Archive for November, 2005

The new cartography

In the lead paragraph, Buda is described as being a “tiny town, halfway between Austin and San Antonio.” Were that so, travel between Austin and San Antonio would take much less time than it does! The article (by Kate Murphy) is on page C8 in the business section of today’s New York Times and is entitled “Sporting Goods and Its Own Business Model: Cabela’s Serves as a Retail Magnet for Small Towns (Tax Incentives Required).” The dateline is Buda. Here, rounded up in one place, is a summary of the process that brought Cabela’s to this part of the world, including highway work, infrastructure improvements generally, and assistance in several forms from various governmental entities.

A view for all

In the wake of renewed talk of building on Robertson Hill, just east of IH-35 between Ninth and Eleventh Streets, there are complaints from Eastsiders that beautiful views of the Tower, the Capitol, and all of downtown will be blocked forever. And they will. And it will be a loss.

If you’ve ever lived where you can enjoy those views, you can see the Tower lit up in orange, you can tell something about the weather by how foggy things look around the dome of the Capitol, and at night you can enjoy the sight of all downtown illuminated in a rainbow spectrum of colors.

Even though many in-town streets were not paved until well after World War II, some not until well into the 1950s and even 1960s, this 1936 map delineating the city limits before East Avenue was built over, when South Congress was the San Antonio Highway, and when there was just one bridge across the river also makes it clear that no Austinite went without a view of the Tower, the Capitol, or downtown; many enjoyed a view of all three. All 53,120 Austin-dwellers enjoyed this priceless amenity available now to an ever-shrinking percentage of Austinites.

Commence with the holiday merriment

Strains of “White Christmas” from the H-E-B loudspeakers well over a week before Thanksgiving was a little much. I noticed the lights and garland on Congress and the decorations in the Arboretum shopping center going up around the same time. It’s almost clich

Tribeza to Celebrate World AIDS Day

Tribeza, the trendy artsy glossy in Austin, is planning a benefit on December 1.

The PositiveMoms Foundation was established to help HIV-positive mothers in South Africa to access life-saving treatment and medical care.

TRIBEZA and the PositiveMoms Foundation invite you to make a difference this World AIDS Day. Join us for an elegant dinner and performance featuring Lannaya West African Drum and Dance Ensemble as we help raise funds and awareness for this global crisis.

When: Thursday, December 1, 7-10pm
Where: Spazio, 1214 West 6th Street
Tickets: $200 each

“Tejano has moved” part III

Turntable Records, now located behind Penn Field on Woodbury between Alpine off South Congress and Ben White, has much more space than it did when it was in the little Golden Slipper center on West Mary. Turntable still stocks the same turntables and DJ gear that it has carried for over 19 years and there’s now an even fuller selection of hip-hop and Latin music of all kinds, including a very broad array of Tejano and conjunto music.

Now that new Tejano and conjunto releases aren’t receiving air play around here, Turntable is the best bet for hearing the latest. The owner gladly plays any request, and he’s generally there to do so every day of the week but Sunday, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Turntable is a good place to find the latest issue of Arriba Art & Business News, which has printed a new open letter by Julian Limon Fernandez (11/23/05 issue, page 8). It’s addressed to Univision and to Border Music Productions, which between them now hold the licenses for the local stations broadcasting in Spanish.

In a way, this is a follow-up post to “Tejano has moved” and “Tejano has moved” part II. On Saturday afternoon, everybody in the store was talking about the radio situation. This is an issue that isn’t going to disappear.

Not everyone makes Santa’s “nice” list

If you have some folks on your Christmas list that fall into the ‘naughty’ category, some local folk have setup a site to send them a bag of coal. The perfect idea for those that really do deserve it. Austin’s creative folk sure help me out in the crunch of the holiday season. Go to twolumpsofcoal.com and complete your shopping list!

Dallas Comedy Troupe Comes to Austin

Experience the extravaganza that is QUEERTOWN

New trail markers

newmilemarker.jpgLast week, I posted an image of Town Lake trail markers that had been stacked and stored away. I had assumed they were extras or replacements, but it turns out that the 20-year-old etched markers are now relegated to headstones in their very own graveyard of irrelevance.

New markers have replaced the familiar stones at most points along the trail, sometimes moved slightly in the name of accuracy. For now, trail patrons will have to entertain themselves with counting only at half-mile increments, although the quarter-mile markers are funded and will arrive at some point. The architecturally-inspired design, produced by Yellow Fin Studios, is meant to echo the architecture along Town Lake. They clearly favored the new City Hall flair over the Holly Street industrial ethos.

New markers are only one change initiated by the Town Lake Trail Foundation, which is also spearheading new maps and signage along the trail, as well as a test of ambient lighting. Along with all the tree maintenance and trail restoration, Town Lake is receiving lots of attention these days. And with the perfect Fall temperatures we’re having, there’s no better time to appreciate it.

While the old trail markers may not fit in with Austin’s sleek brushed-aluminum future, they are still perfectly capable of showing numbers for years to come. If you have particular need to display a “6.25” somewhere and have $500 you’d like to donate to future trail improvements, then contact [dan at townlaketrail dot org] for more info.

Two more added

Just last week Metroblogging added Islamabad and Vancouver. This week? Dubai and Miami. Could there be any more of a juxtaposition in city cultures? I think not.

Casino El Camino 11th Anniversary Party Recap

Sons of HerculesTook me a few days, but I finally posted some shots from the party. I arrived around 10:30, just before Nic Armstrong and the Thieves began their set, things were running late because of a faulty mixing board. In keeping with Murphy’s Law, the keg cooler had also died that afternoon, meaning that they had to pack the thing with ice for the whole night or lose all of the kegs. There wasn’t anywhere to get a new compressor at 4pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I’m guessing they’ve gotten it repaired by now as the ice was causing a swamp behind the bar.

I missed Nic Armstrong at ACL, but they were quite good, definitely working the British angle. I didn’t get close enough to get any good shots because it was already so crowded on the patio by the time I walked back there. The whole place was packed for most of the night. I saw quite a few people there: Wiley, Johnny V. from Pink Swords, several members of Ugly Beats, to name a few. I hung out at the bar until Sons of Hercules started and then headed back to get some shots for the web site. I think I got some pretty good ones. They had a good sound considering they were out on the patio and crammed into a corner. I think Dale was a little distracted by the go-go dancers.

I’ve known Casino for roughly 15 years. We were record store clerks together at the old Sound Warehouse at Burnet and 49th. I met up with him and several others in Buffalo in 1993 for a Jacklords reunion, which is when he started talking to Mark, who already owned several bars there, about partnering to open a place on Sixth Street. Who would’ve thought that one year later, it’d be open and twelve years later it’d be going strong?

Congratulations to Casino and his crew, some of whom have been with the bar since the beginning (well, Gargoyle, anyway).

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