Archive for October, 2007

Time to write a novel in a month!

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It is once again time for NaNoWriMo. Every November people join together to face the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s all about silencing your inner editor and just breaking down the creative walls even if you just spew random crap. Check out the details at the link above and sign up. Thee will be a midnight write-in at The Dragon’s Lair tonight for people participating so if you sign up and want to go start writing with other Austin NaNo’ers head on down.

You can have previous ideas or outlines but you can’t actually have anything written before midnight tonight so no continuing or finishing up old projects (well not officially with NaNo anyway, but no one says you can’t use November to kick yourself into gear finishing up some project).

Frisco felicitations

Frisco neon signIt’s reported that the Frisco Shop, than which there is no more iconic business in Austin, has found a new home. Part of the old Night Hawk empire, with a team that’s a team like no other, together since almost forever, the Frisco has been threatened by plans to build something different on the site of its current location. A squib in today’s local daily, picked up from a blog entry yesterday, and another item in yesterday’s Austin Business Journal report the story, in varying detail. Bob Cole, of Hill’s Cafe and The Tavern, is a constant as a new partner. The new location is reported to be the establishment at 6801 Burnet that has housed in succession Jambalaya, Good Eats, and, most recently, a Curra’s. What makes the Frisco Shop iconic? Everyone’s answer will be different. For me, it’s the people, the Frisco and the Top Chop’t, the pies, the slaw, and, especially, the biscuits. Many would include the onion rings. And let’s not forget the sign!

Why So Serious, Austin?

The AMAZING uber-geniuses behind the viral marketing campaign for the The Dark Knight, the second Chris Nolan-directed Batman movie out in July, have decided to include Austin in Wednesday’s Halloween scavenger hunt of sorts where we’re looking for letters to spell a message- here’s our clue:

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I apologize for my crappy screenshot skillz but it reads “Start at the market at 6th & Lamar. Find the Amtrak sign by the tracks. Walk west along the tracks to the second light pole and peer through the trees until you see red.”

The market in question is obviously Whole Foods but the rest of it is still pretty cryptic….hrm….

There is also a clue for Austin that says “Near Riverside & Barton Springs is a car wash with a mural. Go there, then find a nearby manhole that says SEWAR, stand on it and scan the skyline. I’d like to buy a vowel.”

That would be the Chevron Station.

And another that says “At Congress & 6th is the Littlefield Building Clock. Go east on 6th, past a compass rose in the sidewalk. You’ll come to a street corner with a set of stairs, and there, above a stained glass door, you’ll find a gold gilt goodie.”

Austin’s the only city in Texas picked for this little adventure and it joins cities like LA, New York, Raleigh, Cleveland, Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago and others. Batman has always been my favorite and it will be SO fun to see the clues come together tomorrow (and see what reward comes our way- could it be a full length trailer?) and you should definitely go check out whatever they’ve got going on! If you see it, let me know!

Helmet at Red 7

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I found at the last minute yesterday that Helmet was playing Red 7. I’ve been a fan since 1991 or so and don’t miss a chance to see them if I can help it. If I’m remembering correctly, this is the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen them. Granted, the only original member left is Page Hamilton, but it’s still worth checking out. Page’s old bandmate, John Stanier, will be in town this coming weekend for Fun Fun Fun Fest with one of his current bands, Battles. I took a ton of pictures, including this one at the end of the set. You can check out the rest by clicking the photo.

Helmet kicked off the set with the first 5 tracks from Aftertaste in the same order as the record without stopping. They stuck with older material for the rest of the set, only playing one track from last year’s Monochrome, “Swallowing Everything” and “See You Dead” from 2004’s Size Matters. They pulled several off of Strap It On, including “Blacktop” and “Sinatra”, which they apparently haven’t played live in quite a while. Hamilton filled in some back story on the song, inadvertently mentioning the name of the girlfriend who inspired it. He swore us to secrecy. I’ve seen Page take requests from the audience before and he did that last night. There were at least 4 tracks from Betty, including “Wilma’s Rainbow”, “I Know”, “Milquetoast”, and “Tic”. They finished with “In the Meantime” and also played “Unsung”. They had good energy and the club was pretty full. I’m wondering if they’re going to stick with an older set list for most of the tour?

Page clearly likes Austin. He mentioned that they arrived in town on Sunday night and spent some time at Sidebar. They’re headed to Corpus Christi today. You can find the rest of the dates for this tour here.

Your vote’s your voice

votacion.jpgI love to vote at the courthouse. I vote early when I can because I’m always afraid I’ll be looking the wrong way when crossing the street and won’t make it to the official election day. There are those who say that this is “just” an election about boring old proposed amendments to the state constitution. Maybe they’re certain that in past lives they would have been one of those male Caucasian owners of property above a certain value, the only people who were allowed to vote in most states for a long time. Maybe they can afford to be bored, but everybody else should vote on principle. Much of what is statutory in other states is constitutional in Texas. I found the rundown of the proposals in the Chron to be a bit on the flippant side, but the League of Women Voters guide shows the complete text, along with points for and against each proposal. Early voting for those registered is available all over town through this coming Friday, November 2. The parking meters are free today, and the friendly people at the courthouse will be very happy to see you. For us, it was great to combine voting with a stop at the main library. And, then, there’s always November 6, Election Day proper.

Tejano, totally, and gratis

Free tomorrow afternoon are hours of live Tejano music, preceded by a rally and workshop. One four-hour show once a week is not enough Tejano music over the air (only from 6 to 10 pm, Sundays on Radio Recuerdos 107.7-FM; that’s all). Tomorrow’s event is intended to develop a plan to bring back more Tejano, more of the time. Doors open at the H&H Ballroom, 404 Brandt Road, tomorrow at 1:30 pm. Music begins after 3 pm. This event is brought to us by the Austin Tejano Music Coalition. On the bill are Los TexManiacs (David Farias!), Ruben and Alfonso Ramos with the Texas Revolution, Los Texas Wranglers and Johnny Degollado, Gilbert Davila and Justicia, and Frank Gomez. The very latest information may be learned by calling 282-1143. “Don’t mess with Tejano music” is the title of the ATMC MySpace page and that pretty much says it all.

Something Alamo This Way Comes

1473637222_66df85f5b1_o.jpgAlamo South Lamar’s Saturday Morning Film Club is featuring the film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes tomorrow at noon. It’s free, as in beer, so you’ll want to get there at least a half an hour early to make sure you get a seat.

I’d be all over it, but I’ve got a school carnival that I can’t escape. I saw this in the theater when it was released in 1983. It’s just creepy enough, but not terrifying for the kids and there’s plenty for adults as well. I’d have no qualms bringing my 8-year-old. It’s borderline for a 5-year-old, depending on the kid. The visuals are really great (the whole movie oozes autumn, something we don’t get much of here) and it’s got Jason Robards AND Pam Grier. What more do you want? You have to see it if only to hear Robards deliver the title line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

ARA discussion on the air right now

Joining Wakeup Call Friday host Richard Smith are Byron Marshall of ARA (Austin Revitalization Authority) and Paul. Hilgers of the City of Austin (Austin Housing Finance Corporation). They are conducting a very substantive conversation about the Eleventh and Twelfth Street corridors east of IH-35. Tune in to KAZI 88.7-fm radio to hear the remaining half hour of this fascinating show, discussing topics much in the news lately, including the recent coverage in the Chron and the local daily. Sometimes this show runs over past the 8 am ending. It will be followed, as usual on Fridays, by the Breakfast Club, with Akwasi Evans (Nokoa) and Tommy Wyatt (The Villager).

Addendum: Since KAZI has revitalized its schedule and can be heard better in more parts of town, if I’m where I can listen to a radio between 7 and 8 am on weekdays, I try to check in. The hosts rotate. The callers-in are lively and informed, and they often include Nelson Linder, of the NAACP. Live studio guests with lots to say are more often scheduled these days (e.g., this morning’s duo). The unexpected guest shows up for Sam & Bob, too, but never gets the extended and unbroken time bestowed on KAZI guests.

P&K last day

Opening one last time this Sunday for a clearance sale, P&K Grocery, which has become a southside institution during its all too brief existence, will close its doors forever. Even the building is for sale, along with its catering and commercial refrigeration equipment. No asking-price is noted, but selling points should be that the renovation was by the Mell Lawrence architectural firm and the landscape design, by Gardens. It’s announced that the catering staff, under the name Spoon and Co., will carry on offering the prepared dishes that have been a big attraction here (see Metblog account one and account two if you’re wondering what you’ve been missing).

Secrets of sung-about substance revealed

It was only a regional hit in the late ‘Seventies but it’s still on the set lists of certain Austin-identified bands. NyQuil Blues, written by Herb Steiner when he was with the band that first recorded it (Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys, still regulars at the Broken Spoke), will always be identified with Austin. Chances are you know at least some of the lyrics (here’s one version). In this month’s Wired magazine, we learn for sure at last exactly how NyQuil provides “that restful sleep my body needs.” A full page under the heading “Fortified With Powerful Narcotics!” is devoted to analysis of the contents of this provider of night-time tranquility and just what each ingredient is there to do (or what it does, regardless of its stated purpose). NyQuil Blues was on the set list at the Austin City Limits live taping that included Alvin Crow and Marcia Ball, one of the best ACL sessions I ever attended, back when it used to be easy to attend any taping you wanted to and the musicians were pretty much all from around here.

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