Off the Record
Summertime in the City
For its contribution to the lists celebrating the Chronicle's 30th anniversary, the proofing department compiled 30 Overused and Abused Words (see austinchronicle.com/year30). No. 29? The Bright Light Social Hour. They're Austin's boys of summer – stadium-rock zeal with indie bravado – and they've garnered more notice as well, most recently in Paste's annual Best of What's Next issue. On Tuesday, BLSH became the first act to play at KUT's new Studio 1A in UT-Austin's College of Communication's Belo Center for New Media. Never mind that the $11 million facility isn't scheduled for completion until next June. "We feel it's already got a lot of love put into it," observed bassist Jack O'Brien halfway through the lunchtime set for the hard-hat construction crew, which closed with the elastic Southern soul of "Detroit." As mentioned last week, KUT's new building will bolster its broadcast capabilities regarding the Cactus Cafe but also offer a literal window to the community with a street-level view into the studio. "You'll actually know there's a radio station here," joked host Matt Reilly. The Bright Light Social Hour headlines the 21st annual Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival in Waterloo Park this Sunday, Aug. 28, 11am-5:30pm. The exceptionally strong bill also features teen punks Schmillion, Foot Patrol's rubber sole, the worldly riot squad La Guerrilla, and Sounds Wars winner Moonlight Social. Admission is free with a donation of three healthy, nonperishable food items or a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.
Little Red Corvette
Visiting the Austin Rock & Roll Car Museum (409 W. Monroe) is a poor way to spend a Saturday afternoon. With more than $13 million in assets according to the nonprofit's 2009 tax return, one would expect no less than ZZ Top's Eliminator hot rod and Jimmie Vaughan serving as the official greeter. Instead, the South Austin warehouse facility, open only on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm, boasts "no real significance," admits attendant Chad Verret in regards to the vehicles, which include the original Ghostbusters ride and a Lamborghini. "They're just toys." There's a lot more going on under the hood, though: The primary contributor is Milton Verret, proud owner of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" jacket, purchased at an auction in June for $1.8 million. In 2009, Verret gave $120,000 during the Austin GuitarTown auction, bidding on the Gibson guitars now decorating the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, among other locations. Along with the U.S. Money Reserve, a company he founded, Verret's sponsoring the city's latest lawn-art eyesore, CowParade Austin, an initiative whose gala auction Oct. 30 benefits the Superhero Kids Fund at Dell Children's Medical Center. If Verret elects to donate the works back to the city, OTR knows exactly where to house them.
"Sonic architect," as commonly used, actually applies to Michael Winningham. The Gold Beach singer/guitarist owns RubyAnne Designs, a modern construction company specializing in sustainable housing. He's quick to point out the similarities between the two professions. "There are certain ways about approaching space in general, whether you're defining a room, a house, or a song," says Winningham, formerly of local indie pop outfit the Glass Family. "You have to give each element its space and potential to communicate something." Three years in the making, Gold Beach's sleeper debut, Habibti, strikes just the right balance, with Winningham's lush, lyrical imagery suspended in gentle washes of chamber instrumentation provided by past members of Balmorhea and Tacks, the Boy Disaster. The album has been picked up for national distribution by Dallas' Spune, with a new 7-inch and a recording session by producer John Congleton in the works. "I wanted to give it more life in some way," says Winningham of the reissue. Gold Beach leads a stellar local showcase with the Eastern Sea and Royal Forest at Lamberts on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Pay To Play
It's fitting that the 20th anniversary of Austin's Live Music Capital of the World slogan coincides roughly with changes to the paid parking hours Downtown. In addition to extending weekday business hours to 6pm, paid parking will extend to 12mid Thursday and Friday and 11am-12mid Saturdays. While the final arrangement could've been much worse, council's disregard for the ramifications on the local music industry sadly echoes a familiar tune heard since the smoking ban in 2005.
Tied to the anniversary, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, with Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley, sponsored a resolution to update the city's economic analyses of the local creative industries. On cue, Greyhill Advisors announced on Tuesday the comprehensive economic impact of the 2011 South by Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive Conferences – commissioned by SXSW for the fifth consecutive year – a rousing total of $167 million. That's a 47% increase from last year, driven by the continuing boom of the Interactive Conference and a 40% surge in overall registrations.
Tucked inside a separate resolution addressing MusicianCorps, a national music education program, our own City Hall Hustle noted that the resolution directs City Manager Marc Ott "to provide an accounting of the Downtown Venue Relocation Program" (see "TDH: 8/22/11," Newsdesk blog, Aug. 22). Drafted in 1999 to address the moving of Liberty Lunch (see "You Do Not Tear Down Landmarks," Feb. 5, 1999), the loan program is being repurposed for the potential ripple effects from the Waller Creek Tunnel Project on the Red River scene (see "Off the Record," May 7, 2010). That directive offers little consolation to Frank Hendrix, who's sprinting to complete the new $2 million Emo's East on Riverside Drive.
They don't just hand out mayoral proclamations in Austin the way they do in San Marcos. To commemorate Los Lonely Boys Day in Bobcat territory on Saturday, Aug. 27, Danny Crooks is planning an all-star benefit for the League of United Latin American Citizens 4876 at the Texas Music Theatre, featuring the Garzas, Vitera, Patricia Vonne, and Vallejo. Preceding that will be a free family outing in the town square, 1-6pm, with Kalua and Este Vato, among others.
The best shotgun bar in Texas, Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, celebrates its 30th anniversary on Sunday with James Intveld and patron saint Dale Watson. That's after the honky-tonk hosts chicken shit bingo, obviously.
The fourth annual Dia de los Toadies floats back down to Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels this weekend, Aug. 26-27, with a stellar bill that includes the Sword, the Black Angels, Ume, Quiet Company, and Whiskey Folk Ramblers. Friday's acoustic evening show has sold out, but you can enter to win a pair of two-day passes by correctly answering the following question on our new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/chroniclemusic): At which record store did the members of Toadies once work?