Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mercury Hall Under Development Gun

People Who Got Married at Mercury Hall Narrowly Miss Serious Bummer.

What's interesting is that the church was hauled to Austin and restored by Richard Linklater's producer, Anne Walker-McBay, and her husband, Clark Walker. I don't know if they still own it or run it. Yet it would make another fine chapter of Austin's autophagy to have people involved in making one of the iconic Austin films sell their property to developers. Another PowerPoint slide in a demonstration about how to transform the human scale of a place to the scale of capital.


Stephanie Bush said...

I'm not in complete disagreement with your general slant on the state of Austin (although "autophagy" is a strong word), but I wonder if the good things that manage to seep through the cracks of capital are somehow stronger because of it? This is an argument for the ill-defined "underground/counter-culture" as a whole, rather than specifically about Austin, but still...the whole notion of resistance in response to power, etc. I say this in recollection of an evening a few years back, standing on Grant's porch at some party or other. A group of us bemoaning the Bush administration, when someone commented that "at least rock music will get interesting again." Which has proven true, I think.

coffeehound said...

So much to respond to here! I'll go specific first: If the rock got better ("more interesting") in the last 8 years, I bet it reflects demand for protest music, rather than the irrepressible voice of the proles squeezing out from under the jackboots. Pop music is already a commodity, and it will (and did) find its market. This raises an interesting Darwinist line of thinking: Maybe the music got better because there was more of it, so more music competing for limited ears in the marketplace had to get better, fast.

That leads to the second point: the things that do seep through the cracks of capital I don't think need capital. In this culture they'd be there anyway, one way or another. That's not to say that it's not an interesting environment to read things in conjunction (say, a skyscraper next to a community garden) but I don't want to give up any yards to anything that looks like an argument in which outcomes justify methods or means.

Autophagy may be strong. Maybe there's even a technical term for this in urban planning, whereby what makes a place placeful eventually ensures its transformation into placelessness. And by the very same human agents! That, for me, is the kicker, the comedy, the tragedy.