The city of Austin claims to support live music and film, but its actions speak louder than its slogans.Chronicle AISD Endorsements, 2002Endorsements in Austin Community College Board Election. The Chronicle Endorsements for the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District
Austin calls itself "The Live Music Capital of the World," or some such nonsense. I've always thought this was a name better earned than claimed. Yet, though it brags on it, the city does precious little to facilitate live music. Ask any club owner or any band member who has been ticketed while unloading equipment. Now we have a new effort aimed at ending outdoor concerts as we know them. Given the already low decibel levels allowed, it is hard enough to hear at many outdoor shows. How this is bothering neighbors 20 blocks away has to be one of the mysteries of our time. If I see one more interview on TV where someone says, "Of course I love the music scene, but since it's bothering me a little we better cripple it," I'll start yelling. Music is art; it isn't suppose to be easy or packageable or necessarily friendly. This outdoor noise ordinance is lunacy. It will kill or at least cripple outdoor shows. The time to put it to rest is now.
Second: Cinemaker Co-op is one of the too-often-unsung heroes of the Austin film scene. Currently, film is something else that politicians and city leaders are ranting at great length about. CC is not just for the next generation of filmmakers and the one after that; it is for people who make films from love rather than seeking a career. It has nurtured not only filmmakers but many fascinating projects, as well as a love of film in general. Most of their funding comes from the city. This is an extraordinary group with an amazingly far-reaching impact. This year their application for funding was turned down by the Austin Arts Commission because of a technical error. When there is more time and space, I'll go into all the problems with arts funding in Austin (though the commissioners themselves are mostly noble folks doing thankless work). Here and now, I state that this is unacceptable. To talk about Austin as a film center, while not funding one of the organizations that most crucially adds fuel to that fire, is just plain wrong. Austin offers a unique film environment. It is not Hollywood. Cinemaker Co-op is one of the reasons for this. My wife has used their facilities, and my son has twice participated in their Make a Film in a Weekend projects. If that's a conflict of interest, then so be it. This is a noble, vital organization that deserves city funding.
Instead of the "Live Music Capital of the World," we should rename Austin the "Lip Service Capital of the Country." Here talking the talk has nothing to do with walking the walk. Which is a shame.
The Austin Fair Elections Act sucks, in case I didn't make that clear last week. If your idea of fun is to watch just how abusive so-called "reform" legislation can be, vote for this disaster-in-waiting.
Hell, lots and lots of letters. I'm shutting up.