Originally started as a whimsically named coffee house/café where poetry was read over coffee and wine, "AFair", as it is fondly called by the regulars, became a local icon of the counterculture during the late sixties and early seventies, replete with tie-dyed couture, block party concerts, and liberal hits of whatever "turned you on" at the time….and what turned on many folks of that era was music.
Original music to be precise. An evening of songs likely never before heard, performed by the individual responsible for their nativity for a discerning and attentive audience. To a large extent, the crucible of what was to become known and popularized in the 1980s as the "Texas singer/songwriter" is right there on the AFair stage, a mere fourteen inches above the famous red brick floor.
Anderson Fair sits at the confluence of Grant Street, West Drew, and Welch in the historic Montrose area of Houston, just a short half block east of Montrose Boulevard. The building, a still evolving manifestation of varying degrees of carpentry skill by patrons and benefactors through the years, structurally reflects the cultural and artistic diversity of Houston since the turn of the 20th century. Many of its timbers, doors, frames, window glass, and fixtures came from a mid-19th century structure in downtown Houston, and the aptly named "music room", floored with the red brick of song fame, was once a courtyard between the three story structure on the north side of the property and a single story building on the south that dates back to the 1890s. Legend has it that this southernmost structure was once the law and real estate office of a brother of one of Texas’ governors and that it stood at the "end of the line" for the Grant Street streetcars. That part of the building has since housed such diverse enterprises as a grocery, a washateria, a head shop, a photography studio, and a recording studio.
In this age of music synthesized to a bland sameness, the tradition of the troubadour and his modern incarnation, the singer/songwriter, is safely harbored within the walls of Anderson Fair. This sense of tradition may well be one of the reasons many a seasoned musician who has played larger stages and in front of stadium-sized audiences will freely admit to a unique case of nerves just prior to taking the stage at AFair.
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