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.

Ten new developments in cruise ship entertainment

As if rock-climbing walls, ice-skating, the Blue Man Group, water-coasters that zoom around the deck and giant TV screens that allow Movies Under The Stars is not enough, cruise lines are pumping up the entertainment options even more. Look for these new, exciting and highly-demanded options on ships coming up soon.
  1. Pole Dancing Lessons– Cunard Line recently announced the addition of the Madame Busty Russell School of Pole Dancing as an on board enrichment programe to be rolled out fleet-wide in 2012. “Cunard and Busty go back to when time began as do most of our passengers” said Carole Marlow, who recently left the line to head up P&O Cruises in the UK. “This is my baby and I want credit for it” she added, noting “This will get those old geezers blood flowing!”
  2. New York Strip Clubs– No, it’s not a new steakhouse but passengers aboard Princess Cruises new Ravishing Princess, due to set sail in 2015 are going to have an eye full of entertainment options in the Bordello District, a new adult entertainment, gambling and dining mecca that spans 5 decks. The brain-child of former Love Boat captain Gavin Macleoud, the complex will house adult-oriented venues that include La Pasties, a 24-hour live 3-D showcase for talented crew members who will work dual roles on the ship. Like that cabin steward of yours? Pay attention, you just might see her/him Au naturale later in the sailing. “Who doesn’t like a little romance?” Macleoud said “So what if you have to pay for it!”
  3. Outlet Malls– You just new it had to happen. Joining with Sam’s Club and Costco, Holland America Line will be featuring no less than 125 signature stores on each ship in the fleet. The plan is to build giant barges to drag behind the existing fleet housing row upon row of glamorous shops featuring duty-free shopping and free delivery to your stateroom. When asked if they thought pulling barges estimated to weigh 234 tons would slow down the ships, Holland America issued a statement explaining “We think it will be worth the delay” and “we can’t go very fast anyway, our guests get dizzy”
  4. 24-hour Fried Food Buffets I guess not everybody is happy with the new healthy lifestyle focus on most cruise lines and Carnival Cruise Lines is going to be the first to add Totinos 24-hour Fried Food Buffets as standard fare, included in the price of your cruise vacation. Carnival boss Gary Cahill explained “Hey, we give ’em what they want” adding “What says “We love families” more than fried food?”
  5. Helicopter Rides Again, Carnival Cruise Line is in the lead here too adding a top-deck helipad that guests can buy rides on. “Well, with the 24-hour Fried Food Buffets already proving to be popular with guests on test ships, we figured we will be doing a lot of emergency evacuations anyway so why not just let each ship have their own chopper” said Carnival Corporation’s Mickey Arison adding “It’s the only thing I don’t already have a fleet of.”
  6. Actual Mountains to climb– Leave it to innovative Royal Caribbean International to better themselves. Here’s the plan: As ships go through the dry dock process, an annual refurbishing to take care of things that just can’t be done at sea, the plan is to remove the upper-most decks and bring in tons of dirt and rock to build actual mountains. “I told them, let’s just scrape all that crap off the top deck and make a REAL mountain to climb” said CEO Richard Fain.
  7. Elvis!– the King of Rock and Roll is back and this is no impersonator. Norwegian Cruise Lines is taking their wildly-popular Legends In Concert show a step further. Through the modern technology of cloning, NCL entertainment managers have dug up just enough of the King to make an exact replica, right down to the drug addiction and glamorous overeating skills. “Let’s call it Freestyle Science” said CEO Kevin Sheehan adding “ want to see real innovation? I’ve got your real innovation right here!” Overheard at a Disney Cruise Line board meeting “Is is it time to thaw out Walt then?”
  8. Starship of the Seas- The cat is out of the bag and that big secret ship Royal Caribbean has been touting us with has been revealed. In a joint venture with Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, Royal Caribbean International and the United Space Workers Union, Royal Caribbean will build the first cruise ship capable of intergalactic travel. “We have great respect for the knowledge and experience the displaced NASA Space Shuttle workers have and are proud to bring them into the family” said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
  9. Family Mind Alterations– Top family-oriented Disney Cruise Line, will go deep into the minds of family members with custom-designed children. Sound confusing? Here’s how it works: When vacation planning time comes around, parents choose who they want their children to be. “Got a mouthy kid who needs to tone it down?” Pluto asks in an online video, “select from your choice of options and we do the rest”. Parents drop their kids off at “Mickey’s Funhouse” on the first night of the cruise. At the end of their childless cruise they pick up their newly brainwashed, physically and chemically altered children (called “Refreshed and Ready!”) who now look and sound exactly as they wished. It’s a dream come true as only Disney can do. Now that’s entertainment.
  10. Titanic: It’s just a ride– We don’t have a lot of details on this one but it’s something coming from new Adventure Wilderness Cruises to spice up their Alaska sailings. Simply put, without letting out all the exciting details, the plan is to visit Glacier Bay, get way back, far from a huge glacier then floor it, smashing the ship head first into a huge hunk of ice. What happens next is top secret but said to be “mind blowing entertainment” and “the ride of a lifetime” by test passengers, just before they slipped into a coma. One adventure-oriented guest noted “Dude, that was gnarly”

Florida zoo to open small cat habitat

The Leesburg Zoo in Florida is opening its new exhibit, the small cat habitat, this weekend.

The area features more than 300 house cats, everything from domestic short hairs to Persians to exotic Balinese and Siamese breeds.

Zoo guests will be able to observe the cats from several viewing areas surrounding the 1.5-acre habitat.

Children will especially love watching the cats romp in giant 5-story, carpeted scratching post named “Cuddles Island.” Cuddles Island has special observation windows about 3-feet off the ground, for a kid’s eye view.

Black, white, tabby and calico, the Leesburg Zoo has collected nearly every variety of domesticated small cat native to the United States.

“Finally, our zoo guests can observe what it is like to live with these breeds of small cats, without having to actually deal with a small cat in their own homes,” said Gerry Walker, Leesburg Zoo general manager.

A special tour, “The Cat Lady Experience,” can be booked for an additional $24.99 per person. It includes a tour of the 900-square-foot, 2-bedroom house in the small cat habitat, where you can experience all the sights, sounds and smells of being the neighborhood cat lady.

Families with young children or groups such as scout troops will appreciate the hands-on learning activities in “The Cat Lady Experience,” such as:

  • “Feeding Time,” when tour participants must try to find and fill all 37 food bowls stationed in various areas in the small home. (Don’t forget to check the windowsills and closets!)
  • “Litter Patrol,” a good-natured poopin’ scoopin’ race to the finish.
  • And “Quiet Kitty,” a fun game where the tour group tries to quiet the 60 or so small cats inside the home while one lucky volunteer answers the front door during a simulated (Very realistic!) visit from city code enforcement officers.

The Leesburg Zoo’s Small Cat Habitat opens to the public this Saturday. You can book “The Cat Lady Experience” tour in advance online. Through June 1, zoo guests who donate a bag of dry cat food or scoopable cat litter can receive a $5 discount on zoo admission.

Leesburg is a 1-hour drive from the Orlando area, and the new exhibit makes it a great side trip for any Walt Disney World vacation.

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.’

Big in Japan: Godzilla, King Koopa and Mother Nature join forces to destroy Tokyo

Today at 9:17AM Eastern Standard time, the city formerly known as Tokyo was forever wiped from the world map.

Although this once prosperous Asian megalopolis has weathered the storm of natural disasters and horrific calamities for generations, the events that transpired earlier today are simply impossible to fully comprehend. However, what we do know at this time is that Tokyo was virtually obliterated following a combined attack by Godzilla, King Koopa and Mother Nature.

Tokyo has a long history of rising from the ashes, having survived earthquakes, firebombing and the ever-present threat of Mothra. However, the diabolic cooperation that led to the demise of this once great capital is simply unprecedented.

According to the few remaining survivors, who have since sought refuge on vast manmade islands constructed entirely of empty Cup o’Noodle Styrofoam packaging, the attack commenced when the pre-dawn sky was lit up by the atomic breath of Godzilla. Moments later, legions of Koopa Troopas surrounded the city under the fascist leadership of Bowser himself.

And then, just as the reality of their impending fate began to take hold in everyone’s minds, Mother Nature unfurled a series of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tidal waves.
Tokyoites have long lived in the shadow of danger, and have grown accustomed to fending off the various elements that threaten their very existence. Indeed, Japanese children as young as five know that you should hide under doorways during an earthquake, and that the only way to kill a goomba is to jump on its head or hit it with a fireball. And of course, residents of Tokyo have long sang praises to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, who’s oxygen destroyer has kept the city safe from Godzilla for decades.

However, residents were simply unable to protect their fair city from the overwhelming forces of destruction that were unleashed in rapid succession. As Godzilla rose once again from the depths of Tokyo Bay, the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) was dispatched en masse to drive the creature back into the ocean depths. However, this fatal mistake left the perimeter of the city unguarded, an unfortunate reality that was quickly exploited by the King of the Koopas.

In the end however, the final nail in the coffin came when long-dormant Mount Fuji blew its top, covering the city in a vast cloud of sulfurous ash. The resounding explosion triggered a whopping earthquake that measured approximately 9.5 on the Richter scale, and submerged much of the city beneath the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Reports from the ground are patchy at best, especially since the radioactive clouds emitted by Godzilla have disrupted communication throughout Asia. However, what is known is that the few hundred remaining survivors were clever enough to construct makeshift life rafts out of discarded Cup o’Noodle Styrofoam packaging, and are currently floating southeast towards the Hawaiian Islands.

** From all of us here at Gadling, to all of you out there in Cyberspace, hope you are all having a very wicked April Fool’s Day! **