Well, Isaac Hayes has quit Southpark, giving up the role of the character Chef because of what he refers to as the show's "intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others". Southpark co-creator Matt Stone responded by saying that Hayes was only quitting because the program has recently aired episodes which poked fun at Scientology, Hayes' chosen religion. "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians," stated Stone.
Anyhoo, I'm sorry to see Hayes go. His character, Chef, was always one of the high points of South Park, and the show won't be the same without him (unless, of course, they manage to find a really good Isaac Hayes impersonator and just keep Chef around). It especially bums me out to hear that Hayes is leaving the show over something as seemingly ridiculous as Scientology. I wonder how much pressure that particular "church" put on him to quit and to denounce the show. The fact that the Scientologists got Hayes to turn against something which had been a positive force in his life for years only makes me feel that much more skeptically toward and suspicious of their whole "religion".
In other news, South by Southwest is descending upon Austin this week, and with it the throngs of musicians and industry personnel who clog up our restaurants, clubs, and hotles for several days each year. I hope to go out to see F for Fake tomorrow night (Wed.) at 8:00 at the Copa Bar and Grill at 217 Congress (my friend Charlie Roadman plays in this band, and I can't recommend them enough- go out and see them if you can possibly make it. They're kind of a folk/rock with a trumpet and a banjo and some pretty great lyrics). Thursday Crack and Mono E are playing during the day at Bella Blue at 2213 South First Street starting at 4:00 p.m. sharp. Skip out of work early and drop by to hear us play for a bit! The weather should be great!
Friday I hope to go out and see some free shows during the day, and then I'm going to see Willie Nelson on Friday night. Should be a good week.
A couple of years ago I went to a music law conference at The Four Seasons during SXSW, and something struck me as funny. The hotel and lobby were chock full of industry people and musicians, but walking around the hotel and people watching, it seemed to me that many of the musicians seemed a wee bit thrown off their game by the whole SXSW experience. I think that musicians, as a whole, are used to standing out and feeling like they are a bit unique because of their musical talents and ability to produce songs. Amongst the general public, musicians are perceived as exceptional (or at least somewhat exceptional) because of their ability and willingness to "put themselves out there" and attempt to entertain. (which is why you get musicians who dress differently or act differently in their attempt to embrace this role)
The whole idea, however, of musicians being somehow "different" kind of gets cast aside during SXSW when thousands upon thousands of musicians flow into our fair city and overtake it for a week. For musicans who can just relax and enjoy being in a creative, stimulating enviroment populated by their professional colleagues, SXSW must be fun.
My experience eavesdropping upon visiting musicians at the Four Seasons reminded me, however, that a lot of these guys are coming in from out of town in hopes of getting signed by a label, and the sheer number of musicians and the overall chaos of the SXSW event must be both intimidating and nerve-wracking to some of these up-and-coming musicians. Amongst the musicians I heard gossipping about other bands, bitching about venues and logistics, and other complaints. At first I was annoyed and wondering why they weren't enjoying the whole scene the same way that I was, but then it occurred to me that a lot of these guys seemes actually kind of nervous about the whole SXSW scene. It's definitely a party for the audiences, but these musicians have some high hopes and potnetially a lot riding on the performances that they manage to pull off during SXSW.
All of this to say- go out and cheer for the bands, Adventurers! They need your support and affection! The more unknown the band is, the more they need your support and help. Maybe an audience who is actively enjoying some unknown band is more likely to influence an industry agent to take interest in a that band, or maybe having a good audience will just make the SXSW experience a more positive one for some of the lesser known musicians who are kind of struggling to get through the whole experience.
Anyway, enjoy your week, even if you skip SXSW.
You gotta love Austin in the spring time!!!!