Chris Picks

Each week Chris brings you the best in music, dance, arts and entertainment opportunities in Austin and surrounding areas.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

RIP Freddy Fender

October 19-25, 2006

Another music legend gone. Baldemar Huerta, known to the world as Freddy Fender, died last Saturday of cancer and was buried in his home town of San Benito. If (like me) you grew up in Texas, you grew up on Freddy Fender's music, maybe without even knowing it. How many times, for example, did you dance the 'bump and grind' to Wasted Days and Wasted Nights at your high school sock hops? Word spread throughout the International Accordion Festival on Saturday and a number of bands played joyful and touching tributes to Freddy.

The festival was a little wet this year, but the music totally rocked. As always. Highlights: There was a duck swimming -- no, dancing -- on the river just in front of the Arneson stage. I swear to god she had her choreography all worked out. Every little head shake, every little skim across the water was right on the music. There was a village band from Poland -- this was their first visit to the US -- and their accordion was one of the coolest I'd ever seen. The bellows were filled by means of foot pedals! Totally cool! See? And their fiddler must have been at least a zillion years old. Cute, cute, cute! (I hope I'm that cute when I'm that old -- and I hope I'm still performing!)

On Friday night Mr. Ben and I saw We are Normal Cha Cha Chaaaa. Holy moly! I don't know if any of you guys saw it during its two week run, but if you didn't, then you really missed something. Dance is alive and well in Austin, folks, and YellowTape is rising to the top of the dance heap. How can I describe it except to say it was way too much FUN and there were LOTS of feathers! Read Robert Faires' review in the Chron -- he was right on the money.

But that was last weekend and we've got a whole new one waiting for us to discover it. And guess what -- this weekend brings you a chance to see the last ever encore performance of Puppet Government. We're doing a fundraiser for John Courage who is running for Congress. More details below, so keep reading.


DJd Swing Dance
The Fed / 24th at San Gabriel; Austin Swing Syndicate / 8

Aunt Ruby's Sweet Jazz Babies
Tree House Italian Grill / / 2201 College; 443-4200 / 7:15 pm

Broken Spoke / 3201 S. Lamar; 442-6189

Manuel's / 10201 Jollyville Road; / 6:30 pm
Last chance to catch this out-on-the-patio show before the cold weather gets here. HAH! Will the cold weather really ever get here? I heard they were cancelling winter this year just to piss me off.

Cipollina / 1213 West Lynn; 477-5211 / 8-10 pm

Cornell Hurd
Jovita’s / 1619 S. 1st, 447-7825 / 8 pm (family)

Two Hoots & a Holler
Ego’s / 510 S. Congress; 474-7091 / 11 pm


Intel Shell / 5th at San Antonio / 8 pm If you did not get a chance to see this during the summer, then don't make the same mistake this fall. The work is stunningly beautiful. Tix are $20 and $30 and you can reserve yours by calling 512-474-8497.


Gulf Coast Playboys
City Hall / 301 W. 2nd / noon -1 pm / free
This is one of those delicious free lunch time concerts that will have you dancing on the plaza.

Oliver Rajamani
Cactus Cafe /Texas Union, UT campus, 23rd at Guadalupe, 475-6515/ 9 pm
Some of the purest, loveliest gypsy (Rom) music you'll ever hear.

Los Texas Wranglers
Dario's / 1800 E. 6th / 8 pm
Well, first of all, yes, there's a dance floor. And secondly, there's the best tortilla soup anywhere on the plant. 'Nuff said.

Lucky Strikes
Reed's Jazz & Supper Club / 9901 Cap of TX Hwy; 342-7977 / 8:30 pm

Monster Big Band
Central Market / 4001 N. Lamar; 206-1000 / 6:30 pm

St. Martin's Lutheran Church / 606 W 15th / 8 pm; $25
Conspirare will be doing two fabulous major works in this season opener: the French 'Le Cantique des Cantique' and the Russian All Night Vigil. Any time you get an opportunity to hear this group, you should -- especially when they're doing the Russian! I'm not sure how much the tickets are, but you can reserve yours by calling 476.5775.

Ghost Stories in the Park
Zilker Park / hillside theater / 7 pm / free (family)
The Central Texas Storytelling Guild will be telling scary ghost stories for you and your whole family to enjoy. Bring a blanket and some s'mores and enjoy the evening.

Broken Spoke / 3201 S. Lamar; 442-6189 / 9 pm


Austin String Band Festival
Camp Ben McCullough / 4 pm Fri; 11 am Sat; 10 am Sun
This looks like a lot of fun. There will be a contradance on Friday night with the Orion String Band, so bring you dancing shoes. Saturday and Sunday will feature workshops, jams, dance instruction and concerts by such folks as the South Austin Jug Band, Double Eagle String Band, the White Ghost Shivers and more, more, more. Prices vary from $10-$25, depending on which package you get. Check out their link for all the details.


Puppet Government
Ventana del Soul / 1834 E. Oltorf / 7 pm; suggested donation $20 called it 'a stroke of demented genius.' Former Bush spokesperson Ray Sullivan (who, incidentally, has not see it) called it a 'bizarre leftwing performance.' What a long, strange trip it's been. And it's almost over. Puppet Government, the little play that won "Best of Fest" at Frontera 2006, sold out 6 of its 7 shows at Fringe NYC, then played three performances in Dallas, is getting ready to retire. But not until we have one last hurrah, performing the piece at a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidate John Courage.

The Great Waltz
Texas Union Ballroom / 23rd at Guadalupe
I assume that this event will begin at 8 pm, but they seem to have left that off their flyer. In any case, this is the 25th Anniversary of the Great Waltz, and it's a lot of fun. It's a formal event with live music by the Austin Civic Orchestra. You can even brush up on your dance skills at a workshop that afternoon from 1-3. Full details (except for the start time) here.

Third Saturday Contra Dance
St. Paul Lutheran Fellowship Hall / 3501 Red River / 8-11 (7:30 for intro session); $8
This is a smoke free/fragrance free event. Live music by Happensdance. More info at 453-8936.


University Presbyterian Church / 2203 San Antonio / 2:30 pm; $25
What I said in the blurb about the Friday night performance is true for the Sunday performance, too. 476.5775 for tix.

The Rolling Stones
Zilker Park / ticketmaster / $95

Ninety-five dollars for a ticket! I paid $5.00 (plus 50 cents for postage and handling) to see the Beatles in 1965. What does that tell you about inflation? But it's the Rolling Stones, dude! Ain't we got fun?!?!?!?

The Brew
The Oasis / 6550 Comanche Trail 266-2442

Dale Watson
Ginny's Little Longhorn / 5434 Burnet Road; 458-1813

Continental Club / 1315 S. Congress; 441-2444 / 10:30 pm


Dale Watson
Continental Club /1315 S. Congress;441-2444 / $5; 11:15 pm

Bayou Cajun Band
Evangeline Cafe / 8106 Brodie Lane; 282-2586 / 6:30 pm (family)


Marc Devine & Denia Ridley
Reed's Jazz Club / 9901 Cap of TX Hwy; 342-7977 / 6:30 pm

DJd Swing Dance
The Fed / 24th at San Gabriel / 9:45 / no cover
Free dance after Four on the Floor’s classes.

Erik Hokkanen's Laboratory
Flipnotics / 1601 Barton Springs; 322-9750 / 8:00 pm


Seth Walker
Jovita's / 1619 S. 1st; 447-7825 / 8 pm

Gulf Coast Playboys
La Palapa /Hwy 290 @ Cameron Road / 7:30 pm
This has turned into an every Wednesday night gig.


Johnston City, TX

Hill Country Western Swing Dance

Blanco County Fairgrounds / 1 pm - midnight / family
This is an all day event with two dances and a bar-b-q. What could be better than that? The matinee dance (1-3 pm) with the Jason Milliken Band will cost you $10. If you prefer the bbq and evening dance with Kelly Spinks and Miles of Texas, it's $18. Legendary fiddler Frenchie Burke will be sitting in. Or, hell, you could just go and dance and eat all day. Click here for more details.

Gruene, TX
White Ghost Shivers / Dale Watson w/ Django Walker
Gruene Hall / 1281 Gruene; 830-606-1281
OK, here's the deal. This looks like a good day to go to Gruene and just stay there all day. WGS will be doing the (free) afternoon show from 1-5. Then you can find some dinner -- not hard to do -- and come back for Dale Watson at 9 pm ($10). Django Walker will be Dale's guest that night. Yup, it's a good weekend in Gruene.


Gaelic Storm
Paramount Theater / 713 Congress, 472-5411 / 8 pm (family)
Remember the Irish band in "Titanic"? This is them!

Fire Ant Frolic
The Fed / 24th at San Gabriel
Three days of contra dancing to live music in a vintage ballroom.

Acoustic Africa
Hogg Auditorium / 24th at Guadalupe / 8 pm
Ooh! I've got my tickets. Have you got yours? See you there? This show i s going to R. O. C. K. Full details here.

Don Walser Memorial Fund Benefit

Broken Spoke / 3201 S. Lamar; 442-6189 / 4-9 pm (family)
Please support the Walser family during their time of grieving and huge expenses. There will be great music all afternoon/evening by The Pure Texas Band; Texas Swing Kings; Jon Emory; and many guests sitting in. If you can’t make to the show or you just want to donate to the fund by mail, here’s the info -- Donations to off-set medical and funeral expenses can be made to: (donations are not tax deductible)
Don Walser Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 90306
Austin, TX 78709-0306

See ya on the dance floor,



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