Archive for December, 2012

“The Only Constant is Change”

December 26, 2012 1 comment

Bob note to you – This article and photos of mine were first published in the Wheatsville Co-op newspaper The Breeze in its January & February 2013 issue here in Austin.

Lips - Lead Singer of Anvil - simply speaks the Truth

Lips – Lead Singer of Anvil – simply speaks the Truth

“The Only Constant is Change”

In the wonderful 2009 music documentary – “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” – Lips, the lead singer of the decades-old iconic Anvil metal band that never quite made the Big Time – says “Time does not move backward. The only constant is Change.” Back in the 60s the Byrds said the same thing in their mantra song “Change is Now” and Bob Dylan sang “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Lips with his Anvil metal band at Emo's in Austin touring early 2010 on their documentary film

Lips with his Anvil metal band at Emo’s in Austin touring early 2010 on their documentary film

All Bob Kinney Words and Photos

Change has accelerated in Austin since I moved here for the music vibe life in 1978. Since then, we have lost treasured music venues like the Armadillo, Liberty Lunch and Soap Creek Saloon. Our downtown area looks more like Dallas every year and six condo developments are currently upscaling the landscape along South Lamar. Construction around the Broken Spoke has led to the disappearance of its funky landmark – an old-timey Texas Western Swing musician bus (sure hope it returns).

Katie Rose Pipkin – a young friend of mine who is an Austin native and my favorite artist – recently put all this Change into perspective for me. “It is what it is,” she simply said.

While we Austin old-timers have seen many Changes that are uncomfortable to us, we must also celebrate what Change is new and fun, as well as cherish what remains with us – from our Wheatsville Co-op and Eeyore’s Birthday to Barton Springs and other natural gems like Mayfield Park.

Eeyore's Birthday always brings out the Best of Austin

Eeyore’s Birthday always brings out the Best of Austin

I celebrate, for example, the March 2012 opening and imaginative growth of the Wardenclyffe Gallery at Springdale Road and Oak Springs in East Austin. Katie Rose Pipkin and Wheatsville staffer Olivia Pepper envisioned a place where an eclectic variety of art, music, theater and performance art would flourish – and it certainly has with the support of many Wheatsville folks.

Katie Rose Pipkin and Olivia Pepper, right, imagined and transformed their backyard The Island into the Wardenclyffe Gallery in March 2012

Katie Rose Pipkin and Olivia Pepper – photo right – imagined and transformed their backyard The Island into the Wardenclyffe Gallery in March 2012

Wardenclyffe is but one example of the recent explosion of art, music, dance and food & clothing trailers on the East Side. The annual East Side and Central Art Studio Tours get bigger each year.

Not SXSW– John Conquest’s four-day, free music event whose motto proclaims “You Don’t Need a Stinkin’ Wristband” – grows larger in South and East Austin each mid-March as the other SXSW continues to clog up downtown with mega-corporate slime.

A Change I have most enjoyed is the growth of our Co-op Movement here in Austin. Wheatsville was the only food co-op in Austin – let alone Texas – when I served on our board from 1994 to 2009 – mostly as board president. During that time our Wheatsville board helped mentor the birth of Black Star Beer Co-op that has celebrated its first birthday earlier this year. Wheatsville now stocks the tasty vegan donuts that the Red Rabbit Co-op folks create.

When Wheatsville folks gathered in the Lamar Oaks shopping center at 4001 S. Lamar last June to celebrate our second location current board president Rose Marie Klee shared her vision of a string of other co-ops (a second Black Star and Red Rabbit bakery and unnamed co-ops yet to be born) sharing that shopping center with Wheatsville. Many thanks to Rose Marie and the rest of our current board for consistently reaching out to a variety of local folks and growing our Austin Co-op Movement.

Wheatsville folks celebrate their South Store slated to open in June 2013

Wheatsville folks celebrate their South Store slated to open in June 2013

Wheatsville has changed much since I first began regular shopping at the co-op in 1986. Since then, all the Changes I have experienced in our co-op were needed to ensure our existence and make growth possible.

Our store renovation during 2008-09 grew Wheatsville without losing the Austin-loved WV Vibe.

Our staff, other owners and non-owner shoppers dealt with Change daily back then. Whole sections of our store were rearranged and then moved again – and yet again – as renovation & expansion steadily continued. Our staffers finally got out of the cramped store office trailer at the northeast corner of our lot and settled into a pleasant working space north of our store that gave much-needed elbow room with central a/c and heat, a big meeting room and large windows that brought the sunlight in.

Since then our staff has almost tripled and our yearly sales and net profit have soared to levels unthinkable back in my board years when we hoped for a strong fourth quarter to give us a year’s profit of about $20,000. The 2011-12 Wheatsville annual report lists our sales at $17 million and our profit of about $350,000.

Again, this has been accomplished without losing the WV Vibe – a community love for Wheatsville that has led to us being consistently voted Best Neighborhood Grocery in the annual Austin Chronicle Best Of Austin reader poll.

In addition to each Wheatsville team head and staffer, thanks and gratitude must go to Dan Gillotte for always widening his vision and leading our co-op into the future.

I am pleased to state again that the best thing our board did was to hire Dan, work with him for a Better Wheatsville and delight as his managerial vision and ability blossomed. It is no surprise that Dan has become a top leader in the Co-op Movement throughout the United States. Next June’s National Cooperative Grocers Association convention will be held in Austin so hundreds of our fellow co-opers from throughout our country who named us Best Co-op of 2011 can experience the Wonder of Wheatsville first hand.

Favorite photo of me

Favorite photo of me

In anticipation of building our second location at 4001 South Lamar, the Guadalupe store has been tweaked recently with some nice Changes.

Moving the bulk area to share open aisle space with produce is an imaginative move and shows on a smaller scale what shoppers will see when they enter the new Wheatsville down south. It opens up space for bulk shoppers to do their thing in better lighting and, to my eye, makes our produce look that much brighter since the bulk containers are a neutral color.

Accommodating the bulk move, each grocery aisle moved a bit to the north and some items were rearranged. The one move that provided an “A-Ha Smile” to me was discovering salsa jars now stocked with chips.

The former bulk space at the southeast part of our store is now filled with paper goods, cleaning items, pet food and a water machine like the one outside Wheatsville before renovation. Leftover space is used for rotating displays and provides ample space for tastings.

I eagerly await the opening of our south store – though not as much as the 78704 folks who have long lobbied for a Wheatsville South.

In addition to experiencing what a larger Wheatsville will look like, I expect shopping at our Guadalupe store will be less crowded with more immediate parking easily available.

The healthy growth of our Wheatsville is a Change I Believe In.

Bob Kinney shops in Wheatsville just about every day. He enjoys taking photos of Wheatsville folks whether they are playing on the co-op’s Virgins of Guadalupe softball team, cheering the team from the bleachers or partying like only Wheatsville folks can. See Bob’s photos and read his words on his blog – Austin Music & More

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Reinstate assault weapons ban after children slaughter in their school

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a news release I wrote for the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. I am a member of its board of directors and do communications for this group that has advocated Peace and Justice issues since Armistice Day 1939.

Emilie Parker

Ithaca, New York – Responding to the horrific slaughter of 20 six and seven-year-old students (some of whom were shot 11 times with the most lethal bullet) and six staffers at their elementary school on December 14, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) urges the US Congress to quickly reinstate the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004.

“Whether it is in a Denver movie theater, an Episcopal church in Ellicott City, Maryland, a Portland mall and now a grade school in bucolic Newtown, Connecticut, 2012 has been chillingly record-setting. This slaughter of innocent people can be stopped. Australia has shown that such a ban can effectively end the horror,” said the Rev. Allison Liles, EPF executive director.

After a gunman used a semi-automatic rife to kill 35 people in Tasmania, Australia instituted a ban of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and offered a weapon buy-back plan to its gun owners in 1996. A paper published ten years later in the scholarly journal “Injury Prevention” concluded the law appears to have worked, according to The Guardian newspaper.

“The paper concluded: Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms were followed by more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths. Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides,” The Guardian reported.

“The EPF stands with President Barack Obama when he called for ‘meaningful action’ to prevent further such tragedies on the day of the Newtown massacre – our nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech slaughter of 2007. Such a ban would protect our citizens, as well as ensure the safety of our law enforcement officers who often find themselves out-gunned on our streets,” Liles said.

EPF – website – has worked to promote peace since Armistice Day 1939.

The photo of Emilie – one of the 20 six and seven-year-old students who were killed in their school – is especially wrenching for me to see. I post The Guardian photograph to introduce her to you. Here is what her Dad said about Emilie

Insightful PBS program on Newtown Massacre

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The Wonder of Leonard Cohen – Halloween 2012 Austin

December 10, 2012 1 comment

More than half the Leonard Cohen Band at Cactus Cafe the night before a two-show stand in Austin

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

Listening to Leonard Cohen’s first album in 1967 was one of the top Epiphany Moments I experienced during the mid to late Sixties. His poetic words appealed to the young writer in me – his unique voice flowed from deeply guttural to softly lilting – and, he always gathered literally world-class musicians and gifted – and beautiful – women to complement his singing like jazz singer Julie Christensen formerly of Austin.

I have been a Leonard fan for almost five decades but never got to see him in person until the mid 1980s when he played the original Backyard west of Austin after he did Austin City Limits. During the show, a siren grew louder as it approached us and Leonard and band stopped midway through the song they were performing. For the next 90 seconds, Leonard led us on a trail of imagination and wonder – What did someone do to light up a police car in the night?  As the siren faded away, he and his band picked up exactly where they left, finished the song and went on to the next.

The Sublime Webb Sisters – Hattie and Charley – guitar

Thirty years later, I experienced Leonard at the new Long Center in Austin. Each song brought spiritual exhilaration, tears or smiles. The “Leonard Cohen Live in London” documentary film is a replica of Cohen’s Spring 2009 Austin show – same musicians and set list.

Touring now on his superlative new “Old Ideas” album, Leonard and Band finished the European first part of Tour 2012 three weeks ago and started the American tour here – as he did in Spring 2009.

Austin folks – Roscoe Beck bass & band leader and Mitch Watkins

I came to the show after being infused by a Leonard Cohen Love Fest that took place at the Cactus Café on the University of Texas campus – a short walk from the concert site Bass Concert Hall – on Tuesday Oct 30. The 90-minute show was a nice mix of talking about Leonard and playing some songs. Two Austinites – Roscoe Beck (bass and band director) and Mitch Watkins (guitar) – and four other band musicians joined Singers Sharon Robinson and the Sublime Webb Sisters Charley and Hattie – onstage to talk about what it is like performing with Leonard. They were joined onstage by Sylvie Simmons, author of the recently published Cohen biography “I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.”

Sylvie Simmons talks about her new Leonard biography – “I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen”

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

I was truly blessed to be in the sold-out audience the next night – Halloween – seated right next to the soundboard in the Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas for an evening that was All Treats with No Tricks.

Except for Watkins, the band and backup singers were the same that infused the Long Center in 2009. After energetically skipping onto the stage, 78-year-old Leonard noted “This may be the last time we are together … so we are going to give it all to you tonight.” Three-plus hours later, I can testify that Leonard and Band certainly did that.

Move over James Brown – Leonard now wears the hallowed cape of the Hardest Working Man in Show Business – but this time the King wears a trademark Fedora (made by Stetson) that complements a classic gentleman’s suit – just as all band members wear – most with a Fedora too.

Sharon brought the Webb Sisters into Leonard’s band in Los Angeles

I enjoyed a center seat where the 10-member band could be clearly seen from a distance and two huge screens showed close-up onstage shots – Cohen elegantly punctuating his words with supple fingers, often kneeling as if in prayer, next to the softly rhythmic bodies that nicely enhanced his singing which was surrounded by the deft musician touches of wire on wood, Hammond 3 keyboards and a variety of drums.

The sound and stage lighting also was superb. Stage lights to the left and right below Leonard casts two of his shadows onto the stage’s back curtain. Nice touch indeed.

The show mix featured some songs from “Old Ideas” and a hefty dose of Leonard Oldies sung as fresh as ever.

As intermission approached, Leonard moved in front of each band member, doffed his Fedora in Tribute, elegantly bowed, and spoke words of appreciation for each stage mate – and then went on to introduce the sound and lighting folks, as well as stagehands – including home countries of all from throughout the world. Leonard’s gentlemanly gestures simply spoke – We Are Family.

Drummer Rafael Gayer first met Leonard at a Norwegian metal fest years ago. Cohen had taken his 13-year-old daughter to the show because she liked Rafael’s band. Years later Rafael joined the Cohen Band.

The second half opened with Tower of Song that epitomized the perfect match between the voices of Leonard and Sharon with the Webb Sisters followed by the iconic Suzanne that opened his Songs of Leonard Cohen 1966 debut album that I still enjoy listening to on my original vinyl stereo record.

Midway through the second half I realized that the 10-member band sounded as intense as a classical orchestra three times its size. The Webb Sisters than formed a trio with Roscoe Beck to play their Coming Back to You song with gestures that matched voices. Sharon  then sang her heart-felt Alexandria Leaving with the Webb Sisters joining in towards its end.

As the folks around me were moving their heads and shoulders in rhythm with each song being played, the second half ended with the same Leonard introduction of each person as closed the first half.

Three encores followed – Marianne & First We Take Berlin … then Famous Blue Raincoat and Going Home … and finishing with Closing Time and then – an iconic and heartfelt final song – Save The Last Dance For Me.

As the encores were being played the close-up shots of Leonard seemed to show his face growing younger with each song – matching eventually Frank Sinatra in his prime.

I left the show spiritually and physically exhausted and infused with the wonder of Leonard Cohen and his Band. Hope to see you at least once again.

Austin American-Statesman insightful music writer Brad Buchholz’s  Profile of Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen set list October 31 2012

Nice Leonard Cohen website with MP3 Cactus Cafe recordings by Allan Showalter

Bob Kinney Words & Photos

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Tom GRRRL’s West Tour December 2012

December 6, 2012 1 comment


Rachel finishing on strings


and a soulful hug





Having a soft spot in my heart for Women Drummers, I showed up early for Tom GRRRL’s West Tour Kick-off Show at Cheer Up Charlie’s in Austin the first day of December 2012. After seeing Rachel play with several bands in recent years, I was looking forward to seeing her and Daniel John for the first time. It simply was the absolute best show I have seen Rachel play … and the first time her smile matched her drumsticks.

Rachel is one with her drums in a fundamental and nicely obvious sort of way. The stronger she plays the better it is. For once, her band mate can match her intensity. Experiencing Daniel John – musically and visually – is something to behold.

If you live in any of the cities listed below – please go to their show – or send info to friends in those towns.

Email 12.2.12 from Tom GRRRL –

We’s are packing it up and getting away for a couple weeks.
Gonna see the sights. Hit the open roads. Try to make new friends. Meet up with some old ones while we’re at it.
Needless to say, we’re excited. Hopefully if we come to your town, you can make it out. Feel free to lend us any suggestions, booking contacts, or camping tips.
So far, the schedule is looking a little something like this…

12/01 – Austin @ Cheer Up Charlies w/ Clarkisha, Mom Jeans

12/03 – El Paso @ Lip’s w/ Shadows Who Overthrew Them, Man Your Stations, The Dismissal

12/04 – Tucson @ TLMS w/ Tinsels, S.L.F.M, Cypress Estrada

12/05 – Phoenix @ Rusty Spoke Bike Co-op w/ Dogbreth, Diners

12/06 – San Diego @ Til Two Club (21+) w/ Teenage Burritos

12/07 – San Diego @ Che Cafe w/ Watercolor Paintings

12/08 – Los Angeles @ VLHS w/ Summer Vacation, The Babies, Stoned At Heart, Hard Girls

12/09 – San Jose @ House Of The Dead Rat w/ Sourpatch, Tender Buttons

12/10 – Oakland @ Ménage Twat 8th and Peralta w/ SBST, Bitter Fruit and Pig DNA

12/11 – San Francisco @ 49 Allison St. w/ Crabapple, Void Boys, Ceramic Holiday

12/12 – Eureka @ TBD, or camping… Prolly just camping.

12/13 – Portland @ Laughing Horse Books w/ Heart-Veg

12/14 – Seattle @ 317 NE 58th w/ Zach Burba, Erin Birgy, Jacob Jaffe, plus more!!

12/15 – Olympia @ The Northern w/ TBD

Again, feel free to lend a hand with any dates that are not yet confirmed. We are open to suggestions and appreciate guidance where guidance is due.

See you soon!

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