Archive for January, 2006

Dance the day away, and the evening as well

For your listening and dancing pleasure at the H and H Ballroom starting at two this afternoon and going until the music stops around 10 or so will be some of Austin’s finest: conjunto, Tejano, orquesta, western swing and bluegrass, and pure and unadorned blues. Five dollars is the price of admission and it all goes to benefit KOOP 91.7-fm radio.

Johnny Degollado y Su Conjunto, Los Texas Wranglers, Grupo Salamán, Conjunto Los Pinkys, Alfonso Ramos & His Orchestra, Yayo Castillo y Rumores, Rod Moag‘s Country Band, Grupo Libre, Son del Rey, Larry & the Lonely Night, and Enlightment will keep people dancing until they can dance no more.

The H and H is at 4402 Brandt Road in South Austin (there’s a map at the website or you may call 282-1143 for directions if you’ve never been there: leave East Slaughter for Brandt near the H-E-B; watch for the sign). Snacks, beer, and set-ups will be available; bring your own bottle of hard liquor.

Dance away the Sunday blues and forget Monday. There won’t be a more eclectic bill anywhere in town, or any better bargain, or any better cause.


FrankenBike, rain or shine, will be at local favorite Dee & Jim’s this afternoon. Today’s not the day that I’ll be able to combine D&J’s atmosphere, beer, and a little fresh mud with the FrankenDoings, which I just heard about this week but I hope to hear a report from someone who can. There are Events planned for the parking lot at 3808 South Congress starting at noon and on into the afternoon. Among them are:

•The Fixie Skid Contest: Who can skid the furthest? Winners will get some new tires and a FrankenBike T-shirt.
The Wheelie Contest: Who can ride the best wheelie? Winners will get a pair of bike shorts and a FrankenBike T-shirt.
•The Ultimate FrankenBike Contest: Bring your own build and see how it stacks up against the others. Winners get a
FrankenBike T-shirt and a FrankenBike trophy.
•The FrankenBike Build Off: All will pitch in and build a FrankenBike right there on the spot. Bring some parts to donate if you can spare them.
•There’s planned to be a large selection of vintage BMX biikes on display from the early 80’s.

The FrankenPeople hold a free bike swap once a month here in Austin that’s open to anyone who wants to buy, sell, or trade bicycles and bike parts and related gear. “FrankenBike” is any working bike built using parts from other bikes. Get help in building what you’ve been working on or turn your spare parts, bikes, or gear into cash. Bring along your lawn chairs, folding tables, coolers, and whatever makes you happy as you watch or take part in the goings-on. Free advice is waiting for you.

View more FrankenStuff at the MySpace page. And if you don’t think it’s possible to earn a FrankenBike T-shirt, they are available for mere dollars in various bike shops around town. This is a great Austin souvenir for those visitors seeking something in the T-shirt line beyond “Keep Austin Weird.”

Economic Dialysis

In the economic equivalent of shooting fish in barrel, local analyst Angelos Angelou has announced that Austin will continue to grow and prosper at a healthy clip in 2006. In his annual forecast, Austin’s most prominent economist forecasts almost 36,000 new jobs will be created over the next two years; not quite a return to the go-go 90’s, but still at a pace slightly ahead of the 16,300 estimated new jobs from 2005.

It’s become something of a truism that the Austin economy will rumble along like a perpetual motion machine, churning out happiness and prosperity in perpetuity. This reasoning doesn’t just guide business outlooks; it’s the same reasoning that underpinned the Envision Central Texas initiative, treating 1.25 million new Austinites as virtual residents-in-waiting long before anybody even dials up U-Haul.

But while Austin might seem to glide effortlessly on its way to Metropoliswealthville, there are some important things to consider. Too many, in fact, for a single post. For today, we’ll stick with this lesson … Like any good relief pitcher, an economic analyst needs a short memory.

It’s the dog’s turn

The lunar new year is upon us. It may be too late (or it may not) to plan to make a brief appearance at council-member Jennifer Kim’s reception in progress right now at her city hall offices, but there’s more to come.

The Austin Vietnamese-American community plans all-day festivities tomorrow at Connally High, with everything from food to dragon dances to exhibitions of the martial arts. For children, it’s free, and for everyone else an extremely reasonable two dollars.

Free for all is tomorrow’s program of the Asian-American Culture Center on Jollyville Road, promising all of the above activities, plus demonstrations of origami and calligraphy.

So for those of us who haven’t made a good start with western calendar 2006 here’s another chance to begin anew and welcome the Year of the Dog.

Terry Keel Likely to Have Challengers in Judicial Primary

In a blow for common sense, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled to allow Terry Keel’s opponents in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to have more time to correct the errors in their candidacy petitions. State Rep. Terry Keel had made the sneaky move of having an election law specialist vet the petitions of his challengers (incumbent Judge Charles Holcomb and Dallas District Judge Robert Francis) to take their names off the ballot. If he had succeeded, Keel would have been the only Republican in the November election, virtually guaranteeing him a place on the court. The petitions were required by a change the Legislature made to the election code in 2003.

Keel used the challenge as a surreptitious ace in the hole, not revealing his hand until the last minute:

Wood, a partner in Austin’s Ray, Wood & Bonilla, argued on Jan. 10 that Keel hid the fact that Francis’ petitions had defects until shortly before the Jan. 2 filing deadline. “He does not have clean hands,” Wood, a partner in Austin’s Ray, Wood & Bonilla, said of Keel.

Ed Shack, one of Keel’s attorneys, testified at the hearing that Keel brought copies of Francis’ petition to him on Dec. 30. Because it was a holiday weekend, he didn’t look at the petitions until Jan. 1 and didn’t get a letter drafted to challenge Francis’ candidacy until the following day, Shack, an Austin solo, testified.

The Republican Party had refused to accept the challenge until Keel threatened to sue. Sorry, Terry. You’ll have to win the hard way now.

Core routes only

If there is a strike against Capital Metro on Monday, as there very well may be, and if you’re a rider and you’re not within walking distance of where you want to go and you aren’t close to one of the “core routes,” you may have to hitch a ride. Those who have no choice but to ride even if they support the employees will have only the “core routes” that will be kept running no matter what, although with abbreviated service and between 6 am and 7 pm only. The planned routes are:

1L/1M North Lamar/South Congress
2 Rosewood
3 Burnet/Manchaca
7 Duval /27 Dove Springs
10 South First /20 Manor Road
15 Red River /16 South Fifth
17 Johnson
37 Colony Park
137 Colony Park Flyer
300 Govalle Crosstown
325 Ohlen Crosstown
331 Oltorf

It’s likely that, in the event of service problems, the best information will be on the Capital Metro website because the telephone system (474-1200) quickly becomes overloaded when there’s the greatest need for it.


Not long after Katrina scattered the New Orleans music family to the winds, a lot of those musicians ended up here in Austin, causing Cyril Neville to comment that “the gumbo has spilled into the chili”.

Which apparently got Soup Peddler owner David Ansel’s gears turning, because he’s turned that phrase into a fantastic fundraiser called Chiligumbo.

Next Wednesday, February 1, at 7:00pm, the Alamo Drafthouse downtown will be debuting the documentary Make It Funky, the story of New Orleans music, featuring interviews, performances, and archival footage from the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, Louis Armstrong, and more.

Live guests will include Ray Benson and Cyril Neville, and director Michael Murphy will be on hand for a Q&A session.

And the Soup Peddler will be serving….wait for it….chili and gumbo.

The chili is veggie, the gumbo is chicken and sausage. I’ve had the Soup Peddler gumbo before, and I’ll tell you, I’m a real picky bastard when it comes to gumbo, but this stuff is some of the finest I’ve ever had outside of Louisiana (except for maybe at my house).

Proceeds will benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.

On exhibit

Austin-based artist Julie Speed garnered a great review in today’s NYT for her exhibit that opened yesterday at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Manhattan.

“Lovable this imagery isn’t, but it grows on you,” according to the review. Her work has often been on view in Austin and it’s true that the imagery just stays with you and is not to be forgotten, and the execution is always jewel-like.

Julie Speed was once almost an Austin secret. There’s a link from this site to a representative gallery of her works. As you view them, you’ll know at once whether you’ve ever seen any of them because, even if you didn’t notice the name of the artist, the images are memorable.

The show’s called “Bible Studies” and will run through February 25.

Who am I this time?

I noticed the Capitol Place sign on the hotel at the I-35 south frontage between 5th and 6th streets for the first time this week. If I’m not mistaken, that location used to be a Hilton before the new behemoth took away my free Sixth Street weekend parking at Japanese Autotech. It’s apparently affiliated with the Hilton Garden Inn line of Hilton hotels, so I suppose it’s come home again after being a Crowne Plaza hotel. Who can keep up?

I’ve never stayed in the place, but I did attend a wedding reception there once. An old friend from high school got married. I remember being incensed that no one wanted to go to Sixth Street post reception when we were right there. They just wanted to drink beer in the rooms and talk about old embarassing stories. Bastards! And most of them were from out of town. I think that’s one of those moments where I officially broke with the past. “You can’t go home again” and all that.

What’s the point? None, really. It’s just that the new sign stands out so much that I had to comment.

Joking around

joker.jpgThis commodín was found discarded in a bus-stop trashcan. Because he was neat and tidy, I brought him home. This telephone calling card sold by Next-G Austin has a local access number and instructions in both Spanish and English on the back. I don’t know who is selling this particular card, but it is a very popular design and value around town and I’ve seen less pristine used examples discarded all around Austin. In my collection of Austin-related graphics he will join my empty pack of Jacks brand cheap cigarettes, sold as cheap smokes around the nation, but once very popular here in town.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.