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Stuck House


As is not unusual... strange things happen in South Austin. Just this week, a house got stuck in the middle of the road. I feel that this is a convenient metaphor for old vs. new Austin. Consider this: This old duplex probably housed generations of old Austinites and the cheap "anything goes" duplex was actually the facilitator for the laid-back lifestyle that we all recall so fondly. However, the area around the stuck house is the currently trendy South Congress strip. This old relic was being moved to make room for some shiny new development or Hipster dream home. The house actually did it's best to resist change but in the end it gave up and moved to Lockhart.

I know some old Austinites that have take the same path.

Guy Clark and the Chili Parlour

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As the Grim Reaper continues his march through 2016, we lost another Austin influence in Guy Clark. Guy was never truly an Austin picker. Just like his close friend and running-buddy Rodney Crowell, Clark was a Houston fellow. That being said, what he was to Austin was more like the Professor and Muse to the local scene. As you are hearing from these ranks now, Guy was their influence, often their songwriter, and certainly their idol.

I recall back in the 70's that there were two performances that captured the Cosmic Cowboy movement best: Frummox' Texas Trilogy, and Clark's Desperados Waiting for a Train recorded for Walker's epic Viva Terlingua. When either of these came on the radio, I was transported to some wonderland where new things and new ideas were happening.... Austin, Texas.

Lot's have been said recently of Guy's Dublin Blues and the lyric that ties him to the Texas Chili Parlor. No offense to to the late Guy Clark but bear in mind that 1) this song is circa 1995 and 2) it is near thematic clone of Nunn's London Homesick Blues from 1973 (same year as Clark's "Desperado"!)

Gary will be missed because he was the foundation for a movement. Looking back at the lyrics of Desperados, I am struck by how time makes a reversal of everyone's fortune. I can just hear Guy repeating, saying for himself, that last line "Come on Jack, that son-of-a-gun's a-comin'..."

Highland Mall


The final closing of Highland Mall today is probably a debatable event: sad or good riddance. In either case, I'm sure that anyone who was in Austin back then spent considerable hours and money at this Mall. It was certainly the destination for shopping as it collected the traditional stores that were in Austin at the time into one place. I also recall seeing many first-run movies at the theater in the parking lot.

On some terms, Highland Mall was the most "Dallas" thing in Austin during the 70's. It helped usher in Disco by supplying the glam and flash. On other terms, it was very much an Austin institution... Scarborough's, Joske's, Stelfox; much more local than any mall in Texas.

In the end, it represented the wave of interest flowing out of the downtown area towards the North. Today, that wave has reversed and the results are clear.

After parties got out of hand, refuge at Villa Capri


I was five. The year was '55. I don't know just what was in the works in the Lege, but whatever it was, my mom and my aunt thought it expedient not to have their families in the Commodore Perry where their husbands and their cronies operated their 'hospitality' suites. We relocated to the Villa Capri which had not only a better pool, but a good reason to cart over to Youngblood's or the Nighthawk instead of waiting endless hours for mediocre room service.

Well, the VC went the way of 19th Street and then on to demolition, but that's the way of the world. At least Scholz's and the Tavern are still with us.


Downtown outdoor music venue


Lost my memory years ago (actually Woodstock!). Loved and lived here for a few years in the mid-70's. I remember going to an outdoor music venue (City owned?) that had music by a creek downtown. Not by Town Lake, but rather where possibly Stubbs or someplace nearby. Went to a few shows and remember sitting on stone-like seating. Could be wrong - but the music was a little more laid back. Still it was a lot of fun kicking back on a warm summer's evening.
Since moving back I've been telling & showing my wife the stories of Austin in the 70's. That one venue still remains a mystery!



Does anyone remember The Sahara Motel on Lamar? It was a dump in the early eighties when I actually lived there for about a year with my boyfriend and two cats, but the air conditioner was cold and the rent was cheap. There were still a few bedraggled palm trees but the swimming pool was long since abandoned, quite a few people lived there. I liked it.

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