by Eric A. Crabtree
SXSW Features Gay Music Showcase
South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film and Media Conference 2001 will be held in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, through Mar. 18 with the Gay community well represented this year. Rainbow Cattle Company (RCC) participates for the first time as an official live music venue in SXSW. On Sat, Mar. 17, they host the first all-Gay music showcase composed of all openly Gay performers. Artists scheduled to perform are Daniel Link (Austin) starting at 9pm, The Butchies (Durham, NC), Lord Douglas Phillips (Austin), Melissa Ferrick (Boston), & Amy Ray (of the Indigo Girls) (Decatur, GA) backed up by the Butchies. Special thanks go to Miss Xanna Don't, who helped RCC arrange all. "I'm very grateful to RCC for temporarily changing up their weekend format to host this history-making show. I think it's very important," Xanna told Ambush exclusively. RCC will also host live SXSW music on Thurs., Mar. 15, with prominent Austin rock bands such as Violet Crown, Prescott Curlywolf, Goudie and Kissinger. On Fri. there will be eclectic music from Jody Hughes (Houston), alt-country from the Moth Wranglers (featuring Chris Xefos formerly of King Missile & LD Beghtol of Magnetic Fields) (New York). Other bands will be singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith (Toronto, ON), Dave Wakeling (formerly of the English Beat & General Public) (Birmingham, UK), & The Equators 1, who have been compared to No Doubt, (Birmingham, UK). More SXSW info. may be obtained via www.sxsw.com or www.rainbowcattleco.com.
Celebrates St. Patrick's Day
On Sat., Mar. 17, from 7pm until midnight, the leprechauns of Club Skirt Austin will be holding a benefit dance on the shores of Town Lake. Come taste the Irish fare, drink green beer and dance the night with all request music from DJ Lenne, back from her trip to the Grammys. The event will take place at the Fiesta Gardens Clubhouse located at 2101 Bergman with a dance/social to raise money for Hospice Austin and the Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival. Suggested donation is $15. For more info., contact Cynthia Lucas at Community Outreach at 512.863.9005 or e-mail HoopJnky@aol.com or visit www.austin360.com/community/groups/ClubSkirt.
HRC Black Tie Dinner Presented Mar. 17
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) will present their annual Black Tie Dinner on Sat., Mar. 17, at 8pm at the Four Seasons Hotel. Located on Cesar Chavez St. Last year's dinner was sold out and raised over $60,000 to continue the important work of HRC. Dinner and silent auction will be featured along with special entertainment and awards. Tickets are $150 per person with a VIP reception starting at 6:30pm for $50. Call 1.800.494.8497 to purchase your tickets. Honored guests will be Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Mayor Kirk Watson, HRC Youth Spokesperson Corey Johnson, Founding HRC Board Member Bettie Naylor, and the Out Youth Board of Directors. If you have further questions, call one of the HRC Dinner Co-Chairs, Stephen Wright at 512.441.2338 (Austin) or Michaelanne Richter at 512.630.1175 or visit www.austin-hrcblacktie.org.
March Against Hate Slated Mar. 18
Stop the body count and make your body count with the March Against Hate on Sun., Mar. 18 at 12 noon. Participants are urged to bring banners and friends and meet on Congress Ave. @ James St. to rally on the Capitol steps at 12:30pm - 3:30pm. Since 1992, over 3000 Hate Crimes have been commitment in Texas. Don't let the Texas Legislature ignore the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act again this session. For more info. contact the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (LGRL) at 512.474.5475 or visit their Web site at www.lgrl.org.
ATG Hosts BEAN Awards
The Austin Tavern Guild (ATG) will host their annual Bar Employee Appreciation Awards (BEAN) on Wed., Apr. 4, 8pm, at Oilcan Harry's located at 211 W. Fourth St. The general public vote award trophies for campy titles. MC will be Dale `Momma' Jordan. Ballots may be found in this edition or from the following ATG member locations. Members of the Austin Tavern Guild are Ambush, 'Bout Time, Boyz Cellar, Chain Drive, Charlie's Austin, Col. Bob Collins, Coors of Austin, Forum, Midtowne Spa, Oilcan Harry's, Pizazz, QTexas, Rainbow Cattle Company, Splash, Texas Triangle and the United Court of Austin. At the Mar. 6 meeting, members voted to donate the $2,447.28 raised from last year's July 4 picnic again to the HIV Wellness Center for use for direct patient care. The next ATG meeting will be held at Charlies.Austin at 4pm, Tues., Apr. 3 where plans for First Splash May 6 will be discussed.
Mardi Gras 2001 Madness
Journey - I started to N'awlins from Austin this year after I secured another job as security from Oz, received an airline ticket from Austinite friend Brian Brown who works for Continental Airlines and met N'awlins resident David online the night before on AOL. I opted to stay with David and partner Mark in their bed and breakfast during this holiday. Meeting David online was quite a treat some 3 hours before I took off via my flight. The harmony and Karma of meeting David awake online made the whole weekend visit to Crescent City very fun and festive. I arrived at the famous Orleans & Dauphine bed & breakfast of David and Mark's La Casa & played with my hosts before catching some much needed shut eye having to work at 6pm that night at Oz. Somewhere during the weekend, I fell in love with my newfound friends David & Mark. I had made David into a circuit boy chewing on mini-glowsticks the whole time and Mark into one hell of a lover along with David. It was all good with those boys especially with their live-in roommate house Mom Martha who I just adore and I loved those fresh towels daily girl.
Oz - I got the chance to work again at the all-powerful Oz Nightclub as security and what an experience that was during Mardi Gras. I met most of the staff & great bartenders like Hank, Dustin, Justin, Michael, Jeremy, Mark, Mike, Chris and many others and literally touched most of the French Quarter as they entered and exited through the doors looking for their Oz stamps, VIP or Mardi Gras passes. I saw Rick and Rhonda (Kansas) and Dayna (Austin) along with friend Rob from Ohio at Oz and with others that night. About 2,500-3,000 came daily through the doors as doormen Korey, Jeff, Barry, Jarret, Philip, Brian, Joseph, Mike and Charlie and I all guarded the gates into and out of the Land of Oz. I partied with owners Johnny & Tommy & staffers like Janice, Glenn, Q, & mgr. David. I also met many at the door like N'awlins residents Bruce Gallissero, Brent, Miss Symone Devereaux, Lisa Beaumann, Bianca Del Rio, Miss Vicki, & even Brain Sands. Austinites Doug, Jeff, Scott, Brett, Josh, Jimmy & others also came to party. The synergy in the street & club made it a 24/7 party with fantastic music from DJs Pflueger, Horner, Gauthreaux & guest circuit DJs Abel, & Lehman who made us roll on the river. Thank You Oz for the adventure.
Bars & Streets - I hit other stops when not working Oz like Bourbon Pub & Parade to see David, Norberto, Kevin and Yvette, mgr. Jonathan and then over to the Clover Grill with Earl, Lafitte's, 735, Voodoo, Ninth Circle, Good Friends and Rawhide. At the Parade, I ran into Miss Dion and her friend Dr. Peter from Atlanta that we all took home and played different games including riding the steer - Texas Style. My world was in a 2-5-block radius around the Lavender Line. On the streets, I ran into Austinites Scott, Jimmy and his hubby, Doug, Jeff, Michael and DJ Michael Tank (Houston) and hubby and many others all working it from Canal to Esplanade & back. I ended that night over at Rawhide dancing & playing nasty with David & Mark and the men. Sunday, we all traveled over to N'awlins resident Joseph for his open house with great seafood lasagna and good times. Later that night we went to La Peniche in the Marigny for more food and conversation. If you don't eat good in N'awlins, it's your own fault. I found out that Austinites Marcy Fletcher was in N'awlins working some 57 men for her Manwatch Company while Dale 'Momma' Jordan did her own auditions with many a buff bois at the Marriott for Momma's Bois that weekend. People were either thirsty, hungry for sex or food or just plain horny for the madness of this year's Gras. One other great guy that comes to mind is Wassim Malas from Manchester England who flagged and strutted and played all over the Quarter and helped us to make Mardi Gras 2001 special. Wassim, your double is John Hickson from Austin.
Lundi Gras - With only a few hours rest, Mon. came and it was back to fun and festivities. Mark had to go to work to sling drinks at the Red Fish Grill as David and I went over to N'awlins residents William & Matthew's place for a Lundi Gras Party with red beans and rice. There I met a great Doberman by the name of Greta and was even honored to walk her a little back through the French Quarter as the dog was a hot magnet for men. Somewhere later, Mark came home and we all regrouped. Brie came over & gave great relaxing massages. Joseph the chef came over to taste the great jambalaya Mark was making. Then it was off to go party at Lavender Line again for the night's fun and festivities. We bopped & rolled all night long chasing bois down on the river. Sonny would have been proud of me. I finally met David's friend Will and hear I am just like him. Everyone knows, David and Mark, that there is no one like me - this true southern gentleman sweetheart from South Carolina born on Valentine's Day.
Fat Tuesday - Morning arrived as David, Mark and I had all had stayed up the night before dancing and partying. We were at Oz, 735, the Pub/Parade and even made a trip over to The Ninth Circle then to the crib to go play with many a revelers who joined our parade. David's great sister Docia, hubby Charles & niece Michelle were lifesavers as they came early to setup Mardi Gras Open House with housemom Martha. Docia gave me a set of some great rainbow beads along with an AIDS Ribbon set of beads. Mark served delicious jambalaya, and there was ham, king cake, red beans and rice and many other tasty treats. Of course I couldn't eat yet cause I was having a liquid breakfast. Fat Day was Harmony Day as the inner glow of our spirits shone out from us as peace & harmony throughout the day. Or was that the alcohol and good spirits for this last day of Carnival season with all prior days rolling into one more day to blow? Some 2 million revelers had poured once more into the streets but not so many queens it seems this year. Masks and costumes alike were abundant for the big show that day. My costume for Mardi Gras 2001 was a luau boi complete with a blue & white sarong, Mardi Gras color leis & rose colored glasses.
Mark did not dress up but lord, Miss David sure did in her slut shirt & tutu, which she finally traded for wild circuit pants. We all took pictures on the stoop with Miss T.T. who dropped by for the picture. Right before noon I was privileged to be among honored guests with King Cake Queen VIII Miss Phyllis Denmark leading Ambush's 14th Annual Krewe of Queenateenas - "Tetons et Derriere" at the Ambush Headquarters King Cake Queen Bead Toss & festivities. Phyllis' outfit was a knockout in her blue satin dress with rainbow rhinestones & 16" crown. Hosts Rip & Marsha were in attendance as well as staff members Toni & honey Ann, Brian, Damon, George & hubby Mickey. Past King Cake Queens were also in attendance. The Belle Lain Magnolia Bar was a real treat as was the red beans and rice and the other delectables. Such eye candy one could only imagine we saw below as we threw beads and cups to many slongs and boobies revelers who flashed and the sights of the Quarter went very decadent. Somewhere after 3pm or so, I left to play at David & Mark's for their Open House, which was already underway several hours. I met back up with all, gave them beads, and drank and worked the stoop outside their house all the bois that went by. Finally it was nightfall again, yea, and I could take off my glasses. We all laid down for a bit as we played with Scott who just appeared by the bed and then I made Scott my Mardi Gras boyfriend as we rounded out the last 6 hours of Mardi Gras 2001. We danced at Oz while DJ Joe spun who played (Work It Properly) as I lit fire sticks with Scott rounding out the carnival season wearing the Mardi Gras colors glow harness & belt.
Ash Wednesday - Mardi Gras 2001 ended right after 12 midnight as NOLA's finest followed by the city's Sanitation trucks rolled down Bourbon closing out another season. We all cheered as they cruised down the Lavender Line (St. Ann) and Bourbon Streets. By this time, I had enough Mardi Gras. Scott and I went to go play and then crash. I heard that N'awlins friend John had made a quick stop into Rawhide when Ash Wednesday came and he got so nasty that the police raided the bar and closed it down. You go John. The start of Lent Day came as we slept into day and then night came as David, Mark and I all headed over to see the leftovers and have one at the Pub with Kevin and then over to Oz for their Drag Show Weds. I have never seen their drag shows once and it was a real treat to see stars like Lisa Beaumann, Bianca Del Rio, Victoria Versage, & many others hosted by Miss Becky Allen - NOLA's only female-female impersonator perform. Afterwards, we all left back to the Pub & then David went home while Mark and I went over to the Voodoo Lounge until we were just plain tired for bed. Thurs. came and then Fri. morning and I was able to leave N'awlins and travel back to a wet, cold and rainy Austin. What a Mardi Gras! Thank you David & Mark, Brian Brown, Oz, Rip & Marsha & all that made it very special. Why all did we do Mardi Gras 2001 to the hilt? Well, as David puts it, "It's Mardi Gras, it happens." We sure did make it happen babes.
Back home, I recovered from Mardi Gras 2001. I heard that Austin's own Mardi Gras celebration hosted over 100,000 revelers downtown around 6th St., however not without some drama as some 56+ people were arrested in riots according to the Austin-American Statesman. The City of Austin closed down the Fat Tuesday Parade because of these arrests and the mobs that weekend prior. The Statesman commented, "Some witnesses blame police for inciting the riot, saying they overreacted by spraying pepper spray and firing rubber pellets into the crowd. Police say they did what was necessary after people began pelting them with bottles, rocks and debris." Hmmm, glad I was not there. I heard that other cities across the US also saw riots like Seattle, Fresno, CA, Philadelphia, etc., Shees, don't these revelers and police know how to just Mardi Gras? Just ask N'awlins, they have been doing it for 100's of years. Not to say N'awlins was not without drama as some 512 arrests were made, most due to lewd behavior according to the Times-Picayune, but no riots and none by the any of our family members anywhere. News from all the local Gay bars is that they did well and had no drama. I am happy I was able to make the good times roll down on the river with many queens who reigned over the beads, balls, bars, bois & bordellos amongst the wild decadence of Mardi Gras 2001. Now it's time for Lent & redemption. Peace, Eric.
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