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!

 

 

 

 

Tripping Over Hidden Treasures

Great Gilded Gift Horse, our beloved fellow Austinites sure do turn into a bunch of whiny diaper-munchers with half-empty sippy cups at this time of year.

“Ohhhh, it’s so crowded!”

“Traffic is terrible”

“Who are all these people?”

“My hemorrhoids are killing me!”

We’re here to change all that – well, you’re on your own with the hemorrhoids – and bring you guaranteed joy. That is assuming you are willing to open up your wobbly head and let some new ideas in.
BoobLady

What do people planning to see certain shows at SxSW sound like to us? waah wah waah wah wah waah. Charlie Brown’s teacher. It is the sound of people preparing to frustrate themselves by taking the completely wrong approach to having fun at SxSW.

Just go. Climb in your car, get as close as you can and still find a place to park, get out of your car, lock it, put your keys in your pocket, adjust your bra and walk into the middle of 6th street. Listen, smell, watch, just keep moving until something pulls you like a super magnet. If there are obstacles, get around them or move on.

Stumbling down the right path is the mantra.  No wristband?  No problem.  Trust that Austin will provide; she always does, if you are willing to float into her midst without pre-conceived notions of being entertained.

Stop and watch the bucket drummer down the block. Buy a breakfast taco after midnight from two girls set up in the lobby of a comedy venue. Then wander into the open door of Esther’s Follies . Good music coming from inside. Find out that it’s free and better yet; they serve beer! Sit down, Fat Tire in hand, as Colin Ferguson finishes up his set. Then clear your mind, because you have no idea what to expect when Donna walks out on the stage.Donna_SxSW2013

Here she is, singing

Easy

More:

Non-Stop Beatbox

Favorite?

Mister Cupid

UPDATE: though they only identified themselves as Donna and Ken from Brooklyn, that was enough information to find them on the web:

Donna and Ken’s website

What Fits In Your Vagina?

Puck Ferry

There were many signs that resonated with me at the Unite Against the War on Women rally on Saturday at the Texas State Capitol, but perhaps the most poignant one read: “I Can’t BELIEVE I’m STILL PROTESTING this SHIT!” As a child of the sixties who had always taken women’s equality for granted – a done deal – I too was stunned by the thought-diseased, white-bread, limp-dick Republicans lashing out with their dying political breaths against fundamental human rights that have already been won in this country. Not only did these women have a right to be angry, but we should all join them and run the mudsuckers out of town with pitchforks and torches.

The political party that is constantly bitching about how incompetent government is, and then gets themselves elected to go prove that theory correct, is continuing to push for small government. Stay away from any whiff of regulation for the decadently rich and the mega-corporations, but go ahead and prowl around inside women’s bodies. Government so small it fits in your vagina.

So why were there so many smiles along with the fiery rhetoric at this rally?

It is because the sisters will win, and in a sense, they have already won. There was an almost palpable sense of “This Will Not Stand” running through the crowd. This latest legislative misogyny is just like an adult pimple – they pop up from time to time but it is extremely unlikely that full-blown teenage acne will once again ravage the skin. To an adolescent, it appears to be the end of the world. To the mature, there is comfort in the experience of having seen these blemishes dry up and heal.

Gays 4 Vajays

Listen up, elephants in the room:

Women are equal.
Gays are equal.
All races are equal.
All religions will be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

You will ultimately fail in your attempts to legislate society in any other way.

 

Capitol Steps

Sissy Farenthold, the first woman ever to be seriously nominated for Vice President of the United States at a major party’s convention (there were two previous ‘honorary’ nominations), was called to the podium to honor her work for women’s rights over the last half-century. Now in her eighties, this legend may not be known to the younger members of the crowd, but many of us knew that she was entitled to the most disbelief around the fact that we are still protesting this shit.

JusticeIn 1973, Sissy was elected as the first chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus. From 1976 to 1980 she served as president of Wells College in Aurora, New York.

Though the topics covered by the speakers at the rally all focused on women’s rights, there was definitely some clear anger aimed at Republicans in particular. Let’s take a look at why, shall we?Small Government

The beady-eyed governor of Wisconsin repealed the Equal Pay Enforcement Act of 2009 (they only had it for three years!) and the main proponent of the repeal, Republican state senator Glenn Grothman, salts the wound by completely denying all empirical evidence and spinning his yarn that women make less because they choose to take time off to raise kids.

Probe PerryHouse Republicans in D.C. held a panel on women’s health issues and did not invite a single woman to testify.

Republicans have tried on several occasions to redefine rape in order to limit a woman’s access to remedy.

And the surest way to legislatively piss off a woman? GOP lawmakers are passing laws requiring women to undergo invasive medical procedures against their will. Those cocks think they can mandate a vaginal probe? This boy’s club is claiming rights they don’t have and denying women rights they do have.

But Republicans argue that there is no War on Women. This is just imaginary Democratic campaign rhetoric, they say. After all, the reason that 31 Republican Senators voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act was not because they disliked women, it was because that bill would have provided protection against violence to gays and Native Americans, too.

But it is hard to keep that argument up. Republicans, who know very well how hard it is to keep things up, put forth H.R. 358, which would allow a hospital to let a woman die rather than perform an abortion if it is needed to save her life. They may not want to call that a war, but then again, these geniuses thought it was patriotic to change the name of French Fries after 9/11. Head scratching in 3 … 2 … 1…

Your Testicles Are NextBut c’mon, says the GOP, you women can own property now – heck, you can even vote. Why do you have to get all greedy and say you have a right to privacy about your body? And ladies, please, don’t even joke about requiring a colonoscopy for every renewal of our Viagra prescriptions; that’s just not funny!

Indiana Republican Bob Morris, who looks like he could be Vincent D’Onofrio’s idiot brother, has lashed out at the Girl Scouts of America, calling them a “radicalized organization” and that their role models are “feminists, lesbians, or Communists”. One could only hope that is true, Bob. Otherwise their role models might be narrow-minded gits in positions of power like the guy you see in the mirror each morning.

Am I the only one that is sick to death of the playground tactic on the right to take a perfectly legitimate group description and turn it into a slander just by saying it with a sneer? Liberal. Socialist. Feminist. Insanity like “Feminism is a lie of the devil” needs to go the way of burning witches at the stake.

There are a bunch of us dudes that would like to see the ladies in charge for awhile. And I don’t mean women playing men’s games just to get on the court, but an entirely female approach to governing. What’s the downside? Do you think they will screw it up more than the patriarchy has? Not much chance of that. Unless of course, you put Ann Coulter in charge. Or Sarah Palin. Or Michele Bachmann. Come to think of it, ladies, you are rife with idiots, too. Stay vigilant.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund,  has been quoted as saying, “Unlike Lehman Brothers, Lehman Sisters might have avoided default.”

Consider me on board. Dicks for Chicks. No wait, that might not be the best name for a male-based female advocacy group. On the other hand, membership drives would be very interesting. Heh heh. He said ‘member-ship’. Holy crap, we’re simpletons.

WoW speaker Let’s check back in with Doorknob Bob, our favorite Indiana A-hole. He also wrote that “the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.” WoW speaker

Can we get off Planned Parenthood’s back? It has been around since before WWII and was funded in 1970 by none other than Richard Milhouse Nixon. This is a good organization and yes, the inflamed hemorrhoids on the right will scream at you that PP has services that deal with abortions. A whopping 3% of its services involve abortion and no federal money is used for abortion services. So, the anti-choice crowd is happy to throw out the baby with the 3% bathwater. I guess eliminating that 97% of mammograms, pap smears, cancer screening, abortion-preventing birth control, menopause treatments, STD testing and treatment … omigod, how is it that we are still protesting this shit?

One of the highlights of the rally was a passionate speech from a notable exception to the scrotum club in Congress. Rep. Lloyd Doggett whipped the crowd into a righteous fervor with tales of fights past and fights future.

Lloyd Doggett

Lloyd Doggett has been in Texas politics for the majority of my lifetime, beginning as a Texas State Senator in 1973. The Texas Commission on Human Rights was created by a bill that he authored, and he stands out from other career politicians in that he has been doggedly (sorry, couldn’t resist) consistent in his ideology over four decades. You have to admire the survival skills of a pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-immigrant, anti-war candidate in conservative old Texas. His major stumble in gay rights – voting for DOMA in 1996 – was mitigated by his voting against a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and also by his co-sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal DOMA. Rep. Doggett has been representing Texas in Congress since the mid-nineties, and continues to do so in spite of attempts to re-district him out of office.

No Pills No Pussy

Dudes, it is time to get on board with our sisters. I’ve got three good reasons for you. First, it’s the right thing to do. Second, if we don’t, they are going to kick our asses. There are more of them, they now have more college graduates than we do (even though they will only earn 70-80% as much) and – here is a shocker – women already have the majority of personal (private) wealth in the United States.

As for the third reason, well … um … the T-shirt that was being sold in front of the capitol on Saturday says it all.

SXSW: The Ride Goes Upside Down

SXSW staggered in this year like a drunken bear in a mosh pit; tossed us upside down inside out chewed us up and spit us out on the pavement like a day old chaw of wacky tobacky.  Do they even make that?  If they do, I’m sure someone was chewing it at SXSW.

It is over for now and the screaming throngs are fading memories, but here is a shout out to all you long time Austinites who avoided SXSW this year and stayed tucked away in your suburban bubbles doing yardwork, watching March Madness, playing with your kids,  peeking at internet porn while pretending to read War and Peace on your Kindle Fire.  You know who you are – and I feel you baby, I really do.   Every year about this time I used to hunker down and stay hidden like a shadowless groundhog.

But this southby I had something of an epiphany after a bottle of red wine and a couple of black-and-tans. Strolling with KT down East 6th, we watched bands set up on every available corner, nook and balcony playing snippets of their best song and passing out promo cards to the besotted stream of peds, like a fly fisherman casting a line.

SxSW 2012

An enthusiastic group of rappers huddled around a plush set of maroon motorcycles with pop-up DVD players and a beat box blaring on the seat, lit up when they saw my H4N Recorder.  They laid down a passionate but largely unintelligible rhyme.  I found myself talking to them in their own cadence, know-what-I’m-saying, infected by the energy of their lexicon.  A man in a white robe passed by carrying a life-size stuffed deer on his shoulder.   I was spun around and bumped into the guitar case of a tall thin guy with dark flowing locks sticking out from under a goofy, bright-green Irish Hat.  He looked and swaggered a little like Russell Brand.  I thought he told me the name of his band was Herb and Renewal.  But when I asked him that he said, “No, follow me and we’ll smoke some Herb.”

“We’re going this way.” I pointed, “But thanks.”

“I love you,” he slurred sincerely, and hugged both of us warmly.

SxSW 2012

You see, my epiphany was this.  SXSW is a living entity, a palpable energy field, supercharged by the collective DNA of artists and voyeurs from all over the world.   As with any entity, we can choose to have a relationship with it or choose not to.

In this the year of our lord 2012, I got intimate with SXSW. It was like taking an excused vacation from normalcy.   Look, the reason we take vacations is to create a parenthetical experience to our otherwise mundane lives, an experience that delivers fresh stimuli to our jaded perceptions.  We are lifted from our routine and transported into a childlike state of wonder and awe as every day presents a set of fascinating and exotic situations.   Hello?  That pretty much nails the blur that was the past eight days here in Austin.  Time wept, all attempt at discipline and self actualization were put on hold.

Saturday night downtown was a river of blood, piss and beer.  The smell of deep-fried food stung my nostrils.  An overlapping cacophony of whistles, moshed electric beats, guitars and drums, sirens, tricked-out amps, rap and country, screamed conversations, fleshy co-eds shrieking laughter and hanging on each other.  A real scene of chaos and debauchery.  Of course it’s like this every Saturday night at 2 am on Sixth street,  but there was a little extra spark of electricity in the air witnessed by the pods of important-looking black-clad hipsters, badges swinging to the rhythm of their gait as they tried to get to their circled-in shows.

Mornings during SXSW, you get to practice your hangover cures.  Each day brings a new challenge, an opportunity to hone your detox and recuperation skills.   My personal recommendation is to drink 4 ounces of bentonite clay in the evening before bed, followed by a 16 ounce glass of water.  The next day, take an infared sauna and blow a quart of organic coffee up your ass.   If that is not available to you eat an enormous breakfast, preferably the Migas at Kerbey Lane Cafe with a side of Home Fries then start drinking as soon as possible.  Nothing cures a hangover better than a little pelo del perro.

SxSW 2012

Here’s the real deal for all my Austin SXSW homebodies.   If you’re gonna do it, you gotta focus on the positive.  Look, this is good advice for everything:   relationships, your job, overdue library books, terminal diseases … but it is particularly true for SXSW.   Sure, traffic is heavier and your favorite haunts are crowded.   But with a little ingenuity and various combinations of cars, bicycles, pedicabs, metrorails, buses and walking, you  can suspend your routine and view the city with fresh eyes.   There is a reason why thousands flock to this event and it is not just to push you out of your favorite restaurant.  They come to immerse themselves in the synergy of talent and opportunity and creativity and raw excitement that only this city during this event can provide. What is fast becoming known all over the world through SXSW is that Austin is not just a place with weird people, Austin is an ideal; the embodiment of artistic freedom and individuality, grace and spontaneity.   So the next time SXSW comes to town, get out of your box and live a little. What the hell are you doing in a box anyway?

photos by Kevin Taylor

Jack Black Whacked

He was just sitting there. At Freebird’s World Burrito on South Congress. What happened next is anybody’s guess. Really.
Anybody.
I had seen him in Austin before. Last Fall at ACL Fest I was sitting in front of Chuy’s and he hopped out of a cab and into a pedicab to drive him up to the entrance. Most people were leaving but Arcade Fire wasn’t finished so I assume he was trying to catch the end of that. I thought if I saw him again I would talk to him.So here he was. By himself. Done eating. I hopped out of line and over the rail and just as I was about to introduce myself, he grabs my arm with urgency and spits out a harsh whisper: “Dude, you gotta help me!” He looks frantically out the window and asks: “Do you have a car?” Jack Black
I had barely muttered my affirmation when he reached up and put his hand on the back of my neck and pushed me down into a crouching position and hustled me toward the exit. I glanced around and nobody seemed to notice our very suspicious-looking shuffle out the door. We climbed into my car with Jack snarling ‘Hurry!’ over and over again. It’s a beautiful sunny day and pleasant Austin people are milling about; Jack’s anxiousness could not be more out of place. I was beginning to think he had lost it. Or maybe he was trippin’. I decided right then and there I would be his guardian through whatever trip he was on. I pull out onto Riverside and suddenly there was a sound like a gunshot; my car became hard to control and started bouncing around. I knew what it was, though – a blowout. I pulled over as far as I could.

“Don’t stop! What are you doing!?” Jack was in a full-blown panic.

Suddenly, a big black SUV screeched to a stop cross-ways in front of us and another smacked our bumper from behind. Guys in black suits jumped out, guns in hand. It was a bullet that blew my tire! From across the street a fat, old, naked man that looked a little like St. Nicholas came running across the street towards us. The only thing he was wearing was a knee-high fireman’s rubber boot – upside-down on the top of his head, like a hat. He ran up, shaking his arms above his head and babbling incoherently. Arms of Liberty
Jack decided we should use Santa Boothead Streaker as a distraction and he yelled “Come on!”. We ran up the side street into Travis Heights. As we are scrambling through the hilly neighborhood, I can see that Jack is totally whacked out of his mind; continually muttering about needing to find the Werewolf Fiddler. We rounded a corner and temporarily lost sight of the gunmen. The assumption would be that we went left since the only other option was straight and we would be easily seen. But I saw a fenceless yard on the right and dashed us through. I worked our way back west and we slipped across Congress near the Continental Club. We snaked past Threadgill’s and crossed the street to the RunTex. We blended into the crowd waiting to cross South 1st. Someone in the crowd turned and recognized Jack; he tried to give them the ‘Shhh’ sign but they were about to speak so he reached up and gave them the Vulcan pinch. They dropped to the ground like a wet sack of laundry. The light changed and we hustled across the street.There was a huge concert going on at Auditorium Shores, but Jack didn’t want to go in the front entrance, so we slid along the bridge down to the river’s edge and started heading west. Without warning, Jack stops cold.

“Of course! SRV!”

I look and see he is transfixed by the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Jack spins on his heel and bolts for the double-high, fabric-covered chain link fence surrounding the concert. He scrambles up and over, lacerating himself severely on the way, and lands in a spy crouch on the other side, looking wildly about in all directions.

“Jack! Jack!,” I yelled, “It’s a free concert! You don’t have to climb the …” but he was gone, and I had to keep up with him, so over the fence I went.

Werewolf Fiddler I simply could not believe what we encountered next. Over by the souvenir stands was none other than … the Werewolf Fiddler! I now had complete and total faith in Jack; he wasn’t crazy! He had been right about the gunmen and right about the Werewolf Fiddler. I watched as Jack had a frenetic conversation with the werewolf who eventually lifted his bow and pointed southeast. There was something eerie and grim-reaperish about the motion but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Jack ran off in the designated direction. I followed.
Crack!

Crack!

The Shins stopped singing right in the middle of the “king of the eyesores” line and the entire crowd of thousands went silent.

I watched the gunmen scurry away through the crowd. I saw a circle of people form around what I feared was Jack’s lifeless body. I felt terrible. Despite my best effort, Jack Black was still whacked at SxSW… but not before I got this spiffy little snapshot! 

In Memoriam

Jack Black

Aug. 28, 1969 – Mar. 15, 2012

KT and Jack Black

SX Unlocked – an app for finding Free Shows!

So many great things happening at SxSW this year that I very nearly forgot to plug this terrific app for finding all of the free shows. If you go with the paid version, it will automatically RSVP you in to free parties. One evening of free booze will cover the cost of the app. Check it out:
sxunlocked.com
SX Unlocked

Utopia Above Ground

In true AustinAboveGround style, this coverage of UtopiaFest has more introductions than actual reporting, but does include some great pics of the festival. Get out your booger kazoos and jump on the Road to Utopia!

To view Full Screen, roll your cursor over the video and click on the four outward arrows just to the left of the Vimeo logo.

Or click here to watch the video on the Vimeo site:

Utopia Above Ground

Best.ACL.Coverage.Ever

ACL is Austin’s premier Music event. Videotaping is strictly forbidden. So none of this video was taped by us. We found this footage stuck to a dying hobo’s wooden leg that he removed to try and sell to raise money for a liver transplant. Sadly, he only raised $1.47 (that is all we had on us) which is far short of the amount needed for the medical procedure required to keep him alive. Prior to his demise, however, he assured us that he had the proper credentials to own the video images seen here and that he was happy to pass that along to us. His death is your gift. Please enjoy.

To view Full Screen, roll your cursor over the video and click on the four outward arrows just to the left of the Vimeo logo.

Or click here to watch the video on the Vimeo site:

Best.ACL.Coverage.Ever