- SxSW 2009 -

South By Southwest 2009!


Brought one giant 30 lb suitcase to save money. (American Airlines, $15 fee for the first case, $25 for the second). I had never flown with an electric typewriter (you’d call it a computer) and I won’t again: in the space allotted in steerage you can’t fold it forward enough to see the screen. (And while I’m on the subject, why do seats in super-crowded planes lean back at all? Space is precious like cigarettes in the joint; no one should be permitted to expand theirs.)

Tuesday in Texas

Arrived late morning glad to be in Austin; there’s a Ray Benson nightlub in the airport! L.A. was cold and grey - here the air was clear, the weather balmy, what a place. Got my Hertz rental car (with heavyhanded urging from the clerk to take the extra insurance) - a bargain at $282 for 7 days. (A month earlier I could’ve got one for $202, but I dragged my feet getting a reservation. When I got this one, all the others topped $400.)

Took I-35 to Oltorf and headed west. I chose Oltorf bec of fond memories of the Cornell Hurd Saturday jamborees at the now-shuttered Texicali Grill. Stopped at Curra’s restaurant next to its shell, and had catfish tacos.

When I got downtown I noticed plenty new high, or higher, bldgs dotting/defacing the town’s silhouette, and recalled the title of the Russian film ”The Cranes Are Flying.” (I later learned that many of those aerial building aids are fixed like flies in amber due to fund flight, something for future archeologists to ponder.) I parked at a parking meter, which a day later would be like winning the lottery, and walked east along Cesar Chavez touched by the graciousness of the city in recently lining the south side of the street with enormous buildings to shade me from the pounding sun.

Hied over to the Convention Center and felt instantly that I was “somewhere.” Drastically thin young men with carrot-top mops exited taxis, clearly aware they were part of something big, also shortsleeve-shirted young women with excessively tattooed arms that proudly and identically marked their differentness. There was a rhythm in the air that anticipated, in miniature, the next four nights’ convulsion of music and excitement.

Up the enormous escalators I encountered no one I knew, nor recognized from their hanging neck-badges. (It wasn’t like the old days, kiddies, when there was only one escalator, when the conference was held at the Hyatt across the Congress bridge, when in a couple of rides you’d see everyone you’d see the rest the week.) Atop the stairs I walked to a window and was handed my badge in a couple minutes after showing my ID; the next day I’d’ve had to endure a mile-long line. You have to have been there before to know to arrive early!

Empowered with my badge on a lanyard (a rope: I just like to write ‘lanyard’) indicating I am somebody, I jigged over to the St Patrick’s Day fest at the Dog & Duck and saw plenty of good bands and an overflow crowd wrapped in green. Met my host, Kent Benjamin, and discussed how to get to his house at day’s end: he’s been ‘keeping’ me for 19 years (!!!) and this year it’s at a new house, bigger and better than ever.

Eddie Munoz, Kent Benjamin, Cyril Jordan. Dog & Duck

Cyril Jordan joins Steve Allen of 20/20. Dog & Duck

Los Angeles Austinian Mike Vernon and
Ian McLagan’s Bump Band bassist Mark Andes. Dog & Duck


Got to the Convention Center about noon, the parking situation dire, the queues for registration like lines for jobs. Ran into Billy Altman and Andy McCardell, who’d be my companions several more times. Went to the press room, checked some stuff, and ranged around running into people. (Ten yearsa ago you would have called this shmoozing, but that term’s term’s expired.)

Billy, Andy and me went to the Dog & Duck for the Pop Culture Press party. We went in Andy’s rental car which was parked seven blocks from the CC to save money; that walk in the heat giving me a ‘running start’ on the week’s fatigue. The show was slimly attended but fabulously billed. We stayed for Those Darlins, three girls from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who play bluegrass and other stuff in a peppy vein, funny and lively and entertaining. (I bought their CD and had it autographed.) Went then back to the Convention Center to see what was what, and got a massage in the press room! (It was a service they offered. I didn’t force anyone.)

Getting exposure at Dog & Duck. Onstage: Those Darlins

At 5 I heard from Jason Gross, and he was going to dinner with some colleagues at the Austin branch of his day-job, so I joined him at Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. I had a nice time alternately joining in and listening to shop talk.

Everybody’s lovin’ Death Metal Pizza - Ka-Yum!

At 8 I got to The Parish on 6th (it had a different name 6 years ago when the Sprague Brothers played there) and found ex-Chicagomate (we share ex-Chicagoness) Rich Brenner, co-owner of Hugo’s restaurants in L.A., for Doug Kershaw. The Crazy Cajun is still out there kickin. He was a joy to behold - my first time since ... 1984? People from the past sometimes tell me I “still look the same” but Kershaw really looks like he did when he was 35 because he looked 75 then. Doug sawed that fiddle and squeezed that accordian like a madman with nary a loss of energy from the days in the 70s when I traveled all over California to see his shows. Diggy Liggy Lo! (Mark Leviton, also at this show, recalled seeing him open for the Doors at Winterland in S.F. in 1970.)

Doug Kershaw. The Parish

Shot over to the Austin Music Hall to see who was winning what but hit a particularly dull spot and stayed only a short while, racing back to B.D. Riley’s a few feet from the Parish to see Austinian Ron Flynt, once half of the L.A. pop group 20/20, do a terrific set, joined at the finale by ex-bandmate and now Nashvillian Steve Allen. I decided to see Dash Rip Rock, a band about whom I could recall nothing except that they were generally up my alley, so went early to Aces Lounge where they were to play and saw Grant Hart. I liked him a lot, playing solo, and hearing people call out requests deduced, shamuslike, that he had once been with a band. Sure enough an English guy enlightened me that he was from Huskr Du. He was great. Dash Rip Rock was good light fun, bouncing like a 1980 pop band, straightahead dance-and-drink rock & roll. (The bassist resembles Elvis as interepreted by Andy Kaufmann.) Back at the Parish I caught a moment of Tony Joe White, somehow seated mid-room (or levitating, I didn’t get close) surrounded by eerie lights and (there’s no other word for it) worshippers. Back on the street I saw the backs of Angry At The Bear, a showy group dressed in dayglo clothes and streaked spike hair, as their music spilled out of B.D. Riley’s onto the street.

Grant Hart. Aces Lounge

What I missed: Little Band Of Gold with Warren Storm and Tommy McLain, Billy Bob Thornton, and four or five hundred bands.


Had breakfast with Kent and Rick from Warner Bros/L.A. at Maudie’s at a mall in South Austin, a new Maudie’s on me, garish like the hotel lobby at the Four Seasons, a far cry from the tiny restaurant in a mini-mall with kitchen chairs on the sidewalk I first encountered in the mid 1990s. Their Pete’s breakfast tacos are the greatest food on earth no matter the locale and are now available at the airport!(I want the L.A. franchise.) I enjoyed listening to them talk about recently-released outtakes from the Who Sell Out and the immensity and multi-platformality (regular DVD, Blu-Ray) of forthcoming Neil Young stuff, all Greek to me. Listening to them I identified with people who watched my tv show with no idea what we were talking about but said they enjoyed the intensity.

At 4:00 at the Convention Center, Amy Lavere played on the SESAC stage. Man, cute girl with stunning voice playing a standup bass, she’s got it all. Drummer husband Paul Taylor was with DDT when they appeared on my tv show when we did a live SXSW taping in1993. (It was Todd Everett’s only SXSW visit. For Paul Body it was the start of 16 straight years attendance. See NEXT.) I first noticed Amy’s song “Killing Him” on last year’s SXSW Memphis CD sampler; in which she pines “Killing him didn’t make the love go away.” With the upright bass you’d assume she’s rockabilly, but her music is bluesy and swampy. So excellent, like Norah Jones gone right.

Ran into Billy Altman, who insisted we go to Jovita’s, a non-event site that runs free shows during the fest. He said Daddy, the Nashville duo of Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack, was really worth seeing. He undersold them. Great songs, straight-ahead pop and rock, they really tore it up. Went downtown to pick up my friend from NY and Billy joined us for dinner with Jurgen, a record dealer from Dripping Springs, at Matt’s El Rancho, the Mexican restaurant on south Lamar.

800 Daddy. Jovita’s

At 9:30 I got over to Antone’s to catch the end of the Doug Sahm tribute. Doug was Austin’s hero, and his son Shawn adopted his pop’s look and mannerisms at this night’s finale fronting the reunited remains of the Texas Tornadoes. Especially notable was swamp soul singer Jake Andrew, abetted by a fine horn section and, surprising to me, drummer Bill Bentley. Jimmy Vaughan, Dave Alvin, Sara Borges and others played too.

From there I went back to 6th to see Cage the Elephant, the Kentucky punk/pop band at the Thirsty Nickel, but not before dropping in, or up, to see Brooke Waggoner at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room, which is not attached to Maggie Mae’s (three doors west) but is atop the Thirsty Nickel, its floor sharing the other’s ceiling. This proximity stank, as Waggoner’s fluid and melodic music which I enjoyed SO MUCH in 2008 at the quiet Garden Inn atop the Hilton was battered by both the big-amped boom from downstairs and the roar of idle chatter from uninvolved bar patrons at this BMI/ Nashville event. I saw her, she looked great and sounded beautiful backed by two violins and a cello, but the clamor and the crowded stage-front drove me, in defeat, down to the noisy club where the antic Cage The Elephant entertained like a cage full of monkeys, the lead singer climbing stairs, amps, anything that had a surface. Good, even great fun, but I wish I could have enjoyed Brooke Waggoner too.

Cage the Elephant. Thirsty Nickel

I went over to the Continental and caught the end of Dave Alvin’s tribute to Chris Gaffney: Amy Ferris was in fine voice singing with Dave. Back of the club I met them and Paul Body and also Bill Kirchen, both of whom I’d see again.

Dave Alvin, Paul Body. Continental Club

What I missed that night: Rosalie Sorrels at the Driskill, and two bands whose names appealed to me, Fuckshovel from London and Horsefeathers from Portland, Oregon. Tori Amos, Quincy Jones keynote speech, the Miles Davis “Kind Of Blue” panel with producer George Avakian


Slept only 6 hours, awakened by phone ringing at 8:15 am. Stayed in bed til 10 then decided to go to the BMI breakfast at the Four Seasons, so I listened to Kent and Rick talk some more about Who and Beatles and Neil Young stuff then showered and split. This time I parked at Threadgills, knowing I’d be going there later, thereby avoiding the inevitable traffic jam around the Convention Center. (The ACC, with adjacent hotels and bands playing in Brush Park tents and its proximity to busy 5th, 6th, 7th is like Mecca. A time-lapse photo of its perimeter would show a swirl of SXSW pilgrims blurring into butter like the tiger around Sambo.

As I strode toward Threadgills to feint that I was going to eat there (I did later), there stood Mark Leviton. How could that BE? It was two bullets meeting mid-air. I invited him - big of me - to the BMI breakfast. When we entered the 4 Seasons, a line of helpers directed us, like a bucket brigade, to the back, probably screening for obvious freeloaders (a SXSW official told me that the free-goods handouts at the Convention Center often lure street denizens) and to keep us from wandering into hotel rooms. We got outside and joined a long line. True to pattern, Billy Altman materialized and joined us. The line moved fast as it divided into four buffet lines, two for each table, and we hustled our food over to the pool area, since the big lawn tables were all taken or couldn’t accomodate five.

We chatted and chowed. When the Leviton party split, Billy and I stayed and watched several new BMI writers sequentially ply their wares. It’s a tough sell showcasing singer-songwriters to tables full of chattering face-stuffers, not unlike - all too similar to - playing in a bar. We sat at a table with Holly George-Warren, who was sitting next to someone I thought I recognized but didn’t ascertain as Wavy Gravy til I saw the red ball on his nose. Michael Lang sat down next to him and I snapped their pic. In time Billy moved on, and as I left Wavy was shambling out with a plastic fish on a leash, a funny sight but also a bewildering one. Few there would know his act: you had to’ve been around in the 60s AND been paying attention.

Wavy Gravy, Michael Lang. BMI breakfast

At the hotel driveway I saw my fr Cliff chatting with colleagues, and suggested that we go to Kreuz’s Barbecue in Lockhart Saturday. He’d heard of it, said he might have some time, but we never went. I went back to the Convention Center and used the computers and also visited the Guitar Show/Record Show. It was at the same Trade Show room where sixty other exhibitors had been the previous day, but was open to the public. The previous day I’d seen Daniel Johnston sitting at the rearward book-signing table looking very frustrated, I guess because he was not noticed. (Has he written a book?) I intended to visit James Trussart at his guitar stall, but he was wrapped in thought or something and I moved on.

I walked back to Threadgills. I was exhausted from the previous two days’ pace. I watched a guy play the Burnside party on the front lawn but he grew tiresome, or I did. I saw Mark there. I talked to Jim Yanaway about Ledge and stuff, and also to Gary Flanagan, who recognized me from tv in the 90s and talked about his move to Georgia. Red Volkeart played, and Earl Poole Ball did Jerry Lee’s version of “End Of The Road,” identifiable by the boogie-woogie arrangement and the lyrics “I’m gonna jump in my car and give her the gas, pull back the throttle don’t give me no sass” which differed significantly from the first time the song was written, in 1929, by Irving Berlin for the movie “Hallelujah!” (Jerry Lee rewrote it for the flip of his first Sun record, “Crazy Arms.”) Went inside and got a heap of vegetables, and sat and assayed Kent’s list of bands and clubs, but nothing beckoned as much as rest. I went to my car and laid back the seat and like the telegraphist on the Titanic text-messaged my friends “Asleep in my car at Threadgills.” The sun wasn’t in my eyes, but with the windows open and people talking and shuffling there was little loss of consciousness.

Around 7 Jason called and suggested we see Haybale at 8 at Maria’s Tacos on south 1st Street, but he wanted to be picked up and I didn’t want to dislodge my car. I was fairly near the venue, so I said I’d go and we’d meet later. I began to force-march up the hill toward the point where I estimated Maria’s to be, but after a while with no Maria’s in sight my dogs said, “Turn back.” Did a 180, then nearing the bottom of the hill, a car pulled across my path from the right; it was Ed Ward. “Get in” he said. We went to the Hilton roof room and listened to the Miserable Rich, a UK band whose singer, who sounded not unlike Robin Gibb, I enjoyed for the short time I saw them. We were there to see Sam Amidon, a young folksinger whose look and manner demands comparison to Dimitri Martin in his look and delightful disconnectedness (he stopped mid-set to do pushups). Ed was there because he knew Sam’s family, and liked his music. Also curious but less delightful there, Miller Lite girls handed out beer-can holders and cigarette lighters, proferring TWO ways to kill yourself.

From there we went to the Continental to take a look at whoever was playing the Ponderosa Stomp teaser show (a smattering of the acts to be playing that show next month in New Orleans). We saw Barbara Lynn, the grand Louisiana-based singer and then stood outside talking with Bill Bentley, an Austinian who’s lived in L.A. for 30 years. While we were jabbering Jim Yanaway ran down from an upstairs club and said we should get in line for the unbilled show there. We waited a little bit, but the room capacity of 49 was being enforced and nobody was leaving, so I don’t know whether the four people ahead of us made it but I left. Of that show, Jim said:

“It was Jimmie Vaughan on guitar playing mainly Jazz ( I have heard him for nearly 40 years, and it's the first time I know of he has ever played Jazz guitar ); Greg Piccolo ( who was leader and tenor sax player in Roomful Of Blues; ) Frosty on drums ( he played with Lee Michaels years ago, and many, many other top level acts since, and he is an absolute master on drums ), and leader Mike Flanagan on Hammond B-3. It was very enjoyable.’ 

Ed, my ride, took off with my blessing. My car was downhill and I wanted to survey the music where I was. But that curiosity faded quick with the rest of me, and luckily I sat down unexpectedly with local publicist and manager Joe Rae Dimenno at the Amy’s Ice Cream hut near the club and, empowered by the rush of ice cream and fruit, I reawakened not enough to embark on the walk but to ask for a ride to my car. On the ride she reminded me she’d worked for ex-Faces bassist Ronnie Lane when he lived in Austin, and had been involved in the yearlong fundraising tour for Lane’s late-in-life medical treatment. (The money, in the hundred thousands, was stolen by the woman in Houston who handled its finances.)

Went to the city parking garage at midnight and tried to bluff my way in with Wensday’s ticket (tickets are good for a full day) but she insisted on examining it (city workers here are untrusting!). It was only seven bucks, tho, one of the few Fest bargains. Parked near the top floor and then it struck me - you can’t exit this garage at 2 am from a high floor because as you descend you are forced to let EVERY OTHER FLOOR before yours go, like letting everyone go ahead before your row off a plane. So I stayed only til 1:20 at the Amy Lavere show at the Habana Calle basement, which wasn’t so bad for me because I’d heard many of these songs at her showcase at the Convention Center. And I was tired.

The Amy Lavere Experience. Habana Calle 6. (Well, it was an experience for me.)

What I missed: Huelyn Duvall, whose “Three Months To Kill” (a song about summer vacation) was a 1959 rock & roll landmark, at the Continental; the Sonics at Emo’s, Ian McLagan at Mother Egans, Carlene Carter at the Convention Center tv taping, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers (I like their name) from Shawnee, Oklahoma, and all the cool acts at Little Steven’s Underground Garage show at the Red Eyed Fly, Metallica, Carlene Carter and some others. And all the day parties.


I went early to a non-SXSW record store appearance in east Austin by the She-Creatures, English girls in space suits doing bouncy songs. Then over to the Convention Center. On the elevator up I saw Seymour Stein and said hello, then later ran into him at the book-signing table. Holly George-Warren was there signing her new western history book, an oversized thing not 50 pages long with big pics (drawings!) on one page and brief bios on the other.

The She Creatures: Sister Slayer, Nancy Raygun, Haley Comet

Saw James Trussart again and unthanked him for leading my friend Rich to the Continental Wensday: He’d told me Tues at the Pop Culture Press Party that the Louisiana-based Band of Gold featuring Tommy McLain and Warren Storm would be playing Wensday at 3:00 for free there. It turned out that at 3:00 you could pay $20 for the crawfish party, with the band playing at 6:30. My friend Rich went (I’d planned to join him, he texted me to stay away) and like the crawfish he was steamed. Trussart, a french native now thriving in L.A., moved to Louisiana in 1980 to live with the Cajuns, playing fiddle and guitar to make do. That move took boldness, something I lacked at the time or I’d’ve been there too.

Despite the sign this is James Trussart amid his git-boxes.

At 2:00 went to Cornell Hurd’s annual to-do at a concert area behind a liquor store on 1st south of Oltorf. Bill Kirchen was playing. I sat next to John Morthlund, whose expressions vary like the statues on Easter Island. I met him in 1971 at Ed Ward’s apartment in Sausalito where I swapped a Jack Scott album for a Roy Orbison on Sun (both obtained a thrift stores that afternoon). Billy Altman who arrived later told me how he and John and Lester Bangs went to shows in New York together in the late 70s when they all lived there. Billy’s a NYer, but that the other two lived there was news to me.

Two ex-San Franciscans who Keep Austin Weird: Cornell Hurd and John Morthlund.

Cornell Hurd, Frankie “Blackland Farmer” Miller

Kirchen was great as ever, always wonderful, surprised us doing “The Times They Are A Changin’’” in his lengthy, Commander Cody-laced set. When he did “Hot Rod Lincoln” I noticed something and afterward collared him. “That an L.A. song and we pronounce it San Pee-dro.” ”NOW you tell me” he said. “You let me twist in the wind for 38 years!”

I stayed two hours for Cornell Hurd’s expansive set which included solo stints by Howard Kalish and always-welcome “Blackland Farmer” Frankie Miller, then headed up to Jovita’s where I was shocked to see the John Hardy band playing in the same place at the same time as last year. The shock was that Ed Ward had guided them to Austin last year from St. Louis, yet Ward, easily noticed, was not in evidence. I took this to mean Ed was otherwise occupied, but when I called him Sunday he said “They didn’t tell me they were coming.” Like the elaborate structures that support a rocket before takeoff, the things that prop you up are jettisoned once you’re launched.

From there I dropped Billy at the Radisson and picked up Cliff at the 4 Seasons. I took him out the original Kerbey Lane off 38th Street, but my intention of showing him a place jammed with people enjoying country homestyle goodness failed as it was near-empty (South-by clears many eateries) and the food was surprisingly frou-frou. At 7:30 I rushed him back to the 4 Seasons to see the bats pour from under the Congress St bridge. I returned to Threadgills and seized a surprising space near the front door (the bats aren’t the only ones with radar). There, in the back room on the secondary stage, I saw Uncle Lucius, one of the best bands I saw all week. One surprise was that a band hidden in the back of the restaurant was so great and the other was that two of them were Threadgills waiters! Southern rock, led by a terrific bearded singer, reminiscent of the best of the early 70s, I shared joy and astonishment with the other ten people in the room, then ordered up some grub.

Stayed there til 9 planning the night alone (where was Billy Altman?) then headed toward the Continental Club. I wasn’t due there til 10 so I walked south on Congress to see what shops were open. Found a used cowboy shirt/boot place and lingered there, remembering the incredible cowboy shirts I got cheap in the 1970s and admiring the few really choice things they had. Heading back north I encountered great music everywhere.

The Banters at Guera’s were a modern young band, and the Asian keyboard player’s soulful vocals really caught my eye/ear because, well you don’t see that often/ever. Then at Cissy’s Wine Bar watched American Garage, three guys stuck in a corner by the door, rocking their brains out on the Jeffersons theme, “Movin’ On Up.” They held the crowd in thrall. I should have bought a CD. (Didn’t I get one in the SXSW bag a couple years ago?) Stepped outside and came upon an11-piece young male/female band doing happy songs, the boys manning the tuba and brass and bass drum, the girls playing mouth-piano, triangle and xylophone, singing alternately and together. It was delightfully upbeat and unexpected and I stood enraptured, perhaps the right word as their name was Mount Righteous. They made me wonder if I ought to reconsider my “Up With People” albums. (Maybe Glenn Close sang great!)

Mount Righteous, on Congress Street

I finally got to the Continental and watched Dave Gonzales for a while. He’s taken a turn from rockabilly to country - I thought it went the other way! - but he’s successful and happy with it judging from his performance and the response of the audience. Drove then to the pkg garage by the Convention Center and went up Red River to the Red-Eyed Fly to catch Dex Romwebber.

Dave Gonzales in a blur. Continental Club

Dex Romwebber at the Red Eyed Fly

I didn’t know him, just of him, and my expert partner didn’t know much either: later I learned he had been in Flat Duo-Jets. I was prepped that he was a solo guy with his sis playing drums. He sat onstage like The Thinker in plain view for 5 minutes before the show, waiting for the ‘round’ to begin. He threw ‘Love Letters” and Tammy Wynette’s “Still Around” into a bangup, rocking set. After that, I dashed over to Esther’s Follies to see comedian Andy Kindler, and there encountered his wife Susan, whom I knew in L.A. when she was hanging with Billy Bremner, and Rosie Flores. Rosie mentioned that she’s led a few people to my youtube clips of her. I told her she looked terrific and she said “People have been saying that, I don’t know what it is.” But I missed all her SXSW shows!

We sat together in the back row and watched Andy take chances not unlike Lenny Bruce. It’s nervewracking to watch comics and painful to watch more than two in a row: Andy was the first so the ache in my jaw and cheeks was pleasure-born. I ran over to the nearby Habana Calle and reencountered Andy McCardell and Billy Altman. We went to the Creekside Inn to see an acoustic singer, but as it was the 1 a.m. wrapup of a UK revue series AND of SXSW, the dozen of us were impressed into clapping for the sound man, ticket-organizer, waiters, etc. We were tired. Then the performer got onstage and said ‘Test’ and the vocal mike worked then strummed the amplified acoustic guitar to no result. I felt cheated: I had struggled to summon the strength to applaud for the sound man against my will, and now ...

We bolted to the Velveeta Room to see Janeane Garofalo’s end, but she was long gone and instead we enjoyed Todd Barry, a comic you’d recognize (this was a superstar comic- as well as a rock-fest) who with all the verve of Jackie Vernon ribbed some audience members for not knowing their band name, Giggle Party, was a term for gay sex. “Good luck with your new fan base” he said. Left at 1:20 to avoid that parking structure stampede. Got home feeling damn awake, lay down and immediately evaporated til 10 the next morning.

What I missed: Echo & The Bunnymen playing at a small gay club, a couple hundred other things.


Didn’t make it to the annual SXSW barbecue - first time I’ve missed it (except for the torrential rainy Sunday two years ago - three?) because I had to get to the aiport. Parting is always sorrow, nothing sweet about it.



SXPaul Body 2009 
Left Los Angeles full of fire, driving to Austin via Tucson and El Paso. Stayed at the wonderful Hotel Congress in Tucson. Just as we got there we got the news that Nancy's mother had been rushed to the hospital back in L.A. It didn't look good. It looked better in the morning and we continued east. We got into El Paso listening to Selena on my mix CD. As we were leaving it was looking even better for Nancy's mother but then as we were driving in the pouring rain near Johnson City we got the news that she had left us and had gone to see Elvis. So we were like a bird operating with one wing.

Huge traffic jam as we were pulling into Austin. Tired and sad as we get to the Hampton Inn. Had a quick bite to eat at the Chinese place across the street from the hotel. It was an early night, still two days before the real deal starts. Next morning we had breakfast at Kerbey Lane on Lamar. It was crowded and I put my name in as Jorane, which was Nancy's mother's name. It was pretty good being back in Austin, all things considered. Bought some boots at Heritage Boots, saved up all year for them. It was cold. Picked up our bags of swag on Friday, it was time to assume the geek position.

Movie time at the Alamo on Lamar Friday night. Saw 2 movies and a short. The short was called "The Spider" and it was creepy and the second movie was "The Square", a real nifty Australian film noir. Totally unsentimental, the sap in the movie wins by losing everything. Then we saw "The Snake", a sort of Seth Rogan lite movie. The kid who played the Snake was there. The crowd really dug that. More movies at the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar on Saturday, "American Prince" and "American Boy" both about Steven Prince an actor who was in "Taxi Driver" and who also hung with Scorsese and Robbie Robertson during a crazy time in Hollywood in the 70's. Both were pretty good. Sunday we saw a very cool one with Nate Silver, the King Nerd who kept us all sane during the election because he predicted the winner 2 months before it happened. He was cool, reminded me of Chloe from "24". Also saw 2 movies, "Sin Nombre" which was like a modern day "Los Olvidados" only bleaker and "Women In Trouble", a chick fllick for guys because of all the Hollywood cleavage. Also ran into Luann Williams at the Convention Center. On Monday it was the "Best Worst Movie", a documentary about "Troll 2", the worst movie ever made that has become a Cult Classic. it was pretty good and the star of "Troll 2" was there and he was having the time of his life. Tried to see the new Seth Rogan flick but the line went on forever. Had dinner at Lamberts and it was pretty good. On Tuesday we saw "Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo" another great documenatary. The vibe is slowly changing as the musicians and the sun comes out. Saw "The Promised Land" at the Alamo on Lamar and it rocked. We decided to see the real cats in the flesh at the Continental Club. 
March 18th..........Hail, hail the sharp dressers and mini skirts 

Started off seeing Randy Weeks at Fado’s Irish pub and he was great playing with the best guitarist in the world Tony Gilkyson. It was blistering hot both onstage and in the audience. What a great way to start. Then we fell by the Paramount to see the Youssou Ndour documenatary which was pretty good. Love that African music. Had dinner and then hit the Continental Club for Lil' Band O Gold and I was transcended. Any band with keyboard and accordion is all right with me. Man, they rocked "7 Nights To Rock" and took everyone to church with "I Don't Want To Know" with Warren Storm belting it out. Oh yeah Rev. Tommy McLain sung "Sweet Dreams." We ate at the Japanese place next to The Continental Club, was good and fast. Ended the night seeing Rev. Peyton and His Big Band and Eli Paperboy Reed and the True Loves, both of them good but I was disappointed that Eli didn't do the title song of his album. Oh well, day one down for the count. 
March 19th 
Saw "Soul Power" at the Paramount and it rocked. James Brown was in his 70's Godfather glory and Celia Cruz had an outfit to die for. Had to rush over to ACC for the panel saluting the 50 year anniversary of "Kind of Blue". It was as cool as Miles was. George Avakian the 90 year producer couldn't shut up, man I would love to have his energy at that age, he was great. Quincy Jones came in later and told some funny stories about Miles. They gave away 4 box sets in a raffle at end, I didn't win. I won anyway just being there. After dinner, it was over to Antone's for the Doug Sahm thing. It was crazy and scattered just like Sir Doug. At one point I looked up at the stage and there was Bill Bentley beating the pagan skins. Later I walked over to the Continental Club for the Chris Gaffney tribute, cool walk. Got there just the Iguanas were going on, I forgot how good they were. Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women and Dudes rocked the house after the Iguanas. I was caught in a bachlorette party with some of Texas's finest roses. Happy wedding day Peg-O. Anyway Dave and Co. just about ripped the roof off of the Continental Club. Hung around in back and then caught a ride back with Fein Art. 
March 20th 
After eating dinner at Evita's it was back to the Continental Cub for a tiny bit of the Ponderosa Stomp. The first two groups were all right. By the time Eve and the Exiles came on it started getting serious. First Floyd Dakil played some serious Chuck Berry. That's always good. Huelyn Duval came and rocked as good as he could and then slowed it down with "Little boy Blue". He was followed by Classie Ballou the King of the reverb, loved his sound. Little Joe Washington followed him and he was super intense as usual. I thought he was going to explode. Barbara Lynn the Gulf Coast Empress came on and as usual, she was the sexiest grandmother around. Backed up by Eli and True Loves and she played some mean left hand guitar. Bo Keys came on and did some Memphis hits and then backed up Paul "Little Buck" Senegal. Lord have mercy. Can't forget the Little Steven panel earlier in the day. He was funny and basically everything he said made sense. 
March 21 
Went to the Mendocino/Sir Doug panel today. It was funny. Bill Bentley was a good moderator. It's winddown time. ran into Paul Cashmere. Mr. Undercover from Australia, had a nice chat with him. He was on his way to see some Neil Young thing. Went to the Red Eyed Fly to catch Exene and the Deadstring Brothers. Exene was quiet and the Deadstring Brothers were louder than bombs. They sounded like 70's era Stones with the odd accordion popping up. Ended the night at Buffalo Billiards for some hip hip, big city funk and Solange. The big City Hip Hop with Amanda Diva was cooking until she got sick and had to leave the stage. She came back and finished her set. Some crazy hip hop with cellos and saxophones by Pete Philly and Perquisite followed, they were hot, man they were doing something for the revolution. SXSW for me ended after a super long set change for Solange and the Hadley Street Dreams. They were pretty good, they rocked all right for some guys wearing what looked like banana patterned pajamas. They weren't the only ones because Solange was wearing banana patterned capris. Damn. My dogs were barking and it was two in the morning when she finished. I heard Black Joe Hill rocked but I was in dreamland by that time, Counting sheep and the days until March 2010. 

More March 21st 
After I left the Continental Club I went over to Back Alley Social to check out some hip hop. One of my customers, Busdriver, was going to be doing his thing. The joint was packed. I spoke to Busdriver before he went on, he was surprised to see me. His show was great, he did the City of Angels proud. Dig this to show you how small the world is, I went to school with his Stepmother. As someone said in that movie "Once Upon A Time In America", "Life is stranger than shit". That it is. 

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