If you haven’t explored downtown Houston and been totally mesmerized and enchanted, you need to get out there. It’s that good!
Much of this past weekend, downtown’s Market Square served as our stomping grounds.
According to the City of Houston:
Through the first century of its existence, Houston revolved around Market Square, bounded by the streets Preston, Milam, Travis, and Congress. The square was donated to the city in 1854 by Augustus Allen and was used as an open air produce market, and the downtown business district grew up around it.
My favorite path along downtown is from Bayou Place through Sesquicentennial Park past Mel Chin’s Seven Wonders and across the Preston Street bridge then down to Market Square. Usually, the revolving neon Cabo sign is a star that lights the way.
Sesquicentennial Park is the perfect place for photos.
This particular weekend, on Friday, to be exact, we happened to stroll by Alley Theatre on Texas.
A closer look revealed a name that sounded almost familiar but wasn’t. Rajiv Joseph. A Malayalee writer’s play at Alley Theatre! We stopped in our tracks, excited to see a name whose origins were from Kerala, India.
Then we proceeded to our favorite stops and a few new ones. Market Square Bar & Grill is near and dear to my heart, with its juicy burgers. The patio with its cracked brick walls looks straight from 1836. A historical gem.
Climax. Next door, we start conversation with an actor from Our Town, playing at the Alley. He mentions the other play this season, Gruesome Playground Stories by Rajiv Joseph. “He’s sitting right over there,” our new friend says, pointing across the room.
Gasp. The name we had only seen on a banner on a building, happens to be in the same room as us, as chance or not-so-much-coincidence would have it.
We proceed a few tables over and briefly chat with Rajiv. Really nice guy! Selma Blair and Brad Fleischer, the stars of his two-character play, were hanging out. Rajiv generously offered tickets to a matinee of the world premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries the next day.
A Saturday Matinee
The verdict? Two thumbs up. Talented actors. What really made the play were the set design, sound and visuals. Seamless transitions ensued through a series of scenes in which the two actors moved between various ages from 6 to 38, though they rarely left the small white stage. Read more info at Artshound and the Houston Chronicle.
We left starving and on the prowl for food.
We stopped by a historic landmark after lunch. The old Houston Ice and Brewing Company building.
At 6 p.m. Saturday began the much publicized event, A Night at Market Square, to promote the area and its upcoming renovations to revitalize.
Every hour, a new band played. The final hour, March Fourth marching band demonstrated the paragon of entertainment and musical acumen. Crazy costumes lit by black lights. Guys on stilts that interacted with crowd. This ain’t your high school marching band. You can’t help but move as they play, and you can’t help but absolutely love this band, their music, their energy and the way they connect to the audience.