Friday, November 13, 2009

The Last Westheimer Block Party

posted by Free Press Houston @ 5:07 PM

Dear Houston-

This will be the last Westheimer Block Party. However, the next one will be the return of the Westheimer Street Festival. It may take 2 months or it may take 2 years but this festival has outgrown our singular capacity. There can only be a return of the Westheimer Street Festival. The streets must be shut down, the city must get behind the event, and I can no longer personally foot the bill. Our staff can no longer handle the capacity of the growing festival and squeezing all of these people into the same block is becoming hazardous. The streets must be shut down. We have an on camera commitment from Annise Parker, that if elected, she will support street closure if we can find financing for necessary portopotties, police, and clean up. She even shook my hand on it. But we need the community involved. So whoever is elected, we are asking for a big community turnout at the first city council open session the new mayor presides over. We need 500+ people to swamp city hall and show city officials that there is indeed a large constituency that supports arts and music. We will let you know when this transpires but we NEED your support. We love this community so much and want to see WestFest grow but it cannot in it's current form. We will be forming a non-profit to meet this challenge which will be made up of only Jedi's who have an unyielding love for arts and music. It is time to take BIG steps and we will do whatever it takes to shut down the streets. Thanks for all of your support and love.

Omar Afra

BTW- Summer Fest is gonna be GINORMOUS. You would pee your pants if you knew who we confirmed today.

God Bless the Trose'.

Omar Afra
Managing Editor

26 Comments:

At November 13, 2009 at 8:54 PM , Anonymous Jaime Sparks said...

OMG...thanks for this article. I am definitely a supporter in the expansion of the fest and growth of arts + music in the city. Keep me, us posted. Peace.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 12:07 AM , Anonymous ana said...

I'm there. I'm a supporter I'll take my friends too. Let us know whats up.. Good Luck!

 
At November 14, 2009 at 1:16 AM , Blogger Geoff said...

Just name the time and place and I'll bring everybody I can. I respect what you are doing for the city, and I want to do what I can to support you.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 2:04 AM , Anonymous Paris J. said...

I wrote my rant here: http://anti-deity.tumblr.com/post/243503053/the-last-westheimer-block-party

If school & work will both allow, I will also show my support. Holdin' it down for H-town.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

I'll be there at city hall sir. Just give me a date and time. :)

If this becomes the last one then it will be a sad day for Houston.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Matthew said...

I love everything the free press stands for. I would gladly voice my support for expanding the music/ arts scene in Houston. Apropos, the news of summer fest returning made me wet my pants a little.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM , Anonymous The Eastern Sea said...

Shame, shame, shame. Lets get Parker in office and lets get those streets closed! We'll come down to march for Houston, time and place that shit.
Love.

 
At November 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM , Blogger Thomas said...

im there - name the place

omar you rule ...

 
At November 14, 2009 at 10:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

time and place

 
At November 15, 2009 at 10:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you bastards would pick up after your garbage strewing selves, maybe the Montrose Community won't fight this shit.

I'll be there, saying no fucking way I will support you bunch of crybabies.

 
At November 15, 2009 at 2:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone woke up on the bitch side of the bed today

 
At November 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

Apparently the 10:36am anonymous poster is as much of a cowardly pussy as he is a poor reader.

He wrote "If you bastards would pick up after your garbage strewing selves, "

Here let me highlight it for you, you arrogant small-dicked chimp....

"We have an on camera commitment from Annise Parker, that if elected, she will support street closure if we can find financing for necessary portopotties, police, and CLEAN UP."

 
At November 16, 2009 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Commandrea said...

We are the Montrose Community- and we're taking it back.

 
At November 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ramon,

Just like you fucking slobs cleaned up after this one, right?

Give me a break. Oh, wait! Now that Annise said you should clean up, you'll clean up? WELL, doesn't THAT change things! Whoo Hoo! No more beer cans on my steps! No more piss in my garage. No more used condoms in the gutter! No more garbage cans dumped over UP AND DOWN MY STREET!

Eat shit and die, doofus. I will fight you on the steps of the City Hall.

Look for me.

 
At November 16, 2009 at 4:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thems fighin' words!
"look for me". so, should we look for a angry douchebag carrying used condoms and empty beer cans?

 
At November 16, 2009 at 5:50 PM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

Well, you if I may address your uptight bourgeois vain little cunt self's "concerns"...

I think that Omar realizing that the festival in the current state is becoming a problem IS addressing your pussydom quite well.

The idea is that he WANTS to provide adequate trash, security, and safety and he wants to work with the city to make it so.

So, since he's addressing your stated problems, you are either simply sticking your thumb up your ass or in reality it's just that you are just another one of those douche fucks who crawled up from the innsmouth wishing for the day when your tenticled master will rise from his watery resting place to lay waste to all the heathen who dare set foot on your sacred ground and that day bring forth a reign of true evil like no other and the strip shopping centers will have a Dave and Busters, a Hooters, and an Olive Garden; everyone will wear Ed Hardy T-Shirts and Polo shirts with their collars turned up; and everyone will pay $10 for light beer in a can just like the suburban pit of shit from whence your vile kind first rose...

Eh, personally, I'm thinking it's the thumb up your ass.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 8:12 AM , Anonymous Omar said...

Ramon-

Robert Frost ain't got shit on you! This is pure poetry:

" you are just another one of those douche fucks who crawled up from the innsmouth wishing for the day when your tenticled master will rise from his watery resting place to lay waste to all the heathen who dare set foot on your sacred ground and that day bring forth a reign of true evil like no other and the strip shopping centers will have a Dave and Busters, a Hooters, and an Olive Garden; everyone will wear Ed Hardy T-Shirts and Polo shirts with their collars turned up; and everyone will pay $10 for light beer in a can just like the suburban pit of shit from whence your vile kind first rose..."

Whoever anonymous is, ( never take any anonymouse seriously), I urge him (because I know who he is), to take a look at the block and see that it is actually cleaner now than it was friday. We even recycled 30 barrels a day! But point is that you will not change the mind of someone who has set their thoughts against this. You will just find cognitive dissonance.

But ultimately, we want a bigger and better West Fest that is both wild and respects the neighbors while honoring the tradition of live music and arts on the streets of Montrose.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 8:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live one block from Westheimer and Taft. I cleaned up around my house Sunday morning and expected to do the same Monday morning, but, it was unnecessary. I did comment on how unusually clean the place looked.

All in all there were no serious problems or big issues. I like the current character of Montrose and its why I chose to live here and not West U, River Oaks, etc.

Didn't much care for the music at this one, but, I'm not complaining, no one liked mine in the '70s (and if they did - fuck 'em).

I think Omar is on the right track. It will be a simple matter to let people have fun which causes no real damage at the end of the day. A little awareness of the neighborhood and more porta potties and trash disposal a little further out from the event where people are parking and walking should take care of it.

I think the other resident who posted has a right to express his concern, esp since he pays an ungodly amount of taxes and has a lot of his savings tied up in his residence. Little piss heads who don't own much more than the shit in their rectum should be made aware of that. A little education will help.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 10:12 AM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

I am a homeowner which I guess makes me own a bit more than the shit in my rectum thank you.

The person who bitched has serious concerns BUT again the fact that he acts as if Omar isn't seriously trying to address the community concerns and that Omar doesn't feels they are legitimate concerns is where he is deserving of ridicule. I hardly think his post was one that seriously was looking for any kind of dialogue with Omar but instead was set firmly in a tone of condescension, contempt, and a exxaggerated sense of privilege. Sooooo...Fuck him. I pay my property taxes too, it doesn't excuse me to anonymously be a whiney self-righteous bitch.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 1:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, the guys a dick, fuck him. You did say Omar is already addressing the concerns the guy expressed. Just out of curiousity, what is the process to organize such festivals. Are there permits, etc? I'm just looking for a little education. I'd like to have people continue to see this area as a fun place to hang out while appeasing the homeowners who express concern (OK, maybe better than the dickhead did).

 
At November 17, 2009 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

That's more a question for Omar but basically it comes down to money. Sure there are permits, insurance, you name it involved but on the short, the increase in attendees each year has made it too big for Omar and the FPH to logistically handle anymore and so logical options I could think of would be partnering with the city, making the festival a non-profit organization, and seeking sponsorship to cover the added costs.

That's just my guess as to how Omar would approach an expanded festival but one thing I can say for certain is that I've seen Omar do this for quite few years and he busts his ass (as do his volunteers) and does it with an intense pride in his community that should be commended.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 2:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, thanks. I look forward to hearing more about it. Don't assume everyone in the neighborhood is against it, because that is simply not the case.

 
At November 17, 2009 at 2:49 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

There's actually a good debate going on right now within the Avondale Association (made up of a lot of the homeowners near the festival, as well as myself, the token renter). It actually started with someone wanting to try and prevent the block party from ever happening again, as she said there were people having sex on her lawn. Obviously, I can see why she would have an issue, but I had to jump in on the discussion because the "make all festivals go away" approach destroys what makes Montrose great... without these events, we might as well be Pearland. Things like the old Street Fest and Pride Fest are a big reason our neighborhood is not a parking lot or high-rise today.

As it turns out, most of the association members are pretty reasonable (this is the first complaint I've ever heard about it), and what they're calling for is the same thing Omar is calling for - safety, cleanup, more places to take a piss. Hell, people piss in my backyard even without a block party, so I'm all for more places to take a piss.

My argument is that you can't expect one single small business to handle all of this and then think it's going to all work out perfectly for everyone; if the community as a whole wants a say in it, then the community as a whole has to pitch in and help plan. Pride Fest is wild and loud and late but the responsibility and planning and cleanup and such are shared among many groups, not all placed upon a handful of people, so it's easier on everyone.

I'd like to see a rebirth of Street Fest that takes all the things that made the Block Party so great, and adds in a lot more. Close the streets. Get more businesses to open their doors and be a part of it. Hold more events in spaces that are for sale or lease (brings in potential tenants, too - I've seen it happen even in shitty cities. God knows we have enough dead or dying businesses on that block now, which is exactly why we need a Street Fest). Bring in more artists. Bring a couple of cops into the residential areas to keep an eye out for lawn-fuckers. Most of all, get the city and the community to pitch in on this, because it's way too much responsibility for a small group to have to take on twice a year.

Just my 87 cents there.

 
At November 18, 2009 at 5:34 AM , Blogger Ramon Medina - LP4 said...

Ha ha ha
Lawn Fuckers!

BAND NAME!!!!!!

PS Thanks Amanda all good points.
;)

 
At November 18, 2009 at 7:24 AM , Blogger john said...

Omar,

my name is John, and I run a non-profit called Sidewalk Project. www.sidewalkproject.org.

We run an event called the Sidewalk Project a few times a year to raise funds through music and art, and to raise awareness to the city of Houston that art/music can play a big role in changing the city of Houston. We than use the funds in any charitable way to improve the city of Houston, and it's people.

To be direct, I'd love to speak with you about some sort of collaboration. As an organization, we're always looking for opportunities to expand the art and music scene in Houston.

Contact me anytime. I'd post my number here but I don't want to tell the whole world!!! email me at jsuh@createadifference.org

Looking forward to it.

 
At November 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM , Blogger Danner said...

Omar - your group is doing some awesome things... to have such a raw and exciting festival like westheimer fest is perfect... we need it!

Let us know how we can back you up and we will...

 

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