Dancing About Architecture

The Quiet Game

The Sixth Street sound ordinance situation has ESSCA-lated yet again, with 11 members of the East Sixth Street Community Association banding together to file suit against the city. ESSCA rep Angela Tharp of the Flamingo Cantina says, "We're basically fed up with the city," noting that the sound ordinance is "extremely vague" and that "the city needs to decide whether it's the Live Music Capital of the World or not." The ESSCA members (including both live original and cover music venues) have obtained a temporary restraining order against the City of Austin which prohibits enforcement of the sound ordinance until a hearing can be scheduled to determine its constitutionality. A press release from ESSCA and their attorneys claims that, "The Noise Ordinance is unconstitutionally vague, and has been enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner by the Austin Police Department. The Ordinance provides no method of measurement, no specific location from which to measure, and does not account for noise or sound coming from either traffic, crowds or other clubs. As a result, a club owner is unable to know with any degree of certainty as to whether his club is in violation of the Ordinance." (My own experiences talking to the police have showed the ordinance to be very straightforward and simple -- until they actually begin reading from it, at which point my head begins to spin rapidly.) Tharp says she hopes that the hearing will occur within a few weeks. In the meantime, will sonic anarchy reign on Sixth Street? It's doubtful, but Tharp adds that she's not sure whether the restraining order will affect all of the businesses on Sixth Street or merely the 11 named in the suit.

The Purple People Eater

It may have been a couple of days after Hallowe'en, but something almost scared Prince away from his Erwin Center gig on Sunday night. Scheduled to go on at 8pm sharp, his five-foot high royal badness actually went on a little after 9pm. Most attendees wrote off his late appearance to the ticketing system and other typical delays (grumbles were heard that he was probably watching The X-Files season premiere, while everyone else there was missing it), but one behind-the-scenes report says that the li'l purple dinosaur had demanded total solitude before the show, and when he stumbled into the path of a couple of Erwin Center employees backstage, he flipped out, bolted, and had to be persuaded to return to the arena. No word on whether he also had to be persuaded to set foot in Hang 'em High after the show (he didn't play, only waved), but one would think that Minnesota's favorite son would have been a little wary of the combination of the club's name and this being Texas and all.

Turning the Other Cheek

What appeared briefly to be adding up to a behind-beating over the Asylum Street Spankers' new Nasty Novelties EP (see "Texas Platters") has apparently turned into a few mere towel-snappings. Oddly, the controversy wasn't over the disc's content -- it's a compendium of pornographic favorites from the first half of the century, like "Shave 'em Dry" and the Clovers' dirty rewrite of "Darktown Strutters' Ball" -- but instead over the label on which it appeared. Local label Freedom Records released the disc much to the distress of another townie, Watermelon Records, which put out the band's first two CDs, but now both labels say that they've worked out their differences. Eric Zappa at Watermelon downplays any controversy, saying, "It wasn't a very big deal -- we don't have [the Spankers] under contract," but adds that the label was disappointed the band went to Freedom first, and that Watermelon only found out about the CD's existence three days before it was released. For his part, Matt Eskey at Freedom says, "Heinz [Geissler, head of Watermelon] was understandably upset -- though he didn't have any cause to be mad." Eskey says that Watermelon originally requested that the disc not be made available in retail stores, but that Freedom couldn't accept those terms. Eventually, both labels decided that a four-song novelty EP wasn't worth fighting over and Zappa says he is keeping busy with Watermelon's first release with Sire Records (the Derailers' Reverb Deluxe), while Eskey is concentrating on the Hollisters' latest, which he says is "selling like crazy in Houston."

Compile This!

KGSR's annual compilation CD Broadcasts looms closer, with a release date set for November 28 and proceeds going to the S.I.M.S. Foundation. Jody Denberg says this year's run will be the biggest ever, 10,000, and when you multiply that by the disc's $10.71 list price, the S.I.M.S. foundation is in for a very merry Christmas (recently, NARAS received $44,000 from last year's Broadcasts comp). Among those announced for inclusion on the 2-CD set are Paul Westerberg, Suzanne Vega, Iris Dement, Richard Buckner, John Prine, Laurie Freelove, and Ray Benson. Meanwhile, over at the Austin Rehearsal Complex, Tommy Mack has plans afoot for a compilation of bands that frequent the complex. Among those expected on the in-progress disc are SSIK, Shine, ARC Welders, Good, Slackhappy, Lifters, Jon Dee Graham, Jesse Taylor, and the Godzilla Motor Company. Wayne Nagel says he's hoping for a track from Ian McLagan, but that hasn't been confirmed. At the same time, Internet news reports are talking of a possible Faces reunion concert with McLagan, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, and Kenney Jones, which should tie in neatly with the upcoming U.S. version of the Small Faces tribute album that was recently released in the UK. That disc included covers by the Buzzcocks and 60 ft. Dolls, with a new track for the domestic version reportedly featuring Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, and Ocean Color Scene.

Mixed Notes

Time marches on, and the deadline for submissions to the 1998 South by Southwest Music Conference (March 18-22) is coming up fast. You can get a showcase application by calling 512/467-7979, faxing 451-0754, checking the web at http://www.sxsw.com, or writing PO Box 4999, Austin TX 78765. You need to get moving, though, as your application must be postmarked by November 15 (oh, and you'll need to scrape up the $20 processing fee as well)...

Keeping track of the race for the next band to be signed? You might want to check out the odds on the Jake Andrews Band, who are currently being eyeballed by a couple of major labels and several indies. Chron friendly and Warner Bros. honcho Bill Bentley saw Andrews in L.A. recently and reported back that the "kid's gonna be huge"...

The Flametrick Subs will be recording their Black Cat gig this Saturday to make a live album. The CD, planned for release on Teen Rebel Records, will be their second for the label...

Movies and music are matching up all over town, with Jim Jarmusch's Neil Young concert film Year of the Horse at the Dobie with the Flamenco documentary Shall We Dance there as well. The Iron Cactus is even jumping onto the niteclub-as-theatre bandwagon, with bull-riding film Chasing the Dream scheduled to run on Tuesday nights in the club starting this week. And speaking of flicks, don't think I mentioned that Whiskeytown's "Theme For a Trucker" appears on the soundtrack to The End of Violence...

Choreboy have returned from Europe where they were touring with Fifi (including members of Angry Samoans and Bad Religion) and are playing a "make up the money we lost on tour show" at the Atomic Cafe this Friday. Choreboss Phil Owen says the next step will be to work on a new album for the band as well as material for Sawed-Off, his more Industrial project. Expect the traditional roster of special guests on the Choreboy disc, with Exene Cervenkova and Lee Ving first up with a number tentatively titled, "There Ain't No Straightedge in Texas"...

You'll hear more of Paul Leary's production on Second Hand Smoke when it is released on November 25. That collection of previously unreleased tracks from Sublime is expected to be a big year-end seller...

The Voodoo Lounge is hosting the Rebearth Jamboree this Friday with Tunji, Pura Vida, Pocket Change, Slappy Velour, and the Ticklers, along with fire jugglers and a psychedelic lightshow. All proceeds go to benefit the Save Our Springs Alliance, which makes it difficult for me to not suggest a slogan like, "Come to the Voodoo and stop the doodoo"...

Coz the Shroom has a new solo project out, entitled In FEAR Eyeore it Tea, while the Girl Robots are on maternity leave. It doesn't look like you'll be seeing this cassette on consignment in local stores, however, as the Coz says he'll now be selling his wares exclusively through his webpage (http://www.flash.net/~throat)...

So, what was that ruckus over Hallowe'en costumes not being allowed at the Green Day show at Liberty Lunch? Well, nobody seems quite sure. The club says the band's rider specified no costumes presumably for safety reasons, but the band was heard on the radio encouraging costumes. "I think they didn't realize what a big deal Halloween is in Austin," suggests the Lunch's Mark Pratz. In the end, the show turned out to be "one of the easier ones, audience-wise"...

All kinds of behind the scenes shake-ups at Island Records, where founder Chris Blackwell is said to be butting heads with the chairman of Polygram, which owns Island. No word yet on how that will affect Texas artists with ties to the label, such as Willie Nelson and Tripping Daisy. Last week, the latter announced that they had begun recording their third album for the label with Captain Beefheart/Pere Ubu producer Eric Drew Feldman...

The rained-out Tejano Music and Arts fest from last month has been rescheduled for this Sunday, 2-9pm, at the Santa Cruz Center for Culture at 1805 E. Seventh. Los Innocentes will provide music...

ABCDs has Johnny Edson and Govinda in-store today (Thursday) at 8 and 9pm, respectively...

Joe McDermott (seen at the Guadalupe Street Festival singing about Blinky the Skunk as Doodle Bug the Clown looked on) has a new kids' CD out entitled I Am Baby. His release party is at Shady Grove this Saturday, and rest assured it will be the only such event in the history of Austin music to be scheduled for 11am....

-- Contributors: 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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Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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