Thursday, July 27, 2006

Toddfest 2006: Burlesque, 3 Bands & Fire in the Sky

I've barely recovered from this weekend's Toddfest 2006. What, you ask, is Toddfest? Why, it's an evening of raucous music, sultry vixens and fire spinning against the downtown night sky. It is the event of the summer, and it's invitation only.

After attending two of the last three Toddfests, I am hooked. Each year is better and bigger than the last, but after Saturday night's party, I have no idea how it can get any better. The bash took over the venue recently known as the Velvet Spade. The Spade has had a change in ownership and I believe the new name will be the Mohawk. Unusual choice for an owner who wants to attract more of the upscale live music loving crowd instead of the more financially challenged goth/punk contingent. Not that all goth & punk music lovers are poverty stricken, but there is a reason why most Red River clubs have cheap drinks and low cover charges.

The annual party is the brainchild of an Austin mover and shaker who wanted a unique way to celebrate her husband's birthday. She incorporated their love of live music with Keep Austin Weird-ness and Toddfest was born.

The Killer Crocs of Uganda kicked off the night, taking the stage as attendees streamed in, eager for entertainment and cold beverages. Sponsors sported huge buttons stating "I kick ass so buy me a beer", a thank you for their monetary contribution. The music was rockin' and the crowd was growing. With a guest list over 200, the door man was busy checking his clipboard and affixing wristbands.

During set changes, two fire spinners performed rooftop, much to the delight of all. There's nothing like dancing flames to rev up an already excited mass. And then Maulie Keebler stepped up to the stage. Miss Maulie is a burlesque dancer whose recent performances include appearances with the Red Light Burlesque troop. She is gorgeous, all redheaded sexiness and in seconds had all eyes glued to her. Her first set was a fun and sassy two song number that ended with her stripping down behind giant playing cards in a fan dance meets gambling kind of way. The debut of her pasties met with intense crowd approval.

The Humiliators were up next, with Toddfest's man of the night at the helm. Their tight sound and contagious energy captured all. Rockin' the house, the band threw out their brand of good ole rock & roll and we ate it up. Panties were tossed on stage, fans screaming and there was enough camera flashes to rival Hollywood papparazzi.

Another set change brought the fire spinners back to the roof and Maulie following. Her second act, featuring a giant champagne cup, captured the attention of people walking down the street. Who doesn't love a good dish of seduction, served up with a side of risqué naughtiness? Maulie had everyone, male and female, under her spell. Roaring with appreciation, the throng followed her every move, as she eventually ended up in the champagne cup and soaking herself along with the first several rows of spectators. An aggressive, uninvited onlooker had to be removed from the fence where he was attempting to gain enough of an entry to video Maulie. Instead, he met her intense (and handsome) bodyguard, in a very up close and personal kind of way.

Closing out the evening was Steamroller, an Austin favorite. Jamming until closing time, the band kept the beat going and the party mood elevated to the point that it was a shock to hear last call announced. No way the night could be over already! The crowd thinned, people slipped away after expressing thanks to the host and hostess, content with a full night of some of the best live entertainment you could ask for in a Saturday night. A rockin' great time!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pimpin' Postsecret

One of the sites I visit religiously every week is Postsecret . If blogger wasn't giving me so many issues trying to post pictures, I'd put up one or two of my favorite mailed in secrets. Instead, I'll just encourage you to visit Postsecret and see if you can relate to any of the mailed in postcards.

Rolling Stones Update

Yes, Austin, the Stones are confirmed. Rumor has it the general admission concert will be capped at 50,000 and that the ticket price will be $90 give or take a few bucks. The crunchy granola crowd is already voicing concerns over damage to Zilker Park, since the concert will be on the heels of ACL Fest. So much for grass in the park, it'll be nothing but trampled down dirt until next summer. I haven't found out when tickets go on sale yet...anybody out there know?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

Are they or aren't they? The rumor mill has been working overtime here in the Live Music Capital of the World. Those in the know say that The Rolling Stones are playing a concert on October 22nd at Zilker Park. It has to be true. I heard it at Toddfest.

Today's paper has an article on the rumor, with a quote from a city planner saying it takes 2 months to prepare for a concert of that size and at this point in time no one has contacted him to discuss it. Hmmmm. Tell that to the Stones, then. When I checked their website for the 10th time this morning a concert date for Austin had magically appeared. Of course it listed no other info, including ticket price.

Heard it at Toddfest, confirmed it on the internet, it must be true. The Stones are making an Austin appearance. Hell, they should. If they're willing to play Halifax, Nova Scotia, El Paso and Missoula, Montana they should at least visit the home of SXSW and ACL Fest.

The Stones' website says that the ticket prices for the North American dates of the A Bigger Bang tour will be lower by 10-15% and some markets will feature student pricing as well. Hmmm...I wonder how that will affect Austin, where they'll play in a seatless open air field by Town Lake. It's a BYOB (blanket being the key "b" here) venue. Perhaps we'll see prices under $100 for this event. Sure it's still pricey, but it costs a lot to exhume Keith Richards from his tomb and make sure he's reanimated by showtime. Seriously, did you get a good look at him at the Superbowl? That was one rockin' corpse.

Will I go? If the tix aren't too unreasonable, yes. Just to say I did. I doubt the Stones will play many of their songs that I love--which would be the entire Tattoo You album--but they're certain to throw in "Beast of Burden" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Will you be there?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cap City Cyclists

Our brand spankin' new cycling team is off and running, err, spinning. I don't quite remember how or why we thought we should form a team to bike the Valero MS 150 but we did and there's no stopping us now!

Team rides have already started, individual training is going strong and the "please, please, please sponsor us" letters are starting to show up in the mailbox of every business associate any of us have had the pleasure of working with/drinking with/running with and/or biking with...hell, we can add sleeping with/eating with/taking incriminating photos with to the list as well. Pretty much anyone we can claim even a remote relationship or alliance to can and will be hit up to fund the budget. And then we'll ask companies we don't know for money, too. There's got to be someone out there that wants to see a start up team of misfit riders do something big like this, right? And it is for a good cause, with the Lone Star Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society reaping the rewards.

I'm worried, as usual. I want our riders to have a terrific experience and have as many creature comforts as possible. I'll rest easier knowing we have money in the bank account to pay for our team tent, cots, tables, chairs, food, beverages, jerseys & tee shirts, etc etc etc.

I don't own a road bike, so I'm in charge of the details. I'm recruiting SAG Hags and planning, planning, planning. The overnight camp is Beeville, which does not appear to have an abundance of restaurants that cater. I'm hoping to get the go ahead from the Valero folks to bring a grill. I can grill beef, turkey and veggie burgers or possibly fajitas for the riders as they arrive, hungry, hot and tired. In the morning I can use it to make breakfast tacos. I don't want our team to wait until the food provided by the event is served. I'm hoping for the best with our budget, which seems impossibly large. And we simply have to order jerseys by August or run a risk of not being ready in time. I found one online source, Jeksports, that offers lower cost semi-custom jerseys for teams of 4 or more entered into any MS 150.

Meanwhile, the team is becoming a cohesive unit, despite having beginner riders alongside experienced ones. We're forging ahead, believing we can do this and do it well. We're just not going to believe we can't, and that means we'll make it on sheer stubborness and will power alone, if nothing else.

"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
~Dale Carnegie~

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Real World

I saw in the news today that a Real World cast member from the current season was arrested for biting her boyfriend. She bit him repeatedly, because she was angry when he wouldn't let her in his house. Ummm, yeah. I wouldn't let her in, either.

I remember when the Real World was less a voyeuristic "who's hooking up with which cast mate" reality blurred by fine editing show and more of one that actually had drama beyond binge drinking. I guess my one and only love affair with the Real World would be season 3 with Pedro, Judd, Pam, Puck and Rachel. I was so enamored with Pedro that when he died in 1994 I was truly saddened, knowing the world lost a passionate voice in the fight against AIDS.

I was sickly fascinated with Puck, the way one is engrossed completely by a television show about massive tumors or how everyone slows down to look for blood on the road at the site of a bad car accident. Puck was disgusting and self-serving, never apologetic and always looking out for his own best interests. I hated him but couldn't stop watching. I felt the same way about Rachel, who had obvious chemistry with Puck.

Judd and Pam were my other favorites. When the season was over, the friendship between Judd and Pedro stayed strong, as did the one with Pam. By the time Judd published his memoir "Pedro & Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned" he also realized that his friendship with Pam was much more than a passing fancy. Who can't love it that a Real Worlder makes one of his housemates his life partner? Add to it that Judd's graphic novel & cartoon animation career is in full bloom, as is Pam's medical career. Wowsa. And here I am, blogging from my clerk job. Now that's irony. Oh, not to belittle my job. I'm a litigation assistant, which basically means I'm a well-paid clerk.

Who do you miss from the Real World?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hincapie Happiness

A few more pics for you to enjoy.

Fickle Following for Tour de France

Where's the hype? Where's the excitement? Where's the support, Austin? Lance retires and we turn our backs on the Tour--is that how it goes? There's been relatively little TDF talk around town so I'm sending a shout out to all my girlfriends and gayfriends. The American Hottie, George Hincapie, took the yellow jersey for the first time in his career yesterday. C'mon, Austin! Let's get Hincapie Happy. The man is gorgeous and American. What could be more fun than pissing off the cycling world one more time by cheering yet another Yank to victory?

In other TDF news, officials announced they'll no longer give out giant green cardboard hands to fans during the final stages of flat rides. Norwegian Thor Hushorvd crashed yesterday during the finish sprint when his shoulder brushed against a fan's giant hand. News reports say his "bloody gash" was stitched up at the hospital. I'd feel awful if my gigantic cheering gear caused a cyclist to crash and burn. Perhaps the tour officials need to rethink the use of cardboard crowd giveaways completely, not just in the final stages.