Saturday, March 31, 2012

Austin

One of the things on my list this year was to play at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin. Originally, both my band and my boyfriend's band Diehard hoped to tour down and play, but that turned out not to be financially feasible for either. I could have waited to see if it would work out next year, but who knows if it ever will, so the two of us decided to go this year as a vacation.

We stayed with Evan's friend Aaron, who was an amazing host. We had our own bedroom in his sunny house out in the suburbs about five miles south of downtown. It was a full house, between us and his roommate and two other visiting musician friends. The week was filled with walking around Austin, watching live music, relaxing around the house, cooking communal meals, and late night jamming.

Austin had a record amount of rain this winter, which meant that dandelions were growing high like cornstalks everywhere. They aren't used to needing to cut back their lawns because of the normally dry climate.


We did a lot of walking. We were able to get away without renting a car because Aaron was nice enough to drive us around and Austin has a decent public bus system. However, because they close off street sections and traffic is crazy during SXSW, it often made sense to park on the south side of Ladybird Lake or get off the bus early and walk all the way downtown. Luckily, there was also an abundance of pedicabs, which we took a couple times when we need to quickly cross town between shows.

The University of Texas campus makes for a beautiful stroll.

The city is planned for great views: from standing here outside the Blanton Museum of Art you can see the capital building directly down the way. The Blanton currently has an overly large Hudson Valley school exhibit, which made me homesick, and a decent modern art collection.


Barton Springs, a spring-fed pool just south of downtown, was too cold for me to do more than graze the bottoms of my feet against the surface tension of the water. I preferred to sit on the grass hill in the sun and watch my friends swim below.


Everyone raves about Texan cuisine, but I tried taco trucks, Tex Mex (from Polvos) and barbecue (from Rudy's) - and nothing blew me away. Probably because I live in New York City where I can get the best of whatever I want whenever I want. Actually, the best barbecue I had in Austin was brisket served at a potluck that had been lovingly smoked and then roasted at a low temperature for a total of something like 20 hours.

This is not Austin specific, but Aaron was gifted a huge (5 pound?) slab of bacon that we helped him slice and eat. It was probably the most bacon I've ever seen at one time. It made us wonder if it would be cheaper to buy bacon as a slab than sliced, but that is unfortunately not the case, as we learned at our Brooklyn farmers market this morning.

Even though the Daily Juice shop is conveniently located next to a bus stop and seems set up for sipping while waiting for the bus downtown, be warned that you cannot bring your expensive juice on the bus. This caused us to miss a show, but that's all part of the SXSW experience. There are so many shows that you have to accept that you can't possibly make it to all of them. More on that to come.

3 comments:

  1. sounds so fun! I've always wanted to visit austin!!

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  2. Looks like a good time. Food and friends and music. Doesn't get much better than that.

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  3. Looks like fun. I've never been to Austin but I have heard it is one of Texas's finest cities.

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