Monday, March 14, 2011

Inside Austin City Limits

Thursday night I was down in Austin, making a side trip to visit our friend Momo in her new home city. I’ve always said, either you’re an Austin person, or your not. For me, it’s a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. For Mo, it’s just the right kind of crazy.

Think of New York on Xanax. It’s the same kind of intensity, just at a slower pace. Or maybe Los Angeles with a twang, given the amount entertainment focus they have (the SXSW film fest was starting up Thursday night, and Austin City Limits will be in the fall). And maybe even Seattle with sun, given the fervor for “alternative – buy local – go green” you’ll find. And I even found myself walking the 6th Street club scene thinking of Bourbon Street without the lingering scent of pee and vomit.

Drivers are their own kind of thing down there. About 90% are kamikaze drivers, barreling through intersections, changing lanes with abandon and giving only moderate consideration to the laws of physics let alone the traffic code. The other 10% are Midwest friendly, waving at you from the other side of the 4-way stop – “No, you go!” And you can never be sure which is coming towards you, but you should be ready to dodge either way.

You gotta love Austin food. Fussy doesn’t really cut it. Foods that can be wrapped in a tortilla or smoked over pecan wood take precedence. And a brisket taco is pretty much alpha and omega of Austin food. Especially if you can get it from one of the food trucks that have taken over downtown in the last couple of years. The only thing I was really missing as we wandered around 6th Street was a donut truck. Trust me, Austin. Hot, fresh doughnuts straight out of the fryer would be killer when you’ve had too much to drink. You’ll make a fortune. Nothing soaks up beer like fried bread.

But if you go to Austin, be sure you know somebody. Because the only way you’ll really know what’s going on is if you know a guy, who knows a guy, who dates this girl, who used to be in a band with some other girl. Because that girl is going to be the one who’s been to the newest place, with the hottest band and the coolest scene. Facebook’s got nothing on the Austin social network. By the time the newest place has made it into a newspaper, or god-forbid a guide book, everybody is on to someplace else.

And if you’re either an Austin person or not an Austin person, Mo is definitely an Austin person. She’s already the girl who knows where to go for a good time. Thanks for the hospitality, Austin Girl.

TIME: Quotes of the Day