HOUSTON VOICE / MAY 31. 1996 7
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Son 's Horizons Not Broad
I was in Beaumont about a week ago to see
my youngest son receive an academic
honor at that city's Central High School.
Not to be outdone, his brother had something to show off, too. "Take me to drop off
my film," he begged.
This is my traveling man-child. I have
"taken him to drop off" canisters of film
he snapped of monks and girlfriends in
The People's Republic of China, artist-
welders in Illinois, aunts and "friends"
in New Mexico, streets, schools, and kids
asleep in dorms in New York City, and the
brick wall view of his kitchen window in
San Francisco. The remarkable thing is
not that he is pursued (all expenses paid)
by colleges and universities in all these
places trying to romance him to their
institutions, no. The remarkable thing
is that when he gets home with his film he
can't get himself to the drug store to have
the pictures he took developed.
This is my nonmaterialistic (he travels with a few drawing pencils and a Call
Home phone card) disdainer-of-status
and lover of the planet, Zen Buddhist son.
Part of his religion involves respect for
the environment and so great is this
respect that he does not drive ("It depletes the natural resources of fossils and
causes air, noise and nerve pollution."
His mother's nerves, that is).
"So wil! you take me to Wal-Mart?"
Wal-Mart! Wal-Mart? Last time I was in
that town there was no Wal-Mart. The biggest commercial business was the
"Bobby-Q Stand." That's the place where
all the links were made on the spot. Links
and ribs, "Bobby-Q Bones," that
wouldn't quit tasting good until about an
hour after you were through eating them.
They were cooked, sold and served by a
lady who was black, and thin as scissors.
She kept herself "all doodied up" and if
her name wasn't Hazel it should've been.
"Not just Wal Mart'—it's a Wal-Mart
Super Store! It's open twenty-four hours
and it has everything! Everybody goes
there. It's so popular you have to call
ahead and reserve a parking space. I mean,
everybody in Beaumont goes there
every day! People pack lunches and drive
in from Raywood and Saratoga and
Honey Island to see it. You owe it to yourself not to miss it. It's like going to Paris
and bypassing the Louvre, it's like going
to London and missing the bridge. It's
like going to the Galleria and avoiding
Neiman's to come ail the way to Beaumont
and then miss our new Super store!"
I dropped him off at Wal-Mart. I never
found out what pictures he was having
developed, but I think that boy needs to get
out more. Out of Beaumont, out of East
Texas. He needs to broaden his horizons.
He should try La Capital (Mexico City)
next, 1 bet he'd love the bazaars.
New Developments in Neartown
The Neartown Associalion reports that
the owners of Rich's, a popular nightclub in the Midtown area, are redeveloping the old Tila's restaurant building
in die 700 block of Westheimer. They
plan to open a major new nightclub. The
club is already in possession of a liquor
permit, and the redevelopment seems
Neartown has a blanket policy if fighting any new liquor permits in the area.
The associalion says i! has received
many calls complaining of the effect such
development will have on Avondale and
the board is reviewing the process by
which a liquor permit was granted before
ihe Neartown Associalion, or surrounding properly owners, learned of
The parking for the new cluh will he on the
south side of Westheimer in what is now a
row of vacant lots. Neartown views this as
a positive step to keep cars off the residential streets, but is concerned with the
indication of the number of patrons the
club owners anticipate.
Robert Waters, a partner (or former
partner) of in Rick's Cabaret on Richmond is attempting to purchase a plot of
land between Kirby and Greenbriar on the
Southwest Freeway (US Hwy. 59) in
order to open a sexually oriented business. Waters is trying to secure both a liquor permit and a sexually oriented
business permit. Just outside the Near-
town boundaries, and a mere 5 blocks
from Poe Elementary School, Near-
town's board is interested in the opinions of its membership in this matter.
They are working with the Boulevard
Oaks Association in an attempt to persuade Mr. Waters that is current location
is simply not appropriate.
The debate over the Westheimer Street
Fest continues. A recent poll showed that
a strong majority of residents are in
favor of the festival. Neartown remains
officially neutral about the Fest but has
created a committee charged with the
authority to research and make recommendations on 1) How to dramatically
change the Festival to protect the most
affected neighborhoods or 2) To stop the
Festival completely, if the concerns
and suggestions of this committee,
upon adoption, are not addressed.
The fall 1996 Fest and possibly those
scheduled for 1997, have already been
permitted by the city. The existing committee created last year lo negotiate
voluntary compromises on conduct of
the Fest is still operating. It is chaired
by former Neartown President Annnise
Parker, and is currently working with
Westheimer Streel Fest. Inc, the festival organizers.
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Address to: HouVoice@aol.com.
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