• Weekend Recs: Fourth of Firefly, Independence Day, Team America

    Enjoy complimentary, hot-off-the grill burgers and hot dogs with America’s favorite sides while listening to the beats of DJ Abe the Assassin at the bar’s patio. Just in case the heat gets to ya’, there’ll be spiked flavored sno-cones!
    WHAT: Fourth of Firefly at Molotov
    WHEN: Sunday, June 3 and Monday, July 4 at 6p.m.
    WHERE: Molotov
    Cost: No cover, 21+

    Cruise into the big screen at Blue Starlite on East Cesar Chavez and watch the American classic sci-fi, Independence Day. This is just about American as you can get! Don’t forget to bring the popcorn!
    WHAT: Independence Day Movie Drive-In
    WHEN: Monday, July 4 at 9p.m.
    WHERE: Blue Starlite Mini-Urban Drive-In Theatre
    COST: $25 per car or $2 walk-in/bike-in

    Possibly one of the most patriotic movie ever made, Team America: World Police is playing at the Drafthouse in spirit of America’s independence. And in place of fireworks, the theater will have sparklers, and cap guns, flags, streamers, and balloons for viewers.
    WHAT: Quote-Along: Team America: World Police
    WHEN: Monday, July 4 at 7p.m.
    WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
    COST: $12

  • The Basement Tapes: The Sour Notes

    Local Austin band The Sour Notes, an official showcasing artist at the 2010 SXSW Music Festival, released their latest album Last Looks this past year. The band will perform at the 29th Street Ballroom this Thursday night.
    Local Austin band The Sour Notes, an official showcasing artist at the 2010 SXSW Music Festival, released their latest album Last Looks this past year. The band will perform at the 29th Street Ballroom this Thursday night.

    Local indie American band The Sour Notes are touring the country this summer to promote their latest album, Last Looks. Laced with singer-guitarist Jared Boulanger’s low-fi voice and somber lyrics, Last Looks is the middle ground between what the band is best known for (catchy bridges and female vocals) and inspirations from collaborations with fellow local artists, such as Mother Falcon. The band will be playing at keyboardist Elaine Greer’s release party for her new album, Annotations, tonight at Spider House.

    The Daily Texan spoke with the band during Basement Tapes about their upcoming tour, inspiration behind Last Looks and the ideal world of music.

    Flash Animation Harvest Moon (Neil Young Cover) by thesournotes

    Daily Texan: You were mentioning the disaster of your last tour when there was no air conditioning — have you prepared anything beforehand for this upcoming tour?

    Jared Boulanger: I guess we’re gonna have a tour meeting in the coming week and talk about everyone’s expectations of the tour.

    DT: What do you think is going to be the highlight of that meeting?

    JB: It’s probably not going to be pleasant.

    Elaine Greer: No farting in the van.

    JB: Yes, no farting in the van, which actually, someone in the band has a problem with. And also the shower thing. After you play a show and you get paid and out of the venue at 2 a.m., there’s not time for eight people to take showers and go to bed, so half of the band is going to take showers at night and half of the band is going to take showers in the morning.

    DT: [laughs] So the band is showcasing the latest album on tour. What was the inspiration behind Last Looks?

    JB: Last Looks is a scene from “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” where David Carradine is seeing Uma Thurman at their wedding dress rehearsal and she goes outside and she sees him sitting down playing his flute and she’s really shocked and scared because she thinks something’s about to go down and she’s like, “What are you doing here?” And he’s like, “Last looks, I guess.” That whole scene, that five minutes of black and white footage, is I think some of the best dialogue in the last eight or 10 years of filmmaking, for sure. The whole scene, you hold your breath through it and that’s the theme behind Last Looks. Not a massacre so much, but I really like how cool that scene is.

    DT: How do the songs correlate to that moment?

    JB: They actually don’t correlate that much, but the whole album has a theme. Like, there is only one synthesizer in the entire album, which is different from our other albums. And Mother Falcon played on all of the songs. They did string arrangements and horns and stuff like that, so it has a really different feeling than our other albums, especially with the synth parts. And Chris and I got a lot more into playing guitar on this album.

    DT: So what is the theme, then?

    JB: It’s the stripped-down rock album, I think. Just the time and place the band was in at the time and us making friends with Mother Falcon while we were recording just kind of defined the sound of the album. A lot of the other albums have direct correlation to scenes from movies and stuff like that. But for this one I can tell you a lot of the songs, I don’t know what I was thinking at the time — they just came about really fast. A lot of the songs do have to do with my distaste with the way the music industry is going; bands that are rising to the top and bands that are falling to the underground.

    DT: In your perfect world, what would music be like and what would artists do?

    JB: As this album was coming about, garage rock was really getting a lot of attention. Garage rock and I guess you would call it chill wave. Those two genres were skyrocketing to the top. And there are a lot of bands that I like that are really spaced out and ethereal, with girl vocals that are drowned in reverbs and there’s just only synths and drum machines and I like that stuff. One of my favorite albums from last year was that Beach House album Teen Dream and I think that album was amazing — but I wouldn’t consider it chill wave or anything.

    DT: You said “Hot Pink Flare” summarizes the whole album and is your favorite song?

    JB: I would say the lyrics on that song... even the opening line, “How quickly you confuse the thought,” that’s sort of me talking to a listener of music and being like, “You don’t know what you’re listening to, you’re confused.” Like, you are like, “Yeah! This is great,” but you haven’t asked yourself why it’s great. That song starts like that, with a little bit of hatred, and then ends with “this lonely little life is all you really deserve.”

    DT: So did you write the lyrics yourself or was it a collaboration?

    JB: I guess most of the lyrics came from when I was unemployed and had nothing to do. I couldn’t find a job for six months. As I was writing these lyrics I kind of had nothing to do but wake up and do that. I just sat around a lot and watched movies and it came to me.

  • Art in Translation: Fit to Print

    Bob Schneider’s “Today You Are Alive, Tomorrow You Are Dead,” is an intaglio print rendered on Asian paper. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Schneider)
    Bob Schneider’s “Today You Are Alive, Tomorrow You Are Dead,” is an intaglio print rendered on Asian paper. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Schneider)

    Okay guys, this week I have something a bit different to talk about.

    I went to Flatbed, a gallery and workshop for printmaking, off of East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Monday.

    What exactly is printmaking, you might ask? Technically it is the process of making art by printing an image onto paper from a matrix (that’s the technical term for the wood, copper or other material they etch the original image into) using a printing press. The style is somewhat characterized by the capability to make copies, but we aren’t just talking about photographs.

    Intaglio is a printmaking process of creating incisions with a small etching tool (anything capable of carving into the matrix) on a metal plate (usually copper) and covering it with ink. The plates are then wiped clean of all excess ink, so that it remains only in the incisions. A damp paper is laid over the plate, and the print sandwich is cranked through a massive printing press, which uses pressure to transfer the image to the paper.

    The use of intaglio dates back to the 15th century. The invention of the process is generally attributed to German armor decorator Daniel Hopfer, who applied his craft to printmaking. The process is still the same today, as seen in this week’s art, “Today You Are Alive, Tomorrow You Are Dead,” by Bob Schneider. The piece is a testament to the continuity of printmaking.

    Although Texas musician Bob Schneider is more widely known for his music career, he has been a collaborative artist at Flatbed for 20 years. He takes prepared copper etching plates with him on tours and works on his pieces in the back of the tour bus. When he is back in Austin, he brings the plate to the studio and creates his print with the help of one of Flatbed’s master printers.

    The piece is part of “The Night Way: New Etchings by Bob Schneider,” a current exhibition at Flatbed. It might appear as a simple sketch on the computer screen with the infinite number of exposed black lines (they have a sharpie quality), but I assure you it is far more complex in person. At 44 inches tall and 32 inches wide, you can see each individual incision as a purposeful, separate entity from the others, but it still comes together as a whole.

    The print depicts a sharply angular electric chair. The chair itself looks so basic that at first glance, it almost seems like a blueprint or sketch of some kind. There are no spacial reference points, so the chair takes on a surreal quality, as if it is a metaphor for the inside of someone’s mind. Schneider used copper plates, which were distressed from use in previous projects to create a gritty background in his image. At the top, crooked block letters spell out the title, “Today You Are Alive, Tomorrow You Are Dead.”

    This particular piece was created for the group “Chairs” show at the Austin Museum of Art few years ago in which each artist was asked to render their interpretation of a chair. Looking at the piece as a whole, there is a lot of background noise, yet it seems hauntingly quiet.

    Possible political undertones about the death penalty aside, the piece seems like it could evoke a much more universal message of being present. Much like the gritty background of the print, I think I’m guilty of being swept up in the extraneous noise of past experiences. The piece proclaims “today you are alive,” something so simple, yet often forgotten.

    Personally, I felt it was a sort of warning — a much harsher way of saying “you only live once.” It shows the importance of living with purpose because time is limited. The second half of that sentence, the more gruesome part, “tomorrow you are dead,” is a lofty reminder that you can’t waste today. Otherwise, you might find yourself sitting in the wrong chair.

  • The Garage Sale Review: Painted cats and yard sale cuisine

    This sign, which utilizes a pirate theme, is just one example of irresistible garage sale advertising. Yard sale signs are an invaluable tool for enticing garage sellers, especially if they're done right.
    This sign, which utilizes a pirate theme, is just one example of irresistible garage sale advertising. Yard sale signs are an invaluable tool for enticing garage sellers, especially if they're done right.

    Greetings my friends!

    I’m pleased to say that this week’s expedition into the eclectic had a more absolute and complete feel to it than previous trips. It was almost as if a missing piece of the strange, perplexing puzzle that is Austin garage sale culture had been found. And what emerged from imperfection was spectacular. What I’m trying to say here is Gillian Rhodes — photographer, Daily Texan comics artist and now my partner in The Garage Sale Review — returned from studying abroad in Belize and joined me on Saturday’s quest.

    What we found was breathtaking. Or, if you don’t consider old skateboards, a bunch of retro watches like the ones your Dad probably wore, a weird cat book and a mystical Ecuadorian flea-market souvenir breathtaking, then at least our finds might be thought of as “interesting” (said with finger quotes). Also, we received our first lesson in how to market a garage sale with aggressive garage sale signs. Believe me, the dog-eat-dog world of garage sale advertising is as cutthroat as you think it is.

    OK, let’s get this done with.

    View The Garage Sale Review: 6/27/2011 in a larger map

    Our first stop was the lovely yard sale of Dee and Jim. The couple, seen in the photo above holding the book “Why Paint Cats,” was recently married and they decided to get rid of all their combined stuff in a garage sale. Dee told me that between the two of them, they had more than a century’s worth of accumulated junk. So what else is there to do but have a yard sale? As Dee so lovingly put it, “We have a hundred years of stuff. When you have a hundred years of stuff you’ve got to ask yourself what you’re going to get rid of, the relationship or the stuff?” I think I might use that little pearl of wisdom for my epitaph, Dee.

    Anyway, Gillian and I scavenged through the cast-off material possessions of Dee and Jim’s marriage and came away with a pretty tremendous find: a book entitled “Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics” by Heather Busch. 

    I’ve got to hand it to Ms. Busch, she’s created one of the better collection of photos of painted cats that I’ve seen. For example, check out that kitty with the butterfly painted on its face (pictured above), straight from the golden cover of Ms. Busch’s magnum opus.

    Wow. And for $1? What a steal. Well, actually, $1 is a little pricey for a paperback garage sale book. But considering that the same book is going for $12.91 on Amazon, I’ll take two. And after seeing some of those pictures, I’ll take a complimentary PETA lawsuit while I’m at it.

    2102 Ford Street

    The second garage sale we went to was being operated by Carol and her husband Phil, a couple of garage sellers who were moving because taxes in their neighborhood were too high. When asked about any interesting items they might have for sale, Carol pointed us towards a little souvenir that she had bought while traveling in Quito, Ecuador. Neither Gillian nor myself were in need of Ecuadorian handicrafts, but Phil and the Latin American doodad made for a good photo, so hey, why not?

    On our way out we spotted a jagged, cosmic animal sculpture that seemed like it might have an interesting story. Carol told us she had bought it in Mexico, but she couldn’t remember much about the little guy or how much she had paid for him. She asked Phil about how much it had cost and Phil dryly advised to “call Tesoros, they’ll tell you.” True dat, Phil.

    2906 Burning Oak Drive
    When I saw the signs that advertised a “Kick Butt” yard sale with “sausage, stuff and lemonade” I knew we were in for a treat. Garage sale food — how exciting! It’s not too often that you stumble upon some delicious yard sale cuisine, so if you get the opportunity, jump on those noms with gusto. Garage sale shoppers are notoriously vigilant when it comes to hunting down deals, and that goes double for garage sale sausage. Don’t let that mystery meat pass you by.

    We followed the signs until we found the house where the fabled sausage and stuff resided and asked Brad and Stacey, the garage sellers, how they were. Brad gave back a hearty “I don’t know, you’re going to have to tell me when you fill your car up with our crap.” Uh-oh. It looked like we had met our match.

    Brad and Stacey informed us that they didn’t have any sausage left (I told you — that garage sale meat goes fast), but they did offer to show us some old skateboards and customized garage sale signs.

    Apparently, the two had recently been combatants in a recent garage sale sign battle in which their sign, which advertised “stuff,” went head-to-head with another garage sale’s sign that advertised “better stuff.” An arms race ensued, and the signs that Brad, Stacey and their kids made escalated to the point of nuclear weapon signs like “Sard Yale” (with the “S” and the “Y” transposed, you see) and “Mustaches for sale” (which refers to the deal where you pay to have one of Brad and Stacey’s kids to draw a mustache on your face in Sharpie). What a bargain!

    8110 Cattle Drive
    Our final garage sale yielded the most incredible garage sale booty of the morning — a bunch of retro watches that probably every dad everywhere has worn at some point in their time as dads. Look at that one on the left down there. That’s a total dad watch. Although not particularly dadly, the other one has a calculator built into it. So yeah, count me in.

    We met Bill (pictured above), who explained to Gillian and me that his mom buys stores out of their extra inventory and that she had recently acquired a lot of watches. There weren’t too many (about 10) when we arrived, but Bill claimed that he had about 300 at one point in time. 300 watches at $15 each? That’s quite the watch resale business, sir. Well, they were $15 each except for the two that he sold to Gillian and me.

    Bill was OK with giving us those two watches (pictured above) for $10 (for both). I don’t care who you are, that’s a deal. And minimum haggling required!

    OK, you junk junkies. Come back next week for more garage sales, and, if we’re lucky, more of that legendary garage sale sausage!

    Correction: The Google Map originally embedded within this post was incorrect and was replaced at on 06/27/2011 at 11:28 a.m.