A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 07, 2008
“I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas”

“I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas” is a popular slogan of The Broken Spoke, billed as “the best honky-tonk in Texas” and “Texas’ most definitive dance hall.” The Broken Spoke began in 1964 at 3201 South Lamar in Austin and features country music along with chicken fried steak.
The Broken Spoke’s slogan has been on bumper stickers and T-shirts since at least the 1980s.
The Broken Spoke History
Broken Spoke..
the Best Honky-Tonk in Texas

The Broken Spoke is Texas’ most definitive dance hall. It’s not of those fly-by-night, trendy newcomers you see springing up in out-of-business lumber yards or feeds stores on every corner. You can’t build a legend overnight. Owners James and Annetta White have been operating the Austin tradition since 1964 and its reputation for good country music and good Texas cooking has spread world-wide.
(Bumper Sticker: “I Dance Country at the BROKEN SPOKE, Austin, Texas”—ed.)
Frommers: Our Favorite Live Music Experiences
The no-frills, friendly Continental Club is practically a sleek, snobby martini lounge compared to the Broken Spoke (tel. 512/373-7726; http://www.brokenspokeaustintx.com; cover charge varies). In business since 1964, the Broken Spoke is a classic honky tonk—with its low ceilings, large dance floor, chicken fried steaks, cheap longneck beers, and country and western acts. In what used to be considered outside of town, the Spoke is in South Austin, just a piece down the road from the Continental Club. The crowd is different from that at the Continental, which attracts a more urban, hip (though not trendy) 20-, 30-, and 40-something set. The Spoke-folk are generally blue-collar people, from 20 to 70 years of age, who wear their John Deere baseball caps without a stitch of irony.
If you’re looking to practice your two-steppin’ or simply watch the old-timers glide across the dance floor, the Broken Spoke is your spot. Bands are mostly country. One of my favorites is the Geezinslaw Brothers, who have been taking the stage at the Spoke for decades. Check the schedule to see if they’re playing when you’re in town. Other established acts include Chapparal with Jeff Hughes, Alvin Crow, and Derailers.
And, so your friends will know, don’t forget to pick-up a bumper sticker on your way out the door: “I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke.”—Cate Latting
13 April 1986, Paris (TX) News, Texas Weekly Magazine, “Spoke-n Tradition: In the laid-back Capital City you can find lawmakers and Bubbas dancing side-by-side,” by Amy Wilson, pg. 10, cols. 2-3:
Somewhere in Africa there’s an elephant with a bumper sticker attached to his backside that reads: I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas.
1 August 1992, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “In ‘96, break out the longnecks and let the games begin, Bubba” by John Kelso, pg. A24:
... in Barcelona simply aren’t of much concern to someone driving a pickup with an “I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke” bumper sticker on the back fender.
Ironic T-Shirt MySpace Blog
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
A Brief History of My Ironic T-Shirts, Part 3
“I Dance Country at the Broken Spoke Austin, Texas”
Acquired - gift from Bettie.
Irony - I do not, in fact, dance country in Texas.
Astrofish.net (February 22, 2007)
Because of where I’ve lived, and because I tend to embrace more than one culture, I get to see items that are perhaps incongruent outside of my local home. It was a usual t-shirt, for me. “I dance country at the Broken Spoke.” It’s a shirt, it’s a sticker, it’s a slogan, and it’s true. The Spoke is a live music venue that’s been around for a long time. Legend has it that Bob Wills played there.
It’s straight up chicken-fried steak, cream gravy and country music. Fiddles & pedal steel guitars, no frills. Texas Two-Step. You know the drill, guys wear cowboy hats and the crowd is quite diverse. I’ve seen youngsters with parents, movie stars, and the weekend cowboys, plus any number of other local nightlife denizens. So the shirt itself wasn’t too odd. Except, it was tye-died. Tie-dyed. One of those. Crazy “psychedelic” colors, reminiscent of an era long gone. Strange stuff, and anyplace else, it really wouldn’t make much sense.
I did have a hard time trying to reconcile the Spoke’s country music with the background colors on the shirt. But then, I tend to stratify my groups, either country or hippie, but rarely both.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Friday, March 07, 2008 • Permalink

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