The Katy House B&B has a new website!

On Thursday this week we’re launching our new Katy House website. Most likely if you’re reading this post, you’ve already found us at www.katyhouse.com.

We bought the Katy House four years ago but never updated our website to reflect the many updates we’ve done to the Katy House these past four years. Some highlights of these updates:

  • The day we closed on the Katy House, five new beds were delivered. We also had guests that night. Lori and Joe were our first guests. We still have our first dollar bill they gave us. It’s on display in the kitchen.
  • All the rooms have been painted and re-decorated in a French country style.
  • A new room, “The Thomas” was created as an adjoining room to the Texas special. The Thomas was previously used as a storage room. It contains two twin beds and can be used an add-on to the Texas Special.
  • Later in 2015 through early 2016, the wooden surfaces of the outside of the house were repaired and painted.
  • In 2016 the garage under the Conductor’s Quarters was converted into a new room, The Garden Room, complete with a full kitchen, bathroom and modern heating/air conditioning system. This room also boasts our best TV – a 50-inch flat screen. It’s perfect for families as it has a queen bed and two twin beds.
  • In 2016 we also completed some landscaping in the back.
  • Also in 2016, the main house and the Conductor’s Quarters were re-roofed.
  • In 2017 the bathroom in the Katy Limited was completely remodeled.
  • In 2017 through early 2018 we completed a kitchen remodel.
  • This year we’ve updated the Katy Tower with a new bed and modern heating/air conditioning system.

However, until this week, we neglected our website. We are thrilled to now have updated information and photos. I especially  thank the great people at InsideOut Solutions for their great work.  They designed our site as well as the original website for the Katy House and provide excellent hosting and creative services.

Our photos were done by Lori Gola Photography.  As you can see from the photos on our site, she does amazing work.  We thank her for a job well done!

One obvious thing I realized in completing the website is: Smithville has grown a great deal since we took over the B&B! Just look how many Area Attractions are offered on our site. There are many, many more than when we first moved here.

I hope you like our new website. Please send me feedback at innkeeper@katyhouse.com.  Hopefully this will be the first of many blog posts from Linda and me.

Out in Smithville,
Stu

Smithville Tx is a Busy Place!

Smithville, TX is a busy place!

Playhouse Smithville has one more week featuring Arsenic and Old Lace.  It is a great show and one not to be missed.  The Formula One Race takes place this coming weekend and being only 34 miles away, race goers will be staying in and around town.

November 8th, Saturday, is the “Airing of the Quilts” and the Smithville Garden Club “Tour of Homes.”  Quilts line the Main Street and are displayed outside many of the historic homes.  Five homes and one church will be open for the “Tour of Homes.”

The first Saturday in December, the 6th, is the annual “Festival of Lights.”  Fun activities all day, and ending with a lighted parade that night. Playhouse Smithville will have a special performance of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” right after the parade.  For more information visit the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce or Playhouse Smithville.

Linda and Stu Leibowitz have purchased our Katy House Bed and Breakfast! They are keeping the tradition of hospitality and are maintaining the Katy House in name and in fact. They’ll be joined by Charlotte Beadles who has a great gift of talent and taste and serves a wonderful breakfast as well. They’re moving from Austin and have a wonderful feel for Central Texas heritage. We will be living only ten blocks away and plan to make the transition seamless and certainly fun.

We’ve put more than twenty years in making the Katy House not only a distinctive piece of architecture, but a place of warmth and personality. There have been many great stories and friendships made at our table told by some of the best guests to Central Texas. It has been our pleasure to be a part of that experience and the greatest compliment we could be given is when someone says “this feels like Grandma’s house.”

Keep up the good stories and great times at the Katy House and our sincere thanks to all that you’ve been to us.  Linda and Charlotte will have our new emails and look forward to hearing from you!

Make on-line reservations at http://www.katyhouse.com or call 512 237-4262
Check out Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce at http://www.smithvilletx.org
or  http://explorebastropcounty.com/bastrop-county

Bruce and Sallie Blalock

Please keep in touch
Our current email addresses are: (subject to change)
Bruce at texspl@austin.rr.com
Sallie at bblalock@austin.rr.com

October 27, 2014

Smithville, Texas’ own Playhouse

Three Penny Opera, A Musical, Book by Bertolt Brecht/Music by Kurt Weill – Join the Playhouse cast for this classic musical.  This is a world in which capitalism fosters greed, love doesn’t last, and double dealing is the golden rule while celebrating sinners for their inextinguishable life-force and the pure energy that radiates from their misconduct.  They are bad-bad-bad and they make the best of it.  A romantic comedy that is fun like none other with music like none other directed by john  daniels, jr. (sic) like none other. All this and Mac the Knife too… “Oh, the shark bites with its tooth dear and he keeps them pearly white…”  Opens Friday, May 24, 7:30pm.  Show runs May 24, 25, 30, 31, June 1, 7, 8 (7:30pm).  Tickets are $15.00 at www.playhousesmithville.com or call 512-360-7397 for reservations.
Playhouse Smithville 110 Main Street Smithville, TX 78957 512-360-7397 www.playhousesmithville.com
For more information on Smithville, visit the Chamber page at www.smithvilletx.org
For Lodging visit the Katy House Bed and Breakfast web site at www.katyhouse.com or call 512 237 4262
Sallie Blalock

Texas Bed and Breakfast Board meeting

It was a great meeting.  We met at Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn,  in San Antonio, Texas.  Our main topic was our upcoming convention, September 8 through September 10, 2013 in New Braunfels at  T Bar M Resort.  There will be a Pre-convention Workshop for those that are interested in starting a Bed and Breakfast,  called “Innkeeping: The Basics.”

For more information call the TBBA Administration Office – 800-428-0368 or email info@tbba.org

The schedule of workshops will be on the Texas Bed and Breakfast Website soon!

I am now back in Smithville and at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast. Sallie Blalock, 512-237-4262

www.Katyhouse.com

Plan to attend this informative and fun convention.

 

 

Playhouse Smithville presents “The Imaginary Invalid”

With your permission and for your pleasure Playhouse Smithville presents Moliere’s comic satire and farce The Imaginary Invalid. Artistic Director john daniels, jr. (sic) adapts, directs and stars as Argan, the theatre’s most famous hypochondriac. Live music, dance, gypsies, and the Playhouse treatment of a classic comedy, drives this steampunk, grunge rock indictment of the heeling/ healing arts. Come take your medicine!  Plays April 13-28, 7:30pm at Playhouse Smithville, 110 Main Street, Smithville, TX 78957.  Tickets are $10.00 at www.playhousesmithville.com or call (512) 360-7397.
 
P.S. the Playhouse is just a block from our B&B, the Katy House Bed and Breakfast.  It is great fun to have live theater here in Smithville, Texas.  Come check out our great small town. For info on Smithville go to the Chamber of Commerce web site.   www.smithvilletx.org
 

Review of Malick’s Tree of Life, filmed in Smithville

Back Stage

SASA MAJUMA

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?
The Tree of Life (2011) is one of the best films from last year. It is being shown at the Gaborone Film Society tonight at 7 pm atMaru-a-PulaSchool in the A/V Centre. It is by the great director Terrence Malick who only makes about one film every decade.

He is famous for Badlands(1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005). With The Tree of Life his approach has changed: he currently has four new films in production.
 
At the 64th Cannes International Film Festival The Tree of Life swept the Palme D’Or (but not without boos, jeers and great applause from a divided public). The line that divides reactions to this film is strong for it begins with the cosmos, the Supreme Being, the meaning of life, birth and death, and how life may be lived.

The catcalls come from viewers who want modern entertainment, not Great Issues. Nick Pinkerton writing in The Village Voice says of Malick that, He’s one of the few American filmmakers operating on the multiplex scale who makes movies feel like undiscovered country.

In Genesis, 3:22-24 in the Garden of Eden the tree of life has fruits that give eternal life. In science the image is used to represent the evolutionary divergence of all living creatures.

In Kabalism the spheres of life or the 10 attributes of the infinite belong to the tree of life. This film spends considerable time probing images of the past. From the Hubble telescope, the birth of the universe is observed. At one point the earth belonged to the dinosaurs (an injured plesiosaur contemplates his wounding), then they were extinct.

“I made him feel shame …how did I lose you?  Mother was I false to you? …. Where were you? Who are we to you? 
  From the Red Centre, to the nebulae of outer space, from eruptions, to the feeding frenzy of circling hammerheads and Saturn’s rings, We cry to you, my soul, my son”. 

Light of my life I search for you. At the start and in conclusion the audience can see only a flickering flame Ð is this the beginning and end of our universe?

The creation leads us to a family inWaco,Texas, in the 1950s Ð yes, the same town of the famous massacre, but there is no link established between it and this movie. It was actually filmed in Smithville, nearAustin,Texas.

A gentle, warm, loving Mother O’Brien (acted by Jessica Chastain, inGaboronepreviously in The Help in Texas Killing Fields, The Debt and Wilde Salome) is the lodestone for her three sons. Her path is the opposite of her husband’s. “Love everyone. Love every leaf, every ray of light,” she tells her sons.

The demanding, harsh and judgemental father O’Brien (played by Brad Pitt) imparts survival lessons that are intended to promote individualism, competition, and Looking Out For No. 1. Pass the butter please, Sir.  

O’Brien disciplines his sons like the family was an ancient military camp and the offspring the uncouth foot soldiers. 

They must learn how to avoid being bullied, to fight back, and to master the art of self-defence, to face DDT spray without flinching. Do you love your father? Yes, Sir. His message to his sons is one of loyalty and obedience coloured by cunning. The world lives by trickery … if you want to succeed, you can’t be too good.

As they grow a little older, Number One, Jack (played by Hunter McCracken) becomes a bully with his two younger brothers R L and Steve (Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan). He also articulates his rebellion and his hostility against his father’s repressive regime.

“You can hit me if you want.” O’Brien tells Jack, I want you to grow up strong, be your own boss. Jack becomes the axis of the film. He even tries to talk to God. Can we hear the answers?

O’Brien has 25 patents, a thankless job, that comes to an end, loves classical music, but is a failed musician. His sense of failure permeates the film. He wants more for his sons. To accompany its unfamiliar images The Tree of Life is filled by some of the best In music by Bach, Couperin, Mozart, Mahler, Smetana, Gorecki, Respighi, Holst and others.

To find the young actors, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan and Hunter McCracken, who play the three preadolescent brothers, months were spent searching and 10,000c non-professional applicants interviewed. The results are a credit to this prolonged search.

Sean Penn gives a taut portrayal of the troubled first son, Jack, now an adult, who struggles to find the best in his harsh, disciplinarian father. As an actor he somehow expected more. He is quoted as saying: I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read.

A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.

The adult Jack keeps looking back on his past. One of his younger brothers has died. He is working as an architect in a glass skyscraper in downtownHouston,Texas(little is really explained about who he has become, as it is his remembered past that occupies the screen).

Still, this is a film about mysteries, well worth watching and debating.  It is a poetic movie, but you don’t have to be a poet or a true believer to watch it.

Thus may be The Tree of Life, but in this resurrection it is the American suburb of half a century ago with its green lawns, cars to wash, and sibling rivalry to be transcended. It is a coming-of-age story with a difference. 

The Tree of Life is two hours and 13 minutes long. It is rated 12+. The director is Terrence Malick who also wrote the script. The cinematographer is Emmanuel Lubezk. The editor is Mark Yosikawa. The music is both by and arranged by Alexandre Desplat. 
sasa_majuma@yahoo.co.uk

(our bed and breakfast, the Katy House is 10 blocks from the home used in Tree of Life. Sallie Blalock)

 

Smithville TX’s Playhouse presents “Chrome Cruisin ’50’s

DINNER THEATER AT PLAYHOUSE SMITHVILLE

 

Playhouse Smithville brings you this years dinner theatre with a strut:  Chrome Cruisin’ ‘50’s, a time when everything had fenders, fins, and skirts… the cars, the girls, the guys, the TV’s, the Drive-Ins, the politics, the poetry, and the music. A live memorabilia tour, cabaret and dinner theatre by Playhouse Artistic Director playwright,john daniels, jr. (sic).

The Playhouse “gives you a rockin’ good time” with the band Vintage 259.  Matt Torrez, Michael McGary, and Joel Daniels return to drive the sound.  Vintage 259 provided the music for The Playhouses’ first show Little Shop of Horrors. Over thirty songs from the Decade of “I Like Ike!” to spark your memories, and make you want to dance.

Comedy rules in Chrome Cruisin’ ‘50’s as The Playhouse Company revives the humor of early television and comedy teams like Nichols and May.  It’s not all laughs, though.  Just like in ‘50’s, television live drama makes an appearance.  Chrome Cruisin’ remembers the Beat Poets and salutes Sci-Fi film too. 

In the Ed Wood tradition Playhouse Smithville gives you a new 1950’s Sci-Fi classic, “Christmas Time On Mars” written byjohn daniels, jr. and directed by Jon-Michael Williford.  “Well, it is an independent film,” says the Playhouse Artistic Director.

Rock-N-Roll, comedy, drama, poetry, a movie, and a gourmet hot dog provided by Smithville’s own Frankendog (with lots of groovy toppings),  yummy sides and delicious desserts makes the date. 

 

Sam Blasco, Shelby Brown, and Tom and Jo Watts, all of Smithville, join the Playhouse for the first time.  The cast of twenty includes Pam Latham, Lia Nelson, Jim Woodruff, Jim Sanders, A.J. Fuex, Lisa Picciandra, Lisa Holcomb, Geoffrey Goerlitz, Brad Wilbourn, Sydney Hight, Bonnie Watts, and Brandon Flippo.

Brandonon loan from the Blinn College Theatre Department is the technical director and designer for the show.

Playhouse Executive Director, April Daniels will have you waltzing in the aisles and Kayla Jo Williams appears in her twelfth Playhouse production.  (yes, that is every show!)
“So, agitate the gravel, Clyde and cast an eyeball, Daddy-O… its boss at the Playhouse (in Smithville-the word from the bird.)  You can dress the part dig, if you’re hip.”  Limited seating.  Tickets at www.playhousesmithville.com or call 512-360-7397.  Shows Feb. 3-14, dinner at 6:30, show at 7:30.

The Katy House Bed and Breakfast is one block away. If we can help you plan your trip to Smithville give us a call or visit our web site at http://www.katyhouse.com    (512) 237-4262

 

“Tree of Life” wins at Cannes Film Festival

Breaking news: Here is a blog about “Tree of Life”.  Part of the movie was filmed here in Smithville, Texas, about 10 blocks from our Bed and Breakfast.  Most of Smithville will be in Austin to see the movie the first week it is out.  Read below about “Tree of Life” at the Cannes Film Festival.  I wish I had been there!  For more information on the Katy House Bed and Breakfast visit http://www.katyhouse.com/ or call (512) 237-4262.

Austin360 blogs

Director Malick wins Palme d’Or at Cannes for ‘Tree of Life’

By Charles Ealy | Sunday, May 22, 2011, 01:09 PM

CANNES, France — Austin director Terrence Malick  became the first Texan ever to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, for his ambitious, cosmic “The Tree of Life.”

The movie centers on a family in 1950s Waco, includes about a 20-minute segment that focuses on the birth of the universe and has been called a Texan “2001,” a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Malick, who does not make public appearances, did not show up at the Palais to accept the award, but two of his producers did. “He remains notoriously, infamously shy but quite humble,” said producer Bill Pohlad.

When the movie premiered Monday, it received a mixed reaction from the press, but support for the film, which was made in Smithville and Austin, has been growing in recent days. It stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn.

Movie Review on “Doonby”, filmed in Smithville

Here is a movie review about Doonby, filmed here in Smithville, last spring. And will be released in September 2011.  The crew and actors were a great group.  It was fun having them film in our little town. Some of them stayed at our Bed and Breakfast.

Movie Review: Doonby

by Bill Sardi

Directed By: Peter Mackenzie

Produced By: Mike Mackenzie, Peter Mackenzie, Mark Joseph, Tommy G. Warren,
Dawn Krantz, Antonio Quintos

Starring: John Schneider, Jenn Gotzon, Robert Davi, Jennifer O’Neill, Joe Estevez,
Will Wallace and Ernie Hudson

Most of us look forward to a night at the movies to enjoy a comedy, a thriller, or even an on-screen romance. But would we be enticed to go to a movie that had a serious meaning to it?

The tag line to the movie I’m talking about is: “Every story’s worth telling. Every life’s worth living.”

Hmm, sounds a little heavy for a night at the movies. But the meaning of the movie is held right up until its tearful end. So its meaning doesn’t get in the way of an action movie that will grip your insides. It jumps from one action scene to another as movie goers are left to ask just what the connection is between each spine-tingling scene. As much as you want to figure out the meaning of this movie, it won’t let you discover it till its emotional end.

 

There’s a shoot ’em up robbery at a bar, and a just-in-the-moment of time plucking of a baby from the path of an oncoming truck, and a rescue of a damsel in distress from a knife-wielding stalker, thrown in with a doctor who is falsely accused of rape. And then there is a budding but immature romance that is woven from beginning to end.

Well then, you ask, is it a guy flick or a gal flick? Not telling.

To understand the movie, entitled Doonby, you have to understand its lead character,

Sam Doonby, played by John Schneider of Dukes of Hazard fame.

You will join the entire cast of the movie in trying to figure out just who Sam Doonby is.

They all want to know too. “Where’d you come from Doonby?” asks the town’s sheriff. He says a small town in Louisiana, where his girlfriend and her mother travel to find out what they can about this mystery man named Sam.

You get to see flashbacks in his life, which gives you a growing hint at his roots, his true identity. Yet every tidbit of information is never enough to let you know what you need to know about Sam.

This guy Doonby turns a sleepy Texas town into a whirlwind of events which somehow throw him into the center of each one.

And as the movie unfolds you are going to ask yourself, why is this saintly guy Doonby falling in love with the town’s floozy? But then again, why is angelic Sam working as a bar tender in Smithville, Texas?

And why doesn’t Sam Doonby become, just for a moment, a little bit human and succumb to the seductions of his lusty drink-mixing bar maid whom Sam discovers naked in his bed?

Sam Doonby has this mysterious diary which we never get a peek at, and with every event in the movie, he jots down another chapter. Laura, his spoiled girlfriend, played by Jenn Gotzon, whom he says he fell in love with the moment he spied her from a bus driving down the highway in her convertible sports car, is dying to get a look at that diary. At the movie’s very end, she finally snatches Sam’s diary. You’ll want to be there when Laura opens its cover and examines its pages.

May 14, 2011

For more information on Smithville, visit the Chamber web page.  www.smithvilletx.org

For more information on our Katy House Bed and Breakfast visit the web site. www.Katyhouse.com