After stumbling across this book on eBay, we tracked down the retired George Fuermann's phone number and called, hoping to hear some stories of his career, which spanned the better part of half a century, seven books, innumerable magazine articles and long-running columns in both major dailies. "Career?" Fuermann growled over the line. "I didn't have a career." We know how he feels, but beg to differ nonetheless. Land of the Big Rich is Fuermann's first book, published in 1951 by Doubleday, with a jacket photo identifying the smart young journalist as "the hottest young newspaperman in the South and Southwest." While compadre Sig Byrd documented the era's tragic underbelly, Fuermann's dispatches documented how the other half lived, with chapters on cafe socialism and Houston's Riviera and a flashy focus on Houston millionaires and mavens and movers-and-shakers: "Guests are a merge of satin-and-minked cotillion-type belles and their business-suited escorts; red-faced (from weather more than liquor) men and their well-appointed women, incontrovertibly standing for Oil and Gas with a capital O and a capital G; aging matrons, with more cash than they will ever be able to spend in the years they are still going to spend, trying to wring a lonely thrill out of unlonely thousand-dollar bills; Proper Houstonians and Almost Proper Houstonians; celebrated stars of stage, screen, and finance -- all loaded with diamonds, furs and cash, most of them well behaved and behaving as though they owned a well, an oil well, which they undoubtedly do own." Them, one suspects, were the days.
Front man and local homeboy Jesse Dayton says on the band's Web site that this song is "based on a real-life altercation between the Texas Highway Patrol and a kid with a hot-rod Ford and a little too much to drink." But you gotta believe Dayton's crunchy-twangy guitar work and Jason Burns and Eric Tucker's kickin' rhythms weren't playing in the background as this hot-rodder and Texas's finest were going at it. The lyrics may tell the tale of how some testosterone-fueled punk had his way with the law, but the rest of the song gets the message across: Speed kills the competition.
Front man and local homeboy Jesse Dayton says on the band's Web site that this song is "based on a real-life altercation between the Texas Highway Patrol and a kid with a hot-rod Ford and a little too much to drink." But you gotta believe Dayton's crunchy-twangy guitar work and Jason Burns and Eric Tucker's kickin' rhythms weren't playing in the background as this hot-rodder and Texas's finest were going at it. The lyrics may tell the tale of how some testosterone-fueled punk had his way with the law, but the rest of the song gets the message across: Speed kills the competition.
Cherie Craze is one of Houston's unrecognized wonders. Like lots of shy teenagers, the self-taught guitarist spent a good deal of her childhood hiding out in her room, wrapped around her guitar, teaching herself to play. What sets Craze apart from most pimply-faced, angst-ridden adolescents is the fire in her heart and the amazing talent in those ten little digits. From the beginning she was good. And after years of practice, her fingers have learned to fly like tiny devils on fire over the strings of her guitar. Her pad is now piled high with just about every sort of string instrument ever invented, including a banjo, a lap steel guitar and the bajillion guitars she owns. It doesn't matter if it's classical, flamenco, western or pop-rock -- she can play it. And when she opens up her mouth to sing, out comes a sound so beautiful, it could make grown men weep. This is one fine player who really ought to quit her day job.
Cherie Craze is one of Houston's unrecognized wonders. Like lots of shy teenagers, the self-taught guitarist spent a good deal of her childhood hiding out in her room, wrapped around her guitar, teaching herself to play. What sets Craze apart from most pimply-faced, angst-ridden adolescents is the fire in her heart and the amazing talent in those ten little digits. From the beginning she was good. And after years of practice, her fingers have learned to fly like tiny devils on fire over the strings of her guitar. Her pad is now piled high with just about every sort of string instrument ever invented, including a banjo, a lap steel guitar and the bajillion guitars she owns. It doesn't matter if it's classical, flamenco, western or pop-rock -- she can play it. And when she opens up her mouth to sing, out comes a sound so beautiful, it could make grown men weep. This is one fine player who really ought to quit her day job.
Cezanne Jazz Club
Though being able to sit on a musician's lap as he plays does not necessarily a great live local-music venue make, fantastic sound and a hospitable atmosphere do (we're talking about a city that is not Los Angeles or New York and where local musicians need that friendly face to turn to for work). Cezanne is the place. Under the artistic stewardship of local pianist Bob Henschen, the tiny hideaway has become a bunker for Houston's jazz pros. From the legendary late piano virtuoso Dave Catney to Malcom Pinson and his Jazz Warriors, every hep cat to ever shake his head in time to that big beat in the sky has occupied this club's warm wood room. Its good vibe and desire to celebrate Houston music are exceptional in a town of clubs whose booking agents believe only Austin acts draw crowds.
Though being able to sit on a musician's lap as he plays does not necessarily a great live local-music venue make, fantastic sound and a hospitable atmosphere do (we're talking about a city that is not Los Angeles or New York and where local musicians need that friendly face to turn to for work). Cezanne is the place. Under the artistic stewardship of local pianist Bob Henschen, the tiny hideaway has become a bunker for Houston's jazz pros. From the legendary late piano virtuoso Dave Catney to Malcom Pinson and his Jazz Warriors, every hep cat to ever shake his head in time to that big beat in the sky has occupied this club's warm wood room. Its good vibe and desire to celebrate Houston music are exceptional in a town of clubs whose booking agents believe only Austin acts draw crowds.
To know why the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series has persevered for 20 years, you need only look at some of the top-notch writers who have participated. Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Donald Barthelme, Robert Pinsky, Galway Kinnel, Tobias Wolff and Jamaica Kincaid are just some of the names on the list. This season continues that same high standard, bringing in Junot Diaz, Chang-Rae Lee, Anne Carson, Frank Bidart and Maxine Hong Kingston, not to mention the Irish-born Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and Pulitzer Prize-winners Annie Dillard, W.S. Merwin and Michael Cunningham. In fact, attendance was so high last year, Inprint Inc. executive director and series organizer Richard Levy had to find larger venues to meet demand. Readings run from September through April, in four different venues around town. $5; free for students and seniors.
To know why the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series has persevered for 20 years, you need only look at some of the top-notch writers who have participated. Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Donald Barthelme, Robert Pinsky, Galway Kinnel, Tobias Wolff and Jamaica Kincaid are just some of the names on the list. This season continues that same high standard, bringing in Junot Diaz, Chang-Rae Lee, Anne Carson, Frank Bidart and Maxine Hong Kingston, not to mention the Irish-born Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and Pulitzer Prize-winners Annie Dillard, W.S. Merwin and Michael Cunningham. In fact, attendance was so high last year, Inprint Inc. executive director and series organizer Richard Levy had to find larger venues to meet demand. Readings run from September through April, in four different venues around town. $5; free for students and seniors.

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