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.
- Google and Youtube’s finest pairs of tits. Thank the sponsors.
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