Every Saturday nite, yours truly hosts the Texas Music Hour of Power, showcasing all kinds of Texas sounds created over the past century of recorded music. The show runs two hours because Texas spans two time zones and frankly, the music is too dang big to limit it to one hour.
Earlier this year, renowned Texas writer Joe Nick Patoski released his 10th Texas-centric book titled “Austin to ATX: The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers & Geeks Who Transformed The Capital of Texas.” It’s an in-depth look of some of Austin’s most influential figures.
Patoski uses the term “alternative Austin,” which refers to the businesses that have been shaped by outsiders, musicians, freethinkers, artists and entrepreneurs who didn’t want to follow the status quo. These creatives, drawn to Austin for its counterculture and music scenes in the 1970s, developed communities and institutions that have paved the way for film, food and tech to become the cornerstones of life in Austin today.
Patoski says he wanted to understand why Austin has the reputation it does, and why some longtime residents have what he calls a “navel-gazing” love for the city.
“I wanted to … see what happened way back when, and the ‘Big Bang’ in the early ’70s, when people quit leaving Austin, and they started coming,” Patoski says.
In the 1960s, he says young people left Austin for bigger and better things, including famous musicians like Janis Joplin. Patoski says in the ’70s, the city’s distance from media centers on the East and West Coasts made it attractive to artists of all kinds.
“We make our own stuff up,” Patoski says. “My story is all these creation myths … of these outsiders who had to come to this place and work out their ideas and make something up out of nothing.”
He points to filmmakers like Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez, and to Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey, too. Now, Austin-based global brands include the world’s largest chain of organic food stores and the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals, among others.
“All these things were started, usually for the wrong reasons,” Patoski says. “People just wanted to get together and do something because it was cool.”
Patoski points out the differences between Austin and the rest of Texas. He says that while the rest of the state’s economy is based on extracting resources like oil and gas, Austin’s culture and economy are based on creativity.
Much has changed in Austin, though, since the 1970s. People in creative fields struggle to afford to live there, and the city’s population and physical size is much larger. But Patoski says new arrivals continue to view Austin as the kind of city those who live there imagine it to be.
“[Austin] continues to speak to people in a way that separates it from everywhere else,” Patoski says.
During his years as a professional memorabilia collector for the Hard Rock Cafe chain, Thomas Kreason often noticed that many of Texas’ musical treasures — from rare phonograph records to celebrity guitars — were slipping out of the Lone Star State.
As part of a Cinema Series leading up to CineFestival in February 2017, The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and CineFestival present Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove, Joe Nick Patoski’s directorial debut documentary on the unsung hero of Texas on Thursday, November 17, 7:30pm at the Guadalupe Teater (1301 Guadalupe Street). San Antonio native Doug Sahm was known as a child musical prodigy who went on to experiment and combine country music, rock, conjunto and blues to create a truly unique sound. Friend of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Dr. John, Fathead Newman, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and several generations of musicians of all stripes, Sahm played a critical role in launching and re-launching the careers of Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Steve Jordan and Roky Erickson. Above all, he was the “Groover’s groover”, a kinetic whirlwind moving at a mile a minute who also happened to be an exceptional musician and a natural bandleader. This documentary reveals his fascinating story.
Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Groove plays the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Saturday afternoon, September 17; the Cafe Brasil Music Doc series in Houston, Monday evening, September 19; and the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY on Tuesday evening, September 27.
Info on the Nashville screening here: http://countrymusichalloffame.org/calendar/event/film-sir-doug-and-the-genuine-texas-cosmic-groove-2015
Info on the Houston screening here: http://365thingsinhouston.com/calendar/sir-doug-genuine-cosmic-groove-screening-cafe-brasil/
Info on the Pleasantville screening here: https://burnsfilmcenter.org/booking/sir-doug-and-the-genuine-texas-cosmic-groove/
Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove continues riding the film festival circuit, stopping in Waxahachie, just south of Dallas, on Weds evening, May 18. Sir Doug is one of several great films screening in Waxa for the fest including True Stories and Selena, plus lotsa music.
Check it out. Two other Texas screenings have been added – Sunday afternoon, June 5, at the South Texas Popular Culture Center in San Antonio, and Saturday night, June 11 at the Barnhill Center in Brenham.