Dancing About Architecture
Amidst all the fanfare over the end of the original Liberty Lunch, a younger, farther-out club quietly bit the dust this week. As of Thursday, Dessau Music Hall in North Austin was history, replaced immediately with the new Club 2000, which was already up and running that very night. Dessau general manager Duke Correo says he was shocked and saddened by the news from the club's owners that the venue, which had never been a big money-maker, was kaput. "It just jumped on me all of a sudden," he explains. "I heard about it one morning and that was it" for the two-and-a-half-year-old club. Correo says he's not sure about when or how he'll return to the club business, saying that he's taking advantage of the time off and "grieving for my baby." Club 2000's new general manager, Willie Cisneros, must feel for Correo, as he clearly has already developed deep feelings for his new baby as well. While he refuses to pigeonhole Club 2000 into any particular musical category, emphasizing that plans call for salsa, merengue, pop, rock, blues, and other types of bands to appear there, the key to the venue would appear to be Tejano music. "The club scene has always targeted Tejano on off nights, like Wednesday or Sunday," he notes, "but we feel this is a market nobody has focused on for the weekend." Cisneros also notes the large Hispanic population in North Austin and the fact that until now, they (or any Tejano fan) would normally have to drive to San Antonio to have a Tejano party weekend. Club 2000's efforts to change that include David Lee Garza this Friday, Gary Hobbs on Saturday, and Grupo Refleccion on Sunday. Of the failed Dessau, Cisneros observes that with so many venues in town, it's hard for a club so far from the central entertainment district to compete unless they offer something that can't be found closer to the heart of Austin. Correo, however, still thinks the Dessau could've made it if given a little more time, saying he believes the people of North Austin know that cultural entertainment exists "beyond a trip to Blockbuster and a TV dinner -- they were ready for something [Dessau] -- just slow to recognize their options."
The Rest of the Story
My, my, but a lot of stories covered here in the last couple of weeks have since taken interesting turns! For instance, remember how I reported that the Ugly Americans might be thinking of suing former Menudo member Ricky Martin over alleged similarities between his song "Shake Your Bon Bon" and their earlier hit "Boom Boom Baby"? The band declined to discuss the matter in order to keep themselves free from possible libel charges, you recall, but it turns out that the band Soul Coughing have a similar problem and are (slightly) less afraid to talk about it. The following passage is from their official Web site: "Ricky's got a track on his new album called 'Shake Your Bon Bon.' Listen to that track. Now, it would be wrong of me to suggest that there's any connection between 'Shake Your Bon Bon' and [Soul Coughing's] 'Super Bon Bon.' Wrong, and libelous. No matter how tempting it is, I wouldn't ever suggest that. But have a listen and reach your own bizarre conclusion." I also got a call recently from an MTV reporter who is aggressively following the Uglies vs. Martin story, so don't expect it to end here. Meanwhile, Soul Coughing will be playing in town this Sunday at Stubb's (see "Music Listings"), so perhaps afterward they'll meet over at Bob Schneider's house to discuss their legal strategies. And while we're on the Web, Little Joe's site confirms the story broken here previously: "Little Joe has agreed to join the Texas Tornados. He will be replacing Freddy Fender who is doing very well in the Vegas circuit." Hey, Freddy, say hi to Siegfried and Roy for me!
Also, if you read last week's "Dancing," you saw that a New York couple was auctioning off Willie Nelson's old tour bus on the Internet auction site eBay, in hopes of netting around $400,000 for the behemoth. The sellers said they had purchased the 1983 "Honeysuckle Rose #1" at a police seized vehicle auction. According to The Dallas Morning News (and reporter Andy Langer), further research on how it got there reveals a far more interesting tale; it turns out the bus was snagged by the fuzz in 1996 after being found abandoned in Manhattan and that a subsequent search found over 200 kilos of cocaine on board! Somehow this didn't make the news at the time, while Nelson dozing off in a car with a joint not long afterward hit all the wire services. Jokes aside, nothing suggests that there's any connection between Nelson and the cocaine. The coach service Nelson leases from says the red-headed stranger had moved into his third Honeysuckle Rose in 1996 and that the impounded bus may have changed ownership several times by that point, while Nelson's longtime tour manager, David Anderson, calls the vehicle sale a "fraud," claiming that other than the rear portion (including a large mural of Nelson), the rest of the bus is not the original Honeysuckle Rose. The current owners counter (are you still following this?) that Nelson's people told them that the front half of the bus had been reconstructed after a 1988 accident, but other than that, only the seats and the floorboards are different from when it was Willie's bus -- and the only reason those were replaced was because the police had to remove them to uncover the enormous stash of drugs that was concealed beneath. The bus remains available, the owners saying they recently turned down a $150,000 offer from a collector.
Finally, bonus points to any eagle-eyed readers who noticed that the note at the conclusion of last week's column contained not the names of the contributing reporters who aided me in "Dancing About Architecture," but instead the titles of several obscure Budgie songs. We apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused.
Gibby Haynes says that when the Butthole Surfers' next album "eventually" comes out, they will officially be labelmates with Austin hitmakers Fastball. Yes, the Butts are going Hollywood (the label, not the metropolis), and Haynes says that he for one is looking forward to getting back to the business of touring, but since it will still be some time before that happens, you might want to catch him at the next Texas Electronica Festival in September. To add to the parallels between the Butts and the 'balls, Fastball's Miles Zuniga, like Haynes before him, will soon be appearing as a guest on the late-night talk show Politically Incorrect, having just confirmed an air date of August 12. ...
The September SPIN features that magazine's list of "The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s," which almost completely excluded Texas acts. Clocking in highest for the Lone Star state, at #61, is (you guessed it) Lucinda Williams with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, while Steve Earle clocked in at #75 with I Feel Alright...
One note about "The Bridge," the free event wherein 100 Austin women sing and dance on the Congress Street Bridge on Saturday at 7:30pm to the music of the Walter Thompson Orchestra; when these people say the women's ages range "from 9-90" they aren't yanking your chain. Special rehearsal sessions have been running at local nursing homes (see picture) for that section of the performance and that alone is enough to get a recommendation in this column. Only in Austin does one get the chance to see a passel of nonagenarians attempting to boogie before an audience under the Texas sun in July...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser