July 25, 2006

A Birds Barber Shop Blurb

Birds Barbershop Logo

By Sean Claes
Hairstyles are like fingerprints. Everyone has a unique look, and your hair is an extension to who you are. When it’s time to get a cut there’s few choices – barber, chain store, or salon.

What if you don’t have a barber, don’t want be herded through the process like a sheep, or you don’t want to take out a loan to get a good haircut? What if there was a place where you could go and get a salon-quality haircut without salon pricing? What if you don’t need wine and crackers? What if there was a place that you could get a salon-quality haircut AND a straight razor shave?

Enter Austin’s newest hair-cutting kid on the block – Birds Barber Shop (2110 South Lamar). The barbershop-salon combo, which opened on May 20, 2006, is the brainchild of two childhood friends from Laredo, Texas – Michael Portman and Jayson Rapaport.

“I’ve been kind of describing Birds Barbershop as the Jet Blue Airline of haircuts. We still get you from LA to New York, and there’s still a little bit of pizzazz to it,” Portman said. “There’s this whole phenomenon of ‘affordable luxury’ these days. Design and quality shouldn’t be exclusive to the wealthy.”

See the August issue of INsite Magazine in Austin, Texas for the remaining part of this story...

(A variation of this story is in the current issue of LareDos in Laredo, Texas and will appear in the August issue of INsite Magazine in Austin, Texas)

July 21, 2006

Hellapeno FREE after Los Lonely Boys tomorrow

You know that Los Lonely Boys and Shawn Sahm's Tex Mex Experience are playing at Stubbs tomorrow (probably to a packed house as it should be)... but did you know that Austin's Hellapeño will be playing a free set inside Stubbs AFTER Los Lonely Boys finish up?

That's right.. it's inside Stubbs and it's FREE.
Is free cheap enough for you?
Pick up one of thier debut CDs while you're there. It's pretty damn good...

Here's a link to an interview I had with Dave Derrick, lead singer of Hellapeño. You can find it in print in the July 2006 issue of The Edge Magazine.


July 20, 2006

NO DIVING - Five Mile Dam in San Marcos

Anyone want to go for a swim?
Seems that drought has caused San Marcos' Five Mile Dam to dry up.

I was out there today and I was shocked... I snapped this shot.
5 mile

If you click the photo you'll go to a site that has a photo of what Five Mile Dam usually looks like.

July 19, 2006

Kevin Smith on Austin/Joel Siegel on Kevin Smith

So, Joel Siegel walked out of a Clerks II screening.
Read story on NY Post Online

If that doesn't make someone want to go to the movie, nothing will.

Read my interview with Kevin Smith in INsite's July 2006 issue...on stands August 4.

Sneak preview clip... for all you MySpacers...

Sean Claes: What keeps you doing regional premieres in Austin?
Kevin Smith: I screened Chasing Amy here for SXSW in 1997. I had a really good time doing it. It wasn’t until Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back that we had a screening for the Austin Film Society. It was a great audience with a wonderful Q&A. So, we came back for the next one, Jersey Girl. So when we were working on Clerks II it was a no-brainer.

I totally like doing that. I love the Paramount Theatre. I love the Q&As we do afterwards. The Austin audience is really cool, they don’t let you off easy. It’s not like screening a film at the Toronto film festival where you have to take off like 40-percent of the audience reaction because they like anything. These people, they don’t let you slip by with meager offerings. Also, the calibur of questions are better here than they are other places.

But also, I owe the city of Austin a debt of gratitude because Austin gave us Richard Linklater and Richard Linklater gave us Slacker. Without Slacker I would have never thought about being a filmmaker myself. Coming back here is like going to mecca to some degree. It’s kind of a nice way of saying ‘thanks’ because without this city I would have never been a filmmaker.

So if you hate my shit blame Richard Linklater and blame the city of Austin.

July 17, 2006

Live Music Photo Update

I saw 25 bands play last weel...and I took photos of 24 of them. The only band I didn't get a chance to photograph was Austin's Loss Rayne (http://www.lossrayne.com).... but I'll change that soon.

Want to see my photos? Here's three... and you can click on any of the images to get to the other 253 shots from the three big shows last week....

Band Pose
The Malford Milligan Band plays at the San Marcos River Pub in San Marcos, Texas on July 16, 2006.

Rick Clark
Kevin Fowler, Cory Morrow, Micky and the Motorcars play Kosciusko Hall in Kosciusko, TX on July 15, 2006.

All That Remains, The Red Chord, Strapping Young Lad, Between The Buried and Me, Walls of Jericho, Full Blown Chaos, Bad Acid Trip, Norma Jean, Bleeding Through, Unearth (pictured), Atreyu, Black Label Society, Ozzy, Dragonforce, Lacuna Coil, Hatebreed, AX7, Disturbed, System of A Down play Selma's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on July 11, 2006.

July 9, 2006

A Blog About a Story on Blogging on Another's Blog


OK... I used to work at The Laredo Morning Times as a "paste-up" and Advertising designer... the term is "composing."
Well.. I went off and got a degree in journalism and have written for a bunch of places... including some features for The Times.

I also met a lot of cool and interesting people. One of which is Mike McIlvain. He was a reporter at The Times.. then he left... then I left... then we ran into each other at Gruene Hall New years 2002...then we e-mailed back and forth... he worked at The Times again and now he's writing freelance (as am I).

So, he e-mailed me that he was working on a story about blogging for a story in LareDos, a monthly magazine out of Laredo. I gave him a few quotes... and he included them in the story.

For those not in Laredo and who have no access to the June issue... Mike blogged his story about blogging. so I'll link to it, since I'm in it.


He contacted me last week and I was interviewed for a feature on me (as an entertainment writer) in the next issue of LareDos. I'm humbled.

So this is my blog about being included in someone else's blog within a story on blogging.

July 7, 2006

CD Dump... some reviews

I was looking at my personal stack of CDs I've been trying to get to, and I thought I'd write a few words on some of the discs I won't end up getting to for a full review. I'll publish it as a blog so hopefully some music-loving folks will give it a read and take some time to check these artists/CDs out for themselves.

Mexico to Texas
I met the lead-singer of Alteza, Jonas Alvarez, at a Los Lobos concert at La Zona Rosa in February and he handed me the band's debut album -Mexico to Texas.
I have been listening to the CD off and on again ever since.
I'm torn on this one. When they sing in Spanish, like on the album opener "Sueños de Alegria" or the classic "El Pescador" they sound superb both vocally and musically. But when attempting a song in English, like "The Curse" or "Fred Mendoza" it comes off like the song was written in Spanish and Alvarez just translated the words. It's not bad, but it doesn't sound right.
That said, they rock on the Santana-infused "Curandera Woman" which is an English sung song.
I think Alteza will get better in time, and I look forward to seeing the English lyrics catch up with the musicianship. Once they do, perhaps they can step up to the Los Lobos or Santana plate for Austin.

The Dog Waggers
Chasin' Tales
I've had this CD for a long time. I'd say over a year. This is a really good acoustic guitar/americana/rock album -really good music for this Hill Country area. They remind me a lot of the Austin Lounge Lizards in their style. I remember wondering why I'd not seen them playing Old Settler's Music Festival or out at Gruene Hall on a Sunday... then I saw why... they are from Virginia.
The music is a mix of serious songs ("Hey There Jack," "Graveyard Shift") and songs that have a little humor to them ("Know Your Limitations," "The Family's Reuniting"). Good Texas Hill Country music from Virginia. The picture that says a thousand words within the CD booklet says it all... it's a Virginia license plate that reads GRUENE.
Look them up - http://www.thedogwaggers.com

Jenny Hollub
Kyle, Texas musician Jenny Hollub is a music teacher, choir director and all-around good person. She's also a neighbor of mine. When I put on a music festival in my neighborhood in June, she was one of the performers.
Before the performance she gave me a CD to enjoy. I really did like it. She's got a kind of voice that is soft cozy but has that edgy attitude.
"Whole Wide World To See" has an acoustic guitar groove that is infectious. It also has the best line of the album "You can do the thinking / I'll do the drinking / she'll do the driving / we'll be surviving / here we are for the whole wide world to see."
The only reason I didn't review this one was it was a 2005 release...and I somehow cracked the CD and can't play it anymore.

Plane of Existence
The only reason I didn't review this four-track EP (released in February) before this is, I don't like to review EPs. It's a thing to me, I have so many full-length CDs to review that EPs take the backburner.
That said, this EP from Austin's Plane of Existence is damn good. It's got great musicianship and the vocals are spot-on. I was surprised to find out that the band is all under 21. A very mature sound that fits nicely into the Austin scene beside folks like Wideawake and Vallejo (whom they've opened for recently).
All of the songs on Kinetic are well done. My personal favorite is "Eternity Tonight." It seems to be a song about being in that moment in a doomed relationship where it's make-it-or-break-up.
You can hear all of the tracks on Plane of Existence's MySpace, I'd recommend you check that out (http://www.myspace.com/planeofexistence)

Smile and Nod
The Ties
This four track EP is a nice introduction to the Austin band who have a sound that is perfect for radio. They are kind of like a metal-free Alice in Chains. Lead singer Sean Maxey seems to channel Layne Staley on "Place Setting." David Butler's guitars create a great soft undercurrent on "Breeze." I'm looking forward to hearing more from this group.

Various Artists
Texas Unplugged Volume 2
Palo Duro
If you are a fan of acoustic guitar-driven Texas music, you've already bought this one. Palo Duro Records is a great provider of good Texas music, and this record, released in February is no exception.
Some of my personal favorite acts in the genre like The Derailers, Walt Wilkins, and Johnny Bush sit alongside Max Stalling, Two Tons of Steel and Dale Watson on this 12 track sampler of great tunes.
It's just as good as Volume 1.. and that is a good thing.

Various Artists
Cow Hear This 3
CBUJ Recordings
Another in the great number of compilation CDs of Texas music. I hate to say that, but there are so many out there, and so many are so good. Cow Hear This 3 presents classic hits like Willie Nelson's "Crazy" alongside notables like Gary P. Nunn ("Perfectly Normal"), Robert Earl Keen ("Out Here In The Middle"), and Jason Allen ("Your Heart Turned Left") and eleven others.
While most of the artists I'd heard of, I was pleasantly pleased with one I hadn't heard before -Zona Jones has a comical song about a ghost-hooker called "The House of Negotiable Affestions."
Like with Texas Unplugged Volume 2, you can't go wrong with this one.

Various Artists
Blues Guitar Women
Ruf Records
This double CD set is a great introduction to some of the best guitar slingers in blues who happen to be women.
The first CD is full of contemporary blues players and standouts are Sue Foley's "Mediterranean Breakfast," Ruthie Foster's "Woke Up This Mornin,'" and Ana Popovic's "Navajo Moon" is amazing.
The second CD is Traditional players and between Etta Baker, Memphis Minnie, and Precious Bryant it'd be an injustice to pick a favorite.
You can't go wrong with the blues, and this CD is a nice addition to any CD collection.

Hank Williams III
Straight To Hell
Bruc Records
If you've never heard Hank Williams III, you should go out and buy this CD right now. Straight To Hell is a 2 CD set that was released in February 2006. It's country, but it's nothing like you'll hear on the radio. This is pure outlaw country the kind I'd imagine Hank Williams Sr. would be making had he lived in 2006.
Disc one is the country album. It's a big leap forward from his 2002 Lovesick, Broke, and Driftin in terms of a true representation of who Hank III is. He channels his Grandfather on "Country Heroes," "Low Down," and the disturbing "Angel of Sin." And he interjects a little outlaw into tracks like "Dick in Dixie," "Pills I Took," and "Not Everybody Likes Us."
Disc two is a demented ride through the mind of Williams. A little eerie, but when you take into account that Williams was the bassist for Superjoint Ritual, has a punk band by the name of Assjack, and has a huge pot leaf on each of his speakers...it's easier to understand.
Hank III is awesome on disc, but to really get a picture of who he is, check him out live. You'll be blown away.

July 6, 2006

Updates to seanclaesDOTcom

Ive been busy the last couple of months and Ive finally taken the time to update my Website.

Sean Claes photo

New Interviews Posted:
All That Remains 7/06
Massachusetts' All That Remains Release New Album on Ozzfest

Jason Allen - 7/06
Roots Country Singer Jason Allen Sets To Release Live Album

Hellapeno - 6/06
Austin's Hellapeno Serve Up Debut Album

Derailers' Ed Adkins 6/06
Derailers' Bassist Talks of Life and New Album

Slayer - 6/06
Slayer Headlines Unholy Alliance Tour - Tom Araya talks.

Walt Wilkins - 5/06
Walt Wilkins - 5/06
Americana Singer-Songwriter Walt Wilkins.

New CD Reviews Posted:
CD Review Page
Bag 100 - Everywhere, Everything, Everytime
Dave's Not Here- The Ultimate Album
Klier Channel - Dark Room
Meyvn- Splintered Skies
This Life Electric- Letters To The Muse
Triggerfish- Southern Hospitality

New Photos Posted:
Live Music Photography Page

The Unholy Alliance Tour - 6/23/06
Slayer, Lamb of God, and Children of Bodom play San Antonio's Freeman Coliseum.

Terri Hendrix - 6/18/06
Terri Hendrix plays a Father's Day show at the San Marcos River Pub in San Marcos, Texas.

Rascal Flatts, Gary Allan, The Wreckers - 6/17/06
Rascal Flatts, Gary Allan and The Wreckers play Selma's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

July 5, 2006

July 2006 INsite Online and On Stands

July 2006 Cover

Howdy Folks! Welcome to the month of Independence. I hope you had a safe and happy Independence Day celebration each in your own way.

If you’re over 21 you may have had a brew from Independence Brewing Company for the fourth. Actually you should celebrate all month long as July is American Beer Month. INsite’s Chip Walton undertook the daunting task of profiling three of Austin’s premiere microbrews. Tough job.

But, that’s not all INsite has to offer this month. As you see from our cover, we’ve got an interview with Jennifer Aniston. She’s back with a blockbuster in The Break Up.

In other news, Bobby Bones shares his envy of a childhood “friend” who’s parents had a pool and Envie Boutique is somewhere shoppers can spend a few bones. (You see Bobby Bones’ last name is Bones.. and a slang term for money is “bones.” I tried too hard on that one, didn’t I?)

In music news, we’ve got an interview with Oaktown’s The Coup, Austin’s Zykos, and Ozzfester’s All That Remains - something for every musical palate. We’ve also got great photos of last month’s shows in INsite Hindsite, and our special INsite Night photo spread. Thanks to the fine folks at Stubbs as well as performers Nooner, Full Service, 21 Down, and The Artillery… and all you fans who came out to make it such a success!

All this and much more. Look slightly right and you’ll see the table of contents for this month. Don’t be shy… read it all.

Strap on your seat belt and enjoy July. It’s summer, it’s hot, and it’ll all be over in a blink of an eye.

I’d like to take the space left to say farewell to one of Austin’s most rocking clubs this month. It was announced that The Backroom will close its doors at the end of July. Let’s all get out there and throw the goat one more time before it closes.

Sean Claes
Managing Editor

Click the magazine at the top or the logo at the bottom of this message to go to the INsite homepage and download the entire issue via PDF...or download our distribution list to find where in Austin you can find INsite!

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INsite – Always Entertaining Under The Covers.