New York Times Travel FAIL: Houston Has Music Too

How's this for a "Slice of Austin," New York Times?
How's this for a "Slice of Austin," New York Times?

It's Friday afternoon in our sleepy little Southern megalopolis, and just about the time Rocks Off was wondering if we'll actually be able to go home at a decent hour, what to our wandering eyes should appear but a link to a story scheduled to be published in this Sunday's New York Times travel section. The Gray Lady has already written up our burgeoning foodie scene this year, and now has decided there's enough going on around here that Houston might be worth an entire weekend of its readers' time. Provided, of course, those readers have no interest in music whatsoever. Rocks Off could point out how that would make those readers exactly like all too many of our fellow Houstonians, but we're just going to chalk that up to being tired, cranky and anxious to start our weekend. According to the Times' Denny Lee, we live in a "snarl of superhighways and skyscrapers" atop a "flat and featureless plain of generic towers," best known as a "corporate campus" with a nightlife dominated by "sports bars and mega-clubs." That's not really the Houston we know at all, but hey, whatever.

Rocks Off really misses Poison Girl's all-local/Texas jukebox... can't somebody fix that thing?
Rocks Off really misses Poison Girl's all-local/Texas jukebox... can't somebody fix that thing?

Normally these "Weekend In..." features mention at least one music venue in their two late-night blurbs but Houston being Houston, no dice. Not even one of those "mega-clubs," for God's sakes. Maybe Lee just couldn't find one in our "sea of office towers." Rocks Off tends to skim over the food- and shopping-related portions of articles like this, but in between reminding people that the Menil is still around and admiring the architecture on the Rice and St. Thomas campuses (which we agree is pretty sweet, btw), Lee directs people to the Westheimer curve, where he admire's Poison Girl's pinball machines and says Anvil "can feel like a meat market on weekends." Maybe Boondocks, Chances and Numbers were closed that night, but Rocks Off doubts it. Even worse, that whole section is slugged "Slice of Austin." Although Lee's actual copy contains zero references to the capital city (unless "down-to-Earth" counts), apparently the only way Times readers will believe Houston has such cool places is if the paper reassures them by name-dropping our smug neighbor to the northwest. Aargh. This is also a recurring problem for the Chronicle, though, so Rocks Off supposes we'll let that one slide. The Saturday-night blurb, as you might guess, is a shout-out to Washington Avenue... sort of. Lee, who we're pretty sure found out about Washington when the strip appeared in the Times' "Surfacing" column about a year ago, begins at Max's Wine Dive and totally fails to mention that it has live music some nights, or even a jukebox. Then, inexplicably, he splits for Marfreless, which is nowhere near Washington Avenue. Hey, Denny: Walter's is a lot closer, if not quite as make-out-friendly. (Maybe.) That's it. Lee mentions Discovery Green, but not that the park hosts several music-related events throughout the week. Maybe if he stuck around a little longer, he would have stumbled across Mango's or happened to catch one of the Sunday music matinees that happen about once a month at Under the Volcano on his way back from Rice. And Lee certainly seems to be fixated on all our skyscrapers, so he could have at least looked up while he was at Discovery Green and noticed we have a House of Blues now too. Jeez. Maybe the Times is just saving that for its music-centered travel piece on Houston, which Rocks Off expects to read, oh, never.


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