The Austin Chronicle


Dao Strom and Elvia Padilla-Medal, frontwomen for All Night Lincoln

By Kate Cantrill, September 12, 2003, Books

Books brought friends and bandmates Dao and Elvia together. They are both creative young mothers, and since their first encounter at the Children's Museum a few years ago, they have shared books by such authors as Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, and Virginia Woolf -- authors who tend to share their concerns "about woman things," Elvia says.

As they stack some of their favorite books on an amp in Dao's home, they explain how meeting another young mother -- another young mother whose journey into motherhood was not one completely planned for -- made it easier for each of them to remember they are artists, too. "I like to see women who have kids and can still be creative," Dao says.

Sharing work like Gallant's The Pegnitz Junction and Munro's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage strengthened their bond. "Mavis is wise and funny in a subtle way," Dao says. "Munro makes the mundane life interesting and mysterious." Munro's titles dominate the stack; Dao notices this and adds, "She's emotionally satisfying. She ties together disparate things, similar to life." She laughs and flips the heels of her pink, platform flip-flops. "I guess I like one thing, and I like it a lot."

Dao is the author of Grass Roof, Tin Roof, recently published by Mariner Books. Elvia is a poet who is beginning to concentrate more fully on writing fiction. She places a reference book, Creating Fiction, edited by Julie Checkoway, on the stack. Besides reading work that she loves, "I'm reading some things to find out how I don't want to write, too."

"We share the same passions," Elvia says. "Music, kids, writing, and reading." Their band, All Night Lincoln, is named for Dao's son, Lincoln. Elvia is just about due to have her second baby. Like motherhood the first time, she didn't exactly plan to become a bass player in a band. Was she just naturally musically inclined?

"I dance well," she says.

"She has good rhythm," Dao adds, as she nudges her friend.

They have a good presence, too. Sitting among the books that helped to form their friendship, they look as though they've stumbled upon something pretty good.

"Ourshelves" is interested in interesting Austinites' interesting bookshelves. Please e-mail if you can pique that interest.

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.