My dad passed away on Valentine’s Day this year. There’s a lot wrapped up in that but one of the results of it was that I’ve inherited his 2010 Honda Civic Si since it’s a manual transmission and I’m the only one in the family who’s got experience with one. It was fortuitous though as we were going to get my daughter a car for college so this meant that I could let her take my car and I’d take my dad’s. Other than finding out that I needed to completely replace the AC system, I’ve also missed the Sirius XM that I had in my car. 2010 is the year before hands free (bluetooth) and satellite radio became more standard issue in all cars. I’m also missing the hands free. ANYWAY, my point is that I’m back to listening to KUT a lot more again. In particular, the Sunday lineup is pretty good. Last month….or maybe it was May, there was a great story on This American Life about Phantom of the Opera musicians and then a really interesting series on COVID tracking and the Fed’s response to the early pandemic on Reveal. Part of the reason for this post is my blog is one of my many electronic memory / brain supplements.
The Chronicle posted a 30 year commemoration last week of the night that GG Allin played the Cavity Club in Austin. The story lines up pretty well with what I recall about it. I didn’t attend the February 1992 show but one of my bands at the time played the Cavity shortly after that and I recall seeing the arrest report on the wall and it was still a topic of discussion as we loaded our gear in to play the gig. The descriptions of the club in the story are accurate. There was a small entry area with a counter or table as you entered the venue and then the stage and main area were immediately to your right as you walked in. I don’t think they had a liquor license or served anything. The place was very bare bones and an utter dump. The gig we played is the only time I ever went to the club. I don’t recall it lasting very long. I had forgotten that it had the Zendik people in it. I’d see them on local cable access and around town.
I did attend the later 1993 show on 5th street. We had to sign a waiver to gain entry. It was a fairly tame show in the end but he did smash himself in the head with the microphone a few times. There was no stage and it was fairly crowded.
After GG died, when I lived in the East Village in 94/95, I would see Merle Allin wandering the streets. He’s a hard guy to miss given his facial hair choices along with his haircut. The documentary, Hated, was released around that time. It was the first film by Todd Phillips when he was an NYU film student. He later did Frat House which was an HBO documentary that got squashed by the families of the frat boys of whom it did not paint a flattering picture. I recall Tool featuring prominently in the soundtrack. I think I also saw that on Austin local cable access. Todd Phillips has gone on to have a pretty prominent director career with Old School, The Hangover movies and Joker.
Fast forward 10-15 years and I end up in another band where a band mate did some recording on one of GG’s albums and gets royalty checks from time to time. It’s become a tradition to meet out for beers and spend that money. Hence, the running joke: “These beers are on dear, departed Uncle GG. RIP”
I had a friend post recently that the cottage that they had lived in on Elizabeth Street between South Congress and South First when they first met and had their first child had been demolished. It’s a pretty consistent story particularly in South Central Austin where housing used to be cheap in the 80s and early 90s but is now astronomically expensive. We also started talking about the changes on South Congress in the comments.
The timing is interesting as it coincides with the release of Liz Lambert’s documentary about her role in transforming the San Jose on South Congress in the late 90s (which I still need to see). The two are obviously related. I have many of my own stories as I’m sure anyone who has lived here for 30 years or more does too. I’m not going for one of those cranky posts where I claim that it was all better before. I’m happy with some of the changes. I’m not happy with others. I’m not the same person or in the same life situation now as in 1991 , 2001 or 2011. I was here in all of those years though so it lends some perspective that someone who moved here in the past couple of years will not have. I’m tempted to just throw out a list of things that only people who have lived here over that time will or will not remember.
- South Lamar
- Maudies was a Pizza Hut (look at the architecture. It’s obvious once you know)
- The shopping center just up the road where Alamo Drafthouse is now was once a massive parking lot with strip mall that contained a moderately sized grocery store, a music store and a few other small local businesses
- Horseshoe Lounge anyone?
- Trudy’s South with the crazy bar smoking area in the middle.
- Pinthouse S Lamar in the same shopping center as Trudy’s South was a Chili’s, people.
- South Congress
- Amy’s Ice Cream was the first Schlotzsky’s
- Future Protocol / SpyCloud was a porn theater called Cinema West. Prior to that it had apparently been a reputable theater that started in the 1930s called the Austin Theatre where Stanley and Livingstone was the first feature. Cinema West shut down sometime in the late 90s. Here’s the ABJ story about it becoming Future Protocol in April 2000
I wrote this back in April and left it as a draft. Fast forward to now and there’s an article about Liz in Texas Monthly. There’s also an article about Slacker 30 years later which links a related Statesman story about the changes to Austin since that heavily sources a survey that my former boss (not direct but the Founder/CEO of the company that was my first “real job” in Austin), Peter Zandan has conducted for many years. Both of the articles bring up other long gone Austin spots from the 80s like the original Quacks on The Drag, Les Amis which ironically became a Starbucks and then Mad Dog & Beans. Sadly, Fricano’s, the deli that went up roughly in the same area also has gone away. So I guess now I’ve been here long enough / am old enough to reminisce about multiple generations of changes to local Austin businesses. We also now have lost the original Alamo on Colorado and the Ritz downtown location. At least the Village location is reopening. Now get off my lawn.
I thought about this earlier this week, googled for something about it to see if it had already been covered, didn’t immediately see anything as obvious as what I was thinking and decided to go ahead and post about it.
I’m clearly not very good at regularly posting. The last one was a decent one, I think, but that was 10 months ago.
Here’s what I was thinking: the explosion of craft beer and social media at roughly the same time has culminated in me being able to relatively easily find any beer that I’d like to try if it’s available locally. Untappd makes this possible. I’ve been a member since the summer of 2012. It’s pretty great. I also recently passed 1000 different beers. So it took me five and a half years to remember to check-in with each beer that I’ve tried. I’m sure I’ve missed some but I’ve been pretty good about recording them. I’m typically too lazy to write any comments unless the beer is particularly good or bad. I think my ratings are relatively consistent.
As far as finding a beer (or two) that I want to try, here’s what happened this week. I know that Celis had the first release of Grand Cru last weekend and that’s one of the recipes from the original brewery that I’ve been wanting to see return. I had Friday off for Veteran’s Day. I had also seen via Easy Tiger’s Instagram feed that they’d tapped an intriguing barleywine from Dogfish Head called Puddin’ Wine. A quick couple of searches on Untappd showed that I could probably get both at Bangers. Sure enough, I was able to sit down outside on Friday afternoon and order both, one right after the other.
While I was there, I requested an Untappd API key so I can show check-ins as a feed, similar to the Twitter and Flickr posts. So there it is over there on the right as well.
I mentioned the ratings on Untappd earlier, that’s the other benefit: remembering that I’ve already tried something and that maybe I wasn’t a huge fan.
I was at LazarusÂ a while back and ordered the Amandus. About two sips in, I thought, “Wow, I really don’t like this. It’s way too heavy on the banana esters.” If you look at their description, it says “Strong Belgian Golden Ale”. I do not expect banana esters with that description. I think something more along the lines of Duvel or the Grand Cru that I mention below. However, if you read the full description, it says:
St. Amandus was a Belgian monk famous for his hospitality: he became the patron saint of brewers, bartenders, and innkeepers. With hints of banana, pear, and cloves, this beer is our toast to a great man in a great beer-making region!
Hints? It’s more than hints. Here’s what I said back in January. Clearly, I should’ve paid attention to that last bit. As an aside, beware of the descriptions at Lazarus. They tend to add a flavor that you don’t expect to a beer style that you think you know. I’m not saying is good or bad, it just means that you end up with something you don’t expect.
Since the Lazarus visit, IÂ was at WhichCraft Mueller where I had the Founders Nitro Oatmeal Stout. Again, I should’ve paid attention to my past self. It wasn’t following the Bible Belt that made it forgettable. It’s just weaker than I generally want in my stouts. That disappointment was more than made up for by the Black Butte XXIX that I had after it.
Several friends posted the link to the NY Times articleÂ yesterday on the upcoming release of the Fugazi Live Series. I went and dug up the shows that I’ve attended over the years. Only one of them is already available. I may check that one out before I download any of the others. I’ll almost certainly download the one at Irving Plaza , the only non-Austin show that I attended. I remember it being pretty amazing.
Here’s the ones that I went to over the years. I’ve got ticket stubs scanned for two of them along with pictures for one. Several of the Austin visits were for two nights. I don’t think I ever went to both nights. I was able to figure out which one I did via the ticket stub for the 1993 and 2002 shows. I’m not sure about the 1995 shows.
A friend hand makes coats for little girls. She needed some models for a News8Austin story. The La is in the video. The coats look nice, although they’re a bit too much for my tastes.
We took the family to the Harry Potter release party at Bookpeople last night. The Boy dressed in his Harry Potter costume from Eeyore’s earlier this year. He got quite a few compliments, in fact, so much so that a PA from Rick Linklater’s IFC-funded as-yet-untitled 12-year project asked if he’d be interested in being an extra in some filming they’d be doing at the party.
They ended up including the whole family walking behind Eller Salmon and his crew in full Harry Potter regalia up the side of BookPeople from GSD&M. The Boy got a first hand view at the mind-crushingly boring reality of filmmaking. We had to walk up to the party about 10 times before they decided that they had a decent enough shot to move on. They headed over to the Lamar side of the store to do some more shooting at which point we were allowed to rejoin the party. I guess we’ll have to wait for 2016 to see if we made it in the shot and avoided the cutting room floor.
The party was ok, but hampered by the high temperature and high humidity. We never got to see the fire dancers or the surprise prepared by Alamo Drafthouse, although they were inflating the portable screen as we left. We only lasted until 10pm as we’d already reserved our copy of the book at Sam’s last week.
There are a few more photos in the Flickr set.
In the wake of the recent passing of HJR 6 by the Texas House and this story, which highlights everything that is wrong with Texas schools and the marriage of big business and government, I’m left to wonder what the hell I’m still doing in this state.
Oh yeah, the weather, Tex-Mex, and Austin itself.
I just got back from the Austin Metblogging meetup. Unfortunately, I was the only Austin Metblogger who made it. I think the other Austinites are contending with the same things we are: out-of-town guests, enjoying the amazing weather or hibernating until this whole SXSW thing blows over.
In addition to Sean, who we met last night and dragged to Ruta Maya for a drink before turning in, I got to meet Lauren and Matt from Chicago, Nicole from San Francisco and Hesam from Houston. Everyone was very cool.
The family and I were a little late to the meetup because I didn’t expect a massive jam up on Lamar heading south over the town lake bridge. I don’t if it was just the kite festival or if there was something else going on at Palmer/Auditorium Shores. I managed to scoot over to South First and meet everyone reasonably on time at Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse.
Here’s a couple of shots of Sean and Nicole geeking out over his Treo 650.
All in all, a great day to be out and about even for Austin. The La held up amazingly well today considering all of the places we dragged her.
My work holiday party was last night. It was pretty cool, my fifth one with this company. As I was driving the babysitter home after the party, we almost got hit by some pigfucker in an SUV. We were about 25-50 feet from from the the light at Burleson and Oltorf coming from the south when the aforementioned SUV turned from heading west on Oltorf to go south on Burleson. The problem was that he was in our lane heading straight for us instead of staying on his side of the double yellow line. I stopped, honked at him and gave him the “what the hell are you doing?” look. He looked slightly surprised, corrected to his lane and then ACCELERATED!??!
I didn’t get a chance to catch the guy’s license plate, but I wish there was a way to sick The Man on someone like that. I suppose I should’ve followed him and called it in. I remember seeing something on T.V. once about a guy who would drive around with a video camera mounted on his dashboard. If he spotted someone driving erratically, he’d call the cops on his cell phone, follow them at a safe distance and film it. That’s a little extreme, but it’d be nice if there were a way to get a police response on something like this quick enough to catch the guy. Part of me is sympathetic to that idiot driver. I’ve had nights where I probably shouldn’t have been driving (last night was NOT one of them), but as soon as you do something that endangers other people, all bets are off. Russell had a post earlier this week that was somewhat related.
Within a couple miles of the SUV incident, we passed two different people pulled over with cops behind them, flashing lights and all. I didn’t see any field sobriety tests being administered. If you’re going out late over the next couple of weeks, you’ll want to be extra careful. You hear it every year, but it’s no bullshit.