Dancing About Architecture

A Modest Proposition

For all the talk about Propositions 11 and 12, coming up for vote next week, you'd think it was a ray of light shining down from heaven: City agrees to let private money pay for spanking new Performing Arts Center at no cost to taxpayers. Since nobody else seems to have mentioned the Prop's possible shortcomings, I thought maybe I'd better devote a few inches to it myself. The problem isn't in the Center itself, mind you, but in the parking around it. Currently, as I (and several merchants who have attended meetings on the issue) understand it, the plan calls for erecting a parking garage with 1,000 spaces on the site. That's all well and good except that the current parking lot, which it will be replacing, has 1,600 spaces. "And even that isn't enough!" asserts Austin Record Convention planner Doug Hanning. His event is one of those that, under the plan delineated, will move from Palmer Auditorium to a new Civic Center, which in return will replace the City Coliseum. He worries that there are a number of questions that haven't been answered yet regarding the plan, and frets that if the city doesn't put more thought into the issue, "They're going to doom it to failure. It sounds like the Convention Center all over again." City-Wide Garage Sale manager Christopher Dwyer says that he's for both Proposition 11 and 12, but is still concerned about the parking situation. Even as the number of spaces drops, he says, the new PAC and Civic Center will "simultaneously create a bigger draw" to the area. And that's not even bringing up the fact that the garage will almost certainly be of the "pay to park" variety. If the already beleaguered musical events at Auditorium Shores were looking for a final straw to break their backs, this could be it. Voting for Propositions 11 and 12 won't guarantee the worst-case scenarios above will happen, but just remember the old saying: There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Comings and Goings

With the end of Trance Syndicate Records looming on the horizon, I suppose it's only appropriate that major changes are in the wind for current and former Trance bands as well. First off, Sixteen Deluxe are now "in the process of being dropped" by Warner Bros. Records, according to band member Chris "Frenchie" Smith. Speaking of the band's ups and downs over the last two years since signing to the label, Smith says that the band is "definitely getting a good sense of humor about this sort of thing" and insists that the band's excision from Warner's roster is not a step back for the band. For one thing, Smith points out, the band is still fond of the people they worked with at the label. More importantly, he says, the band was "pretty protected" in their record contract against such a situation, and as such, rather than finding themselves in deep debt, the band is currently making plans to build a nice 24-track studio with the settlement money they received from Warner Bros. "Most of my favorite bands have their own studios," he adds, mentioning such names as the Jesus & Mary Chain and Swervedriver and noting the advantage such bands have in getting albums out that they are proud of. "I'm kinda looking forward to being able to just turn in an album," says Smith. The band will begin working on a new album as soon as work on the new studio is completed. Other plans on the 16D agenda include a tour in February and an EP to be released before the next album.

November 16 marks Trance's final release, an instrumental EP by Starfish, and unfortunately, that band will not be around to play any release parties. During the local trio's recent European tour, they played a show in Italy, after which Jason Morales and his wife/bandmate Ronna Era split up. "It was a marital issue," says Morales reluctantly, adding that the show was perhaps the band's best ever. Also lost in the breakup is the couple's side project, the Fuckantones, and while Morales says his ex is "kickin' it in Italy," he's spending his time in Austin "rockin' it with the Migas," wherein he plays drums ("I haven't been able to pick up a guitar much," he sighs). As stated above, fans can still look forward to the band's final release, but for what Morales calls "the last words you'll ever hear from Starfish," you might want to see if you can rustle up the split single the band released with tourmates Broccoli in conjunction with that fateful European trip.

Back From the Dead

Austin's Gomez were scheduled to come back from the dead for a reunion show tonight (Thursday) opening for Blink 182 at Stubb's, but that show's been moved to December. No word yet whether they'll open that show as well, but if they do, you can be sure of one thing: They're only in it for the money. The band, aware that a Brit-pop band was starting to make waves using the same name, took some advice from legal-savvy friend Terri Lord and threatened said band and their label, Virgin Records, with a lawsuit. Gomez U.S. decline to give any details on the suit, which was settled out of court, other than to disclose that they emerged with an amount "between $1,000 and $100,000." Featuring the original lineup, Chepo Peña, Ryan McDaniel, Paul Newman, and Keith Palumb, the band will do their Misfits tribute (the Gomezfits?) at Flamingo Cantina on Friday opening for SINIS. Look for Gomez member Newman running down the street at high speed that night, as his band Paul Newman has its CD release party that night at Emo's (see "Texas Platters"), their last before heading out on tour.

Los Super Cinco?

If you saw the Stubb's ad in last week's Chronicle for an upcoming Los Super Seven show, you may be wondering why it isn't in this week's ad. The club reports that yes, the super group (David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Ruben Ramos, Rick Trevino, and Joe Ely) was booked there, but the day after the contracts were signed, the band backed out to grab an opening gig with Dave Matthews. Actually, it was only a fraction of the Seven who took off -- Hidalgo and Rosas -- who will be opening for Matthews in their roles as part of Los Lobos. Those seeking a Seven performance solution will be glad to know that Austin City Limits confirms that a show featuring the band is "in the works," probably in December or early January, with a local gig to coincide with it.

Mixed Notes

It's all in the timing, and Silver Scooter couldn't hope for better; the band and its label Peek-A-Boo are profiled in the current Rolling Stone in a feature on independent labels, just in time for the kickoff of the band's big tour and appearance at New York's CMJ Festival. Says Peek-A-Boo's Travis Higdon of the coverage, "Now three million people can read about records that have barely sold a few thousand copies." Silver Scooter has a new single out, with one song from their upcoming Orleans Parish album (February 1999), and a cover of the Cure's "In Between Days" on the flip...

No one's likely to beat Hunter Darby's record of two days in the race for shortest out-of-state move, but Kathy McCarty came fairly close before realizing that she, too, is an eternal prisoner of Austin. McCarty, as announced here a few weeks ago, made the decision to leave Texas for Wyoming to be with her new husband, but at her Cactus Cafe show last Friday, she announced that she's once again an Austin resident. Apparently, despite assurances from her hubby's employer that his job was not in jeopardy, McCarty made the journey north only to have her husband lose his job two months after she arrived. McCarty was not available for further comment, as her phone has yet to be reconnected, but friends say she managed to get her old house back...

Plenty of info this issue telling you what festivities will be happening on Hallowe'en night, but for those of you who are uncomfortable stepping out with the spooks and spectres, you might want to visit Flipnotics for the Rubinchik's Orkestyrshow there. Says Mark Rubin, "I've never been comfortable with the whole Halloween shtick, Celtic ancestor worship, spooks and all, and we Jews tend to pay no attention to it. We dress up and give out candy on Purim, and there's no overt pagan mysticism involved."...

Charlie Jones, formerly with Direct Events, has chosen his first show as an independent promoter, and it should be a doozy. Jones is the man behind the big Hallowe'en parking lot party at Trinity and Seventh with Sister 7, Nixons, Sexton Sextet, Dysfunkshun Junkshun, and Soak. "No one's ever done a show like that on Hallowe'en," says a somewhat nervous-sounding Jones, who's gearing up to fill 25,000 feet of ground just off Sixth Street with wild and crazy costumed revelers...

You remember a few weeks ago, when Yoko Ono gave Jody Denberg a call and asked him to fly out to New York to talk with her about John Lennon? Well, Denberg will be airing six songs from the "John Lennon Anthology" and a conversation with Ono about the project this Sunday Night during the KGSR Sunday Night News, which airs from 8-10pm. This is the fifth time since 1984 Denberg has had Ono as a guest on the airwaves, but the first where the topic was exclusively Lennon...

As you read this, Abra Moore is taking some time off from writing songs for her next album to record a tune for the soundtrack of the Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle Cruel Intentions, a remake of Dangerous Liaisons. Hmfff. Since Hollywood can't be bothered to come up with any new ideas, Moore should've just given them one of her old songs under a new title...

The Texas Music Office is accepting applications for listings in the 1999 edition of the Texas Music Industry Directory. Published by the Texas Music Office, the TMID is a comprehensive sourcebook listing all Texas music businesses, events, and talent, cross-referenced by 94 categories of music business. To request an application, call 512/463-6666, fax 512/ 463-4114, e-mail music@governor.state.tx.us, or write: PO Box 13246, Austin, TX 78711. The deadline is November 20, 1998...

The River City Rapists have been causing trouble outside of Austin lately. Their name and on-stage antics have resulted in a number of threatening calls and letters to their record label, Junk Records, but label head Katon says he's behind the band 100%. "People got over the Dead Kennedys and NWA," he pleads. "This is punk rock -- what do people expect?" One unexpected turn is a potential feud developing between the Rapists and the Dwarves, as the latter is planning on including the Rapists' theme song on their next record. Derek Meyers of the Rapists says that the problem is one of giving them proper credit: "We just don't want people thinking we took our name from a Dwarves song"...

-- Contributors: Michael Bertin, 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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