Monday, February 15, 2010
I have never been to the Cactus Cafe in Austin,Tx., but I wish I had. All I had to do is look at the list of musicians who've played there. I mean any place in Texas thats had Lucinda Williams, Guy Clark, Tom Russell, Slaid Cleaves, Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin Jack Elliot, Jesse Winchester, Arlo Guthrie, T-Bone Burnett, Bob Dylan and my daugters favorite Ani DiFranco, all on the same stage, is my kinda place. So, I was saddened to recieve Tom Russells e-mail this morning bemoaning its being closed down due the fact it's losing a little money. The place has been open since 1979 and is a staple on the Austin, Tx. music scene. These type places are the soul of America and the corperate world is sucking us dry. This is just another example of the iconic staples of this land going under. This country was once great, but so many of things that once made us great are going to the wayside. Our country was once dotted with carnival sideshows, Rt. #66 , Drive-Inn theatres, dime stores, Coney Island, juke boxes, diners, and the list goes on & on. We dont even know our neighbors any more, more less talk to them. We are becoming a society of seclusion and walled off communities. But we do have Wal-Mart, lots of Wal-Marts. So, every time I see another of our icons going under I can only think.. do we really believe this is progress? It reminds me of Tom Russell's soulful album, "Hotwalker", a tribute to a vanashing America. Give it a listen.. when Tom speaks, I listen. Tom states.. "the University system has failed us". "Colleges are turning out robotic accountants, morally warped bank CEO's and parasite scientists sucking on the fat teat of the grant system". "Campuses are strangely remote places where people walk like zombies through the fear vaccum and occasionally slaughter other people, because the vibe is deathly cold, isolate and fearful". It's like Bob Dylan said, "the times are a changin", you can feel it the air. Charles Bukowski where are you when we need you most? FINAL NOTE: I got on the club's website right after reading my "Notes from Tom Russell", and was thrilled to see a student lead organization was being formed, to save the "CACTUS CAFE". I encourage you all to let your voice be heard before its to late. Support your small town businesses, ma & pa diners and theatres, independent bookstores, and anything else that matters to you before they can take it away.
Posted by Rod Norman at 12:09 PM