Archive for November 18th, 2008

The Texas Two-Step

I’m going to put all my cards on the table right away: this post is likely to be fairly embarrassing for me. But as someone who’s already posted a video sitting in my bathroom, I’m willing to roll the dice. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two casino references in two sentences.

About two weeks ago I went two-stepping for the first time. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, Wikipedia’s got you covered. The sad thing is, after reading the first few sentences of this description, not only was I terrible at it, but according to this site, I was also doing it incorrectly. Counterclockwise, you say? Great.

A group of my friends decided that Halloween just wouldn’t be complete without a little two-steppin’ at the Broken Spoke on South Lamar. I’d driven by this place, and it sure screams “Texas” as you go by, but believe me, that’s nothing compared to inside. A hardwood, beer-stained floor sprawls out in front of you as you enter, leading right up to a five- or six-piece band (mustache required!) that jams the night away. But this stage has seen its fair share of celebrities–on their Web site, you can see pictures of all the famous visitors of the Broken Spoke including Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

The Midnight Rodeo, on East Ben White Blvd., offers a great venue for concerts and two-stepping.

The Midnight Rodeo, on East Ben White Blvd., offers a great venue for concerts and two-stepping.

After I made a fool of myself with someone who knew what she was doing, I took my friend Kristin out on the floor. She was visiting from Pennsylvania and, granted she’s not from Texas either, but she took dance all her life. I figured I was in safe hands. We’re still sending out apology letters to couples we bumped in to.

If you’ve been to the Broken Spoke and you’re looking for someplace else, I’ve heard good things about Midnight Rodeo. Admittedly, I know nothing about this place, but their Web site seems pretty informative. Check out the drink specials, and upcoming concerts and events.
I thought I’d leave you with a deliciously awkward video of a couple doing the two-step. I don’t know exactly how terrible I looked when I was out on the floor, but there’s no way it was this bad. Right?



Music Venue Spotlight: The Parish

Today, I’m loving what I consider to be the best live music venue in Austin, Texas:  The Parish.

The eclectic decor at The Parish. (Photo by Joedie Villanueva)

The eclectic decor at The Parish. (Photo by Joedie Villanueva)

I have been to this venue at least 4 times (twice to see the New York band stellastarr*, and twice for Norwegian superstar Sondre Lerche.) Personally, I love its intimacy, the fact that it is indoors, and the subsequent lack of smoke for me to inhale huge gulps of. However, I don’t want you to just take my word for it. So, I conducted a brief Facebook survey to see what other music lovers thought, good and bad, of the 6th Street staple.

First, my brother (who you met in my video post) weighed in.  He said, “I do like the vibe, the closeness to the musicians and the smaller space. But I do think the parish could do more to promote its shows.”

Ramon Ramirez, former editor of The Daily Texan’s Life & Arts section, had a list of pros and cons about The Parish, including a unique view:  Ramon has performed at the venue before, so he can also speak from the perspective of a performer.  He said:

– One of the only music venues left actually on Sixth Street; rent has pushed most live music to Red River, letting the vital street be controlled by the bachelor dude and his legion of “adjective animal” establishments.
– Very open-ended in terms of booking – lots of diverse stuff; free scion hip-hop shows are a godsend.
– Aesthetics are off charts; beautiful cool hip room with great staff.
– Some of the best sound in Austin in terms of acoustics; the room is gorgeously decked out in wood paneling all over the place and the sound is vibrant.
– As a guy who has performed at the Parish twice with two different bands, I can tell you they treat talent well – drink tickets and they actually give you a green room when they plainly don’t have to.

– Odd man out in transmission-c3 arms race, it rarely lands big game touring shows and makes due with some crappy bills that don’t deserve said stage.
– Often times door fees are overpriced given locale.
– Some of the people the venue lets book shows are morons with no clue. The third time a band I was in would have played the parish was on a christian rock bill.

Overall A+ establishment, though, again, I can’t stress how fantastically organized and presented their scion hip-hop shows are.

Chris Cusack, a UT ’04 alum and avid music fan, says that The Parish is his favorite venue in Austin. “Awesome sound, lots of room but still intimate, huge bar… The booking is pretty good there, not to mention Second Sunday Sock Hop.”

Katherine and me at the foot of the stage for Sondre Lerche!

Katherine and me at the foot of the stage for Sondre Lerche!

Finally, my pal Katherine Squier reflected on our joint experience of seeing Sondre Lerche at the venue last fall:  “I loved how small and intimate it felt, especially compared to the larger venues. Definitely felt very Austin-y. And I remember how they passed out like 20 posters of his to the first in line…I don’t know if all venues do that, but it was cool that they did. And I loved how after we were able to go to the other side of the room and talk with Sondre–I think this was mostly Sondre’s doing, but maybe a bit of it was the Parish? I dunno. Just thought I’d throw that out there.”

Some of my favorite concert memories occurred in the Parish, so I have a very special place for it in my heart. What is your favorite venue? Post it in a response, I want to hear about it!

Rock on and on,


#32 Dating Scene, or Self-Described Experts

I talked to the self-described ‘Dating Expert’ Natasha Tchirynko about why Austin is a paradoxically bad place to find a date.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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