Here are some of the best and worst things, I think, that happened this year, starting with the worst: 1.) The closing of the Wreck Room. A veritable Fort Worth institution, the likes of which we have never seen and may never see again.
Even if former owner Brian Forella had fought the high-dollar Fort Worth developers who put the squeeze on him, which insiders tell me he might have been able to, what would he have accomplished?! Having a place that Chloe and Biff could have popped into to catch some loud punk-rock music and do a shot of Jäger on their way to The Gap and Pier 1?! Right. Forella’s moved on – down the street, actually – to nicer though less charmingly grungy digs, Lola’s (formerly 6th Street Live), and we all may do well to do likewise. 2.) The worsening, if you can believe it, of the Star-Telegram’s local music coverage. Before he decamped for the certainly greener and less totalitarian pastures of antique-dealing, Star-T music critic Malcolm Mayhew still managed to throw a few bones to the struggling artists in our backyard.
But his replacement, Preston Jones, who may be the nicest guy in the world – I’ve never met him – doesn’t afford locals even Mayhew’s oblique courtesy. Granted, Jones might simply be following orders from above: “Don’t worry about Fort Worth artists, Preston, my good chap,” I can hear one of the paper’s big cheeses saying. “Write about bands from Lubbock or Austin – you know, cool bands from cool cities.”
Jones and company also refused to acknowledge our tenth annual Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards showcase this summer. We put on a free, all-day show one Sunday afternoon in five Sundance Square clubs – with 30 local bands – to raise awareness of the great music here and also help raise money for the local chapter of SafeHaven, a shelter for abused and battered women and their children. The Star-T did not even mention the show. Not even a listing! Basically, the daily paper of record cares more about turf than about serving readers and the common good.
More than Jones and his cohorts – overworked, underpaid stiffs like the rest of us – I blame the bosses, who are genuinely befuddled as to why no Fort Worthians under 50 read anything in the Star-T other than the sports page. 3.) The death of a Fort Worth jazz great, saxophonist Dewey Redman. … The best: 1.) The remodeling of The Aardvark, plus its new and improved sound system. Sure, more TCU frat-holes (a redundancy?) go there, but even their unabashed jackassery and popped collars can’t spoil the great shows by the great local artists who still play the ‘Vark regularly. 2.) The Fort Worth party at SXSW. Local music lovers who made the trip to Austin for the annual music festival/conference – and some strangers – came out on a Saturday afternoon at Darwin’s Pub on 6th Street to catch performances by 817’ers Stella Rose and Calhoun along with 817-512’ers The Frontier Brothers. 3.) The Wall of Sound Festival at LaGrave Field. Booze, awesome music by dozens of awesome national and local indie bands, and great weather. ‘Nuff said.
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