View this email in your browser
Christmas at Houston's Metropolitan Theatre, ca. 1928: One of the many great (and sometimes deeply strange) Houston-history photos available at Sloane Gallery. (Courtesy Sloane Gallery)

I asked for suggestions for gifts sold by Houston retailers or better yet, made by Houstonians. Here are some of the suggestions:

🎁 “Story Jones Sloane III has incredible photos of Houston,” writes Amy Ahlbrand Robinson. They make excellent gifts for any Houston lover!  (Sloan Gallery, 1570 Dairy Ashford, Suite 113)

🎁 The Butcher’s Cut sells spice blends created by Katy craft butcher Alfred Maslowski. The Trio ($29.99) includes three meat rubs: all-purpose Butcher’s Blend; Texas Dirt for steak and brisket; and Red Rub for barbecue. (The Butcher’s Cut)

🎁 Kissed by a Bee Organics sells organic soaps, body oils, tinctures and even doggie deodorizing spray. Owner Akilah Scott-Amos is an urban farmer and third-generation herbalist in Spring, Texas. “I’ve known Akilah since elementary school,” writes Colin Ward. “She makes all of her health and beauty products organically from her home and garden.” 

🎁 Consider experiences. “What about a Houston Symphony subscription?” writes Kristen Turner. “Same goes for Houston Grand Opera or Houston Ballet, or membership in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.Carol Gradziel adds that gift certificates to local salons, yoga studios and restaurants are great too.

🎁 The Center for Pursuit, which serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is famous for its gingersnaps. They’re $20 for 16 ounces, packaged in a tin decorated by the Center’s clients. Recommended by Greg Griffin.

🎁 “Once a year there is a BIG student art sale at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Glassell School of Art,” writes Jennifer Garza. “It’s one of my favorite places to find gifts while supporting local talent.” Sales of student-created jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculpture and prints benefit students. Studio School Student Art Sale, Dec. 10-12, Glassell Studio School.

🎁 Foelber Pottery, a ceramic school and gallery, sells vases, mugs, bowls and such hand-made by Texas artists – including many pieces under $50. Check out the offerings in person or order online. Recommended by Melissa Noble. 706 Richmond.

🎁 The locally owned Montrose department store Kuhl-Linscombe “is a very cool sprawling campus that has all kinds of awesome stuff,” writes Kyle Jack Nielsen. Among the offerings: Texana; cookware; toys; jewelry; furniture; hard-to-find scents and grooming items. Especially recommended for the design-sensitive people in your life. 2418 West Alabama. 

Got more buy-local gift suggestions? Let us know: We’re planning a podcast about them, and we’ll run lots more in the newsletter.


🦠 Omicron in Harris County: The first case in Texas was identified Monday. The woman is in her 40s, fully vaccinated, and has no recent travel history, according to a Harris County Public Health news release. She has not needed hospitalization. (Houston Chronicle)

⚖️ The Justice Department sues Texas over voting districts: The state’s plan to redraw voting districts would essentially make ballots cast by Black and Latino voters count for less, the Justice Department argued yesterday as it filed suit in federal court. Even if the suit succeeds, it’s unlikely to change state maps before the midterm elections next November. (Texas Tribune, New York Times

😷 Houston, COVID and diabetes: A Houston Health Department review concluded late last month shows that of the 3,600 Houston residents who died of COVID, 52% had diabetes. The diabetes-COVID connection may help explain why the virus has disproportionately sickened and killed African-Americans and Latinos here. (Houston Chronicle)

☮️ The hippie newspaper that went to war with the KKK:  “Space City!” existed only from 1968 to 1971. But in that time the underground paper reported on right-wing vigilantes, police brutality against the Blacks and Chicanos, and the emergence of the women’s liberation movement. Night riders shot steel pellets into the office of what the KKK newsletter called “a vulgar… hippie-type newspaper filth sheet.” Now there’s a book about it all. (Houston Chronicle

Alejandro Chaoul demonstrates Tibetan yoga. (Courtesy Alejandro Chaoul.)

On today’s City Cast Houston podcast, Alejandro Chaoul, author of the new book Tibetan Yoga and head of the Jung Center Houston’s Mind Spirit Body Institute, offers ways to de-stress — even if your relatives keep bringing up QAnon.

🎧 Listen

The miniature water birds don’t usually live in Houston – they’re far more common in Mexico and far south Texas – but the species is slowly pushing north. Last year a pair nested in Memorial Park’s Eastern Glades. And since Thanksgiving, this cutie (one of the kids, maybe?) has taken up residence at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Want to see him yourself? “Look for a small, fluffy gray ‘rubber ducky’ paddling and diving in our Woodway Ponds,” the arboretum advises.


📺 About “The Houston-born gay Black man who saved the Beatles”: Thanks to Bill Shirley for pointing me to this 1974 video of Billy Preston and his band performing his hit “Nothing from Nothing.” It’s a three-keyboard blast of joy – and now I’m puzzling over the lyrics of a song that I thought I knew. Is it straight-up about money? Or is the poverty he’s refusing the emotional kind? And either way, why does Preston look so danged happy?

🤢 About yesterday’s “Urban Almanac” item on yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), ecologist Suzanne Simpson writes, “Really the scientific name for the berries should be Ilex diarrhea. 'Ilex vomitoria' came from European settlers mistakenly believing the tea made from yaupon was poisonous after witnessing Native Americans use it as a purgative as part of their ceremonies. When drunk at a normal pace, it is smooth and delicious.”

Got something to say? Let us know!

Follow us on social! 👇 We're a vulgar hippie-type newspaper filth sheet.
Copyright © 2021 City Cast. All rights reserved.
Not recommended for use as a purgative.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.