Dancing About Architecture

Bye, Bye Clubs

Austin may be sporting more music venues than ever these days, but that doesn't mean there won't continue to be casualties. Hondo's on Sixth Street and the Blue Flamingo on Red River are two venues that have closed their doors recently. The latter club has long been laden with troubles, mostly related to disputes among the owners, but currently the future of the Flamingo is murkier than ever. Owner Miss Laura's successful birthday bash at the Atomic Cafe last weekend "helped assure people that the passing of the Blue Flamingo was a temporary thing," says organizer Patrick Burkhart, as does the fact that, though closed, the venue remains lit with a full bar and furniture intact. The bar's phone has been disconnected, and Laura herself has yet to get a new number, so getting the real story on what's next remains difficult, though Burkhart suggests that "one way or another, she's going to continue putting on events," whether they're held in the BF or not. (One shudders to picture a Sixth Street fair done Miss Laura style). Word on the street (and in the music feature "There Are No Guidelines" right here next to my column) further mentions a company by the name of Finsky Enterprises that had apparently purchased the Flamingo, but their phone has been disconnected (are you sensing a pattern here?). So, we'll just have to wait to see what happens. In the meantime, you can always walk by the club, peer in the window, and watch the ghosts of drag queens dancing to the Motards.

Snap, Crackle, Pop Stars

What do you think of when you think of the Speakeasy? Odds are, it's not teen pop stars and mutant breakfast foods, but it turns out that the Eggo waffle people sent someone 'round to the club to determine whether the club's rooftop was a good location for a commercial featuring those little shavers Hanson. No word on whether the ad is a "go" or not, but the fact that the Eggo people sent a scout who was affiliated with the Newton Boys film says they've definitely got some Austin-familiar ties. "I told them it's okay [to shoot the commercial here] as long as the Eggos fly off the roof and Hanson goes right behind them," says Speakeasy's Chet Butler. Hey, if it doesn't work out, maybe they can try shooting at Ego's. It won't even cost much to alter the sign.

Roadhouse or Big House?

Friends of Etheridge Hill are still wondering what really happened at his at his former home on October 2. According to reports, the one-time booker of bands like Extreme Heat, manager of Hank's Roadhouse, and one-time road manager for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Eric Johnson fled to Maryland following the death of his roommate and the subsequent burning down of his dwelling. Buddy Meyer at the DA's office confirms that a probable cause affidavit for a murder charge has been filed against Hill in municipal court and will be presented to the grand jury to determine whether there will be an arraignment. Hill's friends say that he claims his roommate fell and hit his head during an argument between the two men, but Meyer won't comment on this and says he can't give out any further information until it has been decided whether or not they'll be a grand jury investigation.

Free D. Johnston

After years of hemming and hawing from Atlantic Records, Daniel Johnston has quietly been removed from the label's roster. Johnston's manager Tom Gimble says they got a pink slip May 31 -- when the last option period ended -- but the label continued discussions with Gimble for some time afterwards. Johnston's first and last release for the major was 1994's Fun, and since then fans have been speculating on the songwriter savant. Luckily, friends of Johnston, notably producer Brian Beattie, have not forgotten him, and already they've assembled close to an album's worth of new tracks with the artist, who says he's feeling creative again following a long dry patch. More recording is scheduled for this weekend at Johnston's Waller, Texas home, and Gimble says the current material is being shopped to a couple of very interested indie labels. Homestead and Bar None are two of the interested parties, with Gimble adding that a label along those lines would be "a better long-term home for Daniel at this point in his career." According to Gimble, seeing an album in the first quarter of next year "isn't unrealistic."

Cooking With Cass

Things have been pretty quiet lately on my favorite Internet war zone (Usenet's alt.fan.keanu-reeves), so I was delighted to receive an e-mail from local songstress Jennifer Cook delineating her meeting with the man who played the immortal Ted "Theodore" Logan. Knowing of the local jihad of Keanu Klowns of which I am a member, she actually asked the K-man if he read my column. The reply? He didn't even remember his band Dogstar playing in Austin, until one of his mates chirped, "Yeah, remember? Some place called Liberty Lunch? It sucked." Cook had a better experience with Scott McKenzie from the Mamas & the Papas, who, she notes,
"is everything a 59-year-old hippie should be -- fat, grey, ironic, and frequently drunk." Cook apparently jammed with members of McKenzie's band, singing back-up on a few numbers, "although frankly I don't know a single M&P song." C'mon, Jennifer. We know you go to sleep every night humming "California

Mixed Notes

You didn't see Stevie Wonder at the Erwin Center last week, did you? (I know, he didn't see you either). Well, the folks at Applied Materials, Inc. did, as that particular corporation managed to sneak Mr. Wonder in to perform at a private function on Saturday. Representatives for the Erwin Center told the Chronicle that the reason they didn't tell us was that they had nothing to do with the private party. (A call from the people at the drum just a few days before offered, instead, an interview with Barry Manilow. Talk about a consolation prize -- or is that non-consolation prize?)...

Kacy Crowley has been announced as one of the scheduled performers at the upcoming Lilith '98 preview show to be held in Florida. That's a nice enough gig in itself, but as the name implies, those who play the preview are assumed to be on next summer's tour as well...

Alejandro Escovedo's upcoming live album now has a home and a tentative date. Look for that album on Americana label Bloodshot in January. Ironically, Bloodshot is the label that's considered the flagship of alternative country (or "Insurgent Country," as they call it) and Escovedo, as a member of Rank and File, is considered the father (or is that "granddad") of that movement...

King Soul's debut CD Work Your Show is the latest release from local Freedom Records. Look for it in stores now...

Skagen-Brakhage have set up a big display of Austin poster art B.K. (before Kozik). Seventies masters like Micael Priest, Guy Juke, and Jim Franklin will have their work visible at the duo's studio at South First and Annie streets on Thursdays through Sundays beginning today between 6-10pm...

I'm still keeping watch (from a safe distance) on the travels of Randy "Biscuit" Turner's green, winged baby doll that was stolen from Liberty Lunch at the beginning of this year. The last report in "Dancing" had the cuddly little piece of oddball art on a trek across Australia with horror writer Stephen King; the latest news on the li'l cherub has it resting comfortably and on display in the warehouse/museum of one of Oz's more famous sculptors. Says the still-distraught Biscuit, "It blows my mind that people think they can just take someone's artwork like this. I'd like to go to their house and just pick up my favorite things and parade around with them"...

Smashing Pumpkins' latest drummer Matt Walker (ex-Filter), who was brought in to replace Jimmy Chamberlin, is leaving the band next month to concentrate full time on his other group, Cupcakes, which has a deal with DreamWorks. Seeing as local resident/ famous skinbeater Terry Bozzio tried out for the job when Chamberlin was canned, here's good luck to him on perhaps getting another shot at it -- though I guess the Bozz is doing alright with his other band, the one with Jeff Beck in it...

Do ya like Chuck Prophet, ex of Green on Red and other projects? Well, you missed him already. Prophet returned from San Francisco with Kelly Willis to play guitar on the bulk of the tunes that David McNair recently produced for her. Willis says the tracks were to feature an all-Texan lineup, but "we just liked [Prophet] too much" to leave him out. Ol' Chuck also spent some time writing songs with the likes of Charlie Sexton and David Grissom during his stay...

Tuscon guitarist extraordinaire Rainer Ptacek, friend and frequent collaborator of Howe Gelb and Giant Sand, passed away last week when the brain cancer that had been in remission returned. You'll remember that L.A.'s Kris McKay contributed a track to the benefit album for Ptacek, The Inner Flame...

There's plenty on the international music front this week, with a progressive club crawl from Cosmic Intuition Productions bringing the likes of Feyyat Gokae, Gaijin, Zong Ti Lin, Inkululeko, and other unpronouncables to the Dougherty Arts Center tonight, Thursday, Movements Gallery on Friday, and Ruta Maya on Saturday. Check the club listings for the complete lineups...

Things are apparently going like gangbusters with Storyville and producer Stephen Bruton. They've only just begun recording, but they plan to be done in time to turn the album in to Atlantic Records by January 1 for an April release... Scrappy Jud Newcomb finally has a new name for his new band, the Southbound Monarchs, and they make their debut at the Continental Club tonight, Thursday, with Reckless Kelly...

Add Ursa Major to the
list of bands who've had their music appear on Austin Stories. Pam Peltz says she hoped to let people know ahead of time, but the show ran before she knew about it. By the way, Pam, I promise not to dry-hump in front of the stage with any members of Pork while you're playing ever again. That was just a bad tequila night...

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

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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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