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 June 26, 2008 01:30 AM