Tag Archives: ryan call

Tour Diary: More Houston

Yesterday, we met up with Ryan Call, who took us around Houston to see some more sites. Our original plan was to go to the Breakfast Klub but the line to get in was wrapped around the building. We were warned this might be the case. Apparently their chicken and waffles are worth the wait. But then, I thought of a good alternatives: “Why don’t we find some of those breakfast tacos we’ve been hearing so much about?” Bingo.

We went to a place called Tacos-a-Go-Go. I had my tacos with eggs, bacon, cheese, and potatoes (I like my food orange and white colors). They were pretty darn tasty. Frayn had eggs, spinach, mushroom, black beans, and cheese in hers. She was also pleased.

Frayn, post-tacos!

After that, we snagged some coffee (it’s not as prevalent here, but we have managed) and then headed off to see some junk and art. Houston has some awesome art–and we didn’t even make it to the main Museum of Fine Art.

But first, we went to the Texas Junk Shop. We gabbed with the owner and looked for cowboy boots and cowboy hats (there were tons) and Ryan and I played with the various trophies and album covers.

Bowling Champion!


Then we went to the Rothko Chapel. This was something that Mike McGonigal had told me about a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, if you linger inside the chapel for five or ten minutes, the dark paintings start to reveal more than you expect. Like some kind of weird hallucinogenic. I saw a little bit but it was Frayn who had the most reaction the art. I stood beside her and listened to her quietly gasp and whisper things like, “Oh my God.” And I was like: “What? What do you see?” It was kind of funny, especially since I thought my acid-trained brain would see these secret images more readily.

Here. I’ll let Frayn tell you about it:

“Like Kevin said, the paintings seemed to be giant washes of purple, blue and black with no image. The room is dimly lit, but the light fluctuates slightly every few seconds. After turning off my brain and staring at the middle panel of three paintings, the light changed and I saw a pair of what I swear were giant yellow eyes staring back at me. This created my first gasp. Then the nose took form, then the full lips of a man. It was incredible. Because I really thought there was nothing there, I didn’t know what to expect. Then another face took shape in the panel next to it.  With each new painting I felt anxiety and sadness that I wouldn’t be able to see what was there. The most incredible face to appear took some real time to see. It was always the eyes that appeared first and these eyes were almond-shaped and looking off right. Again the nose next, then the lips of younger man. But, then the light shifted and I gasped again because a tear fell from the right eye. It fell. There was movement on the painting. Then behind the head a large, white ’70s office building appeared with green tree leaves in front of it. I saw next that the building transferred over into the panel next to the face. The light shifted again and a word appeared across the face. RELATE. It was a fucking trip. Amazing. These words do not justify the experience.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Frayn Masters!

After that, we went to the Menil Collection next door. They had a great collection of surrealist and nouveau realist work (Yves Klein, Picasso, Ernst, Magritte, and Warhol). My favorite pieces were Maurizio Cattelan’s marble (!) sculpture of nine body bags on the floor (titled All, 2007) and his untitled dead horse with a sign sticking out of it saying “INRI.”

The rest of the day we spent cruising around and then relaxing at Gene’s house.

Now, we’re off to drive to New Orleans. Look for another update sometime this weekend.

Tour Diary: Houston

Well, it finally happened. Frayn and I pulled up to Kaboom Books last night just in time for our reading with Kirby Johnson and Ryan Call and we were the only ones there. I’ve been fortunate to have good luck with my touring thus far, getting good crowds at every event. The previous low turnout was at Books Inc in San Francisco when 15 people came.

It made me feel a little worse last night because the store owners actually had bottles of wine and some snacks spread out on a table. We talked with Kirby and Ryan and eventually a few other people came straggling in. A half hour later, we started the reading and there were 12 people to see us. We read on the back patio. The weather was a little more wet and cool than Austin since it had rained earlier in the day. We were quick and efficient with our readings. Kirby read a funny spoof about Extreme Home Makeover, Ryan read a story about a kid struggling with baldness, and Frayn read a tale about a horny couple looking for someplace to have sex. I finished things off with the ACP chapter about taking nude photos. It turned out to be a pretty great event.

Kirby Johnson

Ryan Call

B. Frayn Masters

Everyone there was really nice, including some dude named “Drummerpoet” who recited a poem to us after the reading. It was about how much he liked TV when he was a kid and it rhymed. It was pretty smooth actually.

About six of us went out afterward and got some drinks and grub at a place called Onion Creek, which was pretty good. I got something called a Frito Pie (ironically, without onions)–it was a mess of chili on a bed of Fritos and cheese on it. For some reason, I thought there was supposed to be a hot dog under all that, but I was mistaken. There was no dog. 😦

After that, we went to a famous place downtown called La Carafe, a cash bar with a lot of years behind it. Not to mention, a gigantic boar’s head above the front door.

The topics of discussion included hunting, cockroaches that hide in ivy, the wonders of Galveston, why some people have southern accents and some don’t, and the dumb controversy about the recent Tin House submission rules.

At the end of the night, we returned to the home of Gene Morgan, who’s letting us stay here while he and his family is away. Thanks, Gene!

Ryan is coming back over to pick us up soon and we’re going to explore the city more with him today. Some places called The Breakfast Club, the Rothko Chapel, and the Texas Junk Shop are on the list of places to go. Until tomorrow…thanks for reading.