It's the little things in life that make our hearts go buh-boom. A baby's first slobbery smile, a perfect harmony, the smell of a campfire. Oh, and also: Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! We don't know when it started, or whose idea it was, but the bubbles outside of Spiros - flirting with the breeze, catching the light, soaring toward freedom - make us darned giddy. Sure it's a tad silly, but we like silly. Heck, we live for it. Now fly, little soap bubble, fly far, far from here!
The names of the mighty who have passed are remembered often at Antone's – God love 'em for that – but it's Richard Luckett's memorial to the late Doug Sahm that is so striking. The large portrait on the west wall is flanked nicho-style by cowboy boots and stands eternally by the stage, the Texas Tornado's true home. It'll be a while before anyone builds a statue to him; until then our very own house of blues pays homage all night long.
Don't misunderstand us. For years, eons even, we've adored the special collage magic of her gig posters (Ed Hall, Joan Jett, her own Sincola and Lord Douglas Phillips), been in awe of her CD covers and illustrations (Handful, Sincola, The Austin, ahem, Chronicle), and in general worshipped at the altar of her various geniuses. But when Renaissance lady Terri Lord took to creating monthly calendars for Manor Road coffeehouse/community center/girl bar Gaby & Mo's a while back, it was an aesthetic alignment of the planets: a confluence of artistic brilliance, identity politics, and pop cultural master's thesis. As a bent cosmos of voodoo princesses and cowgirls, poodles and junior high cheerleaders, Campfire Girls, a mixmaster Buddha ("Two Turntables and Yoga Pose"), and Blair and Jo from Facts of Life in love ("Hope") slowly revealed itself, technical and aesthetic mastery added to the dead-on subject matter: With the devotion of Saint Therese and the eye of John Waters, Lord creates masterworks of gorgeously saturated color and perverse juxtaposition, realized in careful, subtle detail. Early this year she downshifted to focusing her zeitgeist-capturing powers on special event fliers for the club - lilting and hilarious odes to Monica Lewinsky, the Teletubbies, and genderfuck. See them soon, hopefully always, at a coffeehouse/community center/girl bar near you.
No wheels? No problem. You can still slurp your sorrows away in style – and safety (no drawing straws for designated driver, either). Back in our foot-bound college days, we liked to start the drinking day midafternoon at the Crown & Anchor for a pitcher on their patio. Just a short walk down Dean Keeton will get you to the Showdown, where you can wash down a couple of pints with a game of pool or darts. Then stroll, er, stumble your way down the street to the Hole in the Wall, where you can grab a greasy bite to eat and catch a band. And drink some more beer. Did we mention beer? Mmm, college.
Stella resembles Edith from All in the Family, but she rocks like nobody's grandma. She's not afraid to wear miniskirts, flapper duds, glittery hair bows, and a garter around her sixty-something-year-old gam. It's always fun just to watch Stella do her Stella stuff. She'll take your money at the door, and even if the band ain't so hot, she'll take a spin on the dance floor when she can. She doesn't need a partner; Stella grooves all on her own, even if she's the only one out there. Stella knows how to party. But when it's time to go, it's time to go. She'll turn on those lights, start putting chairs on the tables, and let you know Stella's ready to go home. After all, she's got to rest up for the next night.
The moment you walk into Grapevine Market, you'll know why we love it so much. Open, inviting and stocked to the gills with adult beverages of every possible variety. Start with the primo selection of 500 beers. Can't find what you want? Then check the 5,000 different liquors or 5,000 sundry wines. Then how about a nice selection of cheeses and deli items. Does this sound like too much selection? Don't worry. You can be confident that owners Greg Steiner and Chuck Huffaker will steer you in the right direction.
"Johnny Thunders? Patti Smith? Richard Hell? Mick Jagger? Who the hell is that?" The Parlor – a loud, dark beer joint on North Loop, populated with tattooed, pierced beefcakes of all ages and genders – has the city's most kickass jukebox, scorching live blues on Monday nights, a pool table that is often open and ready for lousy pool players to practice the craft, and some enormous, really confusing rock-star portraits painted on the walls. Music trivia buffs, musicians, and rock critics alike can entertain themselves for hours, slamming extremely affordable beers between examining the mysterious murals and going over their inner catalog of junkie images from the punk rock era, which is exactly what a night out in this cozy, darkened den of pleasures is all about.
Celebrating Texas' inalienable braggin' rights of Valor, Vision, Pride, Perseverance, Swagger, and Showmanship, this amazing exhibition contains such sacred Texana as the bullet-pierced Bible that saved Sam Houston's life and Lance Armstrong's first Tour de France jersey. Featuring the Ezekial Airship that predates the Wright Bros., as well as a spectacular rhinestone-covered Cadillac emblazoned with bluebonnets, oil wells and longhorns, the display is personified by Evan Voyles' fabulous 16-foot neon cowboy.
While bars featuring more spaghetti-strapped babes than you can shake your marinara at have their place, those of us who would rather enjoy a brew in the company of a few close pals are wise to steer clear of the Sixth Street meat market and head over to the homey little bar nestled next to the old defunct power plant. This tiny hole in the wall (that is harder to find than the definition of "molecular biology" in a frat bar) is perfect for kicking back and not worrying about whether your shoes match your belt. We like to sit outside and check out the surreal power-plant motif while sipping our longnecks.
Thursday evenings are an easy rambling scene on South Congress, and something special happens under the stars in the parking lot behind Jo's, where a band plays their music and then their favorite movie to a lawn-chair crowd. From the Casey Sisters flashing High School Confidential, to Roy Heinrich hosting The Big Lebowski, to Jon Dee Graham gaping at Son of Godzilla, it's in inimitable South Austin style, eclectic and free. Music starts at 7:30pm, the movie at dusk. And don't forget First Thursdays, when most everything on SoCo is open till 10pm, street vendors and artists set up shop, and it's a full-swing bohemian's rhapsody.
As video gives way to DV and becomes an art form, we identify with the shock on our grandparents' faces when the same thing happened as Super-8 gave way to Beta and VHS. The co-op is an invaluable resource for filmmakers wanting the physicality and quality of projecting real film (either Super-8 or 16mm). Even without a camera or a projector of one's own, aspiring filmmakers can rent from Cinemaker to shoot that three-minute epic. Processing labs, rental equipment, and even a venue to screen films are also available. Cinemaker offers quarterly contests with challenging themes like "Make a Film in 24 hours" or more recently "Make an Erotic Film," where the best of Austin's best shine in local, lo-fi stardom.
It's time to practice Madonna as you writhe around in your boudoir, or hone your Bob Seger skills in your underwear ... You know what we're talking about: Every other Tuesday night at Club DeVille, between May and October, patrons can take to the outdoor stage and attempt to impress the crowd of tipsy twentysomethings sprawled across the comfortable, weathered lawn furniture. Effervescent hostess Emily Fawcett commands the proceedings and eggs participants into putting on a show. So pick a song, find a mirror and hairbrush, and bone up on those licks, baby. Your 15 minutes await.
Short film usually receives recognition only in music videos, but has found a new place of appreciation within the Cinematexas Short Film + Video Festival. Every year, Cinematexas draws new short filmmakers into Austin. While those who are just starting out make up most of the year's program, a showcase of better-known artists is also included to shock and delight. Some programs that come to mind: last year's presentation of Kirostami shorts and this year's gothic Svankmajer shorts. Extending their ken beyond film, Cinematexas also showcases unique performances, such as Miranda July and Michael Snow. In this town of year-round film festivals, Cinematexas is the only one specifically dedicated to short film, and we are glad it's here.
Poodie's has ice-cold beer, good burgers, and some great music. But the real draw here is the vibe. When you turn your radio dial to 95.5, do you think KOKE-FM? Do you think of the Saxon Pub as being on I-35? Ray Hubbard without the "Wylie" and as a member of Three Faces West? If so, you are going to feel right at home at Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill. Back in the old days, hippies and rednecks commingled, all dressed Western, drank beer, and listened to the latest cowboy music (cosmic or otherwise). Want to know what it was like? Walk through Poodie's doors, and you are back there again.
They all laughed when you said you were going to make a three-minute Super-8 film in a weekend, but not when you invited them to the public screening. The Cinemaker Co-op, that wonderful enabler of all things movie-making, sponsors this terrific once-a-year Make a Film in a Weekend. Once you've shot your 180-second opus and put your film and soundtrack together, you and the viewing public can watch it for the first time on the big screen.
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