Friday, March 14, 2014
Keeping Austin Weird: Four Days in the Texas Capital
I'm still not sure I get why Austin lays claim on being "weird," but perhaps it's simply in comparison to the rest of the state. But visiting Austin for the first time this weekend, I probably only touched the surface of this fine town. After all, I was limited to the downtown area taking part in the annual South by Southwest festival, and that also gave me perhaps a skewed view of the city. My takeaway was indeed weird: Lots of great food, cool venues but a big taxi problem. See? Weird.
But it was a great weekend. I moderated the panel for the world premiere of Showtime's "Penny Dreadful," featuring star Josh Hartnett and director Juan Antonio Bayona, and also moderated a panel organized by the United Nations Foundation for NBC's "Revolution." We also attended a taping of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," featuring guest Jimmy Kimmel, and spent a bit of time with Andy and Jimmy after the show. Seth Meyers was there, and we hung out with him at an NBC party celebrating the show. And I even sat down for coffee with Kevin Bacon, which means I'm now One Degree of Coffee from Kevin Bacon. Some pics:
I'll be doing a separate post on the Long Beach Airport, but I'll tell you now, I'm a fan of the renovated terminal. Great food choices and a pleasant experience all around. I just wish it was closer. Hands down, a better choice than LAX or Burbank -- except in rush hour. Above, my JetBlue plane.
Willie Nelson, the patron saint of Austin!
Walk around certain parts of Austin, and you'll think the entire town smells like BBQ. This town bleeds sauce. And one of the best sandwiches we had there -- actually, one of the best sandwiches OF ALL TIME -- was this brisket beauty from Lambert's. Stay tuned for the Rate-A-Restaurant review.
Seems like a good sign that Lambert's is in the Schneider building.
The bustling Austin Convention Center.
Only in Texas, right? A gun lamp at the Driskill Hotel bar.
BBQ from Stubb's. Those ribs.
Stubb's BBQ buffet
Science Channel party at Stubb's.
My "Penny Dreadful" panel with Hartnett and Bayona. (Pic by Steve Battaglio)
Putting some effort into spinning the "Price is Right" wheel.
Come on down!
On the second spin, I got $1.00! Too bad it was the second spin.
With Li'l Bub at the Animal Planet party.
The Spazmatics perform 80s hits at the Animal Planet party.
Andy Cohen hosts "Watch What Happens Live" in Austin.
Cohen with guest Jimmy Kimmel.
Branding is everywhere at SXSW. But the weirdest brand experience? Cottonelle. What?
The Funny or Die bungalow.
Lunch at the Funny or Die bungalow.
Spotted at the Funny or Die bungalow: "NO Taylor Swift ANYTIME."
Spotted at the Funny or Die bungalow: "No Pitbull FROM HERE TO CORNER."
Jimmy Kimmel's camera crew interviews a native Austonian.
Back at the Funny or Die bungalow, Bill Cosby performs. Really.
The Austin skyline, as seen from Foodtruckville.
Mrs. P's Electric Cock serves chicken.
One last bite of BBQ at the Austin airport.