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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[TX] Austin: music and arts scene

3 47 pm

Wanted: African-American music and arts scene
5/27/2005 10:42 PM
By: Crestina Chavez

The city of Austin received a host of recommendations related to the quality of life for African Americans. One part calls for different ways to improve the music scene.

The biggest complaint among African-American musicians seems to be the difficulty of gaining access to live music venues.

"I hear that all the time," Victory Grill Manager Eva Lindsey said.
"They have to get plugged in where ever they can. And one of the reasons that I have not been able to book full-time is because they have to hit the road, and they have to travel. And they go to Houston and San Antonio. And they're in and out, in and out."

Lindsey said she's not surprised by the recent findings.

"There's nothing new here," she said. Lindsey has been waiting on the city to give black entertainment a chance to survive.

"I support all of them. I support those that are building the strategy, but the fat lady hadn't sang yet," she said.

For more information

Read the African-American quality of life report conducted by the city of Austin

Recommendations include creating a marketing campaign, working with the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, making venues accessible and starting a cultural fund.

"I'd certainly be open to any group," Longbranch Inn manager Kevin Cruthfield said. His bar and live music venue is just right across the street from the Victory Grill.

He believes businesses have to depend on each other to welcome the black community.

"The Victory Grill is never open - is my biggest beef. I wish they were up and doing stuff. Because when they do I get a lot of runoff from that. And I enjoy that a great deal," he said.

There is more to this report than just explaining the changes and making recommendations. It also mentions the city should make an investment in East Austin, one of its oldest neighborhoods.

The report shows a need for better venue access for artists and recommends cultural marketing.

Lindsey wants the city to start with her historic venue.

"It's one of the most important landmarks in the city of Austin. It's on the National Registry of Historic Places. That means a lot to us as African Americans," she said.

Improving East Austin would help give African Americans some roots.

"We're the ones that have been dislocated, relocated and pushed back and had to start all over again multiple times. And, when you have do that you can never move forward," Lindsey said.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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