Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

Pangaea + Evil Nine, two plus two not equals four


Well apparently not. It’s been a long time since two rights made a wrong for me. Friday saw two of the hottest words of the European and the UK’s club scene here in town, Evil Nine, at what is supposed to be one of Austin’s hottest after dark night spots. According to their own myspace page, Pangaea is “The latest incarnation of the enormously successful Pangaea lounges in New York, London and Marbella, Spain, Pangaea Austin is the next chapter in what has been called a New York nightlife institution.”

I admit it, I’ve never been to any of their other incarnations, but for the lavish, Beduin tent style decorations, this club just doesn’t deserve a great dance music act. Things were not looking good from the time I arrived. Yeah, I admit it, I’m probably a bit old for this type of gig. But as a child of the 70’s disco revolution with a daughter who is from the current clubbing generation, I still enjoy the freedom of dance. When I arrived I declared to the “doorman” that I had a paid for VIP ticket. He gestured for me to stay where I was, and then gave some kid in a t-shirt a free ticket. Next-up the people on the entry desk had no record of my online booking and just let me in.

I was taken upstairs and she gestured “the VIP section is over there by the wall”, since I had no visible proof that I’d paid for VIP, I didn’t bother. Inside the club was every bit as good as the pictures. Except there was almost no dance floor. I should have guessed that the night wasn’t going to go well, despite the great warm-up DJ, no one, but none, one was dancing, and there amongst the numerous “bottle service”, red leather covered loungers, were two guys close to puking and spilling drink all over the floor. Nice.

When Evil Nine came on their was no announcement, they just took over the decks to a huge blast of dry ice. Once it had cleared, still no one was dancing, except all but 15 or so people right up next to the DJ stand. Looking around, there wasn’t a glow stick to be found, no luminous clothing, in fact the women dancing on the dance stands aka tables, made the place look more like a strip club where the women were not paid enough to take off their clothes and that was mostly where they’d learned to dance. Trance it wasn’t.

Try as they might, Evil Nine couldn’t get the attention of the crowd. What a wasted opportunity. Not sure who booked them into Pangaea, they’d have been much better off over at Sky Lounge on Congress, or down at the Cowboy Dance hall in San Antonio. Turns out the Earthbird Music had it pretty much right before the gig.

Pangaea either need to remove at least half the “bottle service” loungers for a gig like this, especially since the most obvious use was for people to fall/trip over them or try to move them, but then I’ve never run a club, so what do I know?

Apparently Evil Nine will be back in town for South by South West. I’m sure Pangaea would be great for after parties, I’m at a loss to see what else, nice as it is.

Cinco de mayo

cinco de mayo at the MACCOver at the Mexican-American Cultural Center this afternoon can be found hours of free family fun. Local favorites Los Texas Wranglers will step up to play conjunto music at 5 pm. In the meantime, expect food, ballet folklorico, mariachi, and more. There are many power lines and poles and much major construction in the sightlines at the new MACC, but also a fine view of the downtown skyline. This is the first time I’ve been to the MACC grounds since the building was completed, and I’ve yet to explore indoors.

We didn’t find signs of anything doing at Fiesta Gardens this afternoon, but tomorrow evening starting at 4 pm (Monday, May 5, itself) there will be a small program, including a conjunto fest with lots of returning favorites. Known to be on the program are Johnny Degollado, Los Fantasmas del Valle, and Dueto Carta Blanca (Jorge y Mague). According to the schedule, this year’s dance contest with Johnny Degollado will be after the mariachi (6:30 to 7) and Los T-Birds (7 to 7:45) and before Carta Blanca (8:30 to 9:30) and Los Fantasmas (9:30 to 10:30). Adult admission for all that music is just five dollars. The bandstand and the dance floor, along with the seating area, are under a roof that protects from whatever the weather brings.

There’s a big free do out at the Expo Center today, with big-time music (Diana Reyes and also Banda el Recodo!) on the program from across la frontera, but the MACC and Fiesta Gardens events are traditional family-centered local attractions right here in the heart of town.

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker


Ballet Austin is having its 50th Anniversary this year. Their 44th annual production of the The Nutcracker starts tomorrow evening. Some local bloggers, including yours truly and my daughter, attended the tech rehearsal last night at Bass Concert Hall. In my rush to make the rehearsal, I forgot my tripod, so you’ll have to forgive the photo quality. We also only made it through the first act; bringing your four-year-old daughter to a 7pm weeknight performance probably isn’t the best idea. Still, she must’ve enjoyed it as my wife reports that she spent most of the day spinning around and crashed for an out-of-character nap at 3pm today. I have a feeling that won’t be the last performance I attend in the near future.

Enough about my home life, how was it, you say? It was good. I attended two or three performances of the Nutcracker as a kid in Dallas. Reading a review on the Ballet Austin site from last year, I’d agree with Patti Hadad. The two dolls brought in by Herr Drosselmeyer had the most impressive performances. I was a little disappointed in the sword fight between the nutcracker prince and the mouse king. I remember it being much more impressive. I’ve always preferred the first act to the second, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

The Statesman had a story yesterday on tryouts for the Nutcracker in its Life and Arts section. Ballet Austin is comprised of the main company and Ballet Austin II or the apprentice company. It also runs the Ballet Austin Academy. The main company has 20 dancers and the rest of the Nutcracker production is filled in with dancers from the apprentice program and the academy, totaling somewhere near 100 dancers to stage the production.

I honestly haven’t paid much attention to Ballet Austin in the 15 years that I’ve lived here, but it’s apparently really coming into its own. It’ll move to the Long Center when it opens in May 2008. Apparently the addition of Stephen Mills in 2000 has really put the company on the national map and they’re a fund raising machine, sharing the generosity that they receive with other non-profits in the city. For instance, tonight’s dress rehearsal is attended mostly by people served by other non-profits, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend. It’s all an encouraging sign that Austin is growing into a city large enough to support a wider range of arts than those that make it the “Live Music Capital of the World”.

There’s another photo in the extended entry after the jump.

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