99 cans of beer

Austin Beerworks' Peacemaker Anytime Ale 99-Pack campaign

A few local shops are getting national attention with their clever marketing and beautiful design for Austin Beerworks’ Peacemaker Anytime Ale 99-Pack campaign. Cheers to Helms Workshop, Austin Beerworks, Beef and Pie Productions, and Source Pixel Foundry.

This article excerpted courtesy AIGA Austin

New music from The Sour Notes

Austin, Texas band The Sour NotesI first met Austin band The Sour Notes at SXSW 2011. I was hurrying across town to catch my friend and local artist Kacy Crowley at Betsy’s Bar and hoped to arrive in time for The Sour Notes’ set. Four of the members stood onstage… waiting… while the drummer was outside somewhere, stuck in traffic. It was an awkward moment for the band, but they’re nice folks, and handled the situation with aplomb and humor.

Watch the music video below of a new song, shot by Paul Avellino.

Here is some more information, with another link of the song streaming on the Red Bull Sound Select site.

The album, “Do What May,” is due out soon. Please enjoy (and be sure to use your napkin)!

SXSW 2012 Music

SXSW 2012 Music festivalIt’s time once again for Austinites to grab the handrail tightly as the city braces for yet another SXSW festival. This year’s music portion (the focus of this article) is March 13 through 18.

This writer will be reporting mainly from the downtown and east side areas, on his trusty $90 flea bike. As usual, I will be attending mostly day shows, because I am “thrifty.” Here are some of the highlights of my weekend…

Wednesday the 14th… Spiderhouse will have Bare Wires, country rockers Natural Child, FIDLAR, Austin’s own Dikes Of Holland and Rayon Beach, garage band The Allah-Las, and two more Austin bands, Alfie Rabago’s Lola-Cola, and Crooked Bangs, featuring two rockin’ dames, Leda Celeste Ginestra and Samantha Wendel. Bare Wires play again at Beerland. Trailer Space weighs in with San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees, Mean Jeans, and Natural ChildThursday the 15th… the east side’s dirty dive the Legendary White Swan hosts a night show, featuring Jesse Malin from D Generation performing a solo set, Atlanta’s haircut band The Biters, and more great haircuts with headliners Prima DonnaFriday the 16th… totally scuzzy dive bar Trophy’s will host a day show with Barrio Tiger from L.A., with Miami guitar legend Jimmy James. Jackalope has a stellar lineup with Tommy Stinson, Jesse Malin, Austin survivor Alejandro Escovedo (The Nuns, Rank And File, True Believers), and—hang on to your hats—a reunion of Peter Case and Paul Collins (The Plimsouls, The Nerves). 29th St. Ballroom has fuzztone bands like Thee Oh Sees, Burnt Ones, Xray Eyeballs, and Kid Congo Powers‘s new band, the Pink Monkey Birds. Beerland has Denton’s Wiccans and two great Austin Bands, OBN IIIs and A Giant Dog. A new burger joint on Manor—Flat Top—will host an unspecified appearance by The Wedding Present (spoken word? music? meet ‘n’ greet?). Lustre Pearl has The Drums. The New (and awfully big) Emo’s East has a super noise fest with The Gories and SpitsSaturday the 17thWaterloo Records continues its excellent free parking lot show tradition with a series of day shows, including appearances by Blouse, Strange Boys and Kid Congo. Trailer Space has Ty Segall pal Mikal Cronin and Austin darlings Hex Dispensers. Beerland has the wonderful local power pop band Bad Sports, fronted by the talented Orville Bateman Neeley III (also of OBN IIIs and A Giant Dog), plus Bass Drum Of Death and Flesh Lights (I’ve been singing this band’s praises to anyone who will listen—frontman Max Vandever is a dynamo). Peelander-Fest returns to The Grackle with headliners and hosts, Peelander-Z. Lots of other Japanese rock/punk bands will feature. Spiderhouse hosts Ben Tipton’s Burgermania, with Paul Collins and Peter Case and cool Atlanta power poppers Barreracudas. Wayne Kramer will play Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Rock sisters Bleached play the Red Eyed Fly patio… Sunday the 18th… Renate Winter’s excellent ‘zine Rubberneck hosts a showcase at Sidebar with Austin artists the Ugly Beats, Quin Galavis, Hex Dispensers, and Air Traffic Controllers (Matador Records’ Gerard Cosloy), Thom Tex Edwards’ Purple Stickpin (former Nervebreakers). Closing the festival with style and grace, the missus and I will enjoy a rare one together, at Congress Avenue’s beautiful camera shop, Lomography. They promise free cold ones and her fave all-acoustic rockers, princeton University’s Miracles Of Modern Science.

For the best, most complete, and up-to-date SXSW music listings, I always recommend Showlist Austin.

SXSW 2011 festival

SXSW Music, Film, Interactive festival, March 11–20, 2011“But will they have free drinks?” That cry will be heard throughout Austin during the SXSW festival, from March 11 through 20. But of course we all have our different reasons for attending. Filmmakers, technology geeks, and live music enthusiasts alike can get their mojo on.

Wednesday through Saturday, the Austin Convention Center will house the 29th annual Flatstock poster show and the Texas Guitar Show. Flatstock has the latest in screen-printed poster designs, and promises to have a “portable” printer on-hand to show you how it’s done. Both shows are free to the public.

Interactive design firm Frog Design will host its annual SXSW kickoff party March 8. Industry peers will gather for a night of revelry and conversation.

And, oh, the music! I will be attending mostly day shows. Wednesday the 16th… Neo soul boys Fitz & The Tantrums will play a free show in the Waterloo Records parking lot. Texas’ own Bad Sports will play a day show at Trailer Space Records. Two interesting bands feature at Red River Street goth club Elysium: tough and tight garage rockers The Woggles, and Japanese punk crazies Peelander-Z. San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees will be at Spiderhouse on the drag. Draft beer emporium The Ginger Man will have three great Texas bands: Ugly Beats, Thunderchiefs, and Eve & the Exiles. On the east side, newly-opened pub The Grackle will host “Gracklefest”—four days of free shows. Do not miss Flesh Lights, an Austin trio led by that young bolt of lightning Max Vandever. Two more must-see Austin bands OBN IIIs and my soccer mate Alfonso’s band, Manikin, will be at Beerland. Thursday the 17h… Poet, survivor, lover Kacy Crowley will open for The Sour Notes at Betsy’s Bar downtown. Soul shouters Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears will dominate another free parking lot show at Waterloo, and then later at the Mohawk. I love the twee-ness that is The Carrots, and they’ll appear at the east side’s Baby Blue Studios. For $10 you can see former 13th Floor Elevators legend Roky Erickson and pals including Peter Buck from R.E.M. at Threadgills. For me a SXSW highlight will be UK band Pete And The Pirates at British pub Dog & Duck. On the same stage are The Minus Five, featuring former members of R.E.M. and The Dream Syndicate. Friday the 18th… Last year I spent some time on the beautiful grounds of the French Legation Museum. This year electroclash hell-raisers !!!, Cults, and tUnE-yArDs are my picks. The Shangri-la is a cherished east side neighborhood spot, and local boys done good The Hex Dispensers will be a good reason to stop by. Two festivals ago, I witnessed Gentlemen Jesse And His Men perform a scorching set in a record store parking lot. This time, the men will be outside at the Mohawk—not to be missed. South Congress Avenue shouldn’t be left out, and tiny outsider art gallery Yard Dog will somehow manage to find space for former X frontwoman Exene Cervenka to perform. Two excellent indie rock bands—Okkervil River, and Surfer Blood—perform at Flamingo Cantina. If you remember 1980s punk rockers ALL, their former singer is now fronting a band called Drag The River, and will be performing a few shows around town: at Hole in the Wall, Liberty, and Barbarella. Saturday the 19th… “Gracklefest” continues with Peelander-Z, 8-bit electro nerds Anamanaguchi, and my friends Cody, Zach, Nick, and Weston from Austin punk rockers Lost Controls. Rainey Street is fast becoming an alternative for dining and entertainment, and Okkervil River and Tapes ‘n Tapes will grace Lustre Pearl’s patio stage. Sunday the 20th… The last day of the festival goes out with a bang at the Side Bar. Flesh Lights, former Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard, and two garage bands, Austin’s Ugly Beats and Pittsburgh’s Cynics will bring the house down.

For the most accurate, complete, and up-to-date SXSW music listings, I urge you to visit Showlist Austin.

Snow in Texas

Snow in Austin, TexasHappy (brrrr…) Valentine’s Day! Since last week, most of the United States has been in the throes of icy winter weather, closing airports and leaving motorists stranded in snow drifts. This typical scene plays out every winter, threatening to upset life and commerce in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York. But one doesn’t often consider Texas a target for blizzards. On February 4, several inches of snow fell on Austin. That weekend, I drove up to Dallas to visit a friend. Icy road conditions forced an added hour to what is usually a three-and-a-half hour commute. Road conditions were fair until crossing the Dallas county line, where ice coated the main interstate. I passed Waco—a sizable city— that managed to treat its roads with sand. What happened, Dallas?

That Sunday the Dallas area (Arlington, actually) hosted the Super Bowl. While I did not attend the game, I was witness to a city of over 6.5 million totally unprepared for big crowds and icky weather. Brought to its knees, the Dallas police department seemed hapless to protect and serve, and many Dallasites grumbled—inconvenienced by the weather, 100,000 out-of-towners, and a paucity of taxi cabs. Public schools closed for days due to buses unequipped to deliver students.

Jennifer Dunn, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, admitted that the “first band caught us a little off-guard.” This week’s snow will likely push the season total into territory not seen since the record-setting storms of the 1970s.

Downtown Austin, Texas, February 4, 2011

Why Ginny’s Printing rocks

Ginny's Printing, Austin, TXAs a seasoned graphic designer, I have dealt with a number of different printing companies, even some in Asia (not by my choice but at the client’s insistence). Some printers are routine and faceless, others are reliable, and then there’s Ginny’s Printing. In the past two years, I’ve used Ginny’s for a few different clients. The latest job, however, was a simple poster of a short run for a DJ night. I spoke with Roland, my usual CSR, and he told me about a deal Ginny’s runs for Austin musicians on the front page of its website. Fifty 12 x 18″ full-color posters on heavy stock for $17.99+tax (shipping included), the catch is, there is no bleed and you must order either 50 or 100. No proof, and no CSR involvement. Ordering and file transfer is done through the site, as well as payment by credit card. I used my company credit card, typing my name, followed by the company’s (as it appears on my card). Apparently, this threw a wrench into the works, as there was an error prompting me to contact Ginny’s. I called and spoke with the financial department, and then, something extraordinary. The CFO of the company followed up on my call. She personally shepherded the order through the press department, and expedited the credit card problem. Turns out, my name followed by company name was longer than the online ordering system would allow. Simple database mistake. “Does not compute.”

I received a nice email from the CFO, with just about everyone from Ginny’s CC’d. But the story gets better. Someone from accounts called me Friday afternoon to tell me the job was complete, and that I could pick it up. I told her go ahead and ship it. The job was received FedEx Saturday! (Warning: FedEx shipping may NOT be included with all orders. Please consult before ordering.) I’ll remind you, folks, this was a $19 order!

I am telling everyone I know, shouting from the highest mountaintops, Ginny’s rocks with extra bass! (And besides, Ginny’s founder Michael Martin’s favorite cartoon character is Foghorn Leghorn. Well, DUH…)

Historic Harvard organ moves to Austin

Harvard pipe organOn May 3, staff from the C.B. Fisk Company—the famed mechanical action pipe organ manufacturer of Gloucester, Massachusetts—dismantled the pipe organ at Harvard University’s Appleton Chapel. A delegation from Redeemer Presbyterian church in Austin traveled to Massachusetts for the instrument’s farewell recital, which has served Harvard since 1967 and will begin service in Redeemer’s new sanctuary.

In 1965, when plans for the organ began, Harvard entrusted the design, construction, and voicing of the organ to one of its own, Charles Brenton Fisk (’45). His study of early American and European instruments helped him and his company to set a new course for American organbuilding.

No official date has been set for the organ’s première at its new Austin homesite… so pipe organ fanatics will have to stay tuned!

Sanctuary screen printing in Austin

South Side Sanctuary El CaminoIn a warehouse in South Austin, the talented artists of South Side Sanctuary toil away on their computers and at their presses creating fashion that comments on art, music and fashion itself. Leaders Jon Pattillo and Jed Taylor do this for fun, cranking out three to five thousand t-shirts per month of their own design. But their designs are anything but mass-produced. Services also include custom designed screen-printed t-shirts, letter press-printed posters and business cards, banners, murals, and stickers. The duo started out creating merch for a record label and its touring bands. Today the company is housed in a 5,000 square foot location on South Congress Avenue. In addition to the three screen printing presses, SSS operates a 1947 Kluge open-face letterpress.

During this past year’s SXSW festival, the SSS crew could be seen rolling around town in their super-rad 1979 El Camino “delivery vehicle” equipped with a working screenprinting press in the truck bed.

Austin Anarchist Soccer

Austin anarchist soccerSince 2000, Austin has hosted an “anarchist” soccer game on Sundays. Anarchist soccer has many names worldwide—such as radical, revolutionary, punk rock or community soccer. Why anarchist? Participants usually offer a blank look when asked. According to its website, anarchist soccer is community soccer, which differs from the usual pick-up game in many ways. Organizer “Simon Z” emphasizes that there are rules, just no rulers. The game is open to players of all skill levels and gender (several females play regularly). All that’s needed are a few friends and a ball. Boundaries and usual soccer rules—such as corner and penalty kicks—are ignored, and keeping score is unimportant. Hand balls tend to be followed by a hearty laugh, with the perpetrator subject to mild derision. The focus is on fun, rather than on scoring goals and ball skills to fuel individual egos.

Players are encouraged to sign up for the email list where posts keep players abreast of social events, as well as important world events impacting social issues. Environment is a sincere concern, as more than half of the players ride a bicycle to the match, oftentimes from a great distance. And the anarchists have a standing “leave no trace” rule: Leave the soccer field in the same condition or better than it was.

What seems to be most important to the anarchist players is fair play, fun, gathering, running, talking, falling, laughing, kicking, and building community.

  • What: Austin Anarchist Soccer
  • When: Sundays, 6 p.m. until dark (summer), 2-4 p.m. (rest of year)
  • Where: Rosewood Park in East Austin, 12th Street and Chestnut Avenue directions