Currently, I’m in Austin, Texas for South by South West or SXSW. I’m sitting outside at the Juan Pelota Café and drinking an iced dirty chai in jeans and a t-shirt. The sun is out and my spirits high. There is a white van with a NASA sticker on it filled with bearded men in lab coats trying to tie four bikes and five bags to the van. I imagine they are in a band like nearly every group of people I’ve seen in Austin. This town has to hate us all. 30,000 some people descended upon its buildings.
Disclaimer: I just came from Seattle and I miss it terribly so anything negative I say about Austin should be seen through a lens of intense longing for Seattle.
What confuses me the most about Austin is that half of the city seems to be under construction. My husband tells me it’s the most popular city for people our age (mid twenties). I tell him: I usually don’t like people our age. A city without the wisdom of our elders, this might explain why I’m not enraptured with Austin as I thought I might be. (Or it could just be that the coffee, food and friendliness pales in comparison to Seattle.)
Update: a woman walked past the men tying down belongings onto their van and said, “Look at those silly friends.” The men rejoiced in this, laughing, “HASHTAG sillyfriends, that’s it!” So be on the look out for that.
I lied a moment ago when I said the thing I don’t understand the most about Austin was the construction, it’s actually the complete lack of authentic tacos. Tex-Mex is an abomination. I thought being closer to Mexico would increase the deliciousness of my tacos not make them worse, but I guess that’s what happens when you take a good thing and try to make it “revolutionary.”
What is actually quite delicious are the food trucks. The city seems to run off of them and with good reason.
So far, I think my favorite part of Austin is Rainey St., which boasts a long block of small, old houses turned into restaurants and bars. They all have their own vibe. My favorite was Blackheart Bar, which has a lathe wooden ceiling and velvety curtains. It feels like an old saloon meets cowboy brothel with pictures of masked naked women on the walls.
My favorite SXSW event so far (not that I’ve been to many since I think I had the flu): the digital campground the company my husband works for, Razorfish, created with Adobe. It’s hard to discern the structure but it’s some sort of hangar with an overhang of white lights. Last night Band of Heathens played on the back stage nestled between trees and airstream campers. Free beer from Atwater Brewery and free Chi’lantro food truck. I’m not sure you can beat that.
The best part is it’s tucked away amongst abandoned warehouses and by the time you stumble upon it you’re not sure if you’re going to be murdered or given free alcohol. Free alcohol and dancing it is! Cue sigh of relief.
Get at me with suggestions to make my stay at Austin more enjoyable. Note that I’m vegan so don’t go recommending brisket.