Man, I've been back just under a week and feel like I can't get caught up at home/work/school/sleep or with my new video projects. It feels like I don't even know where to start so I kind of....don't do anything unless it's pressing. Here's some random stuff from Austin though to get me moving...and keep you entertained....maybe.
I was super stoked to be staying the first part of the film festival at the Courtyard Marriott. I first stayed there 2 years ago when I went to the Austin Film Festival and it's central location coupled with a sports bar called Champions featuring $2 "Mystery Beers" (they won't tell you what the beer is....but it's $2) made it a perfect hang for me. Plus, they have one of those little bar machines that has games and trivia. No better way to start your night then frittering away $5 on the game while sipping $2 beers. So, after I checked in (a day ahead of my Film Threat compadres) I took a shower and hit the bar.
Oh yeah, one more thing. I spent so much time on the video machine (or, no one else did...ever) that my high scores have been up there 2 years running. It's silly, but I thought that was cool. Anyway, I got down there and the same bartender who has been there for 2 years seemed to recognize me but...no video machine. They took it out!! NOOooo! It ruined my whole plan so I started bitching about it. Not like "seriously," more like....grousing about it. By the time I checked out 5 days later, the machine was back. My scores were gone, but still...squeaky wheel, etc.
I had a great time at, what I think, is the best film festival in the world in terms of fun and quality of films. But man, I was beat down tired the whole time. I came into the trip kinda sick and didn't really slow down until the Film Threat crew left. But as I read all these other peoples blogs and festival coverage, it seems like everyone was exhausted throughout the whole fest. Weird.
One night I was walking home, kinda drunk. I never really got wasted in Austin, but this night was as close as it got. It may have been the night I saw STYX at the rodeo. As I crossed the street near my hotel, I heard spray-paint. I got around the corner and 3 guys were totally tagging this big wall. Now, I freeking HATE graffiti. It's so rude and classless and ugly. I don't mean the spraypainted "art" out there....I mean, the tagging. I often imagine I catch a local tagger and hold him down while I spray paint MY name all over his face. So naturally, when I saw these 3 guys I was infuriated. I stood there not 10 feet from them and they didn't even see me. I was so close I could smell the spraypaint.
I thought about yelling but there was 3 of them and 1 drunk of me. Then I thought about calling the cops but last year, I got harassed by a cop for being drunk (at what is possibly the biggest collection of drunk people outside of a St. Patty's Day parade in New York) so I nixed that idea. What did I do? I walked away. Lame.
One of the movies I loved at SXSW was "Woodpecker." You can read my review here. It's about this kind of....off kilter guy named Jonny who gets sent to Arkansas to try and spot this very rare woodpecker. The film is a hybrid between real documentary and like, staged parts featuring Jonny. Anyway, loved the movie. Cut to the last "official" night of the fest and I'm walking down the street and who should I see but Jonny. We start talking and I give him a copy of my new movie, DRAG KING. Then as we start to part company, I realize I had a burning question I had been meaning to ask.
At one point in the movie, Jonny becomes so obsessed with the woodpecker, he gets a makeover and a tattoo of the bird. Yet the movie is so good at mixing up truth and fiction, I wasn't sure it was real so I asked. Here's your answer.
After the film festival, the music kicked in straight away for me. this is like, the only chance to get to see the bands I really like since they hardly ever come out to California. The first night/last night of film there was a big ole Americana party called "This is American Music" featuring 2 Cow Garage, The Drams, Glossary, Grand Champeen and The Drams all rotating onto the stage, doing each others songs and having a blast. It was a totally cool show and a perfect way to kick off the music.
From there...days and shows get fuzzy.
The next day I saw Steve Poltz somewhere...I can't remember where. Hmm. His backing band The Truckee Brothers are fricking badass and I've become buddies with their road manager Chris. A cool guy even though he's a St. Louis Cardinals fan. So I told him to come down and see The Old 97's that night and to my surprise, him and Patrick from the Truckee Brothers showed up as I was about 9 beers deep. We hung out and as Patrick, a good looking rocker type is prone to do, he got some girls to come over. We all hung out and it turns out one of the girls really likes the Old 97's which was cool. In fact, I think this one girl really liked Poltz or the Truckee Brothers too, but I'm not sure.
Anyway, the Old 97's were great and as we were all joking around, I asked one of the girls if it would be possible for us to get a ride home. She agreed since she hadn't been drinking. Well, about 15 minutes later Patcrick and Chris were gone and about 5 minutes after that, the Old 97's were done and I was about a mile from home and still wanting a ride home. So, the nice Texas girls agreed. They were then treated to Donny the drunk who likes to repeat himself and ask obsequious questions and be annoying. Plus, the girl went the wrong way towards my hotel extending their time with me an extra 7-9 minutes.
By the time they dropped me off a simple "dude, get out was the last thing I heard. Now, if I had been home for this, I would have spent days feeling secretly embarrassed and foolish but hell, I was on vacation, there's like, 50,000 people here and I'll never see that girl again. Plus, I thought it was funny in general. One minute you're schmoozing cool rock guys, the next you get stuck with their not-cool drunk friend. Classic!
So the next day I got up and headed to my favorite bar in Austin, The Ginger Man. Poltz and the Truckee Bros were playing there at 4:00. Perfect! I got there and got a nice hefeweizen to start the day and settled into the 90 degree weather in the back patio. Poltz was awesome as usual and since they had a cool seeming show just outside of downtown at Marias Tacos, I hitched a ride over there with them. Marias Tacos was soo cool!! Just a basic taco joint with a rad back patio for music. It was awesome to see the Truckee Bros play their own set, then Poltz joined them.
By this time, I was beat and the place was packed. I really just wanted to sit down. Suddenly a seat opened up right by a fan and one of those cool air misting things! YAY!! I plopped down and as I did, I looked next to me....and the girl who gave me a ride home the night before was sitting there. Frigging classic! We both laughed and then I said, "hey, can you give me a ride back to my hotel" and she said "no."
O.K.....that's all for now. I'mn verbally un-constipated now. Thanks for reading!