Gimme the Light
Barring one of those last-minute political horse trades that usually end in some sort of scandal -- which is not to say it wouldn't be a beautiful thing -- the ordinance banning smoking in bars and nightclubs looks set to pass its third and final reading at today's City Council meeting. What shape the new law, which as proposed basically outlaws smoking in any public place that hasn't found a way to exempt itself, will assume is still anybody's guess. Nevertheless, taking a few puffs while enjoying a cold beverage or hot band is likely now part of Lost Austin. Having tried petitions, pledge drives, and personal testimonials, local bar owners are now to the point of throwing up their hands and praying people keep going out. Please do. Here's a few ways nicotine-addicted music fans can get through those long, lonely hours between trips to the curb.
JOLLY RANCHERS: Those delicious, flavor-packed hard candies curb that oral itch and last three times as long as a cigarette anyway.
PACIFIERS: Borrow one from your neighborhood rave kid. For extra kick, soak in Vicks Mentholatum before using.
SMOKELESS TOBACCO: If it's good enough for NASCAR drivers, it's good enough for indie rockers. Think of the fun getting those stains off your teeth. And spittoons!
HOUSE PARTIES: The amount of home studios in the Austin area could spark a backyard boom not seen since the mid-Eighties heyday of places like the Lodge. Too bad about all those sleeping neighbors ...
EAT YOUR ROCK & ROLL: Should clubs begin to close, get ready for more of your favorite eateries to pick up the slack by booking bands. Don't trip over the bassist on your way to the bathroom.
BLAZE ONE UP: In at least one exasperated, anonymous club owner's interpretation of the law, smoking tobacco in public will now carry a stiffer penalty than smoking marijuana.
SMOKE ANYWAY: After New York City's ban went into effect, the New York Post ran a story that the NYPD had a total of 10 officers across the five boroughs charged with enforcing the new law -- all of whom went off duty at 11pm.