Dancing About Architecture
One week 'til SXSW and already the music is hitting the fan.
Eyes on the Prize
I will see you next Wednesday at the Austin Music Awards, right? For starters, if you're a faithful booster of the local music scene, you'll get your Chronicle a day early. You'll be one of the first to see the results of democracy in action, as the winners of the Chronicle Music Poll are announced. Of course, you'll also get a chance to see Music Award sets by Lucinda Williams, Vallejo, Slaid Cleaves, the Gourds, James Cotton with Lou Ann Barton and Jimmie Vaughan, and the "86ed" team of survivors from Eighties Austin bands: Michael Hall, Alejandro Escovedo, Jon Dee Graham, Kim Longacre, Cindy Toth, Randy Franklin, Joey Shuffield, Steve Collier, and Kathy McCarty. Sadly, the Meat Puppets won't be playing after all, and despite the appearance of this year's poster, neither will Adam & the Ants, but improv troupe Monk's Night Out will be making laughies, and Paul Ray plays host to the whole thing.
On to South by Southwest proper, that selfsame Wednesday we'll begin our production of the special daily issues of the Chronicle (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), jam-packed full of special SXSW guides and features, and available downtown during the conference. Speaking of coverage, for all you folks who were screaming that the absence of the Spiders from the showcase list was proof that the festival staff had lost their sense of loyalty, good taste, and frankly, their minds, I have good news. As I expected, that band and numerous other locals like Cruel & Unusual, Ignorance Park, Lower Class Brats, the Ritchie Whites, and country/punk hybrid Gravy Boat, who were on hold until the last minute, are now official SXSW 2001 participants. Also, 7% Solution have resolved a scheduling problem and are back on the list, as are popsters Fastball. Also note these additions on the visitors' front; Ron Asheton of the Stooges will perform alongside Mike Watt in J Mascis' outfit the Fog, and Saturday's big free outdoor Waterloo Park show for the general public will feature, well Disco Biscuits are still on there (and they're from Philly, not S.F., as slipped in last week), and local jammers Larry, but the headlining slot is still up in the air. Take the Cheetah Lounge off your list of SXSW venues, as that establishment on the corner of Sixth and Red River has shut down. (Could this mean more expansion for Emo's in the immediate future? Stay tuned!) Switch Beerland to the list of non-SXSW venues while you're at it. Word is that the club, next to the Atomic Cafe, will be open in time for the Fest, but organizers say unfortunately, despite their desperate need for rock venues, the situation was looking too iffy at this late date for them to count on it as an official SXSW showcase spot.
Meanwhile, more controversy at the Metro hasn't knocked it off the SXSW list. The fire marshal served yet another citation to the club for violating its legal capacity on that now infamous Mardi Gras Saturday night, as some of the same police who were later involved in the fracas hauled off Metro owner Josh Cisneros. KLBJ-FM's Johnny Walker, who was at the club that night to introduce Pushmonkey and chuck T-shirts into the crowd, says he ended up as doorman after the fire marshals and APD members in riot gear visited the venue. "The fire guys were really cool," Walker said, though he recalls that police were dissatisfied with the situation and "at some point during that time [Cisneros] got taken away -- I didn't even see him go, someone just told me he was gone." Walker ended up watching the door for some 45 minutes, ensuring that no one got in unless an equal number of people had gone out, until Cisneros returned from his little trip. The Metro owner says he and the officers merely "went off to pay a fine -- it was a two-minute procedure," and that he is a big fan of the APD on Sixth. It's the fire department he questions, insisting that "there's no reason to evac a club when it's only 80 people over, and 30 of those are employees," and (Cisneros claims) every other club on the street was over capacity as well. In the end, no one was "evac'ed"; the marshals merely saw to it that the number of patrons in the club was brought down to its 299 limit, and Cisneros returned to the Sixth Street area in plenty of time to witness the night's well-publicized police vs. partiers riot. Now, that's what I call timing!
Other Points of the Compass
Next week, along with full SXSW coverage, we'll be attempting to offer a solid log (hmmm) of all the events going on musically in Austin that are not directly tied in with the festival. The listings are barreling in now, but for those of you who haven't done so, get those non-SXSW showcase lineups in to email@example.com or drop 'em by the Chronicle office by tomorrow (Friday) and we can still get 'em into next week's hopefully complete events list (Oh, and let me know if your event honors SXSW wristbands while you're at it). Just as SXSW actually kicks off before next Thursday, when most of you pick up your Chronicle, so do a number of the non- and anti-SXSW showcases. Among those, look for Crunchy Food Presents Yeast by Sweet Beast 2001, described as "creamily delicious experimental/free improv 'crazy people' music from the beasts of Austin's parallel musical universe," with visuals courtesy of the Cinemaker Co-op. Performers include Rubber O Cement (formerly of Caroliner Rainbow), Houston's Rotten Piece and Rusted Shut, New Orleans' Baby Rosebud, and a slew of Austin rebels such as Iron Kite, Jherri Signnfeld's Atropheed Sac, e.c.f.a., Cinders, and Aurora Plastics Company (who are apparently less worried about copyright infringement than the "Jherri Signnfeld" people) plus special guests. Yeast Beast takes place Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15, 5pm-midnight at the Off Center, 2211-A Hidalgo. Also note next Wednesday's lineup at the Flamingo Cantina, with the Applicators, Quatropaw, Coco Candissi, and Kathy Valentine's band the Delphines, plus the Saxon Pub is getting a head start by kicking off their two-week "South by South Lamar" fest today (Thursday) with Rusty Wier and Patrice Pike. Wednesday, also at the Saxon, out-of-towners will get a chance to see Faces legend Ian McLagan kicking ass on his home turf, and next Thursday there's an early-bird Two Hoots & a Holler reunion along with Bobby Boyd's CD release. Most of "SXSL" looks suspiciously like the Saxon's regular schedule, but that's still good stuff.
The Austin Record Convention will no doubt take the last of your spending money, but it doesn't have to get your first. Not when this Sunday is the Artists' Garage Sale at Threadgill's South. From 1-4pm that afternoon, Austin's legendary poster artists from the days before the city made putting up fliers illegal (let's hear it for the city, gang!) will be selling off various paper goods they found in their attics, storerooms, and under their beds. Among those offering their wares are Guy Juke, Danny Garrett, Jim Franklin, Micael Priest, Henry Gonzales, Bill Narum, and Kerry Awn. Meanwhile, over at Wild About Music on Seventh and Congress, the "Art of Guitar" exhibit is already up and running, focusing on hand-painted guitars by well-known artists of both the musical and painterly variety. And variety is the key word; exhibitors include Terry Allen, Bob Schneider, Ron Wood, Matt Groening, Billy Gibbons, Allison Lefcort, Mike Judge, and LeRoy Neiman. The exhibit runs through the end of March.
Keen on Bush (And Vice Versa)
There's little question that Robert Earl Keen will have some mighty interesting stories to tell tonight (Thursday) when he makes his appearance at the Livestock Show & Rodeo. Sure, there's the fact that he's signed to new Mercury imprint Lost Highway and will have a new disc for that label, Gravitational Forces, on the racks by the end of June. That ain't the half of it, though. On the heels of quotes by George W. Bush announcing that not only was he a Keen fan, but that REK was among his twin daughters' fave acts, the New York Post reported this week that the rowdier of Dubya's two daughters, Barbara Bush, and a group of her Yale University pals "got into a scrape" at Keen's show at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last Wednesday. The Post reported that as Secret Service agents hovered around the club, members of a group of youths that included the Prez's offspring began acting out of control and started making it their business to annoy the band. After the club's bouncers ejected one member of the party, the Post says, "a miffed Keen told the crowd: 'You guys have been great -- 99.9 percent of you, at least.'" Barbara later was reported to have demanded a recount. (I swear that's the last time the Chronicle will resort to recount jokes, this time for sure!) Meanwhile, a teen claiming to be the boyfriend of sister Jenna Bush was busted in Fort Worth for public intoxication -- and later bailed out by the Secret Service. Nice try Jenna, but Babs is still the "cool" one in my book.
Sexy Finger Champs and the Peenbeets have managed to get past my "no weddings or babies" rule by calling me on one of my two loopholes with an actual inter-band marriage. Peenbeets vocalist Greg Beets wed Champs singer Kerri Atwood in Las Vegas with Elvis imitator Norm Jones providing the entertainment. At the ceremony, Chepo Peña, who plays guitar in both bands, served as best man and accidentally wed himself as well. (In Vegas, this is completely legal) The 2001 edition of the Texas Music Events Calendar is now available. The 48-page printout lists 636 annual events in Texas that showcase live music, and is also available online. The 2001 edition of the Texas Music Industry Directory is also out now. The 424-page TMID lists 11,800 Texas music business contacts and includes special sections on music events, classical music, and Texas colleges offering music or music business courses. To receive a copy, mail a $20 check or money order payable to "Texas Music Office" to: Texas Music Office, PO Box 13246, Austin, TX 78711. To request a free copy of the calendar, call the Texas Music Office at 512/463-6666, fax 512/463-4114, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, write: PO Box 13246, Austin, TX 78711, or visit www.governor.state.tx.us/music/tmec.main.htm... Also in the helping musicians category: Look for Austin Music Network representatives around town or call 451-8445 to get your vids on the air during SXSW week. "We want to be everybody's promotional vehicle," says Woody Roberts. Look for much more on AMN's activities and schedule here next week Add former Reiver/current in-demand producer John Croslin to your list of Austin prisoners -- that breed of person who can never truly and permanently leave this burg. Seen visiting town recently, the Cros revealed that he's planning to make our town his again, following a stay in San Francisco, and will likely return this summer for good And now that you've finished reading Dancing and are filled with that summery, giggly feel that perusing the column always leaves in your stomach, turn to our Politics section and bring yourself down with "Welcome to Austin. You're Screwed.", a map detailing the destruction of downtown that I touched on here last week
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser