Spotlight on: Houston Arts and Media

If you were fascinated in Marvin Zindler's photographs from his staff photographer days at the other Houston Press, you'll probably be interested in other efforts by Houston Arts and Media, which put that show together with the Museum of Printing History.

HAM's mission is simple: to help filmmakers, scriptwriters, authors and other local talent teach children and adults about history, science, literature and the world. The group creates documentaries (Houston: A Nation's Capital) and puts together educational presentations and events.

Since 2005, the non-profit has been creating HAM Slices of History, short web-based videos on subjects ranging from Houston's first swimsuit competition to rumors of the treasure buried in Galveston by infamous pirate Jean Laffitte. The videos often have a camp element - there are segments on Astrodome uniforms that complemented the city's space theme and on the first luxury department store in the city - Sakowitz on Main Street. The series even incorporates noir elements. One video tells the story of Black Diamond, an elephant at the Houston Zoo who turned on his trainer and was eventually put down.

HAM recently started posting web videos after a long hiatus. Recent stories include a piece on one of the city's first amusement parks, Kiddie Wonderland, located on South Main and Kirby, what was then the outskirts of the city. If you are like us and can't get enough stories about Houston, check out the new season of videos now available on HAM's YouTube channel. You'll be surprised to find out what used to stand where Jones Hall now sits.

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Vernon Caldera