Dancing About Architecture

Night Clubbing

The Bates Motel went out with a bang as expected last Saturday, with a number of bangs, crashes, and screams. In fact, if there was anything truly shocking about the evening, which culminated with a batch of Austin's Finest chasing down Sixth Street after an axe-wielding thug, it was how under control the violence remained -- even as it escalated into a cascade of explosions and fires coming from the Kiss Offs' equipment (hey, they had to do something to stay entertained; they didn't get onstage until 2am!). The band had pissed off a couple of club regulars earlier in the evening, leading to even more projectile activity than the club's closing was expected to inspire; the angry party had adopted a "no bottles" policy, but you can ask David Yow how much punch a half-empty tallboy can pack! Meanwhile, plate glass windows found themselved yielding to axe attacks, heavy glass ashtrays met wall mirrors with loud, sharp results, and one disconsolate young lady pouted that she wasn't having a good time since the club management heartlessly took away her hammer.

Beat the Press

The news on the Liberty Lunch front is that there is no news, except for the impending decision by the assistant city manager which should be announced in mid-March, and the voluminous coverage of the bigger picture in the Chronicle's "Music" and "Politics" sections this week. On the Greg Dulli lawsuit, things are dragging along the way lawsuits are wont to do, with the smart bet being that nothing will come of the criminal charges in the case. That, however, doesn't mean that the Bates is the only place left on the planet where people are swinging big sticks at one another. Members of the Austin-born supergroup P (which made its debut at the 1993 Austin Music Awards) made international news this week when guitarist Bill Carter and bassist/übercelebrity Johnny Depp, in London working on Tim Burton's upcoming film Legend of Sleepy Hollow, became embroiled in a battle with members of the press. An AP article says that Depp, in a scene that eerily foreshadows the lensing of Taiter: the Motion Picture, "chased off photographers with a piece of wood outside a trendy restaurant where he had dined with French actress Vanessa Paradis.Police held the actor for almost four hours after the fracas." A Chronicle source on the scene rebuts the reports, saying that Depp "did get a bit irate, but only after the six photographers were warned, 'no pictures.' They took a bunch of pictures of Ruth [Ellsworth, Carter's wife and co-writer] and Vanessa anyway, then they ran around and persisted. Johnny found a club about two feet long and kept them at bay for awhile, terrorizing them until someone called the cops. Once the cops came and arrested Johnny, all the cameras went off." At that point, Carter blew his top and physically attacked the bevy of photographers, but because Depp is more famous, it was Gilbert Grape who got hauled off to the pokey instead. Liberty Lunch's Mileah Jordan, meanwhile, asserts that if a film were to be made of the Dulli/Taiter incident, she wouldn't want Paradis to play her because, "Ew! That name sounds like a porn star!"

Mightier Than the 2x4

Journalists haven't been trying too hard to get on the good side of brothers Bruce and Charlie Robison in recent days, either. Bruce says he's baffled by recent reports on Dallas radio detailing a fistfight between the brothers. "We've had fistfights before, of course," he allows, "but not in a good long while." The brothers may soon be trading punches at the mailbox, however -- or at least springing for two sets of magazine subscriptions -- as Charlie has been making the charts lately in industry publications like the Gavin Report, and Bruce's new single "Desperately" has been getting airtime on CMT. Keeping busy, Bruce says he's just finished recording a new album, which is due in May. At the present, he's trying his hand at the other side of the business, having reviewed wife Kelly Willis' forthcoming What I Deserve for a future issue of the Gavin Report:

"Difficult as it may be, though I am married to Kelly Willis, I will put aside my personal feelings and the fact that I wrote two songs on this CD and objectively review it solely on its own merits, in the sacred name of journalistic integrity ...

This is the greatest record ever made. It's like the Beatles' White Album with a picture of a good-looking chick on the front. This record has so many commercial possibilities her name should be Garth Celine Twain ummm...

Cougar Mellencamp. It has the artistic vision of Miles Davis and the street cred of Master P. It's cooler than Beck and kitschier than the Spice Girls. I have seen the future of country music.

A guy's gotta eat. -- Bruce Robison."

AMN Going to the Dogs

If nothing else will attract TV watchers to the new Austin Music Network, perhaps the attention paid to AMN veejay/video producer/performance artist Kerthy Fix in the current SPIN will pique their curiosity. Fix is seen in the issue via a photo taken from one of her performance art gigs, and when asked whether he hoped the photo would bring viewers to rock.alt, the show Fix co-hosts, AMN PR man Jim Ellinger was quick to bleat, "We're flattered by any coverage the national media sees fit to give us. Talents like Kerthy fit in really well with rock.alt." Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of "talent," not to mention "coverage"; in the pic, one of many taken at the Electric Lounge to accompany a piece on the traveling Circus Ridickuless, Fix shows off an unusual act she calls "Butter Breast Lickin' Doggies," wherein a pair of pups lap dairy products off her, er, pair of pups. Time will tell whether the snapshot rockets Fix to stardom (I once saw Danny Elfman lie down in a driveway somewhere around 51st and Ave. F and let a pack of dogs lick him, but he was already famous at the time, so that doesn't really add to the equation). As far as AMN, however, the struggling Austin music and arts channel could certainly use any, er, exposure they can get. "More [money] is going out than is coming in," confesses AMN head Rick Melchior, adding, "but that was expected." January's advertising income left Mechior "disappointed," he says, but he points to figures that show January was a poor month for ad revenues in general. He stresses, however, that rumors contending the network has flat run out of money are false, and that no "AMN-Aid" benefits are in the works. "We're months out from having to make those sort of calls," he assures, and says February's advertising income is already looking to beat December and January's combined, with March looking even better, thanks to SXSW-fueled pre-sales. The next question will be whether the increasing number of advertisers the network has netted decide they're getting their money's worth. If not, then perhaps it'll be time to opt for "All Austin, All Music, All Topless!"

Simple Sara

"Sara Hickman's got a new manager and is about to break out in a big way! She'll be working with Eddie Van Halen and Lenny Kravitz, and that's just the start!" Such was the buzz going around recently, but mere moments after it became audible, the buzz quickly died down, not because of any deal falling through, but because Hickman simply decided that was not the path she wanted to follow. Ex-manager Fred Meyers, who had only been working with Hickman for a few months, says she called him last Saturday to announce she "didn't want to be a Jewel, didn't want to be bigger than Sheryl Crow," and that she no longer needed his services. "He was very enthusiastic, a really good hype machine," says Hickman of Meyers, but she just wasn't prepared for the fast lane at this time. "I'm a little gunshy about major labels, and the press," she admits, and says that for now she's returning to her original self-managed state. She won't stop making music, of course, with a new album due this fall. "I'm working with Barbara K. She's not the same factor as Eddie Van Halen, but she's more interesting." Expect also an a capella children's disc called Newborn, says Hickman, who explains that the summer release is specifically geared for parents who are afraid to sing for their offspring. Hickman has also been hosting AMN programs with the funniest thing I've seen on TV in months being her chat with Ian McLagan, wherein she stammered, "Uh, I know that, em, Rod Stewart is your friend and all, but, um ... " then leaned over and whispered ashamedly in Mac's ear. "No," he responded patiently, obviously having answered the same question about that "stomach pumping" urban legend more times than he could count. "That never happened."

Mixed Notes

All Texas performers should just stay home, it appears. Planes aren't safe, helicopters will kill you, and even road travel is like signing your death warrant. Lone Star Tejano group Intocable added three to the toll last week when they were involved in an automobile accident in Mexico. Killed in the crash were Jose Angel "Pepe" Farias, Silvestre Rodriguez Jr., and manager Jose Angel Gonzalez...

W.C.Handy nominations were announced this week, with numerous locals up for awards, among them Marcia Ball ("Contemporary Female Artist"), Lavelle White ("Soul/Blues Female Artist"), W.C. Clark ("Soul Blues Album," and "Artist Most Deserving Wider Recognition"), and Kim Wilson (Harmonica). Winners will be announced May 27...

Subset (ex-Preverts) have a single release party at Thirty Three Degrees Friday, 7pm...

Need another hoot night? There's one tributing the Pretenders this Saturday at the Electric Lounge, featuring Rebecca Cannon, Seed, Kathy Zeigler, and others...

There's another Mike Chester benefit at Liberty Lunch this Sunday, with performers including Double-O-Go-Go, Courtney Audain & Fuze (who also have a CD release Friday at Flamingo Cantina), King Soul Review, Bigga Riddem, and Quatropaw. Doors at 5:30pm...

Flametrick Subs fans need not panic. The rockers haven't pulled up roots from the Black Cat, only moved to Thursdays. The idea is to give other bands a shot at the Saturday crowd while giving Satan's Cheerleaders a chance to attend more out-of-town weekend pep rallies...

This just in: Texas music legend and former Monkee Michael Nesmith has been awarded $47 million in his interminable legal battle with the Public Broadcasting System. No word yet on whether PBS will retaliate by canceling Austin City Limits...

-- 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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