A South By Southwest How-To

Let's do like the Texans and punk Dallas

As anyone who knows Hubscher and Pirtle can surmise, not much is gonna change when No tsu oH is resurrected as Clark's Jewelry on (Hubscher hopes) December 1. There will be the same ultra-eclectic entertainment, the same rigorous dress-down play ethic and the same junkyard aesthetic -- albeit a slightly "cleaner" version, as Hubscher puts it. He plans to get a liquor license for the place; the coffeehouse days are over. "We're going to serve alcohol, beer and wine, and maybe some cold food," he says. "We're going to have the same open-door policy -- when you walk in you're liable to see anything from performance art to a really hot band to a really piece-of-shit band. Probably a lot more belly dancing and cabaret and stuff like that than in the past, but it will also be a place to go and chill and have a drink."

Hubscher is taking on the project out of a sense of necessity. Since the downtown real estate boom, the number of spots for artistic types in the city center has been dwindling. "For the past six years, it's been the only place for someone like me to feel comfortable downtown," Hubscher says. He also hopes the bar will be successful enough to fund the resurrection of the nonprofit arts venue Zocalo/TemplO.

Meanwhile, as of two weeks ago, a possibly mentally ill homeless woman was squatting in No tsu oH's storefront. Racket was surprised to see her sitting mannequin-still in the display window as he walked past one early evening. "Yeah, we argue all the time," Pirtle chuckles. "I've decided to let her stay."

For only the second time since its grand opening way back in the Eisenhower administration, The Record Rack is for sale. After 20 years at the helm of Houston's oldest continually operating independent record store (long the DJ/dance retail HQ), owner Bruce Godwin is selling out. "This store has survived every transition, from 78s to 45s to LPs to eight-tracks to cassettes to CDs," Godwin notes. "But we're getting killed by MP3s." Godwin says that in addition to free downloads, the economic downturn and today's "worse than pathetic" music are forcing the sale. Godwin, who started as a clerk at the store in 1978, bought out original owners Jim and Helen Flimtjer in 1982.

Scuttlebutt Caboose

Mr. Smithereen is coming to Huntsville (and the Sidecar Pub). Pat DiNizio, that populist libertarian pundit and chain-smoking Smithereen, will bring his rabidly pro-capital punishment, anti-gun control views to the East Texas town he must regard as something of a Shangri-la on October 4, the night after his gig in northwest Houston. It's part of DiNizio's innovative coast-to-coast house concert tour; his road MO is to arrive with a keg and a guitar and play requests all night anywhere someone will pony up $2,000. (For more info on this gig, call 936-295-5225. DiNizio also is seeking unsigned local talent to spin on the XM Radio show he hosts.) It will come as a surprise to those who assume all rockers not named Skunk Baxter or Ted Nugent are flaming lefties that DiNizio wasn't thinking about Ralph Nader when he penned "Green Thoughts." The Smithereen was elected a Republican Party committeeman when he was 18 and ran for the U.S. Senate in his native New Jersey in 2000 on the Reform Party ticket, though he supported Alan Keyes and not Pat Buchanan for president. (Incidentally, did you know that both Baxter and Nugent were born on December 13, 1948? Weird, huh?)…Long-term Tony Vega Band bassist Brock Proctor has split amicably from his mates. The band is auditioning for a replacement; meanwhile, local veteran Lil' Screamin' Kenny is filling in…Gonzalo "Gonzo" Sosa was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is in desperate need of a $500,000 bone marrow transplant. Gonzo's friends -- Tomball punkers Donora's Center -- have organized an October 11 benefit for Sosa. "Gonzofest" will be at Juergens Park in Tomball. All proceeds will go toward Sosa's medical bills. So far Donora's Center, Paris Green and Mark Needs A Chick have signed on to play, with more TBA…Beck and the Flaming Lips have announced a November 13 Houston gig -- at Jones Hall, of all places…And finally, Don Walsh of Rusted Shut graced us with another of his rambling, angry messages last week. After perusing our Best Of issue, Walsh came up with a new category we missed. "How about having Best Band that Can't Get Gigs?" he growled, presumably nominating his own for that honor. "There's a bunch of fuckin' Nazis booking gigs in this town."

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