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Block Party Bad News, Times Two [11/20/2009 09:45:00 PM]:
Yeah, I missed out completely on this past weekend's Westheimer Block Party, for the first time in a while now. Spent my weekend meeting up with friends from college (some of whom I haven't seen in a freaking decade) and taking care of the little guy, so y'know...

At any rate, it sounds like there were some supremely awesome performances -- check out cool writeups by the good people at 29-95.com & Houston Press, over here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, & here, and definitely take a gander at Joe Mathlete's hysterical cartoons of scenes from the Party, 'cause it makes me kick myself (a little bit, at least) for missing it.

The weekend wasn't all happy-shiny fun, unfortunately. Right before the thing kicked off, Free Press head honcho and non-sleeping robot Omar sent out a note saying that this would be the last Block Party...unless the City gets behind the thing and brings back the real-live, good-old Westheimer Street Festival, that is, including street closures & whatnot.

According to Omar, he & his crew have lobbied hard to get permits to shut down Westheimer for a Block Party or two now, but they've had no luck. The hope is that the next Mayor of our fair city will see things differently and bring the WBP back to its full-on WSF-level glory -- here's the deal, right from Omar's mouth:

Dear Houston-

This will be the last Westheimer Block Party. However, the next one will be the return of the Westheimer Street Festival. It may take 2 months or it may take 2 years but this festival has outgrown our singular capacity. There can only be a return of the Westheimer Street Festival. The streets must be shut down, the city must get behind the event, and I can no longer personally foot the bill. Our staff can no longer handle the capacity of the growing festival and squeezing all of these people into the same block is becoming hazardous. The streets must be shut down. We have an on camera commitment from Annise Parker, that if elected, she will support street closure if we can find financing for necessary portopotties, police, and clean up. She even shook my hand on it. But we need the community involved. So whoever is elected, we are asking for a big community turnout at the first city council open session the new mayor presides over. We need 500+ people to swamp city hall and show city officials that there is indeed a large constituency that supports arts and music. We will let you know when this transpires but we NEED your support. We love this community so much and want to see WestFest grow but it cannot in it's current form. We will be forming a non-profit to meet this challenge which will be made up of only Jedi's who have an unyielding love for arts and music. It is time to take BIG steps and we will do whatever it takes to shut down the streets. Thanks for all of your support and love.

Omar Afra

BTW- Summer Fest is gonna be GINORMOUS. You would pee your pants if you knew who we confirmed today.

God Bless the Trose'.

Far, far worse than the announcement, though, was the news that Free Press staffer Lee Powers died last Saturday night in a fall off the Hazard St. bridge. Space City Rock's collective heart goes out to the FP gang and all of Powers' friends & family -- it's a terrible, tragic thing, and one that I sincerely wish hadn't happened. Free Press folks & all the rest, I'm very sorry for your loss; Lee sounds like he must've been quite a guy.

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