Dancing About Architecture

SXSW-Mas Is Coming

It's that time of year again. There's a chill in the air, pretty lights are being strung on trees and houses, and the street urchins are asking for a little extra spare change. The end of the year is fast approaching, and the number of days left to apply for a SXSW showcase is rapidly shrinking. This year, the usual last day get-together at Ruby's BBQ will be the Monday after next, November 18. Dave Thomson asserts that day as "the absolute last day we can take anything," as the final postmark date for mailed-in entries will have passed on Nov. 15. You'll need an application, which you'll find in this very issue of the Chronicle, your tape, CD, or record (no DATs or videos), and $20, payable via check, cash, or money order.

En-Trance-es and Exits

Starfish will be a somewhat different band the next time you see them, thanks to the departure of drummer Scott Marcus, which Trance Syndicate's Craig Stewart postulates comes out of "the usual personal differences stuff, I guess." Zooming down to take the stool and sticks at the band's November 16 show at Emo's will be former Sixteen Deluxe drummer Bryan Bowden, who's been spending his time in New York, playing until recently with Crown Heights. Stewart says this appearance is a one-time deal, but that Bowden says if the band wants him to stay on, he's ready to move back to Texas. (That sound you hear in the background would be bar owners and taxi drivers rejoicing.). Starfish just recorded a final track for their next CD, due March 11, using a drum machine.

Pork may be the band who actually knows how to turn down (they turned down an Elektra deal, anyway), but guitarist Mary Hattman didn't get a chance to turn down an offer from L7. The band called her a few weeks ago to see if she was interested in joining up with them following the flight of Jennifer Finch, but Hatten says that the band never called back to try and set anything up. "It was just a little tease," she shrugs. Pork will be going on tour this week, staying on the road 'til the end of the month.

The Toadies may not be a Trance band, but they're good buddies with Trance owner King Coffey, so I should mention that they are minus a member these days as well. Since second guitarist Daryl Herbert's departure, the band has been taking a couple weeks off to find a replacement. Manager Tom Bunch says that "I don't know if you'd call it `auditioning,'" but the band is currently checking out the talents of three or four select candidates for the job.

Rabbits & Rivets

Well, it's official: The White Rabbit is off the chopping block. Sold! -- to one of Jordan Silber's UT cronies, Rob Powell, who takes over the Sixth Street sometime late November/early December or whenever the liquor license is approved. Owner Silber says the sale came about mostly because "Sixth Street has taken a dive in terms of live music," and because the rigors of running both a club in Austin and San Antonio became too much. Don't think that means things are all rosy in S.A., however. "It breaks my heart because the live music scene in San Antonio sucks," says Silber. "If I could backtrack and just do the White Rabbit in Austin, I would in a second. Here, the mentality is they walk in and are glad to see metal chairs because they're good to hit people with." According to Silber, the Austin White Rabbit will most likely continue on its current musical direction, sans the name and metal chairs.

Iron In the Fire?

Remember the kid who fell off the Iron Cactus and onto his head about six weeks ago? Well, word on the street a few weeks back was that he'd died. Not true. "We interviewed his roommate, who told us he had increased his mobility -- was walking around," says Lt. David Ferrero of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Apparently, investigation into the matter is still ongoing, with the TABC offices looking at other Sixth Street clubs that might have served the 19-year-old accident victim, though they've already filed "an administrative violation" against the Iron Cactus for having served a minor (he had a fake ID). Because the club's doormen had been to "seller training school," Ferrero doesn't anticipate any sanctions against the club. He adds, however, that this Friday and Saturday is when the TABC's sting operation winds down. Out of 54 targets, 14 have been stung (no live music clubs), with 11 remaining -- some of which Ferrero says are Sixth Street music venues. Clubowners, remember: The "You must be this tall to get on the ride" signs are not considered adequate precaution.

The French Left Bankrupt

Concert promoter and Old Pecan Street Festival maven French Smith has filed under Chapter 13, but that still spells "bankrupt." Ironically, considering that Smith has been accused by club owners and other festival organizers of purposely scheduling his events to conflict with and draw crowds away from others, his downfall apparently stems from losses incurred at his most recent Pecan Street Festival, which ran concurrently with the Austin Aqua Festival. On another interesting note, Smith was spotted backstage at the 101X Fest talking with his former nemesis Tim O'Connor. Could this mean that the two might be getting together? I mean, just because I caught Debbie Rombach and Jay Hughey smooching in the office at the Hole In the Wall, it doesn't mean that venue is joining forces with the Electric Lounge. After all, would you go to a club called the Flaming Hole?

Halloween II

Say what you will about the Voodoo Lounge, but one thing's for sure -- they're not squeamish! Maybe it's leftover trick or treat spirit, but in the space of a week, they've booked three of the most notoriously troublemaking bands in the known universe. The Impotent Sea Snakes, fresh from getting banned from Washington DC, appearing on HBO's Sex Bytes, and having a row with the Hell's Angels over a burning flag in Providence, RI, will play there on Saturday with Psychotica (see "Recommended"), while the Genitorturers, a similarly depraved bunch, are there next Friday, November 15. Finally, there's the current lineup of the Stranglers, who aren't confirmed as of yet, but may play there Nov. 14 between beating up any pesky reporters, which they were known to do in their younger years.

The Screenplay's the Thing

Tornado Jam is not a new film featuring "Magic" Johnson and the Tasmanian Devil, it's a screenplay by Jo Carol Pierce and Sharon Ely, and it has been picked up by 20th Century Fox to go into production next spring under director Lynda Obst. The subject matter is currently under wraps, but it will be a musical to some extent. And I may have hinted at this before, but DGC Records has now announced that Sonic Youth has indeed been recording music for the soundtrack of Rick Linklater's upcoming flick, Suburbia (not to be confused with Penelope Spheeris' wretched mid-Eighties punk trash epic of the same name). Beck, Girls Against Boys, Flaming Lips, Boss Hog, Thurston Moore, Superchunk, and the Eels will also have tracks on the soundtrack album, along with a duet by Elastica's Justine Frischmann and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus of the Frank 'n' Nancy Sinatra hit "Something Stupid." That album is due out January 4. Meanwhile, Lucifa, a new play Kirk Smith that opens tonight (Thursday) at the Planet Theatre, features a recorded soundtrack utilizing several well-known locals. Dah-Veed and Juliana Sheffield have recorded parts, and other familiars are expected to join them.

Mixed Notes

The Bill T. Jones dance company, which features a segment accompanied by Daniel Johnston songs, will be appearing at UT next spring, and word is they're hoping the composer will be able to attend. Meanwhile, Johnston's former manager Jeff Tartakov reports that he's just passed a very strange piece of fan mail along to Daniel. It seems a young fan in Oklahoma has sent Johnston an engagement ring... MCA Records has announced the date for the re-release of Walter Hyatt's CD King Tears. The album, which was co-produced by Lyle Lovett and originally appeared in 1990, will return to store shelves on November 19... Shawn Colvin's been seen and heard down at the Hit Shack, where she's been recording a Van Morrison song for an upcoming tribute album... "Willie [Nelson]'s really into it," says Bill Oliver of the big Camp Chautauqua benefit concert on November 10 at the Resort Ranch. Nelson has apparently changed his mind about keeping his set simple and acoustic, and will be bringing his whole band along. Also new on the bill: The Ian Moore Band has joined the show... Ed Hamell has hooked up with hotshot producers the Butcher Brothers (known for their work with the Fugees and the Rolling Stones) to produce his next Mercury album. Look for that in March, and look for Hamell himself in town at the beginning of December... A couple of newer live music havens to check out: Hyde Park Unplugged at Joel T's, hosted by Glen Alyn and Steve Brooks, is an oddball collection of acoustic acts, poets and writers every Thursday from 7-9pm, and the Victory Grill is now hosting DiverseArts East Side Circuit series, with acts ranging from Coreo Arreo to the Catfish Poets to Toni Price. Check our music listings for further info... Cattleguard play an in-store for their new 7-song CD Long Pathetic Story today (Thursday), 5:30pm, at Sound Exchange, and Breedlove have an acoustic in-store for their new Reach Out CD this Friday at Waterloo Records at 5pm... Teisco Del Rey has placed a song from his Music For Lovers CD on the soundtrack to the new Bill Murray film Larger Than Life. Right now, though, Del Rey is still buzzing from his wedding day, which began with a congratulatory call from Duane Eddy and ended with a jam featuring the LeRoi Brothers, Ronnie Dawson, Doyle Bramhall (Sr.), C.C. Adcock, David Grissom, and the groom... The good news: Johnny Cash is returning to the Erwin Center on December 4. The bad news: he's bringin' June along again...

-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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