Archive for doug shields

Houston VIP Poetry Slam – First in the Season

Posted in bar, houston, poetry, review, southmorehouse, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by tymora42

It was good to see some of the old guard keeping watch over the up and coming Houston Poetry Slam talent. This was their first slam of the season to prepare for sending a team off to North Carolina. It was a great show, but that is hardly what I want to talk about. I might be a little rusty on appreciating the quality of the poetry involved, yet my good natured heckling skills were alive and well toned. You have to keep yourself in shape.

The venue was a low key coffee house on the east end called Secret Word Cafe. The same place Marcel Murphy, Houston Slam Team alumni, runs a writing workshop every Saturdays at 11am. The barrista / owner (i don’t even want to try and spell her name without seeing it) made a special tea for me and named it after the African name Jelani Williams gave me before he died off continent retracing his roots for the umpteenth time. Can it really be retracing if you have already done it, embraced it and started to live it?

The event was live and I am looking forward to future showcases – every Friday at Secret Word. They have a lot to work on before the Nationals in August. Some great poets spat in our face about greater issues than teen angst, politics, sexuality, color and growing up. The winner, DEEP, hit us with a first person piece about a mother sticking her babies in a dryer or an oven or a microwave. i was never sure which and it could have very well been all three. They were nearly going to forego the encore. i could not let that happen.

Marcel performed a sacrificial piece. It was not his best. It was not his worst either though. My only disappointment (aside from not seeing some of the old school greats: Karega, Rassul, Murph, Marie Brown, Craig Lindsey, Cedric “Brother Ced,” Alex Wukman, Doug Shields…. this list could go on for a while) is that Kyle Blue never stepped out onto the matt. His girl did. She rocked a piece about an aspberger kid wanting to be treated like an adult. My favorite was Peter “the Rock.” Although he did not win that night, I am positive he will be a member of the Houston Slam Team.

Come out and support them. Secret Word Cafe every Friday. Doors open at 8pm.

remembering southmorehouse

Posted in band, bar, beer, blog, family, houston, life, love, music, passage, performance, review, southmorehouse, technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by tymora42

southmorehouse logo

Tooling around on the social networks that will remain nameless I saw a post onto a friend, the poet / musician Aaron Trumm’s wall (this may be a better link to him) from a guy I knew back in the southmorehouse days, Alex Wukman, another poet that frequented the community. He commented from his mobile on watching Marie Brown, a Houston slam poet, performing at Inprint! , probably for slam nationals, and remarked how great she was. “When Ruby do hair, Ruby do hair right!” I can remember her starting the rhythm. Alex said he almost forgot how good it was. So did I.

southmorehouse was an avante garde art space, sometimes called a venue, sometimes a gallery, sometimes a commune. Overall it was a loose knit community of outsider artists in many genres. As quoted from a lighter bearing the logo that I pocketed one night, it was a “home for the functionally insane.” The best summary of its existence from beginning to end was written by Buffalo Sean’s Art Blog. Sean would know. In the early days he would pass out drunk on the sidewalk and we would spray paint a chalk outline around him. In the later days he would pass out drunk and we would spray paint a chalk outline around him. Although the location changed, the outlines remained. After 7 years Sean had spray paint outlines of his body all over the city.

I snooped around Alex’s profile not sure if I should send him a friend request. We knew each other. I remembered him. Self doubt crept in and asked if I really thought he remembered me when I saw a link on his favorite movies, “Southmore House: the Rise and Fall.” Edd McCoy, president of the community in the last of its days and art coordinator for the three years prior, told me of a rumor he heard that this was being created. We both thought it was pretty bold for any movie to be made about the venue without consulting either of us. Now that I saw the title “Rise and Fall” it was downright shocking.

After I got over the elation of somebody actually wanting to make a movie about this piece of time that played a major part in my life, I began to notice discrepancies that unsettled me. The first was the separation of “southmore” and “house.” The second was that they capitalized it. Not being much for capitals I tried my hardest to make the lower case clear to the people who made the flyers, but they were making flyers so i was happy enough about that. One thing that did come across eventually was the lack of separations. Evidently not to these guys.

The next, and the biggest, was the lack of the logo anywhere on the page. That logo was a branded symbol encompassing the spirit of the (dis)organization. One part anarchist’s circled A, another part the chaotic randomness within the order of pi, a house with a swooping roof and arched doorway like the original when it was on Southmore street, simple enough to be drawn quickly with a paint can, encouraged to be done on as many occasions as would arise, yet flamboyant enough to be penciled with care and stenciled over with a sharpie there was never a set graphic style to the logo. It was made for everyone to use. It was trademarked and copyright free. But I still never saw it anywhere on their profile page.

So, I looked harder and realized from the photos and videos and comments posted that these were all the kids from the post founder days. These were the attendees that took it over after 2005 when it turned its focus to the hardcore scene. One friend that I do keep in touch with must have seen the “Tyson Moore likes Southmore House: the Rise and Fall” post on my page and went to check it out while I was still perusing for the logo. He seconded the comment Alex made about not focusing just on the music. Alex mentioned the poets. Doug Shields, an event coordinator at southmore, really jump started the slam scene in Houston at the space. Another guy brought up the theatrical production of “The High Elves Christmas Play” hinting at the other stage presentation offered in the pre mid decade years. Rob, the aforementioned friend, said he had the best birthday of his life there. He had pictures to prove it. Was that the night when Organ Failure from Super Happy Funland played Robot Parade and Muff of Amish Acid Dealer knocked over the cabinet? We could not get the smell of vinegar and mustard out of the floors no matter how much Terry, Wendell, and Guido tried. Yes, in case you were wondering, that is what that smell was. Armpits, ass, and vinegar. Maybe a little corn syrup dried up and leftover from the Halloween Blood Bath party. The good ole days.

These memories made me seek out pictures, videos, blogs, whatever would show up in the first couple of google pages. This was problematic. The version of the house that will be remembered by people who do not read will be the latter years when it ended. In 2000 when it started we were on the edge of social technology. Digital camera were astronomically expensive. You can imagine how much streaming web cams cost. You were lucky if your cell phone had color much less the ability to take images or, god forbid, video. Facebook had not even been invented yet. The documentary had 400 friends. I can only imagine how many friends the actual place would have had. For better or worse we touched many lives. If you go to the place our website used to be, southmorehouse.com, somebody bought it up and is selling painting on it.

My next favorite summary was from Loop Scoop in a nostalgic look back on Houston in honor of their 200th post. “#83: the southmorehouse for being whatever it wanted it to be.”

So, I ask you who find this to tell me in the comments about your favorite show at southmorehouse. Make it as long as you want. Put it on your blog and provide a link for us. If you were involved in any way, put a link to yourself. Tell us what you did. Tell us what you are doing. Post those rare pictures and video. Especially the pre 2005 days.

Thanks to everyone who made up southmorehouse. You were the best.