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Katy Tx./Beercan house/art car museum/policeman's memorial tour ideas


Date: Fri Jun 27 2003 - 08:53:59 PDT

I take my students to see it as part of our annual Houston Public
Sculpture Tour. It's called the Beer Can House. It's address is 222
Malone. It's easy to get to. It's two blocks North of Memorial Drive
between Shepherd and Westcott. If you are driving in from Katy, take
the 610 Loop South, then exit Memorial Drive. Go left on Memorial,
under the freeway. You will drive all the way through Memorial Park
(jogging trail, too, if he likes to run or walk). There is a street
called Westcott (major intersection) about a half mile after Memorial
Park ends. Go through the light at Westcott, staying on Memorial. Two
blocks after Westcott, turn left on Malone. Proceed two blocks up
Malone, and there it is...the beer can house. It was built by John
Malkovich (now deceased) over a period of about 7 years. He decided he
was tired of painting the house, cutting the grass, and so on, so he
totally covered his house with flattened out beer can siding. It's very
neatly applied, forming a definite pattern. Then, not to waste
anything, he used the pop tops and the lids/bottoms of the cans to
string together windchimes that hang off all of the gutters. These are
arched across the front, and come to the ground on the sides, providing
shade to the windows, I suppose. He had quite a sense of humor. His
wife didn't want him to do this to their house, but when she saw how
much her grandchildren and sons wanted to help, she agreed to let them
do it. (She's a definite saint, in my book). The neighbors got
involved, breweries and bars dropped off cans all the time, and it began
to take shape. John used to take props to the beach when he would go play tricks on people. He would put a water spiket on a pipe
into the sand about 10 yards in front of his beach chair and watch
people stop to try to get a drink. Ha. What a guy, eh? This water
spiket ended up being like a weather vane, sort of thing over the Roman
Numeral address sign of his house. There used to be big aluminum
planters out front, filled with flowers with bizarre words on the sides,
such as We Pie, and some others. They didn't mean anything, but he
enjoyed seeing people try to figure out what the words meant. The
people across the street had a Bad Dog sign in their driveway, so he put
a Bad Cat sign in his wheelbarrow that was filled with flowers in his
front yard. The driveway is cement and some sort of rubber circles
embedded in the cement, and marbles. The fence is made of beer bottles
on their sides, as is a fence in the back yard. Mrs. Malkovich used to
tell us (when we toured) that the sun came through those bottles really
pretty in the morning. Her sons are both folk art cars.
You could see the Beer Can House, the Houston Policeman's Memorial,
which is SO FINE when you get out and walk down to it, and the art car
museum all in a morning. Remember the art car museum opens at 11:00,
but maybe it opens earlier on Saturdays. The Art Car Museum is on
Waugh, a few blocks south of 1-10. Waugh exits off Memorial. The
Houston Policeman's Memorial is closer to town on Memorial. In fact,
you have to go to Rusk street exit on Memorial, (nearly downtown), make
a U-turn, and get immediately back on Memorial Drive (don't stay on the
feeder) to get to the Memorial. You can climb on this memorial. It is
built by Jesus Moroles. You get a beautiful view of our skyline from
there. It doesn't look like much from Memorial Drive as you drive by en
route to your U-turn at Rusk. Don't be fooled. It took me years to
stop here because it looks so dwarfed by the field as you drive by.
It's a jewel when you get out of your car and begin to walk down the
hill through the field to the memorial. It's based on a ziggurat. It
has a fountain at the top of it. You climb to the top by zigzagging up
the steps and around the grass levels. What's really amazing about it
is that it has four sides around the climbing part that are the exact
same shape and structure, but they go down into the ground. It forms a
cross shape from above, with the fountain/above ground portion in the
middle. It's made of pink granite. Moroles wanted people to climb on
it and enjoy it. It's a marriage of architecture and sculpture. Very
cool, very spiritual, very fun. My students LOVE it. I let them climb
on it and play hide and seek before they are called to the top to have 2
minutes of silence and then talk about the piece. It is a memorial to
honor all of Houston's police who have died in the line of duty. It
would be a fun and funky morning to combine the beer can house, art car
museum, and the policeman's memorial all into one trip. You are also
going to be by the Aquarium restaurant. You could have lunch there, and
he would enjoy the rides/games/fish/food of the Aquarium restaurant.
After you take a breather, you could get on 1-45 (right by the aquarium
restaurant) and go to Galveston or Nasa in Clear Lake.