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March 30, 2024 | 10am - 6pm

Orange Show World HQ | 2334 Gulf Terminal Drive


The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art presents "Old, Weird Houston," a local alternative history fair and symposium that preserves, interprets, and shares the hidden histories of unusual and creative people, institutions, and events that have made our city one of the most diverse and livable in the country.

Organized collaboratively with Archivists of the Houston Area (AHA!) and the University of Houston Center for Public History, "Old, Weird Houston" features a day-long schedule of speakers and panels, from a keynote address to presentations by students active in the fields of history and library science. Regional archives both private and public display offbeat, rarely seen materials from their collections in a fair-style setting along with food trucks and vendors specializing in Houston-proud books, crafts, and apparel.



2024 Old Weird Houston Schedule

Doors Open

All day vendor and exhibitor market

Curator's Welcome

Valentin Diaconov "Houston Hauntology"
In February 2024, Houston Hauntology, a symposium on the hidden, the esoteric, and the ephemeral in Houston's recent art and architecture took place at the TransArt Foundation. The symposium's curator Valentin Diaconov talks about the circuitous route to understanding Houston's cultural code, an amalgamation of self-styled spirituality, urban isolation, and distrust of historicizing narratives - both in personal lives of culture practitioners and in (most) generalizing accounts of the local practices.

Marco O Iniguez Alba "Calavera Literias"
Literary Calaveras are poetic humoristic parodic death tales, epitaphs about living persons traditionally written during the Día de los Muertos (All Souls’ Day, November 2). The syncretic practice merges medieval Christian Danza Macabre parodies with Mesoamerican mortuary customs that fuse in 19th century Mexico in response to lived trauma. The purpose of the presentation is to present a table of historical samples of Calaveras Literarias housed in archival collections at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery).

William North "Cimbee's Ramblings"
Over 100 years ago, newspaper satirist Simeon Williams had a regular column in the Houston Informer called "Cimbee's Ramblings,” written from the perspective of a migrant from East Texas who recently arrived in Houston. The character was used to critique the complex issues of the day in a relatable dialect. North has been studying these columns as part of a history project he’s conducting with local youth.

Carolina Suarez Latorre "Centro Aztlán"
Drawing from the Houston Community Services / Centro Aztlán Collection, a post-custodial archive housed at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Heritage Program (Recovery), this poster presentation demonstrates the organization’s efforts throughout the years to address the different needs of the Hispanic community. This includes legal assistance, promotion of local businesses, and hosting social and cultural programs.

Mike Vance "Back When Crime Was Legal"

There was a time in Houston's history when the city's biggest issue with prostitution was not how to get rid of it, but simply what neighborhood to put it in. Not surprisingly, the answer generally came at the expense of minorities. Coupled with the bordellos was legalized gambling, off track betting on a national scale, downtown casinos and flourishing horse tracks. Even Houston mayors were said to have their preferred houses of ill-repute. Some of the Bayou City games of chance have a direct and important direct line to the founding of the Las Vegas Strip. Mike Vance recounts the days when Houston's good times rolled.


Joy Oria "Taxadermied Whale"

Joy Oria presents the story of a sperm whale displayed on a barge on Buffalo Bayou at San Jacinto St. during the 1910 No-Tsu-Oh festivities. The tale of this whale includes its capture in Sabine Pass by a Capt. Cott Plummer and record- breaking crowds to view it in Port Arthur. Capt. Plummer found a willing taxidermist in Harrisburg to transform the whale into a more permanent attraction and displayed the whale in Houston for the winter carnival, even hosting a fine-dining banquet in the whale's interior. Visitors entered the whale through its mouth and exited through a door in its side. The interior was said to be large enough to hold fifty to seventy-five standing persons. Capt. Plummer took the whale on tour to other cities before selling it to an amusement park in Memphis, where shortly thereafter it was consumed in a fire.

Philip Pyle, II

Houston-based artist and designer Phillip Pyle II discusses the research behind his contribution to the Blaffer Museum’s 46th Annual Thesis Exhibition, a satirical marketing campaign that mines the quirks and curiosities of the University’s history. “Pyle is a puckish, yet pointed graphic designer who marries the bombast of advertising and the irreverence of culture jamming with the poetry of artmaking. Mining imagery from consumer culture and contemporary advertising to historical imagery and hip-hop, he builds a complex vision that derives from a comedic foundation and incisive wit.”

Panel Discussion: "Un-Zoned Houston"

Panelists and info TBA

John Lomax III presented "The Lomax on Lomax Show"

Four generations of Lomaxes have been finding, recording, promoting, and presenting unique American music for 140 years. In this one man show, John Lomax III discusses his family’s legacy in Houston and beyond and performs some of the most influential roots-music songs that his relatives have collected and preserved. Lomax will talk about his early 1970s-era visits to the Orange Show as well!

Interested in exhibiting your collection of Houston-related items, or selling Houston-specific merchandise?

We would love to have you at Old, Weird Houston! If you're interested in exhibiting or selling your Houston-specific items or merchandise, click the button below to apply. Booths are FREE for exhibitors, or $50 for vendors.
Deadline to apply is March 15, 2024.

Major funding for Old, Weird Houston is provided by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily rep resent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional Funding is provided in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Art, the Houston Endowment, The Brown Foundation, Inc., private contributions, and volunteer support.

Check out our 2023 Old, Weird Houston Presentations and Panel Discussions

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