Austin


Tonight, I went with B to see Public Enemy at Auditorium Shores, an amphitheater on the shore of Town Lake, which is known as the Colorado River elsewhere.

It’s a beautiful location with downtown as the backdrop:

There were tens of thousands of people there. I am terrible at estimating crowd size, but it was a remarkable number of people. We were nowhere near the stage and there were 2 or 3 hundred feet worth of people behind us.

The show was decent. Chuck D, Flava Flav, Professor Griff were all there, and they had a live band. The sound was not great. We were over past the speakers, but it just wasn’t very loud.

The set didn’t last more than 90 minutes. They jumped around a bit, mostly old stuff, a couple of new songs. Everything hung together well. There was a little too much Flava Flav for my taste. It was his birthday, so there were at least three separate mentions of it. There was some great political stuff.

Overall, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t the group though. It was the audience. The audience sucked. Hard. We have a problem of bad audiences here in town. People go to shows and stand in front of the band and talk. It’s incredibly rude and infuriating.

There were plenty of people talking throughout the entire show. Not, “I love this song!” and then shutting up, but “I loved Flavor of Love!” “My camera’s not working” “Where are we going when this is done.” The whining! I was absolutely appalled.

I wanted to punch them very hard. I moved as far away as I could, but it was dark and packed and there was only so far I could wander from B to get away from the talking.

How people can be so rude is just beyond me. It’s disrespectful to the audience and it’s disrespectful to everyone around them who are trying to enjoy the show.

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Tonight, I spent a very long 5 plus hours at a very strange banquet: The 2007 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards.

The evening honored former Governor Ann Richards, who was a giant in politics in Texas, and a giant for the women of Texas. It is hard to overestimate her impact on the lives of people here. She had hosted four of these awards ceremonies, so her old friend Liz Smith hosted and the evening was sprinkled with rembrances by Lily Tomlin, Anna Deveare Smith (who I love), and others.

The night’s first inductee was Richard Linklater, who joked about all the times he and Robert Rodriguez are mistaken for each other.

Thanks to the Statesman that tradition continues:

Bill Paxton was inducted next. He was very humble and charming. He spoke about the difference between being nominated by your peers in the industry and being honored by your home state.

Next, Betty Buckley who is most known for her amazing work on Broadway, was inducted. She was introduced by a still stunning Phyllis George who we saw before the dinner and looked as good close up as she did on the gigantic screens. Buckley spoke about the great tradition of Texas women, a theme echoed through the night.

Lance Armstrong appeared to induct the Dixie Chicks for some “soundtrack award.” Armstrong told of one of the first “get well” cards he received after he was diagnosed with cancer: Ann Richards wrote: Lance, What a rotten deal.”

The Dixie Chicks, well two of them, anyway, were there and were very moving in their acceptance.

The last inductee was Elizabeth Avellan, the producer of Desperado, Spy Kids, Sin CIty, Grindhouse, etc. (along with her now-estranged husband Robert Rodriguez). Her induction by the group she and Rodriguez had cofounded could have been all kinds of awkward. She handled everything very gracefully, thanking first God, then her parents, then her “partner of 18 years and the father of my 6 children.”

She said that “filmaking is a combination of going to summer camp and going to war.” That’s one of the best descriptions I’ve heard.

It was a long evening (5 hours!). I bumped into some old friends, and M and I were the guests of some wonderful people, so we enjoyed ourselves.

Austin Sound put together a compilation of 20 Austin bands.

It’s a fairly comprehensive indie compilation that still managed to miss all of my local favorites including Driver F and The Black and White Years.

Definitely check it out.

It’s a bad time of year: everyone needs millions of things done before SX, plus all of the other non-SX-related actual business.

Posting may be intermittent while I keep drafting and drafting and drafting. And talking on the phone. And then drafting more.

Argh.

On the good side, it’s gorgeous out. Really gorgeous. Beautiful, bright, low 70s, no humidity.

Bankers I knew a decade ago referred to this as a “$20,000 day” . . . a day on which you would sell your house anywhere else in the world for a $20,000 loss, just to move to Austin.

Gibson Guitar has put decorated guitar statues throughout downtown and the Hike and Bike Trail.

Like Chicago’s “Cows on Parade” (1999), the guitars are all decorated differently:

One I saw at 10th and Lamar was covered in record store and band bumper stickers.

Another along Lamar is covered in disco ball-style mirrors.

Below are a few pictures I took as M and I wandered along the Hike and Bike on Town Lake a couple of weeks ago.



Gibson guitars has put up these cool guitar statues all over town, decorated by artists.

This morning, M (hi, M!) sent me the link to a story that the one commemorating Austin Black history was missing and presumed stolen.

We had all sorts of theories about what could have happened, to that one especially.

Fortunately, it has been located. It had been taken down because the base was broken.

The picture above is from the Statesman.

Well, this is embarrassing:

I live in Austin.
I go to shows in Austin.
I talk about music with musicians and other industry people in Austin.

Still, I had to find out about Voxtrot, an Austin band, from the blogosphere!

(Hit replay on our regular rant about the true lack of a scene, “infrastructure,” and anything that would enable us to have a vibrant music industry here. Moving on . . .)

Finding out about them, it still took a random shuffle in the middle of the night for me to listen to them. I awoke on a recent Sunday morning just so I could hit replay when I heard Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Wives.

Hear it streaming on Last.fm and buy the EP from iTunes or Amazon. It’s an excellent EP and well worth buying.

Also, check out The Voxtrot Kid, for more Voxtrot goodness, straight from the source.

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