When I Wake Up

When I Wake Up
When I Wake Up, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

first real snow of the season, a little later than normal. Photo better when viewed in Lightbox.

Winter finally arrived in Chicago (today’s high is below freezing, so the snow is still visible in most places.)

Antone’s on Lavaca

Antone's on Lavaca

can’t be as cool as the former Antone’s location on Guadalupe1 where I witnessed Otis Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan have an extended guitar duel (SRV won, even though Otis Rush was the headline act), or John Lee Hooker delve into grunge2

Too bad Clifford Antone has passed on. RIP.

Antone was like the music scene’s maitre d’, greeting friends and strangers warmly, always ready to help in any way he could. He was known for paying acts more than they took in at the door, dipping into his own wallet to help both aging bluesmen and young, broke enthusiasts who moved to Austin from all over the world because they had heard that the world’s greatest blues club was here.

One by one, Antone’s heroes passed away — Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown — but not before they played the club Antone opened as a 25-year-old in 1975 on Sixth Street, back before Sixth Street was known as an entertainment district. At that first of four locations, he’d often book them for a week at a time so the original electric blues cats wouldn’t have to travel between gigs. Every night, Antone would stand at the side of the stage with a broad smile. His gushy introductions were almost as legendary as his club.

While much of the Austin population became aware of Antone mainly through two high-profile marijuana busts — in 1984 and 1997 — for which he served two stints in federal prison, those who knew him personally describe a warm, big-hearted blues encyclopedia who truly did it all for the music more than the money. “He loved to book the big names, but he also liked to turn folks on to the great sidemen,” said Connie Hancock of the Texana Dames. Eddie Taylor, Wayne Bennett, Hubert Sumlin, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Luther Tucker may have been better known for backing others, but at Antone’s they were superstars. “Playing at Antone’s for the first time was an incredible thrill,” said guitarist Eve Monsees, who was called up to join a blues jam when she was just 15. “Clifford had never heard me play, but when he asked me who I liked and I said ‘Magic Sam’ he figured I’d be OK.” “He was a giant,” said blues musician Jon Blondell. “He lived for the music, and if you were a musician, that meant he existed for you.”

He backed his affinity with an unmatched knowledge of the blues and taught a class on the subject at the University of Texas for the past two years. “How many other teachers at the University of Texas got their name in the title of the course?” said Kevin Mooney, the music professor who organized “Blues According to Clifford Antone.” “He adored the students and loved giving back to them. He didn’t want that class to end every day; there was so much material he wanted to share with them.” If you liked the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Snooky Pryor or Sunnyland Slim, you had a good friend in Antone, the cherubic Lebanese American with the askew hair, who grew up in Port Arthur and came to love the blues when he traced the roots of acts such as Cream and Fleetwood Mac.

(click to continue reading Austin TX music: Music listings, bands, music news, reviews, SXSW and ACL | Austin360.com.)

  1. 2915 Guadalupe St. []
  2. JLH turned up the distortion on his guitar, and really let it ring out []

A Clemency of Elders

Under the CTA tracks.

A Clemency of Elders

Van Buren

Looks better if you embiggen: decluttr

I honestly don’t remember the reference the title refers to, could be anything. Titles are created on the cuff, based on what I’m reading, hearing, or otherwise improvisationally.


Been Waiting on the Bus All Day Part Two

Been Waiting on the Bus All Day part two

I got my brown paper bag and my take-home pay

View On Black

In re: nothing in particular, this photo taken while a passenger in a car, slowly creeping up Lawrence Avenue a few summers ago. Modified in Photoshop using Kodak T-Max p3200 emulation.

I know this isn’t a technically masterful photo, but I like something ineffable about it. Maybe it is the “fuck you” look, maybe the slight blur. Maybe the Dentist neon behind the dude in wife-beater wear.

Black and White Upreach

Black and White upreach

View in Lightbox

Shot with a Hipstamatic1. The north branch of the Chicago River has more and more places that are pedestrian friendly.

No idea what the title even means, to be honest. Naming photographs is sometimes difficult, especially when one takes several thousand a year.

  1. Lens: John S / Flash: Off / Film: BlacKeys SuperGrain []

Not Knowing Is Just Fine

Not Knowing is Just Fine

A photo taken at the Japanese garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, manipulated a few days later in SwankoLab.1 Lightbox version.

The cloth rope tied around the rope is supposedly a Do Not Enter sign.

Title is a poor translation of a Zen phrase, rendered at Wikiquote as:


  • Shiranu ga hotoke.
  • Literally: Not knowing is Buddha.
  1. using Jerry’s Developer, Vinny’s CO34, and Zero []

Without shadows is without magnificence

Developed in SwankoLab for iPhone using Vinny’s BL94, Vinny’s BL04, Noir Fixer, and Noir Fixer.

Wonder how long the SwankoLab “blue” bug will remain? Has been quite some time now.

Click here for Lightbox version

You can see the erroneous blue tint in the upper right of the photo; amusingly, Riverbend Condominium does have strips of blue lights on their buildings, just not quite like this.