Chapter 41
Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues

20040430

We saw this show at the Austin Theater Company in south Austin. All singing and dancing. Samples of black music from early to modern times, African chants through gospel to Rock & Roll. Terrific show, all songs, fantastic voices.

The play has been around for years. Nominated for a Tony when it was in New York. Unfortunately there is no recording of the local production due to copyright problems. There is a CD of the Broadway cast with part the music.

The show has been in many cities, but it's not a touring company. It's usually done with rep players. Here there were five singers. Two black men, one big round baritone, one tall skinny bass. A black woman, Nell Carter shaped; and two white women, one large one small. The most surprising is the tiny white woman. Five foot nothing, thin, compact, thirty-five give or take, who, when she opens her mouth, out comes this amazing sound, this huge rhinoceros of a voice that you'd expect from a refrigerator-shaped opera diva. Not that high and pure but powerful and soulful. She does several numbers as the slinky femme fatale, "Fever" for instance. Holy bananas, it ain't over till the thin lady sings.

Cabaret May-July 2004

One of the local professional theaters mounted a production of Cabaret this spring, and it was wonderful. (If you have never seen the movie Cabaret, then run, do not walk, to your local Blockbuster or equivalent and rent it now. This is a *great* movie. It won a whole shelf full of Oscars in its year: best actor, best actress, best director, and five others. It is funny, moving, and horrifying all at the same time.)

In Austin, few things are done quite straight, and this play was no exception. For instance, in typical Austin gender-bending fashion, the role of the Emcee was played by a woman. Not just any woman, but the same one I wrote about in "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues," the best singer in town, at least that I have seen. Her costumes were slightly different from the usual. Black leather bra, thong with a dollar sign on the front for the song "Money Makes the World Go Around," things like that. Her powerful voice and ironic humor made the play. For a local theater group outside New York, a terrific production. We saw it twice.

The theater, in case any of you ever get here, is the Zachary Scott Theater ("The Zach"). It has two venues, the big one a thrust stage that seats maybe two hundred, the other around about half that size. Very nice place.

We saw it twice. The first time we were way up top, last row, but center so we could see well. It's a small theater so there really aren't any bad seats. The second time our seats are in the first row. We went with another couple, friends, and they were seated at a table on the stage. People at the stage tables tend to get involved in the production. For instance, the dancing girls kept sitting on his lap and shaking their boobs in his face. Later the emcee danced with her and got a mite fresh, how kewl.

Coda 2005/06/11

The amazing singer from "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues" and the Emcee from "Cabaret" were both a local luminary named Suzanne Abbott. We keep running into her on-stage and off. We bumped into her at another play, "Omnium Gatherum," and spoke briefly. She was in the audience that time, not the cast. Then Bev and a friend coming in from New York ran into her at the airport the day before we all saw her in "Cabaret" the first time. And last, we went to see her at the Zach Scott Theater again in a one-woman show of mostly her own songs. And we ended up sitting between Suzanne's mother and brother on the one side and sister on the other. We talked to her mother for a while during the intermission and then traded seats so they could all sit together.