Dancing About Architecture

Where There's a Williams, There's a Way

You already knew that Lucinda Williams is a perfectionist, so it wasn't all that surprising that after taping an Austin City Limits appearance in July, Williams decided she wasn't happy with the performance. A bit more surprising, however, is ACL's announcement that, what the hey, they're going to re-shoot the whole magoo in December. As their name implies, though, there are limits to what the longtime public television staple show is willing to accept. "We're not paying for it," assures ACL's Laura Bond. "As I understand it [either Williams or her record label] will absorb those costs." Those costs, in Bond's estimation, should be in the $6,500 range, but the fact that the Limits have Bruce Hornsby scheduled to shoot a show on the same date helps make the re-do less of a hassle for the ACL. Not coincidentially, both Williams and Hornsby are tentatively scheduled for KGSR's annual holiday bash, which is held on the ACL soundstage. If you've got a hankering to see Williams in the meantime, she'll be taping a VH1 Hard Rock Live segment tonight (Thursday), a Tonight Show appearance September 28, and a Rosie O'Donnell guest slot on October 19.

Interestingly, in its long history, only one ACL program that was shot has not been aired: a Kinky Friedman set from 1980 that was "deemed too offensive" at that time, according to Bond. Having watched the tape recently, she says that she's not sure who declared the show unusable, and that in her opinion, it would probably be alright if the decision was made to run it today. The main goal at ACL these days, however, is continuing forward with the current season of programs (now including a Hootie & the Blowfish performance, set to tape at the end of this month), and to that effect, a new special has just been added to this season's schedule. Next month, Shawn Colvin will be taping new segments as host of an ACL "Best of" show dedicated to female singers and songwriters of both the country and pop/folk genres. That's scheduled to air in March of 1999, and as to whether the re-cut Williams material will make an appearance on that program, Bond laughs. "I hadn't actually thought about that, but yes, I suppose so -- if she makes the deadline."

Every Party Needs a Pooper, That's Why We Invited You

"This will be a bittersweet Fifth Anniversary," sighs Flipnotics' Mark Kamburis of the festivities set for the weekend of October 23-24. Those dates will feature Flipnotics' traditional outdoor shows with performers, including the Asylum Street Spankers, Gourds, Wayne Hancock, Alejandro Escovedo, and others, but they're also what Kamburis sadly refers to as the "last big blast" for such shows at the venue. No, the shop isn't closing down, but the days of outside festivities are coming to an end there due to complaints from area residents. Kamburis says Flipnotics has yet to receive a single noise violation citation, and he perceived the bulk of the complaints to be coming from one particular neighbor who moved in late last year (some people just aren't happy unless they find a parade to rain on -- those are my words, not Mark's). Despite the venue's still-clean record, the coffeeshop will be moving their entertainment indoors and emphasizing a turn away from louder, more electric emanations. "We're not sounding a siren that we're quitting," he explains, "but it won't be the same as it has been over the past five years." The good news is that plans call for a doubling of the indoor live music space at the shop.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Reports of the death of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow have been greatly exaggerated, says Joe Lifto, longtime veteran of the travelling freak show. It's true, he admits, that one of the internationally acclaimed/notorious troupe's central members, the jigsaw-puzzle-tattooed bug-eater Enigma, has indeed left the Circus, but the rest of the gang is merely taking a breather following an extended six-month period of nonstop touring. There's no reason that Enigma can't come back, for that matter, insists Lifto, adding that the puzzling one and his better half are currently busy with their new Incredible Ink tatshop at Fourth and Mary. The remaining Rose group may take a child's play two-week tour jaunt in November and perhaps head for London in January, but largely, the troupe will get some well-deserved time off. Why not do a nice, convenient Austin show while he's here? Lifto shrugs sadly. "I keep trying to book [a gig] at Liberty Lunch, but they're afraid of my weiner." If you're not a fan of the Circus, you may not be aware of the climax of Lifto's act, in which he lifts irons and cinder blocks and swings them from a hook attached to his pierced penis. Lifto is always willing to do that part of the act behind a screen, but in the Lunch's defense, I can imagine a block coming loose and being swung from its dick-missile launcher and hitting some poor girl in the audience in the head. Hey, that's one way to get on Court TV! By the way, a controversial new tell-all book about the Sideshow's early days, titled Circus of the Scars, has just come out. Though not entirely endorsed by the members of Rose's troupe, it's interesting reading to say the least.

Mixed Notes

Speaking of books, there's one coming out on the Butthole Surfers in the not-too-distant future; the author recently came though town and took a poke around in our back-issue files. This came only two days after British documentary makers came sniffing (via e-mail) on info about footage of P (Gibby Haynes' side project with Johnny Depp, Bill Carter, and Sal Jenko) from their Austin Music Awards appearance in 1993. Despite all this interest, I've still heard no good news on where or when the beleaguered Surfers' next album will come out...

One person who should have no complaints about press coverage for the time being is Tim Stegall, who rated a four-page spread in the latest Flipside (#113), wherein the Hormones frontman expounds on everything important to him, from meeting his heroes (Johnny Thunders, Captain Sensible, etc.) to making music (in the Austin scene and elsewhere), and of course makeup ("I kind of like Wet 'n' Wild cosmetics bacause it gives you that slutty teenage girl look"). Go for those endorsement bucks, Timbo!...

That poetry slam thing did some serious publicity generation for the Electric Lounge. We're talking photos in both TIME and the Wall Street Journal in one week...

Speaking of the Lounge, I haven't heard the usual round of mopey remarks from the older crowd that usually prefaces a revival of the "early show syndrome," but there seem to be a number of those popping up these days. Nobody's gonna come close to beating Emo's for earliest shows for a while, however. Check out their multi-band Saturday afternoon extravaganzas that start at 2pm (now, that's a novel hangover cure). Still, the Electric Lounge has had success with their Friday night mariachi entertainment from 6-9pm and is going ahead with a regular Thursday country "Y'all Star" happy hour show from 5:30-8:30pm. Besides a rotating crew of cool bands (the Damnations start things off October 1), this will mark the return of John Dorn's country swing dance lessons to the venue. No club exists in a vacuum, and Lounge co-owner Mark Shuman acknowledges that his decision to bring in more country was influenced by Babe's recent excision of their country coterie. It's Threadgill's that's really grabbing hold of the treasure that was trash to Babe's, though, with Don Walser & the Pure Texas Band taking a Thursday residency at the Saloon on Riverside and Dale Watson getting Wednesdays. Walser and company should be especially happy, as they've admitted that their Monday slot at Babe's was pretty tough on them coming as it did so soon after the weekend...

It's one of those album-releasin' times of the year: Look for Robert Earl Keen's sophomore effort for Arista at the end of next month. Produced by Keen and Gurf Morlix, Walking Distance also features a musical assist from Keen's buddy Lyle Lovett. Shawn Colvin's new one is due out October 13 and for a very particular reason; Holiday Songs and Lullabies is just what the title implies, a collection of seasonal classics and traditional baby-go-sleep melodies...

"While some may say this is but a marketing ploy, the truth is we simply feel this is a special piece of work made by a singer-songwriter who deserves to be heard," mutters the press release for Atlantic Records' repackage/reissue of Kacy Crowley's Anchorless, which has just come (back) out. Methinks they doth protest too much. Giving an artist a second chance after screwing up the promotion of her album the first time probably does fall under the category of "marketing ploy" technically, but I can think of a hell of a lot of acts I liked who'd still be around today if their label had given them this sort of treatment. We'll still have to wait and see if it works, of course...

For those who lost track again, Ken Schaefer's "Safety In Numbers" open mike series is now at the Texas Bar & Grill on Tuesdays. The second CD of acts who perform at the series is due this month...

In keeping with our periodic check-up on the activities of longtime Austin resident and "God of Hellfire" Arthur Brown, a recent New York Times article found him narrating an Internet broadcast of the Pretty Things long out-of-print rock opera S.F. Sorrow, live from London with guest guitarist David Gilmour...

The Lucky Strikes have a release party for their new Song and Dance CD next Wednesday at the Caucus Club. Keeping with the unwritten law that some member of Asleep at the Wheel must be involved in every musical project in Texas, David Sanger produced the disc, which officially swings into stores on Tuesday...

Transfixr ("Austin's hardcore heavy smashface band") have a CD release show tonight (Thursday) at the Flamingo Cantina, with Antebellum and Disciples of Christ...

Waterloo in-stores this week include Indigo Swing on Monday, 5pm, and Ozomatli next Thursday (9/24), 5pm...

Looks like you're out of luck with Devo's upcoming mini-tour. The Silicon Planet Web site has, as of this week, added the phrase "by invitation only" and ceased to list an Austin show altogether...

Finally, no thanks to the person who wasted about 10 minutes of my time during my busiest period of the week by forcing me to wait for the entire Kenneth Starr report to load into my e-mail, not to mention the additional 10 seconds that it took to subsequently delete it. Don't think for one minute I believe it's a coincidence that the e-mailer works for the Statesman...

-- 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

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002


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