Archive for March, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 10

March 21, 2012

This was the final day of South By Southwest.  As far as official events were concerned.



I woke up at the Villa around noon, I think.  I wandered around on the quiet morning, killing time well enough.  That had been my last night there, and this was the real farewell morning after.  Paul gave me an English muffin, and I had a bagel.  I gathered any food I had left laying around and I packed all my bags.  John had invited me to stay with him that night, and since I was to be connected to him the next day, that seemed the most practical.

Typhoon had two shows that day.  We drove into town listening to Mitch Hedberg and laughing heartily stuck in traffic.  We arrived in the shit storm of the final day, with all the streets around 6th St bustling with bodies.  The traffic thick as shit, and we were half an hour late to Dirty Dog.

After loading in – and being berated by a cop who said we’d been told not to pull into the back alley – Kyle instructed Matt Ross and I to find a place to park the van.  I figured that parking anywhere near downtown Austin was going to be impossible, so we headed out East and just ended up circling a bit.  We were looking, but the spots were residentially zoned.  So we sat in one spot, ready to drive off at a moment’s notice if we were caught.  We talked about directing and music videos and John and New York City.  It was pretty swell.  And eventually it was time to go back.

I was sad that I missed a Typhoon show, but in perspective, it was one show out of six, so it wasn’t really a crippling defeat.  After a real pain of waiting and Matt Ross having to loop around in the shit traffic, and talking to that fucking cop again, we finally pulled the van in where it needed to be and got loaded up.

Some of Typhoon were sitting around getting drinks at Dirty Dog, but Paul said there were free massages in the Convention Center, which was right over on 4th St.  So he, Devin, Matt, Shannon, Ryan (I think?), and I went in there looking.  We found that the service stopped at 4:00 and, somehow, it was almost 5:00.  In hindsight, that much of the day slipping away blows my mind a little.  We ran into this girl Gina on our trip, and she returned to the van with us.

Some folks were talking about heading back to the Villa, since the next show wasn’t until midnight.  They were first going to go to Home Slice for more free pizza.  Devin, Norah, Gina, and I stayed downtown.  We went to Carrob’s Cafe on Sabine St, but the venue looked too boring (and disgusting) for me to drop $7 into.  Luckily and coincidentally, I had a banana from the Villa and an apple from Four Seasons in my bag.  So I ate that with them.

Norah went off to her truck, Devin and Gina went over to Cheer Up Charlie’s, and I stayed in the area because John, PJ, and Paul were to be arriving at Barbarella’s imminently.  And so it was.  They had Jeremy and his boyfriend Nick with them, and it was very nice to see them.  I had a lovely reunion with John, and it was great to see PJ and Paul again.  And I found out that Barbarella was right next door to where Typhoon was playing that night – Swan Dive.

After some sitting in the venue bemoaning the lack of cell phone reception, I wandered out front around 8:30 or so to find Typhoon’s van parked out front.  They were about three hours earlier than I expected.  I hung around and heard Paul exclaim to me loudly how much he fucking hated South By Southwest and what a fucking idiot everyone was.  He asked why the hell anyone would want to come to this, to which I responded by looking deeply into my own soul.

Kyle came around and Shannon was there too, though I don’t know if she came with him.  I took them both into Barbarella and introduced them to John, which was very sweet.  Back outside, Jen came by.  We talked about encounters with crazy people (mine involved one eating off of me at South By Southwest – ooh la la).  Mike and Eric from Y La Bamba came upon us and hung out for a bit.  Everyone I knew was just coming and going.

Liana and her roommate Michael, along with Sarah Mayfield showed up and said they were going to go get something to eat.  Devin joined us and we got some Boca Burgers about a block away.  I went back speedily to catch some of Dark Dark Dark’s set.  But I ended up talking to Matt Ross and Alex in the shitter about what exactly Matt did to his arm.  It was in a cast.  He said he punched a thing that measured your strength.  Or something?



After sitting around with them for a bit, I helped Typhoon load in.  I met the other Matt outside while standing guard around the gear.  We talked about this and that, then went in to see Typhoon play.

It was their final set, and was appropriately climactic.  It was cathartic, and I had a moment of summing up the value of this entire trip in my mind, and how I wouldn’t have reason to be there if not for them.  After their set, I helped them load out.  That was the last time for that.  Kyle and I sat by the trailer watching the throng and lasers and commerce and heard the din.  We talked about Typhoon being a part of that – a recurring discussion over the past 10 or so days.



Then it was time to go.  I put my head in the van and told everyone I wasn’t joining them to the Villa so this was the end.  I said I loved them all and was happy to spend the time with them.  And I hugged them all.  And they drove off.

I walked around town and called my brother AJ and found some food.  Then I met up with John back at Barbarella.  The night was basically over.  I met up with PJ and Paul, and the “groupie” Danny, and Nick and Jeremy, who was wasted.  We gathered our things and I drove everyone back to the house they were renting just west of downtown.  As everyone geared for bed, Paul and I had some berries and I had this vegan yoghurt that couldn’t be beat, along with some almond butter and some chocolate.



There was a pig pile.  Then the day was over, and so was the festival; at least, in an official capacity.

–for Saturday March 17th, 2012

SXSW – Bruce Springsteen

March 20, 2012


1. “Steven Spielberg”

The reason that Steven Spielberg fucking sucks at making movies is because he’s a fucking idiot.  And the reason I can say this with authority is because he lets me.

What I mean is this.  Steven has a secret life, which isn’t so different from yours and mine.  He’s flesh and blood.  He’ll belch or fart.  He might have, on some sweltering summer night, taken a huge shit at a friend’s house, and plugged the toilet, and had to plunge it violently, sleeves rolled up, mopping the sweat from his brow, and the friend’s on the other side of the door saying, “Steve, you okay in there?”  He’s faulty, dirty, flawed – and you never woulda thunk it cuz he looks so sweet and dignified.

That sweet dignity is old classic Spielberg – the public life.  And the thing about “public” is that it’s mine and everyone else’s if we care to buy some stock (and fortunately for America: Talk Is Cheap!).  We buy it all the time, seemingly for free, and with it we can make it whatever we want and be right.  Because I’m not actually saying anything about Steve the Human Being, the Secret Man on Planet Earth.  He’s Steven Spielberg – the public persona, the constructed identity, the product of a publicist and decades of money.

“Buying stock,” i.e. talking shit, feels good and it seems like nothing’s lost, is only seemingly free.  The price is actually buying into an illusion.  You think you’re saying something about Steven when you say Spielberg is a fucking idiot and his movies taste like shit.  I’m sure Steven cares if he hears it, but – he is not his movies.  It’s far beyond my knowledge if he knows this fact – I’ve only known him through public appearance.  Maybe he really does tie himself up to them as tightly as he lets on.  But he still does something when the cameras and lights go off and the curtain closes.

Buying into an illusion hurts you and everyone you love, hate, and don’t know – a lot.  It hurts them because they do it too, and so does everyone else.  And then you’re living with an illusion all around you, and keep the illusion going.  And this just perpetuates everything the you claim to hate, that Spielberg claims to hate, that even… The Boss claims to hate.



2. “Woody Guthrie”

So Springsteen gets up on stage in front of 1800 screaming fans at South By Southwest and yells, “Happy birthday, Woody!” to long-dead Woody Guthrie’s ghost and proceeds to sing one of his songs.  Because he likes solidarity, he also harkens to not-long-dead Clarence “Big Man” Clemens about 69 different times in the next three hours before going back to Woody one last time.

Did Bruce ever meet Woody?  No.  Do I know this for a fact?  No.  Does Bruce have a lot in common with Woody?  No.  My source?  A story that I don’t remember the author of, which went like this:

” Woody Guthrie played some songs for a bunch of record executives one time in nineteen-whatever.  It was at the top story of a skyscraper in Manhattan.  Why he was there?  Probably because he was summoned, he’s a free spirit, he had nothing to lose just for showing up.  So they’re watching him, these execs, and they say, ‘He’s great!!  Though he could use a little make-up…!  And maybe some of this… and this… and we could sell him easy with this…’  et cetera.  And while they’re going through this banter, Woody Guthrie wanders to the elevator, takes it to ground floor, and wanders out into the Manhattan streets, strumming his guitar, smiling, singing, ‘I ain-tuh! got no hommme in this-a-world anymore!’ “

Springsteen has nothing in common with Woody Guthrie except that he can sing, and the lyrics can be topical.  Springsteen worked hard to get a major label deal with Columbia, and worked hard to make Born To Run a chart topper.  That’s pretty anti-Guthrie.  And Born To Run is quality music!  But so is Dust Bowl Ballads.  So there.*

3. Reminder: You Are Trapped

This is the 21st century.  Just like few would ever choose stoicism over a facade of a personality – since Stoicism can give an air of nobodyhood (when in fact real nothingness is more likely to reside in the choice for facade), few would ever turn down a major record deal because it would render their convictions false and their ideals worthless.  You’re fucked if you want to be serious in the 21st century.  You’ll never bring about a change by yourself.  You can be a cog in the wheel of change, but there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed, and the price is your time (you’ll definitely notice) and individuality (you might not notice).  This is why and how the worstkind of irony is claiming the day.



4. “Bruce Springsteen”

Once I was sitting in Pizza Brava in Seattle in 2006 or maybe 2007, and this guy walks in ranting, “I’ll be a slice for anyone who can name for me one good thing that George W. Bush has done!!”  Everyone sort of thinks, probably more amusedly than seriously.  I thought I was thinking seriously, but possibly more because I’d dig a free slice of pizza.  I couldn’t think of anything!  He kept yelling and taunting and daring until the owner yelled, “Get out!  I said get the hell out!

So.  Now.  Has Springsteen ever done one good thing?  For the world, I mean.  Since that’s what he postures with his ideals from stage.  Has he done more good things than George W. Bush?  Let’s say Springsteen played on the campaign trail for John Kerry and Barack Obama.  George Bush actually ran for president.  Say what you want about how he did – that’s the course of action that’s bolder, more courageous, and puts your convictions where your world is way more than raising your guitar in the air and warbling, “I’m a souuuldjaaahhh!”  But is there a real point to that?  Maybe not, except that being President of the United States, even when you’re shitty at it, is a better avenue for “doing good things” than being a fucking rock star.

People think The Boss is “the genuine article” and they’re idiots.  It’s not because the man Bruce Springsteen isn’t a genuine, kind, compassionate, caring, sweet, talented handy man.  He is.  Or he isn’t.  I don’t actually know, and you don’t either, and it’s not because we’re not up on our Boss trivia.  It’s because we only know the Symbol of Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, and that Symbol is utterly worthless outside of music.  So, yes to you haters – when his latter day albums suck, then Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen is totally worthless.  (fortunately, everything up to and including Tunnel Of Love kicks fucking ass, right??)

5. “You”

And he’s not alone.  Spielberg’s with him.  And they’re not alone – most everyone’s in there with them both.  I could argue that as rock stars of film and music, they helped mold this kind of Illusion-building bullshit system like few others.  And I will.

But I won’t explain myself.  I’ll just say that the relatively few rock stars of film and music are the precursors to nowadays where every person with their facebook account is a rock star, with their look, their shades, their attitude, their shitty grammar, and their bullshit record of life’s events since 2005.  That’s what you see, that’s what you get, and when they log off, you’ll never guess that they’re not an asshole, that they wish they were understood, that they’re anxious and wish they could relate.



You see, when Jack Nicholson (note how I don’t remember the character’s name but I sure remember the mug that played him) says, “It’s hard to be free when you’re bought and sold on the market,” in Easy Rider, this is what he’s talking about.  So Bruce Springsteen holds his guitar up and cries out, “It’s hard out there!  We gotta be there for each other!”  That’s bad because it’s just a shell-body saying shell-words.  But the worst is when the 1800 facebook accounts watching (or shall we go with WordPress accounts??) raise up their hands to him and cheer up a deafening roar.  That’s them thinking that the battle is won.

Me.  I haven’t done goddamn thing thing to change the world for the better since March 15th, 2012 when I saw Bruce Springsteen at South By Southwest.  And if I didn’t then I can assure that no one else did either.  And I can say this with authority – I was the most benevolent person and the deepest thinker in the whole Moody Theatre that night.  And — and this is sincere, really really — I liked the show and was glad I saw it.


*Yes, I’m aware of “Woody Guthrie” and perceptions of him.  I don’t know how he got so famous.  Probably because of Bob Dylan and the folk revival of the early 60s, and all the publicists behind that.  …OR Woody has his own publicist.  He is maybe or probably illusion.  Wait a minute!  — Dust Bowl Ballads was released by RCA Victor??  During his lifetime?!?!  What the FUCK??

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 8

March 20, 2012

The dividing line between Wednesday and Thursday wasn’t bold at all.  I only got one hour of conflicted sleep – two at most.  It was mostly upon this park bench right near the Colorado River.  Rain was falling and I was holding an umbrella over me.  My back was hurting.  The only reason I’m sure I got any sleep at all is because I kept nodding off during Nighthawks At The Diner.

I rolled off the bunch under cloudy morning light and walked along the river a ways trying to think of a game plan.  I came upon the Four Seasons, where Kyle and Shannon and I had passed during our stop on the river the previous week.  I walked up a hill to it, and wandered in through the front door.  I shat in their toilet, brushed my teeth, and lounged for an hour or two in their lounge.  I had a nice telephone conversation with Sarah in New York.  It felt like a minute, but it was one hour.  After that, I took two apples.

I walked towards Trinity, passed the Convention Center and quickly ran into Bed and Jon from AAN.  They said they were going to some free brunch; that it was RSVP only, but I was welcome to tag along and see if I could get in.  We got there eventually and to my surprise, they let me in.  It was pure sin in there.  And there was a rapper named G-Eazy.  He was a great brunchtime rapper!



Bud and Jon had to run – they were playing a show at 1:00.  I said I’d be there.  I went to find this parking garage with a show on top – I’d seen it advertised on a poster; a bill with The Gossip, Cults, Best Coast, and more.  I came upon the parking garage on Trinity and 10th or something.  I walked up to an entrance and showed the SXSW staff my artist wristband.  They said artists enter through the other side.

I walked around the block and found another entrance… and they let me in.  There was a weird confusion, as if I had to enter my information somewhere (into a computer?) but a lady shrugged and said I didn’t need to.  A minute later, the guy at the door ran up to me and slapped a wristband on me, saying that’s all I needed.  So I was set.  I wandered around, top and bottom, but nothing was really happening yet.

So I wandered off to see AAN at Domy Books, which was very sparsely attended.  But they played well.  Except the sound was bad.  I was happy to have seen it though, because they’re real good.



I walked back to the parking garage.  Best Coast was playing on the top (4th) level to a disinterested crowd.  She thanked them for their enthusiasm.  After they finished, I returned to the “green room” where there was food, massages, an air conditioned tent full of interactive things and bean bag chairs.  The event was put on by Google and Youtube, so there were all these new things to try.  I was reticent to get too involved because I wasn’t sure I belonged there.



Eventually, Cults played and they were good.  I walked into the real “green room” (on the 3rd story of the parking garage; not ground floor) with the artist wristband and saw everyone’s little tent.  I didn’t talk, I just walked through and looked.  I hung around a bit.  Frankie Rose started playing, but I just lounged in the large air conditioned tent on ground floor.  I finally felt like I was done with the experience of being somewhere I maybe shouldn’t have been, and even though The Gossip would be on in an hour or two, I decided to shove off.


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I texted Matt to see where he was.  He said he was going to a Stumptown cart by the Fader Fort.  He gave me bad directions, but I finally figured it out.  It was a really obnoxious area.  And when I got there, I got a text from him saying he’d moved to the Spotify House.  I was going to follow, but I felt myself fading.

I’d hardly slept the night before, and I’d almost forgotten, but my senses were beginning to slow.  So I laid down on some grass by the Stumptown cart and took a half hour nap – just a gentle doze.  Gentle enough to feel things hitting my body.  I opened my eyes and saw some hipsters nearby with big bags of popcorn, all looking at me.  They walked away quickly.  I sat up slowly and found that they had been throwing popcorn in me, I was covered in it.

I finally went to the Spotify House, which wasn’t that far away.  A man was at the front gate and said I needed to create a Spotify account to get in.  “Fuck that…” I said, still groggy.  I left, but decided to at least touch base with Matt.  I tried to get in again, but the guy said, “We’re closed.”  I thought I was now excluded because of my attitude.  So I stood around and called Matt, who came out.  He said that the party was in fact getting shut down – so I owe the Spotify guardian an apology.



I met Matt’s friend Travis, who used to work at Mississippi.  We walked to the Omni Hotel where a booking agent was throwing a pool party on the rooftops.  We made our way up there and found The Magnetic Fields were up there also.  I only met their sound engineer Dave, who was a nice guy.  Holcolme Waller and his friend came up too, and I had a nice chat with them.

Eventually everyone trickled out, and the sun was going down.  Matt had actually won the contest to get into Bruce Springsteen, who earlier that day had delivered the SXSW Keynote Address.  The two of us walked from the Omni to The Moody Theatre, where Austin City Limits is usually filmed.  I saw Jim from Mississippi standing in a stand-by line.  The three of us talked for a bit, then Matt headed inside.

Jim seemed zombie-like like me; he’d hardly slept either.  We talked for only two minutes, and I was planning to head out.  But then they started handing out stand-by tickets and wristbands.  After only a moment’s hesitation, I asked Jim if I could jump the barrier and get in line with him.  He told me to ask the person behind him, and I did, and he said yes.  I hopped the barrier, and as I did, the person behind that guy said, “I would have said ‘NO’.”  But it was too late.  I got the wristband and ticket, and Jim and I went in.



The concert was thoroughly enjoyable, very energetic, and three hours long.  To hell with it.  The audience loved it and felt very good.  A significant portion of them were industry types.  Which is fine – the folks onstage were too.  To hell with them – everyone in the room.



Jim and I exited at the end, after the volley of guests singing their hearts out,  My feet and back were in terrible, horrible pain.  I felt like I’d just been through a fight.  We met up with two of his friends right outside the Moody, after a little sit down.  One of them tried to litely berate me for not knowing Brooklyn from Queens. I repressed my rage.  We found out Matt had left before the end of the concert, which is a pretty amazing move.  And by amazing, I mean – I have no idea why anyone would do that.  So Jim, and I, and his pals tried to find Matt.  Until they decided to make their own plan, so I went to meet Matt alone.

I got to the Driskill Bar & Grill where Matt and Sarah were enjoying a drink.  I told Matt I was going to sleep on a park bench again and he insisted that I could stay with him (Jim had actually told me before that there was no room).  As he tried to get ahold of the person housing him, Kevin and Jeff of Talkdemonic rolled around and sat with us.  Matt had a difficult time with phone reception and walked out.  In the few moments he was gone, Kevin took his seat.  Matt came back and demanded Kevin relinquish his seat.  Kevin refused – cuz it was a joke – so Matt stormed out again.  He then called me and told me I had to come with him.  So I did.

We went and met up with Chrissy, whose house Matt and Jim were staying at.  She gave us a ride into South Austin with her friend Cree in the front passenger seat (she said – while driving – that she was drunk, which saddened me).  But her house was so nice.  And so was she.  She supplied me with several kinds of hummus and chips, and made me a green salad with blueberries and homemade vinaigrette.  I got to take a shower, which hit the spot after the night previous on the park bench.

And all was well.

–for Thursday March 15th, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 7

March 16, 2012

There was finally more music to be played – a Paste Party and a Portland Party.  915 austin highlands austin 78745



We woke at 10:00 – about two hours before normal – and ate a quick but large breakfast.  The drive out to Austin was fairly nice, with the weather being cloudy but warm.  We arrived at Stage On 6th and loaded in.  There was some issue with the venue staff being rushed and stressed, but I didn’t feel much of it.  I sat and read as the band set up.  It was a quick set that went over well.



Some interviews and photos were done, and the receiving of a gift bag from Paste.  Soon the van was loaded back up.  There was talk about going to Barton Springs for a swim.  We all piled in the van and made our way, or so I thought.  We pulled up near the Convention Center and everyone started hopping out.  Turned out we were getting out wristbands first.

And we did – I filled out my little card with everyone then got in line.  Without any questions, they connected the Artist Wristband to me with pliers.  I thanked Kyle very much.

Kyle, Tyler, and I went to the fourth floor looking for free food, which had been reported to us.  We only found pop corn.  The “Artist Lounges” were like places to drink the cool-aid.  After more wandering around the place, we found the rest of the band was just wandering as we were.  Finally there was a rendezvous outside.  Jim and Matt from Mississippi showed up – they’d gotten into down at midnight.  It was great seeing them both.



Finally, we headed for the van.  When we got there, I think we discovered (or some among us had found out long ago?) that Barton Springs was closed during South By Southwest.  After a little more loitering by the van, at the end of a cul de sac near the river, we decided we were going to make our way to the Grackle – the location of the day’s second show – the Unofficial SXSW Portland Showcase.

After a protracted job at parking the van and trailer, we arrived at the venue.  It was good, and yet I was apprehensive that it was just going to be a Portland reunion that I wasn’t fully ready in my heart to have.  Fortunately I guess, it wasn’t quite that.  Some faces sprinkled in the crowd, with more to show up, but the audience was primarily Austinian, as far as I could tell.

The “green room” was the backyard of the house next door, with a pool and a little place inside for food and drinking and bathroom.  It was rather utopian.  And despite that, or because of it, I got a little bored.  The boredom was broken somewhat by a walk with Pieter, Toby, and Norah to get tacos and hit a thrift store nearby.

Back at the pool party, more sitting around chatting was done.  Radiation City and AAN were around, as well as the dog who was in heat and fucked the shit out of my leg.  Matt and Liana showed up.  The beer ran out.  I passed the time reading until the sun went down and it was too dark out.



Part of the reason I was rooted at the pool was because the venue was at capacity and they were doing one-in one-out.  I ran into Kevin of Talkdemonic and asked if I could help him load his drums in and thusly sneak in the backdoor.  He was into it, so we did it.  I help him set up speedily then watched their set, which was quite good.

I helped Talkdemonic load out and helped load Typhoon into the venue.  It was tiny and there was a question of if it was logistically possible.  It was.  And it was perhaps the best show I’d seen them play at the festival yet.  We loaded the gear out and left it sitting in the alley way where we hung out and where Matt congratulated me on being a stand-up human being.  It was sweet.  I happily saw Y La Bamba close the evening out.

In the back alley afterwards, I showed Kevin phrenology with the lump on the back of my head – my “parental love.”  Kyle and I had a nice heart-to-heart.  Some other folks came and went.  Eventually, I made the command decision over my time and my body – I told them all to head back to the Villa without me.  I was going to have a night on the town, whatever that entailed.  I felt it’d been a great day of music.



I headed towards downtown, sinning the entire way, and sinning more when I got there.  The streets were filled with people, all of them drunk, I presume.  All the clubs and bars were closing, so people poured into the streets.  I met a homeless lady that began following me asking if I had a hotel room.  I told her I didn’t, and that seemed to piss her off, but I think she wasn’t quite right.

I had a long conversation with Sam about the Wizard Rifle tour and Sarah and whatnot.  I walked around the waterfront and 6th St while the people dispersed and the street sweepers came out.  Eventually, I came upon an IHOP near the freeway.  At this point it was close to 4:00 in the morning.  I was hoping I would be able to stay until dawn.  I only stayed until 6:15 or so.

I had a nice server named Lindsey who I saw was having some trouble with this and that.  I asked if she needed help, but she declined; I have no idea what helping a server at IHOP early in the morning really entails so it was stupid to ask.  I was very tired though, almost falling asleep at the booth.  I wonder if that pissed her off.  She said she was having a bad night; that the work was actually okay, but the personal was not.  One of her co-workers said he was talking dirty to another co-worker of theirs; he said she just laughed it off.  “Isn’t she a mother?” asked Lindsey.  She had a slight laugh, but it went away when she turned her back on him.

The reason I even left was because she asked if I’d like to pay because her shift was ending.  I paid and went, wandering towards the river listening to Nighthawks At The Diner.  Eventually, I found a park bench.  I had to try a few out – some were too visible, and sometimes, rain drops starting hitting me. I finally settled on one, and held the umbrella over myself as I slept.  I assume it looked odd to passer-bys.


–for Wednesday March 14th, 2012

Austin, Texas, part 6

March 16, 2012


See part 5.  Today was more of the same – more Villa, Steppenwolf, hammock, alcohol, no Austin.  Except instead of immaculate weather, it was cloudy and with a cool breeze. Sometimes too cold.

There was a moment where the sun broke through the clouds as I laid in the hammock, and I had to stop reading and admire the perfection.  But for some reason, this is a faint and fleeting memory.  Also good was that the evening involved dancing outside by the van’s headlamps to Bruce Springsteen.  And there was band practice..


–for Tuesday March 13th, 2012

Austin, Texas, part 5

March 16, 2012

There really was no Austin in this day, all San Marcos or Kyle, TX or where ever.  At the Villa.  I woke up around noon.  I discovered hammocks had been put up (won at CTC Garden several days prior).  I lounged in one reading Steppenwolf for hours and hours.  And then I went exploring.



There was some barbecuing that got done, a brisket began to be smoked.  All was well until the propane ran out.  Luckily there were two grills, so the brisket smoked and smoked.  Some of the guys decided to make a slip n slide, and succeeded for the most part.  The only downside was that it really roughed up their abdomens as they went down the hill.  It was a good idea though; highly commendable.



Eventually, it was decided a trip “into town” (for now, that means San Marcos) to get some supplies, like food and some running shoes, and some other shit.  We went to an HEB and loaded up food.  Then we went to Academy Sports & Outdoors.  One unplanned purchase out there was a BB gun.

Upon returning, we saw several boy’s asses waiting for us up on the hillside.  More barbecuing was done and eventually a drinking game commenced, at which point we returned to college.  And not a one regretted a thing, except Dave Hall. He’d been having the greatest day of his life, and now his team kept losing 7-0.  I’d have felt the same.

Kyle and Shannon and I retreated into a back room (with Ingrid also coming along to listen peacefully) to play music on two guitars and violin.  I think a Wurlitzer was supposed to happen, but something was weird about it, so it was abandoned.  It was a thing because I hadn’t played with anyone since… perhaps May or June of 2011?  It was a very placid hour or two.

Around 1:30, I made a two hour call to New York, made possible by my free nights and weekends – every night and every weekend, I am free.

–for Monday March 12th, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 4

March 13, 2012

Woke up where I’d fallen asleep, after a surprisingly peaceful slumber.  I got a ride from my new filmmaker buddies into the downtown area, where we had brunch at Bess.  I was in a strategically difficult sitting location and said relatively little.  But I took it in stride, as well as the food.  And I noticed some very interesting customer-waiter passive aggressive interactions that I didn’t feel good about.  All my fellows went to a movie that I could not easily follow them into, so we decided to part ways.  There was talk of a party later that never materialized.  So I walked, and the sun sun sun finally came.



I caught a little food on 6th St and made some long awaited phone calls.  I finally met up with Typhoon at the Speakeasy for their first show (sponsored, but I forgot who by).  I learned while sitting around during soundcheck that Okkervil River was headlining.  I had no idea!  The Speakeasy was nice enough, but what I was taken with as the sun slowly went down over downtown Austin was their rooftop terrace.  Lo —



After the sound check, we went out to find food.  After a small split up, myself along with Shannon, Jen, Ryan, and Kyle found ourselves at a bison burger cart.  They all ate and I had the banana in my bag.  Jen and Ryan went their own ways, so Kyle and Shannon and I ventured to the path along the Colorado River, talking about young fathers, and some past stuff, Danny Fields and Sallie Ford, and success.

We wandered back to the venue thinking there was to be a green room meet & greet with Okkervil River, but it never happened.  So we passed the time, much of it up on the rooftop terrace, dancing with Tyler’s dislocated elbow.



Eventually Typhoon played.  I hadn’t seen them since September 2011, and I found it very moving, both in their force and in my nostalgia.  Unfortunately, I had some drunk asshole in front of me going out of his way to touch me and talk to me.  It’s not my fault I hate people – it’s theirs.

More time passed and I grew hungry.  Okkervil River played and they weren’t nearly as good as their green room spread.  I mean– uh…

Much of the night passed.  I went out to find food and encountered the 6th St din – a roaring cacophony of noise rising out of every open door, with people wandering both with intention and no through the middle of the street.  Those without intention were in my way.  A bus with people dancing and playing glowing instruments blocked off the street.  It eventually moved and one of the idiots hit their head on the street light, which elicited a communal “Ohhh!” from the onlookers.

I returned to the Speakeasy and Okkervil was still playing.  They just went on and on, and I found little to no connection to their music.  It seemed surprisingly sloppy, and surprisingly like everything else.  Maybe I should have listened to them beforehand.



Finally it was time to go.  Everyone piled drunk into the van and we got back to the Villa with relative safety, and security, and we all slept peacefully, lying to no one.

–for part of Sunday March 11th, 2012

SXSW – King Kelly

March 13, 2012


1. Subject

King Kelly is a condemnation of “the” narcissistic Me-Generation.  This is both good and bad.  The good is that it doesn’t necessarily treat it as one-dimensional issue with a one-dimensional character.  Everyone gets to show some deeper colors, which is appreciated.  The bad is that it doesn’t really broach any causes.  It does a little – it blames society, but that’s a little empty after a certain point.  Society is like Wal-Mart; it didn’t build itself.

But there’s only so much time in the day.  For what it is, it admirably tackles an topic that deserves tackling with a push for creativity in its visuals and a preference for a realistic performance that can show flaws in a character as if it were flaws in the acting — as opposed to Natalie Portman doing a “flawless” performance.  Or some other actress just doing a shitty one.

2. Performance 

Roderick Hill, who played Poo Bare, did a really wonderful job.  He’s a desperate, pathetic man who seemingly wants very little.  His desire is actually vast, but for his part, he’s only tapping the ice berg of actualizing his desires in the “real world” (i.e. one that isn’t in his basement, in a bad chair, in front of a bad computer, with his bad cock tight in his bad, bad hands).

It’s hard for me to tell what is actually realized in the performance, as far as I saw it.  Rod has expressions and mannerisms that convey his character’s slow realization that he’s actually free – just like everyone else.  And with great freedom comes great worlds of possibility.  Poo Bare is a state trooper, but his gradual self-actualization / self-discovery isn’t about a schtick of police authority – he’s far more than a caricature, or else he’d have to embody some one / thing that created “King Kelly.”  He’s becoming a human being out in the real world with the possibility of fulfillment reached in confluence with another human being.  And it’s a beautiful portrayal.  My thoughts on it were a bit more colorful just after having seen the movie.

As for “King Kelly” the character, she is played also very wonderfully by Louisa Krause.  The crux of her character is that she’s a young lady constantly “empowered” by having a camera on her at all times – presumably to post all these videos of herself on the internet at a later date.  Her character is a horrible human being, and also larger than life, not too intelligent, constantly using sexuality as power and currency.

And there are a few times (one in particular) where it breaks.  She freaks out or apologizes at certain points, but there are moments where she really becomes pathetic and morbid.  The knee jerk reaction would be to say, “The ‘King Kelly’ I see throughout the movie is a phony (to put it politely) but that scared, pathetic look is the REAL person underneath.”  I don’t know if that has any veracity – people are multi-faceted.  A lot of people seem to put on a lot of appearances, often for some sense of empowerment or to impress others.  A lot of those people, and everyone else, seem to have a more quiet, sadder, more thoughtful persona in more personal, intimate settings.

A lot of people have a lot of variations.  Which one is the real one?  Why does one have to be the “real” one?  Why can’t they all be real? If we’re free (again: if) then they were all created by some means and can all be destroyed if so desired.  It’s not necessarily simple, but it never is.  So if they’re all “real” then what does that mean for identity – King Kelly’s, yours, mine, anyone’s?  What does this mean for the meanings the movie makes and tries to have an audience interpolate?  What does this mean for this generation, and the previous one?  What does this mean for society?  What does it imply we ought to do?

3. Further

King Kelly wasn’t a perfect film, but that’s not really a criticism.  The main flaw I felt was a lack of larger dialogue.  I asked the director Andrew Neel what “research” he’d done for the film (perhaps I should have asked the writer?).  I didn’t get a sense from his answer that he’d read much academia on the subjects of the young generation (“the me-generation”), narcissism, technology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology.  Or that shit.

This is a snobby point of view, but that don’t make it junk.  Academia, in realms that both are and aren’t strictly scientific, propels itself further towards progress by taking that which came before and expounding on the ideas.  While any of the sources Andrew Neel named that he was expounding on (namely trash on the internet) are worthy, they’re also easy.  The opinion expressed in the film, I feel, could have been broadened and enriched by more academic cornerstones, namely on narcissism, and motherfuckers like Heidegger and Adorno who worry about technology in every day life, or whatever they do.

That’s just my opinion though.  See the movie – you reading this!

*4. Last Minute Appendix*

There is a further thought of mine that is mostly superfluous to the film itself, but more about the film business.  The film itself has a tone of anti-technology.  It almost builds a narrative around this.  Potentially.  It seems to ask the question “What is technology doing to us?”  And as the film ended, everyone on their iPhones and such finding any preliminary reviews or reactions on the internet.  Perhaps they’ll find this (hi!), but the point is that it exists inside of a large tragedy.  How do you make a film pondering technology in a potentially conservative way, under a potentially negative light, and then market it?

That’s the 21st century – it’s the current method of the machine.  How does this movie get bought and sold, and to what end?  How does the success of this film effect the message of this film?  It’s the ole double bind, and I hate to say it, but really any art being made falls into this trap.  If it’s art, made by a half-intelligent mind.  There really is no escape.

Except with one potential exception:  Anonymity.  The pseudonym.  The artist is dead, delivering an anonymous manifesto into the landscape.  This narcissistic society is dying for you, me, the artist, and – most obviously – the character of King Kelly to make a “name” for ourselves.  FYI, it’s not a name, it’s an identity, it’s not “for ourselves,” it’s for everyone else, and it’s not real, it’s a cover to influence and manipulate others perceptions, so that we’ll either be loved, laid, accepted in some phony fashion, or be seen and validated by the largest number of people possible.  And we want to – it sounds great.

And so.  King Kelly directed by Andrew Neel, starring, written by, produced by, DP’d by, special thanks, etc etc etc.  All those names are “names” now, and I swear to God that this is a positive review (if you want to call it that).  It’s just not without its element of tragedy.

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 3

March 13, 2012


Sorry for the shitty pictures.  Again, the lion’s share of the day was spent lounging.  This time it was in a multi-acre, Mediterranean-style Villa with Typhoon.  After some peanut butter and banana sandwiches down the hatch, some getting to know some people I’d never had the pleasure to know before, and some getting my feet wet again unloading the band’s trailer, we headed into Austin.

We dropped Liana at her house then went across town a Whole Foods where I got some beans and vegan sausage or a Villa BBQ that was conceptualized.  I got dropped off on W Riverside Drive, where I went to the Canon Imagination Screening Room (or whatever) to meet my date Susan for the premier of the film King Kelly.  Thoughts on it in a bit.



After the premier, I went to the cocktail party at Seco2d (I think?  It was on 2nd St, funnily enough).  After a few hours of schmoozing with the cast and crew, I got word from Kyle that the van was leaving for the Villa and I would be stranded in Austin, sort of.  Susan gave me a few hints of options, and I decided to throw caution to the wind and take my chances stranded.  I was ready for something different, and Austin seemed safe enough that it would prevent any seriously upsetting circumstances from arising by virtue of its tranquility.

I stayed for dinner – I believe it was served at 1:00 in the morning – and dessert.  And then it was decided, with the help of suggestion, that I would DD some folks.  After a chore of retrieving the car, the King Kelly filmmakers stuffed themselves in like clowns and I drove most of them to a party at some co-op in south Austin.  Then I went and dropped Susan off over a lovely conversation about this and that.  Then I drove back to the co-op to pick everyone.  I took a slightly different route just to switch things up.  Austin’s like Portland – after three days, a twenty-something-year-old moron like me can navigate it in the dark, with no map, from memory, successfully because it’s nothing.

Everyone’s night was over, so I took them back to the house that I’d just taken Susan to.  Everyone was pleased with my navigation.  I took a spot on the floor by the front door and had blankets and cushions generously donated.  It was a very peaceful morning’s rest.  And daylight’s savings, no less.

–for Saturday March 10th, 2012

Austin, Texas, part 2

March 10, 2012

I woke up on a couch next to Liana pleasantly late in the day; 1:00 in the afternoon or so.  I didn’t mind missing anything because it was pouring rain, and I’d already been washed up.  We did very little through most of the day, for better or worse.  We went to the store and I got that trusty cheapest brand Peanut Butter, cheapest brand Bread, and some fucking cheap Bananas.  I found out quickly that the bananas tasted like marshmallow and chalk.  It didn’t actually make sense to me – shouldn’t they be better with me being close to the border and all?  Whatever.



Sorry for the shitty picture.  Liana and I wasted a bunch of time sitting around and eating shit and napping.  Typhoon was said to get into town at 9:00 that evening.  They said they were seeing some friends of theirs called Seryn at CTC Garden.  As that time drew near, I rallied up Liana and we invited her roommate Michael.  We bused down there and I talked to Michael about queer and gender theory, hate crimes, violence and the state, and all that.  Joyous topics.

We met with Typhoon at CTC Garden and we saw Seryn.  Michael and I later talked about how they were too happy about nothing – happy in the White, Straight, Christian never-had-a-struggle-in-my-life-thx! kind of way.  But the music was occasionally pretty.

After finagling a schedule out of the band (they were going to eat BBQ), I went with Michael to Cheer Up Charlie’s to see a Ryan Trecartin film screening.  I thought Wian might actually be there, but I never found out for sure, and I may never know.  What I saw of his film was pretty great, and also the usual.  I wish it’d had more of an introduction.  I wish I could have had shattered or bolstered my pretense that its maker was there.  There were some other short films shown – one that I really loved was Solipsist by Andrew Huang.  I haven’t re-viewed it, but I remember finding it the best of them all at the moment.  So I’m hoping I’m still right.  Some press on it before or after for you.  Behold the thing in itself —



Eventually, Typhoon came and picked me up, which I hoped wasn’t too inconvenient, but seemed slightly inevitable.  And I think it was on the way.  We got the van and trailer through a Taco Bell drive-thru, then drove 30 minutes out to this multi-acre Mediterranean-style Villa that will be home for the next week+.

Once there, we settled in, picked out our beds, and lounged in the living room playing quiet music on guitar, piano, and iPhone keyboard apps.  And, of course, Settlers Of Catan.

–for Friday March 9th, 2012