June 26, 2008


Yeah, Austin. People had always told me how much I'd like it and, being slightly flush with cash after all the work and the tax return and all, i figured i'd take my first trip for no reason in many years--no wedding, no funeral, no family to visit, i just wanna go.

Our first big adventure was going to see Loretta Lynn at Stubb's backyard. Now, i'm not a huge Loretta girl, but she's old, it's Stubb's, we're in Texas, i mean, what the hell. And she was there with her big hair and her big blue dress with mutton sleeves and petticoats and sparkles just singin' her heart out. Except when one of the approximately 10,000 members of the Lynn family would take the mic. First, she did a duet with her son that wasn't exactly, um, appropriate, if you catch my drift. Then some other relative in the backup singers quintet stepped up and they all spent some time doing gospel songs and what was pretty much watching the Oak Ridge Boys sing the Eagles. A capella. Then some granddaughter who looked like Nicole Ritchie came out and sang and shouted about "Loretta Lynn in the hizz-ay!" And i said to myself, "Oh. No." We left shortly thereafter.

Another nice thing about Austin is the cheeseburgers. Despite all the barbecue and Tex-Mex, it's a very cheesburger-oriented town. Actually, as soon as i arrived in the hotel room, i went across the street to get a bottle of Tito's vodka (when in Rome...) and a cheeseburger at Sandy's. Then, of course, my other hotel was conveniently down the street from Hut's. Hut's has a marvelous vintage interior with old football pennants for every NFL team and pinups and black-and-white checked floors, where I sat on a nice chrome-and-vinyl swivel stool, ate a Mr. Blue burger (Blue cheese, swiss, bacon, dressing--I would've had the Ritchie Valens, but they weren't serving tomatoes.) and watched the Celtics absolutely humilate the Lakers. Which made me happy because i hate the Lakers even more than i hate the Yankees. Austin is also a big town for sno-cones. And they had a cupcake stand, but it was closed when we stopped by.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which is part bar, part movie theatre and completely awesome. I spent a joyous afternoon there, watching The Black Angels with basket of fries and glass of vodka before me on a convenient little rail-table complete with waiter to bring refills. They should have these everywhere. How they keep it going is by running a two-screen house with one screen reserved for pack 'em in, middle of the road fare, like Sex and the City with a cosmo cocktail special (Attended by lots of pairs of women with gym memberships and highlights--given that it was Pride Weekend, i was hoping some were fierce lipsticks, but they were just your standard bunch of chicks doing the career between the sorority and the wedding.) and the other side is stuff like The Big Lebowski white Russian fest or, the event i attened, a series of screenings of trashy 60's biker movies in honor of the Republic of Texas biker rally that was also happening that weekend. The Black Angels, however, was a very, very bad film, even by my bad-meaning-good standards. It threw up some interesting ideas about black-white biker gang tension and a cop playing the two gangs against each other (The kind of dense plotwork we'll leave to pseudo-Shakespearean masterpieces like Switchblade Sisters.) but generally just laid there like warm crap with an incomprehensible plot, unappealing cast and downright ridiculous lite-jazz soundtrack.

Also, there is a Johnny Cash theme bar, called the Mean-Eyed Cat, which is located in a tiny building that used to be a chainsaw repair shop--most of the bar itself is outside, a series of porches strewn with salvaged vintage lawn furniture spray-stenciled with things like "You wonder why I always dress in black/Why you never see bright colors on my back" and "Three feet high and rising." Actually, a lot of the bars tend sprawl out into backyards and balconies and lanais and courtyards and decks, especially the Jackalope, which seems to go on forever.

Finally, there are the unofficial mascots of Austin, the million-plus bats that live under Ann Richards Bridge. Every evening, they come swirling out in an endless parade of flying mice. It is, for lack of a better term, completely boss.

So, as they say, if you love it so much, why don't you marry it? Well, there are two things Austin has lots of that I cannot stand: humidity and hippies. Seriously, i hate them both and having both things at the same time, especially in a state known for its firearms. I'd just go ripping nuts and--shit! Wasn't it in Austin that the guy went up to the top of the clock tower at the University and snipered, like, two-dozen people?! Yes--it was. August of 1966. I know it turned out that the guy had a brain tumor and everything, but now i'm thinking the hippies and the humidity helped.

Posted by lissa at 01:30 AM

June 20, 2008

This Week's Line

Sorry I've been gone so long. I actually wound up with a bunch of writing work that kept me chained to my computer for about six weeks--except for the brief periods in New York City and Austin, about which more later. Anyway, without further diddling....

This Week's Schadenfreude
So, when I was in Austin, I spent a delightful bit of time at Hut's cheeseburgers, one of many vintage-neon, Eisenhower-era burger, well, huts in Austin. Hut's also has a marvelous vintage interior with old pennants for every NFL team and pinups and black-and-white floors, where I sat on a nice chrome-and-vinyl swivel stool, ate a Mr. Blue burger (Blue cheese, swiss, bacon, dressing--I would've had the Ritchie Valens, but they weren't serving tomatoes.) and watched the Celtics win game six against the Lakers. Which made me happy because I hate the Lakers even more than I hate the Yankees. As soon as that asswipe Kobe Bryant won MVP, I knew it was just a matter of time, he would utterly fucking collapse and, lo, the rejoicing. And it was fine to watch everyone's fucking favorite-ass team get not only beaten, but completely humiliated, whipped by the second-biggest margin in championship history. I mean, 39 points!? That's brutal. And it was gratifying to see Kevin Garnett, who you know had pretty much accepted that he was one of those guys who was never going to win a championship, win one was nice. One of the most genuinely touching things i've seen recently was the moment about 90 seconds after the final buzzer when some sideliner began interviewing and you could see it suddenly it hit him that he actually now had The Ring and he began yelling "Anything is possible!" while simultaneously laughing and crying and holding his new "2008 Champsions" baseball cap over his face so one could see it, before being bear-hugged by mentor Bill Russell. And Paul Pierce, who came back to the NBA after being stabbed 11 times (did not miss a game that season, either) and back to the finals after spraining his knee, is a warrior and, hey, give Ray Allen one too! Nice threes! Although it does piss me off that now half of the total NBA championships belong to either the Lakers or the Celtics. Someone who always roots for the underdog and, what's more, innately mistrusts if not downright hates any top dog, cannot like that--honestly, i was rooting for New Orleans. But, hey, i'll take what i can get.

This Week's Quote
"The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious."--Lester Bangs

This Week's Video
"My guitar is totally out of tune because my guitar is for kicking." Oh, the nostalgia. I cannot bear it. But, go ahead, witness this ancient British news video about the Jesus and Mary Chain. The feedback was loud and our hair was uncombed and we all wore sunglasses and threw bottles at the stage and our hearts were young and gay.

This Week's Diva
Linda Evangelista. I had almost forgotten. My very favorite 80's-90's supermodel. You can keep your Kates, your Christys, your Naomis, your Cindys and your Tyras, Linda was the shit. First off, she looked more like a vintage Barbie doll or 50's mannequin than any human being ever has. Two she was the absolute protean ideal of the haughty supermodel. It were La Evangelista who first said, "We don't wake up for less than $10,000" and also said, "I have become bigger than the product."
Mr. Diva, the original diva desginator, adds: "While being Kyle MacLachlan's babymama before he morphed into a Berkeley dyke and one-upping one dozen confections in a George Michael video. Including George HimSelf AND the Thierry Mugler motorcycle dress. And looking Elsa Klensch right in the eye backstage at the Gaultier Hassidic show and barking "NO PHOTOS PLEASE" before ripping open the cameraman's shutter to expose his film before getting him, though not Elsa, banned from the proceedings." [The fact-checker in me would like to add that actually the father of her son is an "unnamed prominent New York architect," which is even better in a sort of Dorian Leigh/Fountainhead way. But they did meet--At a Barney's shoot! Can this get any more Anne Welles?!--back when he was still Agent Cooper and shared a stunning duplex in Sohofor several years.]
What do I love even more about her? That this woman started out competing in beauty pageants. In Canada. And losing. I mean, can you imagine her standing up there with the rest of the competitors for Miss Ontario? Although I can imagine her standing there afterward, soundlessly clapping, smiling without her eyes and thinking "I will go to New York City and become the international supermodel and fuck you all in the ear with a donkey's dick"--okay, that last part is me. And what would have happened if she'd won? Would she have married the local football hero who became manager of North Bay's second-most successful used car dealership? Which then begs the rhetorical question: If Linda Evangelista never leaves Ontario, is she still Linda Evangelista? The mind wobbles. On Louboutin heels, no less.
Nowadays, there is no dating of greasy cokehead rockers, no yogawear companies, no celly-whipping, no furniture collection, no talk show. No, that would involve effort and that would be vulgar. Linda just stays at home with her piles of money and her baby, occasionally descending from her penthouse to be on the cover of Vogue. Like this divine shoot that reminded me of her to begin with. Really: Does anyone work that Tippi Hedren/Babe Paley look better? And could anyone else wear that ridiculous hat with such an utterly convincing expression of "Yes, I know I look beautiful?" No. That's why she's a diva.

This Week's Website

As long as we're on the subject of the past ('cause, damn, the present sucks), let's throw this one out there too. The New York Songlines: A block-by-block, building-by-building of what is and what was in New York City.

This Week's Taste Sensation
Yup, we're back at the Sonic again. Now, one of the culinary things i miss most about New York City (The rest of my top 5: The papaya-beef salad at Pho Viet Huong, the lentil soup at Bereket, the cheeseburgers at Corner Bistro and the Sofia pizza at Sal's/Rosario's.) is the coffee-chocolate milkshakes i get at Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A. Now, those are just coffee frozen yogurt, chocolate frozen yogurt, milk and malt powder, but the Sonic java chiller has actual coffee in it. You can even get extra coffee of you want. And i'm pretty immune to most of the things that have insidious effects on normal human beings like nicotine, ex, true love and belief in a benevolent supreme deity, but one of these things will have me zipping like a hummingbird until 3 a.m. And i am not saying that like it's a bad thing, but i'm just saying be prepared. Anyway, besides the effect of extreme alertness, they're also delicious, all mocha and coffee and cold in a 110-degree Vegas summer.

This Week's Tragedy
Bo Diddley is still dead. Who do you love, indeed.

Posted by lissa at 06:10 PM