Houston Public Broadcasting & The Orange Show - June 1, 2013

by Daryl Moss

Front L to R: Susan Harrison, Lucy Salas, Gurrette Roep, Estella Garcia, Kay Cook, Mary Brown, Back: Peggy (friend of Susan), Richard Harrison, K.J. Byers, Jr., Gloria Byers, Deloris Baugh, Bernadine Dennis, Ralph Garcia, Daryl Moss, Brenda Moss, Bob Gruber, George Wolf, Lawson Cook. Missing from picture is Ressell Harrison (Susan's son).

On Saturday, June 1, nineteen TIHAA members and guest left Bayland Park to visit the Orange Show Monument. Now knowing exactly what to expect, it did fit the “quirkiest” building description as described by the New York Times. (Beside the Orange Show building itself, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art operates the Beer Can House and co-hosts the Art Car Parade, all three eclectic Houston attractions.)

Amy, our introductory guide, seated us inside but outside around an empty pool, 3-tier seating. She then read a lengthy tribute about the show’s creator, Jeff McKissack, a Houston postman. His passion and belief that hard work and good nutrition, that is, from his favorite fruit—oranges, resulted in a monument-like architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures created over two decades. Sometimes, what you’re viewing is almost beyond comprehension, from tractor seats, mechanical fish-frogs-birds; an empty pond used for summer band concerts with seating for about 150. Fortunately, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Judge for yourself by going to their website: www.orangeshow.com … complete history, pictures, and much more.

Adjacent to the Orange Show is another attraction, Smither Park, a work in progress, named for John H. Smither, a partner in Vincent & Elkins and ardent supporter of Houston arts. This whimsical park will feature a memory wall, meditation area, tunnels, swings and interactive sculptures, each adorned with elaborate mosaic work created out of recycled and found materials and hand placed by local artist. Indeed, a few of us walked down to the park and saw couples working leisurely on various wall exhibits.

For lunch we went to Eric’s Restaurant located on the UH Main Campus within the Conrad N. Hilton Hotel—Eric is the namesake son. The ‘summer chefs’ fixed delicious salads and sandwiches, and we dined in style and chatted at length surrounded by friends. Service and food was great!

The last stop was a short distance away, the Channel 8 TV and Radio studios, part of the LeRoy and Lucile Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting—ACT. (Last time we visited Ch. 8 was in 2005.).

While resting in the lobby before the tour, we marveled at the hanging, flashing, round artwork entitled Mixed Media, a 12-foot x 8-foot x 10-foot ball full of electronic mishmash from tubes to pc boards. At 3 pm our tour group escorted by station tour guide/coordinator Eric Ladau started by viewing the master control room. We visited several areas and the function and duties of the station personnel were explained well. We went inside the digital mixer/switching room, the soundproof recording studio, the actual broadcast studios with two dolly-style video cameras (both with teleprompters) and cables on the floor, and the newsroom where staff had their offices. It was a great in-depth tour, highly recommended, nothing left out, each first Saturday at 3 pm. Explore their website for more: www.houstonpbs.org.

Here are a few more Orange Show photos:

Here are a few more KUHT Channel 8 and KUHF 88.7 photos:

Copyright TI Houston Alumni Association 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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