Austin's South by Southwest music/everything else in the world fest announced a partial list of bands scheduled for showcases in March. The names range from Brooklyn's Aa to Argentina's Zona Tango, but so far not one San Antonio artist. WTF SXSW?
Who deserves to go; who has submitted their stuff to South By and hasn't heard back yet? Let us know in the comments below. The most exciting acts named so far are probably Acid Mothers Temple (in the kick-ass video above), the db's, Frightened Rabbit, and Smif N Wessun. Not bad, but not exactly thrilling, as far as I'm concerned, but check out the list below and decide for yourself.
Anybody heard any good rumors yet?
Aa (Brooklyn NY)
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO (Osaka JAPAN)
A Classic Education (Bologna ITALY)
Alpha Rev (Austin TX)
Amaral (Madrid SPAIN)
And So I Watch You From Afar (Belfast IRELAND)
Apostle of Hustle (Toronto ON)
Arms (Brooklyn NY)
Ólöf Arnalds (Reykjavik ICELAND)
Art vs Science (Surry Hills AUSTRALIA)
A Shoreline Dream (Denver CO)
Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea (Asbury Park NJ)
Autumn Owls (Dublin IRELAND)
Bare Wires (Oakland CA)
Julian Berntzen (Bergen NORWAY)
Best Fwends (Austin TX)
The Black (Austin TX)
The Black Atlantic (Groningen THE NETHERLANDS)
Dan Black (Paris FRANCE)
Black Tide (Miami FL)
Bliss N Eso (Albert Park VIC)
Boom Boom Satellites (JAPAN)
The Boxer Rebellion (London UK-ENGLAND)
Break of Reality (New York NY)
B-Real of Cypress Hill (Los Angeles CA)
Broadway Calls (Rainer OR)
Broken Records (Edinburgh UK-SCOTLAND)
VV BROWN (London UK-ENGLAND)
The Brunettes (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Buckshot (Brooklyn NY)
Canja Rave (Porto Alegre BRAZIL)
Capsula (Bilbao SPAIN)
Carsick Cars (Beijing CHINA)
Caucus (Tokyo JAPAN)
The Chevelles (Melville WA)
Chew Lips (London UK-ENGLAND)
Suzanna Choffel (Austin TX)
Chris T-T (Brighton UK-ENGLAND)
C-Mon & Kypski (THE NETHERLANDS)
The Coathangers (Atlanta GA)
Simon Collins (Victoria BC)
The Constellations (Atlanta GA)
Contra Coup (Austin TX)
Cotton Jones (Cumberland MD)
The Crystal Method (Los Angeles CA)
David Dallas (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Dappled Cities (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Daveman (Berlin GERMANY)
The Daylights (Los Angeles CA)
The dB's (Chapel Hill NC)
Dead Sexy Inc (Paris FRANCE)
The Deaf (The Hague THE NETHERLANDS)
Deer Tick (Providence RI)
Delhi 2 Dublin (Vancouver BC)
Paul Dempsey (from "Something for Kate") (Melbourne VIC)
Diplomats of Solid Sound (Iowa City IA)
DJ Car Stereo (Wars) (Austin TX)
DJ Evil Dee (Brooklyn NY)
DJ Revolution (Los Angeles CA)
Daniel Francis Doyle (Austin TX)
Adiam Dymott (Goteborg SWEDEN)
The 88 (Los Angeles CA)
Electric Electric (Strasbourg FRANCE)
Val Emmich (Jersey City NJ)
Eternia (Toronto ON)
Everything Everything (Manchester UK-WALES)
Fanfarlo (London UK-ENGLAND)
Michael Feinberg (New York NY)
Fergus & Geronimo (Westway TX)
Fighting With Wire (Derry IRELAND)
FINALE (Detroit MI)
Floating Action (Asheville NC)
Francis (Borlange SWEDEN)
Robert Francis (Los Angeles CA)
Frightened Rabbit (Selkirk UK-SCOTLAND)
The Funeral Pyre (Los Angeles CA)
The Ganjas (Santiago CHILE)
Geeks (Tokyo JAPAN)
Gerald G (Austin TX)
Colin Gilmore (Austin TX)
Giulia y los Tellarini (Barcelona SPAIN)
Rosi Golan (New York NY)
Gong Myoung (Seoul KOREA)
Goober and the Peas (Detroit MI)
Good Shoes (London UK-ENGLAND)
Guitar Shorty (Harlingen TX)
Ha Ha Tonka (Springfield MO)
Halves (Dublin IRELAND)
Darren Hanlon (Sydney AUSTRALIA)
Harlem (Austin TX)
Headdress (Austin TX)
Hey Colossus (London UK-ENGLAND)
Robyn Hitchcock (London CA)
Hot Panda (Edmonton AB)
The Hounds Below (Detroit MI)
I Fight Dragons (Chicago IL)
The Intelligence (Seattle WA)
Ivan & Alyosha (Seattle WA)
Japandroids (Vancouver BC)
Jazz One (Austin TX)
Stephen Jerzak (La Crosse WI)
John Dear Mowing Club (Den Haag THE NETHERLANDS)
The Jim Jones Revue (London UK-ENGLAND)
Jookabox (Indianapolis IN)
Julia Says (Sao Paulo BRAZIL)
Karnivool (Perth AUSTRALIA)
Kartick & Gotam (Chennai INDIA)
Kidz In Space (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Kidz In The Hall (Chicago IL)
Kingston (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Maurice Kirya (Kampala ZIMBABWE)
The Kissaway Trail (Odense DENMARK)
L.A.B. (Novo Hamburgo BRAZIL)
The Law (Dundee UK-SCOTLAND)
Vander Lee (Belo Horizonte BRAZIL)
Unni Lovlid (Oslo NORWAY)
Lowood (Stockholm SWEDEN)
Audra Mae (Los Angeles CA)
Malente (Essen GERMANY)
Natalia Mallo (Sao Paulo BRAZIL)
Mantles (San Francisco CA)
Julia Marcell (Berlin GERMANY)
Marco Polo & Torae (Brooklyn NY)
Mariachi El Bronx (Los Angeles CA)
Carolyn Mark (Victoria BC)
Maruosa (Tokyo JAPAN)
MegaRex (Sao Paulo BRAZIL)
The Middle East (Townsville AUSTRALIA)
Middle Finger Salute (Blackburn UK-ENGLAND)
Miniature Tigers (Phoenix AZ)
Mixtapes & Cellmates (Stockholm SWEDEN)
Monarchs (Austin TX)
Michael Monroe (Helsinki FINLAND)
PJ Morton (Conyers GA)
Mountain Man (Bennington VT)
Movits! (Lulea SWEDEN)
Moxine (Sao Paulo BRAZIL)
Mr Sicc (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Mumiy Troll (Los Angeles CA)
My Dad is Dead (Chapel Hill NC)
Nailpin (Boom BELGIUM)
Nakia & His Southern Cousins (Austin TX)
NiCad (Den Haag THE NETHERLANDS)
9th Wonder (Raleigh-Durham NC)
The Novas (Dallas TX)
Jackie Oates (Exeter UK-ENGLAND)
of Verona (Mandi Perkins) (Los Angeles CA)
One Night Only (Helmsley UK-ENGLAND)
1001 Nights Orchestra (Austin TX)
The Pack A.D. (Vancouver BC)
Paleo (Brooklyn NY)
:papercutz (Porto PORTUGAL)
Parlovr (Montreal QC)
Past Lives (Seattle WA)
The Peelies (Montreal QC)
Julie Peel (Montreal QC)
Peter Wolf Crier (Minneapolis MN)
Pink Nasty (Austin TX)
Pivot (UK) (UK-ENGLAND)
P.K. 14 (Beijing CHINA)
Plants and Animals (Montreal QC)
Please The Trees (Prague CZECH REPUBLIC)
Steve Poltz (San Diego CA)
Andy Pratt (Amesbury MA)
Sean Price (Brooklyn NY)
Princeton (Eagle Rock CA)
Psalm One (Chicago IL)
Quantic and his Combo Barbaro (Cali COLOMBIA)
Random Axe (Brooklyn NY)
Rebelle (Den Haag THE NETHERLANDS)
Red Mass (Montreal QC)
Tommy Reilly (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Riverboat Gamblers (Austin TX)
The River Raid (Recife BRAZIL)
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (Brooklyn NY)
Brisa Roche (Paris FRANCE)
Rock of Heltah Skeltah (Brooklyn NY)
Rogues (London UK-ENGLAND)
Ruste Juxx (Brooklyn NY)
San Saba County (Austin TX)
Scanners (London UK-ENGLAND)
Kate Schutt (Guelph ON)
Serious Sam Barrett (Leeds UK-ENGLAND)
Shit And Shine (London UK-ENGLAND)
Sixteen Deluxe (Austin TX)
Skyzoo (Brooklyn NY)
Small Black (Brooklyn NY)
Smif N Wessun (Brooklyn NY)
Smoosh (Seattle WA)
So Cow (Tuam IRELAND)
Solid Gold (Minneapolis MN)
Soulico (Tel Aviv ISRAEL)
So What (The Hague THE NETHERLANDS)
The Spring Standards (New York NY)
Sabrina Starke (Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS)
Steel Train (Teaneck NJ)
StereoHeroes (Les Gorguettes FRANCE)
Surrounded (Malmo SWEDEN)
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter (Seattle WA)
M. Takara 3 (Guarulhos BRAZIL)
Team Facelift (New York NY)
Thunder Power (Omaha NE)
Timber Timbre (Toronto ON)
Todd (London UK-ENGLAND)
Marques Toliver (London UK-ENGLAND)
Toolshed (London ON)
Trembling Bells (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Trespassers William (Seattle WA)
Twin Atlantic (Glasgow UK-SCOTLAND)
Two Star Symphony (Houston TX)
Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights (Dallas TX)
The Uglysuit (Oklahoma City OK)
Uncle Lucius (Austin TX)
The View (Dundee UK-SCOTLAND)
Volovan (Monterrey MEXICO)
Waco Brothers (Chicago IL)
Miho Wada (Auckland NEW ZEALAND)
Warpaint (Los Angeles CA)
Wave Machines (Liverpool UK-ENGLAND)
The Wave Pictures (London UK-ENGLAND)
We Are Scientists (New York NY)
We Are Wolves (Montreal QC)
Withered (Atlanta GA)
Wolf Gang (London UK-ENGLAND)
Woot (The Haque THE NETHERLANDS)
XV (Wichita KS)
The Yellow Dogs (Tehran IRAN)
YellowFever (Austin TX)
Zlam Dunk (San Marcos TX)
Zona Tango (Buenos Aires ARGENTINA)
Oren Moverman - The Messenger
By Kiko Martinez
San Antonio Current contributing writer
Filmmaker Oren Moverman was never given a choice whether or not he wanted to join the Army in his home country of Israel back in the early 80s. Military service was mandatory at the age of 18.
“We had to serve – three years for men and two years for women,” Moverman, 43, told me during a phone interview. “It’s just the way it’s always been.”
His own experience in the armed forces and how it differs from the way the U.S. military works was one of the reasons Moverman co-wrote The Messenger. The film tells the story of two soldiers (Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson) whose job it is to notify families when a loved one has been killed.
Moverman, who has co-written such films as the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There and the 1940s-set drama Married Life – said it was fascinating to think about the small fraction of the U.S. population who ends up in the military and is ultimately asked to carry such an immense responsibility for the entire country.
“It was striking to me how much they have to sacrifice and endure in our name,” Moverman said. “Our intention was to shine a light on these people who have to live with the consequences of going to war. I was really drawn to these guys and wanted to tell their story in an intimate way.”
The Messenger is currently playing at the Santikos Bijou @ Crossroads Theater. For showtimes click here.
While doing research for the film and talking to real-life Casualty Notification officers, was it difficult to get them to open up since much of the film shows just how impersonal they have to be on the job?
It was not difficult. The Army supported the film so they gave us access to soldiers. Those who did Casualty Notification actually wanted to talk about it. Obviously it was difficult and emotional, but there is something about today’s soldiers and the way they communicate that really surprised me. They were really polite and professional about it. But they weren’t afraid to be emotional about it and really describe how they felt. We had tough guys that had been through wars and been though a lot of difficult situations and they tell you about Casualty Notification and how they’ve walked out of a house and poured their eyes out crying. No one pretended like this was something easy to do.
So, every scene where we see Woody and Ben’s characters notifying families, were those actual stories heard from soldiers?
Actually, no. The only one that was based on a true story was the last one in the grocery store when they sort of notify a couple by accident when they hear a name. Other than that, they all have elements of things that were told but none of them are specific to a certain family or person.
Was your research only with the soldiers who do this job or did you talk to some of the families who had lost loved ones in the war?
No, we stayed away from the families for various reasons. One was to respect their privacy. The movie was also not concentrating on the families but rather the people that were doing the notifications.
Do you feel like grief is a universal emotion? I mean, you have scenes where family members react in certain ways to the heartbreaking news, but you didn’t hear those experiences first hand from them.
Exactly. I do think grief is a universal emotion. I don’t think it’s a stretch for any of us to imagine how we would react. I don’t think anyone could ever anticipate it, but if you think of it from a creative point of view it’s very easy to tap into the emotions and the moments. I think even if this movie does have a military backdrop, there really is a universal story about loss and how someone can get back to life after suffering that kind of pain.
What was the mood like between takes since this is such an emotional story? How are you able to leave it on set and not take any of that home with you?
You definitely take it with you. On the set people really got along. It was a very calm and quiet set. In between takes there was a lot of intensity because we kept it tense. You do a take and you do it again and it’s very tough. People are going through very emotional situations. I would say there was a lot of crying and hugging on set, which is not a bad thing in life.
There wasn’t really a human element to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until Barack Obama came into office. Little was said about soldiers dying. We never saw soldiers’ funerals. Now, things have changed. Is this something you feel the public needs to see?
Absolutely. I think the public needs to see it and needs to talk about it and not from any kind of political perspective. You get that from our movie. It’s not about the politics; it’s about the human cost. It’s not only human loss and human lives, it’s returning soldiers who have physical and mental problems. These guys are going to need help and support. It’s really the responsibility of society to take care of its warriors in the best way possible. I think too often in our history the people that had to deal with the consequences of war were neglected and not supported enough by the general population. I think it’s important to be honest and tell people about the stories that are going on over there. I think it would be a way to honor these guys.
The film talks a bit about how Casualty Notification has changed over the years from a simple telegram being sent out up through Vietnam to the more recent changes where a chaplain is even brought on visits to the family. Do you think this evolution is a change for the better?
The military deserves a lot of credit for taking this on and trying to figure out how to make it better because, clearly, this is not something you can make better. It’s a horrible thing that can happen to a family. It’s a harrowing situation to be in. I think it’s a difficult question to know the best way to do this, but I applaud the army for constantly updating [the system] and thinking about how they can make it a little bit more conducive for the people who have to deal with this.
Luis Guzman - Old Dogs
By Kiko Martinez
San Antonio Current contributing writer
While there might be a famous proverb that reads, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” actor Luis Guzman has to respectfully disagree.
“Of course you can teach an old dog new tricks,” Guzman, 53, told me during a phone conference to promote his cameo role in the new comedy Old Dogs, which stars John Travolta and Robin Williams.“Sometimes you just come across a situation and you learn from it – you’re wowed by it.”
In the film, Travolta and Williams play Charlie and Dan, lifelong best friends and business partners whose lives are turned upside down when they agree to look after 7-year-old twins during the busiest week of their professional careers. Guzman, alongside comedian Dax Shepard (Baby Mama), plays an employee of a home safety company hired to childproof Charlie’s apartment when Dan brings the kids to stay over. Along with childproofing the home, Guzman’s character takes it upon himself to eat whatever he finds in the kitchen.
Known for his scene-stealing skills, Guzman had another cameo role last year in the Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man where he played a troubled man threatening to jump from a ledge. In the funniest part of the entire movie, Guzman and Carrey sing a duet to the Third Eye Blind song “Jumper.”
Along with his roles in a number of comedies, including Anger Management and Nothing Like the Holidays, Guzman, who has been in the industry for over 30 years, has starring in such dramatic films as Traffic, Runaway Jury, and Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story.
Currently, Guzman, who was born in Puerto Rico, is working on How to Make it in America, an HBO show that follows two Brooklyn hustlers trying to achieve the American Dream in the New York fashion scene.
What was it like working with Dax Shepard in your scenes for Old Dogs?
I loved working with Dax. I think we have a really good chemistry together. I thought he brought a lot to the table. I think we did a good job complimenting each other. He’s one of those guys that I hope I get to work with again. I just really dig his sense of humor. It works for him.
Tell us about your upcoming HBO show How to Make it in America.
I play this guy named Rene who happens to live in the neighborhood I grew up in. Rene is a hustler. He’s a guy who’s been through a lot. He’s been to jail. He finally comes out and is trying to make his life better. But hustling is all he’s ever known. It’s a great story.
You were mentioned on an episode of the NBC comedy Community where they erected a statue in your honor on the college campus. Did they call you up for that and ask permission?
That was [director] Joe Russo. I did a movie with him called Welcome to Collinwood. They called me up about it. For me, for someone to do this, I thought it was an absolute honor and was flattered by it. It’s cool when people ask you to do stuff like that.
You’ve been in this industry for over 30 years. I’m guessing you’ve already gotten to that point where you can pass on certain projects. Can you give us an example of a role that you might pass on?
I don’t want to play an abusive father or an abusive husband. I don’t want to be in something that is not significant. Sometimes people just want me in something just to have the name. I won’t do that because if it’s not something true to the storyline, then why do it? I don’t want to be exploited like that.
What are some your favorite roles that you’ve had in your career?
I loved my role in Boogie Nights. I thought that was a great role for me. I loved my role in The Count of Monte Cristo and my role as the DA agent in Traffic. I loved my role in a movie called Maldeamores, which was a small movie shot in Puerto Rico a few years ago. To be honest with you, I enjoy most of my roles.
The Spurs welcomed Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards
The much needed victory over the Wizards halted a three game
skid for the Spurs who have yet to win a game on the road. Seven of their next
nine contests will be played in
Next up for
Stephanie Andujar - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
By Kiko Martinez
San Antonio Current contributing writer
For actress Stephanie Andujar, her role in the critically acclaimed drama Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, hit close to home.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Andujar, who is of Puerto Rican descent, spent most of her adolescence without her father, who was in and out of jail for drug-related crimes. In Precious, she plays Rita, a young girl trying to put her life back together by quitting drugs and attending an alternative school. There, she meets the title character, Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight and illiterate teenager who is pregnant for the second time with her father’s child and living with an abusive mother (Mo’Nique).
During an interview with me, Andujar, 23, talked about the film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and what she hopes audiences discover in their own lives after seeing it.
You graduated from Pace University this past May with a degree in business. When did acting become a part of your life?
It’s always been a part of my life. I did a lot of theater growing up in New York. My mom put me in an after-school program for acting. She didn’t want me to be on the streets. Then, I went to a performing arts high school. All I could see myself doing was acting and being an entertainer. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else.
Tell us about Rita and what interested you in playing this role.
Rita is a former heroine addict. In the book, she can’t read, she has HIV and she’s been a prostitute since she was 12. [The role] hits home because my father was a heroine addict. I’ve dealt with things like that in my family. I’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with my father because he was always in and out of jail.
What did he say about your role in Precious?
It was tough to talk about. I just remember when I got the part, he told me I should go to rehab programs to see what they were like. He didn’t get to see Precious. He passed away in January.
Did your role give you a better understanding of what your dad was going through?
Oh, man, yes. Heroine is such a tough drug to beat. My father really tried to overcome that. I can see the same in Rita. She had no other choice in her life. In the film, she is ready to get her life together. She wants a better life.
Precious is your first film. What was the audition process like for you?
I just remember [director] Lee Daniels telling me in the audition room, “I don’t care how many other girls are out there, you got this part. I want you to play Rita.” I was so excited. At the time, it was only a small independent film. We didn’t know where it was going to go. Now, it’s getting all this press. I feel honored to play this character.
What would tell people who might say this character is stereotypical?
I play this part because it’s a true character. There are so many Latinas out there who are told, “You can’t do this. You can’t do that; just have babies and get on welfare.” They don’t have the guidance to see they can do whatever they want. They can become a Supreme Court Justice. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Latinas who are misguided and go through things like this in life. Other Latinos might say these types of roles are demeaning, but I’m an actor. Why is it demeaning? If a role calls for a pregnant prostitute involved in a murder case, I’m going to play it because that’s what I do. That doesn’t mean I’m limited.
What do you hope audiences who see this film take from it when they leave the theater?
This film is about hardships and getting through difficult things in life. I hope people see that they shouldn’t let things bring them down. They should keep on fighting and succeed. The movie might make some people cry, but the tears will be happy tears. I can’t wait until the world sees it.
How's this for service journalism? I'm giving you one more chance to find out about the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to see the local concert of your lifetime, the 2009 Rammy Music Awards. Don't be one of those people who skips it only to later have to lie about it to their grandchildren about being there. Because there's no way your kids' kids are gonna understand why you passed up the opportunity to see Altus, Deadpool, Bombasta, the Heroine, Mexican Stepgrandfather, and Mexicans With Guns, all on the same stage (not at the same time), and all for FREE.
"Why weren't you there, grandpa?" Doe-eyed little Sally will ask you, confused. "I sure hope I didn't inherit your dumbass gene."
And one more reason to show: I'm reviewing the Mexicans With Guns show for next week's Live & Local. When everyone else reads the review, they'll be like "Yeah, I know. I remember how bad-ass that show was and you, Jeremy Martin, through the brilliance of your word poems, have brought all that amazingness back to my forebrain." But if you don't go, you'll be the one who's all like "Huh, what? Anybody catch that special episode of Smallville? My stuffed animals love that show!"
Don't be that guy.
By Enrique Lopetegui
If you like your rootsy rock and roll straight, go see Austin-based singer-songwriter James McMurtry’s set Friday at Sam’s Burger Joint (330 E Grayson St., $10-$15, 9 pm). The former leader of The Heartless Bastards has just released the tight Live in Europe, which could very well be his best album.
If you’re a lazy bastard who doesn’t want to come out of the house, get this instead:
It’s the long-awaited two-CD/DVD set that came out this week with Nirvana’s legendary August 30, 1992 UK's Reading fest concert, arguably the most bootlegged album in history and Nirvana's finest live hour. It includes practically the whole Nevermind album, plus In Utero’s "All Apologies," "Dumb," and the first-ever performance of "Tourette's," all of which would come out two years later. The band also played a few tracks from Bleach ("Blew," "About a girl," "School," "Negative creep," and "Love buzz") plus two covers (Fang’s "The money will roll right in" and the Wipers’ "D-7"). Only two of the 25 songs have been released before, and the DVD looks and sounds great.
Manu Chao’s Baionarena …
… filmed and recorded at France’s Roman Amphitheatre in Bayonne, was supposed to come out this week, but it was pushed back to December 1, so get ready. The DVD includes a 30-minute behind-the-scenes video and the album and concert footage also include a few songs from the glorious Mano Negra years.
Now, if you’re not only a lazy, but an impatient, cheap bastard, go to www.vivalacolifata.org and download for free the album Manu produced for the mental patients behind La Colifata (roughly translated as “The nut”), a radio show hosted by actual locos in Buenos Aires, even though, if you ask me, everybody is loco.
The album is a riot, but it helps if you speak at least some Spanish. When you download, give ’em a “pay-what-you-want” donation. A few bucks go a long way in Argentina.
...but I'm not astute enough to know what it is.
Probably because I'm a girl.
But, seriously folks.
This Newsweek cover
is generating tons of controversy. Sarah Palin doesn't much care for it, apparently angered by the same evident sexism rightly criticized by Jullie Millican at Media Matters for America.
The actual photo was taken in a shoot for Runner's World with Palin's full participation. As an art critic, I find it appalling for reasons quite aside from the fact that Palin's femoral epidermis is showing. The pageanty, semi-contrapposto pose actually makes it look like she's hiding one of her legs, the lighting's way too harsh, her elbow resting awkwardly on the flag seems flippant from a patriotism standpoint (using Old Glory as an elbow rest?) as well as physically irrational (she isn't really leaning any weight on it). Also irritating me is that I can't tell what kind of room she's in. is that her office? Why is that flag-draped chair so high? Is it a baby chair? ...Barstool?
Is that Russia through the window?
But let's move on.
Millican also rightly, to my sensibilities, objects to this image inside the news magazine's pages:
Yes, it looks like those boys are looking up her skirt. Yes, that's annoying.
And about the following image
Millican says, "Then, for no apparent reason, illustrating Christopher Hitchens' piece on "Palin's base appeal," Newsweek ran a picture of this disgusting Sarah Palin-as-a-slutty-schoolgirl doll."
Well, it's not for no reason. For one thing, it adorns an essay by Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair's louche, intermittently relevant bad boy who also infamously opined last year that women aren't funny. HItchens is nothing if not skilled at generating gender controversy with schoolboyish glee; why not illustrate his point with graphic representation of the childish and puerile?
It's almost funny. Almost.
The whole Newsweek shebang (har) was brought to my attention by my friend Michelle Garcia, journalist and documentary filmmaker.
"What do you make of this?" she Skyped.
My first reaction (keeping in mind that the Current editorial staff had a lunch meeting with some of our company suits about driving traffic to the website, so eyeball currency was very much on my mind), was "it's great for Newsweek."
My guess is this issue will sell well, and the website's sucking in eyeballs.
And Sarah Palin pointing out the sexism is a double edged sword--it's certainly disingenuous of Newsweek to take the cover out of context.
And Newsweek editor John Meacham's defense doesn't help. He claims:
"We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."OK, I call semi-bullshit on that. Newsweek likely would not have run a running-outfit picture of Michelle Obama...but then again, would Michelle Obama ever have posed in a skimpy running outfit? Highly unlikely.
By Enrique Lopetegui
Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Doug Sahm, the legendary leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados. The Current spoke to the two persons who probably knew him best.
Augie Meyers: “He was number one.”
How did you two meet?
My mom had a grocery store when I was 12 years old and his folks used to buy groceries there. He liked baseball and football cards. So we used to trade cards and we got to talking. I was 12 and he was 11. That’s how we met.
Did you talk about music?
Oh, yes. He was playing music when he was eight, nine years old. He used to play fiddle, steel guitar… And I was playing piano a little bit at 12. But I didn’t have a band. He was playing around with different people. I got my first [band] when I was 15, and he already had a band. After he played and I played we would get together and go out and eat and talk and hang out. In 1964, the Dave Clark Five came into town. I got the only Vox organ in town; actually, in America. My band opened the show, and then Doug’s band played, and then the Dave Clark Five came out. Huey Meaux, the producer, was there, and he said, “You both have long hair. Let’s put a band together.” That’s how the Sir Douglas Quintet came together.
I saw him twice with the Tornados, and he knocked my socks off both times. Was he always such a powerhouse?
He was always that way. He was a great songwriter and guitar player and got a tremendous voice. He could play country music, fiddle, steel guitar, sax, lead guitar… You name it.
Despite its name and early press images, the SDQ had a unique sound…
With the SDQ I said, “We got to do something different. What don’t you get a bajo [sexto] and I’ll get an accordion? Let’s do some conjunto music.” He got one made at Macías Brothers, and we started doing conjunto music. My dad used to listen to nothing but conjunto.
Had anybody mix conjunto and rock before?
You told me this story a million times, but I don’t get tired of hearing it. Tell me about 'She’s about a mover.'
That was the first song we recorded. We played it at a club called the Blue Note in San Antonio. There was a very sexy dancer on the floor, and I said, “She’s a body mover.” So [Doug] wrote a song called 'She’s a body mover,' but the record label wouldn’t play it because they said it sounded nasty. So we changed it to 'She’s about a mover.'
In between SDQ and his solo work, he did some producing, and…
Yeah, he produced Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Louie and the Lovers…
We did an album with him.
Remember which one?
I don’t even know. It was back in 69-70 in San Francisco. [Augie refers to 1968’s From St. Louie to Frisco, which lists Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers as musicians. “We didn’t produce the whole album, but a few of the tracks,” he’d say later.]
What do you remember of that session?
Chuck Berry didn’t like white people. He was very arrogant. I saw him a couple of years ago in Italy. He’s an asshole.
Are you on the record?
Then came the Tornados…
I had a record out, ‘Hey baby qué pasó,’ with Atlantic records. They weren’t doing a good job, so I bought my contract and publishing back from them. And then Warner called Doug to put a Tex-Mex supergroup together. So Doug turned to me and said, “Man, let’s do a supergroup,” and I said, “OK,” and he said, “Who are you going to get?” I said, “I don’t know,” and he said, “I’ll pick Freddy Fender,” and I said, “I’ll pick Flaco Jiménez.” So we put the quintet together as a back-up group, the bass, drum and all that. Then we went to San Francisco and sold out four shows. People were lining up around the corner to get in. And Warner said, “Hey, man, whatever you want, we’ll make an album and we’ll give you as much money as you want.” And that’s how the Tornados came about.
How were the rehearsals? There were four strong personalities in the room…
“[Doug] and Freddy always argued, but they loved each other. Freddy wanted to play and sing certain tunes, and Doug would say, “No, we’re going to play these songs.” And we played the songs that Doug wanted, because those were the songs we should’ve played. I was always called the peacemaker.
Did Doug usually win the arguments?
Because he just moved better.
His passing was unexpected, wasn’t it?
It was a total surprise. I was in Arizona playing with Freddy. My son called me and told me, “Doug died.” He was in Taos, New Mexico. Heart attack.
I’ve read he was pretty healthy, supposedly. Did he do any…
No, no, no. He had high blood pressure and got into a hot tub, in the altitude. You don’t get in a hot tub when you have high blood pressure. That’s what killed him.
He was such an important force, both musically and personally. How did the band reacted?
He was number one. We just had to sit back and regroup. We didn’t know what we were going to do.
When you think of him, do you think Texas, San Antonio, or Austin?
He was from San Antonio. He just lived in Austin because he thought it was a better music scene.
Besides the obvious physical resemblance, are there any musical similarities between Doug and Shawn?
Oh, yeah. When I look at him, I think Doug is there. He plays like Doug and he sounds like Doug.
Do you have any unreleased recorded material?
Oh yeah, we have a lot of stuff. Hell, I have a whole album that’s never been released. It’s got to be mixed. Little by little I’m going to put it out.
How many songs?
Oh, about 10 or 12.
Who recorded those songs?
Me and Doug. Way back, 20 years ago. Last Friday we just got a Gold album in Norway, for stuff we did 20 years ago. It’s called Scandinavian years. They re-released it and it went Platinum. Some were under Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers, some under SDQ. There are probably 30 or 40 albums we did.
When was the last time you two spoke?
I talked to him on a Monday. He said he was going to New Mexico and I was going to Arizona, and that’s the last time we spoke. I told him, “Be back, because we have to take pictures for Texas, we play Friday.”
* * *
Shawn Sahm: “He would’ve freaked out with the new [Tornados] album.”
What your earliest and latest memory of your dad?
My earliest days are very young. Three, four. If you look at the cover of Rolling Stone, in 1968, I was on the cover with my dad when I was htree. I remember those days, I remember running around in California with Dad. When I was a kid I always wanted to play his Gold records. He had a ‘Mendocino’ Gold record, and I always cried because I wanted to play it on the turntable… (laughs)
The actual Gold record?
Yes! As a little child I wanted to put on the Gold record, and they would say, “No, no! You can’t do that!" My earliest memories are family stuff, hanging out with dad. Me, Dawn, and Shandon, the three of us and my father were really close. I just remember running around with Pop.
And the latest?
Honestly, right before he passed away, when he was heading out to Taos. This story has gotten changed around a lot, as it happens with people and times goes by, the story gets changed a bit, embellished, but the truth of the matter… You know, I live off HWY 10, you take 10 all the way right to Taos and right to California. He came by my house on the way to Taos. So my latest memory is him sitting there at the table with me. We were talking about everything from personal business stuff, because we had a company together. That, family stauff, and I remember asking him if he was OK. Because it dawned on me that he looked like he didn’t feel well. We thought he might’ve had the flu, and he said, “No, no, I’m fine.” And then he continued on to Taos after staying for a couple of hours. That would be my last memory of him. I remember looking right in his eyes, man.
I remember seeing him twice in LA. We had gone to see Flaco Jiménez, but your dad stole the show both times. He was amazing.
You know? Flaco is so awesome about giving Dad credit for introducing him to the rock and roll side of things. My dad took Flaco up to New York in 1972 or '73 for the Doug Sahm and Band record, with Bob Dylan, and Dr. John. That really introduced Flaco, and these are Flaco’s words, that really introduced him to a whole new world. He said, “Shawn, your dad was the one who said, 'You can take what you do and bring it into my world, and play the rock and roll with the accordion. The accordion is an instrument that has no boundaries.” When you think about it, Dad and Flaco getting together, having that conversation, that was a quintessential little moment, wasn’t it? Of course, Dad and Augie [Meyers] were doing that for a long time as well. You can hear tracks like ‘Nuevo Laredo,’ from the [SDQ's] Together after five album, from probably 1970 [right]… Those were quintessential Tex-Mex songs. We still play ‘Nuevo Laredo’ today, and that’s Tex-Mex to the bone.
Augie just told me they got a Gold album for something they did like 20 years ago.
No, no… OK, yeah, yeah… You know Dad: There were always a million people playing on his records. We just did this Doug Sahm’s tribute for Dad’s birthday on the 6th. It was sold out, just last week. We had Jimmy Vaughn, and Augie, and what I did was this: I set up a special Gold record presentation where the fan club had come down and presented the award to the guys, and I accepted the award. It was really cool. But that was from records in the 80s. Last year the records went number two, Gold and Platinum.
But are we talking about the Norway sales?
Scandinavia. Right, exactly.
Musically speaking, what did he teach you, specifically?
Honestly, at the end of the day, I got it all from him. You learn from a variety of sources, you always do. I learned from the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles… Hell: Old school Elton John. I’m trying to paint different pictures of music styles. I like all kinds of different styles. But the things you grow up with seem to be the things that matter most. And I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t Doug Sahm’s music that has been embedded the deepest in me since I was a child. I mean, the first song I learned to play was ‘Mendocino.’ You can see my baby books, where my mom would write it. I was just obsessed with my dad’s music. I always wear his influence on my sleeve, and rightfully so. It’s my father, and it would be ridiculous for me to deny it. At the same time, I also think I have my own things to say, and I write my own songs. Me and Daddy used to write songs together all the time. He used to call me his “own little songwriting machine.” One day I had this song, ‘One and only,’ that the Tornados cut. The very beginning of the song was very similar to one of his songs. So he said, “Hey, son, that’s a great song, man! I think you got that one line from me, man!” I said, “Pop, you kidding? I got them all from you, man!” So he hugged me and said, “That’s my boy!” He’d also tell me, “When we sing harmonies, it all sounds like just one voice.” And I would say, “Well, it is, pop!” And he’d give me a hug.
What’s the status of the Tornados album?
Well, I’m working on it right now. The guys have been great, Augie and Flaco and all the Tornado guys.
Will it include the last tracks recorded by Freddy Fender?
Oh, yeah! It’s great. I produced the record, I worked on it for a few years, obviously right before Freddy passed away. It’s a new Tornado reunion album, and the cool thing about it is that Freddy and the guys a few years back allowed me to basically go with my gut instinct and trusted me to make a great record and put it all together for them. We have about 12 tracks of what I call a quintessential Tornado record. When people hear this they’ll hear all the guys, to me, at the top of their game. When you listen to it, you understand why they are who they are. It’s Augie, Freddy, and Flaco at the top of their game.
What do you think would have been you father’s reaction?
That’s a very good question, and we have talked about that. Me and Augie had this conversation before. And we both think Dad would freak out, we would absolutely love it. When Freddy goes… [he imitates Freddy’s singing], dad would just be jumping around the room. He would’ve loved this record. The album will include an unreleased song of Dad’s, everyone’s going to be in this damn record.
Any more unreleased tracks for the future?
Oh, yeah… But we don’t just want to put stuff out: We want to put great stuff out, and we have plenty of them. It will all see the light of day at the appropriate time.
Augie told me that your dad had high blood pressure, and…
Well… That’s kind of assuming a lot. Augie has been telling the story that [Doug’s] girlfriend called and there was no answer… I’m actually the one that called his girlfriend and gave her the news.
You know better than me: Augie loved your Dad. But his memory sometimes…
Oh, no, me and Augie are family too. We’re real close. But sometimes I have to tell him, “No, Oogie Boogie, it didn’t happen like that…” And he goes, “Oh, Shawnee, OK.” Sometimes stories get turned around. The truth, or the simple version of the truth is this: Remember that I told you that at my house [Doug] looked like he had the flu? Well, he’d been sick all week, apparently. Here’s the real version. I mean, yes, he did sit in a hot tub, but it was more than just that.
But he did have high blood pressure? I’m asking you because I have high blood pressure myself, I want to know!
In hindsight, he may have, but he never discussed this with us. A lot of the shit we found out kind of, you know… He had a little problem with his finger, little issues. We never knew Dad was sick. He was telling Augie he was sick. The truth of the matter is that none of us knew. No one can tell you they knew dad was sick and that he was going to pass away. It was a shock to all of us. He had some little health issues, and age and the flu partly contributed to them. But the truth of the matter is that he was sick from the time he left my house to the time he got to Taos. It was a series of things he did that didn’t add up correctly. He went all week with being sick. I remember him saying, “I’m feeling better.” I even offered to come get him a couple of times, and he would say, “Oh, yeah, I might let you drive me back down,” and then he would say, “No, I’m OK.” He did have some health issues, but overall he was healthy. It was getting close to 60 [degrees] in Taos, it was getting hot, and things started happening. But none of us knew there was anything wrong like this.
By Enrique Lopetegui
Updated on 11/17/09
By Enrique Lopetegui
In their last contest, the San Antonio Spurs avenged their last season first round playoff exit at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks with a gutsy 92-83 victory. With All-Stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker sidelined with minor ankle ailments, Coach Pop found more minutes for some of the new Spurs resulting in a defensive minded starting lineup of George Hill, Keith Bogans, Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, and Antonio McDyess. RJ and Bogans in particular sparked the Spurs with solid defense and combined 42 points.
In recent games the highlight of
I am so in love with this painting by Jesse Treviño.
I went to take another look at it on Saturday as I was writing about it. It's at the Alameda, where it will reside until Feb. 28, and where I took a whole buncha little bitty iPhone photos of it. A very nice guard asked me to please cut it out, which I can understand. And I didn't have my press credentials on me, either. He was understandably dubious but really polite.
I thought about using all these little bitty pictures with the story so y'all could isolate some of the details, but there wasn't room.
So now I have this idea for a "No Te Acabes" arts n' crafts project. Grab these jpegs off of this here page (alas, you may not go down to the Alameda and take your own pics--I don't want to give that guard any more trouble.). Then print them out and tape them together and make a "No Te Acabes" remix. Or import them into Photoshop and do something with them.
I'm only somewhat kidding.
If you do make something, get in touch with me so I can see it, or send me a jpeg of it. Sfisch@sacurrent.com
Apologies/props to Jesse Treviño and learning to love you more, the art website that no longer makes assignments.
Here are your source materials.
The Current joins San Antonio's culinary community in mourning the passing of caterer Don Strange, who made chuckwagon chuck chic and turned out larger-than-life Texas spreads that raised the bar for gala dining and entertainment. SavorSA has a few more details here; Ron Bechtol explains his magic and influence in next week's issue.
By Enrique Lopetegui
This is Azul:
This is Azul under the influence of rock ’n’ roll:
Both sides of Azul Barrientos will perform Saturday night in San Antonio at two different venues, and the singer told us –in Spanish– how and why she plans to do it.
Tell me, Judas, when did you decide to go electric?
It was probably more than a year ago. One of the first influences for this project manifested itself when I heard the Latin Playboys in ’98. I loved their sound, that incredible fusion of traditional and electric sounds. So with my electric band (Los Mescaleros’ Roland de la Cruz in guitar, Sexto Sol’s Eddie Hernández in bass; yes, bass, Paul Ward in drums, and herself on vocals, guitar and jarana) we’ve been playing here and there for the last year or so. We do mostly originals, but also a traditional Tepito cumbia [Warning from the author: If you go to Mexico City, stay away from Tepito; Repeat: Stay away from Tepito]. We also do electrified rancheras, but nevertheless real cantina rancheras. I’m very excited about this project. And now I’m enjoying it a lot more because, after the boleros –which was my biggest project of late– I was able to focus on the electric set, which is a lot more laid-back, not so rigid.
Will you record an electric album?
Yes. We’re thinking to start recording in mid-January. Roland will record it and we’re already choosing the material. It’s a very fun process. You know, January and February are pretty quiet, so in order to keep busy, I was talking to Mandala Music Productions and I’ll release a ranchera album and, at the same time, I’ll be working on the electric album. We’ll see which comes first, but that’s what I’ll be doing in early 2010.
But what do you enjoy more? Boleros or electric?
It depends. As a singer, I prefer the acoustic set. But to have fun and jump and laugh, and to play with the show-biz thing, without taking myself too seriously, the electric set is my thing. It’s a very sexy, sensual set.
What about opening for Eugenia León? What does it mean for you?
I was about 16 or 17 when I saw Eugenia live for the first time. She already had a well-established career. She was with María del Sol, and they were two of the most magical voices at the time. I remember looking at her at the Salón México, when she was singing danzones, and as soon as she came onstage I was in awe. I saw her once in Houston, and could confirm that she’s the type of person you fall in love with by just seeing her. An incredible charisma.
Azul opens for Eugenia León on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Empire Theater, 226 N. St. Mary's St., 7 pm, $8-$10, and Azul Eléctrica plays on the same night with Sexto Sol and J.J. López at The Warehouse Venue, 1305 E. Houston St. (across from Tucker’s Lounge), $8, 10 pm, all ages.
Seriously, guys? Is this some kind of joke, or are we really determined to turn the next decade into some kind of stupid amalgamation of the ’80s and early ’90s? Of all possible time periods in US history we might be recreating, we’re going with the time of Reaganomics, the AIDS epidemic, Rick Springfield, and construction paper collages depicting things that start with the letter P (alright, I was in first grade when the ’80s ended, but I’m pretty sure a lot of the people at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest don’t bat an eye when they play Nirvana on classic-rock radio). Ever hear of the’60s and ’70s two decades defined by pre-crack drugs, kick ass music, and casual sex that didn’t result in anything a trip to the free clinic couldn’t cure? There has to be a mistake.
What’s that? They’re remaking Red Dawn, and the Cranberries reunited? Hand me those neon green leg warmers — I’m not gonna put them on. I just want to stuff them down my throat until I suffocate.
If all that fashion crap holds true, there should’ve been a bigger crowd for Knoxville’s Royal Bangs, aka the band that went on before Crystal Antlers, aka the Killers if Brandon Flowers were less worried about looking over-the-top. Seriously, I feel compelled to ask again — are you guys serious, or are you sarcastically paying real money to see bands that you only enjoy ironically? When the Royal Bangs restrain themselves even a little (give “New Scissors” a listen) they’ve got a noisy, fun, promising sound, but otherwise the ridiculous the synth lines and relentless dance drums overload the song (notice how “Maniverse” includes the kitchen sink but not a memorable hook). All you keep-it-weird hipsters wearing eight layers of vintage store rags, meet your new favorite band. Also, I hate you. Please know that.
The Crystal Antlers
Royal Bangs were not a tough act to follow, but Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers put on a good enough show to (sort of) restore my faith in blogger buzz bands. Most of their reviews read like rejected graduate thesis papers, but sometimes Pitchfork’s onto something. Both CA’s debut EP and this year’s full length, Tentacles are worth a listen, but the band’s even better live. “A Thousand Eyes” masterfully blends fuzzy noise rock with sunny melodics, pitting Andrew King and Errol Davis’s guitar feedback against Cora Foxx’s vintage organ fills, and bassist Andrew Bell’s hardcore scream keeps Damian Edwards’ world-music influenced auxiliary percussion from drawing the Talking Heads comparisons that so screwed Vampire Weekend. These guys are definite descendants of the ’80s and ’90s (I swear at least one of the rhythm section musicians used to be in a ska band), but what’s really noteworthy here is that they seem to have taken what works from the previous generation, dropped the really shitty parts and then MOVED ON. Do you think the first homo sapiens ever felt kitschy and went back to flinging their own feces? Of course not. They were too busy getting disembowled by giant sloths. Now there’s a trend in need of a revival.
This one’s cheating ’cause I only saw Louisville, Kentucky's Young Widows playing a few songs while I was waiting in the bathroom line, but this is a band you metal heads (and indie kids who like to look tough when you roll your car windows down) should check this band out immediately. They’ve got a dark, hardened sensibility that sounds even more wicked live. I wish I’d needed to pee sooner.
I’m pretty sure I was here for this whole show, but I only remember a few details. MC Chris acknowledged his star-making role as MC Peepants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but he didn’t do “I Want Candy.” He did, however, do ode to cough-syrup abuse “The Tussin” and he closed the show with “Fett’s Vette,” as per a request screamed midway through the show. “Of course I’m going to do my hit,” MC Chris yelled back, then explained that if he played it right now, everyone would leave. “I know this isn’t real,” he said, “but let’s pretend that it is so I can hold onto this sad illusion of having a fan base.” He also did a weed song (Well, actually he tried to do it twice, but forgot the words the first time. Seriously.) that accompanied the most open smoking of marijuana I think I’ve ever seen at a concert (including many people smoking from brightly colored pipes they obviously purchased at one of a couple of onsite headshop kiosks), “Hoodie Ninja” and “Geek,” a nerds-kill-bullies song with a chorus that concludes “your brains on the wall, my face on TV” to which several of the dudes around me knew every single word. I’m slowly backing away now.
I didn’t really see what was going on onstage, because I was camping out for a front-and-center spot at Death (Fun Fun Fun Fest, because it’s one of the best fests ever, has two double stages, which allow one act to set up while the other performs), but I was pretty close to a speaker. So I’ll say what I’ve always said about these guys, which is their two-man guitar-and-drums set up is great for generating interesting noises, but not a hell of a lot of actual songs. There are a few exceptions (“Teen Creeps” and “Eraser” being the most obvious examples) that make me think this band might be worth at least some of the hype thrown its way, but not many.
Now, we’re onto something. Detroit’s Death released one of the year’s coolest albums, For the Whole World to See, in February. The seven-song album borrows equally from psychedelic and punk music, for an exciting … oops. Turns out the music for this album was recorded in 1975 and basically shelved until this year. Read all about it at our sister paper Detroit’s Metro Times. The two surviving Hackney brothers (and Bobbie Duncan, who replaces departed guitarist/songwriter David Hackney, whose poster hangs on either side of the stage) take a while setting up, probably because they appear to be using the same equipment they originally recorded on. They fiddle with knobs for a few minutes, then wander offstage again just as the show seems about to start. The crowd gets antsy. This is Fun Fun Fun Fest, where the bands tag team to avoid boring the youngsters with their internet-shrunken attention spans. When one of the festival staff approaches the microphone, I figure he’s about to tell us the show is cancelled, but he’s actually introducing the band.
“Please welcome Death!”
The crowd shrieks with delight (or maybe that was just me), and the three men walk slowly onstage, wearing black reaper hoods now.
They launch into their album opener “Keep on Knocking” about 15 minutes after their scheduled start time. (They play their entire album in order, which makes it extra hilarious when some jerk yells for album closer “Politicians in My Eyes” about three songs in. They have seven songs, total, asshole. Just wait a minute. ) Immediately, two things become apparent: 1) They still aren’t completely comfortable with this material, and 2) It doesn’t matter. Whether Duncan’s not as technically proficient as David Hackney or has just modified the solos to suit his own playing style, some of the instrumental breaks have been noticeably trimmed and simplified; drummer Dannis Hackney has done the same with his own parts, and everyone drops a few notes.
But bassist/vocalist Bobby Hackney’s voice is still in great shape, and I don’t think anything onstage made me happier all weekend than the look on Dannis Hackney’s face after completing the drum solo for the Love at 45rpm scorcher “Let the World Turn.” He was so happy.
“Politicians in My Eyes” ends with an extended jam through which everybody grins. They should’ve been rock stars 35 years ago, but they don’t seem bitter. I never thought standing in a crowd of people chanting “DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!” would be such an uplifting experience.
The Jesus Lizard
During a seemingly endless and purposefully annoying set from punk-pop act/UN outlawed torture device Face to Face (Seriously, screw you guys. I’m sorry that everyone in your audience was just camping out for the Jesus Lizard show, but maybe you should have thought of that before you made such terrible music.) I had a pretty cold realization. While I was sneering at all the stupid hipsters in their stupid Ferris Bueller costumes watching imitation New-Wave acts, all the acts I was most excited to see — Mission of Burma, GZA, the Jesus Lizard — are actually from the ’80s and early ’90s. When did I get so old? All the dudes standing around me wearing Circle Jerks and Scratch Acid T-shirts were a good 10 years older than me. Why wasn’t I at Ratatat or at least Destroyer?
Then the Jesus Lizard came onstage, and I remembered. David Yow screams “All right, Dallas,” to a confused audience, then dives into the crowd before anyone’s played a note. Unlike Death, the Jesus Lizard seem to have gotten a little more tight and polished since their glory days. Their music’s admittedly less complex (mostly) but Duane Denison, Mac McNeilly, and David Wm. Sims play like a hive-minded noise unit. Everything clicks. If anything, Yow’s yelp has gotten scarier as he gets older (eventually he’ll look like the schizophrenic old hobo he sounds like).
I like Destroyer, and I’ve got no problems with Ratatat — I can appreciate both intellectually — but neither connects with me on the visceral level the Jesus Lizard does, and it seems like few modern artists do. Whatever you think of Jesus Lizard, they force you to engage with their music on an emotional level, because they so clearly are, and that’s a quality I worry has been disappearing since the machines took over. During the Lizard’s glory days, you still learned about bands at the record store or through friends, and the internet consisted of America Online and dial-up bulletin boards. Now you can download an album, get sick of it, and analyze all its flaws with complete strangers all from your house, and all in less time than it would have taken 15 years ago to find out that the album even existed. In fact, thanks to early leaks, you can usually do all of this before the album drops. When we had access to fewer albums and knew about fewer bands, I think our alliance to those bands was stronger and we were more willing to make an effort to appreciate unexpected and experimental material.
Maybe the solution, the one the movie and record companies want anyway, is to just get rid of the internet altogether, or at least limit or even scale back its capabilities, but we keep a lot of our pornography there. Also, the late ’80s and early ’90s sucked big time, remember? I’m pretty sure I mentioned that about 2,000 words back. Why do you think the Jesus Lizard stuff sounds so damn angry? Not only did they have 12 years of Reagan/Bush, everyone was listening to this manufactured synthpop crap and dressing like a glowstick threw up and … wait a minute. This all sounds pretty familiar.
Anybody want to start a band? You play all the instruments, and I’ll tell you what to think and who to listen to.
I'll go ahead and say it: Despite being the only song of
theirs you've probably heard,"Sex and Candy" was not a very good song. I'm not
trying to say that it was a bad song, only that it just wasn't representative of
the rest of their album. By comparison it was sub-par. For me, “Sex and Candy”
was a gimmicky song, dwarfed by emotionally provacative tracks like “One More Suicide,” “A Cloak of
Elvenkind” and “Opium.” Since their self-titled release in 1997, Mary
Playground have released only two other albums, neither of which were
particularly good. Both of those albums represented musical departures from
their self-titled album, which was very mellow, almost folky effort.
Shapeshifter (released 1999) and MP3 (released 2004) showcased the band's
attempts at adapting their sound to become more mainstream modern rock, and both
albums were critical and commercial flops.
It's been a long time coming, but Marcy Playground have finally released another album. "Leaving Wonderland In a Fit of Rage" was originally intended to be a solo effort for singer John Wozniak, but Wozniak's label Deep South Entertainment requested that he release the album under Marcy Playground. That may sound cheap to some, but the album really is similar to what we've heard from Marcy Playground so far.
This album represents a more even fusion of the acoustic styling of their first album with the electric drive of their follow-ups. I wish they had abandoned their modern rock tendencies altogether, but the album is definitely a marked improvement from the last two. Songs like “Thank You” and “Down the Drain” are incredibly reminiscent of the tracks on their debut effort.
Marcy Playground is on tour this month in support of “Leaving Wonderland,” and they’re playing tonight at Scout Bar. I’m meeting with the band before their show to conduct a brief interview, which I’ll post here on the Curblog in the next day or so. If you have any questions, send them my way.
Without Jeremy Martin's firm, but gentle hand to guide me, I'll be out at Rebar tonight for their 7th anniversary to check out San Antonio's unsung alt-rock heroes The Cinderleaf, Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of info on this show. The Cinderleaf isn't returning my messages, and I hear they didn't even listen to the mixtape I made them. According to the venue, the Cinderleaf is supposed to play at around 11:30. Come hang out and see just what happens when Jeremy leaves me to my own devices.
By Enrique Lopetegui
Music Town is going away, but that doesn't mean you can't exploit it one last time for your own personal gain.
The store's unloading all its stock including (assuming someone hasn't already snagged it) the stereo equipment, turntables, and furniture pictured. Considering it's the store's last day, they won't be placing any special orders (thanks for rubbing it in, asshole customer in front of me in line) and all the new stuff's still priced as marked, but make an offer on anything else that isn't nailed down.
Actually, that's not true — the original artwork attached to the wall is also for sale. Used CDs, posters, easy-listening, classical and country music vinyl, and even cassette tapes abound, so get out there before everything's gone, and don't feel guilty about it either. The proceeds from today's sale will help Music Town owner Brent Evans transition to the unglamorous life of a non-music-store owner. Actually, let's all take a moment and feel really bad about that. If only we'd bought that Bitches Brew LP when we had the chance!
A late entry for our Dia de los Muertos feature:
RIP Music Town (April 2, 2007 - November 6, 2009)
Sniff. One of the city's best record stores closes shop at midnight tomorrow, leaving musicians with one less place to sell their music and San Antonians with one less cool hangout/music venue. You can probably guess the reason for its premature death.
"Rent went up," owner Brent Evans says immediately, but quickly decides it's more complicated than that — more like a series of unfortunate economic events ending in an eviction notice.
"Well, let me start again," he says. "First of all, the recession hit. So sales have dropped pretty steadily since January. And then Smoothie King closed next door, so that kind of made my end of the center dead. I didn't have as much brick traffic. And then, on top of all that, the landlord raised the rent. … I told him, look this is gonna be pretty tough for me to hang on. And sure enough I started getting behind."
Friday will be Music Town's last day. It's disappearing instead of relocating, Evans says, because he just can't afford to operate it anymore. The timing couldn't have been much worse.
"If it had worked out where I made it through Christmas and then in April just not renewed the lease, I probably would have moved," he says, "but since this happened so suddenly and without any big Christmas payoff, I kind of got a lot of debt on my hands."
Prospects for Evans opening another record store look pretty grim at the moment, he says.
"I guess I just got to find a straight job," he says, and laughs. "You don't know anyone that's hiring, do you?"
The store will be open Friday from noon until midnight for one final clearance sale and concert which Evans hopes will raise enough money to support him until he finds another income source. Check out the flyer below for details and watch for a blog from the sale tomorrow afternoon.
Note: You can get in on the ground floor of this exciting series by reading Volume I here.
I'm in for an interesting Veteran's Day, if everything goes according to plan.
Here's a press release we received today. My comments are italicized, and in parentheses.
You should be receiving you" (sic) "press kit for truTV’s new series CONSPIRACY
THEORY starring Jesse Ventura" (whaaa?) "premiering Dec. 2 at 10pm ET/PT. "
(My late grandmother's birthday, appropriately enough.. .wait, no it isn't. Though she did like Terry Bradshaw, to whom the Predator-era Ventura bears slight resemblance. Maybe I should watch Ghost Hunters on Dec. 2 instead of Conspiracy Theory, and see if my grandmother tries to make contact about this whole thing. If one of the Ghost Hunters searches the old Liberace Show set and becomes enveloped by a cloud of Estée Lauder Youth Dew parfum, that's my grandma's spirit! Or Liberace's. Or both of them, ghosting it up together. She would love that. But I digress)
be available for a conf. call on Wednesday,
Nov. 11th at 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT. "
(Oh Dios Mio. How many people will be on this conference call? Will Kinky be on it?
What about Mr. T?
or this celebrity?
short skit taken from imaginary "Conspiracy Theory starring Jesse Ventura " conference call
Predator: Mr. Ventura, if I might just break in for a second.
Jesse Ventura: Sure, go ahead, Predator.
Predator: Did you happen to catch my appearance on Alex Jones' Infowars, calling out the Lizard People?
for you to talk with him. With such a varied career from pro-wrestler to
Mayor, to Governor to conspiracy theorist – he will definitely be an
interesting interview (I speak from personal experience!)" (<--that's the PR lady, not me.)
"Below is a
little info. on the show and a promo to whet your appetite – you should
receive the kit and screener in the coming days." (I am waiting with baited breath, and I am not even kidding.)
"Let me know if you are interested in speaking with Jesse."
(a more recent photo than previous ones)
"CONSPIRACY THEORY WITH JESSE VENTURA – One-hour series premiering Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 10 p.m.
wrestler and politician Jesse Ventura sets out to uncover the truth behind the
most compelling modern day conspiracy theories." (Lizard people lizard people oh please oh please lizard people)
"In this brand-new truTV series, he will travel across the country investigating cases from the perspective of both conspiracy believers and skeptics." (Actually, that sounds kind of fun. I wonder if I'm in on the call and ask him, if he'll let me come along for one of the road trips maybe.)
executive-producing the series along with A. Smith & Co.’s Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Frank Sinton, as
well as Michael Braverman and Barry Bloom of the Braverman/Bloom Co.
If you have any particular questions for Richard Lewis, let me know. I was hoping to use the exact same questions Bryan Rindfuss asked Peaches, especially:
"Being a gay icon must be exhausting. I’m curious how you would prioritize the following “club-members” for a girls’ night out or a quiet evening at home: Sandra Bernhard, Donna Summer, Madonna, Grace Jones, Ellen DeGeneres, Barbara Streisand, Rachel Maddow."
I'll let you know how it goes.
Week one of the young NBA season was kind to the Spurs,
resulting in a pair of blowout wins at home tempered by a tough loss on the
Congrats go out to World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and the New York Yankees for winning their 27th World Championship. Your humble scribe grew up cheering for the Yankees and Cowboys, perhaps the most obnoxious combo in sports fandom, and although this championship is celebrated it is somewhat bittersweet due to the presence of Andy Petit and Alex Rodriguez given their history with performance enhancing drugs. Watching Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and personal favorite Jorge Posada endure however, makes it all worthwhile. In Posada's case particularly, it's hard to hate on a guy who uses liquid paper for nail polish, all for the love of the game.
Metallagher. You'll only encourage them.
On Saturday, I headed up to Austin for a theater twofer! First up: the sundry pleasures of EVIL DEAD, THE MUSICAL at the Salvage Vanguard theater. An off-Broadway hit from a few years ago, EVIL DEAD spoofs both the original film and its cult status, with plenty of gore (the first three rows are a splash zone) and a zillion tongue- and axe-in-cheek musical numbers. (My favorite: a tango to the desperate "What The Fuck Was That?", though "Do the Necronomicon" features a delightful parody of EVIL DEAD's distant cousin, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW.) Salvage Vanguard's production didn't bring the level of polish that I've seen in the past--some dubious singing and some terrible miking--but the energy level was as high as its body count. Some enterprising SA theater should book this a.s.a.p.: they'd make ... a killing.
Saturday night presented me with something like theatrical whiplash, as I went from EVIL DEAD to Euripides' TROJAN WOMEN, presented by the MFA program at UT. This was solid work, and even when the director and adapters (Halena Kays, Meghan Kennedy, and Kimber Lee) made some baffling choices--such as Andromache's entrance as a mean drunk--they at least had the courage of their convictions. The trial of Helen absolutely sizzled, with first rate direction, and a really cool multimedia blitz of electric signage and mass media; the presentation of the gods Poseidon and Athena, by contrast, seemed badly sci-fi and even silly. Still, it's always a pleasure to see Euripides taken so seriously and thoughtfully, and without the heavy-handed pomposity of many recent anti-war adaptations. Sometimes universalizing is indeed the way to go.
-Tom Jenkins, SA Current theater critic
Happy Día de los Muertos, San Antonio. Here's to our departed loved ones. You can read more about some dearly departed in our special feature here.
Now, here are a couple of events coming up, and a deadline. More to follow. It's First Friday this weekend--I'm sure you're all recovering from Hallowe'en (and maybe the incredible Peaches show last night?) but start makin' a plan, folks.
So, there's this:
“Mario Ybarra, Jr. offers a
novel perspective on everything from the commingling of street culture and fine
art to the grassroots workshop and the artist-run gallery,” says Jens
Hoffmann, Director of CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Artpace 09.3 guest curator, in Mario Ybarra, Jr.: Capp Street Project.
“He is one of a new generation of American artists of Mexican descent
who, in contrast to many of their forebears, do not reject their American
identities but embrace equally both of the trajectories in their
The artist is the founder of the art collective Slanguage, based in Wilmington, California. He draws inspiration from southern California’s mix of Mexican-American inhabitants, history, and street culture for his large-scale, multi-media installations, public performances, and community-based projects. Ybarra’s 09.3 Artpace residency project opens to the public on Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:30pm.
I'm really psyched about this batch of Artists in Residence; two of them participated in this Spring's stunning Phantom Sightings show at the Alameda, curated by Rita Gonzalez at LACMA.
Now here's a deadline you visual artists should know about. This competition strikes me as weird, but chingao, FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!?!?
HUNTING PLC ANNOUNCES CALL FOR 2010 HUNTING ART PRIZE