The Art Car Museum, Houston

Let the good times roll. It’s an anthem in it’s own right in so many ways. In New Orleans, it is a phrase that encapsulates so much about the triumphant spirit of partying. But, as I listen to this late 70’s standard, letting the good times roll for me is about making a choice and not caring about what others will say. Ric Ocasek, lead singer for The Cars wrote the song as a parody of what the good times actually are.

Both the NOLA interpretation and my own of the phrase are about not letting things stand in your way of having a good time.

Art Car is a lifestyle, with owners decorating cars using a vast array of materials in themed pattern or scheme. I once knew an Art Car Owner who decorated his vehicle in the most hot rod and beautiful tile. There are cars which utilize a “wrap” decal approach. Some people paint their cars. I briefly dated someone in high school who painted black tiger stripes on her white (convertible?) Chrysler LeBaron. The possibilities are endless, really.

Each Spring, (usually mid-April), Art Cars near and far assemble to parade down Allen Parkway from Downtown Houston. Houston is a champion of a city for art and Art Car Parade weekend is a reflection of that. Art Car Weekend has transformed from just the passionate auto aficionado’s to corporate sponsor involvement. The Art Car museum has many of these vehicular works on display year round, though also has other exhibits on display for patrons to enjoy. The museum HQ always looked to me like a rock and roll spaceship. But you should look them up and give them your support for an authentic Houston experience.

I didn’t spend much time at concerts in my early 20’s. Instead, I was paying for college as I could and working to support a dream I was chasing to be the first in my family to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Both of my parents attended college off and on, but never completed, as they focused on their respective careers and working hard to support a lifestyle. As I entered my late 20’s, I found myself with enough extra cash to go out and see some of the performers I had missed previously.

As a relatively larger guy, I am very aware of personal space. In general, I try to stay out of people’s way. But that also played out in some of the concerts I experienced through staying a little further back from the stage. Sometimes, that meant deciding who would be standing from the balcony seating and if I would choose to sit through a performance as to not inconvenience other patrons. To this day, I readily search to get an aisle seat so that my 6’1″ frame might be able to stretch my legs a little.

But, I have noticed that I have given up on concert polity over the past few years and gotten a little closer (respectively, of course) to the acts and music that I appreciate. And it’s a much different experience. It is an immersive experience as opposed to a spectator sport. Singing along with fellow fans in unison to that one chorus you felt spoke to your life for a period is exhilarating.

I tried the concert festival lifestyle, and maybe it just has to be the right festival, though I am much more easily sold on smaller and more intimate venues. But, standing closer, leaning in to the experience has been personally rewarding. For me, it has been freeing to let go of other’s opinions about who is also at the concert and being a part of something, even if for an hour or two. It’s letting the good times roll.

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