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Our January was spent rehearsing for and performing The Bowie Project 3
at Ironwood Hall, 505 E. Seventh, directly across from the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. Leaving aside whether or not the Austin Chronicle
cover article, “It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes
,” from Feb. 3 was insensitive in its description of the homeless, or whether the homeless person’s perspective was not taken into account, the detailed description of the area around Red River and Seventh Street is accurate. If anything, the article undersells the human waste problem, possibly giving the misimpression that vomit, urine, and feces can be found only in the alleys. Discovering vomit in the gutter on Seventh Street, seeing urine flowing down the Seventh Street sidewalk, and the stench of shit wafting from the space between Ironwood and Caritas were all regular occurrences during our time across from the ARCH. And if there was enforcement of a “no sit, no lie” ordinance, we saw none of that in our three weeks at the epicenter of Austin homelessness. In fact, we had to have two people push open the main front door from the inside at the end of one afternoon rehearsal because there was a person sleeping outside against it.
Having said all that, once the show opened and we had security out front, there was zero direct impact on the performances. Ironwood Hall is a beautiful event space with amazing amenities and an incredible staff. You should definitely book an event there!
My intention is not to communicate a lack of compassion for an individual’s addiction, mental health, bad luck, life circumstances, judge any person in any way, or offer a solution. I do wish to confirm that the problem is as acute as Kevin Curtin wrote, probably worse.