HAM's Hot Even if the Weather Isn't

Hello again from HAM. I wanted to let everyone know about some of the things we have been doing since our last newsletter. Even better, you need to know what all we have coming up. I think it's safe to say that we think 2011 will be the best year yet for Houston Arts and Media.

So please take a few minutes to read all the way to the end of this page. There are several new projects in the works which you will want to know all about. And please share this newsletter with your history minded friends, too. Word of mouth about our efforts to educate Texans about our state and local history and other topics is essential to our success. Help us add to our mailing list and our membership roll. We need you on our side.View our new promo video somewhere during your site tour here.

Since the first of the year, we have held our initial screening of a wonderful documentary, Houston: A Nation's Capitol . It will eventually be part seven of an eight-part series called the Birth of Texas. Our friends in curriculum at HISD and elsewhere tell us that they are in great need of good material to teach Texas History. When completed, this should be a big step toward filling that need. For adults, it is terrific educational entertainment, if I dare say so myself.

Much more is listed below, but I want everyone to mark their calendars for two important dates that are sneaking up fast: March 24 is the opening of Bayou City Noir: The Photography of Marvin Zindler, an exhibit we are co-sponsoring with the Museum of Printing History. And May 15 is our annual Houston History Road Rally. While the Zindler exhibit runs through the summer, the Road Rally is but one day a year. So get your team lined up and let us know.

Important Reminder: We offer a range of memberships as a way to get you more involved with HAM. New and renewing members receive their choice of our HAM DVDs on Texas and local history, Membership's privileges also include discounts on HAM events and products and the warm feeling of giving back to your community. So as much as we hate asking for money, we'd still like you to take a minute to go to our website and become a member of HAM or send us a donation with PayPal. You'll be helping out a great grassroots organization, and remember, we can't do it without you.

Your money will help support the work we do at HAM. In the last twelve months, we have:

  • Released Houston: A Nation's Capitol. This rollicking documentary is based around a tour of 1837 Houston with noted historian Stephen Hardin. A major showing is set for Monday, April 18 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Don't miss it.
  • Worked on pre-production of the remaining titles in the Birth of Texas Series.
  • Worked with the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission in several aspects of developing an exciting new website, HoustonPreservation.org. The site includes all sorts of news, features and resources about historic preservation in Houston. One prominent feature is virtual walking tours produced by HAM. There are three so far.
  • Completed Saved on the Bayou: The Story of Houston Preservation, a half hour documentary that traces the battle to preserve our built environment and notes positive steps toward the future. You can find it on the above site.
  • Planned Bayou City Noir: The Photography of Marvin Zindler, a photo exhibit that will run at the Museum of Printing History from March 24 through August 13, 2011. It showcases the early 1950s police beat work of young Houston Press photographer Marvin Zindler.
  • Started work on Volume Two of the popular HAM Slices of History.The first one released is Kiddie Wonderland, featured at the top of our home page.
  • Begun pre-production on a series of documentaries about the history of Music in Southeast Texas. A special advisory committee is helping plan for these videos on Music of the 1960s, The Music of Jim Crow, Houston Tejano, Houston Country and Dancing Houston.
  • Held the first annual HAM Houston History Book Fair & Symposium. The next one will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at an exciting location TBA. Running all day, regional history authors speak on the half hour. It is free to the public, and an incredible way to learn about our past from those who have documented it.
  • Released the DVD of the first twenty of our HAM Slices, mouth-watering bits of Houston history told in one to two minute videos. The DVD mentioned above is a nice milestone. Slices remain available online via our website.
  • Using multiple professional researchers, we have completed 95% of the research for the first two volumes in our Houston Neighborhood Series - Historic Schools of Harris County. This is a huge project covering an area never before fully documented. Our fundraising efforts now turn to money needed for writing, layout and editing.
  • Shot more interviews for Stand Up Story, a documentary about Houston's famous Comedy Annex that made our city one of the destinations for comedians in the 1980s.
  • Submitted more of our Neighbor to Neighbor Oral Histories to the Houston Public Library's Houston Metropolitan Research Center and the Woodson Research Center at Rice University. We are up to 180 hours of interviews gathered thus far, and still working on it.
  • Sought coporate funding for the Houston trivia game What's Your HQ? The game prototype is completed, and we need sponsorship for manufacturing costs.
  • Collaborated with dozens of other Houston non-profits and individual historians in order to keep the momentum going for Texas' History community.
  • Run our HAM Houston History Road Rally with another set for the first day in May to coincide with Historic Preservation Month.

We've been extremely busy. You know there is a "but". So here it is: There is so much more that we have in the works to make Houston history fun and accessible. But to do that, we need your support!

You've been so great to us in the past! Please help us again this year as we produce our videos, publish our books, hold our events and work to keep Houston's history alive! If your employer donates to local charities, please toss HAM's name into the mix. Above all, you can help by becoming a member of HAM.

Thanks so much,

Mike Vance
Executive Director and President
Houston Arts and Media

Community Issues

Historic Preservation
All of our efforts are about preserving and presenting stories from our wonderful and interesting past. One of the ways that history is preserved is through saving the built environment. We have developed three virtual walking tours for the new website which offers information and resources about how you can become involved in historic preservation in Houston. Our recent documentary, Saved on the Bayou, explores that very topic. You may view the online version via that HoustonPreservation site. HAM urges you to do everything you can to keep our tangible history safe.

Our next meetup is just around the corner. We invite our HAM members and volunteers, representatives of other history-related non-profits, people we've interviewed, historians, researchers and anyone else who enjoys Houston history to meet us at these events.

Each meetup is a chance to meet new and different people - those doing great work in historic preservation and history documentation in Houston, and many more who just love to hear about it. From time to time, the authors of books about our city will come to talk and make the book available for us. It's great to be able to offer an opportunity for people to network about Houston history in an informal setting. It's really just a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, so you all should come by and join us.

We meet on a Saturday with time and location varying according to what we cook up. We try to always include a chance to meet for lunch and conversation. It's fun. Click here if you'd like to be included on the mailing list.

Olivewood Cemetery
We continue to support Margott Williams and Charles Cook from the Descendants of Olivewood Cemetery to help raise awareness of Olivewood Cemetery, Houston's first incorporated African American Cemetery, and to stand by them as they face their own special challenges. In the past, we've organized volunteers to help keep the beautiful cemetery clean and mowed, and we'll be doing so again in the future. We'll keep you posted. More importantly, don't forget to continue your own volunteer efforts to keep Houston great. More about volunteer opportunities with HAM appears below.


The Birth of Texas Series
Our first of the eight documentaries in this series has been released. Houston: A Nation's Capitol tells the story of the first few years of the Bayou City's existence. Now we are working to raise funds to complete the other seven titles that together will tell the rich and diverse story of Texas from 1820 to statehood in 1845. It will include tales of Mexican Texas, filibusterers, European immigrants, illegally imported slaves, Tejanos, political intrigue and battles at the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto. Noted author and historian, Stephen Hardin, hosts each video with a location based that serves as the backbone of the story and spurs history tourism, as well. Interviews with other scholars, snippets of contemporary journals, photographs, maps, music and graphics will make this an engaging way to learn about Texas’ beginnings. Learn more about the the whole series here.

Bayou City Noir: The Photography of Marvin Zindler
Houston Arts and Media and The Museum of Printing History are partnering to present a very special exhibition entitled Bayou City Noir: The Photography of Marvin Zindler. This exhibit will introduce audiences to the man who prowled Houston's streets as a crime beat photographer for the now defunct daily newspaper Houston Press, decades before he became the crusading activist with the white wig and the blue glasses. It was a time when most considered Houston to be the nation’s murder capitol, and when the city’s seedier side could be readily found on blocks in the heart of downtown. The exhibit, appearing at Houston’s Museum of Printing History from March 24, 2011 – August 13, 2011, will include a series of lectures on photojournalism, newspapers and the Houston of 1952.  Learn more here.

Houston Music Series
This series, now in pre-production, is the ultimate in bringing back memories of our personal pasts and those of our parents and grandparents. Each video in the series documents a different genre of music and explores the rich social history that goes with it. Music of the 1960s, Houston Country, Houston Tejano, The Music of Jim Crow and Dancing Houston each combine interviews with artists and audience to tell unforgettable stories.Learn more here.

HAM Slices
These mini-documentaries, featured on DVD and via the web, are all about making Houston history fun! They're HAM Slices. They are running regularly on the HISD Channel, available to almost a million and a half people. Our YouTube channel is going strong, and you can see all the HAM Slices there. Additionally, we have them on TeacherTube at the request of social studies curriculum managers at area school districts. Once a year, we'll offer a full menu DVD that will let you savor the HAM Slices on a full sized screen in beautiful high-resolution. You'll want them for your video library, and luckily you can get them now with membership or by donating at a certain level. Learn more here.

Historic Schools of Harris County
We are finishing our research for the two-volume book set Historic Schools of Harris County, the first in our Houston Neighborhood Series. With funding help, we're ready to move on to writing, editing and layout and then have the work ready for release by early 2011.

This ambitious work covers areas never before documented. It tells the stories of more than 630 schools that existed in our county prior to 1950, but more importantly it also plumbs the depths of segregation, follows the rise of education for girls and lays out trends in teaching over a hundred seventy years of history. Many controversies you thought were new have been around for decades.

History Documentaries
With a tiny crew of four, two working only half-time, we led the production of forty episodes of the award-winning TV series, Postcards from Texas. Our plan is to put that talent and efficiency to work in producing several full length documentaries on a wide array of under-reported topics from our state's colorful past. They will be ready for television and the classroom.

Topics we're studying include: the Levi Jordan Plantation, the Texas Home Front during WWII, a series on Houston Area Music History, Texas and Texans in the Civil War and the history of Houston’s stand up comedy scene. Our mission also includes the possibilities of filling other educational voids, as well.

N2N Oral Histories
We are entering the fifth year of our N2N Oral History project. We are still looking for dedicated volunteer interviewers who are willing to help us preserve the stories of longtime Houstonians. We'll give you training, suggested questions and guidelines, and you will meet some remarkable folks and make sure their memories can be enjoyed by future genertaions.

These digital audio recordings are donated to both the Houston Metropolitan Research Center at the Houston Public Library and the Woodson Research Center at Rice University's Fondren Library. We have already donated about 150 hours, have more on the way and will continue to gather these histories as our Houston Neighborhood Series progresses.

We would love an opportunity to talk to the community and civic organizations you may be involved with to share the work we're doing and to look for people to interview as well as volunteer interviewers. Please contact us here if you would like us to come speak to your group.

What's Your HQ?
As many of you know, we have completed a prototype of our educational Houston trivia game called What's Your HQ?. We are currently looking for a Houston corporation who wants to help contribute to the community by sponsoring this project and at the same time to be recognized for their community service.

HAM Houston History Book Fair & Symposium
Houston Arts and Media is very excited to present our second Annual Houston History Book Fair & Symposium. The event will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at an exciting location to be announced. It will be an all-day event with a different author speaking on the half hour. In fact, we're working to have two speakers going at the same time to give you even more to hear and learn. Many of the top books on Texas' past will be available. This event will be bigger and better than before, so mark your calendars now.



Foundations Support HAM
We're into the sixth year since we launched Houston Arts and Media in order to educate and engage Texans in their regional history, arts, science and other areas. We have been fortunate in that several of the city's top foundations showed that they believed in our mission, too, by giving us substantial funds to help us meet our Texas History Initiative goals. Houston Endowment, Inc has again chosen to support HAM with a nice grant that will begin any day. These represent the financial support we need to move at a decent pace with these important projects and to bring them to fruition. .If you have a family foundation, please let us know so that we may apply for support. It is what keeps us moving forward.

Looking for Corporate Members
It is an ongoing job of any non-profit to secure this support from foundations, corporations and individuals. One of the areas we are hoping to greatly expand is the number of corporate members. It is a small price for a local business to pay in order to support educational efforts in our community and help preserve these important stories from our past and our other projects. Please help us keep the momentum. Use your connections and your imagination, and keep our educational work in your thoughts. We need corporate memberst.

Book Fair - November 12, 2011
This is the second time we're doing this event. Every year, numerous great works by a diverse collection of authors document aspects of our region's history. This event looks to bring many of them together to meet the public, discuss their books and sell and sign copies. If you've written a book on some aspect of Texas' past, we'd like to include you. It is an all-day event on Saturday, November 12, 2011. Admission is free.

As always, we want to remind you that if you do any shopping at Amazon.com, please use the search engine on our homepage. We get a small percentage of your purchase. It won't pay for office space, but it might cover a ream or two of printer paper, and that works for us.

We have signed up with GoodSearch, a Yahoo-powered search tool that donates a small amount to our organization each time you use the engine. To support us with this tool, go to www.goodsearch.com, and type in Houston Arts and Media into the "Who do you search for?" field. Couldn't be simpler!

HAM Store
We also have some nice t-shirts and other merchandise with our spiffy logo available through our CafePress store. They make great gifts!! So have fun shopping.

Recent Donors
We would very much like to take this time to thank all of the wonderful people and companies who have been supportive of the work we do at HAM. We try to recognize those businesses who support us, and patronize them as often as possible. Above all, we hope you can see the videos, books and events we produce and be proud that you helped make it possible. Thanks so much!


Call to Action

We've been working non-stop for more than four years on our projects, and we've made a lot of progress. But we need your help. We need volunteers to:

  • transcribe interviews
  • interview long time Houstonians
  • interview the owners of long-time Houston businesses
  • identify Houstonians with stories to tell about their neighborhoods
  • photograph historic buildings, parks, landscapes, bridges, schools, businesses, industrial areas
  • do library research

Donations Needed
We also need donations of:

  • a new 8-core Mac with capability to run video editing software
  • office space
  • software upgrades
  • additional video, lighting and audio equipment
  • a vehicle to become a rolling art car/recording studio
  • and, as always, money.

Thank you so much for your support and your interest in Houston Arts and Media…


Next Meetup:

HAM Slices
Bayou City Noir
Birth of Texas Series
Houston:A Nation's Capitol

N2N Oral Histories
What's Your HQ?
Historic Schools of Harris County

HAM Road Rally
HAM Store
Recent Donors

Call to Action
Donations Needed





































































































































































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