Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Parent Trip: Part Three

From the Alamo, we crossed the street to Pat O'Brien's for a quick snack and a cold drink. I had misgivings about stepping into this transplanted New Orleans staple, but I was craving a hurricane. It was good, but Ralph and Kacoo's was better. I didn't have trouble walking after this one. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta. We were in San Antonio after all.

We met back up later to go to the 35th Annual Texas Folklife Festival at the Hemisfair Park, which, incidentally, was the site of the 1968 World's Fair. I won't bore you with the details of our multicultural experience as you can look at the website yourself, but here are a couple of highlights from the Festival:

The kid drummer at the New Orleans/Cajun pavilion:

The bagpipe players exiting the arts and crafts area:

After leaving the festival, we took a trolley to Mi Tierra. Even at 9:00 it was still an hour wait so we resolved to come back for breakfast and caught the return trolley to the Riverwalk and had dinner at Casa Rio. A bushel of chips and queso, plates full of tortillas, and a carafe of Sangria later, we returned to our respective rooms to go to bed.

We had a couple more stops planned for Sunday. I'll share those tomorrow.

As for today's postscript, here is one of our last glimpses of the Alamo from the trolley on Saturday night:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's super, man.

In deference to my favorite critic, Roger Ebert, Superman Returns is a thrilling film on an epic scale full of iconic moments.

The film takes up the story of our hero after the events of the first Superman sequel. He's been gone for five years in search of the remnants of his Krypton home, and he returns to Earth to find that many things have changed in his absence. For starters, Lois Lane has a child and a fiance and Lex Luthor is out of prison and plotting another insidious scheme.

While this film doesn't have quite the pop grandeur of Richard Donner's 1978 touchstone, Superman Returns director Bryan Singer pays homage to that film's legacy by casting a virtual unknown in the lead role and staging scenes that recall both Christopher Reeve's seminal performance and the character's DC Comics origins. Where Singer surpasses the original is with outright spectacle and an understated and unrequited love story on par with a Merchant-Ivory film.

Sure, maybe the running time is a little long, but since almost 20 years have passed since the last Superman adventure (the abysmal Superman IV: The Quest for Peace) and over 25 years have passed since Superman II, the last respectable portrayal of the Man of Steel on screen, this is forgivable.

Jamye and I went to the 10 o'clock screening at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema last night. We arrived at 9:00 to the following scene which I snapped a murky picture of with Jamye's phone.

They had four screenings from 10:00 to 10:15. They were all sold out. Luckily, I ordered our tickets three weeks ago for the privilege of standing in line and viewing the movie with comic book geeks of every shape and size, and judging by the audience reactions, most of them left the theater late last night just as satisfied as this recovering comic book geek.

As a postscript to the evening's events, here's a bit of hilarity that was shown before the film's trailers.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Parent Trip: Part Two

If you can cast your mind back to the post from over a week ago (and I can cast my mind back to an event that occurred over two weeks ago), you (and I) may recall that there was the matter of a weekend trip to San Antonio with my parents.

We took off in the big white truck Friday afternoon, June 9th, Two Thousand and Six, A.D. from South Austin, and by 8:30 p.m. we were pulling into the parking lot across the street from the Westin Riverwalk in Old San Antone. A short time after checking in, we set out to find some food. After wandering around aimlessly for what seemed like hours, we eventually settled at a table along the Riverwalk at a place called Rita's on the River. My cold beer was welcome and the boilerplate Tex Mex fare was a godsend. All in all it wasn't half bad.

As an aside, my first impression of San Antonio's Riverwalk at night was that of an elaborate Disney World ride. Think Pirates of the Caribbean but with women pushing strollers instead of slinging pints and rebuffing the advances of scurvy pirates. The amount of alcohol being consumed was roughly equivalent, however.

Saturday morning found us at Zuni Grill for a Texas-sized breakfast, and from there, we left the riverwalk area...

...and headed over to the Alamo by way of a souvenir shop to buy some big straw hats for the lady folk. After taking the prequisite touristy-type pictures of Mom and Dad out front...

...we passed through the historic facade of the old mission. The following words, "Be silent, friend. Here, heroes died to blaze a trail for other men." set the tone for the somber history of the structure and its surroundings, long since converted to lush, visitor-friendly courtyards. State flags representing the home states and countries of the nearly 200 men who gave their lives in defense of the fortified mission lined the interior walls of the shrine. Plaques on the back wall listed the names and origins of the defenders of the Alamo who had held out for thirteen days against Santa Anna's Mexican army in the 1836. Outside, the remaining original structure, the Long Barrack, had been converted into a museum devoted to Texas history.

I took Jamye's picture in her new straw hat near the northeast corner of the shrine. Notice the Texas flag fluttering in the immediate background and an American flag far-off in the distance.

On the shrine's southside, I had Jamye take my picture at the fountain commemorating the four commanders at the Alamo. Naturally, I chose the Tennessee native.

Despite the encroachements on the site's solemnity by snow cone vendors in the front courtyards and the Ripley's Believe It or Not across the street, the whole experience remained moving and inspirational, and it has left a lasting impression on me.

More on San Antonio tomorrow. Seriously.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


For now, it's an online portfolio. It might be something else later, but for now, it's an online portfolio. It might be something else later, but for now.... um, you can check it out here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Come back to Austin soon...

...Kathleen Edwards. We weren't living here yet when you played KGSR's 15th Anniversary Party in December.

Click her pic to go to iTunes, but you can download 11 .mp3 tracks from her first two albums on the Music page of her site. Right click on the song titles and "Save Target" on the PC and Ctrl-Click on the songs for the Mac. "Back to Me" and "In State" are the real keepers.

I would hang out with me... deference to Loopty Lou. Click the random iTunes party shuffle playlist to see why.

Man, I have good taste.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Parent Trip: Part One

So, my parents arrived in Austin on Tuesday, June 6. They left this past Thursday. In the interim, we ate our weight in chips, salsa, queso, tortillas, beans and rice between here and San Antonio and generally acted like unabashed tourists for the duration of their stay.

We hit the usual suspects here (Shady Grove, Z Tejas, Kerbey Lane, Shady Grove, again, Curra's and Opal Divine's), and I got to try the food at Lucy's Boatyard for the first time. Crawfish Eggrolls for the table. Cajun Redfish for me. Texas Pecan Chicken for Jamye. Grilled Texas Gulf Shrimp for Dad. Grilled Salmon for Mom. Rolls with sweet butter for insurance against ordering dessert in any form. Good stuff. I'll be back. I'll also go back to County Line when I've got a hankerin' for some barbecue.

Did I mention the Catfish Beignets with jalepeno tartar sauce appetizer at Z Tejas? They deserve more than one line of praise here, but we must press on. We've got a lot to cover, dear reader.

On Thursday, June 8th, Jamye got us tickets to tour the UT Tower. While there was no mention of the 1966 tragedy that most associate with the tower by our guides on the twilight tour, we were given a wealth of history associated with the campus landmark. Rising 300 feet above the Austin landscape, the tower's observation deck provided an impressive vantage point to view the city, the campus, and the hill country and sunset to the west. Of course, we forgot the camera, so our friends and family who haven't experienced it will just have to imagine what it was like until we can take them up there.

Other interesting footnotes from their stay in Austin include our first visits to the flagship Whole Foods Market (which one should either always or never enter on an empty stomach... I'm not sure which), and the award-winning independent bookstore, Book People, a bookstore that reminded me of Davis Kidd before it, well, for lack of a better term, sucked.

Of course, no trip to Austin would be complete without seeing the Congress Avenue bats, and we weren't about to let my folks head back to Tennessee without having the quintessential Austin tourist experience. We saved that for Wednesday night, and I think they were suitably amazed despite Dad's rumored misgivings. Whatever your take on bats, the almost primordial idea of nocturnal critters exiting their dens en masse to feast on smaller critters is, also for lack of a better term, pretty cool.

Tomorrow, I'll recap the highlight of my parents' visit: our weekend trip south to San Antonio, and this time, we have pictures.

Friday, June 09, 2006


According to, the Hollywood Reporter has announced that David Milch and HBO have come to an agreement to broadcast a pair of two-hour movies (in lieu of a full fourth season) that will wrap up the show's lingering storylines.

I guess this is good news, but I'm disappointed nonetheless. The pace of the show over a 12 episode season was part of its charm, if you can call a series about a lawless mining camp in the late 19th century charming.

It sounds like Milch is happy, and since I trust his creative decisions, I guess I can be happy too. I hope none of the actors have already shaved their mustaches.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Well, this is a fine how do you do.

The third season of my favorite HBO show, which begins next Sunday (June 11) may well be its last. Even as media writers from all over the country crawl out of the woodwork to unite in a veritable chorus of praise for the show and a campaign launches to save it, the prospects look bleak.

Everyone involved in the production appears to be resigned to the worst, which is a shame, especially considering that David Milch, the series creator, has gone on record as saying that he had planned a four-year arc for the show. Now, with all of the third season episodes in the can, I imagine the final episode will lack a ring of finality.

I feel like Al Swearengen, Deadwood's main heavy, when he meets his new competition in town: the rival saloon owner, Cy Tolliver. "You people must've trained with the heathens, come upon us unawares."