Good News, Bad News
Congratulations on the fantastic downtown section this past issue - wonderful layouts, maps, and commentaries.
Please allow me to point out one mistake and one omission. Waterloo Records has won the Austin Readers Poll for "Best Record Store" for all of the 15 years your magazine has had that category, not 14 years as you printed. Next, we were omited as a ticket outlet which is understandable. However, as we have been the "exclusive" Liberty Lunch advance ticket outlet for over a decade now and the leading Star Tickets outlet since their inception, I thought it was worth noting.
John T. Kunz
A Whole New Angle
As the owners of the Austin Angler we were disappointed by the way we were characterized in your downtown guide.
We are a flyfishing specialty shop and in our small sport we are respected and recognized worldwide. Everyone working here prides themselves on providing a friendly and comfortable environment in which anyone who chooses to take the time can learn the sport of flyfishing.
Our store has been on Congress Avenue for 18 years now. The only retail shops that have been on this street longer are Joe Koen & Son and Joseph's Men's Shop. Ask them - the last couple of decades have not been the best for downtown retail. Things are looking up and that is a good thing.
We would like to encourage you to take the time to visit us again. It doesn't seem you got what we are really about the first time.
A Kind Of Hush...
I wanted to clarify a report about Triangle Park that appeared in "Naked City" a few weeks ago [Vol.17, No.19] that neighborhood folks are in "hush-hush" meetings with the developer.
Many people in the neighborhood read your report and took it to mean that Neighbors of Triangle Park or the neighborhood associations involved were working on a compromise with Cencor Realty without the consent of the neighborhoods. They thought that their representatives, either NTP or the NAs had changed our position from "No Strip Mall" without their consent.
Let me make one point absolutely clear. Through the thousands of yard signs, through neighborhood polls which show over 90% of the community opposed to Cencor's plan, through the charette where the community drew up an alternative plan - through it all the community has spoken: The community will never accept a conventional retail strip mall. If the developer tries to build one, we will fight them all the way.
What we are trying to do right now is to show the developer how to build something that is not a conventional retail strip mall. Using the community plan produced by the charrette as a guide, we are asking the developer to build something that looks like our neighborhoods - a vibrant community with a street grid, housing, a lot of greenspace, mixed-use buildings with small businesses on the street, and a regional transportation plan to mitigate the impact of tens of thousands more cars per day on our streets.
During this process, all parties agreed that it would be counterproductive to attack each other in the press. Hence, your report of the meetings being "hush-hush." But the meetings themselves are not secretive and any plan worked out with the developer would have to be approved by the neighborhoods.
Still "No Strip Mall,"
Neighbors of Triangle Park
Give the Drummer Some
Dear Mr. Editor:
The recently published article contemplating the future of Liberty Lunch ["Prime Time Irony," Vol.17, No.21] was an informed overview of a complicated clash of visions concerning the evolution of Austin's urban core. All sides agree that the nature of our downtown should be both a physical and a spiritual symbol of the unique character of our community and a reflection of our citizenry's collective personality. A city as lively and diverse as Austin is best served by a lively and diverse central hub.
The city of Austin has established a long record of offering financial support to bolster nonpolluting industries such as computer manufacturing, filmmaking, and tourism. It seems only logical that our locally grown music industry should earn equal respect in "The Live Music Capital of the World," to quote Mayor Kirk Watson in The New York Times.
U.S. census numbers tell us that, before the end of 1998, Austin's population will have passed Boston and Washington, D.C. in size to make us the 20th largest of all American metropolises.
I believe Austin should recognize that we are in the process of becoming a great and noteworthy town. Supporting a fragile network of music venues is, culturally, the smartest economic development that the city of Austin can now invest in.
I Brake for Sodomites
Thanks for the article on the homosexual bar scene in Austin ["Village People," Vol.17, No.21].
It's clear now who the real homophobes are (homophobe being the fear of man, or people in general, and not the fear of homosexuals, per se). "Homo" is not a prefix meaning homosexual (learn English, Einstein).
But I digress... If modern day Sodomites didn't wear their sexuality on their sleeve (or bumper) and weren't paranoid separatists, they wouldn't have to cower in segregated dens of iniquity, crying in their beer for political correctness.
Forgive me, but sympathies run shallow for those who chose to sequester themselves from mainstream norms, then cry foul at those who do not patronize their sexually oriented social agenda.
The article showcased a problematic lifestyle by noting that lesbians and homosexuals don't mix well in a bar or nightclub atmosphere. What, are they a bunch of sexual bigots?! I, for one, have been around too long to be suckered by low talent rookies and blatant McCarthyism. Obviously a perverted "sexual orientation" is just a small part of a much deeper psychosomatic disorder.
P.S. Who needs The Texas Triangle when Austin has the Chronicle?
According to film reviewer Russell Smith, Charles Dickens is boring, but Sick: the Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist is "courageous, defiantly candid."
I don't call myself an intellectual, but I'm pretty sure that Flanagan is not going to have the same longevity as Dickens.
Does Smith use any criteria whatsoever for judging art? Here's mine: A work of art is a product of creative imagination that attempts to reflect or investigate the physical or ideational world surrounding the artist. By this definition, Dickens was an artist, and Flanagan was, well, a masochist. (A four star masochist, I guess.) The line between art and crap is not as thin as people like Smith would have us believe.
Get better soon,
Auto Be Clarified
I picked up my Chronicle today and came across the latest of Ms. Babich's musings in the "Postmarks" section. I was so moved and inspired as to finally pen a response to her current, and prior, letters. While I applaud Ms. Babich's continuous attempts to encourage the masses to relinquish their automobiles as the primary form of transportation, I cannot help but think that she is misguided and perhaps a little naïve. Let's look at a few facts.
First, the "pedestrian underpass" mentioned in her letter is not being built to enable people to safely cross 15th street; rather, it will be used to link the state office building under construction at 15th & Brazos with the underground Capital Complex via a tunnel. There are several state offices in that area that are linked in this fashion.
Second, most, if not all, overpasses in the city have sidewalks and "Don't Walk/Walk" lights at either end. Besides, attempting to run across I-35 or 183 is foolish. Anyone with any sense will use an overpass to cross these highways.
Finally, cars are a part of life. They have been an integral part of our society since their invention 100 years ago. I will readily agree that walking and bicycling are the most environmentally friendly means of transportation. However, they aren't the most practical. Cars are not some sort of sinister evil that must be purged from civilization. They are the most convenient way of getting from place to place. Even if a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine is found, single occupant vehicles will still exist. It is time for Ms. Babich to accept reality, not her ideological quest for vehicular utopia.
Mozart's First Paradox in E
Kudos to the Chronicle and Elise Guillot for her review of the Fourth Annual Mozart Birthday Celebration in the January 30th Chronicle. She points out a paradox that most of us "classical" musicians face - is it music, or is it "art"? I'm glad she considers it "music" and hope that we will see more reviews of this type in issues to come.
President, Austin Symphonic Band
P.S. ...which begs the question, is a concert band "classical"?
Dead Letter Office
Before you toss that next arm full of catalogues in the post office trash, read up... I asked recently if our post office recycled the tons of paper it disposes of every day. I assumed the answer of course would be "yes." Was I ever wrong. Not only did my local office say "no, they don't recycle" but I took the time to call the main office of the Austin Post Office and after asking the front desk people, they referred me to maintenance, when I spoke to the maintenance department I learned that they do not recycle. They thought they should but haven't recycled anything for well over a year. Yes, I'm writing my Postmaster General at 8225 Cross Park Rd. Austin, TX 78710-9998 and hope Chronicle readers will too. By the way, I asked for an e-mail address so I wouldn't have to send them more paper that I now know will end up in plastic bags in the landfill, but they didn't have one to give out. This really sets up a nice example for us consumers.
Like a Metaphor
The moral decay of America grows like an old tooth in a Drag Worm. President Clinton leads the pack of evil, liberal, sex fiends whose only goal is to destroy this great country. How I long for the great Republican leaders of the past such as Ronald Reagan. This proud, strong, divorcee lead the nation to greatness as he and his corporate comrades showed the true Christian spirit of America by filling their coffers tenfold on the back of the radical, commie workers. A true patriot who traded arms to free our hostages, who gave arms to the peace-loving capitalists of Central America. Who with his morally sound, astrology-addicted wife lead the nation to ever higher moral ground by smashing the liberal ecologists and their polluting trees.
Let us also not forget our other great moral Republican leader, George Bush. A man, who, even though impeded by a lack of knowledge of the English language, propelled the U.S. to preeminence by invading the liberal, morally bankrupt, sovereign nation of Panama. This proud warrior gallantly commanded the nation's armed forces who killed thousands of those godless Panamanians who refused to follow in the light. Ah, to once more have a strong leader who can kill hundreds of thousands of malnourished, ill-equipped Iraqi pagans who had viciously invaded the freedom-loving country of Kuwait. A strong, yet compassionate leader who, for the glory of the U.S., left our former ally Hussein in power.
Yes, we need to get rid of this sex fiend who inhabits our White House now and install a true leader who doesn't mind spilling a little blood in the name of the Lord. Amen.