The Austin Chronicle

Page Two

By Louis Black, January 7, 2000, Columns

The naysayers about A2K were wrong. And there were lots of naysayers (this publication included) -- those who claimed no one would show up, those who thought too many people would show up and downtown would be overwhelmed. In the end, well over 200,000 people attended, and only about 50 ran into some kind of police trouble. Most had a great time, listening to the music, hanging in the crowd, just being downtown. And what an Austin night: that many people, that much music! From what I've heard, the clubs, bars, and restaurants were crowded and happy, with everyone having a good time. Kudos to the mayor and his wife as well as the hard-working staff who actually made this happen.

Appropriately, by the time the festivities occurred, I was racked out in bed with a 102š fever, sweating through everything, wrapped up in the graceful arms of the flu. I missed dinner at Jeffrey's. I missed Lyle Lovett. I missed Antone's. Instead, I sweated through a stack of T-shirts at a phenomenal rate. I soaked the sheets, the bed, the T-shirts, and slept for 36 hours. I was stalked by fever dreams in which the layout of my blanket took on unbelievable importance. Then, of course, I was still sick but couldn't sleep. I stared at the ceiling and read a detective novel set in Bellows Falls, Vermont, where I used to live. Almost a week later, I still haven't completely shaken this bug -- my head still groggy, my body achey.

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The beginning of the millennium is a great time to talk about Smart Growth. It doesn't encourage growth, but instead of raging against it, the idea is to plan for it. Somehow, in the overwhelming face of all this change, we must work very hard to preserve the integrity, identity, and character of this great city. Many of our readers would rather shake their fist at growth, curse it, and wish it gone. Any talk of accommodation is seen as a strategy of encouragement. As an operative practice, they don't see anything wrong with howls of rage. Next time it rains, try howls of rage to stop the storm (actually, given the drought, it might be a bad idea to protest a storm). But talking about protesting a storm approximates my current condition, trying to make sense with all that laundry stuffing up my head and body. My rant is strategically planned out, but it won't make it through the mental muck this week. Maybe next.

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Over the past few years, FronteraFest has become a theatrical event of not only citywide but national importance. Now in its seventh year, this five-week fringe festival of original work, run by Frontera artistic director Vicky Boone, has matured to include more than 100 performances staged throughout the city. We are thrilled to offer a program guide as a special insert this issue. The insert was edited, masterminded, and largely written by the Chronicle's nationally respected Arts editor Robert Faires.

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The Austin Music Poll Ballot and the end-of-the-decade ballot are available in this issue. Please vote. The more readers we hear from, the more accurate the poll is, since our readers are the actual day soldiers of the Austin music scene. You buy the CDs, you go to the clubs, you support the bands -- now vote.

Also, we offer the Austin Musicians Register. If you are a performer or in a group, be sure to register. end story

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