Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

Money Changers in the Temple of Honky Tonk

In Honky Tonk on 03/22/2013 at 12:58 pm

If you’ve ever been to a concert, you have a seen the Merchandise Table.  Filled with T-Shirts, koozies, hats, records/taps/CDs and various novelty items, this is the place to shop when you want to advertise your personal preferences without paying tax or shipping.

 Here are some tips for a successful visit to the Merch Table:

1.                          Bring cash, if possible, exact change.  Checks require daylight hours so elusive to musicians, and even with swiping technology,    debit/credit malarkey often descends suddenly and without mercy.

2.                          Purchase something, then hang around for a bit to see if the musicians will come by for autographs.  Take the hint if they don’t.

3.                          Bring your own Sharpie and watch it like a hawk.  Only lend out in exchange for tangible goods.

4.                          It never hurts to ask the person working merch if they would like a beverage.

5.                          While the ubiquitous underwear option may be tempting, do not purchase.  The material chafes, they are grossly overpriced for the amount of material, and at some point, you’ll have to ask if Willie Nelson’s mug on your intimates is an improvement.

6.                          Only accept ‘best album’ advice if the person giving is a Manager or Professional Merch Table Worker.

On that note, be aware of the different types of Merch Table Workers:

1.      Professional Merch Table Workers – these people work most shows, know how to setup a booth, run the machines, give quality recommendations, do fast math for change and either love doing it or fantasize about taking over the band in a haze of repressed anger.

2.      Groupie and/or Girlfriend – sometimes difficult to distinguish but groupie will be more excited to promote the band and will be dressed almost hipster like.  The girlfriend will be highly annoyed to be saddled with this duty and will give you stink eye in a perception of rivalry for attention.  She will be dressed more hipster than your uncool brain can comprehend.

3.      Manager – If this person is working, proceed with caution.  If they haven’t been with the band too long, they will be doe-eyed and fumbling.  If they have been with the band long, they will be distracted and on their phone more than working the table.

4.      Loafer – sometimes, when the person who was originally supposed to work the table doesn’t show up, someone random gets pulled in.  Usually someone who will talk to friends and flirt the whole night instead of taking money.

5.      The Musician – often found with opening bands, these people will tell you anything to get you to buy something.  Because they only get a portion of the ticket sales.  So buy something.

For best results, mix Tips #1 & #4 with Work Type #1 or undistracted version of #3 for highest likelihood of checking out the Green Room.


Now-you’ll-see-them-everywhere trivia: those stereotypical mail trucks are called LLVs or Long Life Vehicles.


Road Trip #13 – In ConJUNCTION with London, Texas

In Honky Tonk/ Food on 03/10/2013 at 3:19 pm

Greetings Honky Tonk lovers!  Another road trip has come and gone; time for the recap!

We herded to the small town of Junction, Texas to indulge in their local going-abouts.  Most of us stayed at The Legends Inn which was surprisingly nice and clean.  Also, significantly cheaper than the Best Western.  If, for some reason you ever need to overnight it in Junction, I recommend this place.

The Junction Rivers Winery was our first official stop.


We wine tasted and were educated by a very friendly staff, who answered all questions with ease.  The tasting is very affordable and appealed to a range of palates.  A nice facility and porch with a concise menu; several other parties were nibbling and enjoying adult beverages.  Not an extensive facility but welcoming and accommodating.  Frozen drinks were well received, even by those who do not typically partake in frozen drinks.  Without reservation, this was my favorite spot.

For dinner, Isaack’s Restaurant was the stop.  While no doubt a staple in the community, the high points here were the chicken fried steak and the various local history items on the walls.

HTF - Junction 1007

Although Texas Monthly thinks Isaack’s is great, I think it is standard small town fried fare with a high point.  And the pie is served ice box cold, which is dandy for some but confusing and dejecting to others.  If you are heading this direction, perhaps try Milky Way or Lum’s first.

Then onward to London Dance Hall, about 20 miles away on a dark, dark road.  This may be an interesting spot to visit during the day; this was our limited view:

HTF - Junction 1012

First, don’t wear clothing which can’t hold up to staple holes because you’ll walk out with at least two.  Smoking is allowed inside but it was a small crowd and not an issue.  The outfit seems to be three separate building with doorways cut in between.  Dancing space is large, multiple tables, a side room for non-smokers and a standing section.  Due to this, this dance hall would be a good place to bring a large group of dancers.  Minors acting a fool are not looked kindly upon, which is a nice change of pace.

HTF - Junction 1018

Since no one is our party was too keen on dancing, we spent most of our time in the bar part, playing pool and such.  Of the two bartenders, the big tall one keep staring our group down for reasons unbeknownst to us, but we enjoyed ourselves regardless.  Bathrooms were interesting and the overall vibe was relaxed and fun.  London Dance Hall does not have a website but the Texas Dance Hall Preservation website lists info.  Beer prices were low; technically they take cards but cash is your most efficient method.

Heading back to town, we happened to find ourselves in the parking lot of Wild Turkey.

HTF - Junction 1038

It is loud and smoky but allowed writing on the walls.  A good stop for one last beer.

HTF - Junction 1044

As a next-morning note, breakfast on Sunday morning is damn near impossible to find.  Eventually, we found Tia Nena which sported large plates of food.  The tortillas were tasty, the bacon looks better than it is.

Check out Facebook for many more pictures.  Mucho thanks to everyone who drove so far, my regulars and the newbies, and of course, to the photographers, A.R. and G.T.  Cheers!

You’ve-been-reading-too-much-into-it FACT: Taco Bell is named after its founder, Glen Bell.