First of the year….
First of the year….
Once in a great while when I go out to shoot at the racetrack all the pieces just sort of seem to find me at the same moment.
It’s fairly cool when it happens.
I’ve always been a fan of the quick little race cars – Minis, Sprites, Spitfires, Formula Fords, the small snappy little cars that can turn on a dime and give you back 9 cents, peppy little machines with little fourbanger engines that sound like a scottie chasing a badger. Cars where all a mistake means is “okay, no harm done, get it better next time.”
But when one of these big-bore V-8 Detroit monsters goes blasting by, winding its way up to escape velocity, the ground shakes and the air vibrates and you can’t hear anything but rumble, and the pleasant breeze suddenly has an edge of burned rubber and smoking Castrol and hot metal, I can’t help but think “This is what God drives when He’s in a hurry.”
There are many more pix from the Spring School here, if you’re into Vintage Racing or just like to look at pretty cars that go fast.
Stopped by the Chinese Community Center this afternoon to catch a little bit of the festival there…
It’s grown, and was very well attended. I was trying to slither through the crowd to get up to the stage door, when there was break in the crowd and a lion stepped on my foot. I don’t recall reading whether this is one of the lucky things that can happen when you deal with a lion, but it didn’t seem to do any actual harm. (It was a very young lion, after all.) Still, when you’re in a close crowd and you’re suddenly face-to-face with a lion, there’s really only one thing you CAN do. Shoot fast.
As lions go, it’s really pretty cute. And it’s somewhat disconcerting to have a lion giggling at you while you’re trying to shoot it.
I found the dancers anyway.
Wandering the park during the party, and got found by an adorable little someone hiding behind a lightpole playing peekaboo….
Two days, two hundred or so artists, who knows how many sticks of pastel chalk, and a very large street-painting festival to benefit the Center for Hearing and Speech… and you gotta be there* while it’s happening because on Sunday night the fire department hoses take over and it all goes away. It’s almost a zen thing. (A very very cold and wet zen thing, this year; I’m not so advanced as that. I got out before the trucks arrived.)
Not sure how much it counts as a confession when everyone I’ve ever met has known it since the beginning, but…
I’m a borderline bookaholic.
No, I’m not a collector exactly; collectors worry about editions and conditions and provenance and all that stuff, which is all well and good, but I don’t do any of that. I just love to read the things. Paperbacks cost less and take less space on the shelf, which means more books in less space. This is a Good Thing.
So Saturday was … Book Day.
Started out hitting a couple of yard/garage sales (sometimes you find people getting rid of the most amazing stuff….) where I scored a more-or-less new copy of Muhammad Yunus’s socio-economic treatise on eliminating poverty by way of business. (Yunus founded the Grameen Bank; he knoweth whereof he speaketh.)
And then came the fun part… Book Fairs! Part 1: The Julia Ideson Library for the Houston History Book Fair. Get that? A gorgeous room full of books full of history. Yeah. I could lay out a whole LOT of money there, but work’s been thin lately… so I glanced through a couple of dozen books I need (Not counting the thousands I just WANT) and said hello to several friends – authors, booksellers, historians, collectors… before letting myself slink out with only one volume, the third of Elton Miles’s Tales from the Big Bend series. I don’t get to spend as much time out in Big Bend (or anywhere else) as I’d like, but I do have friends out that way and the tales are always worth the time….
And I was too busy checking books and greeting friends to shoot much (books and I go back WAY further than cameras and I, believe it or not)
Story Sloane, of Sloane Gallery fame, a friend and travelling companion of 20 years’ standing now (wait, wait, how did that happen? We ain’t that old, knees notwithstanding.) trading stories with Ann Becker, half of Becker’s Books, (from whom I scored the Miles, and made note she’s got a good stock in J. Frank Dobie, also high up on the stories to get list….) (Free promo notice … Sloane Gallery helped sponsor the event, and I’m sure Ann got her licks in there too, because she’s Just That Way.)
Besides there’s such a thing as being TOO invisible when shooting, as when columnist/historian/blogger J R Gonzales runs you over…
Said hi to Mike McCorkle, who’s put together (on a shoestring and a LOT of hard work….) a history of the City of Bellaire that’s now in its fourth edition (!), Paul Matthews of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, plus good folks from the 1940 Air Terminal Museum down at Hobby Airport (what these guys don’t know about the history of Commercial and private aviation in Texas probably isn’t worth knowing – but they want to learn about it anyway), Bright Sky Press (I’m not sure how long they’ve been around, but WOW do they have some nice work), Houston History Magazine, and, of course, HAM (plus several other local historians and authors whose cards fell out of my vest somewhere during the later part of the day, dammit!)….
If I’d hung out as long as I wanted I’d have spent way too much money and my truck would have been towed a dozen times…. plus there was the other book fair.
The Other Book Fair was at the Museum of Printing History which is another of Houston’s Lesser-Known Treasures. This fair seems to be far more about book as object than book as information, which means books way out of my price range (I stayed away from the white glove gallery room…) but I did find some neat people from the Book Arts Guild to steal ideas from. Further back I ran into Dan Becker, the other half of Becker’s Books, and John Dillman, part of Kaboom! books, Houston’s Least Eponymous Book Store, (a new favorite since the Chron sent me up there), the Friends of the Houston Public Library, from which I scored a copy of Laura Gilpin’s 1949 biography of the Rio Grande (complete with an interesting inscription), and half a dozen dealers in unique, rare, and antique things I can’t possibly afford….
And, around another corner, of course, was the Artist In Residence, Printmaker Charles Criner, and a couple of assistants, working on handprinted tshirts.
And it was at that point time to escape while I had an open route to the door and there were still books that hadn’t noticed me yet.
Spent the afternoon reading. Of course.
Now, you can say what you like about Ricardo Sweatt Rodriguez, but he’s an experienced traveller.
And he brought his guitar along with the case, to share music and a beautiful evening at the Willow Waterhole Greenspace.
I met Mr. Rodriguez briefly several years ago on a photo shoot (Butler’s Books in Rosenburg) and he persuaded me to accept one of his CDs. (I’ve honestly forgotten whether he gave it to me or I bought it for cash money. Probably he gave it to me as I didn’t at the time have cash money to spare for such things. But I’ll buy the next ones as quick as I can get them. He’s that good. Really. Does some of the funkiest off-standard guitar tunings I’ve ever heard….)
(I’ve hidden some other pix at The Gallery (Dunno whether you should hear that with an ominous rumble or just a rimshot, take your pick)…. just in case anyone wants to see them….)
Aw, c’mon, it’s only one click and you KNOW you want to.
Or you could always go over to his management company website and hear the guy play for yourself. Or even buy the CD. (Check out “Caravan.” It’s sampled for free but that one piece… worth the price of admission all on its lonesome, along with “Soul Mountain.”)
Things wander my way sometimes. I spent part of Friday morning in Bellaire doing a shoot, and right there in front of the historical Trolley Car was a good-sized banner advertising the Houston Area Wood Carvers annual show and sale, this Saturday at City Hall.
Since the weather forecast for Saturday said “rain” and my initial plan for Saturday had been a car show, well, I kind of made a small mental note. I grew up doing car shows, rain or shine, and trust me, they don’t gain from water falling out of the sky. No matter HOW much we need the rain.
And, oddly enough, the weather guys were right, and driving thirty or forty miles to shoot cars trying to cover up wasn’t much of an idea, so I wandered over to City Hall – 29.70310 N, 95.46813 W. And that banner was right, too…
Kenan Schultz of Channelview tells me his wife said this guy “looks like he’s about to sit down and tell a story,” so he became The Storyteller.”
Schultz himself has that same look going on…
And around the corner, there’s Fred Childers,
doing this absolutely fascinating “fan dove” thing.
He tells me that fan carving of this sort has been around for a long time… but having never seen it before myself, I was just blown away.
Further up was Carolyn Halbrook, working on an icicle ornament.
Her specialty is chip carving… which she also teaches. It’s a style that results in things like this:
There were a lot of Santas and Christmas things out; it’s a sale, too, and there were a lot of unique designs.
These folks are good….
I’ve got a standing invite to drop by and learn how to do this… which I think I may have to try. (Not that I need another time-eater of a hobby, but still…)
And as Kenan Schultz told me, “There’s no such thing as a worked-up woodcarver.”
Up very early in the morning for a walk before it gets too hot….
One thing I LIKE about North Richland Hills. They have good parks and a very nice walking trail, about a mile and a half, that runs along the power company right-of-way. Happily for me one end is a short stroll from my mother’s apartment; the other end puts me out not far from Grapevine Highway, which is one of the major business arteries in the area.
And towards the middle is a small church on a large chunk of land…. with a very pleasant (if somewhat overgrown) labyrinth with an unusual layout. I generally stop to walk it; this time I went with a camera.
If I’m ever up this way in spring where the roses are blooming I expect it’ll be very nice; until then I’ll happily make do with the rosemary bushes that sit right along the path and give off a very nice scent when you brush against them (which you can hardly avoid….)