Texas Bowl: Two Very Different Views Of Houston From Illinois

If you're not a Baylor alum, you might not yet have caught Texas Bowl Fever, but you will, you will.

Baylor and Illinois are in town for the Wednesday game at Reliant, and that means, in the case of Illinois at least, fresh impressions of Houston.

Judging from today's papers, they are varied, to say the least.

There's this, from wide receiver Eddie McGee:

Illinois senior wide receiver Eddie McGee wasn't sure of what to expect on his first trip to Houston.

"I didn't think it was going to be this civilized,'' McGee said. "It's Texas. I thought it was going to be a little more country.''

Civilaztion!! Can't be a world-class city without it!!

The Chicago Tribune offered the views of writer David Stuart MacLean, who lived here for six years.

If his tips for Fighting Illini fans are to be believed, your Big 10 football fan is not exactly an SEC jorts-wearing beerbonger.

You have to go to the Menil Collection. It's a moral imperative. Anytime very wealthy people decide to found a museum of incredibly diverse art, get Renzo Piano to design the building, and then have the place open to the public for free, you have to go -- if only to keep the super-wealthy in a giving mood. It's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Make sure you check out the Cy Twombly building. It has a an incredible room that houses a single giant painting, which in an alternate universe where Woody Allen was raised in Houston, you'd have seen Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow walk in front of a hundred times.

It also turns out MacLean has a soft spot for Poison Girl.

I help run a reading series at the Poison Girl Bar in Montrose and so my view is slightly slanted on this one. I'll try and tamp down my hyperboles when I talk about it. It's the best bar that has ever existed in the universe ever. I have my reasons. An incredible bourbon selection (including bottles from a barrel of 17 year old Willett's that Poison Girl bought for the bar). Six pinball machines. A large back patio. Generous pours and cheap drinks. It's got an ethos similar to Chicago's very own Delilah's, just more laidback. It's exactly a 14-minute walk from the Menil, where I used to live

So, Montrose residents, don't be shocked if you see a bunch of orange-clad people waving "We Love Ron Zook" signs at the Menil, or walking from there to Poison Girl, all in a state of utter surprise at how we're more civilized than they thought.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly