Friday morning, 10:03am the bell rings at the middle school where I teach drama. Unlike the unfortunate souls who still have 8+ years of school left, I’m done for the day and am off to co-work at Rec Room.
I come through the double doors and am greeted by Mike Wachs, husband of co-owner Stephanie Wittels Wachs. He offers me 19-layer dip leftover from filming the Rec Room Super Bowl Commercial (come hang with us, we’ve got good beer, good wine, and a giant screen to watch burly guys barrel into each other for hours on end.)
After brewing a big pot of ridiculously good cinnamon coffee from La Guadalupana (leave it to the Wittels Wachs's to find the best coffee in town), my ten pounds of stuff and I settle in for some good old-fashioned, co-working.
People come in and out all day, paying $10 for unlimited coffee, Wi-Fi, and ten free pages of black and white printing. The coffee impresses everyone. Most people have declined the offer of beer or wine that is also available at 10am, but one day maybe one of these days we'll get some early drinkers.
While the record player blasts David Bowie's Hunky Dory, morning fades to afternoon and the two Gregs (Greg Cote and Greg Starbird) and co-owner Matt Hune come in and work in the space, rec-novating (a term I coined when we did our big theater renovation a couple months ago). Both Gregs are fantastic people. Cote’s good for a back massage and Starbird is good for knowing how the heck to turn on a microphone! Matt is good for a dad joke or an inspirational quote.
Early afternoon, Rec Room resident Laura Gutierrez comes out of the back room looking radiant as always. She’s been rehearsing with Houston Ballet's Chun Wai Chan on an original, site-specific interactive dance piece which will premier on February 16th and 17th. Tickets here! Like most people at Rec Room, she seems pretty stoked to be there.
As 5:00pm creeps up, Tasha Gorel in all of her glory swings open the double glass doors. Tasha, hair in a gravity defying up do, is Rec Room’s house manager. She's the one who greets you from behind the box office counter whenever you come to see a show. Her lipstick game is stronger than Kylie Jenner’s. For now, she’s headed behind the bar to open up for Happy Hour. Our bar opens at 5pm every day and stays open until midnight. People come in and out and partake in whatever live event is going on in the theater. Sometimes it’s a play, sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s standup comedy. There are no limits here!
My favorite show is Hump Night, a live dating show where we pull people from the audience to set up on a date with a pre-determined human who sits behind a screen on stage. Hilarious stuff.
At the end of the night Rec Room is quiet. Downtown Houston is dark and pretty. I make sure all the counters are wiped down, the floor swept, the trash emptied. The last thing I see before I lock up is our ghost-light. Lit a week ago in the name of keeping our space a safe and inviting one.
Written by Grace Rosenwinkel Cunyus, Production and Literary Fellow