Dancing About Architecture

More clubs closing: Will the Hole in the Wall be one of them?

Brother, can you spare $972,000?
Brother, can you spare $972,000? (Photo By John Anderson)

A Hole Lot of Trouble

Here's hoping that Lucy's, which is currently "reorganizing" following complications that have been building up since a recent Dangerous Toys performance wiped out their sound system, will be reopened by the time you read this; at press time, the management was continuing to place various excuse notes on the doors ("Gone Surfing") to explain their absence. A whole lot grimmer is the news that the ailing Red Eyed Fly has closed its eyes for good, as the club was reportedly giving away their alcohol supply all weekend and Monday found their doors shut and locked. Is the Hole in the Wall next? Fact is, it could be, since Knight Real Estate, the company that owns the building, has set its sights on selling the entire lot where the Hole has resided lo these 20-some years. The going price, for anyone interested, is $972,000, but for that price you get the Hole property, including the Aztec Screen Printing building behind the club, the parking lot, etc. Unfortunately for prospective buyers (and fortunately for the Hole), the club's co-owner Mike White says that according to his research, when you consider the poor shape of the buildings on the lot, there are many far better places in Austin for a Starbucks (for instance) to want to jump in. During the boom, that didn't seem to matter, but currently, it may make a huge difference. "We'd love to raise the money to purchase it," says partner Debbie Rombach, "however, in the event we must relocate, we'll need to raise the money for that as well." She adds that the owners "always said if anyone came up and was interested, they'd sell" the property, but Knight's erecting a large "For Sale" sign on the building on Nov. 16 indicates that the company has taken a distinctly more serious interest in unloading the property. There's a Greezy Wheels reunion coming up on Dec. 14 to benefit the club, as well as an entire week of "Help Us Raise a Million Bucks" gigs planned for mid-January, but those alone, needless to say, aren't likely to bring in anywhere close to $972,000. "We're just going on a day to day basis -- that's all we can do," says White, though month-to-month might be a more accurate term, as the Hole's latest six-month lease expires in January and is likely to only be renewed one month at a time from now on.

Health for the Holidays

Since Austin's live music scene is on its deathbed, now might be a good time to take advantage of some free healthcare. The Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy® (aka the Grammy people) are hosting a Health Fair 11am-3pm on Monday, Dec. 3 at Mars Music. They're offering the music community an "opportunity for preventative health care and early diagnosis through free comprehensive health screening," meaning free medical services and health screening, including but not limited to: flu immunizations, HIV/Hepatitis C and syphilis testing, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, hearing & vision testing, mental health referrals, and height and weight measurements. If you're like me, you're constantly whining about how little public aid musicians in this town get, so now there's no excuse for not jumping on a good deal when it comes down the pike.

Meanwhile, from his prison cell up north somewhere, Antone's founder Clifford Antone and the producers of Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams are presenting the second in a series of "Help Clifford Help Kids" fundraisers today, Thursday, at Antone's nightclub, with a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions, and music by Ian Moore (during dinner), Bob Schneider, and Guy Forsyth, whose New Year's Eve show at the Saxon Pub will be the final one with his current band. The event raises money and awareness for the American Youth Works' new Art and Technology Center in downtown Austin. The first "Help Clifford Help Kids" benefit last May raised $60,000 for AYW. BMI's "Your Band As A Business" Forum 2001 will be held Monday, also at Antone's, 6pm-midnight, with free admission, and is a chance to meet with and get tips from industry pros on how to run your band as a business. Topics include touring, production, publishing, performing rights, manufacturing, packaging, promotion, and legal issues. Things kick off with a networking/happy hour, followed by a 7pm forum discussion, "Your Band As A Business," with Mark Mason, BMI director of writer-publisher relations; Austin Music Commission/ KGSR's Kevin Connor; Casey Monahan, director of the Texas Music Office; entertainment merchandising expert Richard Luckett; Freddy Fletcher, owner of Arlyn Studios, and many others, followed by a 9pm showcase with Cruiserweight, Endochine, and Los Lonely Boys.

On another front altogether, the city has agreed to match funds raised for the soon-to-come Austin Skatepark, so Emo's is hosting a benefit for the project. With Tim Kerr, who ironically was put on hold for the last few months by a skating accident, holding the reins, the club has assembled a slew of bands, and they say, "In typical Tim Kerr style, we're keeping the band order secret. That's right, you'll actually have to come out and watch to see what's going on." So the following bands will be on stage at some point: Kerr's Total Sound Group Direct Action Committee, Riverboat Gamblers, Rhythm of Black Lines, Sugar Shack, Applicators, Snobs, Egypt, Skate or Die, Sister Run Naked, Jon Galt, and Sunshine Supergirl.

Mixed Notes

With everything closing and everyone dying, it's good news that Lovejoys is back open following not one but two floods in the past two weeks. The bar had to deal with a combo plumbing disaster and storm scenario, but as of this week, they're once again high and dry... Waterloo Records update: Owner John Kunz called "Dancing About Architecture" to say that it now looks like the takeover of the Waterloo Ice House next door will likely not occur until the latter half of 2002, "just to give the Ice House more time to relocate, and give us more time to weather the current economic situation"... The new Garth Brooks album, Scarecrow, is finally out, and though it bears a song co-written by Delbert McClinton and another allegedly lifted from Michael Maye, it doesn't include the Bruce Robison track that was recorded during the album sessions. However, considering that the Robison-penned Tim McGraw hit "Angry All the Time" lasted a big four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts before dropping to No. 5 last week, I think our Bruce can handle this little setback without too many tears. By the way, as far as the album's controversial "BEERRUN (B-double-E-double-are you in?)," it sounds like it's gonna be a tough call whether the Maye estate can manage to prove enough similarity between the song and Maye's "BEERRUN" to win a legal battle. On the other hand, the bit at the end with George Jones yelling "Get back in the truck" should have the Hickoids calling their attorneys... I would hope that not too many Dale Watson fans are among the "live bands play too late at night for me!" crowd, but if you're one, be happy for Chicken Shit Sundays at Ginny's Little Longhorn. That's the name of the new weekly appearance by Watson from 4-8pm... Imagine there's no heaven? You'll soon know there's a hell, as What Are Records? is getting close to releasing a benefit album titled The Imagine Sessions come January. The album is a collection of covers of the John Lennon song "Imagine," including versions by Hanson, Glenn Tilbrook, Hothouse Flowers, Robby Malone, the Innocence Mission, Roy Rogers, and Austin's own Davíd Garza. Wow. Wonder if this'll sell better than that old collection of "Louie, Louie" covers that was on the market a few years ago? I doubt it -- you can at least dance to "Louie, Louie"...

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