|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Jan-Apr 2001||Discussion|
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST
A Houstonian I met a few years ago first told me about the international music festival that gathers in March each year in the hill country capital of Austin. So here I am - spending St Patrick's Day in search of good music and good company, with great expectations of the self-acclaimed Austinite who promised to welcome me.
Wanda picked me up at 6:15 pm off Beltway 8 and drove us west on I-10 until Route 71. We got to her friend's place in three hours on Friday. I had so desperately wanted to see the Blue Bonnets, which should have filled the hills by now. In the dark, we could only catch a faint glimpse of its companion, the reddish wild flowers.
This morning we surfed the Web looking for free events - but no one appeared keen to visit the party at the Dog and Duck (Irish pub) on the corner of 17th Street and Guadalupe. Instead we met at the County Line for a late lunch of Texan barbeque, potato salad, and cole slaw. On a warm day, I could just imagine sitting outside, next to the creek.
The conversation steered clear of work as the four of us tested our compatibility. We passed, for the Austinite wrote down directions to his house. Between lunch and dinner, we drove the scenic route of 360 into town. Austin was a music city, or rather, a city of alternative music. It was unpretentious. It was green and hilly - so unlike Houston. We stopped at Amy's for good solid ice cream with ultra-friendly service. I chose a tiny cup of coffee and Brandy Alexander ice cream.
Lucky for our mobile phones, we called the Austinite to meet us at the ethnic fusion gourmet restaurant MARS at 7:30 pm rather than expect our visit to his house. We had just enough time to return to south Austin to take our precious beauty naps.
In the company of three glamourous looking ladies, which man wouldn't act like a gentleman? After a well-endowed dinner, the Austinite escorted us to 6th street where the action was. We didn't have to buy tickets, for the music was loud enough to dance to. Just around the corner was another band. The streets were live with music lovers and musicians. Even the mid-40 (Fahrenheit) weather didn't deter these afficionados.
We went inside Sullivan's where a 5-person band was playing. After the band ended their gig, I asked the bartender if I could play the grand piano in the corner. There, I improvised on white keys until my eyelids fell asleep. In my dreams, I was performing at South By Southwest.
America's top five music attractions:
Graceland Mansion, Memphis Tennessee
Motown Museum, Detroit Michigan tel: (313) 875 2264
Dollywood, Knoxville, Tennessee
Liberace Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada tel: (702) 798 5595
Experience Music Project, Seattle, Washington
America's Top Festivals
Viva Elvis Festival: early June, Va Beach, VA tel (757) 463 2300
Hollywood Bowl Summer Festival: end June to early Sept, Hollywood, CA
Newport Folk Festival, early Aug, Newport, RI
Bumbershoot: end Aug, early Sept, Seattle, WA
Aloha Festival Falsetto Contest, Sept, Oahu, HI tel: (808) 528 0506