Wednesday, November 22, 2006

East Side Story

This past weekend marked the third anniversary of the East Austin Studio Tour. With 86 studios involved in this year’s tour, I tagged along with my Screamer design friends for the two-day revelry.

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Our weekend began with a stop at the east-side swank spot Peacock Lounge. This small cocktail bar’s décor oozes with old world charm and retro-ornate elegance, as if all interior pieces were picked up at Old Lady Dinsmoor’s Paradiso Perduto estate sale. Stop in and order a Lone Star or Tail-feather – a Peacock specialty – and mingle with the hipsters and decedent zombies in their east-side late-night playground.

What is the Peacock not trendy enough for, you ask? “Pabst Blue Ribbon” says one bartender/co-owner. “I’ve had people come in and ask for it. I mean the only reason anyone should drink PBR is if it’s free… maybe.” Outside the Peacock, you’ll find live music, dogs, bikes and beer - reoccurring weekend themes – and dancing in the street for those who felt so inclined.

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After a good dose of the Peacock’s lavish costume-jewelry appeal, we rounded up the troops for destination number two: Progress Coffee. Bicycles and Vespas lined the café walls in celebration of Progress’s second anniversary, and the celebratory guest performer was none other than the printmaker/musical prodigy, cool-guy Scott Hanson. This visionary double-threat goes by the names iso50 (the screen printer), and tycho (the master of electronic sound).

Projected onto two screens were psychedelic arrangements combining 70’s-style line prints and dreamy feel-good images of birds, trees and beautiful women. Nothing this guy does is unimpressive - including photos, clothing and his new album Past is Prolouge – and all of it is available here at my personal registry.

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Designer Michael Sieben

Stop number three on our tour de east side was the Okay Mountain gallery – a personal favorite. Their exhibit Staff Infection showcased works from the eight individual artists that are Okay Mountain. The OKMT fiesta continued on Sunday with backyard grillin’ and a free show.

Smoke Detector – a simple ditty duo - started things off with their catchy unconventional lyrics about dirty laundry. The group members include Okay Mountain staff member Josh Rios and his sweet-singing counterpart. She read an unusual story by Leonora Carrington about a discontent debutante and her friend, the flesh-eating hyena and they finished off their set with an interesting rendition of Prince’s Darling Nikki. We were all grinding.

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Designer Masemandesign

Ponieheart, the humble songster from Birmingham, was next to brave the stage. If you missed his Austin opening for Bonnie Prince Billy, you were in for a pleasant surprise. He offered endearing explanations for why he goes by Ponieheart (birth-given Paul Fugazzotto II doesn’t seem market-friendly) and why he’s not saying ‘grease pancake’ (when he’s singing about his favorite author, Brees Pancake).

In other news, the Dixie Chicks and Mel Gibson are officially free of America’s spotlight of persecution. Congratulations to Seinfeld funny man Michael Richards who now holds the sepulcher of anti-Americanism and unpatriotic evil.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Headlights & Lionel Richie

South Austin is home to a growing number of eclectic independent establishments. A short cruise down South 1st can cure any craving, whether it is coffee, art, fashion or your favorite indie band’s new EP. At End of an Ear Records, you can find obscure artists and albums, buy tickets to upcoming shows at Emo’s, check out local art, and see free live performances right there in the shop! (B.Y.O.B.)

Yesterday, Pompeii and Headlights played sets in the shop for an audience of less than 30 people. Headlights vocalist Erin Fein is absolutely adorable and her passion and energy are captivating. Not much taller than the keyboards in front of her, she stood on her toes as if her black Vans were ballet slippers.

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The End of an Ear site quotes, “We hope to become the record store you've always dreamed about.” I say, throw in some Loggins & Messina LP’s and a life-size Lionel Richie cut-out (circa 1982 with yellow leggings and Jeri Curl) and you've done it!

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Upcoming shows at End of an Ear:
Nov 21st Tuesday @ 6pm - Micah P. Hinson
Nov 22nd Wednesday @ 4pm - The Hidden Cameras
*All Instores/events are free

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's a Girl!

Another election day has come and gone, and our great nation is dancing to the bells of change. As a country, we have decided that the Republicans are incapable of leadership – not to mention, a band of war-hungry evildoers – so we’re going to let the Democrats try their hands at it.
I stand for women everywhere when I say, third in line ain’t half bad. Hats off to the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Hopefully her maternal nature and womanly compassion will convince these men to put their guns down and retreat, among other things.

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Target Practice with the Lord by Jason Archer

Another surprise brought by the newly elected leaders is the resignation of our Secretary of Defense, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld – commonly referred to as ‘The man with no soul.’ One Al Jazeera reporter spoke of the resignation as “victory for the insurgents.” I say “victory for our world.” I saw a haunting clip of Rumsfled on an ABC News report. He coyly looks off in the distance, as if amused by his thoughts, and tells the camera that his childhood motto would have to have been, “If it doesn’t go easy… force it.” I find this statement to be both ignorant and alarming. In political rhetoric, this translates as determined and focused. What oh what will little Dick do without his partner in crime?

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Jesus? by Paul Beck

I went to an Art opening tonight at Gallery Lombardi featuring anti-war collaborations by Austin artists Jason Archer and Paul Beck. I found myself in a small room with white walls hidden behind a Starbucks/OfficeMax mega-complex right next to the tracks. There were several of our city’s homeless relaxing outside – mingling with Austin’s hipsters, musicians, painters and liberals.

Inside, I stumbled upon something that I have been looking for under rugs and couches for years: patriotism. Our parents experienced it, but my generation is conflicted. We have not bound together in support, but rather scattered in frantic turmoil. Today, my friends, patriotism is alive, but it’s a different animal. We no longer stand together in uninformed sheepish support of our administration. Instead, we stand together in the hopeful glimpse of change … possibly peace. We the People have spoken, and our voices and efforts just may change our world.

Thank you for voting, and get ready America. The times they are a-changin’.

The Archer$Beck exhibit will show at Gallery Lombardi until Nov. 29.