Houston Kickstarter Round-Up: July

Once a month we'll be bringing you a look at some of the best local Kickstarter campaigns in order to let you know what's getting ready to be unleashed through the help of small investors.

I try to avoid projects that have already met their funding goals, but for sheer size and scope I have to mention Houston-native Kevin Rustagi who has pulled off the largest fashion-based Kickstarter project ever. So far he's raised over $400k. What's he doing with it? Rustagi is combining NASA technology with everyday dress shirts in order to bring people the latest in hi-tech fashion.

Using a unique blend of fibers, the shirts regulate body heat, moisture, are coated with an anti-microbial agent that will greatly reduce body odor, adapt perfectly to your movements, are completely wrinkle-free, and just for extra kicks they're machine-washable. For once in your life you'll be able to say, "If it's good enough for the astronauts it's good enough for me," without referring to dehydrated food.

Goal: $30,000 by July 11 (Met by a HUGE margin)

I try to be over steampunk these days, but I just can't. Airships and clockwork are just too cool. Angela and Jamie Hardy are putting together a tabletop RPG that will allow you to dive into a world where the old magic is dying and being replaced by steam-powered wonders. In addition to classic character interaction you'll be given the opportunity to construct your own vehicles of war and adventure like dirigibles. Backing at the $35 level will get you everything you need to get started.

Goal: $1,000 by July 31

Ash Gonzales is a comic artist trying to find the funds, materials, and time to really create a body of work to showcase at comic book conventions. His work is startlingly well done, with vibrant colors and photo-realistic representations. Creating that level of work tales a lot of time and money, hence the project, but for only $150 you can get a T-shirt, a signed, pre-drawn print, and best of all, a custom 11 x 14 portrait of you or a comic book character. Having seen what they charge at artist alley at Comicpalooza you aren't going to get a much better deal than that.

Goal: $36,700 by August 16

If there is anything that is more over than steampunk it's zombies, but here we go with a great idea anyway. Local filmmaker Nick Rios is teaming with New York writer Cody Snyder to bring to you a new look at a very tired genre. When a teenage boy runs across a real-live zombie, he neither dies nor becomes a hero. Instead, he and his slacker uncle decide to try and sell it to raise enough money to save their house from foreclosure. Just when you think that there's nothing left in the undead world, somebody comes up with a bit of genius. The goal is to have the film ready for a red carpet debut at Rob Arcos's Sundance Theater by February. $10 backers get a digital copy of the film.

Goal: $25,000 by August 18

Among the many old, sadly defunct movie theaters in Houston is the Heights Theater on 19th Street that is now home to the M Squared Gallery. Built over a cemetery in 1929 the inside was destroyed in a fire in 1968. It remained vacant until its rebirth as an art space in 1988. Artist Stephanie Darling would like to transform the theater's side wall in a giant mural depicting endangered animals to both beautify the neighborhood and call attention to their plights. The wall sees roughly 1,000 pedestrians a day and more than 10,000 commuters. Any profit gained from the project will be donated to the Texas Wildlife Fund.

Goal: $7,000 by August 14

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