Archive for the ‘Austin’ tag
I processed and uploaded 113 photos in March, much less than February’s total. Probably my ear troubles ate into my productivity, but that’s just an excuse.
Anyway via Flickr: Archive of your uploads to Flickr in March 2013 here are my 22 personal favorites created in March. Click image to embiggen.
My dad turned 70 last weekend on the Ides of March, so without much consideration, I flew down to visit and help celebrate the occasion. I had forgotten that Austin was currently hosting SXSW, but since mostly the plan was just to hang out with family, SXSW turned out not to matter. Travel was a bit more crowded than a normal flight to Austin, but my plane was only 1/3 filled with hipsters. Like the two girls in front of me, who consumed at least 10 drinks each in the 3 hour flight, and discussed, with ever increasing volume their plans. I was amused to hear one admit that she was just going to leave her suitcase in a friend’s car, and keep a change of clothes with her as she found an evening companion. More power to her, I was young once. Her friend never once put her iPhone down, not even during the sacrosanct take off and landing times. The frazzled flight attendant just ignored this transgression.
Same argument raged when I lived in Austin – does everything old have to vanish to focus on what’s new and sleek? Les Ami, Captain Quakenbush’s, and many, many other institutions of the Austin I grew up in are no more.
Old Austin clashes with New Austin nearly every day, causing much worry among the city’s natives: Will these new condos and luxury hotels rub out everything that makes their weird city great? Will the shows for hipster musicians dry up? Is $10 guacamole really worth it?…
A generation of Austinites has unsuccessfully battled against losing iconic institutions like the Armadillo World Headquarters, Liberty Lunch and Las Manitas — all razed to make way for New Austin. But one developer is trying to prove that the old and new can cohabit.
For the last eight months, the developer, Transwestern, has been overhauling a seven-acre plot in South Austin. The area is a mess: bulldozers and excavators sit among tall piles of dirt and rock; 20-foot-high concrete piers jut out of the ground; and a jagged eight-foot trench is framed by hundreds of feet of orange-and-white highway barriers lining the road’s shoulder.
At the center of this chaotic scene sits an old, squat red building, dwarfed by pipes and slabs, looking like the last proud holdout in a world gone mad. This is the Broken Spoke, and it is arguably the greatest honky-tonk of all time. The Spoke, which was built by James White in 1964, has hosted everyone from Bob Wills and Willie Nelson to an unknown George Strait. It attracts tourists from Japan and England and celebrities from Hollywood. They gawk and drink and dance at the most famous club in a city that bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World.
(click here to continue reading In New Austin, Accommodating the Broken Spoke Honkey-Tonk – NYTimes.com.)
Of the places mentioned in this NYT article, I’ve been in the Broken Spoke, eaten eggs many times at Las Manitas, and where I first stayed in Austin1 was a scant two blocks from the Armadillo2, but by far the biggest loss to me was Liberty Lunch. I went to probably over 100 live music events there, from the time I was a snot-nosed 15 year old in the mosh pits, up until I moved away. I saw punk rock, heavy metal, reggae, acts like Thomas Mapfumo, Burning Spear, Sonic Youth, Bob Mould, Timbuk3, yadda yadda. I would have seen The Pogues, circa 1989, but I got too drunk and fell asleep on the Congress Avenue bus. J’Net Ward was some sort of business partner at the restaurant I worked at to put myself through school3, and I always remember her being an all-around cool person.
Anyway, let’s hope the Broken Spoke doesn’t get plowed under too.
Dome of Texas Capitol Building – Ektachrome Holga
Texas, and other Republican strongholds like Alabama and Mississippi, et al, have a large number of secessionists, clamoring to leave the country instead of loving it. There is a black man and his family in the White House, and to these idiots that is reason enough to dissolve the country. Take their ball and poutily leave the playground, as it were.
The joke in the rest of the country, oft repeated, is, hurry up and go! We don’t miss you already. As long as you leave Austin behind…
Few of the public calls for secession have addressed the messy details, like what would happen to the state’s many federal courthouses, prisons, military bases and parklands. No one has said what would become of Kevin Patteson, the director of the state’s Office of State-Federal Relations, and no one has asked the Texas residents who received tens of millions of dollars in federal aid after destructive wildfires last year for their thoughts on the subject.
But all the secession talk has intrigued liberals as well. Caleb M. of Austin started his own petition on the White House Web site. He asked the federal government to allow Austin to withdraw from Texas and remain part of the United States, “in the event that Texas is successful in the current bid to secede.” It had more than 8,000 signatures as of Friday.
(click here to continue reading With Stickers, a Petition and Even a Middle Name, Secession Fever Hits Texas – NYTimes.com.)
or at least treat Austin like East Berlin, and allow visitors.
Dana Milbank wrote recently:
And so a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for. It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create (their) own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
Among those states with large numbers of petitioners asking out: Louisiana (more than 35,000 signatures at midday Thursday), which gets about $1.45 in federal largess for every $1 it pays in taxes; Alabama (more than 28,000 signatures), which takes $1.71 for every $1 it puts in; South Carolina (36,000), which takes $1.38 for its dollar; and Missouri (31,000), which takes $1.29 for its dollar.
Possibly, the new United States would need to negotiate certain protectorates in the Confederacy — Austin, New Orleans, South Florida and the like — the way the British did in Hong Kong. Then there is the awkward matter of what the breakaway nation would do to its poor.
But once the handout states left the union (and took with them a proportionate share of the federal debt), the rest of the country could enjoy lower taxes and the high level of government service typical of the Northeast, the Great Lakes and the West Coast.
There would also be nonfinancial benefits. Tampa’s Central Command, now caught up in the David Petraeus sex scandal, would be the new nation’s problem. And the exit of a number of Southern representatives from Congress would give Democrats a solid governing majority.
(click here to continue reading Secession push – chicagotribune.com.)
A small sampling of editorial cartoon responses:
ben sargent Secession 121120
Angry White Manistan.jpg
Can you detect a theme?
If I hadn’t been eating a big slice of pizza, would have tried to shake his hand, and say “I hope you become President Obama’s Secretary of State – you’ll be an excellent diplomat”, or words to that effect…
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/dq5yWa
John Kerry at Austin Bergstrom Airport was taken on November 02, 2012 at 04:02PM
Film: Kodot XGrizzled
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/dpZaKD
Caution Very Steep Hill – Upper Yurtistan was taken on November 02, 2012 at 09:17AM
Film: BlacKeys SuperGrain
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/dpnp6m
Abraham Lincoln in person was taken on October 30, 2012 at 09:13PM
Film: Blanko Noir
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/dpnrBm
Vintage was taken on October 30, 2012 at 05:21PM
Film: Blanko Noir
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/doZBSv
Lamar Street Bridge was taken on October 29, 2012 at 04:59PM
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/doePRo
Art On The Side was taken on October 26, 2012 at 10:38AM
Film: BlacKeys SuperGrain
embiggen by clicking http://flic.kr/p/dpdmVU
Lamar Bridge in B&W was taken on October 29, 2012 at 04:59PM
I saw this place in London, and wondered if it was related to one of my favorite Austin drinking establishments. Apparently so…
Dog and Duck might have opened as a British Pub, but it has evolved into something more. We have 42 beer taps, of various Texas, American, and International Brews. A Kitchen which has recently been voted Austin’s Best Pub Grub, and has everything from fish ‘n’ chips to Falafel, and almost anything else you could want. We even have some food that is healthy.
It would be nice to tell you that Dog and Duck is a long established Austin business that people have been going to for generations, but truthfully, it’s not even old enough to drink. Dog and Duck opened up in May of 1990 in it’s current location, it’s well known tin ceilings, slanted wood floor, and fireplace already there. The Building had been around for a long time, and was a restaurant called Mrs. Robinson’s in the 1970′s. In 1991, Dog and Duck sistered with one of The Dog and Duck pubs in London.
(click here to continue reading Dog and Duck Pub.)
Only took me 2 years to check.
My high school is having an anniversary; 25 years ago we graduated from William B Travis High School1. Facebook became popular since the last time a reunion was held, thus some enterprising classmate set up a Facebook Group for the details of where and when, and who was attending. To be brutally honest, there weren’t many on the list of attendees that I’d like to have a beer with, seems like too many are Tea Baggers, religious zealots, or both. I’m sure some folks didn’t fall into this cynical trap, we are from Austin after all, but too many of the same schmoes that I didn’t like then, and hadn’t heard of in years, were going to attend.
Instead, I left the following RSVP which I’m saving for posterity:
I’m sorry but I cannot attend, even though I would like to see how some of you turned out after all these years. I’m just too afraid that Rick Perry is going to convince Texas to secede from the US, and institute some sort of 3rd world Tea Party Republic that won’t be friendly to liberal, secular humanists like myself. Maybe when there’s high speed rail service from Chicago to Texas I’d reconsider.
I’d thought about being less abrasive, and just saying “sorry, couldn’t make it”, but then, why? Don’t care about my “reputation”, and those who even remember me will have a chuckle.
Me and Joshua Starbuck in my first car, parked in front of Post Oak, back when my waist size was still 28…Footnotes:
- apparently Roky Erickson also went to Travis – there should be a statue or something, no? But there is not. [↩]
Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets answers a lot of questions for Andrew Perry, including:
You were the fourth or fifth band on Greg Ginn from Black Flag’s label, SST — was it a chaotic operation?
We were there real early on. We were from Phoenix which is like a faraway suburb of L.A., in our minds at least. It’s 400 miles away, it’s where you’re always looking when you’re kid. Disneyland is there, Hollywood is there, the ocean. We would go over there and play, and what Black Flag saw in us was, we were way more pissed off and crazy, and played a lot faster than all the other punk-rock bands around. We weren’t even that good, we just played really fast, and were completely out of our minds.
But we weren’t typical, in that none of us were aggressive bruisers. We would play stuff from Broadway shows, and stuff that I really liked from my childhood, like The King And I, then we’d go as far out on the other limb as we could, and just really try to hurt people mentally. It’s all completely valid in the art realm, and we could see that — there’s just so much canvas here to cover, we can do anything. It’s still that way. I don’t like to repeat myself ever. So we did a screaming punk-rock record, then I just went, “I can’t do that again.” Then I heard Metallica, and I was like, “Fuck, let them do it!” But you know, they didn’t have to keep doing it.
Was country music a big influence?
We always knew about it, and had dabbled in it — we did “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” on our first record. Then I was just like, “Know what, we could use this stuff to really hurt punk rockers’ feelings.” Because I was starting to hate them. Like, “Oh yeah, freedom? As long as we don’t leave your box!” It has to be loud, fast, pissed off. It’s just like more classifications, that don’t really do you or your art any good. So, what we really need to do is not just be defiant, we have to actually hurt these people’s feelings. Let’s just do this as ass-backwards as we possibly can — like we thought Jimi Hendrix did it — get fucked up, and make a fucked-up fuckin’ record, exactly the way you want to.
How did the new direction go down with SST themselves?
They got it. They always got it, even Black Flag. Greg Ginn and Chuck [Dukowski] and The Minutemen and Hüsker Dü were all our best buddies — and are still some of my best friends. They had to be taken seriously as punk rockers. Then you got Rollins. Then it’s, Look out! Things get real serious. Everything was drawing a lot of mosh pit stuff, but they liked it, because we could open for them, and their crowd would just spit all over us, and hate us, and they’d be good and pissed off by the time Black Flag came on.
They figured it out, too, though — like, “This is funny, you guys came in like a punk rock thing, but you’re so not,” so it was part of actually the growing ethos that that label had. The Minutemen were doing it. We just tried to take the jock, macho element out of our thing, initially. What I saw with punk rock, especially in L.A., it was becoming like an athletic event for people to slamdance to. So it was like, let’s just play stuff that’ll put these people to sleep. That’s when people were going [aggrieved dullard's voice], “Pink Floyd! Neil Young! Grateful Dead!” I was like, “Yeah, I like that stuff!”
You recorded Up On The Sun in three days flat. You wouldn’t have believed at the time that you’d be playing it in full at a festival in 2011, at the behest of one of the world’s coolest bands, ATP curators Animal Collective…
I would’ve said no! We hardly ever played it live that much. I see why we didn’t. There’s a lot of guitar parts on it, and it’s very artsy, it needs to be examined. Once again: more thought than I like to put into something when I’m onstage. I don’t know: God bless Animal Collective, I don’t know ‘em, I don’t know what their motivation is here, probably self-indulgence — they just wanna sit there and drink beers and hear Up On The Sun played live.
(click here to continue reading eMusic Q&A: The Meat Puppets – eMusic Spotlight.)
The Meat Puppets were one of my favorite SST bands back in my UT – Austin days, especially their second album (wikipedia entry). I liked them for the fact that they weren’t afraid to abandon the jock-rock aggressive music template and play some unusual genres.
I am an official backer of this project, mostly because Glass Eye was one of my favorite bands when I lived in Austin1. Seems like they often came to the Magnolia Cafe too, which happened to be the place that, indirectly, paid my tuition, but that might have been more because the drummer was dating a fellow employee there. Memories fade over time, what I do remember is seeing Glass Eye perform live multiple times, over a multi-year span, and always enjoying it.
Anyway, not the point.
Here’s what Brian Beattle says about his project:
I’ve written a musical called “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”. It’s an epic surreal musical audio drama, a low tech extravaganza whose story is told complete with tunes, dialogue, sound effects and incidental music, packaged inside a beautiful 31 page fully illustrated book, not unlike the old Disney gatefold Buena Vista records. My wife, Valerie Fowler, drew the book, and I’m making the record.
The story is based in Austin, Tx., in 1938. The first day of summer vacation. Hidden away down in her favorite creek, 10 year old Ivy Wire sits with her battered guitar singing to the birds and the trees. Suddenly the sky darkens and she follows a mockingbird into a nearby cave. She hears a monstrous roar and sees a tumbling wall of muddy water rushing towards her. “FLASH FLOOD!!”. She barely escapes by scampering into a hole, but she immediately starts plunging into darkness. Thus begins her descent into the Underworld.
About 2 years ago, when the bottom really dropped out and the economy tanked, I got the spark of the idea. I started, much to the chagrin of my family, to watch depression era musicals every single night. By late summer 2009, my “spark” was named “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”. I’ve been working on it on and off since then, and I’ve been lucky enough to enlist my “Dream Cast”.
Daniel Johnston plays “the Big Boss”, the Lord of the Underworld.
Bill Callahan Plays “Everything”, a supreme deity.
Will Sheff is “Mister Kirby”, the Chief Admissions Officer of the Eternal Incarceration System.
K. McCarty plays “Celia Wire”, Ivy’s momma.
James Hand plays “Cosmo Wire”, Ivy’s daddy.
Brian Beattie plays the “Omniscient Serenader”, and also “Org”, an employee of the Eternal Incarceration System.
Grace London plays “Ivy Wire”, the hero. She’s 11. I met her at the Zilker Elementary talent show, where she turned a bunch of dozing parents into a standing ovation.
The record also features performances by Amy Annelle, Matt the Electrician, and my daughter, Ramona Beattie.
As of right now, 14 and a half of the 16 songs are recorded. The artwork is almost completely finished as well. If we meet our kickstarter goal, you will have financed the finishing of the project, which includes the composition and recording of the incidental music, finishing the dialogue/ foley work (the elements which make this an “ear movie”), paying musicians, the finalization and scanning of the drawings, and the mixing and mastering of the record. Mostly, it will involve a good 3 months of straight work for me, and I need to finish or I will tear out my remaining hair. All of the composition and most of the playing is done by me all by my lonesome, so it’s mostly just a matter of me slugging away at it for a little longer here in my home studio.
If we exceed our goals, the money could go towards making videos based on Valerie’s drawings, and supporting the book and record store tours Valerie and I will be going on to support the record. We are soon going to look for a wonderful, savvy label to release the actual product, but if it seems appropriate, and if our kickstarter is very successful, we could release it ourselves.
Thanks for your curiosity. Please tell someone about “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase”.
Project location: Austin, TX
If you’ve got a buck or two extra, throw it his way. What were you going to do with anyway? Piss it away on beer? Oh, that’s just me…Footnotes:
- from 1981-1994, for the record [↩]