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back from SXSW


I find myself sick upon returning from Austin. After a long layover in Las Vegas, talking to a girl freaking out that her medication is swelling up her ankles. It's a mirror to taking the red eye from Oakland to Houston, where a woman on the plane starts swearing and moaning in pain, saying her eyeballs are going to pop out of her head from the pressure (much as I picture Arnold Schwarzeneggar in Total Recall looking like a squeeze toy). So I caught something, surely, if not just a psychosomatic hypochondria from these drama queens of the skies. A cough that moved its way all around my head systems so now my eyes are overproducing their eye fluids. Sorry for the imagery.
Was it worth it? I actually found this SXSW, my third, to be the most enjoyable. Perhaps because I was not constrained by job obligations this time around, the pace seemed easier. Nothing blew me away but then again I was happy to have my expectations low and met.

When I first arrived Thursday morning, I took the bus to meet up with my friend Russell, who is starting up the Austin extension of his Houston bookstore Domy. We run into each other at APE sometimes. Russell used to book shows in Houston, but he's happily given up the music game to concentrate on running the store and gallery. It's a pretty raw space right now, but he was talking about a possible Gary Panter signing. Seems like Austin is ripe for this idea, no one is doing quite what they are doing. It's also in an old liquor store across the street from a soup kitchen and a block away from a methadone clinic.

After getting some food with Domy's owner Dan, we ended up at Mrs. Bea's outdoor Todd P party. I saw the much-discussed and thankfully lived-up-to-its-hype Ponytail from the excessively-hyped Baltimore music scene.

The guitarist used to play in Ecstatic Sunshine and I had seen the drummer before when he toured with Ultimate Reality. I could barely hear the singer and she was standing comically distanced from the rest of the band. They tore it up though. Ecstatic Sunshine played immediately after and were drastically different than last year when they were just duelling electric guitars. This time around it was just the red-haired guitarist with two accompanying noise makers crouching low, one of whom was hitting a drum pad. Gowns were next and they brought along Yasi for the trip which was a pleasant surprise. Yasi and I are in a band called Walt Disney with a rotating cast of random Bay Area people, mostly Tomo (Tussle), Cora (Tarpita Fleisch), Jorge Boehringer (Core of the Coalman), and Steve Santa Maria. It was nice in the first five minutes or so of arriving at Mrs. Bea's to see familiar faces from all over like Jessica Espeleta, Jim Smith, Fred Thomas, Karen and Todd, and the Meneguar dudes...
The rest of my time will be described on my new blog, entitled Californiageddon in honor of New Bad Things...


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