Ethnical Questions

Last week I asked readers to comment on the suggested addition of a new category -- for Traditional/Ethnic music -- to this year's Houston Press Music Awards. Response was swift (thanks) and overwhelmingly supportive. So, in keeping with the democratic tradition, the ayes have it. Revised nomination ballots are speeding through the mail to qualified parties as we speak, and the ballot that runs in this paper starting in June will reflect the change. Management of the Mucky Duck called to say that, contrary to what I wrote last week, they did not pay postage on the hundreds of postcards I received. Only about $20 worth. Be sure to vote for all your Traditional/Ethnic favorites.

New Club Alert: Toby Blunt, whom you may know as the personable frontman for Blunt (which has metamorphosed recently into the Blunt Family) or as a six-year veteran of the Rudyard's mop and bucket crew, tells me the ink is dry on the lease he recently signed for the Washington Avenue property that once housed the Shimmy Shack. The new name is Mary Jane's, and the opening is slated for early July. Blunt says he's spent the last week huffing paint fumes and sweeping rat shit from underneath the soundboard in preparation for the venue's hoped-for resurgence. Mary Jane's will be a beer-wine-and-coffee bar, open seven days a week, and the emphasis is on tavern-dom, though Blunt expects to book the occasional touring band and local acts to accompany the semi-house-band Blunt Family. Which makes this place more a hang-out than a showcase, and though the location's not been blessed with excessive hangers-out in past incarnations, Blunt hopes to establish a comfortable vibe to float his new venture. Keep an eye out for the opening.

Music that's not from somewhere else... Marienne Kreitlow has one of those names that agent types are always telling performers they're gonna have to change if anyone's ever going to remember who they are. Over the course of the year's press releases, it's been spelled phonetically, but that only compounded the problem. So now, in the tradition of Sting, Bono and Johnny Cougar, the adult contemporary-ish folk songstress is being billed as, simply, Marinne. Me, I like the full name just fine, and her The Mortal Moon CD is innocuously charming. She's playing at Ovations Thursday the 26th. Also on Thursday, the Viper Room (open 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) debuts at an address suspiciously identical to that of Emo's, with Pillow performing musical honors. Why anyone would name a club, even for one night, after Johnny Depp's cloyingly hip L.A. nightspot where River Phoenix bought it is beyond me. Maybe there'll be special famous dead-people guests scattered on the sidewalk outside. Smile, Forever Falling and Mineral play Fitzgerald's, and Mary Cutrufello, the only Austin honky-tonker to win consistent recognition in the music polls of Austin, Houston and Dallas, is booked at Rockefeller's. No, there's nowhere to park anymore (that fence across the street is keeping you off the site of future condominium construction), but what the hell. Laveau's has got the intriguing Dub House DJ mix-up on Thursday, for local music without the band.

Miss Molly, who's got a sassy new publicity photo, plays the Satellite (yup, parking nightmare) Friday night. Crazykilledmingus headlines at the Abyss for the Butthole Surfer and former Scratch Acid monsters in Austin's Daddylonghead, and it's gonna be crowded. Local songstress, weird name-speller and Houston's only Rounder recording artist, Kimberly M'Carver, does opening honors for aging but still really relevant folkie Arlo Guthrie at Rockefeller's (oh, just walk), also Friday. Butter Boy Porno Star opens for Lucy's Fur Coat and New Kingdom at Goat's Head Soup. And if you missed Dethkulture BBQ at Numbers the night they were mysteriously not allowed to open for KMFDM, catch them at Laveau's on Friday. Harvey's has Nimrod, Crown Roast, Linus and Lozenge.

Saturday night, Laveau's celebrates its one-year anniversary with free food, Flamin' Hellcats and more, as if you needed anything else. Shake Russell and Jack Saunders sing their non-traditional, ethnicity-free songs at McGonigel's Mucky Duck. Banana Blender Surprise plays the European Tavern and Garden. Meanwhile, Emo's is pushing Saturday night live music again with Mary Cutrufello. The ploddingly heavy Man or God fills the opening slot on the promising Blood of Abraham/Overwhelming Colorfast bill at Goat's Head, and Dry Nod, Rusted Shut and Smile 69 prove punk's not dead, it's just getting drunk, at Harvey's. Toad's on the Deck has got the Lemons and Honey-wielding Beat Temple, Gingerbread Men and the freshly resurfaced Def Squad.

Sunday, it's Backyard Epics at the Blue Iguana and Face Down opening at Goat's. Charalambides and The Dave Dove/Paul Winstanley Duo do Harvey's. Monday, Tread and Eyehategod will doubtless fill your spiritual void when they open for the Meatmen, also at Goat's.


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