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Guy Clark Back Home in Austin

October 8, 2012 1 comment

As I began to explore the emerging Austin Music Scene through albums and the weekly Austin City Limits television show when I was living up in Central Ohio through most of the 1970s, one of the first meaningful singer-songwriters I encountered was Guy Clark – native of Texas and surely the state’s poet laureate. Listening to his first album “Old No. 1” in 1975 during my time at Denison University doing communications, brought smiles of shared experiences and an introduction to some real interesting feelings and folks down in Texas. I moved to Austin for the music in 1978.

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

Guy Clark at Cactus Auditorium in Austin Nov 3 in 2012

Guy last returned to Austin in 2012 for a November 3 & 4 gig at the Cactus Auditorium on the UT campus where I have been pleased before to share that iconic space with Guy and his long-time picking buddy Verlon Thompson as  they played memorable shows – seemingly effortless and with an easily flowing of shared creativity.

Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay – who it’s been Fun hearing and seeing over recent years in Austin – had the honor of opening for Guy Clark.

Brennen and Noel pave the way for Guy

And … they sure responded. Their performance was the couple’s best I have been at. Brennen and Noel recorded a new album after returning to Austin last summer when they were invited to play one of their songs at Merle Fest in North Carolina. Their opening set at the Cactus featured some of these new songs that are both heartfelt and, at times, very funny, as well as their traditional Americana standards.

Guy and Verlon then came on stage, settled onto  side-by-side chairs and began tweaking their guitar tuning. It did not come together smoothly enough so Guy announced – “I have lived so long (coming up on 71) that I don’t give a shit.”

Old Friends

I experienced those two friends last year in Austin for the fine 70 Year Birthday Tribute to Guy Clark when several musicians – who all wish they could write even kinda close like him – each sang one of Guy’s songs as he sat near the stage. Guy and Verlon closed the 2011 show with a ten-song set. At times, Vernal gave Guy a clue to the next word of the song they were performing.

Verlon Solo

“You may have noticed I am getting forgetful at times,” Guy said to us near show’s end. “It’s OK, though – my wife says this will be the first time I will be able to hide my own Easter eggs.”

Guy Clark

Forgetfulness came up at the end of the show’s following song, “Texas – 1947.” That song has special meaning to me since I grew up with steam engine trains in the 1950s and then was awed at the speed of diesel engines.

Guy said he was real pleased after he finished writing the “Texas – 1947” song about the first time a diesel sped through his hometown of Monahans in West Texas. He played the song for his parents in their home but they could not remember the event. We are able to.

Guy followed later with the gritty “Stuff That Works” song. When a standing ovation died down after the song, Guy cautioned – “Thanks – but let’s see how the rest of the show goes.”

Noel McKay

Brennen Leigh

Still recovering from a recent cold, Guy’s nose began to run noticeably during the next song. At song’s end, an attractive young woman got up from a front row seat and handed some tissues up to Guy. “Thanks, Darling,” Guy smiled. “Hope you wrote your phone number on it.”

A highlight of their shows is Verlon playing a string of his songs solo. During that set, Guy looks at Verlon with respect and admiration. Their decades-long friendship sure shows when they share a stage.

As the show drew to a close, audience members called out suggestions for the Last Song. Guy quickly replied – “I already know what it is” – and then launched into “Dublin Blues” – an iconic Austin song that begins – “I wish I was in Austin – at the Chili Parlor Bar – Drinkin’ Mad Dog Margaritas – and not wondering where you are.”

Keep Searching, Guy

         See ya next time, Guy and Verlon.</p

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October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Acro-Cats Return to Austin October 24-27, 2013 at Maricasa Theater in the old Lincoln Village

Buy $19 show tickets now — Shows frequently sell-out

Acro-Cats – A Wondrous Show for Kids of All Ages

Ever seen cats walk directly along a six-foot-high, elevated pole – jump through several different-sized hoops – push a cart with another cat in it – stand on a yoga ball while rolling it – or, bowl and play musical instruments?

i went to the first of the two trained-cat shows I enjoyed at the Austin Theatre in mid-September 2011 believing there’s no way you can train a cat – you truly cannot train a cat. I left with a two-hour Circus Cat performance dvd and a cat training kit convinced that … Yes, You Can … Train a Cat.

A talented chicken, groundhog and five rats join the ten Acro-Cats in a skilled and funny  75-minute show. Each animal performs her/his special show solo. Ring-mistress Samantha Martin introduces and describes each performer as s/he does its Special Thing.

All Bob Kinney Photos

Following a bowling match between the Chicken and Tuna, the Lead Cat, the Rock-Cats conclude the show – playing a jam-like mixture of Cowbell, Guitar, Drums and Keyboards – with the Chicken pecking on Tambourine and Cymbal.

Cats respond to a single clicker command and are rewarded with treats. After the actors perform they hear a soft whistle and actively jump back in their onstage carrier where another treat awaits.

All Bob Kinney Photos

Find out lots more at circuscats.com – an informative and nicely-designed website with lots of photos and video and tour dates.

Yes … You Can Train A Cat.

All Bob Kinney Photos

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Christopher Columbus & the Death of the 500 Nations

October 7, 2012 1 comment

Christopher Columbus did not discover America – Upwards of one million indigenous folks were already living in the wonderful cultures they helped create throughout North and South America when Columbus was welcomed by some of them who were later enslaved and robbed of all they had when he returned the second time.

Painting by NAME. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin.

I always thought Columbus Day did not make sense. Didn’t he land on a Caribbean island and never made it to even Key West or New Orleans? I did not feel this way because of a lack of patriotism but more so out of ethics and the immorality of hidden history I discovered over the years. Experiencing Arthur Penn’s 1970 film “Little Big Man” (based on Thomas Berger’s novel) and witnessing our government’s invasion of Pine Ridge Reservation during the last of the Nixon Years truly informed me. I recently discovered a well-crafted Kevin Costner 2004 documentary “500 Nations” that depicts in four dvd’s the sad histories of the indigenous people of the Americas from Columbus to the present day.

Exhibit program notes poster in the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin.

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Indigenous Ministries created a truthful video that simply shows the effects religion has had for centuries on indigenous folks. The Episcopal Church Archives contributed telling photographs for this film. Please watch this 14-minute video that Tells the Truth now and share it with your friends every day – Thanks.

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