Dancing About Architecture

Sixth Street Scuffle

After a long, arduous process, the Austin city council will soon get a chance to vote on issues regarding street closures in our downtown Entertainment District. A street closure task force, assembled in February 1996 and including members tied to every aspect of Sixth Street business, completed an overview of problems and solutions regarding the matter earlier this year, and that overview, along with a related study by the Public Works Council, is expected to go up before the council in a matter of weeks.

"We've had some very volatile meetings, needless to say," offers Esther's Follies' Shannon Sedwick, chair of the committee and member of a number of downtown organizations including ESSCA and the Austin Downtown Alliance. Due to the presence on the committee of so many different agendas, including those of Sixth Street resident Emma Lou Linn and Mando Hernandez of French Smith's Roadstar Productions, "We had to compromise a bit," says Sedwick. The grievances involved in the matter of Sixth Street closures are well documented and have included furor of local businesses who lose money during festivals, as well as disbelief over the cost of "renting" the popular area for a weekend. (Until recently, the fee was $50 per day for the entire street; Sedwick says the current rate is $100 per block, per day.) The committee also seeks to raise the number of signatures needed from block residents and businesses in order to approve a closure. "Eighty percent is now officially in force" for events with no admission charge, says Sedwick, and for a closure involving a cover, the committee seeks a 90% approval. Total approval had been suggested, but it was feared that would encourage inequitable pay-offs to certain businesses by promoters.

The task force further seeks to establish enforceable sound amplification limits, using as a model the Austin Parks and Recreation Department's enforcement at Auditorium Shores, as well as addressing issues of security and promoter responsibility. While nobody seems completely satisfied with the final document, most seem to accept the compromises. "I think some of the changes may have gone a little bit overboard," says Roadstar's Hernandez, who worries that the new rules may make things difficult for promoters, especially new ones. Still, after all the endless, rigorous debate, he admits, "I'm just glad it's sort of coming to an end."

The Scaggs' the Limits (or is that Skaggs?)

Austin City Limits seems to be one of the few organizations that can manage to combine the phrases "live music" and "in the black." With two corporate sponsors (Ford Trucks and Anheuser-Busch) already supporting the popular public television show, a deal with the Texas Department of Commerce Tourism Division is set to be signed by the time you read this. And that means quality shows -- and bigger names.

A last-minute confirmation from Boz Scaggs finds the man behind "Lido Shuffle" set for an appearance on the Austin City Limits stage next week. In what must be a publicist/proofreader's nightmare, Ricky Skaggs is also one of those who are likely to tape a segment on ACL, but no, the two won't be performing on the same show. Skaggs with a "k" is set for an October show with the Manhattan Transfer and Asleep at the Wheel. In between, you're likely to find Robbie Fulkes, Junior Brown, Hal Ketchum, Kim Richey, Patty Loveless, Marcia Ball, Colin Ray, and Trace Adkins. In addition to the above, which are fairly solid but still subject to change, ACL's Laura Bond alludes to a "big secret name" that they're working on for later in the year. The only clue she'll give me to this phenomenon is "TIME magazine covers." Hmmm. I didn't even know O.J. Simpson could sing.

Same Time Next Year

Dah-veed Garza notes that "I am in limbo, which is good in some ways." Atlantic has delayed the release of his new album until next January, but he says that's no skin off his nose -- he'll just take the extra time to go to Europe, do a short residency in California or New York, and then get on to the business of touring in December. Garza says the album's delay is due to "millions of little things" including scheduling problems, and after discussions with the label as to whether it's more of a "fall record" or "winter record," the result is, "I think they think of it as more of a `next year' sort of record." Meanwhile, the Ugly Americans are also looking at January 1998 as a good time to release their next album for Capricorn. Bruce Hughes says they're currently putting finishing touches on the album, which is being produced by T-Ray, known for his work with Cypress Hill and Helmet. Hearing Garza's explanation for the release date on his album, Hughes jokes, "This feels like a summer record, but I don't want it to come out next summer!"

Raise Your Fests and Yell

The Flaxfield Unheard Music Festival in Lytton Springs is this Saturday, with ...And They Shall Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Sisterunaked, Knife in the Water, Hamicks, Zulu as Kono, Tertium Quids, ST-37, Stretford, Rhudabega, Yellow Fledgeling, Peglegasus, Subsilents, Gomez, Cordial, Abrasion Ensemble, and the Wannabes all on the bill. As I promised last week, here's some clues for those of you who can't afford Phish tickets (see "Recommended") as to how to find your way out there: Take 183 South past Bergstrom about 20 miles, exit on 21 East, take your first right on 1854, and follow the signs through Lytton Springs.

Hopefully I don't need to give you directions to Auditorium Shores (and while we're on the subject, kudos to John T. Davis for his recent piece on whiny neighborhoods in the Statesman. That article should be delivered right to the doorsteps of those grumps -- oh, I guess it was). Anyway, the Shores will bring more Jah to ya this Sunday with the "Reggae Haze," which is sort of part of Aqua Fest and sort of an independent production, but we don't really need to get into the details of that here. Buffalo Soldier, One Destiny, Urban Roots, Wazobia, Zion, Ras Iginga, and Tribal Nation are all scheduled to play, and the event benefits the Austin Humane Society. As for the rest of Aqua Fest, see p.43 for a schedule and more information -- including the scoop on Doodle Bug the Clown.

Mixed Notes

One of the tracks John Croslin produced for Guided by Voices has turned up as the B-side of their "Bulldog Skin" single. "The Singing Razorblade" is the name of the cut (no pun intended) and it shares the B-side with another non-LP track, the electric version of "Now To War"... Look for a flood of traffic heading south on I-35 on September 6. That's when Rage Against the Machine, Wu-Tang Clan, and Atari Teenage Riot are set to play Southpark Meadows. Oh, yeah, tickets go on sale Friday at noon at Star Tickets outlets... Gosh! When's the last time we talked about Delbert McClinton in these pages? Must've been when he covered the Beatles' "Come Together" for the country compilation of the same name. (It's okay, Delbert, we forgive you.) McClinton has a new album coming out on October 7 on Rising Tide Records (you'll remember that's the label Jack Ingram is signed to). In support of One of the Fortunate Few, his first album in four years (featuring guest appearances from Lyle Lovett, Pam Tillis, B.B. King, Vince Gill, Mavis Staples, Lee Roy Parnell, John Prine, and Patty Loveless!), McClinton will be touring extensively though December... Here's a couple of in-stores: Former Austinite Dan Israel returns with his new band the Cultivators for a Saturday gig at the Hole in the Wall and an appearance at ABCD's on Sunday at 3pm. At exactly the same time, the Backsliders will play an in-store set at Waterloo Records. As a side note, the Backsliders' label, Mammoth Records, has reportedly been bought by the mammoth Disney Corporation. The tale going around is that Disney purchased the whole label just to get (as one Chron staffer puts it), "The poor man's Asylum Street Spankers -- the Squirrel Nut Zippers." If that's the truth, Seymour Stein better make up his mind quick about what he and Sire Records want to do with local indie, Watermelon Records -- the Mouse just may be looking over his shoulder... That Butthole Surfers/Moby collaboration on the Spawn soundtrack is entitled "Tiny Rubberband." Look for the album on store shelves next Tuesday... Look for Honky's new 10-inch, conveniently titled Ten Inches of Honky, coming out from Man's Ruin Records. The band will be playing a record release show in San Marcos at the Triple Crown this Friday and at Stubb's next Thursday. If any of that info is incorrect, don't blame it on me, blame Jeff Pinkus, who says, "I hope that's all clear. I think I peed in my bathtub after our gig last night"... If you saw this week's "Roadkill," you know Helmet will be in town next week, so Warner Bros. is springing for free sample cassettes, drink tickets, and merchandise coupons for the first 100 people into Liberty Lunch on Tuesday. Also on the bill are the Melvins and Regurgitator, with the latter band playing a free in-store at Blondie's Skateshop at 5pm that day... Louis Jay Meyers says that by August 1 he should be ready to announce details about his (and partners Mike Stewart and Mary Lee Dejarnet's) new union for roadies called Roadcrew. With the new organization, Meyers hopes to represent sound men, guitar techs, and the like. The goal of Roadcrew, he says, will be "to supply the industry with competent, trained people." That may not be happy news to just everyone -- what are band members' girlfriends and roommates gonna do for pocket change now?... Jon Sanchez is heading to New Orleans Saturday to record a demo and perhaps an album with ph, a new project featuring N.O. singer/songwriter Rick Sinai and members of Better Than Ezra and Cyril Neville & the Uptown All-Stars. Sanchez says the new group sounds "kinda like the Flying Saucers"... Confidential to The Maw: "Spanks" for the postcard, but since you signed it, shouldn't it have been the fat Elvis?...

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

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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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