A night on the town at White Linen with Mitch Cohen

Jul. 31, 2015Heights Leader

The hot summer days feel like they keep getting longer, and that can mean only one thing … it’s time for White Linen Night. Yep, this Saturday from 6 – 10 p.m. officially.

For those that just stumbled upon this for the first time, White Linen Night in the Heights is a one night, four hour, artsy, tasty, shopping and people watching experience that really has little to compare to, in our neighborhood. Businesses, retail stores, bars, restaurants and thousands of Houstonians participate, wear and decorate in white.

A little preparation on your part and neither the crowds or heat will intimidate you. Here is the path I would most likely take if I had the night to roam this cool neighborhood.

First, wear linen if you have it. The fabric is cool, breathable and repels dirt, too. If you don’t have it by now, it is probably sold out city wide. Pack a festival survival kit – sunscreen, a hat, water, a snack or two and hand wipes. Hydrate early and make sure your smart phone is charged up. Okay, let’s go!

First, do your homework – participating sponsors are not only listed on the mobile friendly website, but what they’re doing and offering is listed, too. For example, if they have a featured artist it is noted, along with a band, food, special drinks and, of course, sale specials. Links to websites are also included. You can see everyone at once or by the street they are on.

There’s a map for the Houston Wave shuttle route and info on Yellow Cab Houston’s Hail a Cab App is on the website, eliminating transportation worries.

Get started early and have dinner at one of our fabulous restaurants like Harold’s Restaurant on the corner 350 W.19th and Ashland. Sonya Cuellar, one of my all-time favorite abstract artists is featured and will be there for a reception.

Across Ashland Street inside Comerica Bank, artists like Ronnie Queenan will be featured along with refreshments and live music.

Outside along the south side of 19th St., you’ll find the beginning of 75 First Saturday Arts Market artists. Preview them all on the markets new mobile website 1stSatArtMarket.com or just be surprised when you arrive.

Artists are featured in many of the shops and on the sidewalk along the north side of the street where this year’s featured entertainment is, too. The band Picture Book performs at sundown in front of Replay on 19th. Hands down the most popular act at the event every year.

Ruggles Green Heights at 748 E. 11th St. at Studewood features Tom Rye, a fine artist specializing in hand drawing and caricatures and Bill Meeks glass sculptures, the kind of glass art you’d expect to see only in a gallery. In fact, he has his own on Spring St. You’ll enjoy meeting these two artists. Permanently on the walls inside is photography by local Larry Fagala.

Red Dessert Dive is right behind Ruggles on Studewood and this little gem of a place just celebrated their one year anniversary at 1045 Studewood.

Then Hello-Lucky at 1025 Studewood St. This original art boutique is always a great spot to stop with Yeti Sunshine shaved ice and Dj Nick Difonzo.

Good Dog Houston, at 903 Studewood St. is becoming famous for their parking lot parties and, yes, plenty of art.

White Oak Blvd. is a magnet for bars and restaurants but there is art here, too. Check out the ZZ Top memorabilia at The EL Cantina at 602 Studewood. While sipping a cool ‘Rita, have the queso with beef. Catty-corner is BB’s Café – where I’ve only observed in photos the party this hot spot has – check out the artwork by New Orleans folk artist Dr. Bob. White Linen Night is a New Orleans original.

I’d have to chill for a moment at Jimmy’s Ice House next then back across the street to Public House Heights, 2802 White Oak where Nicole Gavin’s work adorns the walls of my favorite pub. Her pop style abstracted portraits of rock stars, scantily clad women and iconic characters fit right in with crowds on White Oak Street.


BIKE LINEN NIGHT is at Blue Line Bike Lab at 3302 White Oak at Columbia St. on their parking lot. I left the name in all caps because that’s how they roll there; always a good time and lots of local artists, food and music.

You’d think with the canopy of shady trees on Heights Blvd. there would a lot more activity but there isn’t. We do have John Palmer Art Gallery & Studio though, and they celebrate in style at 1218 Heights Blvd.

Looking out your Yellow Cab or Houston Wave window along the esplanade of Heights Boulevard, you’ll be able to see the second in a series of temporary sculptures by local artists titled True South.

There is so much going on it would be impossible to fill you in on everything and since this tour is focused on art, I did skip quite a few favorites. Take my suggestion and peruse the websites for all the activities. By the way, I’ll be on the corner of W. 19th at Rutland in my tent, stop by and say hello.

Online visit WhiteLinenNightInTheHeights.com and 1stSatArtMarket.com Be safe, have fun and send me a note on what you thought of this year’s event!


Cohen is the founder and manager of First Saturday Arts Market. Contact him at ArtValet@gmail.com or visit him on the web at ArtValet.com.