Bob’s Town

Window Dressing

Looks like we survived another night fleeing normalcy and the usual la-dee-da.   Upright, but stumbling through back alleys fueled by raw energy, coffee, beer, adrenaline, existential fumes, greeted at each turn with a mixed bag of olfactory expressions– exotic spices, fried something-or-others, over-stuffed dumpsters, sweat and urine– and a cacophony of impromptu sidewalk bands with makeshift instruments braying for attention.  A million perfect moments, like glittering sun diamonds dancing across the waves of time.

Ahem…

The point being, SxSW is in full swing.  And I for one am already exhausted.  I’m not used to staying up til 3 am, dealing with some overly exuberant, insane, skizzing and geeking love beggar who decided he wanted to come home with me.   I don’t blame him.  I’m pretty cool in some circles.  But after he sprinted wildly into traffic on Congress Avenue and sat balls up in front of a moving pedicab, things got a little out of hand, and after some gentle persuasion from one of our crew he cast his swimming eyes in another direction.

But that was later.  The evening started with promise.  Despite the countless out-of-town acts, we decided to check in on local fav Bob Schneider playing an energetic set at Threadgills.

Threadgills

A couple of Fancy margaritas and Dale’s Ales later, we were swaying and stomping near the front, satisfied that this was as good as it gets.   How lucky are we to have this talented musician and songwriter with world class chops doing his thing here in A town?   Well, see for yourself in this unauthorized but conscientiously respectful video of Bob doing a new twist on a few of his pieces.  I mean, really, Bob, you don’t mind a little free promo do you?  We ain’t selling anything but love on this site and all that cost is attention.

In other words, it’s time to pay attention.  This is Bob’s Town, after all.

Click on this link to hear a small sampling….

Bob Schneider Live at Threadgills

See you out in it tomorrow night!

 

 

 

 

A Piss Perfect Evening

Chillaxing with old and new friends at Icenhauer’s on Rainey Street, when Ree-chard shows up on an injured bicycle. “One of my pedals just fell off.”   He held up the severed bike wrist like a trophy.

We  settled into a chummy hubbub of patter-babble and fifteen minutes later Richard got up and left.

Naila held up a $20 bill and said:  ”Richard just offered me $50 to pee in my shoe.  I told him I’d let him do it for $200.”

“What’s the $20 for?”

“It’s a deposit. Earnest money. He went to the ATM.”

Ree-chard is Chasing the Weird! 

When he returns, Naila balks at the offer.  ”Breach of Contract,” is how Ree-chard described it later.  ”I paid her escrow.  We had a verbal agreement.”

“I was just calling his Bluff,” countered Naila.

 

Fortunately for Ree-chard, AAG’s own KT inexplicably offered up one of his $75 pair of black gum-soled Converse skate shoes. He somehow agreed to let Richard soil the sneakers for $7.42. because…because… he wasn’t serious, was he?

“I definitely got the raw end of that deal.” Kevin declared later, gingerly walking back to the car in stocking feet.

Ree-chard took possession of the urine-free shoe and in true Cinderella fetish style, placed it on his left foot and proceeded to demonstrate that this was exactly the shoe he needed to work the broken pedal on his bicycle.

Then he threw the shoes on the roof.

Where they sit.

To this day.

It’s like a perfect evening.

Video has been removed to protect the identity of the guilty.  Too bad. If you were one of the 45 people who saw it before we pulled it, you’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Latest Buzz Around Town

Squarerut Kava Bar

Kava Bar

 

It was just after midnight when the effects of the Kava finally wore off.    I’d taken my first sip of this rooty beverage from a half coconut shell around noon, quickly followed by a second and third bowl, the recommended dosage.  I hadn’t anticipated a 12 hour buzz, I had just wandered into the understated SquareRut Kava Bar on South Congress looking for a cup of coffee.

As it turns out, there are only 13 Kava bars in the United States, 8 of which are in Florida.  Texas has only one Kava bar and it is located at 6000 S. Congress Ave. in a very nondescript lonely square building surrounded by a field of grass.

The owners, Scott Pingel and Tracy Moreno were very welcoming.  It was early and I was the only one in the joint, so they took the time to explain Kava and the phenomenon that they hope will catch on in Austin.   After the third bowl, my tongue had turned to lava and rolled out of my mouth onto the floor.  Someone was telling my life story to these fine people.  I believe I muttered something to the effect that I have no doubt this strange little café will catch on in Austin.  We are the buzz capital of the world.  Or is that music?

Whatever.

Tongue - painting by Kevin Taylor

Kava is the root of the Kava plant– a reverential herb among the Polynesian cultures of the South Pacific islands.  The active ingredient is Kavalctones, which react to the GABA receptors in your brain similar to alcohol.  The effect is somewhere between 2 scotches on an empty stomach, the 15 minutes just before your eyes start moving around in tiny circles of an ecstasy buzz and a very tiny vaporized hit of high grade clean cannabis.   Like I’ve ever taken a tiny hit in my life.  The point is this shit is an inebriant.

And really, trying to describe any buzz is a fool’s game.  It’s like trying to explain your vacation.  No one gives a shit.  Don’t start talking about buzzes or vacations unless you’re willing to whip out a blunt or a couple of plane tickets.  It’s all about the experience, baby.    So let me just say this.  It felt so good, I’m surprised it’s legal.

Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m actually surprised that any drug is illegal.  Why is altering  consciousness deemed illegal?  How is society being hurt by the act of one person getting high?

If you commit a crime by driving while intoxicated or robbing someone to obtain money to buy a drug, there is already a legal punishment for the crime. Sure, the cause of the crime was the drug ingestion or addiction but we don’t punish the cause of any other crime–with the possible exception of “hate crimes.”   If punishing the cause of crime were the norm, poverty would be illegal, our failed education system  would be illegal, lack of opportunity would be illegal, starvation would be illegal, greed would be illegal.

Put this on a billboard:  Punish the crime, treat the addiction.

But I digress.   Kava can do that to you.

So let’s get back to the taste, which is a little easier to describe than the buzz.   The Kava root is ground into powder, soaked in water and cultivated for two days.    The drink tastes exactly like that–a ground up root soaked in water.  Or imagine pummeling a number two pencil and soaking it in mud.  Yum, yum, right?  Not to worry, the Kava bar has flavored Kava, like mocha and peanut butter and coconut.    “You get used to it,” Tracy told me as she poured my second bowl– mocha-almond as a follow up.

A native American friend once told me his grandmother used to ask him why he bothered to put roses in the bathroom.  “Now bathroom smells like shit and roses.” I was reminded of that after drinking the mocha-almond-flavored Kava.   It tasted slightly better than the original, but it still tasted like root water with almond and mocha.   Look, Scotch tastes horrible the first time you try it as do cigarettes or peyote or mushrooms for that matter.  Hell, I’d suck on a log of shit if it gave me a good enough buzz.  That’s how I roll.

Wait a second. Did I just admit that I’d eat shit?  Strike that from the record. That’s the Kava talking.

Anyway, I was smitten with the place and as a parting gift, Scott and Tracy gave me a bag of Kava cookies that they had been experimenting with.   I shook hands, thanked them and pedaled out of there on a cloud.   I had plenty of energy for the bike ride home but I fully expected the buzz to have burned off by the time I had taken a shower.  Apparently it was only getting started.   I experimented with reading, but that was an abysmal failure.  My power of concentration was shot.  I took a power nap, woke up and the buzz was still lingering.

Truthfully after about 4 hours I was ready for the sensation to fade away, but it was still hanging around like a guest that wouldn’t leave.   The buzz was physical and calming, but for me at least, mentally debilitating.  My normal routine was shot.  I had no desire to finish up my taxes or write this article for that matter.  I only wanted to lay outside and soak up the beautiful spring day.  Which I did.

Wait, what was I bitching about again?

Here’s the deal.  If you consider yourself a connoisseur or collector of buzzes, you will want to experience the SquareRut Kava Bar for yourself.  The ambiance is mellow with live music on the weekends.  There is free wi-fi and comfortable couches and they even have extra large party bowls for a more tribal experience.   Maybe I’ll see you there.

And by the way, if you want to know the health benefits or potential side effects of drinking Kava, I recommend you let your fingers do the walking.  You know, Google it.  This ain’t a health blog.

                                                    

SquareRut Kava Bar
6000 S. Congress Ave. Ste 106
Austin, TX 78745
512-382-9203

Hours: Mon-Sun noon to midnight

 

 Acrylic on Canvas Painting by: Kevin Taylor 

 

 

Treasure Island Raided By Feds

Talk about poetic justice.  A whole slew of really crappy bars on and around sixth street just got raided by the feds, the Austin Chronicle reported on Thursday, March 22.  Feds Raid Sixth Street Bars for money laundering.  Apparently the owners, Hussein Ali “Mike” Yassine, his brothers Hadi and Mohammed and sister Marissa Marthe Ruales laundered over $200,000 in narcotics proceeds tracking through several of their bars.

A list of the bars effected by this raid are:  Treasure Island,  Pure Ultra Lounge, Spill on Sixth and Malaia World Lounge on East Sixth, Fuel on Trinity, Roial on West Fifth, Hyde (formerly Qua), Stack Burger Bar on West Fourth, and Kiss & Fly on Colorado.

Even if every one of these bars closed, it would not effect the live music scene in Austin because none of these venues offer up live music.

Apparently the Yassine clan was unaware of the irony of using pirates, who are notorious for illegal activity, as a theme to cover up their own illegal activity.  It’s a little like hiding your weed in plain view on the coffee table when the cops are banging on your door because you figure it’s the last place they’d look.

The Chronicle also reported that some of Yassine’s bars were purportedly gay bars, but not gay friendly.  This is the type of confusion you get when you are not really opening a bar at all but simply trying to find a place to put all of that cash you’ve stashed from selling illegal drugs.  They should have called at least one of the gay bars Santorum, to really drive home the point.

The Chronicle also noted that several ex-employees have filed a class action lawsuit against the owners for violating minimum wage requirements by not paying tipped employees.   So in addition to laundering money and being unfriendly to gays, the owners are apparently a bunch of cheap assholes.

Is it just me or do stories like this just warm your heart?   Cudos to the FBI, IRS and the Austin Police Department for cleaning up a mess on Sixth Street.  Let’s hope these allegations are true, so my biased  journalism is not called into question.  And as a final note,  not that I’ve ever seen anyone in any one of these bars anyway, but, if and until these bars are closed down, let’s boycott them in favor of a live music venue.

 

 

 

Apple Claus is Coming To Town

The Austin city council approved on Thursday a performance-based grant worth as much as $8.6 million for Apple’s proposed plans to expand its offices and create as many as 3,600 new jobs in the city.   See Story: Apple Invests In Austin.

 Our sources tell us that the company has plans to begin work on a top secret project that will require the talents and “weirdness” of the Austin workforce.   One insider suggested that Apple has plans to unveil in late 2013 the ipoop, a computerized toilet that will alert women when the seat is up, self clean, deodorize and of course have all of the amenities that we are accustomed to with other apple products; a video camera, camera, telephone, teleporter and flashlight.

It is also rumored that Apple is dontating 10 free ipoops to the homeless workers who were used as human hotspots during SXSW.  See the story: Homeless Hotspots.

In all seriousness, we are flush with pride that Apple has decided to invest in Austin!