Archive for October, 2005

New signs at the courthouse

plaque.jpgThe commemorative plaque has been there for a while, but the new sign renaming the courthouse in remembrance of Heman Sweatt has been up just over a week.

The courthouse is a favorite place for voting early: on weekdays all the bustle is entertaining in and of itself; on weekends, it’s simple to combine with a visit to the library and any other event of your choice. Sunday, it was easy to check out the music at the Texas Book Festival and kibitz at the children’s chess tourney in Wooldridge Park, between the courthouse and the library.

On the ground floor near the cafeteria, there’s a big new sign up offering the services of a notary public during the hours that the desk is staffed, in exchange for three dollars and a show of identification. This is the same location that has traditionally had a sign advising people in search of a notary public to go elsewhere, so this is a great convenience.

Statesman: Austin police at scene of a shooting involving an officer in N. Austin

There’s now a story at the site: “Warren Hassinger, spokesman for Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services, said EMS transported a man to Brackenridge Hospital with critical injuries earlier today. He did not release the man’s name or age.” It happened near 183 and I-35. According to News 8 Austin, “Police (had responded) to the scene in a four-plex encountered a black man with a knife.” But the injuries are non-life-threatening. The police had held an information fest in North Austin last Saturday.

Update: KXAN has some details about the shooting: “Heilman, a four-year veteran, fired his weapon once and hit Roberts in the cheek. Roberts was transported to Brackenridge Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” I’m wondering why he would aim for the man’s cheek when he could hit his extremities instead to disable them.

Update: Officer William Heilman, who shot the knife-wielding man, said he did so because the man (Ernest Roberts) was “too close to him.”

Update: The story gets weirder and weirder. The arrest affidavit says that Roberts did not take the knives out of his pocket and “he refused several orders to take his hands out of his pockets and repeatedly told the officers to shoot.” He had a last will and testament in his pocket. So he was on a suicide mission and the officers were happy to oblige? Police filed an aggravated assault charge against Roberts yesterday.

Update: A Taser instructor has criticized the APD’s taser policy in this case and the Clark death.

The Bitter End comes sooner than expected

Many local news sources are reporting that The Bitter End, damaged in a fire in August, will not be re-built after all. The current location and the parking lot to its south are slated for a new hotel sometime in the future.

From what I can gather, most of the current employees of the restaurant will move across the street to the new Capitol Brasserie, run by the same group that owns Bitter End. I suppose that Craigslist posting last week wasn’t all that necessary? Capitol Brasserie replaces another venture by the same owners, Mezzaluna. From the description, it sounds like Capitol Brasserie will be something similar to Les Halles in NYC.

I guess B-Side will remain open for now, but I’m assuming that it’s ultimately doomed as well. The articles seem to imply that Bitter End may return at an alternate location, but plans are vague. There’s a meeting for employees to discuss the future of the location and its staff sometime today.

So we’re going to lose another decent local business and parking lot to a hotel? Seems to me that parking is scarce enough as it is in the warehouse district. Do we really need another hotel downtown at the expense of an existing (historic?) building and business?

SXSW Announces Speakers for 2006

The 2006 SXSW Music Conference seems to be taking an acoustic/singer-songwriter tack this year. The first round of speakers announced for next year’s conference will include Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson and Billy Bragg. Still not announced is this year’s keynote speaker (though Kristofferson would certainly be a good candidate). With the conference hitting its 20-year anniversary this year, it has a complete list of keynote speakers on the site (including then-Spin Magazine chief Bob Guccione Jr. What’s he doing nowadays?). Anyone have a guess on who will keynote this year? Perhaps a New Orleans performer? Jerry Lee Lewis? Rod Stewart? Would they have a chance to get Bono or Mick? What other music icon has a big album coming out next year?

Kinky’s Golf Fundraiser with Willie and Jesse Raises $150,000

Kinky Friedman boosted his campaign coffers by $150,000 today with his golf fundraiser featuring Willie Nelson and Jesse Ventura, according to Quorum Report. Guests included an NRA member, Jerry Jeff Walker and Tom DeLay’s defense lawyer, Dick Deguerin, who said to the crowd, “I

First off the assembly line

jackoo.jpgIf he looks this alarming by day, he’s sure to look at least a bit frightening when illuminated tonight for the first time. There are more where he and his siblings came from and will be right up until 8 pm tomorrow evening, Halloween night itself. This year, the tools of choice are a serrated blade for carving and one of those blue-enameled metal kitchen spoons from Mexico for scraping. I think that a serrated blade (like the one used for scraping scales from a fish) does work better than the plain thin and sharp blade used last year.

Snippets: Austin Film Festival Edition


  • The Movie Guys: "Being a Martin script, however, there are some good moments. One very good scene about halfway through effectively conveys the sad fact that, when it comes to relationships, we tend to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, as opposed to what is actually there. This is not a bad film. To compare it to other films starring Martin, it is nowhere near as execrable as Cheaper by the Dozen or Mixed Nuts. Unfortunately, Shopgirl falls short, the work of a gifted writer who just couldn’t quite get a handle on his story."
  • Productio Ad Absurdam: "Anand directs his actors well, although I get a very strong impression that most of the three exceptional lead performances were the actors’ creations and had little to do with direction. His cinematography choices bothered me some, especially the gimmicky, almost cartoonish, long shots of Martin’s private plane descending on Seattle and the starscapes. When Tucker mentioned during the Q&A that he was a huge Douglas Sirk fan, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. It shows. Like pantylines."


Austin Week in Review – 10/28/2005

Thousands pedal in Armstrong’s bike ride for cancer Police department applicant dies during obstacle course Police gear stolen from vehicle
State to lease offshore area for wind-powered energy farm Edwards challenges UT students to fight poverty Austin Energy wins national wind power award
Austin congressman introduces border security bill Fifth graders do lap dances and allegedly expose selves Commissioners take on $47M in debt
Texas 52, Texas Tech 17 UT claims No. 1 BCS ranking Council member says he won’t seek re-election
Big plans for Seaholm approved $50M condo project slated for S. Lamar Austin tissue bank recalls grafts
Grand jury issues new subpoenas in DeLay probe

Bartlett mayor arrested on charges of stealing from city

Blacks call for city to act on quality-of-life improvements

Texan, musical, free and almost

Completely free today, courtesy of the Texas Book Festival, at the music tent at 11th and Colorado in front of the Capitol grounds, are almost too many attractions to mention, beginning with the Mariachi Rebeldes del Sur of Travis High at 10 am, and going straight through with one attraction after another, including Kinky Friedman at 2 and Johnny Degollado y su conjunto at 3.

One day only, and that’s today, at Mexic-Arte, just $6 for adults and $2 for kids under 12, hear Los Skarnales, the Gustavo Rodriguez Band, Mary Welch y Los Curanderos, and the fabulous Joe “King” Carrasco. There’s no time given for the music, but it probably begins following the parade’s arrival back at the museum, most likely around 7 pm this evening. (Sign up for this costumed parade over at Plaza Saltillo before it sets off at 6 pm.) The parade is in costume and all are invited to participate. And don’t forget the Chihuahua costume contest. With games and food from Curra’s and La Paletera and more music than listed, this is a wonderful event for children of all ages. A dollar of each admission goes to the food bank.

With even more from its cornucopia of free Texas music, tomorrow the Book Festival offers Austin’s diva of piano and song, Margaret Wright, at noon, followed immediately by the Soul Stirrers, the Eggmen, the Texas Eastside Kings, and Freddie Steady.

Week of letters

The Austin Chronicle/Fado Adult Spelling Bee benefitting Austin Public Library happened last night and I missed it. However, the Texas Book Festival is this weekend and there’s lots of good stuff.

For the kids, Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket’s alter-ego, will be giving a presentation at the Paramount on that Saturday. Wristbands for admission to the event were distributed a couple of weeks ago at B&N Arboretum and B&N Sunset Valley and sold out quickly. The 12th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, The Penultimate Peril, was released a little over a week ago.

The big names for the adult authors are probably Bill Clinton and Salman Rushdie. Like Handler, Clinton will also be giving a talk at the Capitol on the Saturday of the festival. The wristbands for admission to that event are sold out as well.

You can check out the list of all the attending authors, both kids and adults. Of course, the festival includes many Texas authors, including Kinky Friedman and locals Michael Corcoran and Marrit Ingman, about whom I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

Alamo Drafthouse is hosting two After Hours screenings as part of the festival. Tonight is Eli Wallach with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly at Alamo South Lamar and tomorrow night is Chris Elliott, screening Cabin Boy at Alamo Downtown. It looks like the Eli Wallach screening is sold out, but there are still tickets available to Chris Elliott. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the two evenings will have a slightly different tone. I haven’t seen or heard much about Elliott lately, but I loved his early 90’s TV show, Get a Life, and he was on board with Letterman before he moved to CBS and started sucking.

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