Five Things to Know About the Houston Marathon's Security Measures

Categories: Sole of Houston

The time has come.

A lot has changed since the final person loped across the finish line for the Houston Marathon last year. Namely, a couple of bastards decided to bomb the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring scores of people. The bombing also altered how marathons across the country are now handled, and the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon is no exception..

In this post-Boston world, the 2014 Houston marathon will have a few changes in how things are done. If you're running in the marathon or half marathon, or coming down to to the course to cheer on those who are, here's a head's up on a few things to know.

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UPDATED With Good News: Rushmore's Doug's Barbershop, Heights Institution, Not Closing After All

Still from Rushmore
Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer in Rushmore, barbering in Doug's Barber Shop.

Things looked bad for Doug's Barbershop on Friday. The Heights institution -- known for being a continuously working barbershop since 1929 and made even more famous when part of Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore was filmed there -- had received an eviction notice from the owner of the property, J. Conti Interests LLC.

The notice would have forced Doug's Barbershop to close on November 15, proprietor Doug Dreher said. The eviction notice was served because the landlord said Dreher had not paid rent or shown the company proof of insurance, he said. Dreher remembered dropping off the October rent check before going out of town for a few weeks. When he got back to town, just before the end of the month, he was notified that his business, located at 219 East 11th Street, was being evicted in two weeks.

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UPDATED: Doug's Barber Shop, Heights Institution Featured in Rushmore, Closing

Categories: Sole of Houston

Still from Rushmore
Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer in Rushmore, barbering in Doug's Barber Shop.

UPDATE: Owner Doug Dreher said he is working on mediation with the company, J. Conti Interests LLC. If they don't succeed, the business will have to move, he said.

Dreher has been renting the establishment for the past 13 years without a problem, until last month. Dreher said he dropped off his rent check before going out of town for a couple of weeks, but the company informed him that they never received a check.

His landlords informed him that they'd been trying to reach him for weeks when they notified him of the eviction, he said. "That one was on me. My employees somehow didn't relay the message," he said.

Dreher has filed for mediation, hoping that the two sides can work things out. "I know customers will follow us if we have to move, but it's the historic aspect of this place. This is where Rushmore was filmed, and I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously operating barbershop around," he said.

The lights were on and buzz clippers were whirring, but all was not well Friday morning at Doug's Barber Shop, the storied location made even more famous after it was used extensively in Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore.

Employees didn't deny that it looks like the shop, at 219 East 11th, which has reportedly been in business since 1929, will be closing on November 15. There were two barbers at work and a handful of customers gathered in the shop, but everyone went silent when asked about the shop closing its doors.

The barbers were reluctant to say more or give their names and would only confirm that the barbershop is expected to close, and that they believe the closing is related to a problem with the landlord, J. Conti Interests LLC.

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Man Plans to Run 24 Hours for LINC Houston

Categories: Sole of Houston

Like those guys in the movie, Mark Junkans is about to run. A lot.

You can always put your money where your mouth is, but then there's the put-your-feet-there option.

Mark Junkans, executive director of LINC Houston, is getting literal about the feet thing. On Saturday, Junkans plans to run 24 hours straight to raise $100,000 for LINC Houston programs and the communities LINC serves, according to a release issued Tuesday.

Junkans started LINC Houston in 2002, an organization focused on helping Houston families become self-sufficient. The organization has helped more than 125,000 people and started more than 35 churches, according to the release.

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The Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston: A Sole of Houston Forerunner, Circa 1975

Categories: Sole of Houston

The Last American City: Douglas Milburn's second pedestrian guidebook to Houston, written in 1979, when pedestrianism here was truly heroic.
(Part one of a planned series...)

As the Preacher says, there's nothing new under the sun, and it turns out I was not the first Houstonian to write about adventures on long walks and/or bike rides in the Bayou City.

More than 30 years prior to my first adventure (a 16-mile slog down Westheimer from West Oaks Mall to Bagby), Douglas Milburn and Eli Zal beat me to the punch with their 1975 booklet Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston. (Tom Richmond supplied the photos; he went on to Hollywood where he was director of photography for the films Stand and Deliver and A Midnight Clear, among others.)

In truth, my work and the Intrepid guide varied somewhat in approach. Zal and Milburn, a former Rice roommate of Larry McMurtry who went on to edit Houston City magazine and run the lysergic Magellan's Log blog), set out to write a guidebook, albeit one that aspires to literature. (I still don't know what the Sole of Houston series is, exactly.)

Zal and Milburn confined themselves to Montrose, downtown, the museums, the parks along Buffalo Bayou, Rice, Broadacres and Glenwood Cemetery.

After my first trek with Geoffrey Muller, David Beebe and I spent much more time scouring Houston's more touristically neglected roadways, though not ignoring our more famed and salubrious Inner Loop hoods.

By 1979, Zal had left his native Houston, and Milburn carried the torch alone with The Last American City: An Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston.

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Sole of Houston: Bicycles Enable Lomax And Beebe To Cover 30-Plus Miles Of Hood

Categories: Sole of Houston
Murder, tacos and Perpetual Help
Man, there has been a lot of water under the bridge since David Beebe and I last undertook a Sole of Houston stroll in December of 2008.

For my part, there was a divorce, massive weight loss, and the ditching of pretty much all my vices. As for Beebe, the super-picky confirmed playa was madly in love with his new girlfriend, as I was with mine.

We barely recognized each other. Sure, Beebe looked the same -- he's still that same Buddy Holly look-alike, Doug Sahm sound-alike he always was -- but he now was kitted out with both an iPhone and a camera that probably cost more than the trailer he lived in for months out in Marfa. Gifts from his girlfriend, he sheepishly explained.

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Sole Of Houston: And We Are Back, This Time On Two Wheels

Categories: Sole of Houston
Biking and no beer
David Beebe was back in town for a short time, so we put the band back together for an epic adventure in the streets of H-Town.

We will have a full account here later in the week after Beebe uploads his pics to Flickr, but for now we'll tease with a few details...

We didn't walk this time. We rode bikes. We were able to cover over 30 miles, which is about ten miles more than we were ever able to do on foot.

We also went through some of the scariest parts of town, or at least areas generally regarded as such.

Here's a fairly accurate map of our itinerary:

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Sole Of Houston: UH Architecture Professor Graphs Bellaire Boulevard

Categories: Sole of Houston
Ray Davies never sang about seeing stars on Bellaire Boulevard
Three years ago this month, David Beebe and I trekked Bellaire Boulevard from west of Highway 6 to the Little Woodrow's on the train tracks at the West U / Bellaire border. We didn't continue any further because the prosperous stretch from that faux icehouse -- the last beer available on a street with a severe shortage of same -- to the Med Center bored us.

I summed up that adventure thusly:

So that's Bellaire Boulevard. We didn't see a single abandoned shopping cart, unlike Shepherd, which seems to use them as mile markers. There's not enough trees. (Or bars. There are virtually no places to drink a beer on this street.) The closer in you are, the more boring it is. There are almost no pedestrians. It has one of the strangest bus-riding clienteles in town.

If Westheimer is mainly about the fetishes, broken dreams and vanities of Anglo whites, and Shepherd is all about the needs of cars, Bellaire is a world market of a street, a bazaar where Mexicans, Anglos, Salvadorans, African Americans, Hondurans, stoners, Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans and Thais go to shop and eat.

Earlier this month, University of Houston architecture professor Susan Rogers examined the same street with more of a scholarly bent, one that probably didn't include her drinking screw-cap wine in the median of Bellaire Boulevard near the Bellaire city bandshell.

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Sole of Houston: Passing the Torch

Categories: Sole of Houston

It's been a while since I've posted in the Sole of Houston, and truth be told, ever since David Beebe moved to Marfa and I got a bike, we've kinda hung up our walking shoes. But that's just us. A guy named Brent Zius is picking up the slack.

This Monday, Zius plans to walk an even longer stretch of Westheimer than I did back in 2006. On that hike, Geoffrey "Uncle Tick" Muller and I started at West Oaks Mall and hiked to Main. Zius is starting three miles or so -- a good hour's hike -- to the West. He plans to start at 8 A.M. and be at Saint Dane's bar at Elgin and Brazos by 5 p.m.

Here is how he explained his mission in an email earlier this week.

To answer your immediate questions - no I am not protesting something, no I am not raising money for a cause, no I do not need sponsors and no I have not gone insane (yet)! Why I am doing this is a little hard to explain but I will try.

In 2006 a writer for the Houston Press named John Lomax walked about 16 miles of Westheimer and wrote about his journey in this article. Later that year he walked a smaller portion of Westheimer again and has since walked many of Houston's thoroughfares including walking all the way from Intercontinental to Spanish Flowers restaurant.

John's walks really got me thinking about Westheimer, what it means to me and to this city, all the good, the bad and the ugly it has to offer. There is no other street in town like it, it is the artery that gives life to the entire West side and beyond. I have a thousand memories on that street from being a kid, through my teenage years to adulthood and on. I have driven it 10,000 times plus but have never walked it for more than a block. Why would I, no one in Houston walks anywhere, right? So . . . .

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Sole Of Houston: East Side Story -- Trains, Tequila, Dogs & Grief

Categories: Sole of Houston
Photos by Jay Lee
I just can't get enough of Houston's East End/Second Ward/Ship Channel area, so that is where the latest installment of the Sole of Houston took us. I don't think I can recreate the route with anything more than about 90 percent accuracy, but my best guess is that it looked something like this.

David Beebe couldn't make this one, so I took a couple of Sole rookies along. Jay Lee, the high-tech renaissance man and Flying Fish Sailor was invited along for both his conversation and his downright frightening photography skills. (His most humdrum shots are better than the best I have ever taken on these walks.) Chris Henderson, a former Nightfly contributor, had wanted me to reserve him a spot on the next one a while back.
That Beebe was unable to come also explains the route somewhat. I didn't want my brave companion of some 200 miles of asphalt marches to be cheated of virgin territory elsewhere, so this one was selected to very nearly, but not quite, follow in the footsteps of our hikes on East Side thoroughfares like Leeland/Telephone, Navigation, and Harrisburg. The plan was to just sort of meander out to 75th Street and then head north to Canal and thence back to town.
The trek began a little before ten in the Press parking lot and carried us up Travis. After a short-cut through the very quiet Houston Pavilions, we emerged near the Convention Center, where a knot of African cabbies were squabbling as two of Houston's Finest tried to sort them out. Good luck with that -- I'll bet that feud had its roots in the Eritrean Revolution or something like that.

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