Austin no longer live music destination

Although widely respected and regarded as the live music capital of the world, some Austinites are pushing to move the city in another direction. After a series of headline-making SXSW crimes spanning from a failed arson attempt at the Capital to the mass killing of 170 of the city’s black birds at a death metal concert that took place on Red River Street, Austinites seem to have finally had it.

City Council members presented a bill yesterday that will, if passed, slowly fade out the city’s focus on and support of live music, particularly in the downtown area.

Council member Arthur Miller, age 42, thinks the emphasis on live music in Austin has gone “too far” and is beginning to “deteriorate” the city from the inside out. “This has become madness,” he said yesterday afternoon when I was able to catch up with him briefly to discuss the bill. “I like live music, of course, but there’s a difference between supporting live music and encouraging widespread belligerence.”

The bill proposes that the city of Austin approach the live music in town, in general, with more scrutiny. “We don’t need 2,000 bands playing every year for SXSW,” Miller points out. “What’s wrong with, say, 100 bands? 100 really good bands who don’t start trouble, don’t punch club owners in the face, don’t pee in our streets, don’t vomit on legally parked cars? We propose that the bands invited to play in our city are subjected to a sort of background check. We’re no idiots, we know musicians drink alcohol, but if they think they can smoke pot in our streets or play cover songs without proper licensing, for instance, we want to show them that they have another think comin’.”Miller’s co-council member, Mary Ellen Lang, age 47, thinks Miller is, perhaps, too liberal on the subject of Austin vs. Live Music.

“Arthur means well, and I agree with him on a lot of points, but his efforts to compromise with these debauchery-inclined barbarians is idiotic”, says Lang. “I grew up in Austin. My parents and their parents grew up in Austin, too. There was a time when this town was a good old fashioned town that didn’t encourage blatant sin on every street corner. I wish it weren’t true, but this obsession with live music in Austin is hurting just about everything in Austin except for the economy. And yes, the city is booming financially in respect to profits from the music industry, but why should we focus on worldly success like this when all of these musicians are going straight to Hell and they’re taking the entire city of Austin with them?”

Other members of City Council disagree. Robert Williams, age 38, a long-time advocate of arts funding in Austin, says he suffered from “dangerously” high blood pressure yesterday afternoon during a doctor’s appointment that happened to follow the unveiling of this “anti-art” plan. “I kid you not, my doctor advised me to consider leaving politics over this,” said Williams, clearly enraged. “And I said to him, why should I leave politics? Maybe I should just leave this backwards town instead.” I pressed Williams for his thoughts on why the bill was created in the first place.

“Why was it created? It was created because a bunch of fun-hating jerks got elected into City Council and now we have to listen to their party-pooping opinions”.

Meanwhile on Congress Street, thousands of Austin residents began rallying at 10am to protest the bill.

“This is a joke, right?” asked Martha Steinberg, a harpist who recently moved to Austin from Brooklyn, New York to pursue her music career. “If I’d moved to Hollywood to become an actress three weeks before the City Council there announced they were proposing to do away with the movie business, that wouldn’t be any different than what they’re doing here. But that would never happen in California. Only in Texas. God. Why did I move to Texas?”

Marcia Garcia, a 63 year old resident from the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin, was spotted protesting the protesters at the Capital this morning, pumping a neon poster-board sign reading “Starving Musicians: Go Starve Elsewhere!”

“You know what? I don’t care if they are starving,” she shouted at me. “The only thing between these mindless self-absorbed drunks and a stable career is ego. As long as we continue encouraging these jobless diluted twenty-somethings to ‘make it’ here in Austin, we’re asking for all of the trouble we’re getting. It’s time we cut back funds for musicians. This is out of control,” said Garcia.

“Did you know that musicians in Austin receive health care benefits?” she asked me, wild-eyed. “They do! My son has a lucrative contract debris removal business. He wakes up every day at 6am to work and he is still uninsured. And yet the musicians in Austin sleep in until the afternoon and they are rewarded medical benefits! I mean, it’s like, why should they ever snap out of it and get a real job? They don’t have a reason to with our city giving them everything they need to slack off, even health care.”

Garcia’s comments didn’t go unnoticed and Belinda Rovinsky, a 55 year old mother of 3 twenty-somethings, all of whom play music in Austin, was clearly upset by Garcia.

“Lady, watch your mouth. You’re talking about my kids and I’ll be damned if they don’t deserve health benefits,” snapped Rovinsky, who was wearing a t-shirt for her eldest son’s band, Memorable Lines from Lost.

Without warning, Garcia dropped her sign to the ground and slapped Rovinsky across the face. A crowd of spectators gathered around the two women.

“You think the musicians here are belligerent? And you just go around hitting people?” exclaimed Rovinsky. “This is insane!”

Garcia was restrained by a few large men in the audience, members of the local Alternative/Country/Punk/Fusion band, Big Britches Unite!, until the police arrived and arrested the silver-haired conservative.

Arthur Miller, when informed of this scene at the Capital, had a few words to spare.

“Hey, look. Austin is a weird town. But what’s weird is that people like her [Rovinsky] endorse badness and are ok with their children participating in the kind of negative lifestyle prevalent among the musicians in Austin. They cover themselves in tattoos and piercings. Hardly any of the men shave–ever. The girls are on stage rolling around, actually rolling around, in skirts, showing everyone their underpants. Austin has a reputation for being weird, but it’s because other respectable Texan cities, like Dallas, view us as a brothel. This place is like one giant dive bar. Do you think I want my children growing up around this nonsense?” Miller asked.

As I began to answer Miller’s rhetorical question with a simple, “Of course not, sir,” we were interrupted by a throng of punk-rockers and their roller-derby girlfriends wearing t-shirts depicting Miller’s 13 year old son, Justin, playing air guitar.

“He wants to be just like us when he grows up!” one of the mohawked strangers, Johnny Blamethem, shouted. Blamethem owns an online Cafe Press store and later said that ripping the photo of Miller’s son off of his son’s public Facebook profile and making the shirts was “a cinch”.

And with that, Miller pushed through the crowd, walking at first, and then, eventually, running back to his car where onlookers reported he sat for the next 3 and a half hours, staring off into the distance at the “ethically decrepit” Austin skyline.

The city of Austin will host an open discussion with residents looking to engage in civil dispute regarding the bill on Monday evening at 7pm at the Annex on Trinity.

Dubai tour company offers pirate hunting cruises off horn of Africa

After years of murders, kidnappings, and heists, the lawless sea near the horn of Africa seems to be getting worse. A Dubai firm is capitalizing on these pirate infested waters with a strange new form of pirate tourism. The tour company, Dubai based Seahunters LLC, sells both 7 and 14 day cruises embarking from Salalah, Oman and Abu Dhabi, UAE. Unlike the quintessential cruise, the cruisers do not board in hopes of devouring mid-morning nacho buffets or snorkeling with dolphins. These cruisers board in hopes of embarking on a hunting trip with the most taboo of target – humans.

Like any proper cruise, you can choose a type of stateroom with offers ranging from the humble sounding “standard inside” to the opulent “Hemingway suite.” The similarities to any other cruise end abruptly when you begin assembling your personal armory. With offerings such as the predictably yielding “bazooka package” and a “mercenary madness” kit, you can personalize your weapons cache almost endlessly. The “mercenary madness” package includes rental of a M107 .50 caliber sniper rifle, an AR 15 assault rifle, and an 18kt gold plated Desert Eagle pistol. Bow and arrows are also available for purists. Flamethrowers can be rented as well, though require a 3 day licensing course prior to departure.Ports of call include the otherworldly Socotra island known for its Dragon’s Blood trees, and Mogadishu – the most dangerous city on the planet.

With only 17 rooms, the pearl white yacht is sized to attract attention from opportunistic pirates while spending days drifting aimlessly through the Gulf of Aden. Seahunters does not guarantee that pirates will attempt to board the boat, but in the event that they do, the cruisers are free to defend themselves with their weapons. What this defense entails has been the target of several human rights organizations. Decrying this bizarre form of freelance privateering, many groups feel that baiting the pirates into the line of fire is an extreme example of human insensitivity and a case of morbid exploitation. Seahunters maintains that their program will provide substantial positive externalities such as safer waters due to a fearful pirate population.

A typical seven night cruise itinerary
Day 1 – Flight to Salalah Airport from Dubai, welcome dinner and concert
Day 2 – Boat departs
Day 3 – At sea
Day 4 – Mogadishu tank tour
Day 5 – At sea
Day 6 – The “Splendor of Socotra” tour on Socotra Island
Day 7 – At sea
Day 8 – Return to Salalah

flickr image via dvidshub

Canada “as cool as” America

In a bold and unexpected move, the US State Department issued a firm statement of non-rebuttal in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 010410 Recognizing Canada has become almost as cool as America . . .” The unanimous resolution predictably cited the cast of SNL, polar bears, those tight pants worn by Canadian mounties, and the nifty way Canada keeps Alaska separate from us.

Now that it’s cool, “Canada is the new Spring Break,” announced MTV tween reporter Gina Voxx. Hot new destinations include bars serving minors in Windsor, Ontario and the birthplace of that guy who invented basketball. US State Department Travel Warnings should reflect the upgrade in Canada’s status within the next 36 months. Until that time, US Citizens should take precautions in dealing with funny, good-natured people but especially when confronted by self-righteous, socially-conscious northerners who recycle. US Embassy staff in Ottawa advise US citizens to try and blend in by not complaining, apologizing frequently (“I’m sore-y”), and then returning back to America with a huge chip on your shoulder.

US President Obama added his two Canadian cents by issuing a spontaneous speech that was later televised on Canada’s only TV station: “I have a dream . . . that every child in every school in America. . . . will have his or her own Canada Arm”. Canadian businesses have responded to this news by increasing exports of whiny female singers from the prairie provinces and rigging American vending machines to accept Canadian “money”.

Not all Americans are enthusiastic by this sudden change in status quo. Hundreds of mouth-foaming protestors marched to the Canadian Embassy in Washington to throw hockey pucks at an effigy of Sidney Crosby. “Fine, but Canadians only do cool things after they move to America,” said one protester. “Canadian Trivial Pursuit is stupid!” screamed another. An arrest was made after vandals spray-painted “Maple syrup sucks” on a nearby wall. Canadian counter-protesters outnumbered the American crowd 3-to-1 but they were too busy making a documentary about the protesters to really care.

America’s Immigration & Naturalization Service admits that over 300,000 people cross the Canadian-American border everyday, however they fail to specify in which direction said people are traveling.


Gadling Take FIVE Week of March – April 3

Perhaps you noticed our annual April Fool’s offerings. Although there are some odd TRUE stories here at Gadling every once in awhile–sometimes daily, nothing this past Wednesday was true. At least, I don’t think China is planning to put an escalator up Mt. Everest.

Here is a sampling of what has been true this week.

  • Annie has happily continued to sample jerky. This week’s post on Oberto Beef Jerky made me hungry and itching for a road trip.
  • If you have not taken the time yet to watch the video in Jeffrey’s post “Afghanistan, an accordion, ‘Elvis’ and Johnny Cash,” do. It’s a wonderful example of an unexpected cross cultural-exchange.
  • For anyone 30 years or younger, Allison has news about a way you can win a trip through STA. There is a free trip being given away every day this month. With several days left, you might get lucky.
  • The golden arches of McDonald’s are almost a world-wide icon, although every country has its own version of some menu items. Aaron names some of them like Israel’s The McShawarma. He didn’t say if he tried some on his trip there.
  • In his post on tourism’s effect on the Amazon, Kraig talks about his upcoming trip to Peru where he’ll be traveling on the Amazon in a riverboat. We’re looking forward to what he discovers on this venture and shares with us here at Gadling.

And here’s one more. In case you missed this bit of news, our favorite pilot Kent Wien and his wife Linda won the Competitours race in Europe. Set up like an Amazing Race challenge, Competitours is offering a unique way to travel that Kent and Linda were happy to try. We’re certainly proud!!!

Canada to adopt new national slogan

Canada: America’s Hat
. Catchy, ain’t it? The folks over at Tourism Canada thought so so they’ve decided to make it the official new slogan for the country’s soon-to-be-even-more bustling tourism industry. And Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s endorsed the slogan, saying, ‘It will show the world that I … I mean, we Canadians have a sense of humor. Ha. Ha. That’s funny’

Still, not everyone is sold. Says one die-hard Canadian: ‘It doesn’t make any sense. Canada’s bigger than the states. Who wears a hat that’s bigger than them?’ Adds another, ‘If Canada’s the hat, then the USA is like Mr. Peanut. The hat’s the best part — without it, he’s nothing. He’s just a nut.’