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Tuesday
Nov082016

THE ELECTION THAT ATE ITSELF

Does it not feel like we've been spinning our wheels 18 months straight, mining for something that represents hope or redemption or comfort from this endless, numbing thumb war between a troglodyte billionaire and a duplicitious millionaire?

do deeply fear a world with Trump in the Oval Office, not because his campaign platform is basically Word Salad: Bigotry Edition nor because there's no telling what sort of catastrophic foreign policy decisions he might make. What I really fear is how Trump's presiding would impact us culturally. If the election of Barack Obama galvanized bigots who could never read the coded racism of the GOP of yesterdecade, Trump's campaign has been their nearly two-year pep rally in preparation for.....what, exactly? You've seen the Youtube videos where Trump supporters feel comfortable pushing, shoving and verbally accosting dissenters, where black men are assaulted and security comes over to scold them(!). What happens when the spray-tanned savior sits smugly in the Oval Office with his finger on the button? I live in San Antonio, where many people both in office and out look like me. But Texas is also one of most conservative states in the Union, which means I will be looking over my shoulder when I find myself in paler shades of the city or state. Especially because it sometimes feels like a Trump-Pence 2016 sign is the new burning cross.

That said, I do find reason to hope. Not because Hillary Clinton can win and make history both as a woman president and as someone who broke the cycle of Dem-Dem-Repub-Repub-Dem-Dem these past 25 years. If Clinton wins, she will probably continue President Obama's legacy, that is to say, she will placate progressives rhetorically and, occasionally, with real action, while expanding executive power, quietly bombing other nations and allowing Gitmo to slowly become the U.S.'s banana stand.

The real reason I hope is because, as Corey Robin from Jacobin states, Trump's campaign represents the remains of the GOP, after the false bullets of "family values," "fiscal conservatism" and "bootstrap mentality" have all been stripped away. The throbbing nucleus driving it all is free-association bigotry, wrapped in money, piety and the most fragile substance on the planet: white male ego. The truth is so ugly that even Republican "lifers" are finding themselves disgusted with both candidates and voting for the guy who did this. So for the first time since 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt carried six states for the Bull Moose Party, the U.S. may seriously consider third party candidates.

I say this not as someone who cared strongly about Gary Johnson or Jill Stein (but maybe that's because I have "Wi-Fi Head"), but as someone who, like most of us, would rather get swabbed at Planned Parenthood than feign any more hope or interest in the two-party system and its embarrassing ambassadors. The hope is that today's proceedings are not so disastrous as to prevent a more varied body politic to spring from the concrete that is this nation's state, one bloodied by the foreheads of an electorate gone mad.

Monday
Oct312016

PROFESSIONALS


First Doc. David Johnson. Early 70s.
Bernie Sanders hair and a face that says
the Cold War still rages while Reagan
rots beneath the Presidential Library.
Your BMI is 36, he says. You’re obese.
What are we going to do about that?
He’s shaped like a Liberty Bell that has never been rung.
Hasn’t measured my lean body mass.
Or acknowledged that I spend 50 hours a week on my feet.
No talk of Harris-Benedict equations.
Or how my blood pressure is 115 over 75.
Or that I can deadlift my body weight.
Or that he only accepts cash and checks in 2014.
But the chest pains are like an actual iron fist
and I don’t know if it’s therapy or diet or relationship
or all of it or none of it.
I’ll, uh, start eating kale, I say.
He sneers from his rectum.
 
Second doc. Roger Moczgemba. Shockingly white.
Criminally young looking. Like Rick Perry
but enjoys listening. Your liver is healthy, he says.
Tho there are some fatty deposits. I want
to tell him there must be some mistake
but he makes me feel I’m being tucked in right now.
A half-hour later, my voice cracks, Sometimes it’s just really hard to be me.
He understands, says the Zoloft is low dose and low risk.
Still, he doesn’t want it becoming a crutch.
And it won’t help me not act out.
Thinking of how my spirit wrings itself every time
I enter Scarlett’s apartment now.
Okay. Okay. Okay, I say.
 
Third doc. Richard Branson. Not a billionaire but
maybe owns an archipelago.
You’re not an addict, he says. Just European.
Trust me, in Italy, all they do is eat, drink and fuck.
Watch more porn. Or find a girl that’s like you.
Removing a wart from my knuckle,
Branson looks like Colonel Sanders but….handsy.
The island of Peloponnese, he says.
The water, so blue. The air, my god.
At 34, you’re not a spring chicken,
but not an old man either.
Go, he says. While you're alone.
My credit rating is in the low 300s.
The anesthetic wears off and I feel
the scalpel in the center of my knuckle.
I spy my chart on
the computer. Under sex drive:
Excessive.

Friday
Oct282016

Cards Out

A year since I left
and it still burns sometimes
when I see your face
in the light of those I keep close.
A year since I left
and I always cringe at your lover,
the wing-waiting beta,
now bold in your vindication.

A year since I left
and the odd disquiet still tricks
me into thinking I have ink in my pen,
when it is really blood in my stomach.
The romantic’s ulcer.
Justice by any other name. 

Saturday
Jul092016

SWEET HOME

Westlakes Center by Google Street ViewDropping my phone in the restroom.
Kneeling instead of picking up,
laying down, hot skin,
goose pimples, touching the tile.
Smells like Fabuloso and fast-casual funk.
 
Air rattling in my throat, a failed
mating call. Just tell me what’s wrong.
My therapist calm, annoyed.
Choking now. My life is—
And I don’t remember what I said.
Just think of the worst you’ve ever felt.
 
Fred's Fish Fry by Google Street ViewI will never tell Valerie that she
makes me dream of another me. One raised
on raspas and elote at Marbach and 410.
Watching the fast-food chains overtake
the taquerias, finding solace
in HEB and La Michoacana.
I’d grow my hair unashamed, speak more
Spanglish, ask her to prom and get an
apartment when one of us was promoted
at Sweet Home.
 
Never needing a car because
Marbach is for exploring
in cold shoes or hot feet.
I’d be here, requiring no neither or either,
with other problems but nothing to prove
when I look into the mirror of my neighbors.
 
Back in the Northeast Side,
in the life being lived,
my phone rings and Celeste,
my fiancé, tells me I miss your cock.
Parked in my best friend’s apartment complex.
My heart is a vice. We haven’t spoken in
days. Weeks since I bathed her son.    
 
Marbach Square CourtesySometimes I am a jolly giant.
Arms aflail, my voice sits at every table,
tells Valerie about the shanty in Progresso,
the old woman in the muumuu, announcing
hot gorditas and fresh salsa through her
only tooth. STUPID Valerie yells when
I pantomime using a lateral incisor to pierce
a soda can. Her cackles bounce
off the concrete floor.
Says the way I tell stories is,
I don’t know, different.
 
Later, I turn away before she notices
me watching her eyes
as they make sense of the food
tickets hanging over styrofoam containers.
I know what I feel is an idea and not reality.
But if attraction has anything to do
with knowledge, sometimes the weight
suffocates the heart.
 
I turn to the sink and I don’t know
how many dishes I wash before I let a fart.
Rowdy rangoons. Valerie’s hands drop
plates into the oily water and
relief turns to terror. Our gazes
meet. We exchange the smile
she picked up from somewhere else
and she floats away.
 
John Jay High School by Google Street ViewThree a.m. calls.
Driving in my sleep clothes.
Chastised by Celeste as Asher
sleeps ignorantly. Her righteous
words razor edges.
She pauses and puts
her hand in mine.
Creeps close into an embrace
and I say something tender.
We take off our clothes and make
desperate, everything distilled
into something raw.
 
I volunteer into a government-ordered
program. Months pass and Celeste’s
mother and father sit with us,
my apology letter in hand.
I read as Celeste lays
her head on the table.
Everyone is sorry her
Mother says. I nod, while
she feigns interest in the future.
 
The door closes.
Celeste stands with me in the
hall near the kitchen.
Her head in my chest, says
You’re not gonna hit me, again, are you?
My arms wrapped tight,
trying to squeeze the past out of now.
 
Marbach Animal Hospital by Google Street ViewThe way the rage sleeps,
allowing for quaint breakfasts,
dollar movie Saturdays,
and that one moonlit night
with salt, sand and sanctuary.
Until I’m on the phone with
Asher gnashing through a tantrum
and Celeste’s voice:
Your little. Fucking. Experience.
With your journaling and therapy and emoting.
Your fucking badge.
I know when I am and am not included,
I repeat apologies and promises
like prayers to a passive god. I
wait for certainty again in her calm.
 
I knew it would creep up again,
after I hung up with Tiger from Sweet Home.
Clenching my eyes, dialing Celeste,
telling her the viewing for Valerie is tomorrow.
You’re going.
Her words like a gavel.
 
Fireworks Stand on Bear Springs by Google Street ViewValerie was coy when
I asked her about the marks.
Blood blossoms creeping
like tangled webs across the
collar bones, masked
feebly by foundation.
Called me sweet,
acted flattered while
finding something else
to do in the restaurant,
before I could give her the number.
A shelter along I-90.
 
I heard you yelling at
each other last night said her Tia
Ida, visiting with Neveah,
who dipped her rangoon over and over.
Ruby sauce dripping into the ramekin
before taking a bite,
eyes and smile intense
as liquid sugar. Glee within
and away from the world.
 
Marbach Super 8 Crime Scene. Original photo by John DavenportTwenty-two years wasn’t long enough
but it was just enough.
Words from the slideshow
at Valerie’s rosary on repeat
Valerie with a basketball. Valerie laughing
in her flannel jacket holding a Bud Light.
Valerie holding Neveah for the first time.
Valerie at prom with a boy,
not Jason.
 
Jason wore a flannel jacket, too,
probably on that night he
pushed her into traffic,
as they argued along I-90.
He shook her after she
landed on the shoulder, told
her she better not die,
the way she did at Wilford Hall
three days later.
Manslaughter, not murder.
2 to 20 not 5 to 99.
Free sooner than you think according
to my sponsor. Valerie had lost
her second baby some weeks prior.
Why, Tiger knew but had not seen.
 
Could not stop thinking about
the slide show, how words make sense
even when they don’t.
Chatting with former
co-workers at the rosary. I work
at a paper, now, but I miss
delivering Chinese most days.
 
Heard footsteps coming toward me as
I huddled into the corner where my mattress
meets the wall and searched the darkness
of my room for
something.
Something.
Something other than silent
slivers of moonlight,
indifferent as men
with nothing to lose.
 
Westlakes Villas by Google Street ViewMonths later,
healing is here.
I bath the boy while his mother
does dishes. We read,
close the door reverently,
the presence birthed by wringing.
The past is grey water.
 
We joke on the couch
about how she paid the plumber earlier
and we watch paranormal
movies over beers.
I think about how she
got macabre drunk a few weeks ago,
joked about me slapping her around.
Another time where she mixed rum
and Xanax and punched my face.
Glazed joy above my terror.  
 
She will squeeze me out soon
for a man with a clean slate
but a worse record. Someone who
her parents won’t see like me.
Until they do.
 
The screen goes black
between scenes and I feel us
melded,
glowing.

Monday
Jun272016

Transmissions From Ventura Grand Opening

Carrillo breathes for a moment behind the bar on opening night.“I’m doing alright. It’s been stressful everyday. When you’re passionate about something, it’s just gotta be your full time…You don’t have that kind of financial background where you can just hire people and open up a place. This is us coming from the ground up and building out. As we go along, I feel more calm.” -Michael Carrillo, Owner, Ventura
 Last Nighters“I didn’t see any walls knocked down. The back area is still pretty much the same. A lot of this kind of thing is a branding issue…I think when it comes to live music and events, these days people show up to a cocktail bar and drink music in numbers. [They could] walk down the street and see something incredibly creative and unique, but they’d rather go to the cocktail bar and the drink show. A lot of that has to do with the environment, the buzz and the hype with ‘the night.’ So when it comes to something like Ventura, it’s the exact same location and chances are a lot of the same bands, but you’re gonna’ get a different vibe. If you were to come here in the weeks and months before 1011 closed, there weren’t these people here. If you were to come back here in a few months with these same bands, will there still be these people here?” -Miles Terracina, Managing Editor, Sobre Sound

 

Terracina“The first thing I wanted to address was everything being comfortable. We’re no longer a music venue strictly, but we’re also an open bar. That’s why we went with the air-conditioning because that means people stay. There’s a lot of good things happening in San Antonio and, of course, the inspiration comes from the growth of everybody doing their own things. We don’t necessarily right now have our own theme. I kind of like the speakeasy kind of bar. We want it to be nicer but still accessible because of all these lofts that are going up [in the neighborhood]. Somewhere people could drink without spending all their money. I guess it’s easier to say what we’re not going to be, like a sports bar or a full time venue. We don’t have a TV inside anymore. [For the Spurs], I think what we’ll do for that is have a projector and blow it up and make it more of an outdoor sort of thing. Because of course you have to support the Spurs.” -Carrillo

 


Johnson

“When I saw that Mikey was taking it over…it went from being we were all so sad that this legacy was ending and then when we found out that it was going to continue, that was amazing. And that it’s being spearheaded by someone that I love and trust and he knows the music scene and has been working here [all this time]. -Kim Johnson, Content Manager at Do210.com


Future Sailor“One thing about this corner downtown…you’ve got Rosella’s, you’ve got Luxury, you’ve got Brooklynite not very far, Paramour’s right here, VFW [next door]…If you go over there right now, they’re playing tejano and serving two-dollar nachos…you get the vast difference of what [all these places] have. San Antonio can maintain and hold onto the variety. Not everything will be knocked down and turned into a high end cocktail joint. San Antonio has this anti-hipster streak. You have a certain type of crowd that’s being brought down that wasn’t here. But San Antonio has this, ‘Oh, no. We’re barbacoa and Big Red.’ People still hold onto The White Rabbit…they don’t want to let go of that. People here have this anti-‘new.” -Terracina
 Hydra Melody

“That’s a good term ‘art metal.’ Those are the kinds of decisions we’re facing as we move forward. I guess our priority is to adapt to the location and take the full potential. Unfortunately, that means we’re gonna have to make some sacrifices as far as our booking. I mean, I do like all music. [But] as far as adapting to the apartments around us and trying to be that day time and night time bar, we gotta’ make sure that people know that they can come here anytime—regardless of the music—and enjoy themselves. Walking in and preparing your earplugs for the night…[laughs]. There’s really only so much we could stick with. I hope that we still attract the Strip and the people that know where we’re coming from. But yeah, everything is changing. In this area…if we had a music venue, we’d have a music venue. But we have a bar. We want to make it a good bar.” -Carrillo
 Rear view“There were fundamental flaws with the [original] venue. First and foremost, being hot as hell. It doesn’t matter for dudes coming to punk shows [laughs]. The other thing was that people liked the DIY [aesthetic], you know, stickers on the door. But I actually like that they’ve done stuff with the décor. These crazy paintings that are beautiful [by artist Monika Rostvold]. And the chandeliers. I think that had a lot to do with branding and Mike’s girlfriend [Brandy Rae Perez] being involved in that aesthetic development. I think she roots him. I date a musician, so I know this is true.” -Johnson
 Perez. Courtesy

“All of the fine details of it, I guess. We spend all of our free time together so I’m there with him every step of the way. Like figuring out what paint we’re going to use. All the business decisions. Anything that is going on in his head, we talk about.” -Brandy Rae Perez, Co-Owner, Ventura.

 

 

No more overhang. No more TV.

“Once the liquor comes up, we may be 21 and up. But we also may pull a Limelight and Korova and do 18 and up. The liquor license is so important because it’s a completely different ballgame of financial revenue. It’s not necessarily, ‘Oh we’ll make more money with liquor,’…I just want to become a full time bar. With liquor, it’s something that allows us to do that. We’re trying to be that connection…The Pearl and cocktail bars like TBA and also along the strip, we share a lot of our crowd with people that would go there. That’s definitely all part of the plan.” -Carillo

 
“Sound is good. I want to say part of it could be the bands. If you were to come in here and watch a screamo band or something, it might not be like that. Might be a little more in your face, might be a little bit more ignorant levels of sound.” -Terracina
 
Bunting. Courtesy

“One of the first shows I ever went to was at the 1011 and the one thing that stuck with me was how intimate the venue was, and I'm so happy Ventura was able to keep that aspect. I admire their [Carrillo’s and Perez’] drive to keep booking shows even amongst the renovations and how quickly they were able to get things up and running for what seemed like a flawless grand opening weekend. It's nice to know that the venue is not only run by someone who understands our music scene, but is very active in it.” -Alyssa Bunting, Assignment Editor/Reporter, Sobre Sound
 
“Outlook good. [What they’re doing well is] one: the sound. Two: location. Again, about the perception, environment and branding. The New York Times is competing for peoples’ attention with cat videos and music is, too, now. Now you have movies in the park and cocktail bars and all types of events whether they’re free or at different price points. Music just has a lot to compete with.
 
Heavy bands and certain types of punk will always have a home somewhere [just] as a three-piece jazz band will always have a home somewhere. But is that the focus of the ‘cutting-edge’? Probably not. If Ventura can hone in and serve audiences…I don’t know if they’re going to have a specific format. Some venues try to cater to one crowd and other venues try to bring them all in. It becomes less about being loyal to one kind of identity and more just being a stage and a proper venue for performers.” -Terracina

Zamarron. Courtesy 
"The negatives: it's small, dark, and I felt like a sardine. The positives: it's cozy, has a great moody feel, and is the most intimate music experience I've ever had. Can't wait to go back." -Mario Zammaron, Owner, 210LocalMedia.com

“I love San Antonio. From where we started six years ago, it’s like a different world now. How much stuff happens here. We really have a vibrant arts and music community and no one ever fucking knew about it. I see a lot of potential in this place and I’m glad that it’s someone that understands the music scene already. I think it will be awesome.” -Johnson
 
“As far as the transition, everybody that knows me and Brandy, they saw us then and they see us now and we’re being very open about the moves we’re making because we have that personal relationship with [people]. We are that community. I don’t know of anybody that is rooting against us. I’m not really worried about how people might see it. If they know, they’ll [know] just as much as I [do] how things are changing.” -Carrillo

Wednesday
Apr272016

Small Hours

Paul Almasy

The wet thump in your chest,
pogoing my skull,
slowing to a muted meter.
Sound of you drifting.
 
Peel the sheet,
feel the fan that I only like now.
You’re a monolith of skin and sweat,
long exhales through your nostrils.
 
I think of the butt of your palm against my labia.
Painful. Thrilling.
Like the way you stood
too close to me two nights ago,
 
laughing jollily at something I said,
while I didn’t think about
my husband
rambling about the bar.

--

Prints by Paul Almasy [L & R].

Saturday
Apr022016

BUSHWOOD CC

There's a moment in every neighborhood bar where the chatter rises above the juke and the bartender disappears to the office of no-tells to flip the ambiance once more. That moment where the third whiskey squeezes between the temples, fills the cheeks and fattens the palms.

Owen arrives at twilight, before the couples show, to sit with men seeking daughter, mother, girlfriend, waitress. He hates Tuesdays, when the service industry flood with their first apartment problems on the driving range out back. Sitting in the aforementioned moment, he folds his arms tighter, waits patiently as Caro shakes her hips with a tin full of Cheap Fucks for boys behaving badly in large groups.

At 11:00, with the music up and the walls down, Owen turns down a fourth Blue Label, closes his tab and shuffles past a woman out back who tells her boyfriend that swinging clubs is already not fun anymore.

Owen hired a promising manager so he can finally just count the money and meet with an accountant sometimes. He doesn't know what he wants Caro to say but he wants the money out.

Thursday
Feb182016

Concerning Yearning

The times spent solitary
on a night lit porch with spirit
or smoke, thinking of
almosts, shoulds and unknown knowns.
 
The longing,
pang above the plexus.
Wipe your eyes and wrap your
fingers and clench back.
 
For longing is when the heart sees every shade,
blinded, but unable to crane the corneas,
open as potential,
fearless as a moment before death.
It is living by a growl that won’t be crowded out
until every hue has been inhaled.
 
Longing is the heart knowing
it could move, but remaining
for love accepted is sweeter than
love taken. Damn the
risk of sitting still.
 
Longing is choosing an unknown
danger over a known doldrum
A possible victory over
a sure draw.
It is the charm and wisdom of broken glass
when a moronic vase tied the room together.
Longing is not now over never.
Maybe over no.
 
Longing is living as if death is inevitable
and joy missed is
joy mourned. 
 
Longing is a friend.
The hunger that heals.
The emptiness that exalts.
The blunt edge that opens valleys
and lets rain quench the river soul.
 
May we be sated only when we are spiritless.

Tuesday
Feb162016

Honoraries

“What?” says Will. “He’s into country music and votes Republican?”
Before he croons “Sara Smile” karaoke.
He’s a natural on the mic,
and his birthday at the Parched Marlin is a hit.
 
Cherie yells above the juke,
“And I told him, ‘I know how to do a fucking
timing belt, dude!’ I thought
Autozone guy was going to propose right there.”
 
Hurley laughs hardily and orders
another pair of Dos’ dressed.
He’ll offer his ears now
and his tears when the moment is right.

Tuesday
Jan192016

Transitional Climate

Claire adjusted her cheongsam dress from Value Village.
Felt the rush of gooseflesh.
“I’m not new to you anymore,” she said in their cabin.
His bags packed and brain somewhere in the lower 48.

 

Wednesday
Oct072015

Your Love, Unrequited

Daniel Bystedt

Never not valiant at first.
Your declarations feel
mighty as you take a bruised love into your mind.

Heel in wait with impaired eyes—
you sell as wounded—
smelling your paramour fleshy 
with discord and doubt.

She threatens to fall into your jowls,
supple with suffering, ripe with rapture;
you just need a boa's patience
and a poacher's heart.

The problem is that you are no predator.
Only a toothless scavenger
who confuses low-hanging fruit with
the toils, failings and ecstasies 
of feral devotion on the burning plain.

--

Hire Daniel Bystedt [L&R].

Thursday
Sep172015

The Cost

Standing in my old room, iron
in hand, sweat beads
that are okay because the morning comes
through the blinds in pearl shards.
 
Another a.m. I’d still be sleeping
off a headache, thirst and misery after feeling your
lips lucid to me before your work.
Later awaking like a specter sucking
caffeine and active cultures in
a race to normal.
 
But today I left when you did, sipped
fresh coffee, bought groceries in a desolate
market, picked up weekend whiskey, fried
an egg, ate a bear
claw and looked with dry
eyes out the window and thought
to write down these things before
I had no time to remember them.

Sunday
Sep132015

Addict Haiku

We fear just two things:
Feeling everything at once
or nothing at all. 

Friday
Sep112015

Observation #12

When the silver roadwhale flipped, Marcus laughed.
He said the wayward Oldsmobile reminded him of
stumbling out of Bennigan’s into a
backseat full of ass and limbs.
 
We stopped fishtailing and
Martin was losing his shit,
pounding the wheel and ranting about bucketlists,
journals to unborn children, and unfinished screenplays.
 
I realized we would probably miss the 10:20
No Country for Old Men when we left the ground.
But I’m more likely to be standing
on a seaside cliff going,
“shit—I could jump right now,” anyway.
 
It’s Martin who’s living
in a studio with a bike and a MacBook
and my copy of Catcher in the Rye
 
He’s read it five times.

Sunday
Jul062014

My Missus, The Hairstylist

My missus, the hairstylist
revives me from follicle to foot.
Her wifely words are the gospels of
drunken debauchery, where
Jager begot Jacob and Patron, Patty,
one short of a trinity.
Dad, (someone else’s husband now)
helped conceive them over
the armoire, between meth runs and
hole-y pokes.
After their lab closed, she melted Jesus
in her mouth and found him
a silhouette breathing in the moonlit curtains.
My missus, I hope
your dreams of managing
strip clubs or Christian hair salons
are all raised up.
Please, just put your
working hands on my hairy
neck and cut me clean again.
--
Hire Kristin Proctor [L&R].

Monday
Jun302014

What Occurred to Me on a Hillside In Sonoma County

Adam Villela Coronado

I.
People don't like alone.
Least of all in people who seem to enjoy it.

They'll walk right up to a body plumbing the brainy cosmos,
Say, "What are you doing off by yourself?"
Existential hall monitors.
Troubling.

II.
The vines, hills, and breezes of Sonoma are ambrosial serendipity.

Butte-side, overlooking a reticent pond.
The soft burn of sunset.
Wind crisp as truth in a lover's mouth.
Wet yearning from the tongue of the vineyard hound.

Even this moment, random as weather, came from a fortuitous handwringing.

Friday
Jun202014

SONG OF THE SELF

Ploughing in the Iron Age, as illustrated by Neils Bach.

Supreme energy. Cosmic force. The Dao.

Alive in all things, you unite me with the world and the world with me. Thank you for this cup of boundless vigor.

Every breath, thought and deed I draw from your measureless temporal waters. I employ your absolute zeal in all things loving. I accept that I am complete and perfect, my worth embedded in neither my greatest deed nor my most vile failure.

I am fortified with infinite potential, free to be anything that my will allows. This agency, resting in my soul’s seat, is my divine gift to an empirical world. I am not my work, wealth or possessions. Nor my friends, family or lovers. Nor my desires, deeds or mind. I am the celestial grounded, quickening through vessels, sinew and gray matter, forged in eternal ardor.

We are us. Our perfection frees us of the pain of yesterdays and the uncertainty of tomorrows. We occur as we choose, trading on all the experience, knowledge and love that we sense at will.

May we remain present in this body, this moment until we depart.

--

More by Neils Bach. [L&R]

Wednesday
Dec042013

THINK ABOUT THIS

Zen PencilsThe comic with its original color palette, drawn by Zen Pencils and based on a quote by Bill Watterson, can be found here

Friday
Nov292013

TEXAS IS FUNNY FALL SHOWCASE GOES HARD AND NOT SO HARD OVER TWO NIGHTS

Vetter Kids. Courtesy.

The Texas is Funny Records Fall Showcase kicks off tonight at The Ten Eleven (1011 Ave. B) at 9 pm for $5 at the door (all ages). Night two is at Hi-Tones (621 E. Dewey) at 9 pm for $5 (21+ only). Before you head out to the show tonight, check out this interview I had with label owner Scott Andreu on expanding the showcase, signing bands both here and out of state, and also the ongoing mission of the Bands I Know collective.

Adam Villela Coronado: So are you switching from annual to seasonal as far as Texas is Funny Showcases are concerned?

Scott Andreu: Possibly it will turn seasonal. We have a lot of stuff going on in early 2014 release wise and we wanted to have a showcase featuring bands that will be a part of those releases: Deer Vibes, Glish, Vetter Kids, and Young /// Savage. Plus we have big plans for what will be our normal yearly showcase. It will expand to being about much more than just us. 

So this Fall Showcase seems to be marrying with or at least overlapping with the annual "Black Friday Blowout" show at 1011. Was it supposed to be this way?

Not originally. We had the showcase planned for 11/30 at Hi-tones and I had actually completely forgotten about the annual Black Friday Blowout. When I told James from Grasshopper Lies Heavy about 11/30, we decided to combine the two nights and promote them together. After we decided to combine the events, we separated the bands by the level of heaviness because some on Friday night play too loudly for Hi-Tones.

The showcase from January 2012 (at the White Rabbit) struck me for its wide swath of musical styles. The event repped indie country, art metal, space folk and all were either on the same label or part of the TIFR family. This weekend the lineup will be no different, featuring nu-gaze, post grunge pop and post punk. What is it that strings the TIF roster together? 

All these styles of music are basically off-shoots of the punk/hardcore genre. When TIFR first started, I pretty much just worked with my friends and the genres were even more “all over the board.” We did a split for Grasshopper and God Townes and that's when I met Marcos Gossi. Since his joining, we have molded the label into something a little more focused, something along the lines of labels like Matador or Sub Pop.  

TIFR has also begun featuring some out of state acts like Glish. Talk to me about deciding to support bands from outside of Texas.

Our first band from out of state was Heat Dust from New Orleans. We have also released albums from out of state bands American Thunder Band [KS] and Sixteen [KY]. Glish, from New Orleans, and Cherry Cola Champions, of Ohio, will be added to that list early next year. I know the label has the word “Texas” in it but I never had the idea that I would only put out Texas bands.

Now that isn't to say we don't care about San Antonio or Texas in general. We host as many bands as we can that are coming through town by either booking shows for them ourselves or supporting booking companies like Bexar Naked Booking. We want some of these national touring bands to leave Texas saying, "San Antonio was our best Texas date."

Deer Vibes. Courtesy.

In July, the Bands I Know media collective (that you are a member of) scored a weekly spot on KRTU 91.7 [airing Sundays and Mondays at midnight]. How has that been going? 

It has been going great. We pitched the show idea to the KRTU operations manager over a lunch at EZ’s in the Quarry last spring and he was intrigued. He asked us to do a demo show and he loved it. We won second place in best local radio program in the San Antonio Current, which was cool because we didn't know it was a category people could vote for.

BIK seems like it's been a little de-centralized since its 2011 inception. A few Youtubes here, a few blog posts there. Is the concept coagulating on KRTU?

I had the idea for BIK while floating on my back in a pool in New Orleans in the summer of 2011. I was still doing TIFR by myself and wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go with it. I did know I wanted to work with more bands than I wanted to sign to contracts.

At first, BIK was going to be a subscription-based 7" record club but morphed into a video project. It was a way to work with bands that had nothing to do with the label and was a fun project that I did with my brother Stephen. It did have the side effect of people finding out about the label because I was at their show filming them.  

The radio show, however, is about giving voice to styles of music that are being heavily covered by Spin, Brooklyn Vegan, Vice and being booked in San Antonio by smaller booking companies. It's a way for smaller labels in the region (Crowquil, Trends Die, Crime Fighter, Community, Better Days Will Haunt You) and national independent labels to get some coverage in San Antonio. We want the radio program to be an anchor piece to an overall puzzle being put together by a very dedicated group of people.

What do you hope people take away from this weekend's shows regarding TIFR?

I want them to see these new bands we are supporting and get pumped up about them. We are staying true to ourselves, doing our thing and putting out music that we love.

Saturday
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THINK ABOUT THIS

"He was a small town hustler and would-be shaman with big dreams, a heart of gold and a silver tongue more suited to live at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th Century than in today’s world. He was a perpetual outsider and definitely the truest rebel I’ve ever been close to. Jukebox - I hope you find all the things that escaped you in this life on the other side. I hope you will forgive me for not letting you know that I understood and respected you for who you were while you were still on this earth. I will always carry some of you with me brother."

-Jeff Smith, Owner of Saustex Records, on the death of John Thomas Jackson aka "Jukebox" (pictured above). Jukebox was a founding member and guitarist of Texas cow punkers Hickoids. 

Read the full eulogy.

Download classic Hickoids' cuts with Jukebox on guitar.