After serious blog neglect, I am finally able to post an update from the Austin visit!
I am so truly, truly blessed to have such amazing friends... Val picked me up from the bus station and brought me to her lux apartment complex and made me feel right at home, and Jim joined us right away that night for amazing Tex-Mex dinner at Chuy's. On my birthday, Cupcake King Jim treated me to an awesome treat from Sugar Mama's, where the two of them took me again later in the week.
Sugar Mama's magic, courtesy of Jim- 3 of 4 were vegan! All were delicious.
Reppin' hard at Sugar Mama's.
Mr. Cupcake himself, in his natural habitat.
Austin was indeed a food paradise- among the fares sampled; Tex Mex, vegan, Brazilian and Korean... and of course, cupcakes. Trailer park food courts are huge in Austin, and the food found in them is varied and DELICIOUS.
On my second night in town, Val brought me to a truly slammin' art party in east Austin at a studio called Industry. Apparently there is a BYOB party there once a month where a featured artist's original one-of-a-kind designs can be screen printed onto a piece of your own personal clothing for a measly $10.
January's featured artist was Michael Sieben, who you might have known was involved in a controversy with Target when the mega-retailer appropriated his designs and used them for the Sean White line without giving credit where credit was due.
I snagged this sick print for my tired old heather grey v-neck...
in addition to snagging Sieben's artist book, entitled "There's Nothing Wrong with You... Hopefully." which is a collection of Sieben's drawings, doodles, finished works, prints and sculptural installation work.
This neon sign was blazing in the open woodworking studio next door to Industry. The company is, unsurprisingly, called Rad. Val and I danced down their loading dock and that display too, was rad.
The real and actual Soul Pole and Fah Q paddle, proudly displayed inside Top Notch
Jim and I outside Top Notch! Just waiting for Cindy and Wooderson to drive up and order a burger.
Jim engineered a Dazed and Confused sight seeing trip for us, too, which was a definite trip highlight for me. Dazed and Confused is certainly in my Top 5 Favorite Movies of All Time, so actually setting foot on these filming sites was epic for me. I certainly could not wipe the cheesy grin off my face.
The baseball field from Dazed and Confused.
We had to do this shot 3 ways. Me and Val,
Jim and I,
then Val and Jim. Here, Jim is probably checking in on FourSquare, which I have become obsessed with since Austin.
This is the view of the city from Jim's rooftop, where I learned that stars indeed do twinkle. (How did I not know that? Undoubtedly a failing of the public education system.)
Val took me dancing on Saturday night at Barbarella, to what was undoubtedly one of the best dance nights I've been to, ever. Hands down. It definitely rivaled Friday on My Mind in Leipzig or Kill All Hipsters in Berlin. The crowd was totally down, drinks were dirt cheap, and the music was undeniably awesome. Of course Val and I made our way to the little stage in the front, and by the end of the night (after about a 4 minute power outage that struck the entire downtown, during which the crowd called out soccer chants and sang happy birthday) I found myself on top of the speaker box, dancing and singing Arcade Fire's "Ready To Start" at the top of my lungs.
All in all, I was totally impressed with Austin. I absolutely loved it. The nightlife was awesome, the food was awesome, and some incredible friends call it home. I think this was the point in the trip where it really hit me that at this juncture I am untethered and free to go ANYWHERE to (re?)start my life... even though Brooklyn continues to look like my official choice, I got the sense while I was in Austin that I was truly able to choose a whole new life in a far away place if I so desired. If Austin's public transit system was a little more accessible, I know it would be a real consideration. It still could be... I'm totally in love with the idea of living in a place with such a legendary music scene, and without the hassle of snow and cold.
In terms of hitting my TRIP GOALS in Austin, I did a pretty decent job, thanks to my super accommodating and helpful hosts...
1. √ We found a photo booth on my last night in town at a little spot called Bar 96.
2. √ Local beer- Fireman's something?
3. √ Coffee shop- well, I'm kind of fudging this one, but we did get brunch at a wicked spot called Bouldin Creek where I drank a lot of coffee, a mimosa garnished with blueberries, and scarfed eggs benedict with vegan Hollandaise sauce.
4. _Didn't do any thrifting. =(
5. √ Kept in touch with mom.
6. √ Made 2 new friends, Mellie and Greg!
7. √ Took loads of photos.