Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

Welcome to Austin, Assholes

Posted on November 11, 2017

Not long ago I traveled to Austin, Texas with my friend Mosquito.

We called it the “Beers, Barbecue, and Biking” tour.

“You guys don’t look ready for biking,” said the friendly bicycle rental man.

“But my man, we are ready for beers and barbecue,” I said.

The man runs Streamline Cycles where Mosquito and I were renting our bikes.  Maybe he thought we didn’t look ready for biking because it was 100 degrees and Mosquito had his bike shirt tucked into his blue jeans.

I had a cotton T-shirt and shorts that only became shorts because they unzipped from the lightweight hiking pants I wore.

We biked along the pea gravel trail around the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake.

Just off the bike trail overlooking the river was Alta’s Café where I had a fine pint of a local pale ale.

Our first night on the 6th Street Strip kicked off at an Irish pub, of course. Some damn fine fish tacos at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub.

We had some more beers down the street at Easy Tiger. A great selection of fine craft beer and fine men and women of Austin. We shared a few with a friendly black girl who read some of her poetry. Mosquito just wanted to talk to her about working on cars and I mostly talked about writing and shoes.

The three of us made a toast and cheered our good fortune of meeting at this Texas watering hole.

“Welcome to Austin, assholes,” she said.

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Streamline Cycles and a damn fine burger joint next door.

 

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A local pale ale at Alta’s Cafe.

 

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Colorado River from a bridge along the bike trail in Austin.

 

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Barbecue in Austin

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Sharing breakfast with a friend in Austin.

 

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I’d buy her a beer, not a shot.

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Bartender Poet

Posted on August 15, 2017

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Scott the bartender poet

 

Went to Cincinnati recently. The Queen City welcomed a joker like me. I took my friend Mosquito with. It was just for one night. It was to meet a girl I know there, Shay.

I didn’t take Mosquito to see Shay, whom I met at this bar called The Blind Pig. I had a couple craft beers that were local. I forget what Shay had, other than her cute lips, black curls and long legs.

If things had gone with Shay the way I wanted them too, I probably would not have ended up at Madonna’s Bar & Grill, some watering hole downtown.

I had a brilliant egg sandwich thing. And I was treated to brilliant, gritty poetry by Scott the gruff bartender. What a fuckin’ poet and magician at this dive joint. Pouring beers and reading his poems in between dealing with local hooligans in the establishment.

I told Scott he needs to have a one-man show. Just him behind a bar reading poetry. But wait. Not a one man show. Every so often a customer would come in and sit down and drink and have a few words with Scott. When Scott isn’t doing his poetry directly to the audience he can be reading it to the customer.

The customers can include men, women, cool birds or assholes. Scott will know how to deal with them. He dealt with shit when I was there.

I wish I can take Scott around to be my personal bartender, pouring pints and cussing out his poetic work.

He deals with shit and writes the shit. Good shit.

 

Aidan at the Depeche Mode Concert

Posted on October 7, 2017

The last time I was at a concert with Aidan it was a year ago to see Warpaint at Thalia Hall in Pilsen. You can read Aidan’s review of that show here. In August we attended the Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour at whatever-the-hell they are calling it theater in Tinley Park, a southwestern suburb of Chicago. And wouldn’t you know it, Warpaint was the opening act.

I also joined Aidan to see Depeche Mode the last time they were in town. You can read that review here.

So introductory song this year was “Revolution” by the Beatles. It was cool, but the intro song used to be one of their own instrumentals, usually from whatever album they had out that year.

Aidan: I was in line for beer when that shit started. Some dude in front of me thought it was a Pearl Jam song.

Me: The opening song, Backwards, is one of the strongest on the new Spirit album.

Aidan: It was all good. Martin sounded great. I liked his performance and song selection better than the last time they were here. He did “Somebody.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that in concert since I’ve been seeing them.

Me: I liked “A Question of Lust” but it was more of an acoustic version. I love and it needs that sweeping synth that the recorded version has.

Aidan: “Barrel of a Gun” kicked all our asses. So did “Corrupt.”

Me: Have you ever seen the “Corrupt” video featuring the cast of True Blood?

Aidan: Fuck no.

Me: “Wrong” was great too. But not a big fan of them covering “Heroes” by David Bowie. They could have substituted one of their own songs. Maybe an older one that has rarely been played live.

Aidan: During that entire song I was in line for an $8 warm bottle of water.

Me: How about that opening act though, Warpaint. Talented, great songs, and I’d marry any one of them.

Aidan: I thought it was Haim that opened.

Me: You know damn well it was Warpaint. We saw them last September in Pilsen at Thalia Hall. Great show. Great venue.

Aidan: I really can’t stand World Theater or Bank Theater or Casino Theater or whatever they call that Tinley joint. But it is easy to smoke a joint there.

Me: Cheers.