The Front Row, 08/08/2006

The Orange Show Eye Opener TourS Presents Visionay Houses
We explore three of the Visionary Houses -- living spaces designed, built and/or decorated by self-taught, non-professional artists which participants will visit during Sunday's Eye-Opener Art Tour sponsored by The Orange Show. . .

The Beer Can HouseThe Orange Show, since its facility is Houston's premiere example of what has variously been called "visionary," "outsider" or primitive" art, has been the local champion of people like its own creator, Jefferson Davis McKissack who, though they have had no formal training, have an unquenchable inner impulse to express themselves through the creation of some sort of very personal, visually-arresting, hand-made art: paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, three-dimensional assemblages of found objects, art cars, or … the structures and spaces in which they live.  This Sunday, the Orange Show will host one of its periodic "Eye-Opener Tours," this time looking at a whole new set of Visionary Houses including a couple that have just recently been discovered that were built or decorated by self-taught "Outsider Artists." KUHF's Bob Stevenson spoke with The Orange Show's Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator, Allen Hill, about some of the homes that Sunday's tour participants will see in the course of their journey.  Audio here.  

Amrapali MaitraThis week, for the third year in a row, we are broadcasting readings of the award-winning essays and stories by five of the young middle- and high-school-aged authors who won regional and national prizes in this year's eighty-third annual Scholastic Writing Competition. The competition is administered in the Houston region by the Harris County Department of Education, and this year the local judges -- educators from the Department and professional authors from Writers in the Schools -- received 418 entries from seventy-five public schools, seventeen private schools, and one home-schooler. The judges awarded 117 Gold Keys First-Place honors in eleven writing categories, and seventy-three Silver Keys. The Gold-Key-winning papers were then sent on to the contest's national level, where they competed with more than fourteen-thousand other entries from around the country . . . and thirty-nine students from Harris County received national awards. One of them was , who graduated this Spring from Houston's Saint John's High School and who will attend Harvard University beginning this Fall. Today she reads her fiction piece, "Pull the Ripchord," which won both regional and national Gold Keys in the Scholastic Competition's "Short Short Story" category.  Audio here.  

Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer NoirDavid Thompson wears one of the friendly faces that greets and assists customers at Murder By The Book, the Houston shop that specializes in detective, crime, spy, thriller and adventure fiction.  He so loves the genre that last year, he launched a publishing company, Busted Flush Press, meant to serve primarily as a re-issuer of his favorite titles from the past that have fallen out of print.  Despite that mission, the company's second project is in fact a collection of new work. Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer Noir brings together stories by twenty-seven authors in which the hard-bitten protagonists are middle-aged or older. The book was edited by Duane Swierczynski, editor-in-chief of Philadelphia's award-winning weekly, The Citypaper, and a crime novelist in his own right, with the publication last year of The Wheelman. Passing through town recently on his way to a mystery convention in Austin, Duane Swierczynski, along with David Thompson, talked with KUHF's Rod Rice about their latest publishing venture.  Audio here.  

Aaron Brock (right) teaching a lesson with Jonathan Gangi Earlier this summer, the University of Houston's Moores School of Music hosted its third annual Classical Minds Guitar Festival, presented in conjunction with the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. One of the faculty artists who participated in this year's Classical Minds workshop was Canadian guitarist and composer, Aaron Brock. Mister Brock earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Toronto, and his Doctorate at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he was the first winner of the school's prestigious Andr?s Segovia Award. Most recently, Aaron Brock has been a member of the guitar faculty at the Royal College of Music in Toronto. He appeared and performed on "The Front Row" May 30th, just prior to presenting his solo recital at the Classical Minds Festival. We were shocked to learn this week that Aaron Brock died recently, at the approximate age of thirty-two, of a rare and undiagnosed heart ailment. In memoriam, we offer portions of our May studio session with Mister Brock. Audio here.