Back to basics | 5 years ago | April 6, 2001 | Matt Ashare attended the South by Southwest Music Festival and Conference.
“If there was a lesson to be taken home from this year’s South by Southwest Music Conference, which took place March 15 through 19 in Austin, it’s that less sometimes really is more when it comes to music. That’s not to suggest that the conference was truly much smaller than it has been in recent years: there were still hundreds of bands playing dozens of venues from noon until the early hours of the morning, and thousands of laminated badge-wearing industry people from every strata of the music business crowding the city’s hotels, clubs, bars, and rib joints. But this year’s South by Southwest seemed less cluttered than 2000’s, and even going back half a dozen more years.
“Credit the current downturn in the Internet economy, which has put a lid on many of the music-oriented dot-coms who showered money, tchotchkes, and seemingly every other manner of the audio-visual pollution on last year’s conference. And then, the kind of underground alternative rock and roots music that’s always been a mainstay of SxSW is no longer subject to the major-label feeding frenzies that infected past conferences by generating way too much hype for mediocre bands who might otherwise have had the opportunity to develop at their own pace.”
Travel expenses | 10 years ago | April 6, 1996 | Geoff Edgers reported on the lack of wheelchair-friendly ramps at T stations.
“Heather Hudson lives just down the street from the Coolidge Corner T station, but she can’t take the train. Hudson, 27, uses a wheelchair. And the Green Line, which runs from North Station to stations at Boston College, Cleveland Circle, and Reservoir, has ramps at only two of its 78 stations.
“ ‘I tried to use the T once in the Kenmore area, around BU,’ Hudson says. ‘There was absolutely no way.’
“Now there are what might seem to be small signs of hope: nine wooden ramps cordoned off by yellow tape, the MBTA’s latest attempt to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed six years ago. Built this winter for $22,000 apiece, the ramps are located at several stations on the outdoor sections of the Green Line.
“The yellow tape is not there because the ramps are still under construction. The ramps are finished, but they’re blocked off because they’re too narrow. They are three feet wide; Massachusetts requires that they be four feet wide. The state has yet to decide whether the narrow ramps will be permitted.”
Role playing | 15 years ago | April 5, 1991 | Carolyn Clay weighed in on Jeremiah Kissel’s rendition of Eric Bogosian’sDrinking in America.
“A somewhat beefier, less agitated Bogosian, Kissel propels himself through Drinking in America with the force of a Scud lurching toward the soft underbelly of the maledom. Perhaps because the actor is so likable, even the most irredeemable of Bogosian’s characters — such as Richie, the beer-swilling neanderthal who describes a fun night of drugs, drinking, driving to endanger, wanton destruction of property, terrorizing of the elderly, and learning to smell the flowers — come across as vulnerable. In fact, in Kissel’s hands, the one monologue that develops longueurs is that of the show’s most outright-despicable character, a hate-mongering minister who, here, seems to be warming his brimstone over a Bunsen burner.