Austin names a day for longtime council critic


Usually when Daniel Llanes is in front of the dais at City Hall, he’s berating the City Council on one issue or another.

But during last week’s council meeting, Llanes took center stage at council chambers and sang, danced and even recited poetry.

The longtime Austin activist gave the musical performance at the meeting and was honored with a proclamation declaring August 6, 2015, “Daniel Llanes Day.”

It was an unusual situation for him. Normally when Llanes goes to City Hall, he’s fighting for the equal representation of underserved communities, especially people of color, or asking the council to reconsider their position on an issue in East Austin, where he lives.

“It’s very, very different,” Llanes said after performing his routine.

On Thursday, Llanes showed a different side of himself, dedicating his performance to elected officials and those who actively participate in local government. Llanes, a performance artist by trade, often puts on shows around Austin and in September will enter into his 16th year of cultural performances for the city.

Llanes started by reciting a poem that urged listeners to “keep the trees.” He followed that with a song that imagined and extolled the virtues of a world where nature is clean and can thrive.

In his grand finale, Llanes called on listeners to “Stand on up for freedom and democracy” and fight “corporate domination” as he clapped and danced a song of his own writing, urging a smiling Council Member Leslie Pool and Mayor Steve Adler to join him.

They did not, but in his defense, Adler said he hardly ever dances, even when his wife asks him.

Even after receiving the honor, Llanes was in disbelief. He first learned he would be given a proclamation last week when the city contacted him to ask if he could perform at Thursday’s meeting.

“Are they kidding? Are you sure?,” Llanes said. “Really, that was my thought.”

Susana Almanza, Llanes’ friend and fellow activist for more than 20 years, was also caught off guard.

“I was so surprised, but I was very honored that Daniel was being recognized,” Almanza said. “He’s very politically active but he’s also very human.”

Llanes’ daughter, Carmen, attended the proclamation ceremony, as well as other City Hall frequenters like neighborhood representatives David King and Mary Ingle, and the Sierra Club’s Roy Waley.

“It was certainly different,” said Adler, who, as mayor, is usually the one letting Llanes know when his allotted time is up to make his point to the council. “But he’s not only a committed citizen-advocate, he’s also a very multi-faceted performer and he is part of what makes Austin special.”

With the scrapping of the appeal on an East Austin hotel and the Springdale Farms debate postponed, both items that Llanes would have been before the council to address Thursday were off the table.

For once, Llanes had a pleasant day at City Hall.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

JUST IN: Homelessness in Austin, Travis County rises 5 percent
JUST IN: Homelessness in Austin, Travis County rises 5 percent

Homelessness in Austin and Travis County has increased by 5 percent compared with last year, according to an annual count by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. In January, about 550 volunteers spread throughout the city and county to count people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers counted people in cars, tents, parks, under bridges and...
Taylor man threatened wife, held knife to his throat, deputies say
Taylor man threatened wife, held knife to his throat, deputies say

Williamson County deputies arrested a Taylor man who threatened his wife Wednesday and later held a knife to his throat when authorities confronted him, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said. The incident happened around noon at a house in the 400 block of Mockingbird Lane in Taylor, sheriff’s spokeswoman Patricia Gutierrez said. Deputies from the...
Abbott asks disgraced congressman to foot bill for special election
Abbott asks disgraced congressman to foot bill for special election

Gov. Greg Abbott wants Blake Farenthold to foot the bill for a special election the governor has called to replace the former disgraced congressman. Abbott on Wednesday sent a letter to Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican who resigned from Congress in early April amid sexual harassment claims, demanding that he cover all costs for the upcoming...
Community news: CodeNext public hearings set for Saturday, Tuesday

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN CodeNext public hearings set CodeNext will host two hearings with members of the joint use land commission for the public to provide feedback. Meetings will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive, and at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. The public hearings...
UPDATE: Crews clamp broken gas line in downtown Austin, fire officials say
UPDATE: Crews clamp broken gas line in downtown Austin, fire officials say

11:15 a.m. update: A broken gas line that prompted the evacuation of at least one downtown Austin building Wednesday morning has been clamped shut, Austin fire officials said. Crews were checking gas levels in nearby buildings on West 11th Street between San Antonio and Guadalupe streets before allowing more than 250 people to return to the evacuated...
More Stories