(EDITOR’S NOTE : from time to time, Austin music blogger / fledgling independent label operator Norman Wanklord takes a break from his own unique brand of trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary to grace the pages of CSTB with, well, even more trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary. Upon Vice’s publication of “REASONS WHY AUSTIN IS THE WORST PLACE EVER” by noted urban planning expert Luke Winkie, Mr. Wanklord politely asked….well, actually, he begged for equal time – GC)
It’s hard for me to understand why some people who have the opportunity to bring the Austin community together, a chance to foster a greater understanding and sense of harmony, instead choose to hurt others with their elitist attitude and “I’m so fucking cool” bullshit. But enough about this blog — I hear the Pavement back catalog sales aren’t what they used to be, so perhaps it will disappear, soon.
(if Austin sucks so bad, why do artists this good looking keep moving here? Answer me that, Mr. Vice Column Person)
Instead, I’d like to turn my attention to local journalist Luke Winkie, who today took to the pages of my very favorite website (after this one) to blast the people of Austin, TX as a group of smug, insincere creeps with no greater purpose beyond novelty-drink guzzling and making fun of people who are trying to make something of themselves. Certainly, I can relate to some of Luke’s claims — no one knows better than me what it is like to sacrifice for the greater good only to be roundly ridiculed. But there’s a number of cruel, destructive arguments of his that I wish to refute. Or repudiate. Or refudiate.
“Nobody Has a Clue What His or Her Job Is”
I’m sorry, but that’s simply not true. When I’m not posting several dozen Soundcloud links a day, I’m teaching kids at one of Austin’s wonderful schools. If it weren’t for people like me, your future leaders would grow up with zero knowledge of the Declaration Of Independence, how many states there are in Canada and which was the best song on Belaire’s “Exploding Impacting”.
“Everyone Hates the Festivals That Pay Their Rent”
WHAAAT? Did Luke not read our comprehensive coverage of the Austin Psych Fest? Were my previews of cutting-edge talent playing SXSW some kind of secret that no one on the UT campus could access? What about the time Best Coast played Chaos In Tejas and I was the first to applaud that particular event finally booking a band I’d heard of? I LOVE FESTIVALS, and when I eventually organize my own, this entire beautiful city is invited. Except for Luke! But you won’t need an invitation because I’m not a fucking elitist!
“Barton Springs Is a Giant Toilet”
I’m sorry, but Luke’s copy-editor at Vice has let him down. I’m pretty sure that was supposed to read, “Beerland Is A Giant Toilet”.
“This awful little club had some of the best shows in the whole city, which means you were at risk of catching hepatitis every weekend.”
I guess even a smug San Diego-transplant looking to make a name for himself can’t be wrong all of the time. But why fixate on the negative, Luke? Emo’s closed years ago. Now we’ve got terrific, clean venues like Holy Mountain,
Metal & Lace, the Swan Dive, etc., and like me, they’re totally committed to musical diversity and the highest standards in hygiene. In fact, we co-hosted a terrific show at Holy Mountain just last Friday that featured a number of well-groomed performers strumming guitars no harder than you’d handle a new born kitten. And unlike a new born kitten, the entire event was thoroughly germ free. No hepatitis, not even the slightest hint that sexual congress might’ve occurred anywhere in the entire world, let alone Austin.
But would Luke Winkie know the first thing about this? Of course not. He was too busy writing a hatchet job about the city that’s given him so many great opportunities.
Anyhow, I’d love to go on, but I’ve got a meeting with the parents of a kid who was caught spray-painting “fucktarded” on the side of my car (and that doesn’t even make sense, right?). The bad news is, he’s suspended from school. The good news is, he’s just been offered a column with Vice.
SEE, I CAN BE FUNNY TOO.
Thanks for your time, and keep on rockin’
While it was widely reported Wednesday that the A’s had signed a 10 year lease extension at the oft-ridiculed O.co Coliseum, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Jones writes there’s not actually a done deal :
Mayor Jean Quan said any celebration is premature, as the A’s – as recently as Tuesday night – gave the Authority a counter-offer that officials have not reviewed in depth.
“We are still negotiating, so were surprised by the announcement of an agreement,” she said. “We plan to meet (Thursday), continue negotiations, and hope there will be an agreement soon.”
Fans had mixed reactions on Wednesday. The A’s – who have the best record in baseball and won their division the past two years – deserve a permanent home, not an endless series of lease extensions, said Garth Kimball of Baseball Oakland, a fan group dedicated to keeping the A’s in Oakland.
“Lew Wolff has been trying to get them a permanent stadium since 2003. Here it is 2014 and we’re still talking about it,” he said. “I think people just want this resolved once and for all. We want the A’s to stay in Oakland, period.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE : Earlier tonight, the New York Mets chased their former prospect, LHP Scott Kazmir en route to a 10-1 victory over the AL West leading Oakland A’s. Kazmir, famously swapped for Victor Zambrano in one of the worst trades in Mets history, allegedly ran afoul of veteran teammates while preparing for the 2004 season in Port St. Lucie, most prominently, starting pitcher Al Leiter. Said incident is recalled in this post from July 9, 2006 – GC)
Tomorrow’s sports pages will be filled with accounts of Chien-Ming Wang’s tremendous performance against Tampa Bay. As though that were the most important storyline.
Though the Yankees’ 5-1 win helped the Bombers keep pace with Boston in the AL East, I’d rather focus on things far more crucial. The issue of respect. Feelings. Defering to a veteran. Knowing one’s place in the pecking order.
You might not agree with his politics, you might wish his final year in a Mets uniform saw him reach 100 pitches in less than 3 innings per start. But you’ve got to acknowledge that Al Leiter has always been a quality individual.
After everything Leiter has done for baseball, if not the city of New York, was it asking so much that he be allowed to play the music of Bruce Springsteen on the clubhouse boombox during Spring Training 2004? Is there something inherently wrong with Leiter misinterpreting the Boss’ populist themes for some kind of ultra-patriotic anthems? If there were, you’d have to lock up much of the Tri-State Area.
So how was Leiter supposed to react, when that young punk Scott Kazmir arrogantly strode into the Port St. Lucie clubhouse and snapped Leiter’s ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ CD into pieces, and then replaced it in the player with Solger’s “Raping Dead Nuns”?
I know how I’d have reacted. I’d have used every bit of influence I’d build up through years of golfing and glad-handing to have that little creep shipped off to the baseball equivalent of Siberia at the earliest possible opportunity.
Al, if you’re reading this, not all Mets fans hold a grudge. Kazmir lost tonight, a game he might’ve won with any sort of top-flight team with a ten-figure payroll playing behind him. Sure, he’s going to the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and soon, he’ll be making enough money to have the members of Solger reunite at his 23rd birthday party. But for tonight, he’s a loser.
As most of you know, from time to time, I like to make fun of my adopted hometown. But the fact of the matter is, whenever I’ve been in hot water, the good people of Austin, TX have been awfully quick to help out. Whether it was my
Toblerone addiction house burning down or needing to have my eyeballs replaced after seeing the Venus Illuminato’s appearance on “Good Day Austin”, my friends and neighbors have always been there for me.
Now, however, it’s time to ignore my problems (for one night only, please) and focus on the situation facing Hex Dispensers bassist Rebecca Whitely. In the Autumn of 2013, she underwent a medical procedure that her insurance carrier has declined to cover. On Saturday, June 28 at Red 7, a bunch of Whitley’s friends including the reunited Sugar Shack, Simple Circuit, Bangaar and Houston’s amazing Weird Party are playing a fund raiser that’ll hopefully make a dent in the outstanding bills.
If you can’t attend, the ‘Phantominom-VGS’ EP by Espectrostatic aka Whitley’s bandmate, Hex Dispensers guitarist/vocalist Alex Cuervo, is still available via Bandcamp, with all proceeds going towards said medical expenses.
Of LeBron James’ announcement early Tuesday that he’s opting out of his Miami contract to become an unrestricted free agent — and potentially leaving money on the table in the process —- Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer takes a tact slightly opposite that of Heat President Pat Riley, writing, “he’s not less of a man, or with less of a legacy, for wanting to go work with other All-Stars.”
He’s afforded the same rights we all are, to pick amongst employers that want to pay for our services. To turn up our nose at LeBron James choosing to wear yet another NBA uniform, and I apologize for being haughty, is borderline un-American. And you don’t want to be some kind of damned Bolshevik, do ya?
Bill Russell was traded to a team with Bob Cousy already on board, in the same draft that gifted his Celtics Tom Heinsohn and K.C. Jones. Jerry West joined a team with Elgin Baylor on it. Wilt Chamberlain was traded twice and even tried to switch leagues toward the end of his career. An obscenely lucky amount of cap maneuvering and outright theft helped place Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish on the same team. Magic Johnson was drafted to a team that already featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he retired from that team (the second time) just months before it acquired Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, players that were originally members of the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets, respectively. Tim Duncan has always had a fabulous supporting cast.
The outlier here is Michael Jordan, who had to wait for years for the All-Stars (four in total, at various times either with or without MJ, in Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong, and Dennis Rodman) to find their roles around him. And even before his father’s tragic murder in 1993, Jordan was outwardly talking about an early retirement while dragging his legs to three straight Finals appearances.
James has now done four in a row, and he’s tired. And he needs help. And it seems odd that some basketball fans would prefer him to play things out like Allen Iverson, who has but one NBA Finals game win to his credit, and an overtime squeaker at that.
“He understands that this is a team game, and that even the greatest need help,” Dwyer muses, “why this is an anathema to people is beyond me.” While I’d not question James’ work ethic or his devotion to the game, I can totally get why this is an anathema to people. Those who’ve grown up buying into the concept/cult/whatever of T-E-A-M struggle with James’ agenda continuing to be about, well, himself. As opposed to a jersey (he wasn’t born wearing) or a city (he’s lived in for all of 4 years). In prior generations, there’d be an expectation that a franchise’s millions + fan adoration would = some loyalty. But that’s a quaint notion in 2014. You’re invited to download LeBron’s smartphone app — as opposed to say, a Miami Heat app that prominently features LeBron James.
It’s not enough that LeBron James is the greatest active basketball player on the planet. Some would like to see him be a leader as well. After a discouraging defeat to San Antonio, said leadership might come in a number of ways ; LeBron guaranteeing the Heat will return to the finals in 2015. LeBron inviting teammates to a summer-long boot camp with hot tub/karaoke bonding at the end of the day! LeBron attending Heat Summer League games and taking rookies and scrubs under his wing!
I know, corny shit. James isn’t gonna turn into Tim Duncan simply because you wish the best player was also the classiest. And it’s equally hysterical to vilify a player who prioritizes winning above money. The rub is, it’s about his victories, not a team’s. And if you’re a bigger fan of a team than any single player, this takes some getting used to.
While the finger-pointing is in full steam following England’s inauspicious showing in Brazil, the Guardian’s Barney Ronay won’t hear of making the national team’s stars apologize to their long-suffering fans. “It is we – the public, empowered component parts of a society that continues to produce game but under-skilled footballers – who should be apologising, both to the players and to each other,” argues Ronay. “To demand an apology for this from the current group of players seems a bit like raising a child without teaching it to cook and then demanding that child hurl itself at our feet in contrition at the age of 18 for being unable to bake the perfect soufflé.”
Quite frankly there is a decent case for doing it properly, for the government to step in and organise special camps in parks and open spaces where members of the public can queue to file past Fraser Forster and Gary Cahill to apologise personally for the playing field sales, for the lack of proper public facilities, the absence of artificial pitches, all enacted by successive local and national governments. Lads, Roy – we’re sorry. This is, in part, why you aren’t better at all this.
Perhaps a million-signature petition could be delivered to Jack Wilshere’s house apologising for the disorientating effects of early overexposure, from too much concussive big-game football, a gruelling celebrity culture, to vast windfalls of disorientating lucre offered at an early age.
Maybe Gary Barlow could record a charity song to raise money for a memorial in Maidstone town centre apologising to Chris Smalling for all those people – yes, us – who used to yell on the touchline and tell him to get rid and who applauded whenever he sent it long into the channels because big, son, big, it’s got to go big.
Unfortunately, there’s no Craigslist category for “Gullible People Who Like Unloading Valuable Shit”
Today marks the 76th birthday of American treasure Boruch Alan Bermowitz aka Alan Vega. I can only hope that when I’m his age, I don’t have to put up with internet jerks bringing up stuff I did 37 years ago instead of sending a card or a gift, like a civilized person.
(this is what Clint Dempsey looks like when he’s having an epiphany)
DATELINE MANAUS BRAZIL :
Despite being just one draw away from advancing in the 2014 World Cup, the entire US Men’s National Team has announced they’re quitting the tournament.
“Giving up the last second goal to Portugal was disappointing, sure,” explained captain Clint Dempsey, “but when we learned that Doug Hart didn’t give a shit about America or soccer, that’s when we looked at each other and realized this is a complete waste of time.”
“Right now, we could be getting high, beating off or working on harsh noise tapes,” Dempsey complained to a roomful of stunned international sports media. . “Instead, we’re explaining ourselves to a bunch of assholes who wouldn’t know a 4-4-2 from a Front 242. Who sucked, by the way.”