Brando The Cat Is Nobody’s BINGO Prize

Brando The Cat

There’s a cat that lives in the Mid Main area of Houston and can often be spotted hanging around in the parking lot next to The Houston Continental Club.

The story of this cat is an interesting one.

Many years ago, a local lounge act called The El Orbits played the club every Monday night and during their performance hosted a BINGO game. The prizes were odd, to say the least. Old tacky Astroworld souvenirs and other odds and ends that front man David Beebe might find sifting through rummage sales and thrift stores found while travelling about Texas.

At some point a well meaning fan or friend of the band came to the club on BINGO night with two stray cats he thought might make good BINGO prizes. I guess the real hope was to find homes for the animals any way possible.

When the well meaning friend/fan went to his car to collect the cats and present them to the band they proceeded to leap from the car and scurry off. One of the cats was never seen again, but one of them continued to lurk about the area.

The parking lot attendant befriended the cat and though skittish and somewhat ornery in the beginning, the cat eventually settled down and became more friendly.

Cynthia took a shine to the cat and now buys cans of cat food to send with me when I visit the club. I give the food to the new parking lot guy and he uses it to feed the cat.

Cynthia has also named the cat. She calls him “Brando”

I don’t know if anyone else has adopted the name, but the cat responds when I show up with food and will come to me when I call out his name.

From the looks of things, the cat is not hurting for food. He’s been there for many years and is quite handsome and has become mostly tame.

Brando is NOBODY’S BINGO prize.

Garland Jeffreys

Garland Jeffreys - 4

My good friend Nick Gaitan of Nick Gaitain and The Umbrella Man called me Friday afternoon to ask me if I was planning to go see Garland Jeffreys at The Houston Continental Club that evening. I told him I had not planned on it and he proceeded to tell me a little bit about Garland Jeffreys and how he thought I might be interested in this show based on what he knows about my taste in music as well as my desire to photograph truly unique musical events when they happen in town.

Without going in to too many details, I will just direct you to the Wiki article on Garland. Suffice to say, I became VERY interested in seeing this show and told Nick I would see him there.

It is worth noting that Nick’s band was opening for Garland Jeffreys, but in all the years I have known Nick he has never been one to call me out to a show just because he’s playing it.

Umbrella Man - 3

Of course The Umbrella Man put on a great show, but that night was all about Garland Jeffreys. The show was not well attended. But it was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. I am a music photographer, not a music reviewer, so I will just point you to the Houston Press review of the show for details. I should also note, the review does NOT feature my photographs as The Houston Press had Jason Wotler on call for this one. But I am glad I went and took my camera because ultimately, I shoot for my own archives and this is one I am glad to have captured.

Garland Jeffreys - 1

Garland Jeffreys - 2

All shot with the Sony A77 using the Carl Zeiss 85 f/1.4 and the Sigma 10mm Fisheye.

Bald Heretic Photo Show

I was invited by Thomas @ Sig’s Lagoon to have my own photo show at his shop. We decided to feature only pictures I have taken over the years at The Houston Continental Club which gave me a lot to choose from…

Photo Show - 1

Photo Show - 2

He even commissioned local Houston poster artist Carlos Hernandez to do the promo posters

jayposter

The show is still hanging at Sig’s and should be there through the end of September.

Rediscovering An Old Friend

When I first got into shooting with a digital camera, I picked up the Sony A100 and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. Due to the crop sensor on the A100, the 50mm translated to a 75mm focal length making it just a little too tight for the kind of photography I was doing so it really didn’t get all that much use. A shame, really. This lens is fast and sharp and the images were outstanding. Even so, I found myself leaning on my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for that added wide focal range (equivalent 45mm on the cropped sensor) that allowed me to capture more of the scene I was shooting.

Now that I have upgraded to the full frame Sony A850 the Sony 50mm f/1.4 is finding its way back into rotation and I am reminded of how great this lens is.

Nick Gaitain

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Nick Gaitan

Henry Chow

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Henry Chow

Jonathan Richman

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Jonathan Richman

Roy Head

Roy Head is one of my all time favorite performers. He’s a local legend due to his 1965 hit single “Treat Her Right”

Check out the moves on the young Roy Head in this video from 1965

He’s about to turn 70 next month but you’d never know it from the energy level of his live performances.

All shots below with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 on the Sony Alpha 700

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Soul Fest – 2009 – The El Orbits

The current line up of The El Orbits is Thomas Escalante on vocals, Jim Henkel on guitar, Allen Hill on the bass and Eric C. Hughes on the drums. On Saturday night they opened for Roy Head, Barbara Lynn and Archie Bell. They also served quadruple duty as the backing band for each of the acts throughout the entire evening.

For this show I used three different Sigma lenses on the Sony Alpha 700, each of which is represented below.

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Sigma 10mm f/2.8 Fisheye – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Having a Friday off allowed me to stay up late on a school night and finally catch Chango Man at the Houston Continental Club on Thursday after Beetle.

I’d heard good things about Chango Man, mostly from the members of Chango Man but still, I wanted to check them out. Described as America Cumbia music it is a fantastic blend of Latin sounds that really sounds great. As front man El Fausto (Tino) Jackson likes to say: [paraphrasing] “There’s no reason Latin music can’t rock” and rock it does. It was a great show and definitely worth the time to go see.

Tino is great front man. I’ve seen him play with Beetle and Disco Expressions but when he is out front and taking charge is when he seems to be at his finest.

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Chango Man

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Chango Man

Additional photos in the Chango Man Gallery

Get Some Sleep And Dream Of Rock And Roll

Peter King of the Light Rock Express rolled up to the Continental Club in his latest acquisition, a 1978 Chevy Van RV. It was a surprise for the members of the band who took some time enjoying some cold Löwenbräu with their manager William S. Graham before their performance on Friday evening.

Chevy Van

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Chevy Van

Chevy Van

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Chevy Van

The first song the band played that evening came as no surprise whatsoever.

Urban Development

The folks who brought you The Continental Club, Sig’s Lagoon, Tacos-A-Go-Go and Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge are at it again. This time right next door @ 3600 Main.

The derelict building that sits next to The Continental club has been vacant for years and was recently acquired by the same folks that own the property @ 3700 Main and innovation is well under way. I was asked by Pete Gordon (manager of The Continental Club) if I could swing by and snap some “before” photos or what promises to be a very cool space in the not too distant future.

As they are working to demo the building they are finding that a very interesting art deco style facade was simply covered with stucco by the previous owners.

Pete tells me that the intention is to try and preserve as much of the original exterior as is possible which is very commendable.

If you squint just right and imagine it with some paint to bring out the original design you can just make out what a wonderful space this is going to be. There’s already plans for a coffee shop and a pizza/burger joint and if Pete has his way, a new club called “Wallpaper”…

In these interesting economic times it’s heartening to see the hustle and bustle of new development. As I was taking pictures numerous people stopped to see what was going on and one woman waiting on the train was misty-eyed as she spoke of her own personal joy at seeing something being done not only to restore this old building, but also of her optimism in seeing something that demonstrates growth in this city while the news outlets continue to issue their dire warning doom and despair.