There are some diorama-worthy candidates among the modern architectural masterpieces which have been erected in Houston.
The Astrodome. Johnson Space Center. The Beer Can House. All are perennial subjects and all are, at least for the short term, behind the current, most bitchin' leader of the pack, the "Lola's Ladies' Crapper" diorama.
Yes, a miniature version of the filth-laden ladies' room located in Lola's Depot has been lovingly reconstructed and handcrafted as the most curious of the kitschy arts. And it can be all yours.
You'll need to act fast, though. The scenic representation, built from "cardboard, Sharpies, and construction paper," was commanding a $92 bid on eBay at press time. It's described as a "piece of graffiti," and "the stanky ladies' crapper at Lola's," by its listers. Whether you consider it a reminder of the worst public restroom you've ever endured or your home away from home, you've only got until Sunday afternoon to place the winning bid.
A little crack investigative reporting reveals the diorama was built byAdult Arts and Crafts Night, better known as "the most fun I am not yet having." It's also a gathering of local artists who create and donate artwork for auction to benefit charitable causes. This offering will benefit Dog Dynasty - Kennels For A Cause.
Its artists are listed as Jennifer Caldwell and April King. The detail they painstakingly endow the work with is astounding. Besides the intricacies which prove they've spent more than a squatter's moment here, they promise to include hand towels from the bar and a working swinging door.
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If helping man's best friend and appreciating art aren't enough to have you scribbling out a check yet, they add, "For an extra $5, we will sprinkle it with actual urine to give it an authentic odor."
If it's possible you're reading this and have never heard of, been to or passed out in front of Lola's, the legendary Montrose dive bar, here are a few Yelp reviews to acquaint you and/or convince you this work has a place in your home alongside your stuffy Degas:
"Cheapest, grungiest, broken downest, stiffest drink having bar in all of town," writes reviewer Sarah D. "Don't expect to remember your night or to feel clean at the end of it. Great for people watching, getting drunk, and practicing graffiti in the bathrooms."
"Um, $2 margaritas. That's all you need to know." -- Brittany P.
"Lola's has cleaned up (sort of). It retains the crown of Houston's BEST DIVE BAR IMHO. They now take credit cards! The bathroom is sanitary! There are lights!", says reviewer Peter K.
As enjoyable as the diorama is, it may be a bit dated, since the last time I was there the restrooms were markedly improved. It was only an honorable mention when we went in search of Houston's worst music-venue restrooms in February.
But that's really just quibbling, isn't it? Who looks at a Monet and thinks, "Ugh, that's so 19th-century!" It's art and art is timeless, like a good, stiff drink or a Johnny Cash song or a no-nonsense bartender, which can all be found at Lola's Depot, even if the disrepair and dirt of the restrooms have been addressed.
If you like the idea, but just can't bring yourself to pay for a model of a restroom -- even one of the city's most notorious ones -- fret not. The dogdynastydioramas eBay collection includes dioramas of Big Star Bar and the bar at Cecil's Pub.
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