By: Teddy Barbour
With the plethora of live music, the Austin music scene is equally a blessing and curse – the amount of live music options in the city can be overwhelming. Soundwaves flow freely through the city, beckoning all open ears in their path. Trying to provide some unity and consistency in this ever-changing city is Austin’s latest DIY venue, Shirley’s Temple, which opened in late July at 6910 Shirley Avenue in North Austin.
Seven founding members – Brian Chamblee, Kris Marshall, Reynaldo Renteria, Andrew Malesky, Michael Gonzales, Scott Osmet, and Lexi Landolt – started the venue. The space looks to serve as a venue for bands and a gallery space for DIY art pieces. With a small space, a leaky garage door, a lot of hope, and an overall “fuck it” attitude, Shirley’s Temple is out to provide an alternative, inclusive venue. “In Austin we are kind of spoiled in that whatever niche you like, you can go to that show and avoid anything that you are not as interested in,” says one of the founders, Brian Chamblee.
In an effort to bring a punk attitude and community vision to the city, Shirley’s Temple acts as an all-ages, sober space for live music in a scene dominated by bars and alcohol sales. “The thing about the Austin scene is that it is very bar-based and that doesn’t give a whole lot of room for people like me who are underage and can’t go to bars,” says Kris Marshall, another founding member of the venue. The absence of alcohol gives Shirley’s Temple a distinct characteristic that many venues do not possess: all inclusivity. An alcohol-free environment also provides a sanctuary for individuals to join a community with a low barrier for entry and no pressure to participate in drinking.
The beauty of DIY culture is its ability to act as home for individuals with a diverse set of ideas and agendas, who can all come together to support each other's art. “A certain aspect of DIY is taking everything that is related to that project, that music, or that art and really just taking it into your hands and not having outside sources telling you how or what you should do,” Chamblee says.
“A certain aspect of DIY is taking everything that is related to that project, that music, or that art and really just taking it into your hands and not having outside sources telling you how or what you should do"
Increasing rent prices, low attendance, and faltering advertising are among the many problems that DIY spaces face – but the one obstacle that Austin’s DIY scene has continuously struggled to overcome is a lack of consistency in people's attendance and involvement. “It’s all ebbs and flows,” Chamblee says. “Part of the Austin community is that it’s a transient city. If you have people that come in and want to really be involved with DIY, the scene might get really good for a while.”
The DIY scene in Austin needs a steadfast venue, but achieving that goal hinges primarily on the youth of the city. Punk is a youthful movement that draws on the ideas and actions of the group that society constantly tries to shush: young people. “I hope more people under the age of 18 start going to shows,” says Chamblee. “Younger people are more enthusiastic about music and art and making things happen culturally, definitely in punk.”
Whether you’re a punk, nerd, goth, vagabond, jock, city slicker, or even an alien, Shirley’s Temple is a place for you. Leave the alcohol at home, come as you are and make a friend or two while exposing your eardrums to music that can’t be found anywhere else in the city.
Shirley’s Temple is always looking for volunteers to help run the door, clean up after shows, book shows, and support the venue and the art created. Shirley’s Temple can be found on FaceBook and email: email@example.com.