Chamy's Championing of Adventurous Music Will Be Missed
RECEIVED Wed., May 12, 2004
Dear Michael Chamy, I want to thank you for all that you have done for adventurous independent music in Austin. During your tenure at the Chronicle as associate music editor, you consistently championed the burgeoning musical avant-garde in Austin. Your recognition and advocacy of grassroots cultural activity is one of the main reasons for the vitality of the current scene. Thank you. Your departure comes at a bittersweet moment. Austin audiences have enjoyed some very significant adventurous music events in recent months (Brötzmann at the Parish, Marilyn Crispell and the New Music Coop's presentation of works of the New York School at Ballet Austin, and the emergence of the Church of the Friendly Ghost as the premier venue for radical and groundbreaking performance). This month also sees the closing of Thirty Three Degrees record store, one of the major institutions for the local adventurous music community. This is an amazing loss, whose effect will be felt immediately. For the last nine years Thirty Three Degrees has been a key component in the rise and good health of avant-garde music in Austin. Not only have they stocked an impressive collection of contemporary art music and independent rock, they have also served as a meeting place for the community. Epistrophy Arts has had a crucial partnership with Thirty Three Degrees since its inception. In January of 1998, they hosted the first Epistrophy Arts concert with Joe McPhee, Arthur Doyle, Susie Ibarra, and Assif Tsahar. Later that year they hosted Epistrophy Arts concerts featuring Wadada Leo Smith and in July of '98 a historic concert by Sunny Murray and Sonny Simmons. These landmark events helped to pave the way for Epistrophy Arts' current success. We will really miss them. If you've spent any time in Austin, you have certainly seen your share of closures of treasured institutions. Venues, film programs, restaurants, record stores, etc., have disappeared due to unavoidable pressures. Sometimes their demise is due to neglect. The loss of Thirty Three Degrees should serve as a reminder of the fragility of the local independent spirit. We should do everything we can to nurture this spirit by supporting local businesses and organizations that make Austin such a great place to live. We should, to quote a composition by the great Joe McPhee, "Give them their flowers while they're here."