Book Review: Summertime Peruse

A nasty business in toto

Summertime Peruse

Amazon Digital Services, 248 pp., $6.99 (eBook)

Locals react to change with outrage, particularly when it involves terminating something cultural. Bars, clubs, and restaurants going belly-up or adjusting formats signals "the end of Austin." When the Cactus Cafe, a 30-plus-year home to songwriters from Arlo Guthrie to Townes Van Zandt, threatened to close in 2010, armchair preservationists coalesced into a people's movement. E-book Cactus Burning records that crusade. Author Michael F. Scully's overview, from January's shocking press release to May's landing of a new institutional parent in KUT, proves a meticulous catalog of interviews, meeting records, internal emails, and news clips presenting a clear overall picture of the events. The saga yields great characters including the Save the Cactus contingent of Wiley Koepp and Reid Nelson, shifty UT Union Executive Director Andy Smith, flip-flopping VP of Student Affairs Juan González, the easily manipulated student government, and beloved Cactus manager Griff Luneberg. Cactus Burning becomes an exhausting read due to the excessive inclusion of Facebook and news blog comments, but it's doubtlessly the authoritative account on the matter and worth reading for a single surprising reveal that renders the "No Griff, No Cactus" battle cry a non-option.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Cactus Cafe
Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Aug. 19, 2011

Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, May 6, 2011

More Music Reviews
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Wasn't That a Time: the Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America
Once, folk singers faced jail time and worse for their political affiliations

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 21, 2018

You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Tori Amos's Boys for Pele
The cult of Tori Amos and how to navigate a life of writing

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 21, 2018

More by Kevin Curtin
Austin Tech Startup Facilitated Viral Smash “Old Town Road”
Austin Tech Startup Facilitated Viral Smash “Old Town Road”
Lil Nas X bought the hit’s backing track via BeatStars

April 19, 2019

Texas Platters
Daniel Francis Doyle & the Dreams
Unrecognizable (Record Review)

April 19, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Cactus Cafe, Griff Luneburg

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle