April 14, 2009
Question is: Who isn’t throwing a festival this weekend? You got your winos (Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival), your stoners (Austin Reggae Festival), your hillbillies (Old Settler’s Music Festival), and your rockabillies (Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round Up). Reckless Kelly is even throwing a celebrity softball game and concert out at the Dell Diamond. There are so many white people in town this weekend it’s a wonder Barton Creek Mall isn’t closing down. Of course, any developer with the chutzpah to build a huge shopping mall right over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone isn’t going to close up shop just because it gets overrun with Caucasians. Besides, Barton Creek Mall has been tea-bagging the aquifer now for nearly 30 years, and no one’s dead yet … right? Maybe our descendants will be angling for gigantic two-headed mutant snail darters, but right now we’re sitting pretty. We’ve only had to close down Barton Springs a few times, and really, the mall is nothing compared to the big chemical crap Barton Creek Country Club has been taking upstream. If you want verdant, lush fairways on top of craggy limestone, you have to be macho enough to stir the environmental turd, so to speak, and Barton Creek’s investors have been involved in environmental hellscaping for decades. Check out what Freeport-McMoRan (BCCC’s original developer) has done with riverfront property in West Papua New Guinea, and you’ll begin to understand that Austin is lucky they’re only polluting our swimming holes. If the Barton Springs Watershed had the misfortune of being lined with copper, the BCCC would be a huge strip mine. Freeport goes after copper like a jonesing meth-head, and a few endangered salamanders are light collateral damage compared to the wholesale environmental devastation it would have surely wrought if the value of its property was below the ground rather than above it. Fortunately for us, we scored four championship golf courses and a full-service spa and fitness center instead of 30 miles of mine tailings, contaminated groundwater, and a laundry list of human rights abuses. Whether you’re into it or not, Austin is in dire need of more golf courses and spas. Why? We’re freakin’ lousy with rich people. We have way more than our share. The good news is that the proliferation of rich people can be contained by strategically placed developments – ideally with spas and golf courses. These developments effectively “ghettoize” the rich people and keep them from overrunning the cool parts of Austin. Genius really. Hill Country Galleria? Hells yeah! Anything to keep them from clogging up the queue at Maria’s Taco Xpress or Top Notch or Sandy’s. Plus, if we need them for their money, we can always call them down to Coolsville to drop coin on our charitable causes. As they say in the bene business, “Black tie and priced high!” That way the rich folk get a taste of the local culture but without the grit that comes with it. If you happen to actually be one of those rich people, you should definitely check out the Octopus Club’s ArtErotica event at the Copper Tank this Saturday. ArtErotica is a sex-themed art show consisting of donated works by local Austin artists. It’s also a fundraiser for AIDS Services of Austin (emphasis on “fun”), so you can buy something really expensive and really nasty and feel really good about it – as opposed to say, a copper mine in New Guinea.