Luv Doc Recommends: All Over the Map Hoot Night

Threadgill's World HQ -, Saturday, October 15, 2005

Here’s the key to living a full, satisfying life: Take a lot of pictures. You may not be especially photogenic. You might wear a perpetual scowl like Janet Reno or have that Robert Blake I’m-hungover-and-I-just-shot-my-wife bedhead, but by and large with photographs you’ll come out looking pretty good. Besides, most people don’t even charge you for the ugly shots … well, unless you’re trying to buy back that picture your friend took of you sprawled next to a vomit-splattered toilet with a huge penis drawn in sharpie on your forehead. Good times, eh? No, really, the thing is that with photos you can just toss the bad memories … or at least delete them. Voilà! A happy life. Video? Not so much. With video there are occasionally a few poignant scenes of drama and hilarity, but the rest is unbearable tedium. If you’re skeptical you’ve probably never been invited over to watch someone’s wedding tape. After 10 minutes of bad lighting, neck-twisting camera angles, and monotonous gray-noise hum you’ll want to put out your eyes with a rusty spoon. Treat yourself. Spend a little money on a good photographer. The truth is, life is long – and not especially well art-directed. Most of it isn’t worth watching. Fortunately for most people, memory plays like a highlight reel: your life’s greatest hits. For some people that highlight reel is better than others, but maybe they just have better photographs. Certainly that could be said of music writer Michael Corcoran, who for a good part – arguably the best part – of the Eighties was the music columnist for The Austin Chronicle. Like his successors Ken Lieck and Chris Gray, Corcoran was as much a part of the Austin music scene as he was a reporter on it. During the Eighties, his “Don’t You Start Me Talking” was the much-read centerpiece of the paper, filled with sharp-witted rants, raves, and bizarre, gonzo-esque anecdotes involving local musicians, scenesters, and his crazy ass girlfriend, Suzee. There were also plenty of photos of Corky himself hanging out with local celebs, ostensibly living a life of glamour and excitement that his readers could only dream of. Whether the glamour was real or imagined, along the way Corcoran crossed paths with some of the biggest names in Texas music: the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Sexton Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lyle Lovett – the list goes on and on. Corcoran still writes about music, he just works for the other paper in town and so, inevitably perhaps, his approach to music journalism is a bit more refined and less self-indulgent than in his earlier days. Even so, he is as sharp-witted as ever, and although he’s gone over to the dark side, he’s an admirable adversary. This Saturday at Threadgill's Corcoran celebrates the release of his new book, All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music (UT Press), a compendium of profiles of Texas musicians culled from previously written articles for The Dallas Morning News, the Austin American-Statesman, and other worthy publications. All Over the Map focuses particularly on underrated and underappreciated Texas musicians from a variety of genres including blues, gospel, country, rap, indie rock, pop, Cajun, and Conjunto, among others. An equally diverse mix of artists will be appearing at Threadgill's to pay Corcoran and his subjects homage: the Damnations, Gary Clark, Calvin Russell, Brian Keane, Shawn Sahm, Eve & the Exiles, and other surprise guests. Cover is $10, or you can get in free if you buy a copy of the book, which Corky will surely be happy to sign.

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