Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blast from the past

Yesterday I went down to the Houston Continental Club to see my brother's band The Small Sounds play a show. Roller skated there and back, with an obligatory skate/beer stop on the way back to my folks' house at Rudyard's.
At the Continental Club I ran into Lee Gettys, my former boss at Mercado Caribe, where I tended bar, worked door, cleaned, and did general help stuff from early '91 until spring of '92 when I quit- the only job I ever stormed out of (and probably should have handled it better). There were no hard feelings, and I learned a TON from working for Lee. Lee is out of this world; somewhat crazy, but a gifted madman. I can't go into specifics about much, but he was the one who taught me, in no uncertain words and by drilling it into my brain over and over again that "sometimes you just have to say "F-- IT!" " Also, if you're painting a floor, you can never have too much paint on that floor. So much more. I remember physically working harder there than maybe at any other job I ever had at times. Once I worked 40 hours out of 48 during a Pecan St festival weekend. By the end, I finally had to go home because I could barely walk and I had blisters on my feet. It took me days to recover. So much more...

A few daily highlights of working at Mercado Caribe:

Me being the only person besides Lee who wasn't constantly smoking pot.
Always working with really great looking girls, most of whom had some sort of "affiliation" with Lee.
Paid in cash-always and sometimes arbitrary- sometimes short, sometimes big bonus.
Street vendors on a daily basis setting up their incense and jewelry kiosks in the club.
Rasta musicians drinking Heineken every night with attitude.
Papa Mali, Michael E. Johnson, Yellowman, Timbuk 3, House in Orbit, I-Tex, Irie Jane and a million other great bands (spies Like Us, Under Pressure, E.R. Shorts, Chris Thomas King in the house all the time.
Setting up and taking down a huge reggae-ready outdoor PA system Fridays and Saturdays.
SXSW with the Samples, Sublime, Killer Bees, Timbuk 3 and more- all on the same day under the evening sun.
Broken pedicabs.
Occasional dangerously insane situations involving firearms.
Jogging to and from work since my car's transmission was out.
Re-painting the place in Rasta colors every year.
Driving Lee's '67 Chevy pickup with minimal brakes to run errands for the bar.
Seeing Alan Haynes for the first time.
Becoming friends with Paul Sessums and the rest of the door people on 6th Street- club courtesy.
Learning about playing defense in a club setting and also about "teaching" your customers how you would expect them to act in your venue.

So much more... Thanks, Lee! - David

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thinking today about my St John's School career

I grew up in Houston and went to an exclusive private school called St John's from 1st grade through 10th grade, at which point I transferred to Lamar High School, literally across the street but worlds away.
My SJ career was pretty poor on the grades side of things. I remember the day, near the middle of 2nd grade, that I was assigned too much work and couldn't finish it. This made me kind of mad, especially since some kids had no trouble at all with it. Others were more like me, and there were kids dropping out and getting held back every year. It was at that point that I realized that I really didn't have to do all that work. It was also then that I decided not to do it all unless it was reasonable, in my mind. Thus was the first chapter of the end of my SJ career.
Fast forward through years of crappy grades and good teachers, great classmates, fistfights, mediocre athleticism and a serious problem communicating with females (until about 7th grade when I became better friends with some of the new girls- our class size doubled in 7th- and also with some rebellious and brilliant types such as Whitney Vaughan)
Through all these years my old friends were, one by one, leaving SJ to go to other schools, mostly private, and they were replaced with the best and brightest Houston had to offer. No diversity, of course, but seriously smart people. Meanwhile, David Beebe went from being average to basically being one of the "dumber" kids. Not having a photographic memory and also having an imagination that runs wild while I read was a double whammy for me. By the time I was asked to and agreed to "consider leaving" I was ready to go for sure. I approached every day at school starting near the end of 7th grade as a new adventure and made sure to have as much fun as possible. Even my parents had to laugh when I was busted skipping study hall given detention for "lounging with the girls" on a back lawn. Not so funny for me was the "Saturday Work Hall" I received for streaking down River Oaks Blvd one day after school hours and not on school property. That was the point at which it was explained to me that I was a representative of the St John's family 24/7 and that I could and would be held responsible at school for things that could happen out of school. Needless to say, I had a whole lot of crazy but harmless stuff my friends and I were doing on a near daily basis that would have qualified for punishment under those terms. It was time to go.
Ironically, I am still on great terms with St John's and never really was on bad ones, even as I walked out the door for the last time as a student. And even more ironically, in the company of certain people in Houston, my actions in life (most of my public activities have been pretty positive) still do reflect indirectly on St John's. Wow.

Lastly, I just recently attended my St John's 20th class reunion and it was amazing. We always had a really strong and fun class. We still do and, not surprisingly, everyone is doing really well and looking good doing it. I would not trade Lamar for anything- best move I ever made- except maybe going to UT- but St John's does actually pretty much live up to its billing- especially if your kid is about 20% smarter than I am! - David

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Musings about the real Marfa

I have spent the last 2 days walking and knocking on doors in the more aged and also less wealthy sections of Marfa giving away Christmas CDs. The gist of it is that I knock on a door, and if the resident is not there and/or then I leave a CD on the porch with a short letter explaining that I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as councilman and that the Christmas CD is my gift to al Marfa residents. That being said, I doubt I will get to the more gentrified neighborhoods, as I am splitting for 2 weeks to H-Town and have a good but of work to get done just to facilitate that alone.

No matter- I have met some incredible people who are extremely kind- plus some folks who rarely leave their houses. Pretty wild- I identify with the south and southwest sides more so than the not and northeast sides of town, maybe only because I lived in my Airstream for a long time and now still live in a very borderline house on the south side. Different world- and I really like the people.
Marfa is pretty real, despite whatever you read in the New Yorker. - David

Monday, December 07, 2009

I can't believe

I can't believe it's been two years since Rory Miggins passed away from cancer. I can't believe it.