THE WORKS

List: All the concerts I’ve ever been to

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By Nicholas Cicale

I love going to concerts, and this article lists every concert I’ve ever been to!

2019

11/15/19: Flying Lotus with Brandon Coleman Spacetalker, Salami Rose Joe Louis, and PBDY at Emo’s Austin

10/21/19: Vampire Weekend with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram at ACL Live Austin

9/19/10: Built To Spill with ORUÃ, XETAS at Mohawk Austin

9/6/19: Goo Goo Dolls at Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach

5/19/19: Idles with Fontaines DC at Barracuda Austin

4/23/19: Jon Hopkins with ORTHY at the Scoot Inn Austin

3/29/19: Taking Back Sunday with Frank Lero and the Patience at Emos Austin

3/15/2019: SXSW Day Party-Japanese Breakfast with Cherry Glazerr, Nothing, The Nude Party

3/15/2019: SXSW Alex Di Leo at Tiniest Bar in Texas

2/23/2019: Car Seat Headrest (4) with Naked Giants at The Otpheum, Tampa

2/8/2019: Vince Staples with Buddy and PNTHN at Emo’s Austin

(more…)

The People of Lady Bird Lake

Written by Melissa Hall

It’s not the hardcore bikers you need to worry about when you decide to take a stroll around Lady Bird Lake, one of the nicest places in Austin to take your dog, or go for a jog, or walk around with your friend, mocha lattes in hand, claiming that you’re “getting some exercise” but really exerting as little energy as possible. It’s a place for people of all ages and all sizes–for those who are serious about running, or those who are looking to get that 90 minutes of cardio we’re all supposed to get every week, or those who are outside to escape the subzero air-conditioned buildings that populate Austin.

Everyone knows that “lake” is a misnomer, since it’s really a “river-like reservoir” created by a couple of dams on the Colorado River, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty. Miles of great walking/jogging/riding right along the water. You can go every day to the lake and experience a different section of the trail. Trees align part of the path while other parts lead you up to a boardwalk where you can see lines of turtles lounging on fallen trees jutting out of the water. Ducks float atop the surface while cranes try to catch fish. People boat and canoe and kayak and paddle board and take ridiculous swan pedal boats out onto the lake. It’s easy to get lost in the tranquility of the trail and the lake. Located in the middle of downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is beautiful during sunset, a great time to watch the pinks and oranges of the sky as you walk along the pedestrian bridge into the heart of the city.

The lake is nice. And always busy. And always full of moms with strollers.

Those hardcore bikers though, wearing all that Spandex, probably all the Spandex that’s ever been created in this world, with its highlighter-colored accents down the chest and thighs. The serious runners sometimes wear this same uniform, but only when it’s cold outside. Every other time it’s a pair of loose shorts that covers as little groin area as allowable in public.

The hardcore bikers speed down the gravel and dirt path with ease, nimble enough to slide between a slow jogger and a couple with a wily puppy. Or the latte-holding hooligans. They yell “LEFT!” but never stop or slow down to watch the panic they induce. Do they want me to go left? Or are they coming from the left? They are unaware that yelling “LEFT” induces a brief moment of panic in most of the walkers. There’s not enough time to process what you’re supposed to do so you usually head left, and they race around on the right, without looking back.

The dog walkers pull their dogs close to them after this near hit, pat their fluffy heads or rub their sides, glare at the now half-a-mile-away biker. Why don’t they ride somewhere there aren’t any dogs? The dog walkers don’t realize, or fail to acknowledge, that dogs are everywhere in Austin—parks, stores, administrative buildings. In the rest of the country their dogs wouldn’t even be allowed to sit on patios at restaurants.

However, it’s not the hardcore bikers you have to worry about but the moms running with strollers. Yes, these ladies (and sometimes gentlemen, but mostly ladies) are the most dangerous people around Lady Bird Lake.

Not all of the moms are scary–there are the moms who push the single-kid strollers at a walking pace, maybe even a slight jog. They wear a pair of yoga pants or some leggings, something comfortable. They try to move out of the way when people pass, like the serious joggers with their tiny shorts and their bare-chested bodies. Their legs are so thin and there’s so little fat on their bodies that you wonder if they’ve even had a latte before. Do they eat real food or just load up on protein bars and Vitamin Water? They run through these moms with their single-kid strollers with no issue, though the moms are always trying to get out of the way, as if apologizing for bothering those around them with their presence and of their large, barely moveable stroller.

They don’t hog the path like the two-mom duets do. These moms, always in pairs, pushing their respective kid, yell-talk to the other person. There is no personal conversation between the two because if you’re anywhere around them–slightly behind, just in front, a mile in front–you’re hearing this conversation. Sometimes they laugh loudly, too loudly, cackle even. They’re trying too hard, maybe to be funny, maybe to seem like they’re having a fantastic time when really who wants to push a giant stroller in 80% humidity? They walk side-by-side with no regard for anyone around them, the behemoth strollers, with their easy-to-fold-extra-large-tires-for-rough-terrain bodies taking up well over half of the path in many areas. They’re either oblivious to the growing crowd of people behind them wanting to pass or they simply don’t give a shit. The hardcore bikers gather around them, standing on their pedals, looking left and right to see which side has the fewest obstacles, the fewest living creatures that can be killed. They don’t have the advantage the serious runners have–they squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, looking less and less like real human beings. When it’s clear that the two-mom duet will need to shift to the right or do a single stack of strollers, they make faces, huff and puff as they struggle to move the extra-cargo-space mammoths, and then grimace as you pass by. We’re moms and we’re getting exercise and this stroller is really heavy and have you ever birthed a child?

The latte-holding duos ignore the look because they’re too busy pretending to enjoy being outside when really one of them wanted to stay in the air conditioning but thought the “exercise” might be a better idea. Burn off those latte calories as we drink them, but in actuality they’re not moving fast enough or exerting enough energy to burn more than a few calories and definitely not enough to burn the calories from that mocha latte.

The slow joggers are especially cognizant of the two-mom duet disapproval. Your slow joggers are just that–slow. They’re maybe wearing some of that Spandex exercising clothing, or maybe they’re wearing an old t-shirt from a work convention they’ve found in their closet. Armpits soaking, back splotched haphazardly, they push away the hair that keeps falling into their faces and jog on. They’re a little self-conscious, either because of how sweaty they are or because of their slow jog (everyone thinks I’m so slow or look how many people need to pass me or wish I could run like those people in the small shorts ) or because of their size. They look especially hurt by the looks of the two-mom duet and will sometimes slow down to try to pass them, say “excuse me,” or some other appropriate behavior. They look longingly at the hardcore bikers, with their clearly defined calves, calves that are made for exercising.

But double-kid stroller moms? These are the moms you need to watch out for. There will be no apologies uttered by them.

The double-kid stroller mom is clad in Spandex similar to your hardcore bikers and serious runners. She’s in great shape too–smooth upper torso, sinewy legs. Her arms have got some power too because she’s probably into Crossfit or yoga for strength or some other fitness trend that most of us hear about but aren’t too motivated to try because damn it, it just seems way too hard.

These moms are impressive because 1) it doesn’t look like they birthed the children they’re pushing and 2) they’re running with an extra 30 pounds. Her stroller, unlike your two-mom duet, seems to move with ease, as she guides it with just the tips of her fingers–she doesn’t grip the handle with white knuckles like you sometimes hold your latte as the hardcore bikers zoom by or when you try to get away from the wet dog that’s about to shake. She’s got this, and the way she moves tells us that. Her strides are balanced and lengthy, and she breathes with ease, pushing a baby with bow ties in her hair and a toddler with a tablet in his hands. Sometimes she’s even got a dog in tow, a labradoodle or goldendoodle or some other AKC champion breed that seems to run in time with her. The other dog walkers watch in awe wondering how they can get their dogs to run alongside them and not chase after the millions of squirrels that reside in Austin. How does she push the kids AND deal with the dog?

She sweats, but somehow it doesn’t look as wet and sticky as the rest of the Lady Bird Lake participants, definitely not as bad as the slow joggers. Even the latte-holders sweat at all times of the year–Austin isn’t “that humid” but still hot as hell, and the make-up you so thoroughly applied is sliding off your face like second skin. Her make-up looks perfect. Or maybe she’s not wearing anything and she’s somehow naturally gorgeous and thin and athletic. Maybe she doesn’t sweat because of the Spandex. Maybe we should all wear Spandex.

And yet while you admire what she’s doing, she’s unforgiving. The stroller she’s pushing is extra weight that she will use to run you the fuck down. The hardcore bikers will indicate when they’re coming, with their harsh “LEFT” or sometimes a bell. They maneuver (usually) effortlessly around the hordes of people trying to enjoy the once-in-the-year 75 degree weather. The slow joggers will slow or stop. The dog walkers will call their dogs and pull them in. Two-kid stroller moms have no warning sign and the only way to know they’re coming is to listen for them. Their measured breathing, the creaking of the wheels on the gravel. And when you hear them you better get out of the way because she “can’t” stop and she isn’t going to. She’s fit and beautiful and you know what? you don’t even have to work that hard to have a body like hers after giving birth, you just need to begin exercising and lifting weights a couple of years before you get pregnant and then continue to eat right and drink protein shakes and take walks at least twice a day during the pregnancy. It’s really not that hard at all.

You watch as she rolls on by the latte-holders, the dog walkers, the slow joggers. You envy the ease with which she not only exercises but how she runs her life as well. You know her cabinets are all labeled and that canned goods are stacked neatly to the left side of the pantry. You know she only feeds her kids organic fruits and they probably only watch PBS or “educational” programs. She wears heels and pencil skirts and at the end of the day her feet don’t hurt the way yours would. She probably doesn’t even put her make-up on, rather little creatures come in through her window in the morning and apply it for her as they sing cartoon songs.

And then the baby starts screaming and she has to stop to take care of him, and the other kid wants a snack, but no, he doesn’t want the apple slices she diligently cut for him this morning. He wants to go home because he’s hot, and the baby won’t stop crying. It’s not a diaper change and he doesn’t seem to be hungry but he won’t stop crying. He just won’t stop. You sip your latte and smirk. You’re exercising too, you know.

The Beast Incarnate Is Dead

By

The real winner on Sunday was Shane McMahon — and not because Team SmackDown defeated Team Raw in the five-on-five traditional Survivor Series match.

McMahon is the envy of the WWE Universe because he likely won’t remember the travesty that occurred to end the Survivor Series pay-per-view.

During his match, the SmackDown commissioner attempted to put away Roman Reigns by hitting his infamous Coast-to-Coast finisher. Instead, he got cut in half by a Reigns spear and appeared to suffer a concussion as a result of the impact.

While McMahon was cleaning out the cobwebs and wondering where he was in the back, the rest of us were forced to bear witness to one of the biggest travesties in WWE history.

Goldberg, who returned to professional wrestling after a 12-year hiatus, beat Brock Lesnar. More shocking, he did so by using only three moves. Spear, spear, jackhammer. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. Cue the house lights and let’s go home.

In the span of two-and-a-half minutes, the WWE used Goldberg as a nuclear warhead to dismantle everything it had built over the last few years.

Lesnar is a living legend of professional wrestling. He has been ever since he debuted in 2002. But over the past few years, he has reached heights much higher than the word “legend” describes.

He destroyed The Undertaker and shattered his Wrestlemania streak. He obliterated arguably the greatest WWE superstar of all-time in John Cena. A few months ago, he mutilated Randy Orton, leaving The Legend Killer pouring blood all over the mat.

With performances like those — and so many others — Lesnar had achieved a god-like status. He was invincible, immortal and, most importantly, unbeatable.

Until Saturday.

In the blink of an eye, Lesnar’s legacy was destroyed, and the legacies of those opponents he had beaten took a hit as well. A match that was a mistake from the get-go sparked a flame and set ablaze to it all.

To make matters worse, the travesty that was one of the worst moments in WWE history followed — and ultimately overshadowed — what was one of the best traditional Survivor Series matches of all-time.

Watching the team of Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman (RAW) battle AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and McMahon (SmackDown Live) was an absolute treat. For the first time since the WWE brand split back in July, this match put me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. In short, it was a classic.

Moments later, Lesnar’s theme music hit and the wrestler who was larger than life walked down the ramp looking to avenge a loss to Goldberg that came at Wrestlemania 20 more than 12 years ago, oozing with the confidence that comes from being the best at what you do.

Goldberg’s iconic entrance followed. Cameras followed the man who once won began his career with 173 consecutive victories as he made his way to the ring. He breathed in the pyro smoke and exhaled it through his mouth. It was nostalgic, but this isn’t 2004. Dieties from the past have nothing on the current form of Lesnar.

Or should I say the past form.

The bell rang, Lesnar drove Goldberg into the corner and was then pushed to the ground. A look of disbelief and fear donned on the mayor of Suplex City. A pair of spears was parlayed into a jackhammer. A three-count followed and Lesnar was left in pain as his manager Paul Heyman knelt over him. Together, they watched along with the WWE Universe as everything involving Lesnar crumbled.

This isn’t the first time WWE has messed up, and it won’t be the last. In the past, it has sometimes been able to salvage the careers of the superstars it destroyed, but Lesnar’s is now beyond saving. The Beast Incarnate is dead.

Hopefully nobody tells Shane McMahon.

Ambrose’s Ascent Proves The Shield Still Owns The Yard

By Troy Provost-Heron  (@Troy_Provost)

It’s still one of the most memorable betrayals I’ve seen in the WWE Universe.

Back in 2014, I was fully re-immersed in the WWE after forgetting it had even existed for several years. In the year or so since I had returned to watching the shows, my admiration for The Shield — the faction consisting of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins — had grown steadily. Their entrance music was awesome, the way they walked to the ring through the stands was unique and their dominance in the ring was entertaining. Most importantly, though, every week you watched each of them get better and better. (more…)

In Defense of Gaston

by Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

My college career has been a serious exercise in self-discovery. “What kind of man do I want to be?” I often find myself wondering. I look to the great men and women who have come before me for inspiration— Sun Tzu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Einstein, Bach, Martha Stewart—all people who have been enshrined in the pages of history for their contributions to society. One man, however, is consistently overlooked when history’s champions are discussed.

I am, of course, referring to Gaston. (more…)

WWE Fantasy Draft

by Fresh Out The Deli (@FreshOutTheD)

One week out from the 2016 Royal Rumble, we had our our first-annual WWE Fantasy League draft. Scoring is pretty simple; Superstars earn points each time they initially win a belt and every time they continue to hold the belt after a  Pay-Per-View (regardless of if they defend it or not).

  • 3 points for every World Heavyweight Championship
  • 2 points for every Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, or Divas Championship
  • 1 point for every Tag Team Championship, or a win in a special event like the Royal Rumble, King Of The Ring, Money In The Bank, Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, etc.

Round 1

Brock Lesnar
b_lesnar

Dylan Cicale (@dylanc97): Brock Lesnar has been the most dominating superstar the WWE has seen in years. He rarely shows up to events, but we all know when he does, he won’t settle for just an ordinary fight. He wants the Heavyweight Championship.

Bray Wyatt
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Alex Perdomo (@TheAlexPerdomo): After seemingly taking the powers of the phenom himself in a bizarre ritual, it seems as if Wyatt and his family have become the spiritual successors to Kane and the Undertaker. With Undertaker possibly retiring this year, we can only hope that Wyatt will have a career half as illustrious. Even 50 percent of the Undertaker is still a great first round pick.

Roman Reigns
roman-reigns

Troy Provost-Heron (@Troy_Provost): The superstar-rebelling-against-authority storyline is a WWE classic. Roman Reigns has been a thorn in The Authority’s side for over a year and will continue to be one while competing for titles. This is as safe a pick as you can make.

Dean Ambrose
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Bryan Cicale (@Bryanc94): With Roman off the board Dean seemed like a no-brainer. He’s one of the biggest superstars in WWE right now, and should be for a while.

Alberto Del Rio
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Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague): Clearly riding a push from the company, ADR is poised to be the WWE’s go-to heel while Seth Rollins is out with a knee injury.

Kevin Owens
kevin owens

Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale): Owens got a push right away when he debuted last summer and it wouldn’t make sense if the WWE didn’t continue to push him in 2016. With all the injuries around the top of the card and Owen’s popularity, he’ll have the shot at the World Heavyweight title at some point soon. (more…)

“Love and Mercy,” a Music Biopic that Really Sings

By Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan)

Biographical movies are a dime-a-dozen, and there’s certainly no shortage of biographical films about musicians, either, but the unconventional structure and strong performances make “Love and Mercy,” a look at the life and times of Brian Wilson, one of the better entries into the canon.

It’s a wise decision to start the movie with a selection of Beach Boys’ songs, to remind and/or inform the audience how popular they were and how many memorable songs they cut. The rest of the film then uses John Cusack, as older Wilson, and Paul Dano, as younger Wilson, to depict everything from Wilson’s time in the band, his orchestration of the famed “Pet Sounds” album–which Rolling Stone declared the second-best album in history in 2003– his poisonous relationship with his odious father, his struggles with “hearing voices” in his head, falling for Melinda Ledbetter as an older man, and her battle to extract him from under the influence of the warped Dr. Eugene Landy.

Wilson is clearly a tortured musical genius. The scenes of him putting together the revolutionary “Pet Sounds”  with a group of musicians are an extraordinary look inside the process of a musician, and they’re juxtaposed with his vicious, abusive father. Unfortunately for Wilson, he trades one domineering man for another, as Landy is just as shady and manipulative as his old man. The younger Wilson eventually goes totally off the deep end, which is how the older Wilson eventually comes under the spell of Landy. (more…)

Staff Picks: Best Music of 2015

Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

Favorite Songs of 2015

  1. Alright – Kendrick Lamar
  2. Reality in Motion – Tame Impala
  3. The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala
  4. The Blacker The Berry – Kendrick Lamar
  5. Butterfly – grimes
  6. Cry For You (RAK Version) – Hot Chip
  7. Depreston – Courtney Barnett
  8. Elevator Operator – Courtney Barnett
  9. What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber
  10. Realiti – grimes

Favorite Albums of 2015

  1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

An eclectic album that utilizes many different musical elements, Kendrick Lamar has managed to put together the most engaging and substantive piece of work in recent memory.

Hip-hop’s new champion has demonstrated serious development from his last effort, good kid, M.A.A.D city. Artistically, Mr. Lamar has matured, opting for a less-accessible musical style that results in a more enticing product. While retaining much of the narrative elements of his previous LP, this time around they are significantly more ambiguous and feel less like a recount of events. (more…)

“The Big Short” Dives into a Worldwide Financial Meltdown–with Laughs

By Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan)

“The Big Short,” now in theaters, follows Oscar Wilde’s dictum that if you’re going to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.

If “The Big Short,” named one of the top 10 films of 2015 by the American Film Institute, didn’t make us laugh at the avarice and carelessness of those in the financial industry who brought on the most recent economic meltdown, we’d weep, or riot in the streets like the French Revolution.

This is a genuinely angry film, which has been nominated for most outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture by SAG, mad at the people who drove the country off a cliff, faced no real consequences, and now are essentially back to their old tricks.

Adapted from the Michael Lewis book of the same title–Lewis also had “Moneyball” and “The Blind Side” flourish on the big screen–we follow the few individuals who realized how insane the system had become and bet against, or shorted, the housing market. They understood that giving credit to people who didn’t deserve it so they could buy homes they couldn’t afford created an unsustainable bubble that was bound to burst, and when it did, it took the world economy with it. (more…)