5 Things That Happen When You Are In Montrose Coffee Table

Photo: Dave Rossman, Freelance

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“It’s so quintessentially Houston,” Day for Night artist Omar Afra says of the Cold War-era Barbara Jordan Column Office, the festival’s venue.

“It’s so quintessentially Houston,” Day for Night artist Omar Afra says of the Cold War-era Barbara Jordan Column Office, the festival’s venue.

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance alfresco the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance central the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance central the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance central the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

Day for Night Organizer Omar Afra talks about this year’s appearance central the old city column appointment Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017.(Dave Rossman Photo)

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Omar Afra acclimated his bi-weekly as a belvedere for the Chargeless Press Summer Fest and Day for Night agreeable festivals.

Omar Afra acclimated his bi-weekly as a belvedere for the Chargeless Press Summer Fest and Day for Night agreeable festivals.

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Fans watch accompanist Banks at the 2016 Day for Night. This year’s anniversary will affection Nine Inch Nails, Solange and added musicians.

Fans watch accompanist Banks at the 2016 Day for Night. This year’s anniversary will affection Nine Inch Nails, Solange and added musicians.

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Morgan Stone makes an Instagram Story with her buzz during Banks’ achievement at Day For Night anniversary Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Morgan Stone makes an Instagram Story with her buzz during Banks’ achievement at Day For Night anniversary Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

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Festival goers booty photos and videos of accompanist Banks during her achievement at Day For Night anniversary Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Festival goers booty photos and videos of accompanist Banks during her achievement at Day For Night anniversary Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

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Ken Williams, left, and Rusty Willmon booty a selfie with an art accession at Day for Night anniversary in 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Ken Williams, left, and Rusty Willmon booty a selfie with an art accession at Day for Night anniversary in 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

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Rock Wardell and Shalma Anderson ball in ablaze application in an art accession at Day for Night anniversary aperture night Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Rock Wardell and Shalma Anderson ball in ablaze application in an art accession at Day for Night anniversary aperture night Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Day for Night anniversary springs from the anarchistic apperception of Omar Afra

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Omar Afra is lying on a beating table, shoeless and cutting gym shorts, while advertent the resolution to a accepted problem: how to accommodate the needs of a beer sponsor with a accommodating donation fabricated in affiliation to admission sales.

It’s apropos Day for Night, his arts and music anniversary that will ample the above Barbara Jordan Column Appointment with hip agreeable acts and annoying beheld artists for three canicule starting Friday.

The botheration for Afra, the festival’s founder, isn’t whether to arise out in favor of a arguable charity. The 3-year-old fest is aboveboard political, with U.S. and Russian anti-government activists on its bill this year.

The affair is, as Afra, 39, summarizes in amid abysmal breaths instructed by the masseur, award an acknowledgment to the acutely baffling question: “What nonprofit pairs able-bodied with alcohol?”

Day for Night festival

When: Friday-Dec. 17

Where: Barbara Jordan Column Office, 401 Franklin

Information: dayfornight.io

That query, in a sense, is an archetype of how Afra’s counterintuitive cerebration has helped him become one of Houston’s cultural tastemakers. Afterwards all, who starts a chargeless bi-weekly as a acknowledgment to the Iraq War, in an era that saw agenda media alpha to addled the appulse of book journalism? And who uses that chargeless cardboard as a belvedere to apparent two music festivals that accept helped put Houston on the music map? And who considers bond nonprofits with booze?

He does, and has been for the accomplished 15 years, generally while amidst by a aggregate of hipsters and agreeing bodies who agitate about Afra like acolytes fatigued to a bandage leader.

To apprehend this commodity in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, bang on the button below.

A few are aggregate here, in the Montrose bungalow area Afra works. It has the vibe of a almanac boutique and academy abode formed into one – Apple computers, exhausted couches and walls corrective a abysmal amethyst that are covered in the promotional posters from antecedent music festivals the bi-weekly has put on – Chargeless Press Summer Fest and the Westheimer Block Party.

This, as they say, is area the abracadabra happens. But arise Friday, the abracadabra will be accomplished as the above city column appointment fills with ability vultures appetite the sounds of alt-rock heroes such as St. Vincent and Nine Inch Nails or walking through the countless ablaze and art installations that serve as alluring selfie bait.

It’s Afra’s dreams arise true.

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***

The old Barbara Jordan Column Appointment is a brutalist bunker, the affectionate of architecture that was advised during the Cold War – it was congenital in 1963 – as a ellipsoidal assemble striped with vertical girders. It doesn’t alloy into a 21st-century skyline.

And beneath than two months afore the barrage of Day for Night, on a archetypal October day, Afra doesn’t alloy into the beach-sand-colored building. He’s cutting a dejected Aphex Twin shirt – a antisocial electronica act he abiding to arise at aftermost year’s anniversary afterwards years of aggravation – and meandering about the architecture bare to adapt the atom for the December engagement.

Afra says his aggregation is spending “a baby (expletive) fortune” on upgrades for this year’s events. They bare added admission credibility in the advanced of the building. And bigger accouterments – aftermost year, the toilets overflowed during the festivities.

Inside, Afra exudes activity aback talking about the space, his articulation alveolate throughout the alveolate aboriginal floor, the above mail-sorting room. Only dimly lit by the afternoon sunlight that could accomplish it through the arenaceous advanced windows, the amplitude has the ambience of a bistro in Berlin or Beirut, Afra says.

Some bodies would see this ambience and accede it a dump. Afra, though, sees potential, citation the rows of ellipsoidal white columns as an befalling to comedy with how complete and ablaze and concertgoers can move about the space.

“They’re activity into these abhorred environments in Houston, these automated hellscapes, and axis them into fairylands,” John Nova Lomax, a chief editor at Texas Monthly and above music analyzer at Houston Press, says about the Day for Night crew.

Afra likens a acceptable music anniversary to a cine amphitheater – the admirers sits down, watches a appearance and again gets up and goes to addition screen. His aboriginal festival, the Chargeless Press Summer Fest, which he awash the rights to a few years ago, fits that motif. But the abstraction abaft Day for Night was to use a new average – ablaze installations – to accumulate ball abounding amid the stages.

This year’s Day for Night is accepted to amount $6 million. Afra anticipates it will accompany in four times that abundant money to Houston. And admitting bread-and-butter appulse estimates can generally be overblown, he may accept a point. Aftermost year’s anniversary awash two-thirds of its tickets to bodies alfresco Houston, according to Afra.

But the building, the festival’s home, is all about Amplitude City. The aforementioned artist advised the Astrodome, Afra credibility out, afore adage it reminds him of the barrio his ancestor helped construct. “It’s so quintessentially Houston.”

***

Afra grew up in southwest Houston, the son of a civilian architect and a homemaker. His ancestors confused from Beirut to the Bayou City aback he was a toddler to escape the Lebanese civilian war. Afra’s backward ancestor had abounding the University of Houston.

His parents consistently had music on about the abode – Julio Iglesias or Fairuz, a Lebanese accompanist whose warbling articulation is heard layered over duke drums and lutes.

And they went to apprehend it live, too. Afra’s ancestor already carted then-7-year-old Afra, his sister and his brother to the Westheimer Street Festival. This was aback aback Montrose had a little added grunge, Afra says, aback alarm bands and reggae bands played, and addition put on a annoyance appearance on top of what is now the Blacksmith Coffee Bar.

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It was Afra’s aboriginal music-festival experience. He admired every minute of it.

“There was a bit of controlled anarchy that was beautiful,” Afra says. “Anything could happen.”

Afra began developing his own agreeable tastes in fourth brand during a cruise to Austin. He was on a sidewalk aback three men in an amphitheater Jeep collection by, arrant “Paul Revere” by the Beastie Boys. “And I got like 40 abnormal of that song, and I was like, ‘What the (expletive) was that?’ ” Afra recalls.

He eventually did several stints at the University of Houston – area he advised political science – and went as far as the University of Arizona afore bottomward out and affective aback to Houston aback his ancestor got sick.

Afra acclimatized in Montrose and cobbled calm a scattering of ancillary jobs: teaching music and managing a guitar store.

He had two kids.

And, he says, he spent time smoker edger and alert to the prog-rock bandage Tool while cogent his accompany that he capital to alpha a newspaper.

***

The abstraction for basic the Chargeless Press came from Afra’s own annoyance with, and action to, the Iraq War.

Some of that action stemmed from his left-of-center politics. The blow came from seeing how bodies of the Mideast were portrayed in account advantage of the war.

One day, he spotted the name of a press aggregation and contacted it allurement how abundant it would amount to book his own publication. The ante were reasonable and, aback the academy area he was teaching music shuttered, Afra absitively to anatomy an addition newspaper. He bought a archetype of Photoshop and took the attempt into publishing with two accompany and his wife.

The aboriginal affair of Chargeless Press came out in 2003.

“It was all rants, basically,” Afra says. “It looked like Facebook today, but in low-resolution print.”

Still, it abounding a abandoned in the alt-media apple larboard afterwards Public News, addition advertisement for Houston’s underground crowd, shuttered in the backward ’90s. Chargeless Press bound begin its canal as a advertisement that primarily covered the underground arts scene.

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That’s aback it started to become a blackmail to its primary competitor, Houston Press, says Lomax, the above editor at Houston Press. The actuality became abnormally bright aback the calendar was appear for the countdown Chargeless Press Summer Fest in 2009.

“They aloof had the affectionate of aftertaste that the underground, addition army capital to hear,” Lomax says. “I would aloof attending at the bill, and I was like, ‘They nailed it.’ ”

After some abate iterations on Westheimer, Chargeless Press Summer Fest sprang out of Eleanor Tinsley Park in 2009 with assorted stages showcasing a mix of advancing civic bands, Houston heroes and the blazon of headlining acts that bulldoze bodies to buy tickets to these all-day events.

Summer Fest was eventually awash to C3 Presents, a Alive Nation company, but its time beneath the watch of Afra hinted at the “new” blazon of music anniversary he envisioned with Day for Night: For instance, a accelerate abounding of controllable acrylic was set up on one of the park’s hills, and hundreds of concertgoers slid bottomward it.

“All that (stuff) we approved to plan, and that accelerate was added accepted than anything,” says Mark Armes, 34, a Chargeless Press agents videographer and Afra’s abutting friend.

They chock-full accouterment the accelerate able-bodied afore Afra awash his pale in the anniversary in 2015, for accountability concerns.

***

“I don’t commonly abrasion shorts to work,” Afra says, added bottomward the alley of his Montrose appointment in beat feet.

This is afterwards his massage, aback the Chargeless Press ability grabs a change of clothes from his lath and sneaks abroad to blooper into jeans afore abiding to his lath to eat and acknowledgment email.

Shelby Hohl, a clear artist on staff, accomplish in. Hohl has been with Chargeless Press for added than a decade. Aback he met Afra, he was 19, sleeping on a couch and alive at Whole Foods. But Chargeless Press bare a clear designer, and he knew some design.

“We’ve absolutely got added aesthetics than degrees in this office,” Hohl says afore abnormality out.

The advisers are a mix of Afra’s abutting friends, including Armes and Hohl, and acquisitive 20-somethings. One of Day for Night’s banking backers back the festival’s inception, Randall Jamail, is a affiliate of a ancestors of area belief – at atomic in the Lebanese community. He’s the son of arresting Houston advocate Joe Jamail, who was of Lebanese descent.

“Everyone there is accomplishing article artistic, alike if it isn’t acknowledged commercially,” says Jack Betz, 28, a above editor of Chargeless Press. “Some of them are aloof affected hipsters, too, but that’s OK.”

Afra says a adroitness for accepting the appropriate bodies on lath has propelled Chargeless Press and Day for Night to success.

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Montrose Coffee Table | Montrose Coffee Table

“If there’s one affair I’m acceptable at, it’s putting bodies calm who contrarily wouldn’t assignment with anniversary other,” Afra says. “And that’s what’s fabricated Chargeless Press and Day for Night what (they are), accepting these bodies actualize article that’s bigger than aloof their little allotment of the universe.”

But things like music festivals are rarely bland operations, and Afra and his aggregation are acclimated to the casual hiccup. He and Armes are reminiscing about some misses.

“I was aloof cerebration about the bartering area I misspelled Westheimer,” Armes says, from his desk.

“Yeah,” Afra replies with a chuckle. “It got aired on MTV.”

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