DAZ76

May 3, 2009

The Night I met Merl Allin

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 9:08 am
Tags: , , ,

Please, I’m not trying to act like some GG Allin and the Murder Junkies worshiper or anything like that, although I do admire GG for doing what he did instead of just killing everyone. I think it would have been easier for him to just kill. In many ways he probably took the high road.

Way back in the day when I worked at Record Gallery I remember the owner Steve showing me a GG Allin record and I was impressed with the crude gun and knife tattoos etched into his neck on the cover photo. This guy obviously did not give a fuck. Steve gave me the lowdown, that GG performed confrontational hardcore music often naked, often covered in his own shit, and often randomly punching/fighting with people in the crowd. From a distance it sounded AOK to me, but I had no desire to actually witness such a violent and crazy performance. I didn’t want any GG Allin shit on me! But we proudly displayed his records and treated him as a  legendary and exemplary extreme punk rock anti-hero.

GG’s last show happened right around the corner from my old apartment in NYC but I didn’t go. It was at the Gas Station and believe me if you don’t know about that place you missed a fun part of the mid 90’s Lower East Side scene. Where the Gas Station stood was the first place they razed and built new condos in that neighborhood. The end was near, I thought. And I was right. Anyway, that last show climaxed with a naked GG and crowd basically rioting up and down Ave. B. GG ODed in the following hours. In many ways he was kind of the original Steve O, but GG had to die. That was part of it. I watched the documentaries etc. and always had a soft spot for the hated man but nothing special. I think I kept one CD around for good old American teenage shock value.

Later it came to my attention (after watching a GG Alllin documentary, I think it was called “Hated”) I noticed that the guys from GG’s band, the Murder Junkies, were always on my block (4th between A and B in NYC) so I put it together and found out their rehearsal space was a few doors down. Cool but again, whatever. One of the things that you do when you live in New York City is ignore the shit out of anyone remotely famous or well known. You act like you have no idea who they are and I would often add a flourish by acting as if the person they are with is the famous one,  just to add an extra “fuck you famous person – I live here too”.  I’m not kidding that’s a new York thing.

Long story longer, the other night I was in my car listening to local UT student radio KVRX and they announced a ticket giveaway. I got my phone ready because it’s actually pretty easy to win tickets to things on the radio and all I knew is that it was a rock show at Emo’s. I was the first caller and got on the guest list. I had never heard of the bands they were talking about so I looked up the show info at Emo’s website only to find out that yes, there was some over blown indie hard rock thing happening outside, but inside, the Murder Junkies were playing. How could I resist?

So I went, got in free, hooked up a beverage at the bar, sent a cheers to KVRX. I spotted Merl, GG’s brother and longtime bassist for the Murder Junkies. He now has taken over as vocalist minus the shit and blood covered confrontation that his brother was famous for.  It’s still the Murder Junkies though, and they are a fucked up yet crucial part of American musical history whether we like it or not. Obviously I like it.

I introduced myself to Merl, he was just standing there near the merch booth and I pretty much told him what I just wrote here. Really nice guy, I think a bit taken off guard by a momentary reminiscence with a complete stranger of  a funky little block on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where I had lived and he was a Murder Junkie. He assured me that New York City sucks now ( I bet it doesn’t) and for a few moments the intersection at 4th and B came back, more vivid than ever so far.

I think the real moral of this story is that if you care in the least about punk rock or American hardcore music/performance culture you can pretty much meet most of the (still living/active) founders and VIPs of the scene because they all come to Emo’s and it’s easy to win tickets on the radio.

So there you go, me and Merl from the Murder Junkies are pals and I guess you will get mad at me later when you youtube GG Allin and see how freaked out and fucked up what I’m talking about is. Was that English? In my opinion GG Allin was a poet, and I’m proud to have met his brother.

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April 30, 2009

My take on the Austin Mayoral race 09

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 11:20 am
Tags: ,

Brewster McCracken

Brewster McCracken is a Texas native, born in Corpus Christie. A relatively young candidate at 43 he is a graduate of Princeton University. McCracken also holds a law degree from UT School of Law as well as a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ school at UT. He is also a former prosecutor and served in the U.S. Army.

Brewster McCracken looks at the “Austin Model” developed in the 1980’s that essentially served as a vision to bring the high tech and bio tech industries to Austin which is now considered to be a globally accepted model for city development. McCracken’s proposed ideas about Austin’s future look to that model but expand on it, taking into consideration emerging industries such as clean energy, which is a major focus of his campaign. He has solidified his popularity with Austin’s creative community by also supporting a strong film, game, and technology driven entertainment sectors which he believes can be future sources for economic and job growth here in Austin.

McCracken is endorsed by many green/clean energy industry leaders and technicians as well as by local entertainment luminaries such as Sarah Hickman and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim Leauge. The Austin American Statesman has also endorsed McCracken.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Carole Keeton Strayhorn is also a native Texan born in Austin and the daughter of long time dean of the UT Law School, Page Keeton. Strayhorn holds an honors degree from UT and began her career in education. She is highly awarded in that field. She became the first woman to become mayor of Austin in 1977 and served until 1983. Strayhorn has also served as the Texas Comptroller of Public Affairs (again the first woman in Texas to do so) as well as serving as Texas Railroad Commissioner. In 2006 she ran for Governor of the state of Texas where to some controversy she was denied including the word “Grandma” in her name on the Gubernatorial ballot, despite the fact that one of her opponents is commonly known as “Kinky” Friedman, a nom de plume. Strayhorn also suffered some humiliation during a televised debate when she did not know the name of newly elected Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Also of interest is that her son, Scott McClellan served as George W. Bush’s press secretary.

Strayhorn has a streamlined set of issues that she focuses on, most specifically the city budget. She has railed against the system of city-financed lobbyists in the state capitol. She is a staunch supporter of law enforcement and is a long time member of the Austin Police Association. She has expressed concern that the city spends thousands conducting archeological research in Zilker Park before spending money on the police and she says that as mayor she would get more police on the street as soon as possible.

Another major issue that Strayhorn has taken on is traffic in Austin. She believes that enough time and money has been wasted on research and studies and wants to implement new strategies in how we commute, including possibly overhauling Capitol Metro. She has also pledged her commitment to supporting small business, promising to modify the red tape laden bureaucratic system that makes it difficult if not impossible for some local business to operate.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn has received the endorsement of ChangeAustin.org – an influential grassroots political advocacy organization. ABoR, the Austin Board of Realtors, also endorses her as well as the St. Edwards University student newspaper.

Lee Leffingwell

Without the aid of a Wikipedia entry for Lee Leffingwell, I had to use more varied sources for information about this Austin city council member running for mayor. We do know that Lee Leffingwell is a native Austenite, his father worked in the fire department and law enforcement and his mother at UT. Leffingwell entered the army, became a pilot, flying many missions, and later in his civilian career became a commercial jet pilot.

After retiring from piloting, he returned to Austin and became a community volunteer with an emphasis on ecological issues. Leffingwell is known for advocating a more transparent local government as well as looking forward at the inevitable growth of this city and how to bolster strong commerce and housing sectors and directly address the inevitable impact on the environment that this will have into the future. Also of interest is that Leffingwell was one of two city council members to vote against the forgivable loan for Las Manitas restaurant last year, suggesting that ultimately the loan would not have any real benefit for the city or downtown, only the restaurant. He also voted against proposals to restrict the size of new homes being built in certain parts of Austin claiming that such laws if in effect should be city wide, not just street to street, and added that many people these days are relying on add-on rental property as a way to improve their investment. Leffingwell has several significant endorsements, most notably the Austin Fire Department and Austin’s infamous independent free weekly, the Austin Chronicle.

Taken from the Austin Chronicle’s letter of endorsement regarding Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken published last week:

“The Chronicle board discussion of the candidates even suggested an apt and double-edged analogy: “Right now, who do you want in charge of city policy, your stodgy but reliable dad or your energetic younger brother?” We’ve opted strongly for the former.”

After doing the research I have decided that I will vote for Lee Leffingwell, and it has little to do with the Austin Chronicle’s endorsement. While I am not aware of his complete record, I appreciate his tone. Aside from 9/11 hijacker types, I generally believe that people who become pilots, specifically commercial pilots, have built in bravery, leadership qualities and an innate desire to look out for people.

These days it is rare to see a politician so openly reveal their sense of compassion and put forth the idea that helping the less fortunate is an important and necessary role in our city. His relationship with Austin’s environment, the parks, trails, waterways etc. is hard to deny and I trust Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake in his hands.

One other interesting thing that I noticed was Lee Leffingwell’s website offers a Spanish language option. I do not believe I saw that option on the other candidate’s pages. As a bilingual American, I can appreciate that, and it shows intelligence in the campaign strategy. I also really like the personal and down to earth tone of his website, and although I am inherently suspicious of politicians, I find the man to be genuine about his dedication to making Austin a great place to live and be into the future.

Brewster McCracken has some appeal because he has strongly associated himself with the more fun aspects of Austin culture and received great press a few years ago for smoothing over some wrinkles when a percussion group was arrested during SXSW for parading into the street. I believe he needs more time to find his true position on the tougher issues that are facing Austin in the near future.

As for Strayhorn, I appreciate her straight ahead style and political experience, but she is a politician’s politician if there ever was one and no, she’s not my grandma. That type of campaign strategy strikes me as a thinly veiled version of politic fast food and her D.C. insider connectivity seems a bit much for the position of Mayor in weird old Austin Texas, despite our status as the state capitol.

March 13, 2009

Band Update

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 2:46 am

The whole starting a band thing is pretty crazy. One minute I am pondering the nature of my set up or how the drums will sound through the effects and then other times it seems like there is no way I’m going to go on a stage with a bunch of other dudes and make this sound. It seems inevitable and yet absurd. But people do it all the time, right?  Every night of the week, all day long people are playing music for others. The truth is that this performance concept was born of the inspiration I received when one of Austin’s top electronic music impresario said the me, “No one else is making electronic music like you do here in town”. It wasn’t a statement regarding the good or bad nature of my music, just that at the moment, in this place, it’s sort of unique. I would be stupid to not act, given this information.

The newest member, Jeff, who got back to me from craigslist seems like a very cool guy. He’s a percussionist and producer, and his specialty is Indian and middle eastern music. Cool! Also, he’s a student of holistic medicine. So essentially we have an in house medic in case anyone has a dub related injury or trips out too hard. I’ll meet with him tomorrow to get him a CD.

So right now less than two weeks from day one of this venture the band consists of me on electronics and live dub mix, Gerard on conga, Lane on timbal, djembe and percussion, and Jeff on dumbek. This shit is quickly going world, and that’s exactly as it was meant to be.

One of the amazing aspects of this project to me is the willingness of these musicians to work with my vision, letting me be the director and they are the players. I expected more trouble getting it across that I already knew what this was going to sound like live, but they quickly acknowledged that and seemed relieved that their was a vision, a direction, and a plan.

Also, my suggestion that the live drums would be mic’d and processed through effects was received positively. I wondered if that would freak out the drummers, but again curiosity and experimentation is fueling this group so we move forward.

We are going to have to create a new form of rhythm for this sound, a hybrid of styles but directly based on the Niyabinghih traditions that informs jamaican roots music. As long as that is clear I don’t care how it is achieved or on what instruments. I will definitely turn to Gerard to lead the drummers. I’ve seen him do it and he’s good at it. Gerard has other long running projects but both the other guys hinted at the concept of a collective forming, and I’m into that, because sometime I’d like to just be a musician too.

March 11, 2009

Rebel Rock Sound in the Area!

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 4:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve really been ignoring my blog lately. I started making these little web videos and that was satisfying my need to discuss all my thoughts on everything publicly in it’s own way, and as I’ve said before writing is kind of hard for me… That’s not true, writing is easy. It’s the whole spelling, grammar, making sense thing that gets me.

I started a band.

About two weeks ago a local booking agent, I won’t say who just yet, contacted me about performing at one of their curated events as a sound artist. It turned out the event was specific to laptop music, and I don’t use a laptop. I might be if I decide on a set up, but now, no laptop. They said, “Cool, we’ll get back to you for another event”.

I said, “Cool, talk soon”.

This initial contact made me stop and think, “Damn, I need to get a fucking show together ASAP”. I listened to the music I wanted to play and tried to picture the vision of a live stage version and of course immediately Pink Floyd came to mind, billowing red, baby blue, pink, and black smoke flickering in the strobes. Done. Stage atmophere sorted.

Then I tried to imagine how to recreate the songs live and I realized I can’t. Not yet anyway. The music only exists in the speakers, meaning no hi-fi, no song. That’s not so worrying for me because I am a DJ and understand sound system culture and ideology. Some music needs to be played on an instrument to be effective, some songs are only effective in the speakers, the sound system is the instrument and I control that sound.

But I didn’t stop there. As I envisioned my “band” on stage amid the flickering light there were other figures there besides me. Drummers. And a dancer. Yeah a dancer. Every cool band has had a dedicated dancer, Happy Mondays, 808 State, Meat Beat Manifesto, Public Enemy, the list goes on. It just so happened that I met a break dancer a week or so before at a hip hop night and we were talking about making a video.

The first person I contacted about the show idea was a friend from when I was studying afro-latin percussion, playing in our local samba school and with a small folkloric group specializing in Puerto Rican and Haitian music. Gerard’s opinion and experiance is heavy in these matters, and I sought his guidance in an email. I invited him to be part of the sound.

I then contacted the dancer and he was very into the idea, even stating that he “strobes” which I guess is a form of popping. He also mentioned costumes, which had not even entered my mind, but of course, costumes!

I wanted to hear back from my friend Gerard from the folkloric group for his advice on the matter. He’s an old school drum guy and knows the Austin scene well. After not hearing back from him for a few days I thought he blew me off as a freak or missed the email. I decided to hit craiglist in search of drummers.

Before I posted the message I spent a few nights putting together a rough mix of the the program. Right now the show runs about 23 minutes and I’m shooting for a half hour with additional songs ready to mix in after as DJ set. Point being the musicians would be able to have a recording of my mix (minus dub effects and other live elements I will add) for the show, hopefully easing up on rehearsals. So even then I had a really good idea what everything was supposed to look and sound like.

I was bummed I never heard back from Gerard, but I moved ahead anyway.

I posted a simple message in the musician section of craigslist for drummers interested in Jamaican roots and dub music, and I mentioned that I was performing a digital version of these rhythms and wanted to experiment with live dub mixing.

Two guys contacted me, very curious about the electronic aspect of the music. Both are full on gigging percussionists and one also produces ambient dance music as well. So far so good.

I was encouraged by the contact, but still disheartened that Gerard didn’t care about my new music project, I wanted his blessing. I had begun communicating with the other drummers about the project and then with perfect timing came Gerard’s response. A very considered reply, he had really given my idea some thought. Long story short he’s in, and I met with Lane, one of the other percussionists a few days ago and gave him the CD of the show mix. Cool guy, like minded and curious.

I feel good about Gerard and Lane and I am still not %100 about the other guys, but we’ll see about that. I put together a small collection of links that I sent the guys to show them where I’m coming from on a musical and mental level.

We will wait out South by South West before we actually rehearse, although a meeting is planned in a couple of weeks. Not a formal rehearsal, just a loud introduction…

Do I need to suggest how exciting this is? I have been waiting for the right time and place to try out some of my new music ideas and it’s moving ahead. So by late summer (next September) we will be playing some chill psychedelic dub, and I’m sure I’ll get all hot and sweaty, and I hope you do too!

Next up, naming the sound system. All suggestions welcome!! Here are the videos I sent out to the other guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_tKUoWZak

This one shows the drum style I’m after.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HPgcmHtiwA

Real dub recording session from Kingston mid 70’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansions_of_Rastafari

This is discussing the influence of Rastafarian and African ritual drumming on reggae and roots music in Jamaica. Check it out.

February 4, 2009

Women and the Environment

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 6:58 am

This is an experiment – I wrote this rough draft tonight for submission to yet another writing contest (dumb idea I know but it keeps me on my toes) and I have a few days until I need to submit it. The theme of the contest is “Women and the Environment” and I chose to talk about artist Barbera Kruger and scientist Marie Curie. If, no, when, I finally place in one of these writing competitions I am going to get a Beret and never let anyone forget that I am an award (gift certificate to a bookstore) winning writer and will begin acting the part in earnest.

I can’t wait for that… Anyway any feedback or OCD grammar notes will be considered. Help me win the writing competition!!

Women and the Environment

What do women have to do with the environment? Good question indeed, and one I have never really considered before. It’s funny how I never thought of women in context of the environment, even though we say Mother Nature all the time. Traditionally women have played a role as that of symbolizing Earth, life, growth, bounty. The Venus of Willendorf is a prime example and an obvious connection can be made to the shape of the figurine, rounded, maybe pregnant, and that of the Earth itself. Psychically women have much to do with the environment, but I think most people if asked to consider the environment think of Al Gore with his message of global warming, or the lumberjacks in their plaid flannel chopping down the trees in Alaska. Obviously there are countless women out there in forestry, waste management, the EPA and other jobs that directly affect the environment every day, I guess I’m just suggesting that there seems to be something macho about the environment and the way people view it.

But that’s just a surface view, skimming my general thoughts about a very huge subject. To get more specific I had to ask a simple and obvious question; What woman has had a great impact on the environment? I pondered that for a day or so and it hit me, twice.

Barbera Kruger.

Barbera Kruger came into widespread prominence in the mid eighties when her minimalist slogan art began appearing in galleries, magazines, and most importantly in public spaces. Kruger is still active today but her iconic nature was defined by her raw work, often times a black and white photo greatly enlarged with a simple phrase or message placed on top in her trademark futura font, usually a comment on consumerism, power, or sexual inequality in modern American culture. Just as important as the message in the art was the way her art was experienced by the viewer. In magazines her work was incorporated into advertising design and in a provocative way often elevated the product being sold above the consumerism that she was commenting on. More to the point is her public work and it’s relationship with how we experience our immediate surroundings and who controls that. The environment is not just glaciers and icebergs, marshes and atolls. The street is just as much part of
the environment and it’s where most humans exist. Wherever we are IS our environment.

Imagine emerging from the subway onto New York’s Fifth Avenue only to see a large and crude poster stating “I shop therefore I am” behind the glass at a bus stop. For some, they relate to the critical nature of the piece, pointing a finger at the frivolity of commercialism, and then others who maybe are offended by the direct and one way nature of Kruger’s message. The words alone are not that caustic, but when placed in one of the most famous epicenters of extravagance and consumerism the work is contextualized and becomes meaningful and thought provoking, significant. Graffiti and street art in general are vilified but Kruger’s public work begs the question, “Just because someone paid for the space, it’s OK to pollute the environment with advertising, while graffiti or unauthorized street art is wrong?”.

I feel that Barbera Kruger’s artwork speaks to this concept and urges us to consider the
images and graphics, sloganeering and catchphrases we are exposed to daily as we drive, walk, take public transportation. Our environment is saturated with these urging promotions and ads, Kruger used the medium for her message, and the urban environment is  her vehicle.

Marie Curie.

While it is easy to talk about Barbera Kruger and the relationship of her art on the environment because art is subjective, and my thoughts are as valid as anyone else’s, I wanted to also try to figure out what woman was really, hands down, the most influential in affecting our environment and of course I came to Marie Curie, the polish scientist who discovered and gave name to radioactivity. The first female professor at the University of Paris, Madam Curie single handedly changed the way humans interact with the world, giving us power that some might say borders on the un-natural. The concept of radioactivity made some think that the idea of ever having to conserve energy would be a thing of the past, but at what cost?

Radio activity
Discovered by Madam Curie
Chain reaction and mutation
Contaminated population

These are the words sung by Kraftwerk in their song “Radioactivity” from the 1975 album of the same name. Need we look further than Chernobyl or Hiroshima to understand the level of potential for destructive force and enviormental horror that Curie unknowingly unleashed on the world? Obviously it was much later that nuclear technology was developed, but it was this  woman who may not have opened Pandora’s box, but did indeed bring it to the party. It’s easy to overshadow Curie’s scientific work with the terrors of nuclear disaster but it should be noted that her discoveries greatly shaped modern medicine and she was the first person to experiment in the treatment of neoplasms, or cancers, using radiation. She died because of the exposure she received while conducting her experiments as she was known to have carried test tubes containing highly radioactive isotopes in her pockets. To this day her papers are considered hazardous and are stored in lead boxes.

Marie Curie’s legacy is multi-faceted. A proto feminist, two time Nobel Prize winner, scientific pioneer, mother of radioactivity. There really are no words to describe her impact on the planet Earth, and this is an irreversible truth. Kruger too cannot be tied directly to one aspect of her work for definition, and I am making no real comparison of Curie and Kruger. One woman puts her stamp on the city wall and as we walk by we get the message consciously or subconsciously, a momentary distraction from navigating the urban streets. Barbera Kruger’s work in many ways reminds us that this is our world, our space, we should think more about how we share the collective visual spaces in which we exist and interact.

Both of the women I have discussed here are true marvels of intellect and action. Scientists and artists are similar in many ways, curious, always looking to find, define or master a process, and it is no doubt that they are both extraordinary examples of modern women who have changed the way we interact with and consider our environment, the immediate and the vast.

January 25, 2009

The Worst DJ Gig of My Life

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 7:16 am
Tags: , ,

I started a new class tonight and I noticed this girl as she came in the door late. She looked familiar and an unsettling feeling came over me. I was sure I had unknowingly insulted her at a party or something. I don’t insult people (you know, to their faces) but sometimes in the night when the libations are flowing I often think I’m being funny and sometimes people get rubbed the wrong way. As I sat there in class I was trying to remember what I might have done…

I want to talk about the worst DJ gig of my life. Keep in mind, I’ve had a few REALLY bad DJ gigs that include nearly falling off a ten foot ledge in pitch blackness into a well of broken beer bottles and piss, threatened by a crazed rasta drug lord type who nearly punched me for not playing his request, and also the time I was held captive along with the bartender at a bar on Ave. A in NYC by an out of control homeless guy. At one point he started throwing pint glasses at the bottles behind the bar which were smashing and exploding over my head. 5 NYPD cars showed up that night… That was really fucked and I nearly stopped any work with bars/clubs after that. But you know what, it gets worse.

How can it get worse than all the potential for injury, the violence, aggressiveness and fear? I’ll tell you how. It has to do with humiliation. Nearly getting beat up by a rasta is not humiliating. Being terrorized late at night in a bar is not humiliating. It’s scary, traumatizing yes, but not humiliating. No, it takes that extra something special to really ruin the usually positive and eager to please attitude of this DJ. It takes humiliation.

Here’s how it went down.

It was a few years ago and I had been asked to DJ a friend of a friends house party. This place was known for parties and it seemed like it could be fun. How wrong I was. First off, this is Austin Texas and it was the dead of summer, boiling at night, no let up from the heat. Obviously this was a big old doors open Austin house party so obviously no air conditioning and yeah, it was twice as hot inside as it was outside. I set up my CD mixer (I prefer turntables but their floor bounces the needle off the records) and surveyed the party. There was no music playing when I showed up so I thought, “This is going to be casual, no worries, just have fun”. I had been asked to bring some commercial stuff to mix in, specifically that ridiculous(ly awesome) “Walk it Out” song so I went out and dropped about forty dollars on crunk and also some reggaeton too, to keep things lively. I brought other stuff as well, but I almost felt like I had been asked to not be,
 how do I put it, too much of a DJ, as in playing house or other more specific forms of underground dance music.

One of my problems as a DJ, and maybe in life, is that I often forget to follow my instincts and do it the way I would want it done. In this instance I pandered and I noticed that while people loved it when I dropped my beloved “No Diggety” remix, they seemed dis-interested when I went to the more commercial hip hop that I had been told they wanted. My stuff was working, yet I felt obligated to mix in the top 40 radio jams. Plus it was way too hot to sustain any real type of dance, people would die if they danced for more than 10 minutes at a time. To compensate for this I brought out the microphone and had people passing by get on the mic and talk, give shout outs, it was great. People were laughing and being silly and even though I was melting I was having fun. It was around midnight when a girl, drunk, came over to me and said she wanted to hear some music.

Just take a moment here to think about what you do when you want someone, a stranger, to do you a favor. What is the logical way to approach the situation? Hmmm, maybe friendliness would work, a hello, or wow, even an introduction. But no, this was another one of those all too common situations, any DJ who’s played out enough knows the scenario. I’m talking about the white chick (sorry to be racist against white chicks but I am) who for whatever reason wants to be up in your business, like they are intimidated by the control that a DJ can wield. And what’s sad about it too is that I had already decided to relinquish that power by involving the random people passing through the room. I knew because of the heat this wasn’t going to be a dance party, so I went with fun party rocker instead.

So this drunken, wanna be hipster chick who radiated the vibe of I fucked ten Mexican guys when I studied Spanish in Monterrey last month so now I’m sorta Latina, I want Manu Chao now!! I bring in the extra racist element only because I got the feeling that one of the hostesses was Chilean or something, and she was lovely. There was just that annoying summer abroad kind of vibe with her friend and I went with it. Usually what I do when confronted by some obsessive music trainspotter or kantancarious DJ groupie is to give an over the top compliment like, “Wow, your eyes…” or, “Cool dress – do you sew?”. Both of those handy frazes have worked for me every time, except this fateful night.

I could tell she was fucked up and hostile so I just took the CD and asked what tracks she wanted to hear. She said something like, “Just play all of it, I want to dance!” I somehow surmised that it was indeed Manu and I thought I would play a cut or two and move on. But no. The CD wouldn’t play in my machine, and I use professional CD players that even read MP3. I honestly tried to get her music on, because I like Manu Chao too.

I’ll put it into turbo here so as not to ramble. After being completely distracted and thrown off course by one out of a few hundred people at the party, I decided she had already taken up too much of my time and I went back to finding other tracks to mix in. She wasn’t having it. I tried to explain that her disc didn’t want to play in my machine. I showed her, it was the truth. She became not enraged, just sort of single mindedly determined to hear her CD, right then, right there. I watched as she yelled at her friends for a computer, which someone finally procured. A mac none the less. Somehow she managed to plug in to the stereo in the living room (the party people had brought in a PA for me) and now there was a skipping CD blaring through the room. The very hot, very unfun, very annoying room.

I said fuck it and pressed stop on the mix. She could have it. Get me the fuck out. Home girl, you win. Within moments my brother and a few friends had come over and I didn’t need to explain much, as by now there was a small group of anorexic girls surrounding the original troublemaker and they were now blaring a clicky, skipping CD of Latin pop hits, dancing along even though it sounded like shit and people were staring.

I had cumbias. I had Latin funk, I had No god damn Diggity for fuck sake. Needless to say I felt completely humiliated by this one drunken woman as I packed up my gear. The saddest moment for me was when one of the gracious hosts came to me as I was leaving with my few friends that I came with and silently handed me like $50 in cash. I remember it was all folded up like she was sneaking it to me.

When I was back home I had to force myself to again unpack the DJ gear and set it up on the table where it lives near my fireplace. I was so disgusted and cursed the people in Austin and the anti fun DJ thing that goes on. I was thinking of new forms of negative expression to describe this pasty drunk bitch that had ruined my night and embarrassed the party hosts. It was so awkward because I felt that I had failed the party by packing out, but what could I do?

A secondary sting came later when I had a conversation with the guy that had originally asked me to do the gig. Obviously I said WTF? about the crazy chick and this dude didn’t really defend her, confirmed that she was WASTED but also suggested that I had freaked people out by using the microphone. He suggested that people didn’t understand that. My heart sank because these supposedly hip, in the know, party in the house people didn’t get a DJ using a mic or letting people do shout outs? This was not an austere underground Berlin or Detriot techno club with a Phazon soundsytsem and bottles popping, this was a sloppy summer kegger in a house in central Austin. If anything I should have just played reggae and chilled out dub all night, but no. I had bought the over priced mix CD with “Walk it Out” extended remix etc and wasted my time trying to have fun with a crowd that is still just getting up to speed with Daft Punk.

Never again.

Oh and by the way, the girl I mentioned getting a funny feeling about in my class tonight? I figured it out.

That’s her.

I guess I have to say thanks because I have never really delved into what happened that night for the simple fact that it was so embarassing and uncool and I wanted to forget about it, but it’s huge part of how my view of Austin was shaped. It’s alway cathartic to put feelings about those situations down and I did. It also reminded me again of the multiude of DJ stories I have in the back of my mind, floating around like a distant dream. So, in many ways pain and humliation can be inspirational in coming to understand who we are and why we end up in certain places, certain situations I am a careful person and I learn from my mistakes, and I feel certain that when all was said and done the annoying party girl probably felt pretty stupid later, and probably feels pretty stupid often if her actions that night are par for the course. That is if she even remembers, and something tells me she probably doesn’t.

We’ll see…

October 22, 2008

I early voted for Barak

I wasn’t going to, because Rasta doesn’t participate in the affairs
of Babylon, but I thought, oh well what the fuck. This one is different.
It was pretty easy and it took about fifteen minutes in total, mainly
because I had to change my address.

Barak Obama does not believe in gay marriage, and that’s just
stupid. He also claims a ridiculous religious viewpoint that
I find not only offensive but entirely nonsensical and dangerous.
So I didn’t vote for him because of his policy or beliefs.

The main reason I voted for him is because I want to see an African
American family in the white house. Also, I think America deserves to
be represented by a real statesman, and that he is.

Obviously the republican candidates are particularly nasty and vile,
so mainly my vote was against them. When it comes down to it I voted
for Obama because I think America will be a better place with more
lovely oil paintings of a handsome African American man hanging
prominently in all our federal buildings, just to annoy all the racist
judges and cops. That’s going to be so sweet.

October 14, 2008

Camera video y photo

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 5:44 am
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Dancer Feet

You thought I was going to be all hard core and shit with my new more anonymous blog but no- Instead you get dance photography. How ironic and awesome. I shot this and a few other snaps while hanging out with a company last night rehearsing in a studio in south Austin Texas

TXRD 08 Roller Derby Championship Bout/Championship Afterparty

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 4:40 am
Tags: , , ,

Back again this year for the TXRD championship bout and more importantly the after party and I was only punched once. That’s OK, I had it coming. It was all great and as usual you just can’t beat a high stakes roller derby event here in Austin Texas, it’s very serious business.

The whole thing was heavy as fuck from start to finish and my home girl Sacralicious from the Holy Rollers got nailed late in the second quarter and took a minute or two to get up… EMS came out to assist. Scary. She came back and later nearly knocked a Hellcat jammer over the rial, but more importantly straight into it, ribs first. Sweet, sweet Roller Derby vengeance. In the end the Holy Rollers took the game 18-14.

Another highlight was Tim Murphy making a guest appearance in the announcer booth, bringing back together the classic TXRD announcing team. I’m more of a TXRD fan than a roller derby fan in general so elements like that really add to the experience. It also appears that they have given The Mouth a wireless microphone so as well as acting as penalty wheel mistress she roams around the track adding her signature snarl to the over all soundtrack. It’s fucking great and all the kids were freaking out with fun.

At the after party I had to protect Mouth from some threatening guys at one point and when I got rid of them me and Mouth were talking and it was confirmed that she is still holding it down on local TV hosting “Up Late Austin” every week. Definitely check that out Monday nights on channel 16 and that’s where you get all the derby dirt/news and all things having to do with The Mouth.

The party was at the Cucaracha bar in the back of Jackalope. I indulged first in a Chipotle bacon burger, and then a few million beers. If you haven’t tried the food at Jackalope you have never eaten food or you are scared of punk rock. From there it’s a blur of laughing, talking, shouting, getting punched. Later we hit up Creek Side and and then called it a night. Roller Derby in Austin may not be the main reason I live here, but it’s in the top 20. OK it’s in the top 10.

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