Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can I get some catchup with that?

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Florencia by Nícola Costantino

Our world is a busy, ever-changing place and our individual lives are often so cluttered that we don’t even notice what’s going on around us. I believe that my addiction to NPR, keen insight, and expert analytical skills qualify me as an able and educated informative source. Therefore, I have filtered and summarized the important news that is going on around us, in case you missed it. After all, we owe it to ourselves to be educated citizens. So, my little green lovelies, here you are.

Supposedly, Monday was Columbus Day, and I celebrated by doing laundry and indulging in a bucket of blue bell homemade ice cream. That’s about as American as it gets. Then yesterday, I hear that it’s Leif Erikson Day. Who? Oh right, isn’t that the old honky that owns a car dealership in the hill country? Well, cheers to Leif on this day of his. May his dip be plentiful and his spit cup never empty.

To everyone’s shock and disappointment, recent evidence has uncovered that teenagers in Canada are eating and smoking leaves as recreational drugs. Authorities and concerned parents are puzzled with how to handle this newfound realization.

While doctors down under proved to the world that vodka saves lives, a mother in Minnesota proved that surfing the net kills children. This mom got more than she bargained for while shopping for shoes online. Buy one pair of strappy sandals and get a charge of manslaughter FREE!

Entomologists and public health officials have uncovered an operative plan to halt immigration, terrorism and overpopulation and it is already claiming its first victims. In efforts to appear innocent they have unleashed deadly strains of viruses to be carried by unknowing messengers like bacteria and insects. What’s worse? They’re pushing it off on supposed natural disasters. A heavy humid wet season would obviously bring stagnant water, messy lakes, and an uncontrolled spread of parasites and diseases. Okay, fine. But explain then why so many innocent boat-loving civilians have fallen victim to deadly amoeba in Texas lakes and the Florida coast. Then a man from the UK comes to vacation on American shores, and returns home in a coma. He was bitten by a mosquito, but this was no West Nile, my friends. This little stinger was carrying the deadly Equine Encephalitis Virus, otherwise known as Triple E.

WWJD? Faithful Brits believe they can answer this question. Jesus would be an organ donor. The Church of England urges believers to give of themselves, literally. Next time the offering plate is passed to you, if you don’t have any nickels and dimes, you can throw in one of your kidneys. It’s the Christian thing to do.

While all of these breaking news stories have been affecting our world, life as I know it has managed to carry on in its regular fashion. Here’s some thrilling documentation of this normalcy:

Let’s see…
I went to an art opening at the swanky, marble-floored Volitant Gallery downtown.

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Angeliska Polacheck
Found Object/Mixed Media

The Volitant will be closing shortly, and for their final soirée, they are displaying the works of 14 women artists in an exhibit they call Femme Fantastique. The mixed media eye candy was an excellent representation of the feminine spectrum from quirky to cultural and grace to rebellion.

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Spring from the series Seasons by Wendy Red-Star

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Femme Fantastique will be hanging in the beautiful gallery space until November 10. Volitant, you will be missed.

After the opening, we walked across the street to Austin’s underground jazzy lounge, The Elephant Room. We were treated to a heavy dose of rhythm and blues and a killer performance by incredible musicians.

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Sitting near us at the bar was an interesting man who appeared to be an avid thinker. He was busily jotting down notes on square bar napkins and seemed totally consumed by this. By the time he had gone through an entire stack of napkins, we had a healthy dose of scotch runnin through our veins and we began to pass notes to introduce ourselves. That’s how I met my new friend, Georgie.

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That’s George. He’s an extremely philosophical man. Maybe lonely, maybe heartbroken, but most definitely not apathetic or cynical. If you put a beret on him, you’d think he was plucked right out of the beat generation. He loves jazz, Picasso and PBS … and scribbling on napkins at bars.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Austin City Has No Limits

Every once in a while, something goes down in our infrequently sleepy town that makes me proud as hell to live in it. Though it may seem cliché, and a little overdone, the Austin City Limits Festival is one of my all-time favorite weekends of the year.

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I know many an Austinite that turns their nose up at this mega-event, and to them I say, thank you. Thank you, elitist home-towners and ‘Keep Austin Weird’ers. Thank you for your laughably controversial op-eds in the Chronicle and local blogs about anti-corporatism and unfavorable acoustics. Thank you for giving disgruntled cabbies a reason to complain about a profitable weekend of heavy business. And lastly, and definitely not leastly, thank you for not buying tickets, so that non-elitist festival-loving friends, old and new, from across the world have the opportunity to join in the fun. A Festivus for the rest of us, if you will. After all, if we’re going to repair Texas’ historically and politically preceding reputation, we have to start somewhere.

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I, for one, had family and friends visiting for the event, and these out-of-towners left our great city exhausted and singing its praises. I also met a slew of like-minded ACLiens from all over the world (Linda, my new Canadian friend, wherever you are, rock on and I’ll see you in Victoria BC). Thanks to LJ’s excellent photographic skills, we were able to chronicle some of our fun.

Day 1
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Though we managed to miss the unexplained 18-wheeler conflagration, we couldn’t escape the heat. We did catch a little solace from the sultriness at the crowded entry gates (thanks to the cover of a friendly rain cloud) and a little of Peter Bjorn and John’s set. Not a bad way to start a steamy day.

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Possibly my favorite performance of the weekend came in the heat of the first day from the UK’s M.I.A. Seemingly unphased by the Friday afternoon furnace, she talked about politics and partying, about war and Visas, invited half of the crowd to join her on stage, did the running man for about 48 8-counts, and put on a side splitting performance (no seriously, cheeseballs. She danced so hard that she split the pant seam of her fuchsia jumpsuit). I have never wanted so desperately to be in someone’s posse as I do in hers.

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At the end of a long first day of festivaling, Bjork and her colorful cronies took the stage. Bouncing around the space in a state of emergency, this Icelandic icon brought the goods. I wish she had delivered more of her classics, but I’ll settle with crazy costumes and confetti explosions.

Day 2
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No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn

…And on the second day, God said, “Let there be a morning of bottomless mimosas with friends followed by another amazing day of music.” Cold War Kids and Clap Your Hands, deliciously depressing Damien Rice, Stephen Marley stirring it up for the rebelution, and some of my favorite Canucks, Arcade Fire were some of the highlights under the scorching Saturday sun.

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Andrew Bird was hands-down, kick everybody’s ass, one of my favorite acts. I’ve been lovin’ Drew for some time, not only because he’s on Ani’s Righteous Babe label, but because he whistles like a Disney movie and is one of the most inventive musicians/lyricists of our generation. He came in style, no doubt, rockin’ the v-neck and rad neon green shades.

Day 3

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Sunday Funday

Day three, the troops and I came to play. GearedBeered up and ready to rock, we walked to DeVotchKa to catch a chick rockin the tuba. I love Midlake, and apparently other people love Midlake. One dude loves them so much that he decided to propose in the middle of their set. He actually said be my Young Bride which was endearing and disgusting at the same time. I mean ... I am, we are, all very happy for them. Congrats you two.

Bloc Party was rockin. Regina Spektor is not, I repeat not this generation’s Tori Amos. Amos Lee sounds the way soul food tastes. Jeff Tweedy is on my hero list, and I could watch Wilco for days. It’s Wilco.

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Ghostland Observatory is this strange little collaboration of two funky children with one huge beat. I want to carry them around with me wherever I go. Not like pet rock style. You know what I mean. Definitely bringing the energy.

As for Mr. Robert Dylan, all I can say is that he is f***ing Bob Dylan. No, he didn’t sound like a young songbird in spring, but he’s old, people, and he’s lived a life of spilling his heart and soul out day after Dylan-loving day. I mean come on, has anyone been to a Willie show lately? These things happen to people. Anyway, the point is that I love Bobby D, and it was good to have him there.

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It has to be said, that the person that first played ol’ Bob (and Joni, and James…) for me is my mum. She was there watching Bob too, and time has never felt so real.

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Dear ACL,

I love you. Until next year…

Love, Me

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