SXSW Recap Part 2

SUNDAY
Oh we had plans for the day. Such plans. And then we passed Coyote Ugly and two large, bald bouncers pitched us with $2 Bloody Marys. We collected Brugos from his breakfast of Crawfish and resolved to have 1 drink at Coyote Ugly and maybe wander around town before going to see a movie at 4:30.

Jacob put the first round on his card. The bartender told us there was a $10 min so of course that was easily solved by ordering another “quick” round. We took in the décor. The bartender, who’s name was Trish, joked around with us. I never caught the name of the other bartender, but I’ll just call her “Yoko”, on account of her distinctive singing style and generally insanity. Random frat guys came and went, but mostly we had the place to ourselves. One frat guy revealed (or perhaps pretended) that it was his birthday, so Yoko wrote on his back with a Sharpie: “Enter Here” with an arrow pointing to his ass. Every once in a while, the girls would get on the bar and do a choreographed dance to a song. They played ice cube tiddlywinks. Yoko put the mic between her legs, pushed a guy’s face into it and yelled “I taste like Chicken!” She grabbed my camera and took a picture down her shirt and pants. She cut eye and mouth holes in a black plastic bag and put it on her head. She pranced around on a hobby horse. She put the bag ON the hobby horse and pranced around some more. It was a never-ending circus of crazy hot chicks and somehow we found round after round in front of us. Somewhere around the 4th drink, we forfeited going to the movie. I was having so much fun, I bought the wifebeater. While I was picking out my shirt, I saw a cigar case and couldn’t resist buying one. Trish kept trying to get me to do something with her. She suggested that we hula hoop, but I assured her that the only way in which I could get the thing to stay on my hips would be if I used one that was way too small. She slowly wore me down with alcohol and conversation until she finally convinced me to actually get on the bar and “just stand in front of the fan”. Once I got up there, I felt stupid just standing still, so I started dancing. I made it through half a song and then sat back down again, miraculously to a round of applause. That one definitely goes on my very short list of Things I Never in A Million Years Thought I Would Do Without a Gun to My Head.

After that, I was ready to smoke my cigar. Jacob bought one too, and the 3 of us went to the back porch.

We finally headed out after my songs played on the juke box.

Let his be a lesson: No one is safe from the Magic of the Coyote Ugly.

Next we did a little drunken wandering and ended up at the Hilton bar where I’d read was a good place to schmooze. It wasn’t. Or, at least, not that night. Instead, we decided to check out yet another Irish pub called Mother Egan’s, this time for karaoke.

Am I ever glad we did. Despite exhaustion from having already been drunk once that day, their selection was AMAZING. SO MUCH BRIT POP! These people had Oasis B-Sides! They had Peter Schilling! Jacob sang “Common People” and “Girls and Boys”. I got to sing a guilty pleasure song “Karma Killer” by Robbie Williams to a very small crowd of Austiners. One of the other bar patrons was a skinny lad in a white, homemade t-shirt and a plastic MP hat who had some interesting stage moves. This spawned a new game “Drunk or Weird”. It was later determined that this fellow, named Brian, was a little of both. He was nice though. And so were his friends. Around 1, Jacob and I decided to take our leave of the bar scene and get some sleep. Brugos stayed behind to hang with our new friends.

Jacob and I walked to edge of downtown to gas station so I could get a big bottle of water. Then we waited on the corner for ages for a cab to come along. As we waited, the station attendant chased some teenagers out of the car wash. I guess they had been peeing in there.

Finally, a cab pulled in and picked us up. It pulled away JUST as some serious shit started going down behind us. He sort of scolded us and asked us what we were doing at that gas station at 1:30 in the morning. He said next time to wait in town, because the gas stations along the highway get robbed about once a month. He attributed it to vagrants coming up from New Orleans.

The cabbie later revealed that he had come to Austin to be a filmmaker.

MONDAY

Jacob and I decided to finally spend the morning doing something useful. We went to a distribution panel and a theatrical acquisitions panel. I had a celebrity sighting in the form of Judah Friedlander. That’s one of those sightings that would be absolutely meaningless to most people.

After the panels, we headed to McCormick & Schmick’s (yes, there’s one in Austin too) for the Oklahoma Film Office party. A wiry fellow who’s voice sounded like a bad Woody Allen impression adopted me and Jacob for a while and told us, me especially, that we really needed to sell ourselves. While he talked to us, he called over everyone in the room on an individual basis and had them look at a trailer that he’d made in 3 days for SXSW.

Eventually, we were approached by one of the people in the film office (and also a waiter with booze…thank god), and we ended up pitching our movie to her. She said she really liked it and would love to read the script. She also tried to sell shooting in OK to us. Apparently, they have the same tax incentives for filmmakers that WA is trying to get right now. Hopefully the bill will pass in WA so that we don’t HAVE to shoot in OK.

After we warmed up with the first lady, we felt a little more comfortable. Everyone we talked to after that, though, also worked in the OK film office. We literally met and pitched our movie to everyone in the office. Granted, that’s only 3 people, but it still seemed kind of impressive to me.

We had planned to try and catch a screening of “The Notorious Betty Page” after the party, but by the time we got out of there, the line was wrapped around the block and there was no way we were getting in. T’was like free beer off a duck’s back, however, because who wants to see a movie about Betty Page that's starring A WOMAN WITH NO TITS OR ASS?!

Instead we changed course and went to a bar called The Ginger Man in search of dinner. We began to realize that while pubs in Seattle are an ideal place to eat, it is not the case in Austin. They didn’t even HAVE most of the stuff on the menu and what we did order was lackluster.

Not to worry. We eventually found our way to a filmmakers tent which was serving FREE TACOS, BEER AND ICE CREAM!! The nice lady at the door told us not to get the “nucular” unless we were really serious. Jacob, of course, heeded no such warning. Brugos got one regular and one “nucular”. I got a tortilla filled with cheese and tomatoes. They were still grilling the veggie meat. Eventually, the veggie meat was hot, so I got a new taco. I guess they decided to make the veggie tacos nucular too because one bite was enough for me. Luckily, ice cream and beer are the perfect combo for cooling off your mouth and stomach.

After our free taco orgy, we caught “Punk Like Me” at the Convention Center. Again, we had no trouble getting in, even though we were cutting it close to the show time. I love this festival.

The movie was cute and funny. Some of the animation conventions were a little irritating, but overall, I was entertained. During Q & A, the filmmakers mentioned their after party, so of course, we headed right over.

At the door, they checked IDs. They glanced briefly at our badges and we headed in. They stopped Brugos and asked him where his badge was. I said “He’s with us” and they actually waived him in. I can’t tell you how cool it made me feel that they didn’t see through my ruse of pretending to be someone important.

Next to the bar, there was an American Spirits booth where they were giving out FREE CIGARATTES. More and more, Austin was beginning to feel a bit like the American version of Amsterdam.

Outside in the courtyard, Jacob spotted the elusive Mark Bell and friends. We were very excited to hang out with Mark, who is hilarious and a lot of fun.

Just then, I spotted a familiar face walk past “Oh shit!” I said. “There’s Eugene Mirman!” “Who?” was everyone’s reply. So I pointed to the button on my bag and explained who he was. So they convinced me to go talk to him. One of Mark’s friends helped me out by approaching first (even though I was already on my way) and saying “Hey, that girl over there really wants to meet you”. Thanks, guy.

But it worked out just fine. Eugene was very approachable and friendly and we actually ended up talking for quite a while. Eventually, one of his friends arrived. She bore a VERY striking resemblance to Elyse and we told her so. She said she was often told she looks like people’s friends. That seemed odd to me because until then, I had never met anyone that looked like Elyse besides Elyse. Does everyone in New York look like that?

After a while, Eugene and his friends decided to go next door to check out the Red Bull party. He invited us to come along. We only got as far at the door, however. They said they weren’t letting anyone in if they weren’t on the list. Mark was on the list. For a few minutes, Jacob, Brugos and I were actually stuck outside of a party with Eugene Mirman. That is, until one of the door people recognized him and let him and Elyse in. But here’s the amazing part: As he was headed in, he actually said to us that he would try really hard to find someone in there who could get us in. Whether or not he really intended to do that, it was incredibly considerate of him to even mention it in the first place.

He didn’t have to keep his promise, however. A few minutes later, the door people waived us in. Inside we learned that the Mighty Mark Bell was responsible. I love that guy.

The Red Bull party was full of lots of crazy interactive stuff including some Matrix Alien type TV display, instruments, shadow dancing and, of course, tons of free Red Bull. Too bad I’m off the stuff ever since the Worst Bus Ride in History 2001.

The party wound down shortly after we got in there, but we still had time to take part in the festivities before cabbing it back to our hovels.

TUESDAY
I woke up SOOOOO hung over. Despite much adversary, including me being wicked hung over, realizing on the bus that I’d forgotten my badge and having to walk 20 minutes back to the hotel, Jacob and I still somehow made it to the Ain’t It Cool News panel. We only missed the first 10 minutes or so. It turned out fine because the panel went over by 30-minutes.

Afterward, I gave Harry a DVD, and we ran into Mark again. Mark was pretty much done with work, so he had time to get some food with us. We waited a while for his boss to get done with work and then we met up with Brugos and headed to the Taco Shack for a little taco breakfast.

The Taco Shack was probably not the best choice for my hangover, but I’m not really sure what would have gone down right at that moment. We got our food and sat at the tables outside. Everyone was feeling pretty rough right then, including Mark’s boss. He asked us what we did for a living and Jacob and I told him we were filmmakers. The conversation naturally went to our projects but unfortunately, Jacob and I were not at ALL in pitch mode. What followed was basically a reality check from a guy who has been in the business for a while and has had a lot of experience with indie filmmakers and first-time features and people biting off more than they can chew. He told us that our plan was probably on too grand a scale and that he would hate for us to fail so miserably that we never make another movie again. He had some really good points, and said some stuff that was kind of hard to hear, but he also make us feel like we were actually pretty prepared. He made a lot of suggestions for things that we had either already thought of or already taken care of. I definitely think we’re much further along and foresighted than a lot of our feature-virgin brethren. I just wish I hadn’t felt like I was going to throw up the entire hour and a half that we talked.

After we said goodbye to Mark and the Boss, we set to wandering. The idea was to too find a park so that I could take a nap. Little did I know then that while we were sitting outside having our Hollywood brunch, I was developing a nice harsh sunburn.

Hangover + Sunburn = worst hangover ever.

As we waited for the bus that would take us to the park, it became increasingly apparent to me that if I was too make it to the evening’s festivities, I would need to lie down in a bed with a giant bottle of water, and soon. Brugos headed to the springs without us and Jacob took my sorry ass back to the hotel for a nap. A while later, I woke up feeling only slightly better. My face now resembled that of an Irish priest on a 3-day bender (which, I suppose, wasn’t that far off).

Shortly after I woke up and tended to my burns, Cherry called, followed by Brugos, to sort out the evening plans. Jacob headed off to have dinner with a colleague and Brugos and I strolled up to the Red River café, which was a suggested dining location from Derek. I ate what I could, but was starting to get the old Sunburn Fever which was taking all kinds of liberties with my faculties. I tried iced tea, hot tea, water and food, but nothing was really helping. Still, I pressed on.

Brugos and I decided to walk to Emo’s, the venue wherein we would see the Comedians of Comedy show that night. It was a really lovely walk through the UT campus and I think it helped. Regardless, by the time we got to Emo’s, I knew I had better find a bathroom quickly. I raced past everyone in line and dashed into a restaurant with a clearly labeled sign “Restrooms for Customers Only”. Sorry, dudes. It was either disobey your policy or throw up on your doorstep. I think my decision benefited both of us.

We walked back toward the Emo’s line and found Cherry, who was befuddled as to why we had gone right by her the first time. Luckily, she was right at the front of the line, so we didn’t have long to wait before getting in and securing a nice spot right at the front of the stage. In retrospect, this was the worst possible place for me to be, but at the time it seemed like a great idea.

I thought perhaps a little hair of the dog would help. Not so. It wasn’t long before my stomach was empty once again. I decided to lay off the drink for the rest of the night. We were introduced to a young, possible couple called Robbie and Robert, who were both quite drunk already.

Meanwhile, Justin and Jacob were waiting in the ginormous line outside. They had not yet met so we couldn’t consolidate our efforts for getting them in. For some reason, the line wasn’t moving at all. Eventually, they both got in to the very packed house. Justin made fast friends with Robbie (who looked like a young, Hot Topic version of Val Kilmer). My area was getting smaller and more smoke-filled and it wasn’t long before I had to run back to the bathroom. I thought that surely this time, I had nothing left to give. I was wrong. A word of advice: If you find yourself nauseous in Austin, the worst possible place to be is in the Emo’s ladies room. The stalls are not only tiny, which prevents you from being able to kneel without literally hugging the toilet, but also the toilets themselves are FILTHY, which only makes you want to throw up more. I had to pay a total of 3 visits to my new frenemy that night.

The show started and Patton kicked things off with a warm-up. Throughout the night, he performed during the interludes and then did a longer set at the end. The first comedian was pretty terrible. Very Comedy Central: Premium Blend blasé. But everyone else was really good. I’d never heard of Aziz Ansari before, but the guy was HILARIOUS. I wish he’d gotten to do a longer set and I hope to get to see him again in the future.

Eugene Mirman did some bits I’d seen before, and one hilarious “impression” of Darth Vader lip synching to a Belle and Sebastian song before having a nervous breakdown.

As much as I love the Comedians of Comedy, I will never again situate myself in the front row for a show wherein alcohol is being served. Drunken indie kids are some of the most IRRITATING and non-sensical hecklers I have ever encountered. Mostly, their heckling consisted of them loudly repeating one word or phrase from a joke and then laughing at themselves. In my ear. I was also surrounded by smoke. Of course, this would never be a problem in Seattle, and usually, it doesn’t bother me. But I was in no state to be barraged with inane yelling and cigarette smoke at that moment.

At one point, apparently, Robbie began to take some swigs from a little vial containing clear liquid. We hypothesized about what he could be doing. Was he taking GBH? Was he roofying himself in case Robert didn’t want to take him home that night? Who knows with the kids anymore.

Robbie also spent about 20 minutes leaning on me to take picture after picture of Patton on his camera phone. No. More. Front. Row.

After the show, I realized that I hadn’t gotten a picture with Eugene the night before, so I went over to ask him for one. Brugos went with me and talked to Elyse 2 again. Eugene’s response to my asking for a picture was “Of course. Because no one would believe this otherwise.”

Jacob and I waited around for a while to introduce ourselves to Patton. He was swigging from a bottle of Scotch, being very personable and generally very excited to talk to his fans. I honestly can’t believe how nice all the guys in that group are.

As we reconvened and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of our night, we were approached by a guy who had been standing behind us during the show. He followed us to Club DeVille, where we were getting a night cap. He bought two rounds of drinks since it was last call. 20 minutes later, we had to down the drinks and leave.

There was nothing much left to do with the night, so we said we were getting a cab to go back to our hotels. Our new friend, instead, offered us a ride home in his van. Yes, I realize how that sounds now. But in our fragile states, it sounded like a grand idea. We told him that our hotels were north. He headed south. At first, I thought perhaps he, being a local, just knew a super secret way to the freeway. Cherry mentioned that she had to pee, and he suggested that she use the toilet AT HIS HOUSE. We said “that’s ok, we can just go back to the hotel”. We continued south. Cherry said again that she had to pee. “Let me just take you to my house,” he said again. “It’s closer.” Sure, NOW it’s closer since you’ve been DRIVING FOR 10 MINUTES IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

We pulled into his driveway. Jacob and I grumpily stayed in the car. Brugos and Justin wisely accompanied Cherry into the house. After Cherry went to the bathroom, apparently, she checked out the guy’s kitchen and asked for a beer. His fridge was FULL of beer, but he kept giving weird excuses to her about why he couldn’t give her one. “That’s the last one,” he said. “Those beers are expensive.” “I’m saving those.”

Is he, perhaps, collecting urine samples and only offers beer to those house guests who can’t go to the bathroom? Does he hide his urine samples in sealed beer bottles in his fridge? We’ll never know.

Eventually, they came back to the car. Finally, we can go home, thought I. But then Cherry wanted cigarettes. “I’LL GIVE YOU SOME CIGARETTES,” said Brugos. But Creepy Dude insisted on taking Cherry to 7-11. Was 7-11 on the way to our hotel? OF COURSE NOT! It was east. So now we were south east of where we wanted to go and we had been in the car for 40 minutes. We could have walked home by then. We are fools.

At a stop light, he slammed on the breaks and slid into the intersection, narrowly missing an oncoming car. We wanted to go home. He pulled into the 7-11 parking lot and we anxiously watched Cherry buy cigarettes. After she got back in the car, Creepy Dude at long last said “Now I’ll take you back to your hotel.”

He got on the freeway going north. Salvation was in sight. At our hotel, everyone got out of the van. Brugos decided to call a cab. The extra $7 or $8 would be worth it not to get chopped into little pieces. The Creepy Dude made sure to give me his phone number right before we got out. Sure dude. I’ll give you a call next time I have to pee…

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