Dancing About Architecture

One week after the Hole in the Wall closes, the Black Cat burns down.

Ground Zero: Black Cat
Ground Zero: Black Cat (Photo By John Anderson)

Cat Scratched and Flame Tricked

Here we were half-expecting the Hole in the Wall to go up in smoke, literally as well as figuratively, and instead it's the Black Cat that finally lived up to the bad luck inherent in its name. Yes, for those who've been flooded out of the loop, flame tricks came to the Black Cat over the weekend, as an electrical fire early Saturday morning gutted the upper part of the building and severely damaged the lower area as well. (Archived live footage is available at www.news8austin.com.) The club was reportedly covered by insurance, but since the three-alarm fire (during which no one was hurt) was doused, no word has come from Sasha Sessums or other members of the Black Cat family as to whether it will be rebuilt. In the years since its heyday under the ownership of late papa Paul Sessums, the club's been most surprising in its survival, and had remained the life's blood to a goodly number of local acts who called the quirky establishment home. Among them, the Flametrick Subs will be playing Beerland this Saturday, although the Red River venue says they won't be able to give the band a permanent Saturday night residency. The last band to play the Cat that fateful Friday night, Captain Ugly, says they're "still in shock" about what happened, adding they "didn't notice anything unusual" when they left the soon-to-be-charred establishment. It probably goes without saying that the demise of the Black Cat would've been a tragedy by its lonesome, but paired with the fall of the Hole in the Wall, well, suffice to say it looks like yet another wave of acts is gonna be showing up on the doorstep at Ego's! At least that venue won't be fielding the acts that used to play the City Coliseum -- which also shut its doors for good last week while nobody was looking. Here's bidding a fond farewell to that establishment as well. I mean, how cool do you have to be to play host to both the City-Wide Garage Sale and a Metallica show?!?

The Limits of Zilker

The Austin City Limits gang is coming closer to announcing the list of acts playing their massive two-day outdoor extravaganza set for September 28-29 in Zilker Park. Among the 60 acts expected to perform over the 48-hour period, here's a few of the bigger names being rumored: Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, String Cheese Incident, Pat Green, Wilco, Los Lobos, and Nickel Creek. ACL's Terry Lickona warns that he knows little more than the average ticketholder, seeing as the shows are a license deal, but he says he's heard a few of the above confirmed and at least one (Harris) that he doesn't think will be able to make it. Those in the know still stubbornly refuse to give any solid info before the press conference next Tuesday, so the above should be considered a "wish list" at best. If it's even close, however, those 1,350 people who've already purchased "sight unseen" tickets for $21 should be mighty happy. For the record, when the tickets go back on sale post-announcement, they'll be up in the range of $25 for one day and $35 for two. Lickona offers a few more names for the TV season of ACL this year, while we wait for full confirmation of the Festival acts. Tapings for upcoming Limits include: Ben Kweller July 18 (see this week's story), Chris Isaak July 19, Los Lobos August 2, Ralph Stanley August 6, and possibly Norah Jones in late August and Beck sometime after that.

IMUS Be Crazy

The Flatlanders are currently on an extensive summer tour in support of their new Now Again. While a recently completed video for "South Wind of Summer" will be delivered to video outlets next week, it's the local trio's dealings with nationally syndicated radio and television show host Don Imus and his ranting about the group that have really raised their profile of late. During a recent guest appearance on CNN's Larry King Live, Imus issued a "challenge" to country radio stations to play the new Flatlanders CD, promising that "the first country station that reports to Radio & Records or Billboard that they have any single from the Flatlanders album on their Top 10, I'll donate $10,000 to that radio station's favorite charity or the music director's charity or whatever they want to do." Of the Lubbock lads Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock, Imus insisted to King, "I don't know these guys. I never met them. I know who they are, obviously. I had them on the show, but they were in New York and I was in New Mexico." The fuss continued to expand on Monday with more and more people beginning to wonder if Imus' Flatlanders' obsession was some sort of joke when Imus' show ran a spiel from reoccurring character "Walter Cronkite":

"Little could they [the Flatlanders] have predicted that, after 31 years of flop failure, they would have caught the ear of a certifiable nutlog who would latch onto them as though their name was the Vodkalanders. Despite the idiot's interpretation, what developed over the years was just one more bar band, another of the legions of losers in lounges found anywhere a Holiday Inn with a liquor license exists. We advance here to the present: the Flatlanders' new, no, only notable album, a work inexplicably titled Now Again. Now again what? Something to help us understand why the Taliban banned music? I'm not suggesting we desire to see a Buddy Holly resolution of our Flatlanders problem, but this music can't die soon enough! Odd, but somehow the 'Crash-landers' doesn't offend me at all!"

Whew! With boosters like that, who needs vitriolic critics!

Mixed Notes

It wouldn't be that surprising to find the Trail of Dead appearing on 120 Minutes, except that most folks are surprised that the show itself is still on (in its old time slot, just moved to MTV2). In any case, this Sunday their appearance will be special, since they'll just be part of the crowd -- along with locals Those Peabodys, Knife In the Water, Rhythm of Black Lines, and others that appear in the Crack Pipes' "Record Player Party" video that will air during this week's program. Hell, I didn't even know they could say the word "crack" on those daring (snicker) MTV networks!... Steven Seagal dropped in to the Continental Club recently only to find the scene he wanted to make had wrapped up a little early. As I hear it, the action hero was hoping to catch some Eric Johnson guitar-hero action, his assistant having called ahead to clear it for their entourage to come in the back to keep things low-key. Unfortunately, it wasn't made clear that he specifically wanted to be there for Johnson's set, so he missed it by minutes. He and the guitarist ended up hangin' out in the club's office for awhile, then Seagal stuck around for about half an hour, signing autographs and talking to anyone who wanted to talk to him. Continental witness Dianne Scott says that Seagal, "Was wearing a red satin gi and gave a guy some info on martial arts, like where to go to ninja school or something. When I was looking over his rather small entourage, he leaned over and said to one of the guys, 'She keeps nodding her head and not saying anything. What do you suppose that means?' I said, 'It means I'm trying to assess whether I need to ID the ladies,' and he said, 'Oh, they're old enough to be my mother,' and I said, 'No honey, I'm old enough to be your mother.' When he left, he thanked me for my hospitality and said it was nice to meet me. The cool thing was that they paid the full cover price, without any attitude, when we explained that the show was a benefit." Now, there's a real hero!... Ricardo Haas, manager for Genitallica, says the Monterrey band is mixing their second album in Austin, and plans to spend three weeks here from mid-July till the beginning of August... Bruce Hughes reports that the Jerkuleez CD release will be tonight (Thursday) at the Continental Club, with McLemore Avenue also on the bill... Marti Brom is back from Finland, and she brought back this weird candy that's full of vodka. Not just as an ingredient, either. Pop the hard candy open and there's a jigger of vodka inside! Talk about a cold shot!... Carrie Clark's new band, featuring Kevin Whitley (Ed Hall, Cherubs), is called the Via Satellites, and will be playing at the Club DeVille tonight (Thursday). Special guests include Craig Ross, and Britt Daniel opens... If it's pocket money you're seeking, musicians will tell you that a wedding gig is your best friend. No doubt the Hansen nuptuals, with entertainment by Davíd Garza, was good-payin', but nothing close, I'd wager, to the ceremony Toni Price latched onto. According to the Dallas Morning News, Price played the no-doubt-pricey occasion for Julia Roberts and her new hubby Danny Moder. Think about it; Roberts is so rich she had Lyle Lovett come to one of her previous weddings, and he didn't even sing a note!...

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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


Black Cat, Hole in the wall, City Coliseum, Austin City Limits, Flatlanders, Don Imus, Steven Seagal, Eric Johnson, Trail of Dead, Toni price

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