R. Buckminster Fuller and the Power of Belief

I had the good fortune of seeing The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller , a live documentary produced and narrated by Sam Green, with accompaniment by Yo la Tengo, one of my favorite bands.

While Bucky is known for his visionary projects, earning him a place as one of the greatest and most prolific minds of the 20th Century,Bucky Fuller it was his message of hope and compassion that left the deepest impression on me. I felt like I had seen the true meaning of Christmas after enjoying this wonderfully textured live tribute. This is what motivated Bucky to travel the world and to continue his work on behalf of humankind (I use that term wistfully).

He endured both victory and defeat in his long and remarkable journey, even contemplating suicide after the death of his daughter and the loss of his business. At that point he had an abrupt realization that he had no right to end his life and dedicated his life to the advancement of humanity. He is best known as a design science genius, his vision is predicated on the interrelatedness of life on spaceship earth. Synergetic thinking provides the foundation for his approach to design science.

“The function of what I call design science is to solve problems by introducing into the environment new artifacts, the availability of which will induce their spontaneous employment by humans and thus, coincidentally, cause humans to abandon their previous problem-producing behaviors and devices. For example, when humans have a vital need to cross the roaring rapids of a river, as a design scientist I would design them a bridge, causing them, I am sure, to abandon spontaneously and forever the risking of their lives by trying to swim to the other shore.”- R. Buckminster Fuller, from Cosmography

Bucky left us a library of his life, the Dymaxion Chronofile, which is housed at Stanford University. Anyone can view this remarkable collection, a history of his daily life and all of his projects.

His belief that we can create a sustainable and kinder civilization can seem naive in these time of starkly unequal resource distribution. But if we don’t believe that we can create a better world, then we will be prey to the culture vultures already circling to take advantage of our ennui or despair. We must rededicate ourselves as Bucky did, to working with the earth and each other in service to the greater good if we are to realize our full potential as humane beings.

South by South Austin 2013

What’s a local to do among the swarm of music crazed SXSWesters? Some of us were here in the beginning – we’re the ones saying it will never be that cool again.  And we’re right, from our perspective.  But there are ways to savor the flavor without getting trapped.  If someone handed me a Prince ticket I would have braved the crush, but I settled for what promises to become a growing South by South Austin fringe escapade, except for a quick walk across Ladybird Lake to see Alt-J and Richard Thompson (links are to music and interviews). Hats off, by the way, to these Brits for their tasty back beats and edgy vocals.  Running into friends, enjoying the serendipity of roaming – a welcome break in the routine – hunting for musical treasure. Anyone notice that the hipsters are getting younger every year?

Heading to South Congress seemed inevitable and given the 25 years I lived and partied in 78704, a homecoming.  It’s more of a circus these days than it used to be, so rather than dive into the fray I found a stool at Enoteca  and savored a glass of white wine.  Then I headed South.  As chance would have it, I found myself at one of my favorite South Austin restaurants, Evangeline’s. Besides some fine cajun family cooking they have good music, but better get there before 6 or you’ll have to wait for a table. Fueled and ready for a few hours of dancing, we found exactly what we were looking for at the One 2 One, dancing to the funky soul sounds of LZ Love .  The last time I went to the One 2 One I saw Sister 7, another great dance band.  Keep this club on your radar, it has a bigger dance floor than most and is a new venture by Danny Crooks, former impresario of Soap Creek Saloon.  South Lamar and Manchaca now boasts The Saxon Pub, the One 2 One and Strange Brew, recently named best new venue by the Austin Chronicle. Then there’s Patsy’s Cafe off Hwy 71 and Sam’s Town Point,  for a trip from hip into classic Austin. I only stayed for an hour at Sam’s but it was truly a Social Logical experience. I have SXSW to thank for showing me the sad, sweet songs by Rebekah Pulley, the soulful funk of transgender diva LZ Love and Brit sensation’s ALt-J and Richard Thompson’s brief appearance behind the fence at Waterloo Records.  To those who want a taste of SXSW without the parking hassle and badges – South Austin might just be a true haven for the weird.

Sacred Springs Pow Wow in San Marcos

Lucky and Becky Tomblin started the Sacred Springs Pow Wow 16 years ago to bless the San Marcos River community and pay tribute to the Native People who lived on its banks.  This year they were honored by American Indians from Texas, Oklahoma and California who prayed and gave thanks for family and friends by dancing in the great circle of life.  Spirit touched all who gathered in peace and in love. Aho-Amen.

Sad farewell to Club 21

Club 21 cannot be replaced.  I took these pictures of the Lucky Tomblin Band playing there last October and set them to one of Lucky’s tunes.  A classic dance hall since the late 1800s.  If those walls could talk . . .