*I guess this is sort of a cheap joke, but, you guys, there were SO MANY people wearing cardigans and hoodies at the Austin airport when I arrived at noon on Monday. Also, there was an airport shop selling mass-produced T-shirts that said, "Keep Austin Weird" on them. I bought one for $59 because I figured it would be a good way to fit in here at the festival.
*I went downtown yesterday to get my badge, and ended up wandering around for a while. Do you want to know how corporate SXSW is? CNN apparently rents out some space downtown, brings in its own restaurant sign that says CNN Grill, attaches that sign to a building, and hosts panels and shows all week. The plan for today is to stop in there and order some loaded baked potato skins.
*For the record, I have no problem with the commercialization of SXSW.
*There is this place called Torchy's Tacos that has amazing tacos. I got the Democrat (barbacoa and avocado and some other things) and the Beef Fajita (about what it sounds like). The queso dip was also outstanding, maybe even as good as the queso dip at Chili's. The queso dip at Chili's is pretty good, y'all.
*The "official" music part of the fest hasn't really begun yet — it's mostly film and tech stuff until Wednesday — but there's still tons of shows going on everywhere. I'm staying 30 or so blocks north of downtown in a neighborhood called Hyde Park. Last night, we walked 10 minutes to the Spider House, a bar with a sprawling, ragtag patio with Christmas lights strung up all around. We sat in what I could only describe as a cabana booth. I drank 24 oz. Tecates. Then we headed next door, to the 29th Street Ballroom, where Thee Oh Sees were playing. It was already packed — I was literally the last person they let into the venue. All the poor souls behind me had to wait in a horrible "one in, one out" line that never seemed to budge because nobody leaves a venue where Thee Oh Sees are about to play.
I have no idea what songs they played or which albums they were from. It's hard to keep up with Thee Oh Sees' two-release-per-year output. I recognized about half the songs, and the other half were good enough to keep me knocking around on the floor and sweating all the way through my shirt and chugging warm beer and generally acting like a person 10 years younger than I am. At one point, amidst all the madness and movement, my cousin grabbed my beer out of my hand and sprayed me with it and threw it up in the air. The entire floor was so crazy and hazy that I didn't even realize it was he until he mentioned it after the show. I just assumed it was some random dude, and I had been cool with that.