SXSW Outsider: Day 0 (aka Before the Mess)
Yesterday I arrived in Austin for my first visit to "the live music capitol of the world." So far my expectations (based wholly on the films "Slacker" and "Whip It") have been met. Crowd of chatty, hip twentysomethings working at the local independent grocery store? Check (Thank you "Slacker"). Outdoor party featuring slightly trashy, but empowering women. But of course (Thank you "Whip It"). Any other Austin-centric movies I should be fact-checking?
As far as SXSW goes, Tuesday was the day the three arms of the beast overlapped- the Film and Interactive portions wrapped up and Music was just getting rumbling. The overlap could be felt at the Austin airport, where lines at local BBQ fave, The Salt Lick were extra long and cell phone towers were so taxed calls could barely be placed despite full bars.
The first party I went to yesterday was so far outside the official SXSW orbit there was little chance of Film and Interactive co-mingling with the Music folk. It was essentially a house party at the "House of Guys," a sort of anti-frat near the University of Texas campus. The cleared-out dining room of the "HOG" had a makeshift drum platform, a tiny PA and classic video games projected on the wall. I walked right in off the street to watch a group called Waldo Wittenmyer and the New Hi perform for about 15 people who'd brought their own refreshments. The schedule had some slightly more notable garage-rock bands coming up later in the night, but the logistics of moving each band's equipment in through the house's front door, then through the audience made things move pretty slow.
I chose to leave in search of tacos. After some rather disappointing food (note to self- next time eat dinner before 10:30pm), I wound up at "The Panache Pre-Party" at a venue/beer garden called The Scoot Inn. The venue was in a rather industrial part of East Austin and kind of reminded me of Chicago's Hideout, but with a big outdoor space and stage. They also had their own food trailer, which made me wish I'd waited to eat.
The Golden Triangles played the outdoor stage- reminding me of the forceful ladies of "Whip It's" Austin. Just a few minutes later I saw the best thing I've seen in Texas- the photo at the top of this post of a dude's demin jacket with a glittery cat's face plastered on the back. My burning question is, did he find that at a thrift store or make it himself?
On to Day 1 and The Lunchbox...