Monday, March 19, 2007

Goodbye, Festivus!

Well, the wife and I are saying our sad farewells to Austin, Baron Von Doviak and Maury the Wonder Chibeagle this morning, hoping our Super Shuttle gets us to the airport in time to join the mass exeunt from the 2007 South by Southwest Festival. I've had my last breakfast tacos at the Java Company until next time, and we're on our way back to the chilly but thawing East Coast.

And, let's see...since last we met, I've seen the turtle sanctuary on the U.T. campus, a program of excellent Texas-made short films (including the indescribable "Babycakes") and a bunch of highly kick-ass cover bands at the all-day Ego's cover band festival, topped by a Tom Waits cover band called The Box Spring Hogs, featuring uncanny voice-a-likes for both the current gravel-preacher Tom AND the old-timey young barroom balladeer Tom. The band also included a glockenspiel, a Tilda Swinton-as-White-Witch fiddle player and THREE drummers (two dudes and a lady completely possessed by the awesome power of the wappadang).

I haven't seen Tom in person since the mid-80s, but this was definitely the next best thing, and a far more satisfying musical experience than just about any live show or recorded single I've experienced in years.

And now, airport security.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


The wife arrived here in Austin yesterday and launched right into the SXSW fray with our host, the Baron, starting with a big outdoor party at Yard Dog featuring the Waco Brothers, the Gore Gore Girls and plenty of free Pabst Blue Ribbon. During all the rock, Amy and me did a quick lap around South Austin, hitting all the other outdoor concerts and hipster boutiques we could find.

Meanwhile, since the last post, I've seen another great festival movie: The King of Kong, a rousing and hilarious documentary about two guys slugging it out to reach the notorious Donkey Kong "kill screen" and take their place as the official best Konger of all time. See the real deal before the inevitable Will Ferrell/Ben Stiller remake.

And the other great documentary I saw, Hell on Wheels, came to life when Scott and me checked out a real live banked-track match between the Texas Rollergirls and the Arizona Renegades, complete with two rockabilly bands and the "Spank Alley" penalty box. If you ever get the opportunity to watch tattooed roller babes zooming around and around to the sound of an upright bass and Hammond organ, I HIGHLY recommend it.

All this and the ever-delightful Lily Allen in a brief but blissful free in-store concert at Waterloo Records, featuring a charming acoustic cover of "Heart of Glass" -- aaaaaah.

And now...breakfast tacos.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Greetings from the South by Southwest Film Festival in lovely, overcast Austin, Tejas! So far, I'm two for two on quality movie-going (and about 50 for 50 on quality beer drinking...up north we can't get Shiner Bock, my favoritest beer of them all, so I gotta enjoy it as much as possible while I'm here)!

Right off the plane, I saw the funny, fascinating and tattooed-babe-a-licious noveau roller derby documentary HELL ON WHEELS in a theater PACKED with the very roller derby vixens I was seeing up on the screen. And since the doc told the story of a mini-civil war in the Texas derby community, with the participants all cheering for their respective factions, I can't imagine a better (or scarier) setting to see the film...but I highly recommend it, even if you can't see it surrounded by derby divas.

Then last night was a sneak preview of the new Judd Apatow joint KNOCKED UP, starring Seth Rogen and a bunch of my other imaginary friends from Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared. The movie's at least as funny as The 40-Year-Old Virgin if you, like me, can't get enough Gen-X/stoner/pop culture humor. Plus, Monsieur Rogen was in attendance, along with Martin Starr, Paul Rudd and Loudon Wainright, although they didn't stick around for Q&A 'cuz they had a swanky party to attend.

And coming up tonight: more beer!