Archive for February, 2006

Television version of “Friday Night Lights” filing here in Austin

movie-friday-night-lights.jpgNBC is apparently filming a pilot for a television version of the movie “Friday Night Lights.” I know some casting calls have gone around the Austin community and some extras have been rounded up for some overnight crowd shooting. I also read a bit about it in Entertainment Weekly. There’s also more information to be had at The Austinist. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they were filming in Austin instead of just doing it in L.A. Being an aspiring actor/writer/director/etc. here in Austin, I love seeing anything that furthers our entertainment community. Mostly because I’d love to have some kind of career without moving to L.A. I love Austin and plan to stay here. I do not want to have to go to L.A. in order to actually have a chance at a career.

Listen up

KO-OP radio is back on the air! Yesterday was the first day, thanks in large part to donation of temporary studio space by KMFA radio. Thursday’s one of the great KO-OP days of the week, with Rod Moag’s swing show and Isidoro Lopez’s latin music. There was no dead air at 91.7-fm, thanks to KVRX radio, but there’s sure been a dead spot in the entertainment schedule. There was music yesterday, and there’ll be music today, starting at 9:00 am.

All NIMSY were the borogoves

That’s if the borogoves are members of Austin’s planning commission. Not mentioned in the local daily in connection with the so-called “McMansion” issue but appearing in recommendations of the planning commission from its meeting between the city council’s first and then second and third reading of the interim ordinance is the possible prohibition of mechanical equipment in side yards.

The NIMBY (“Not in my back yard”) phenomenon is well known. What goes on in a side yard can be even more important, especially when there’s a mere five-foot setback from the property line governing where the adjoining structure goes. When people install giant central air-conditioning units at the side and not the back, they often go right up to or over the side property line and onto the adjoining owner’s land to within five feet of his / her walls. These units can be big and noisy and seem to give off quite a bot of heat as well.

Even were this prohibition to be enacted, it would no doubt govern only placement of new equipment. In the summertime, we live without air-conditioning and with open windows. We can no longer use the sleeping porch that was placed long ago to catch prevailing breezes. All it catches now is noise. Venting gas clothesdryers into side yards is not a kindness to the neighbors, either. The exhaust gases are smelly and also hot. These matters concern only people who spend time in their yards, open their windows, or are not yet suffering a decline in the acuteness of their hearing. Any single one of these demographics seems to be a smaller and smaller proportion of the Austin population.

The appointed task force will meet from one to three o’clock tomorrow afternoon at city hall. It seems likely that the city council will take up matters concerned with development regulations again on March 2. Both of these meetings are public. There’s still an opportunity to sign up to receive notices and information regarding these issues affecting all tenants and property-owners.

Mobile Content Festival

Digital Convergence means many kinds of media on many devices, and the Digital Convergence Initiative of the Texas Technology Corridor isn’t just talking about it… DCI’s put together a Mobile Content Festival March 14. If you make films, apps, or games for mobile devices, submit ’em for a chance to win valuable prizes – check out the rules and administrivia here. If you’ve got nothing to enter but want to join the Connect/Converge/Conquer party and see the big winners, you can RSVP here.

600 SXSW Wristbands Sold Tonight Via SMS

At 7 pm, I received a text message notifying me that 600 of the $130 SXSW wristbands were going on sale TONIGHT ONLY at Waterloo Records, only to people who had signed up for the SXSW SMS notification service. I jumped up quickly and hopped into my car. I was thinking about hitting the bank, but I knew that would burn valuable time that I could be getting closer to the front of the line. Heading down Lamar, I reached 10th Street and traffic came to a stop. Sirens were blaring and a fire truck stopped right in the middle of the intersection. WTF? Plenty of people were turning around, but I knew I was close now, so I pulled my car in to park illegally at the chiropractic center and decided to hoof it to get in line. I passed the accident and saw that they were wheeling a man who seemed to have been hit by a car out on a stretcher. By the time I got to Waterloo, there were about a 100 people already in line. Luckily, it wasn’t too long before I got my wristbands and was back on my way to save my car from being towed. By 7:55, the 600 wristbands were gone.

Another text message informed me that wristbands will go on sale to the public Thursday, 2/23, at Waterloo. If you bring cash, it will probably make it easier for you.

Letters standing for the vanished

abcaustn.jpgThe new, improved version of the Austin Public Library on-line catalogue is up today, just as promised. Much more is visible on the first screen after a search than before. I tested it on this Austin book, encountered during a rearrangement of the shelves. For copyright reasons, only a lettered portion of the cover is shown. Arthur’s Austin ABC / Arturo en Austin: un abecedario (written by Will Howard, illustrated by Ben Sargent, and translated by María Isabel Jofré) was written and published right here in Austin.

The summary that’s where the ISBN and Library of Congress information would usually be says: “Arthur the Armadillo explores Austin and the surrounding area. History, sightseeing, and personalities are spotlighted via the ABC’s. The ‘Arthur’s Notes’ expand the text and add other information.” Bergstrom Air Force Base is long gone, and so is the Treaty Oak. The letter “G” stands for “governor” and “Goddess of Liberty” atop the Capitol. Of course, though there’s still a governor and still a goddess, both have been replaced since publication of the book, the former multiple times. Ben Sargent’s illustration for “G” clearly includes Bill Clements.

Owning this is a little like owning a copy of Steal This Book. There used to be more copies, but now this is the only one left. This says more about the attraction of the book and its lively illustrations than it does about light-fingered visitors.

The Big M notices our Sword

EmptyVee has taken notice of local metal throwbacks, The Sword. It appears a media frenzy is building for these local boys steeped in Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the run up to SXSW. Is it time to get snarky and say that we found ’em first (barely)?

If you missed them last week, they’ll be playing a showcase at SXSW at Buffalo Billiards on Friday, March 17th at 1am. It appears they’re working on a new website, but there’s nothing there yet.

Take this Park and Shovel It

It’s been a long time coming, but today marks the long (long, long)-awaited groundbreaking for Town Lake Park. The South Austin Culture Club is co-sponsoring an on-site luncheon with the Austin Parks and Recreation department to celebrate the development of open space adjacent to the Palmer Events Center and the evolving Long Center. The festivities start today around 11:30, and feature music, food from Chango’s and Manuel’s, free garage parking, and a foggy photo op for Will Wynn’s re-election campaign.

A new park is certainly worth celebrating, especially since this one has been in gestation for years. The SACC held a symbolic ground-breaking a couple years ago to call attention to the unrealized park and unused bond dollars while the stakeholders haggled over what to do with Riverside. Eventually what we’re left with is a half-assed reduction of Riverside that still bisects the park, ignores bikes, and probably hacks off the dozens of commuters who insist on using Riverside instead of Barton Springs or 1st St.

While none of the interest groups are fully satisfied, the end result is still that Austin gets more park space in the urban core, which is no mean feat. If you’d like to help celebrate today, bring your shovel and scoop some dirt in delight. Or just wait till it’s done and enjoy the hell out of it.


Introducing a new edition of the unadulterated Austin links that everybody else has already linked to.

With child

Austin’s full of students. Austin’s full of film-makers, game-designers, the technology-adept of all kinds. Austin’s full of Democrats. Of Libertarians. And the artsy. And the craftsy. Of non-conventional households configured in every possible way. Austin’s a magnet for those from elsewhere considering pulling up stakes and trying their luck somewhere new.

And Austin’s full of the kids of all these people. The female parental units new to town catch the word soon: check in at Austin Mama. Maybe they hear it at the wading pool at Stacy Park. Maybe they see someone wearing a “What Would Mama Do?” tee-shirt at Ruta Maya. Or they notice a bumper sticker at Wheatsville Co-op and wait to see who’s going to get into that Scion.

Austin Mama is home to one of the liveliest listservs around and hosts some of the very best writing, too, not just in this town but nationally. Life refracted through the prism of parenthood and described with candor and humor just jumps off the screen.

As the cost of living in Austin climbs and climbs, family life isn’t always as easy as it used to be. But there continue to be new Austinites born every day, to grow up cradled in Austin’s maverick traditions. Austin Mama is one of those Villages as in “it takes a” and Austin would not be the same without it.

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