SXSW news

Lyle Lovett and Maggie Walters discuss her new CD 
at the Four Seasons.
Lyle Lovett and Maggie Walters discuss her new CD at the Four Seasons. (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

"I feel like the floor of a taxicab" – Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Ghostbusters

A Healthy Plan

In an idea whose time has long since come, Seton Health Care Network, St. David's Hospital, and the SIMS Foundation held a joint press conference Tuesday morning to announce the creation of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or as emcee Ray Benson joked, HAAM. The Asleep at the Wheel frontman wasn't joking when he said "musicians are in a health care crisis," a sentiment echoed by other speakers including Mayor Will Wynn and City Councilwoman Betty Dunkerly, who called musicians Austin's "heart and soul." The plan calls for Seton to provide primary care, St. David's to handle dental work, and SIMS to continue providing mental-health services for working local musicians who meet income and eligibility requirements. "I think they'll come out in droves," said HAAM and SIMS board member Jay Woods of New West Records.

Ton of Bricks

Now a full-fledged if informal tradition, SXSW mania hit the Red River clubs one night early, and hit them hard. Anyone who wasn't at Queens of the Stone Age wasn't far away. Beerland filled up early and stayed full for Grand Champeen's annual beer-soaked blowout, and Room 710 saw a full house for the rafter-rattling dementia of Austin trifecta Gorch Fock, Tia Carrera, Migas, and Japan's Bleach03. Meanwhile, Emo's free show – with top-notch sets from the Arm, the Good Looks, Experimental Aircraft, and Electric Eel Shock – went over so well that booker Graham Williams was a little surprised the club's Austin-centric Wednesday day party was likewise packed. "I thought more people would be home sleeping it off," he said. As if!

Party Blotter

Snapshots from three big-ticket early SXSW parties: Tuesday's BMI dinner at Stubb's, Ray Benson's birthday party/Austin Music Foundation fundraiser that night at La Zona Rosa, and the Texas Grammy chapter's swanky soiree in the downtown Hilton's palatial Grand Ballroom Wednesday afternoon. The Texas Rollergirls' plush Gibson-sponsored tour bus outside both Tuesday parties… Recording Academy president Neil Portnow commemorating Willie Nelson's 30th anniversary as a member and announcing the assignment of a full-time MusiCares staffer to the Texas chapter… Warner Bros. VP Bill Bentley chatting with local songbird Jane Bond, her manager Wayne Nagel, and SXSW police/fire liason Carlyne Major… Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson making Viagra jokes outside La Zona Rosa with poster artist emeritus Jim Franklin, and watching Asleep at the Wheel inside with Austin City Manager Toby FutrellKevin Connor marveling that surprise KGSR morning-show co-host Lyle Lovett had shown up at the station's Four Seasons remote at 6am on the dot – every day so far this week.

Bullet the SXSW Sky

• Venue alert! SXSW has moved its Saké on Sixth showcases to Habana Calle 6, which is already a venue. They'll have two stages: the already-existing patio stage and indoor "Cuban Underground" stage.

• TCB had the distinct privilege of being a guest on BBC-6 presenter Stuart Maconie's radio show, which he's broadcasting all SXSW from a makeshift control room in the Radisson. Maconie, back for his second straight SXSW, says this festival is difficult to describe to the blokes back home, who are more accustomed to the likes of Glastonbury or Tea in the Park. "They think we're all standing in a field somewhere," he laughed.

• Is that who I think it is? The spitting image of Dee Snider was spotted strolling near the convention center, and someone looking a lot like Billy Idol was reportedly milling around the Omni lobby. Irish rogue Colin Farrell was definitely in town Tuesday visiting friends, but (as far as we know) not long enough to impregnate anyone.

• Quote of the day, and maybe the week: "If all the bands get to play and no one dies, that's all I care about." That's Fivehead guitarist/vocalist Beaty Wilson, charged with riding herd over dozens of bands at tonight's Guided by Voices Hoot Night at Emo's – including the toughest ones of all, GBV themselves.

Campanas de America Mariachi at the Recording 
Academy Anniversary
Campanas de America Mariachi at the Recording Academy Anniversary (Photo By Mary Sledd)

• Must-have hipster fashion accessory for SXSW 2005: Gigantic sunglasses at least twice as big as the wearer's face. The Texas sun is bright, people, but not that bright.

• Old five and dimer Billy Joe Shaver will pick a few songs and sign copies of his brand-new autobiography, Honky Tonk Hero, 10:30am Friday at Waterloo Records. "That's the plan, but you never know with Billy Joe," owner John Kunz said.

• SXSW badges and wristbands get priority admission to Spoon's Austin City Limits taping 3pm today at the KLRU studios on the UT campus. Latter-day balladeer Ray LaMontagne was scheduled to follow at 4:30pm, but canceled all his SXSW appearances after being hospitalized (he's out now), so Britt Daniel and the boys will play twice as long.

• Best early Nineties flashback: Room 710 showing VH1's Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story Wednesday. Runner-up (duh): Friday SXSW showcaser Vanilla Ice. Word to your mother!

• The screening of the Willie Nelson tsunami-relief concert DVD, filmed in January and featuring Spoon, Joe Ely, Patty Griffin, and more, that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Republic Square park was canceled due to rain, even though it never actually rained.

• Neverland trumps Lord of the Rings: Bad Wizard is out and Dutch madmen Peter Pan Speedrock are in, at new SXSW venue Flamingo Cantina, Thursday, 1am. It's a $5 show open to the public, 18 and up.

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