Friday, July 30, 2010

Saving Immanuel Lutheran

So many people supported salvaging this beautiful, historic church. The building was saved but it's going to take money to restore it. Please consider contributing to the Restoration Fund and helping this project. Saving this piece of history benefits our neighborhood and our city!

Donate online at Network for Good and be sure to choose "Immanuel Lutheran" in the Program Designation drop down box.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Heights Happenings: July 28-August 4, 2010


The dog park on TC Jester is a FINALIST in the Beneful Dog Food Wag World Dream Dog Park contest!! Vote daily to bring $500K in improvements to our park!

VOTE HERE DAILY and bring this funding to the most animal friendly area of Houston!

Through July 30: Reclaimed at Hello, Lucky
  • Artists include : Melissa Bauman, Anita Hassan, Teresa O'Connor, Kelly Pike, Andy Taylor, Matt Trimble, Frances Trotter, Toni Leago Valle
  • Work on view during shop hours
  • Don't forget to grab your "It's OK to [heart] Houston" tshirts!


Thursday, July 29, 7 PM: Constables will attend Sunset Heights Civic Club meeting
  • If you have questions about the Constable Program, this is a great opportunity to learn more about what they are doing for safety and crime reduction in the Heights
  • Houston Brethren church. Main and E 23rd


  • This is an encore performance for one night only.
  • An old school vaudeville review of short comedy skits, music, dance, and humor. Return to theatre’s golden age of early 20th century Vaudeville with traditional
    audience participation comedy skits, dramatic shorts; song and dance routines:
    family friendly fun!
  • The Lambert Hall Performing Arts Center, 1703 Heights Blvd.
  • Tickets: $12.50 general admission, $10.00 for seniors and students.
  • Tickets are available on line at or at the box office on performance nights.
  • For more Information, please go to or call 281-467-8939.


Sunday, August 15th, 5:30 PM: "The Best of Jerry Herman!" at Cavatore Italian Restaurant
  • HCC fine arts at Cavatore for a fun and exciting music review.
  • "The best of Jerry Herman!" (directed by Kathleen Knight) will be presented by HHC Central Campus students with Cavatore's own Bill Barlett playing the grand piano.
  • Come and meet and greet and eat and drink and enjoy the music of Broadway composer- lyricist Jerry Herman. Selections of Parade, Milk and honey, Hello Dolly!, Mame, Mac and Mable, The grand tour and La cage aux follies.
  • Call to make your reservations. Space is limited.
  • $40.00 for dinner and show. $50.00 for dinner, show and two glasses of wine

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heights Happenings: July 21- July 28, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 6:30 PM: United Nations Safe Planet Campaign screening of "Submission: In Defense of the unborn"
  • See the trailer for documentary HERE. This film discusses the effects of chemicals on the unborn babies, among other environmental topics.
  • Learn about the new Campaign and hear from Michael Stanley-Jones, the director, on the importance of this movement and the responsible management of hazardous wastes and chemicals. Mr. Stanley-Jones is traveling from Geneva, Switzerland to attend the event.
  • There will also be a short film "Safe Planet Presents: Body Burden" starring Ed Begley Jr. to start off the evening.
  • Hosted by Gallery MSquared at The Houston Heights Theater339 W 19th Street (No seating provided, bring your own. No food allowed)
  • For more information and to RSVP, see their Facebook Event page

Tuesday, July 27, 2 PM: City Council Public Meeting

  • This meeting with focus in part on the issue of the proposed Walmart development in the West End, bordered by Heights Blvd and Yale. It is an opportunity to speak directly to City Council. At the meeting, the public has the floor with the ability to have up to 3 minutes each to speak to city council about your opinions on the development.
  • If you are interested in speaking you must call the City Secretary at 832-393-1100 and put your name on the agenda. Be sure you tell them your topic is "Wal-Mart." To be most effective, we should have as many people as possible show up. There is no need to sign up just to be present, but if you want to address the council, you must call the number above.

Wednesday, July 28, 7 PM: Divisional PIP (Positive Interaction Program) meeting for the Central District
  • "The Positive Interaction Program holds monthly PIP meetings featuring speakers from different divisions (Burglary and Theft, Homicide, K-9, Helicopters, etc.) explaining how their division operates. This is done so citizens will know what to expect, should they ever need the police."
  • For additional information on what PIP is you can read more on City of Houston's website
  • 1602 State St.


Thursday and Friday, July 22-23, 8:30 PM: Discovery Green's Art Series presents HOME
  • Talento Bilingue de Houston brings this stunning visual portrayal of Earth with aerial footage from 54 countries and over 120 locations. Narrated by Glenn Close, the film begins with the creation and evolution of the animal species on Earth.
  • 118 min
  • Friday's show presented in SPANISH
  • Saturday's show presented in ENGLISH
  • Free


I hope you have Saturday, August 7th marked on your calendar already for White Linen Night

The event organizers need volunteers for the following positions:
  • An individual or (Heights) company to take charge of the volunteer shuttle docents!
  • Shuttle docents for White Linen Night in the Heights!
  • Looking for enthusiastic Heightsites-
  • Some knowledge of the history of the Heights
  • A little insight into current shops and restaurants helpful.
  • Is your entire company interested? Lets talk!
  • Event t-shirt
  • 2 tickets to the official "after-party"
  • A few surprises too!
  • For companies - get everyone on board! Lets talk about an inkind//sponsorship trade
This Year:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heights Snapshot: Gimme A Lift

Monday, July 12

3ish PM

19th Street Shopping District

Well, looky here! In the slim pocket of store front which once held jewelry maker Erica Del Gardo and, more recently, Stages home staging store, is a new shop called "The Lift." Most stores on 19th are closed on Monday (small town much, Heights?) but I stopped by anyway only to find they won't be open at all for a few more weeks. I was greeted at the door by a trio of handmade signs:

We will open our doors for the first time in a week or so. Please stop by!

Books and other good things

and my personal favorite

Please knock for deliveries
Otherwise no peeking until we open!
Thanks, THE LIFT

No peeking. Haaa ha haha ha ha ha. Right. Of course I peeked. I didn't see enough to spoil anything- nice soft color on the walls, dark metal (I think) book cases, kind of industrial but comfortable. I am looking forward to this opening. I hope the "other good things" is lots of fun gifty items like what we used to be able to find at Tansu... I guess we'll find out in a week or so.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heights Happenings: July 14- July 21, 2010

Plan ahead:

Two great events coming up at Winter Street Studios
Saturday, July 24, 6 PM- 9 PM: Sketchy Neighbors: Creature Feature Print Show
  • The Sketchy Neighbors and Guest Artist Printmaker Armando Rodriguez of ISMA Estudios are hosting a print show with a creature theme. Collaberative artworks of Monotype, Linocut, Woodblock and more will be presented.
  • All prints will be for sale.
  • Event will be in ISMA Estudio's space at Winter Street
Saturday, July 24, 6 PM: Strung Out
  • They're having a "backyard party" but in the comfort of the Winter Street Gallery. They'll be stringing up clotheslines to display paper art in an off beat and very summery way.
  • Multiple artists and live music
Also, here is another new company in Houston focusing on making it easy to eat healthy, local or both!
Saturday, July 24, 10 AM- 3 PM: Meet Delicious Houston
  • "Delicious Foods puts (wholesome or healthy) real food in convenient spaces. Through our partnerships with Smart Meals and Central City Co-op, we make it easier for people to eat healthy, tasty food, without becoming overly stressed or obsessed. Connecting to our customers from a place of joy, connecting our customers with really tasty food, and letting them pre-order for p/u in handy places: these are the three prongs of our approach."
  • Smart Meals, 2612A S. Shepherd
  • More info and RSVP on the Facebook event page

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Beach is Calling

Summer in the Heights. When people talk about summer treats these days it's all about snoballs/raspas, and it often seems like there are 2 games in town: Mam's and Tampico. Both places will be packed any given afternoon as Heights area families seek refuge from the heat and humidity. But I learned today that we are missing something. It's right there, calling, practically shouting at us. I wonder how we don't seem to be hearing it? It's the cold, frosty call of Mango Beach!

To be fair, I do remember some chatter about Mango Beach when it 1st opened. Someone went, talked about it a little and that was it. The chatter died down, though, and then there was a rumor that it closed. Still, I could see the brightly painted building every time I took White Oak down to Sawyer Heights shopping center. Typically a sunny little building like that would get and hold my attention. It is loud. It was yelling at me. I didn't hear it. Until today. And that, my friends, is a shame because by not hearing it, I was missing out.

I finally made up my mind to heed the call and check out Mango Beach after a conversation on a Heights message board. I got off the computer, in to my car and went. As simple as that. I pulled up to one of the spaces in front of the little building. The scene across the road: dusty air and the whir of a bright green John Deere cutting grass at Stude Park. It would have been almost bucolic were it not for the midday traffic of a major interstate just behind the tractor. The door said "Open" and even though there was a to-go window, the sign lead me to assume there was an inside as well. You know what happens when you assume.... I realized quickly by the look on the employee's face that I had made a mistake. I backed out and in my embarassment ordered quickly without even looking at the menu. I knew I wanted a snoball and I always go for the old school flavors, so I ordered a small cherry and handed over a $10 bill. Having not paid attention, I was very pleasantly surprised when I got $9 back!

Don't be fooled by the door on the right. Order at the window!

Now, would it be light and fluffy, almost snowy like Mam's? Or would it be hard and crunchy, like a snocone from a carnival concession stand? It came out bright red and you could tell she hadn't scrimped on the syrup. It was kind of a funny cone on top- almost like a soft serve ice cream, not the pyramid I've grown used to. I took a heaping spoonful and got kind of what I had expected: fluffier than a snocone but not shaved with the extra careful hand of our friends at Mams. For $1, though, it was mighty fine.

Raspas come in the myriad flavors you'd expect. Small 8oz $1. Med 12 oz $1.50. Lg 16 oz $1.75. Jumbo 32 oz $2.75 (but I can't imagine who would need 32 ounces of snoball!)

As I was ordering there was a young(ish) guy doing repairs on a ladder. When he saw me take out my camera, he asked me about what kind it was, if it took HD pictures and videos. Alas, no, I told him. I wish. "Do you work here too?" I asked. "It's my place," he said.

Simel grew up in the Heights. "For 31 years" he told me when I asked him how long he's lived here. That makes him about 31.5 years old. He said he grew up playing t-ball and then baseball at Stude Park. After games, he would go for raspas at Tampico with his parents. More recently when his younger brothers were playing ball at Stude, he thought that it would be great to have something closer to the park and started eyeing this empty building with a to-go window behind the convenience store. Simel asked around at the convenience store and locals at the park to see who the building belonged to. No luck. No one seemed to know. He even looked up the HCAD records but that didn't give him a way to get in touch with anyone. Then, one day it was like the skies opened and beamed down a "For Lease" sign at just the right time. He called as soon as he saw it and next thing you know he had "signed a really long lease" and his daydream was about to become a reality.

In addition to music and free WiFi, Simel has also installed misters around the building. You can sit on the deck, enjoy a cold drink and keep cool. What could be better during a Houston summer?

Simel is your classic small business owner. Do-it-yourselfer, clearly proud of what he has accomplished with high hopes for everything else it can be. Also obviously proud is his mom, Josie, who helps him out at the shop. Another aspect of being the proprietor of a small business like this is that very often it's your top priority but not your only responsibility. Today, Simel was able to hang some speakers and make some small repairs. Tomorrow, he will be back to work at his real job: Harris County Deputy Constable. When he isn't spinning those 2 plates, he has another up in the air- going for a second Associates degree (his 1st is in Criminal Justice). That's a lot going on but it doesn't seem to hamper his spirits. He was thrilled to take time from his chores and talk about his hopes for his business. It's really inspiring to see people in love with what they are doing!

As I was chatting with Simel and Josie, 3 customers approached the window and a couple minutes later, a tall pink cup of wonderful came out through the opening. I walked up to the them and asked if I could take a photo of this great looking drink. Sure, they said and then told me to wait around. The best was apparently yet to come.

The 3 young ladies work across the highway from the park. They said when they need a break from work, Mango Beach is where they come to treat themselves. Today, a big frosty drink was accompanied by 3 orders of elote. It looked so good but I can't imagine eating hot corn drowned in mayonnaise in 95 degree heat. Also present was a bag of chicharrones, doused in the same chile de arbol used for the elote. They seemed undetered by the heat, pouring liberal amounts of chile sauce on the corn and mixing it up, sampling a few bites before securing the to-go lids.

Elote- boiled, buttered corn kernels in mayo, topped with chile de arbol which you add yourself.

Pork rinds doused in chile sauce

I asked Simel if he had ever had Mam's and he said no. I tried to explain the soft, fluffy texture of their ice. I told him "New Orleans" style. He said his machine is for "Hawaiian" ice. I know a lot of shaved ice lovers do indeed covet the Hawaiian style so it may very well be to your liking. While raspas were his original idea, he has branched out to a lot of different drinks. The tall pink goodness that I had seen come through the window before was called an "aguas frescas" by it's owner but it was non-traditional in that it was blended rather than juice, fruit and water over ice. I didn't even see what they called it on their menu but I am sure you can just ask and one can be yours.

I asked Simel if he had a favorite or a specialty. There it was- the eye twinkle of a business owner about to show off his favorite product. Josie quickly hit the window and ordered me one of their Tropical Lemonades. Simel had been making these for friends and family for a long time. They were such a hit, he put them on the menu at Mango Beach. They quickly became a hit with customers as well. I can tell why- fresh lemonade on crushed ice, chock full of real, fresh cut fruit- mangoes, pineapple, watermelon and more. I abandoned the last melted portion of my cherry shaved ice and took a long drag on the straw. Yup, I can totally see why it's a favorite and I can totally see it becoming my drink of the summer. How often can you get something freshly made with real fruit for $3?

Simel's special Tropical Lemonade with ice and fresh fruit. Have a seat under a mister and suck one of these babies down. WARNING: They don't skimp on the sugar!

Just as I was settling in to my lemonade, another cup came through the what-I-am-now-calling Magic Window: a mango smoothie. It was sweet and tangy and unexpectedly creamy! I asked Josie if it was a dairy base and was surprised to learn there was no dairy at all. She listed the ingredients for me and I realized the creaminess was from honey. Mango, honey, lemon, lime, ice, sugar. Yum. With this one, Josie noted, you can get a sugar substitute. My waist band and my teeth thank you for that option, Mango Beach!

Mango Delight lives up to its name and is just one flavor of smoothie offered out the Magic Window. Pretty much any fruit can equal a smoothie. Just ask.

Currently on deck for Simel's shop: well, another deck. The small area where I sat and enjoyed all my tropical treats has high boys with tall stools and currently seats 8. Semil built all the decking and furniture himself and has another, larger deck area in progress. There is also a small, grassy patch that he is going to attend to and looks forward to making it a place where kids can play and families can relax in the Houston heat.

The proprietor, Simel

Great new deck in progress. Check out that view!

Grassy area away from the street

As far as the rumor that they were closed, they have closed shop for the "winter" both years since opening. This year, however, Semil hopes to expand his coffee selection (for "a lot less than Starbucks" he says) and have someone come in to make crepes to draw business during the couple of sorta-cold months we have.

Now, I'm not saying that anyone should give up any of the other great places for snoballs (Mam's, Tampico, Yeti Sunshine) in the Heights but when this one is calling loudly, answer!

Houston, TX 77009
(713) 677-0028

Accept cash, Visa and MC

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heights Happenings: July 7- July 14, 2010

New event just added:

Saturday, July 10, 6-9 PM: KAXM Gallery Grand Opening Recpetion

  • 1135 E. 11th Street
  • "KAXM (pronounced cacksim) will feature 9 of Houston’s finest emerging and established artists who work with abstract, realism, photography, and mixed media. Artists include Sarah Whatley, Levi Rosen, Melinda Patrick, Raul Gonzalez, Anat Ronen, Dennis Jones, Linda Baker-Hardy, Charles Rosen, and Lynn Chatman. Custom jewelry by Monique Weston and Nan Stombaugh will also be on display."
  • Music by Shrinivas Komoundori of Komoundori Sitar.
  • Food and drinks
  • RSVP or get more info on the Facebook event page

Another slow events week but another interesting project by great Heights residents (Press release):

Ars Lyrica Houston, an early music ensemble that plays on authentic historical instruments, is proud to bring a series of educational outreach programs to Houston’s public and private schools this September.

"One of our primary educational goals is to reach out to young people who would otherwise seldom
 encounter live classical music," says Artistic Director and Heights Resident Matthew Dirst. “We realize the funding for arts
 programs has been dramatically cut in recent years, and we hope that our presentations will help to fill the gap and enrich schools’ arts curricula," adds Executive Director and neighborKinga Ferguson.
To make early music in particular engaging and accessible to children, the organization has developed two distinct educational outreach programs, one for K-5 students and the other for middle 
through high school students. "Harp History" features harps 
from the Middle Ages through the Baroque and is specifically
 designed for K-5 students, to address and enhance the
 requirements of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills 
standards; while "Songs from the Heart" features vocal music
 from the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods and is 
designed for middle through high school students, as an 
introduction both to early vocal styles and period

Renowned historical harpist Becky Baxter will serve as both 
primary artist and program coordinator for "Harp History."
 Working closely with classroom teachers, Ms. Baxter will
 incorporate a series of historic harp presentations into the
 music curriculum at the elementary school level in the
 Houston Public Schools. These presentations are interactive
 in nature: the children participate by touching the harps 
and asking questions as well as answering questions asked by
 the artist about their observations of the harps. Familiar
 music examples are used as well as examples of earlier
 repertoire. Key to this program are basic musical and
 acoustic concepts: tone, shape, pitch, vibration, resonance 
and echo are all demonstrated with the active participation
 of children (by having them lay their hands flat on the
 wooden body and frame of the harp, for example).

Ars Lyrica’s vocal soloists bring a wealth of performance 
and outreach experience to "Songs from the Heart," a program
 designed to introduce middle and high school students to 
early vocal literature and period instruments. Designed to 
give students with some musical experience a better 
understanding of the history of song, this program features 
solo vocal works in various languages and styles,
 accompanied by period harps and lutes, and includes 
demonstrations of various special techniques, including 
embellishment and dramatic inflection. Individual coachings
 of selected student soloists, in those schools that offer
 private vocal instruction, make this program interactive and
 give students the opportunity to improve both their skills 
with and knowledge about early music, with the help of 
seasoned professionals.

School principals, music program
directors or PTA volunteers who are interested in 
bringing outreach programs to their schools should contact:
Kinga Ferguson, Ars Lyrica Executive Director at
or 281.636.4951.


Saturday, July 17, 4 PM: Poetry Reading at Heights Books- Libros
Poetry Reading 7-17-10.jpg

Tuesday, August 3, 6:30- 8:30 PM:Public Meetings on Police Related Issues

Houston City Council's Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee invites you to a public meeting on police related issues.

  • West End Service Center, Auditorim 305, 170 Heights Boulevard
  • 713.866.4325
  • For more information, please contact Council Member Melissa Noriega, Chair of the Committee, at or call the At-Large 3 council office at 832.393.3005 and ask forMichaela Bernacchio.

  • Topics of discussion will include: Administrative Review Committee, Citizens Review Committee,Community Policing, Use of Force, Discipline Process, Internal Affairs Division, Mediation Program, Police Advisory Committee