Dancing About Architecture

Flamingo Road

It's been a messy couple of weeks at the Blue Flamingo, as owner Laura Moses battles business partners, the health department, and the TABC. Moses says that partner Ron Blackett, who was scheduled to purchase the Flamingo Friday, May 9, failed to appear with the money and has since seized the club's PA system; it's been replaced by a rental, but bands currently are required to provide their own microphones. For his part, Blackett says the chaos is an unfortunate result of his finding that the lender who was providing the money to pay Moses made what Blackett calls "mistakes." He further says that he made sure bands were able to find a replacement before removing the PA -- which he says he paid for -- so he could use it to cover some of the debt incurred by the above events. The Flamingo was closed for a couple of days after a health department appearance, but is now up to code; however, a week-long closure for an unrelated TABC violation may be coming up soon. Other than that, says Flamingo employee Dwayne Barnes, "We're open and as far as I know we're going to stay open." Eventually, though, the club will have to stay open without Moses, who is in poor health and trying to find a replacement to take over the club for six months. She admits that finding someone who appreciates the Flamingo's mix of gays and punk rockers is "a little hard to ask," but adds that "the bands have been really supportive, and I don't want to leave them without a place." Blackett says that Moses "was understandably upset," as he himself was, over the fouled payment, but he will continue his efforts to purchase the club. "I want to give people what they've been saying they want," he says: new bathrooms, electrical work, and a new PA. "And I want to have a good relationship with Laura."

Going, Going, Gone

Jubal Clark passed away last Friday following a long battle with prostate cancer. The craggy singer-songwriter never quite reached the heights of his cosmic cowboy-era peers B.W. Stevenson and Rusty Wier, but he was a longtime favorite at clubs like the original Split Rail. Several release parties are set for Gypsy Cowboy, the album he had been in the process of releasing when he died. The first is at the Hilltop Bar and Grill on Highway 71 near Briarcliff on June 1 at 6pm, with others to follow June 8 at the Roadhouse, June 19 at Artz Rib House, and June 29 at the Saxon Pub.

Meanwhile, Sean "Cheezy" Powell managed to die and come back recently, proving that we'll never be able to get rid of the Fuckemos. He was undergoing back surgery, when, midway through, he went into cardiac arrest, sending the surgeons into a frenzy of sewing so they could flip him over and get to his heart. Bandmate Russell Porter says three or four attempts were made to revive Powell before they were successful, though he ended up with some ribs broken in the process, and was released from the hospital last Friday. Porter sums up the incident: "He got to be on drugs for free for awhile." The Fuckemos had been waiting 'til after Powell's back surgery (which was never completed) before recording a new 10-inch for Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label; now they plan to work on it as soon as Powell recuperates and are hoping for a September release. Prior to that, you can see the band at a benefit for Powell this Sunday at the newly opened Atomic Cafe.

Tampa Tantrum

Senator John Grant of Florida (the state that made Boiled Angel's Mike Diana famous) has a problem. He has a problem with Tampa public radio station WMNF, because it is one of two such stations in the city, and he believes one is enough. And he has a problem with
Robert Earl Keen. Enough so that when WMNF played Keen's song "Undone," including the lyrics "Broke down trucks, welfare checks/Child support and back-seat sex...

The sonovabitch, the dirty little whore/The butcher, the baker, the grocery store," Grant arranged to divert state funding from the station to the University of South Florida Business School. As a result of the loss (a total of $103,825), the station ran an emergency pledge drive and immediately raised more than $122,000. For his part, Keen donated $500 when he heard about the debacle and will be making an in-store appearance at a Borders Books in Tampa where he will raffle off one of his guitars to further aid the station. Not a bad haul so far for little WMNF. Now if they play the Fuckemos, maybe they can crack a million.

Two For the Road

If you're gonna pack yourself into a van with someone, it better be someone you like. That seems to be the theme behind husband-and- wife team Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison's upcoming "real small, scaled-down kind of tour" as Willis describes it. The two, accompanied by Brian Walsh and Amy Tiven, will head off during June to swap songs and share the stage for a series of 10 dates on the east coast. Along the way, both will be selling their current recordings, which are pretty much unavailable up that way. As far as where Willis is headed with her next album, she says that, "There's still one label I'm talking to, but if that doesn't work out, I'm just gonna put it out myself."

Koo Koo For Kerrville

Yet another music festival? Yep, it's the old dependable Kerrville Folk Festival starting up right at the very moment you're reading this and going on through June 8. Among the acts this year you'll find Peter Yarrow, Katy Moffatt, Darden Smith, Trout Fishing In America, Shake Russell & Dana Cooper, and even a band from Taos, New Mexico called South By Southwest. For tickets call 800/435-8429; for information call 210/257-3600.

Schwarzenegger Sings!

Hollywood's been swarming all over Austin lately, hasn't it? You can't swing a dead possum without hitting two or three a' them dad-burn mo-om pitcher stars. And worse, they're all getting into the music biz! Maybe Sandra Bullock has been satisfied to stay in front of the stage, but in the last few of years we've seen (and heard) Bruce Willis at Antone's, Woody Harrelson at Aquafest, Randy Quaid at Riverfest, Johnny Depp at the Austin Music Awards, and just the other day Goldie Hawn was in town recording a version of "A Hard Day's Night" with Sir George Martin! I shit you not, my friends! And now, early reports are coming in about Mary Stuart Masterson's upcoming film to be shot here, including tales that she's looking for a band with a famous person in it (a la Depp's
P or Dogstar featuring Keanu Reeves) to appear in the film. Hey, Mary, any of the guys I mentioned above should be glad to do it. Meanwhile, Hollywood better start quaking in its boots as the backlash hits. You know what I mean -- musicians taking actors' jobs. Let The Newton Boys, featuring the thespian talents of Dwight Yoakam, be your final warning.

A Foot of Drainage

Damn! I forgot about Drain's recent live show, and I was so curious about how King Coffey was gonna do Offspeed and In There live. Oh, well. This week, the first of Trance Syndicate's series of 12-inch remix singles makes its debut, featuring Drain on one side and Windsor for the Derby on the other. There's also an American Analog Set 7-inch coming out at the same time (see "7 & 7 Is"). Trance's Craig Stewart says the remix discs are scheduled to appear at a rate of one per month. Next up is a split with the Electric Company and Furry Things, and others may follow after the original four. Previously discussed plans to collect the singles as a compilation CD now only rate a "maybe" from Stewart, and he says that if there is a CD, it will be significantly different from the individual singles.

Mixed Notes

The Fabulous Thunderbirds have a new song, "Too Much Of Everything," on the soundtrack to Trial and Error, a new film featuring Seinfeld's Michael Richards. The song will also appear on the T-Birds next High Street album, due in July...

The Damnations are happy with their recent Live Set performance at KUT -- so happy that they're looking into putting it out on CD themselves. One problem may rear its head, though: The best-sounding song from the set, according to drummer Keith Langford, is a cover of Lucinda Williams' "Happy Woman Blues," a song that is currently in the throes of a copyright dispute...

Patty David will be recording a live album at La Zona Rosa this Wednesday, May 28. The show will also be videotaped...

Sunshine report that they're getting good label response to their cut on the Free For All album. They've also decided, to avoid confusion with Sunflower, to shorten their name to simply Shine...

Joan Baez has cut Betty Elders's "Crack In the Mirror" for her new CD, due for release in July. Elders will be playing with Baez at the Newport Folk Festival in August, and possibly some additional dates with her after that. Without Baez, you can find her this Saturday at the Waterloo Ice House on Sixth...

Rebecca Cannon looks to be in the lead as far as which former Sincola member can get a band together first, but don't assume that means she'll be the first one onstage. She's still looking for a cellist for her new act Scarlett (not to be confused with Hush Scarlett or Frankly, Scarlett), but even if she finds one tomorrow, she's going to follow Carl Normal's advice and not put the band on display until it's polished and ready -- like some time this fall...

The Phantom Creeps are no more, as their bassist has opted to return to Virginia. Of course, you can always pick up their recent Rebel Without a Prize album or check out their track on the Music of Texas compilation...

Correction: Last week's column accidentally made reference to the Antone's celebration next month being their anniversary. Of course, it's the Grand Opening of the new club, which takes place June 18-21 with Jimmie Vaughan & the Tilt-A-Whirl Band among others...

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Christopher Gray, 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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So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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