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The Capitol Building

Places | Politicos

Before the fear-laden days we currently know, our State Capitol building prided itself on being open 24 hours a day. They had a security guard or two but you could drive right up to the building, park near the south door, and walk right in at 2:00am. I know this first hand because of the many times I did just that. It is an amazing building (this was WAY before they added the underground complex) and experiencing it in the still and quiet and solitude will stay with me forever.

It's still there, still beautiful, but essentialy lost to us at this point. Like so many freedoms and other things of beauty.

The Alamo Hotel and Lounge

Bars | Places | Politicos

Talk about spooky... The Alamo Hotel even looked like it was haunted... which it was. Haunted by the ghosts of old Texas politics, haunted by the residual effects of time and social stratification. However, the Alamo Lounge was one of those places where the counter culture seeped into, bit by bit, and took it over. Much like Spellman's, The Lounge was the venue for many a-starvin' Austin picker. Probably the most interesting product of the Lounge is Lyle Lovett. He seemed to be the leader/headliner for a weekly picker session.

In those days, it seemed like the Alamo stood alone at the corner of 6th and Guadalupe. Now, it's hard to imagine that spot could have been so isolated even though isoaltion was what many of it's denizens craved.

Update!
I just watched "Be There To Love Me", the Townes bio-pic, and was reminded that the video for Willie and Merle's "Pancho and Lefty" was shot at the Alamo Hotel during its final days. Watching that video, actually looking "through" the video to see a snapshot of old Austin is very rewarding. Here is an outstanding memoire on the Hotel and the shoot: Pancho and Lefty, Part 1 and Pancho and Lefty, Part 2

Earl and the Heisman

People | UT

I still recall walking into the UGL and seeing Earl's Heisman on display in the lobby. As I understand it, it was the real deal... just like Earl.

The Gibby And Robbie Show

Bands | Hipsters

Relatively late in the old Austin scheme of things but perhaps the ultimate expression of what it all means to keep it weird- The Gibby Haynes and Robbie Jacks Show on 101X!

Never heard it? Never knew about it? Claim that you have Austin cred? Don't think so.

Here's a bit to get you started:
Clip1
Clip2

So Austin. So strong. So early in the morning. How did they do it?

Hippies

People | Scenes

Austin was well known for it's hippie culture. Hippies on the drag, Hippie houses, Hippie Hangouts, Hippie events (Eeyore's party is a direct descendant of hippie happenings.) What was interesting was how everyone seemed to get along. It was common to see Hippies mingling with the rest of the population and everyone getting along fine. This is another huge indicator of how modern society has lost the tolerance that once made it strong.
Update: I recently took a stroll through one of the ancient hippie neighborhoods (just west of downtown... you know where) and I was pleasantly surprised to see houses and yards that could pass for 1979 in Austin. Old school Austin bomemia has survived!

Double Trouble

Bands

You want to know why Stevie Vaughn got so good? It was because he spent so much time onstage waiting for Lou Ann Barton to show. I recall shows where the band would do two full sets and Lou Ann would show up for the last song or two. Still... it was good. Really good. Stevie would absolutely rock the house and get every butt in Rome Inn on the floor. Lou Ann would come on and take it to another level.

Uranium Savages

Bands

aka "Some Ukrainian Salvage" These guys (seemed like there were about 20 of them) played a huge role contributing to what is currently considered "Weird Austin". Who can forget their songs like:

  • Walking the Drag
  • Idi Amin is my yard man
  • Willie
  • Party with the Pope


  • Who's been to:

  • Spamarama
  • Halloween downtown where you must walk in a circle


    They were all things Eddy and 709. Who/what the hell is Eddy and what does 709 really mean?