-term (former) Montrose resident, the trannie and client (?) who parked a stolen SUV in my driveway while smoking crack in my back alley quickly lost their charm. Diversity is awesome, funky is cool, but drug-fueled crime is annoying.

  • breaking news: ’09 Nissan Murano taken to hospital in critical condition after being sideswiped by a speeding bicyclist at Richmond/Dunlavy.

  • @ Robert – she called people from Katy – imported assholes because they are not funky enough for her, and not weird enough, while simultaneously praising a crack head who masturbates in her alley.

    Does not matter to me whether or not she is an artist, or you perceive her to be an “asset” to Houston because of this….she is one of the many inner loop snobs who think their way should be the way it stays forever….The Heights and Montrose are both much better off because of the boring old yellows….

  • Actually she called them assholes because they had loud outdoor TV parties and threw trash into her yards. You know what kind of neighbors throw loud outdoor TV parties and throw trash into one’s yards? Assholes.

    These assholes happened to be from Katy, but she didn’t say that everyone from Katy was an asshole. Nor did she say the were assholes because they were not funky enough. She said they were assholes because they were acting like assholes.

    I don’t know what neighborhood you live in or anything about you (except that you apparently don’t like “snobs”). But I bet if these people moved in behind you, you’d call them assholes, too. If they moved in behind me (and I live in decidedly unfunky Memorial), I’d call them assholess, too… then I’d call the police.

  • The thing I’ve always found so amazing – and these comments really prove it – is that so many folks moved into Montrose over the past 20 years (in part) because it was artsy or weird or whatever.

    And yet these are the first folks to complain about the art fairs or noise or colorful roving characters at night — and to try to turn it into the place they were escaping when they moved there!

    I live in Montrose, and there can be challenges – especially for those of us who live near the clubs or restaurants.
    But I wouldn’t want to live in the suburbs. And I don’t want Montrose turned into Kingwood.

    If that makes me a jerk, then great. You don’t want to move in next to a jerk, do ya?

  • Is this kind of like those that move from the city to the country and then complain about smelly livestock, slow moving farm vehicles, and the lack of a Wal Mart?

  • Green Acres is the place to be!
    I think you need to make a distinction between people who just crappy asshole neighbors (the outdoor TV folks) and people who are well meaning but impact a neighborhood in ways they don’t expect. When I bought my home I moved from a less affluent part of the Heights to a more affluent one; I regularly hear people talk about how wonderful it is that the local basketball court was removed and turned into something that doesn’t attract the “wrong element.” So now instead of the “wrong element” there are people doing yoga and stuff like that.
    I know these people are well meaning and I wasn’t here during the basketball court days, so I try to reserve judgment. But at my old scruffier Heights home I was a block from a basketball court which yes, was sometimes the place where you’d find people hanging out getting high at night, but more often was a place where lots of kids came and played basketball.
    It’s not hard to understand some of the resentment that comes along when the use of public space gets transformed to the benefit of the newer neighbors at the expense of those who have lived there longer. When I lived in DC some long-time residents of my gentrifying neighborhood complained that now the police come in a heartbeat because rich people are calling them. Not because the police coming in a heartbeat is bad, but because what that told them about their place in the city.
    All of these things inevitably tap into long-simmering resentments and frustrations. I think it’s helpful, as a newer resident, to remember that and have some respect for people who grew up in your new hip ZIP when talking about how things *should* be.
    It’s also legitimate to make a distinction between some of the things that just come with city living – being close to your neighbors, the sounds of traffic and activity nearby, etc. – and the things that come from people just having no respect for those around them, like those outdoor-TV folks. I’ve lived in the burbs in other cities – I do think that sort of living makes you a little clueless about how how your actions impact people around you, because you’re a bit more insulated from them. And when suburbanites move into the city to have their super urban party pad (I’m thinking of some particular former neighbors here, who were actually nice people but just clueless in some ways), there’s going to be conflict with people who are not 25 and striving to be fabulous, but really just want to enjoy their homes.