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Hopelessly Devoted to Houston or Just Passing Through?


  

86 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you feel about Houston?

    • I'd never live anywhere else, at least willingly
      19
    • I would be willing to go, but only for the right opportunity.
      32
    • It's OK here. I could take it or leave it.
      7
    • I expect to leave at some point.
      13
    • Get me the hell out of here!
      5
    • I've left and I would or want to move back.
      4
    • I left and I don't regret it.
      4
    • Other (explain)
      2


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Could the lack of zoning in Houston be partially responsible for the lack of a local music scene?

In other cities there are streets or districts where it seems entertainment is given some protection. Here, any cranky neighbor can shut down a club, citing the noise ordinance. No wonder people are reluctant to invest in live-music venues. And the city, as a whole, suffers.

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Could the lack of zoning in Houston be partially responsible for the lack of a local music scene?

[facepalm] I'm going to quote you on this until the end of days.

Dallas has zoning. Like most cities with zoning, they granted variances liberally. New townhomes were built, were purchased, and were occupied. Complaints from the purchasers and residents of the new townhomes were instrumental in deflating the Deep Ellum scene, which existed before the townhomes did and made the area attractive for developers of townhomes in the first place. (Which is to say, it's a lot like the Washington Ave. scene, except nobody takes townhome owners seriously here. We give them lip service.)

Dallas' politicians are also renowned for grafting and cronyism. One is in prison because he double-crossed a developer with whom he had been cutting back room P&Z deals.

I don't think that any of this materially impacted the music scene in Dallas. It just moved on.

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[facepalm] I'm going to quote you on this until the end of days.

Dallas has zoning. Like most cities with zoning, they granted variances liberally. New townhomes were built, were purchased, and were occupied. Complaints from the purchasers and residents of the new townhomes were instrumental in deflating the Deep Ellum scene, which existed before the townhomes did and made the area attractive for developers of townhomes in the first place. (Which is to say, it's a lot like the Washington Ave. scene, except nobody takes townhome owners seriously here. We give them lip service.)

Dallas' politicians are also renowned for grafting and cronyism. One is in prison because he double-crossed a developer with whom he had been cutting back room P&Z deals.

I don't think that any of this materially impacted the music scene in Dallas. It just moved on.

I understand. The problem is the variances, and lack of enforcement.

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Houston's wide spread club industry was a blessing at one time and had more large showcase clubs than any city I've played in, save L.A. At one time, I remember at least 8 in town. Now it's down to 3 and two of them are oversized for local showcases (Wharehouse Live & Meridian). I'm not so sure that Zoning or any law has to do with the downfall, I think it's a loss of civic pride in the scene.

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Houston's wide spread club industry was a blessing at one time and had more large showcase clubs than any city I've played in, save L.A. At one time, I remember at least 8 in town. Now it's down to 3 and two of them are oversized for local showcases (Wharehouse Live & Meridian). I'm not so sure that Zoning or any law has to do with the downfall, I think it's a loss of civic pride in the scene.

Definitely lack of interest. It's all about demand. By way of contrast,I spent last weekend in New Orleans for a local jazz

festival. Two straight days with tons of of people out in 100 degree heat with very little shade, dancing like crazy. All for local acts. It's an unfair comparison, of course, but it really hits you what a difference a deep musical culture brings to a city. Their jazz and funk scene is one of, if not the primary reason we go there so frequently. I'd say on a yearly basis, we go to more live club shows there than we do

in Houston. Ridiculous when you think about it.

But progress comes even to NOLA: one of the latest battles in the French Quarter is businesses and residents attempting to

restrict street musicians to specific locations and hours.(i.e. move them off of Jackson Square and Royal St) Predicatalby, it's largely the new money/new residents with their suburban sensiblities who are pushing for the ordinance. It sounds innocuous, but playing on the corner for toruists is exaclty how Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty and dozens others, especially brass

band guys, start their careers.

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Definitely lack of interest. It's all about demand. By way of contrast,I spent last weekend in New Orleans for a local jazz

festival. Two straight days with tons of of people out in 100 degree heat with very little shade, dancing like crazy. All for local acts. It's an unfair comparison, of course, but it really hits you what a difference a deep musical culture brings to a city. Their jazz and funk scene is one of, if not the primary reason we go there so frequently. I'd say on a yearly basis, we go to more live club shows there than we do

in Houston. Ridiculous when you think about it.

But progress comes even to NOLA: one of the latest battles in the French Quarter is businesses and residents attempting to

restrict street musicians to specific locations and hours.(i.e. move them off of Jackson Square and Royal St) Predicatalby, it's largely the new money/new residents with their suburban sensiblities who are pushing for the ordinance. It sounds innocuous, but playing on the corner for toruists is exaclty how Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty and dozens others, especially brass

band guys, start their careers.

Good post, however, it doesn't seem to be that Houston has a total lack of interest, rather it has a lack of promotion. As I've said twice, there is very little civic pride where music is concerned here. It's very strange because at one time this place was hoppin. It seems to be more about business now than moving the industry forward which would help the clubs in the long run. Of course it's very difficult to compare Houstons scene to NO, especially where great jazz in concerned, but Houston was great as a multi genre city in the eighties and nineties.

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Good post, however, it doesn't seem to be that Houston has a total lack of interest, rather it has a lack of promotion. As I've said twice, there is very little civic pride where music is concerned here. It's very strange because at one time this place was hoppin. It seems to be more about business now than moving the industry forward which would help the clubs in the long run. Of course it's very difficult to compare Houstons scene to NO, especially where great jazz in concerned, but Houston was great as a multi genre city in the eighties and nineties.

Sounds about right. Unusual things can happen when an oil bust leaves vast numbers of large, highly visible, and conveniently-located commercial properties economically and functionally obsolete, completely unmarketable.

One wonders what's going on in Detroit...

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Sounds about right. Unusual things can happen when an oil bust leaves vast numbers of large, highly visible, and conveniently-located commercial properties economically and functionally obsolete, completely unmarketable.

One wonders what's going on in Detroit...

The oil bust was way before the time that I'm talking about. The music industry was kicking hard in Houston from around 86 through the mid nineties and started really going down around 2000. Of course there is the exception of Hip Hop (Screw) that did well after the turn of the century, but it to has died off.

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I moved to Houston in July of 2002 after graduating college in Pennsylvania where I am from. I have been living here for 8 years and absolutely love it. Are there things I don't like about Houston... of course, but I focus on the good things. The summers are hot but I have actually learned to like them (pool parties!) ... and I would take the hot summers over the cold northern winters which I experienced for 22 years ANY DAY! The long, cold winters up north get depressing (January through March are just horrible) ... the heat and humidity can get to you here but I never get depressed. The weather here is amazing October through April! I like when it gets cold here in the winter b/c I know it doesn't last. Being from the Northeast where the cities are so much more "urban" I would like to see Houston become more like that but it doesn't make me not like the city. The people are friendly, the restaurant scene is amazing, great theater district, great museums, great shopping, low cost of living... I have made lots of amazing friends... all reasons I love living here. I can't say I will live here forever but if I do I will be happy with it... I have no intention on leaving.

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The music industry was kicking hard in Houston from around 86 through the mid nineties

Yep, that was Houston's own 'lost decade' where commercial real estate was concerned. I think it was the oil bust that did it. There's nothing quite like low rents on big spaces to make bars, clubs, and bigger venues feasible.

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Wow, talk about cutting the Press some slack.

The Press, all in all, is not terrible for an "alternative" paper, if not as good as this size of market should have. And that is, in my humblest of opinions, is largely because of one fact, which is its music coverage.

Music coverage in the Press, at least of the local scene, defies conventional physics by its ability to suck and blow at the same time.

I haven't seen one lately but it seems like not long ago I'd see some newsprint wasted on whining about how nobody ever makes it out of Houston, or if they do, their name is Blue October and they moved out of town before signing a major label. Nobody actually seems to go out and about in an effort to give any exposure to the bands that are out there. By not doing that, the bands that do have what it takes to make it are moving to Austin or wherever they might get that exposure necessary to become anything bigger than what they are in the Houston underground.

Of course, this does not necessarily apply equally to all genres. Screw went national in hip-hop but that peaked probably some time before Weird Al Yankovic did a Chamillionaire parody. (Which was actually pretty funny.) Basically, Houston was to hip-hop for a couple years what Seattle was to alt-rock in the early 90s. That passed too.

Predicatalby' date=' it's largely the new money/new residents with their suburban sensiblities who are pushing for the ordinance. It sounds innocuous, but playing on the corner for toruists is exaclty how Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty and dozens others, especially brass

band guys, start their careers. [/quote']

Anything that the local media isn't responsible for as far as the state of Houston's music scene is concerned, these people are. They are new to NOLA and they had started coming into Houston particularly since the RE markets started rebounding ca. 1996. Which is why...

The music industry was kicking hard in Houston from around 86 through the mid nineties and started really going down around 2000.

....there is no coincidence here.

These NIMBY suburban refugees and trust fund babies' date=' the ones who buy condos right next to bars that were there before the condos and then complain about the noise, are probably even worse than the crappy local media about this.

[b']tl;dr version: The local media's music coverage sucks, as do people who move next to bars and complain about noise/music/stuff that walks a thin line between noise and music.

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These NIMBY suburban refugees and trust fund babies, the ones who buy condos right next to bars that were there before the condos and then complain about the noise, are probably even worse than the crappy local media about this.

Yeah, but this has pretty much become the norm in every big or mid-sized city with a music scene. As Crunchtastic noted about New Orleans' French Quarter, you can also see similar trends on Sixth Street in Austin, Deep Ellum in Dallas and Beale Street in Memphis. In part, I'd argue that the lack of a concetrated scene in Houston should actually be strengthening our draw. If one area becomes too cool and the yuppie laws become too restrictive, the scene can just migrate. That's not true in a place like Austin. Sixth Street will always be the epicenter of hip there. No, I think Houston's problem is the fans. This is, of course, not to say all the fans suck, but enough do to be a problem. The wife and I don't get out a ton these days due to the kid and another on the way, but we'd seen a show at the House of Blues as recently as about a year ago. The crowd basically ignored the band and treated the show as an annoyance to be spoken over. My experiences are different at places like Ruds or Fitzgeralds, but still it reflects badly on the city when our moderate sized venues can't pull decent and appreciative crowds for national or regional acts. I think it's a self-defeating cycle at this point. Bands aren't too eager to play in Houston and put on mediocre shows as a result. Fans expect mediocrity from bands and don't get too excited, not giving much love back to the bands. And so on.

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The summer heat sucks. Hurricanes suck. Over the past 45 years the sports teams have been generally dissappointing and occasionally sucked. Crime is something we will always have to deal with even if we move to the suburbs or the "country" - you really can't run away from it and that sucks. Parts of the city are downright ugly but have their own intrigue and I could go on.

Having said that, Houston is my home. I was born in Hermann Hospital and might spend my last days (hopefull a long time from now) somewhere in the medical center. I've lived here all but seven of my 49 years on the planet. In fact, I moved back to Houston in 1987 because things weren't going too well economically in San Antonio.

In my lifetime I've seen two pretty big economic downturns in the nation. Houston did better than most big cities during both. I saw people moving here from the rust belt in the 70's and also from southeast Asia. They did not come for the weather or the great public transportation. They came here because they believed they could make a living and provide for their families. Earlier someone wrote that Houston is a great capitalist experiment and I believe that too.

Despite all the bad things (many of them are discussed vividly in this forum) Houston is a great city. Its people have a big and generous heart. I travel frequently and when people learn I am from Houston they almost always comment on the friendliness and hospitality of the people. Then they mention the heat and possibly the traffic. :wacko:

There are literally dozens of things to do in town and beyond that the city is very well located. New Orleans and San Antonio are only a few hours away as is the hill country and the coast. The city, in general, has a can-do attitude and has, throught its short and underappreciated history, "spawned" some very interesting characters.

Houston is home. I might live and work somewhere else - even for an extended time - but they will have to bring my ashes back to Texas. I think I'll donate a tree to Hermann Park in my will and have them scatter the ashes in the hole. Who knows what that might cause to grow there. ;)

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  • 1 month later...

I love this city with a passion and would not actively seek to leave--particular for a long-term or permanent basis. However, if a huge opportunity came my way, I would consider leaving but would always plan to come back. I came to Houston by choice, and despite its warts, it's my city and I would gladly defend it to anyone. I should have the bumper sticker--"I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

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  • 1 month later...

Lived in Sugar Land from 1993-2008, minus 2003-2007 when I was in San Marcos/Austin for college and work. In 2008, I moved to the Galleria because figured it would be good for my weekends/no commute to my job. I will say I don't really like it here that much and the 4 years of college were way better than time I've spent in this city. People are more real, laid back and more active in Central Texas. If things don't change by 2012 when I hit 3 years in my condo, I'll consider myself gone from Houston. To be fair, I am jealous of the people that are able to find what they want in this city and enjoy it.

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Houston like many large Texas Cities at one time had dozens of Country Western Swing clubs, they all flourished in Houston for about 8 years, some were even around for over 35 years! Around 77 or 78 the scene died suddenly, one reason the particular locations of all the clubs suddenly found themselves in high crime areas with people having their vehicles vandalized even stolen. Nothing can kill a large club quicker than a bad neighborhood, of course it wasn't the only factor but certainly had the most influence on people clubbing. I suppose the second reason was all the youngsters that were enjoying the clubs married and moved on, it was the singles aspect of the clubbing that was popular, not a place for married people generally speaking, nothing worse than having an old girl friend or boyfriend showing up and introducing themselves to your spouse. :angry:

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