Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Austin: A Retrospective, Or Lasering the Grackles

As most of you know, this last weekend Tin Tin Can played the Spencer Bell Legacy Show in Austin, TX. For all of us in the band, it was our first time in Austin - and the 80 degree whether was a welcome change from the biting cold in Chicago. We played the Mohawk on Saturday, sharing the stage with some of our favorite musicians and friends. I'd like to give a particular shout-out to Claudia Garate and Brittany Wolfe for putting the Legacy Show together in Austin and for being all around awesome people.  Everyone that came out, braving the heat for a good cause, thank you too. It was a blast!

Pierce, Mike, and I were lucky enough to stay an extra couple of days in Austin. We checked out the city on Sunday with a little tour guidance from Mike's friend, Sarah, and joined by Jake Miller from The Kissing Club and Stevedores. Our first stop was Torchy's Tacos, recommended to us by several concert-goers the previous night. Unfortunately, I have no pics of the food we ate because we were all of us very hungry and scarfed it down without much adieu. I ordered The Republican - jalapeno sausage and cheese and sauces on a tortilla - and The Brushfire - mangos, spicy sauces, chicken, and sour cream all wrapped in a tortilla.

The most interesting item we ordered at Torchy's, though, was the deep-fried cookie dough, called, ahem, "nookies." It was very rich and greasy, to say the least. How about this: after eating one round, deep-fried ball I think the dough stuck to my ribs and it was a long time before I could breathe deep again without sharp pains shooting up and down my sides. Do I regret eating two of them then? Only a little.

Sarah, Mike's friend and our tour guide, took us to Trudy's, a bar where the first  three beers on Sunday are only a buck. We stood around outside, chatting in the cool breeze, and a homeless man asked us where the synagogue was. Unfortunately, none of us knew.

We wandered around a little outdoor venue called the Spider House (see the pic above) and stopped in at a toy store. Mike bought a dancing robot of some sort at the store. I nearly purchased a B-movie victim figurine but opted out at the last minute. There was an awesome squid shirt at the toy store that Jake almost bought, but it was too damn expensive.

You can't come to Austin and not visit the Daniel Johnston Mural. I snapped a couple pics of Mike playing the ukelele in front of it. A shame that some other ruffians mangled it up with a cigarette and whatnot. Still, it was pretty cool.

Afterward, we went downtown to the bridge overlooking Lake Austin or Town Lake or Ladybird Lake, depending on who you talk to. The bridge is famous for its bats. That is, the bats living underneath the bridge that take wing in swarms just after the sun sets. We waited in the chilly dusk along with 80+ others and it seemed as though the bats weren't coming out after all. They finally did, though it wasn't the massive black-winged swarm that I imagined. Instead, the bats circled around the bridge above the dark waters. It was neat but after about five minutes it was dark enough that I could no longer distinguish the bats from the darkness with my color blind eyes, alas, alas.

Sarah took us along the main drag of downtown Austin. It was a little like Nashville: bands of all genres playing in seedy-looking bars, the windows open, music bursting into the street. It smelled like tacos, garbage, and perfume: pretty great. We stopped at Hoboken Pie for a quick slice before heading back to our place.

The next day we ate at Magnolia's with Claudia and Brittany and stopped in at Half Price Books where I picked up Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon and The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce. Mike, Pierce, and I flew back to Chicago Monday evening; albeit with one delay: our plane had a cracked windshield or some such and we had to board another a couple hours later. Chicago greeted us blustery and cold. I remarked to Pierce, "When are we going back to Austin again?"

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