Saturday, April 20, 2024

SXSW 2001: The Throng Remains the Same

Welcome to Groundhog Week, where every day is exactly the same as it’s been the past few years. Oh, it may look a bit different as you stroll around downtown Beirut, but everything else is unchanged as we head into another campaign that Jon Dee Graham has dubbed “the festival of false hope.” Even the crowd size should repeat itself as conference organizers expect badgeholder population to match last year’s 6000-ish total.

You don’t need to ask anybody where the parties are. They’re when and where they’ve always been: You have the “Hacks & Flacks” dinner tonight at Threadgill’s, the New West/Doolittle/Whoever-has-Slobberbone-this-year shindig at Club DeVille Thursday afternoon, the Interview party (featuring Joseph Arthur) at DeVille Friday, the Los Super Three or Four thing at Las Manitas Friday and the Sony party (with Peter Yorn, who’s apparently split from Paul and Mary) at La Zona Rosa Saturday and so on. It’s a schedule’s even more rigid than Quentin Tarantino‘s wardrobe. (Note to Q: Folks wearing T-shirts that promote their movies have changed clothes more often than you the past week.) As usual, the party parade leads up to Spin’s Saturday after-hours blowout, which has its best bill in years — the BellRays, Idlewild and Brassy — but is in its smallest venue since the old Hyatt days. The House the Homeless location at 710 W. 5th will House the Clueless this year, but only about 500 people can fit. As for the bash tossed by Revolver, a producer of controversial parties and, rumor has it, a magazine: that show takes place Saturday afternoon at Stubb’s outdoor stage. Editor J.D. Considine and his staff have been banned from the convention center (oh, horror) because they’re flying in the Cult. The slap’s for violating fest policy by bringing in an act that’s not part of the conference and who nobody really liked the first time around.

White Stripes at Fat Tuesday, the breakout band of SXSW 2001.

Ozzy Osbourne didn’t make Sunday’s jam-packed regional premiere of “We Sold Our Souls For Rock and Roll,” Penelope Spheeris‘ Ozzfest docu at the Paramount (some people waited in line longer than Sharon Osbourne managed Smashing Pumpkins). But we may see Ozzy and Harry yet. Mr. Knowles could meet the rabid rocker and validate a dreadful pun if, as is the buzz, His Ozziness pops in on Saturday’s “Sold Our Souls” party to be held at a location which shall remain secret so I have a better chance of getting in.. . . By the way, Penny Spheer confessed on a panel Monday to a sin she said might send her to documentary hell (a job as Michael Moore’s assistant?): Ozzy’s classic spilt orange juice scene in “Decline of Western Civilization II” was staged. The pouring hands actually belonged to a cameraman wearing Ozzy’s robe.

Proof that the dot-coms are dying: about 40 or 50 partygoers queued up for ‘cue at Monday’s party at Stubb’s, only to find that at the end of the barbecue line was a cash register. After being charged $6.50 for a brisket sandwich and beans, one disgruntled badgewearer — OK, it was Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Observer — exclaimed that paying for food at a SXSW party is like a hooker shelling out for sex. . . .

Shawn Colvin‘s upcoming LP “Whole New You” will get quite a boost this Thursday when she tapes a segment of “Austin City Limits.” The show’s media director Pat Cosgrove says he’s received requests from major critics from all over the country. It’s not unusual for the “ACL” guest list to contain the names of up to 30 critics for any given show, but normally about 25 of them are from the Austin Chronicle. The pixie chick in Frankenstein shoes has lined up a supporting cast including Alison Krauss, Bruce Hornsby and a rare-as-rain local appearance from Lyle Lovett . . . . If you can’t get that tough “ACL” ticket, you can hear Colvin play live on KGSR-FM (107.1) Friday at 3 p.m., as she helps Jody Denberg celebrate the 20th anniversary of his radio voice. . . . Don’t be surprised to see picky eaters William Robert Thornton and wife Angelina Jolie around town this week. An inside source tells me Billy Bob is expected to host Friday’s show at the Austin Music Hall featuring his fellow Lost Highway labelmates Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams and Kim Richey . . . . In what looks to be a real-life version of “A Star Is Born,” rising actress Kate Hudson should be on hand as hubby Chris (“Kristofferson”) Robinson’s Black Crowes hope to start the comeback trail Saturday at Stubb’s. . . . This year’s conference could sure use some star power. In past sessions the likes of Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo have made the scene. This year people are making a big deal about porno goon Ron Jeremy. . . .

For true believers

“Local supergroup” may be an oxymoron (even the jokes are the same), but there’s tons of anticipation for tonight’s Austin Music Awards performance by 86ed, featuring former members of Glass Eye, True Believers, Wild Seeds, Doctors Mob and the Reivers, who collectively lost millions for their record labels in the ’80s. When not hanging out at Opal Divine’s, the band’s been rehearsing such tunes as the W. Seeds’ slacker love song “I’m Sorry (I Can’t Rock You All Night Long”) and “Lorraine Won’t Help You When It’s Over,” the Troobs’ song about a waitress who ducks out at cleanup time. . . . Just when you thought the “core” classification of subgenres had exhausted itself with Baltimore’s “applecore” scene, along comes Seattle’s “educore” band Bloodhag, who play the Atomic Cafe tonight at 11 pm. The ‘hag is a death speedrock band whose songs are bios of authors most metal fans haven’t heard of. That pretty much gives them the library to work with. . . . One difference from last year is that Sandra Bullock is now dating a major label artist. Local lad Bob Schneider has a place to stay in L.A. when he visits Universal Records, as the Bullgoddess has bought a $1.5 million pad in the Hollywood Hills. Hopefully, the house has a garage so the Scabs can crash, too. . . . Most music critics have trouble reading a book, but David Menconi just wrote one and, amazingly, it has nothing to do with Lester Bangs. The Raleigh News & Observer scribe (and UT grad) will read from his novel “Off the Record” at 3 pm Thursday at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar).

“Hunger will make a black man eat at Sambo’s at 3 o’clock in the morning,” comedian Franklyn Ajaye used to say in the ’70s. Indeed, the growling of a stomach can inspire such acts of self-degradation as critics going to parties hosted by people who are always “calling to touch base” just for that delightful stroll down Buffet Lane. Meanwhile, they’ll miss out on truly important things like Friday’s “How do you publicize Mike Watt in a Britney Spears world?” panel. Don’t let your appetite be your guide: Stock up on those high protein, nutritional candy bars with names like bad bands (MetRX, Balance, etc.). SXSW would be much better if the tote bags contained some of these pick-me-ups instead of all the condoms that end up being thrown at bands. I mean, don’t you think giving condoms to a group of rock critics and biz ferrets is a little cruel, like shipping plastic forks to a famine-stricken region of Ethiopia?

Caption: Alice Spencer, right, performed Monday night at the Empanda Parlour with Justin Sherburn on piano and B.B. Morse on bass. Without a single official showcase, Spencer will stay busy during SXSW anyway: On Saturday, she performs a 4 p.m. show at the San Jose Motel, will sit in with Jeff Blum at 6:30 p.m. at the Saxon Pub and will finish the day by joining Earl Poole Ball at his show at Donn’s Depot on West Fifth at 9 p.m.

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