Dancing About Architecture

by Ken Lieck

With all the club closings last weekend, you'd hardly think it was possible that another well-respected longtime Austin music venue would be closing its doors soon, now did you? Well, singer-songwriter haven Chicago House will be doing just that in about a month. Owner Peg Miller cites the regular closing of Sixth Street (courtesy of French Smith's various recent events) and the frequent barricading of Trinity as major elements in the lack of attendance at the club, along with the building's current state of disrepair, which prohibits more than 49 people being Upstage. Because of these factors, Miller says she saw the "writing on the wall" about eventually closing, or worse yet, bankruptcy, but it was still a surprise when the property owner's lawyer called to say she had three days to vacate the property. That time has been extended somewhat, but the Chicago House's days are most definitely numbered.

Heart Like a Pole

Y'know, Austin's music community truly is a close-knit group. A number of you are aware that a certain young lady recently used a facade of "honesty" to manage to smash what was left of my boozy little heart, and many of you have expressed condolences and concern and tried to do what you can to make the world seem a bit less ugly for me. Well, I'm sorry to say it, but as much as I appreciate your efforts, it's the City of Austin who have really done the most to make the world around me a more cheerful and sparkling place. They're working a massive campaign to rid the city of the hideous sheets of art and creativity known as band flyers, and reveal in all their glory the beautiful gray metal electrical boxes and aged wooden posts that were placed there for our aesthetic enjoyment so long ago and have nearly been completely forgotten due to the fact that they have been hidden away behind the work of the likes of Lindsey Kuhn, Jason Austin, and, worse yet, scads of total unknowns who had the nerve to want to foist their artistic side on the rest of us. Does the beauty of the pole in the photo at left make you feel as warm and runny as it makes me? I thought it would.

Of course, there's even more beauty in the way the current anti-postering law works. In case you haven't heard about this piece of logic, the Flamingo Cantina and Emo's have received citations (the fine is $500!) for flyers that were posted announcing bands' performances at the respective clubs even though the postering was likely done by the bands themselves. I mean, what clubowner would be caught dead putting up a band's flyers for them? One positive aspect of the current situation has been suggested by writer Steve McGuire, who advocates taking advantage of the situation by plastering the drag with posters on "behalf" of people you don't like, i.e. "The Bradley Boys! Live tonight at Club Circle C!" or "The Motards - Friday night at (insert address of evil, heartless wretch here)." Go for it, I say! But be careful - the "beauty patrol" has made it clear that they're gonna be out in full force for a long time....

Another Fine Mess!

Don't get the crazy idea that the postering "laws" are the only way you can get yourself into trouble in this town. Among the other offenses that can get you fined $500 these days are sleeping in a public place and panhandling (ironically, I got this information from a flyer made by the city that was posted on the drag). Um, I just have one question, dude. Can I pay in quarters?

Strange Zonefellows

I'm not trying to put too much emphasis on these goings-on, but seeing as I started off this column with a close-knit scene theme, it seems like this rates a mention: It seems that Tanya Fain of Roadstar Productions will be the official booker for the newly re-opened (third time 'round!) La Zona Rosa. But Roadstar is French Smith's company - that's French Smith, formerly partners with Tim O'Connor, who presently oversees LZR's neighbor, the Austin Music Hall. Although AMH can put in almost twice as many people as LZR, it wouldn't surprise me to see some very competitive shows happening down there in the District.

Dallas? Put a Cork in It!

Hell, the music and arts community in Austin is so tight that even direct competitors like myself and Austin American-Statesman pop music czar Michael Corcoran can hang out together. Well, actually, we just both claim that we were at the same gigs we really didn't show up at, and that's close enough. But alas, The Artist Formerly Known As "Corky" has decided, as rumors over the last month or so have indicated, to move back up to Dallas to be better able to take care of his kid. The tricky part, though, is that he will be continuing to work for the Statesman and maintaining his radio show on 101X. How, you ask? Corcoran says he'll be coming down and spending his Sundays here in Austin. Makes perfect sense to me - after all, is there really anything important happening musically here that you can't keep up with by attending the Sunday Night Free for All at the Hole in the Wall?

Widespread (Gals) Panic

Astro-ska artists Gals Panic can apparently do no wrong in the eyes of Hilly Crystal, owner of New York's legendary club CBGB. The Panic gang say that when they played there on the 14th, he referred to them as the "best band I've seen in this club in years" and invited them back to play three nights of industry showcases at the club. So those of you disappointed by the postponement of their Liberty Lunch show can at least rest assured that the band had good reason in canceling. Another good excuse for canceling a show comes from Agony Column regarding their recent no-show at the back room. The reason: their singer was arrested two days before the show. I'm afraid that at this time I don't know what he was charged with - hell, I can hardly manage to remember those guys' weird names (is it "Crow's Foot?").

Buttholes on Parade

Well, now, how long can I really be expected to go without some Butthole Surfers news? If you've heard the new Red Hot Chili Peppers' album, you've probably noticed that the song "Deep Kick" contains a lengthy (and properly acknowledged) reference to the Butties' opening dialogue from "Sweat Loaf." And guitarist Paul Leary's production work with the Meat Puppets has led to him making a guest appearance with them on the Conan O'Brien Show, the only late-night talk show with any particularly good taste in musical guests. Look for the Pups on Friday night's show. And though I wouldn't have pictured the Surfers as the recycling type (aside from some of Paul's riffs), I'm told that since King Coffey's Jeep got crushed by a tree during that hellish recent storm, mister Gibby Haynes has had most of the wrecked parts chopped off it and has been driving it. I'll also assume that the phone message I got from Daniel Johnston the other day saying he was holding Gibby hostage in the Houston area falls under the "unreliable sources" category, but I can assure you that the delay in the release of Gibby and Johnny Depp's album as P, which features a cover of one of Johnston's songs, is not because the album isn't finished. We've had an advance cassette of the thing sitting around here for months....

Mixed Notes

Hot news! Storyville have signed a big - what's that? Oh, that was just a rumor going around that the band had inked a stupendous major label deal? Oh, well, manager Marc Proct says not to fret over that. Apparently, interest is continuing to build in the band, they're doing some demo recording, and Proct says he wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some real positive news to report about the Storyville characters soon enough... Joe Ely will be performing a number on an upcoming Buddy Holly album, but then why should I even mention that? Can you imagine someone putting together a tribute to the Lubbock legend and not asking Joe to be on it?... There will be a concert on Oct. 11 at the White Rabbit, to benefit Dana Davis of Velvet Hammer, whose home was destroyed by fire Thursday, Sept 14. This was a devastating loss for Dana, as not much was covered by insurance. Also, while at the show, feel free to discuss any interest you have in donating larger items like furniture... If you don't like Junior Brown, don't turn on the Country Music Channel. Last I heard, his "Highway Patrol" video, which had been doing the old "bubbling under" routine for a good long time, was up to the number eight position on their playlist... Sick Little Monkey have their 7-inch of "Swill" b/w "Dopester" out, but I haven't gotten to listen to it yet (have to play the new Jesus Christ Superfly about another dozen times before I can even think about putting anything else in the deck). I would suggest you buy Apathy Drugs and Driving and read their review of the Monkey single, but now I'm pissed at them for beating me to making a Jon Blondell joke... The ravenous Individuals fans who've been bugging me for an update (and you know who you are!) will be thrilled to know that India Taylor of that band returns to performing tonight (Thursday) at the Saxon Pub, 8:30pm... Wayne Hancock's in-store is this Friday at Waterloo Records... This Sunday sees a humongous MS benefit that's spread across no less than 10 clubs. Check the listings pages for more info on who's playing where and go help a good cause... Carl Normal has indeed moved to San Antonio to care for his ailing mum, but for now at least, Stretford will continue as an active band. In fact, since they've recently been concentrating on out-of-town gigs, you'll probably start seeing more of them than before... This just in: In a surprise reversal of the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder case, the Hertz Rent-A-Car-turned-Ford Bronco pitchman has been found guilty and sentenced to a $500 fine and 100 hours of community service scraping flyers off utility poles on the drag....

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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