How often do you get to feel like a tourist in your own city? For me and for many, only sporadically. Enjoying the sites and sounds of our own megalopolis should be something we do as often as we can, when the uniformity and hecticness of everyday life lets up just enough to gasp some air.
If that sounded like an excuse, it's because it was; I am guilty of claiming just such a defense when I can't seem to yank my head out of my tush long enough to look around.
I am resolving to change that, encouraged by an upcoming yearly event that could only be put on by the zany and quirky personages over at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Celebrating 25 years of arranging "Eyeopener Tours" — an opportunity to be driven around and enjoy the Bayou City's odd, yet lovely, eccentricities — this year's Sunday excursion showcases Houston's "best of" artsy spots and what the nonprofit calls "places that made you stop, look and look again."
If you want in, meet at the Orange Show Monument at 1 p.m., board the luxury motor coach, pop open a beer or sip on wine (or both) and indulge in some snacks along the way. You'll be back at 6 p.m. wiser than ever — maybe feeling somewhat enlightened and baffled at the same time. After all, it's an Orange Show event.
The tradition began in 1986 with a caravan tour to John and Mary Milkovisch's Beer Can House in Rice Military and later expanded to include artist studios, places of worship, a meet-and-greet with a swimming life-saving pig, and even tours in other cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago, Phoenix and Las Pozas, Mexico.
On this year's odyssey are the Orange Show Monument and the recently restored Orange Show Museum, the Beer Can House and one of Cleveland "the Flower Man" Turner's home-cum-folk/found art environments. Other stops are secret — only to be revealed to those that dare embark on such a journey.
Armed with a camera, this "Art and About" video jaunt is a sneak peek at Sunday's "Eyeopener Tour." If it piques your interest, $40 for members and $60 for non-members gets you the full live-action Orange Show experience.