Thursday, September 11, 2014

Keeping Austin Weird or Keeping Austin Austin?


It's tough to see my fellow peeps in pain, and I saw one such amazing bass player friend of mine today at a coffee shop. He is going through a major life transition right now. Ejected out of his house that he'd been living in for 15 years due to a mold infestation and the severe deterioration of his health. He was paying next to nothing in rent. Now he's forced to join most of what Austin is today: a terribly rough housing market.

I don't know how we do it. And by that I mean managing our lives while still finding inspiration to make art out of nothing. My friend said, "I'm going on tour tomorrow for three days - to me, that is normal. I've got to feel normal again." LOL this of course means living in a van, eating on the road, sleeping in friends or fan's homes, but travelling, playing music and being with your homies.

The Willie Nelson song "On the Road Again" comes to mind.

It's true we've all manifested our own lives. I don't believe I'm a victim of my circumstances and in addition to that I'm always thinking of ways I can make some cash to get going or doing something.

I currently am invited to tour with friends in Italy this October but I'd be paying my own way- it would be more of a workation - than a tour, but I'd rather travel by playing music, period. It feels better to me.

This trip would/will be amazing and I might do it- but I'd like to manifest a situation where I'm being paid to do just the same. I'm not sure how to do this: but I'm starting with a simple statement:

I believe that taking lessons and practicing my site reading will lend myself to higher paying gigs. I'm nodding, to myself. Yes this is true for me.

The question I've been hearing lately around a lot among artistic and musical circles is this: We are going to get pushed out of this town. That's not an exaggeration, and it's not hysterical - if you want to be an underground artist.

If you want to do architecture or build houses for a living and you happen to play music, you'll be fine. If you want to continue to make the music you like to make and it doesn't happen to be Taylor Swift or the like, you will be eating beans. There is about I would guess a 3% chance you're not going to eat beans.

If Austin wants to keep it's cultural roots and not turn into something that looks like Deep Eddy in Dallas or The Riverwalk in San Antonio, they're going to have to keep coming up with ways to help their artists. I really believe this.

Some ideas: 
-an emergency stipend for rent/bills for WORKING (not slacker) musicians. I'm kind of harsh about this: you should be working as an artist, but I'll let the gatekeepers deal with that.
-An artists co - op of of duplex or condo's. A 90210 for artists of all types. Partially City-Funded (not art businesses I believe there is that going on already)-- See the Canopy.
-That's all I got. I've got to go pick up my animal from Emancipet. He got a ((FFRREEEEE))) surgery from the mobile clinic:: SNIP SNIP. Found him running around like a mashugana on the East Side in front of Arlan's on Airport.

So - see - we fund for animals. If we didn't there would be 1,000,000 more dogs and cats on the streets running wild. More disease, trash, poo-- catch my drift?

Let's start getting real about taking care of ourselves and our communities. If Austin wants to "KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD" it's going to do more than build up the huge establishments on South Lamar, keep air cranes in the downtown sky, and build up condos no one I know can afford.

It's going to have to keep a balance of what's weird and cool in our little community (the creative people - duh) with what's going to bring in $$$.

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