Archive for May, 2005

Free Breakfast for Bike Commuters on Friday

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Since May is National Bike Month (complete with a blog) and this week is Bike to Work Week, on Friday, Austin area establishments will be providing free breakfast from 7 a.m.-8 a.m. for people who are biking to work. Whole Foods will be taking part in the activities as well by providing pastries and water for bikers between 7 a.m and 9 a.m. (and who’s to say whether you’re riding to work or not?).

Here’s a listing of Austin locations serving free breakfast Friday:

  • Bouldin Creek Coffee House. 1501 South 1st St.
  • Café Mundi. 1704 East 5th Street.
  • Las Manitas Avenue Café. 211 Congress Ave.
  • Quack’s Bakery. 411 East 43rd Street
  • Quack’s Bakery. 1400 East 38th 1/2 Street
  • Wheatsville Co-Op. 3101 Guadalupe Street.
  • Whole Foods Market. 6th Street and Lamar. (Bicycle Sport Shop, Clif Bar and Rocket Shower will be on-hand as well.)
  • Upper Crust Bakery. 4508 Burnet Rd.

Here’s a complete listing of other Bike Month activities going on in Austin this month.

The Sanitization of Red River: Reddy Ice Knocked Down By New Apartment Complex

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The Statesman reports that two new apartment complexes are in the works on Red River. Greystar, a South Carolina-based developer, will be building a new upscale apartment complex, to be called Red River Flats, on the site of the current Reddy Ice building (near Stubb’s). Across the street, another developer has plans to build Neches Oak Tower (though the deal is not yet complete), on a location that may encroach on the Velvet Spade and Club de Ville.

And make no mistake about it. The ultimate goal of these developers is to turn the currently grungy area of Red River into a replica of Sixth and Lamar.

Developers say they hope to turn the site, which has been an eyesore, into a catalyst for other residential and retail development.

“That’s an edgy area of town. . . . It’s not like being across from Whole Foods,” said Angelique Goodnough, the Austin regional partner for Greystar.

Though the Velvet Spade may be doomed to the annals of history, Abigail King, co-owner of Club de Ville, told the Statesman she’s not too worried about the Neches project.

Abigail King, co-owner of the popular Club de Ville across the street, is excited about the prospects.

“It’s part of downtown Austin, and the possibilities are endless,” King said. “These are people who don’t have to drive home. Bring ’em on.”

It’s unclear how the other Red River project, Neches Oak Tower, might affect Club de Ville, which sits on part of the site.

Stephen Soward, an Austin architect who is developing the project with other partners, said his group is talking to the club owners about possibly incorporating the venue into their project.

“We’re looking at all kinds of different options,” Soward said.

King said she isn’t worried yet because the project “is very hypothetical until the property changes hands.”

Could these new projects be one of the reasons why the police department, who had looked the other way for years, recently made a drug sweep through that area in “Operation Rapid Fire”?

And what will be the ultimate effects of converting the area from a seedy, yet safe, environment to a playground for upscale patrons? Will the now booming Red River rock-and-roll scene be displaced by trendy boutique shopping and yuppie bars with overpriced drinks? Will Club de Ville’s beautiful outdoor courtyard be encroached by an overhead apartment building?

Rating the Star Wars Lines

DSCN2228.JPGIt’s become as cliched as the “slow clap” that sci-fi events attract lines outside of movie theaters. Sitting on the precipice of the final Star Wars chapter, attention and derision for fan lines have been swirling for weeks (nearly months) in LA. Austin, being more relaxed / hip / unhip / whatever than LA, has only gotten in the Episode III line game within the last week.

Coming home from the gym last night, I noticed a line had formed outside the Alamo South Lamar and decided to do a quick evaluation of the Austin Star Wars lines. The group outside of Alamo is organized by the Star Wars Austin Fan Force, which only comprised 6 die hards as of 8:30 this morning. But what they lacked in humans they compensated for in stuff, including a large R2-D2 thingy and multimedia projection.

I swung by the “competing” camp-out at Barton Creek Cinemas, but didn’t have the heart to wake them up for a more detailed comparison. I’ll swing by over lunch and see how they stack up with the group at Alamo.

Hill Country Weekends, Vol. 2

DSCN2187.jpgQuick, think of a Hill Country town where you can find a relaxed pace of life, unique arts and crafts, delicious food, AND a really great cup of coffee. If you guessed Fredericksburg, then you’re of a similar mind to the thousands who swarm Main Street every weekend. But if you’d prefer to get away from the crowds, no other place in the Hill Country can offer a better small town experience than Mason, Texas (population 2,148).

If Dripping Springs is the gateway to the Hill Country, then Mason is the last stop before the Panhandle Plains. It sits 40-some miles northwest of Fredericksburg along Hwy 87, which is off the beaten path unless you’re making for Brady or San Angelo. Being on the road less traveled has allowed Mason to retain its slower pace, without all the chain stores and kitschy tourism that come with traffic.
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D-e-a-d! What this bill deserves to be!

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Well, the now infamous cheerleading bill appears to have died in the Texas Senate. I suppose Al Edwards (D-Houston) got whatever political mileage he wanted out of it, although I’m at a loss to see what positive effect it could have on his current or future political career. At the very least, he now has the honor of being the subject of one of the infamous Daily Show “interviews” with the always creepy Bob Wiltfong. Those of you in his district can use the state house link to let him know if you think this was a good use of legislative time or if he should be doing something else. He’s certainly proof that stupidity (or at least shameless grandstanding) comes from either side of the aisle.

Lending further proof to the notion that you take for granted what’s in your own backyard, it took a post from Fleshbot to remind me that Austin’s very own Satan’s Cheerleaders might have something to say about Rep. Edwards and his crusade. It does my heart good to see the Cheerleaders are still in full form. If you’ve never checked out a Flametrick Subs show with Satan’s Cheerleaders, you’re clearly not a true Austinite. They’ve been throwing it down for at least 6 or 7 years, starting out at the now burned-and-gutted, but still legendary, Black Cat Lounge.

Third to Last Picture Show

Alamo-DH.jpgFollowing up on Tim’s reference to The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich himself is in town this weekend playing host to a trio of his films. He appears tonight at Alamo South Lamar with TLPS, and then Saturday and Sunday he moves to the downtown location with Paper Moon and Mask. As of this moment, tickets are available for tonight’s 9:45 show.

The Last Picture Show is worth seeing on its own merits – it’s a gorgeous coming-of-age film set against the poignant decline of a small Texas town – made all the more compelling with Peter Bogdanovich in attendance. PB is not only a renowned film-maker, but also an accomplished journalist and storyteller whose path has crossed many legendary and gregarious Hollywood personalities along the way. Bogdanovich is also known for several high-profile daliances, but there’s no reason to dwell in the gutter. Go for the film (or for 19-year-old Cybill Shepherd’s nude scene … perv), but definitely stay for the discussion.

Fleabilly Flickr Photos

Fleabilly has created a beautiful black and white Flickr photoset that makes Austin look like something out of Peter Bogdanovich’s “The Last Picture Show.” I encourage you to check it out.

The Church of the Friendly Ghost To Close

The Chronicle reports that due to zoning violations, the East side music mecca The Church of the Friendly Ghost has been forced to close by a neighborhood cease and desist order. Though many of the venue’s current bookings may be transferred to Beerland, the ambience and intimacy of COFG will be sorely missed.

Update: Austinist informs us the venue may still be used as a gallery-type venue.

What’s next, Survivor: Dripping Springs?

cops_header_new_jan2005.jpgNo sooner has MTV finished taping their ode to hormones and booze known as The Real World, then another old school reality show steps into town to pick up the slack. The local daily is reporting that COPS has chosen to film none other than Travis County’s finest for some of next season’s exploration of criminal stupidity. While our fair county isn’t quite so back-woodsy as it used to be, there should still be ample display of the Whiskey Tango lifestyle to make their trip worthwhile.

The COPS team will be filming through June, so you lucky folk in the county have the next eight weeks to tempt fame and stardom by arguing incoherently with your estranged wife/cousin, posturing shirtless on your rickety porch, or pumping your neighbor’s car full of buckshot. And since this is on camera, this is your big chance to flee from arrest without fear of excessively brutal retribution. Do us proud, and show the world the real Austin City Limits.

Austin Access Television and Austin Music Network In Jeopardy?

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This week, Austin Community Television’s funding is under attack from the Texas Legislature. Under HB 3179 which may go into effect September 1st, funding for all public access television in Austin will be cut off. Under a clause added to a PUC bill by State Rep. Phil King, “HB 3179, would allow SBC and Verizon Communications Inc. to get a single statewide franchise for their planned Internet-based television service, avoiding local agreements. Cable companies could cancel local franchise agreements, but would have to pay a fee. Texas cities oppose the bill, which would cost them money and remove their authority over cable service standards.”

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