#2 son has a very detailed vision of just about everything. He has his birthday party themes planned out for the next few years. For this year, he gave me very detailed instructions to build a "Fortune Wheel". I managed to meet his expectations and his Birthday Party was a success.
I also had John O'Bryant here to entertain the guests. He did a great job, we were all entertained and amazed.
#2 son is a skeptical by nature. He told me "I know magic isn't real, it's just tricks". John did manage a levitation trick. All the while #2 son is saying, "But I feel SOMETHING IS UNDER ME". We had to show him a picture of the levitation. Don't ruin it kid, you DID levitate and that's the final say.
The balloon animal trick was my favorite. We were all amazed.
He had been telling the kids in his class about the "Fortune Wheel", and they had told their parents. There was a high level of expectation. Every spin got a prize, either a Minecraft or Puppy plush toy. Everybody got to spin twice, and they all traded so everybody was able to leave with the plush they wanted. His "Fortune Wheel" was a huge success.
The magic candle was quite a fireworks display, and it was fun to watch. But it didn't whistle Happy Birthday To You as we had expected. The kids were amazed (and maybe a bit afraid) all the same.
Legos are always a good fit for kids of this age. He received many.
As family tradition dictates, a celebratory trip to Plucker's was arranged later the same day. He was eager to do a chicken dance for the whole restaurant.
We pulled off a birthday celebration that was up to his standards. I'm not sure we can duplicate this level of successful party planning.
To celebrate the end of ten days of constant SXSW parties, there are several Sunday after parties... The Chicken Ranch Records Mad Tiger Festival has evolved into a bit of a kids show. It was a nice sunny day in the park
Mother Falcon sounded great, as always.
Peelander Z was fun, but they had another show to run off to. They didn't perform many of our favorites, less stunts etc. (no ninja high school!?)
We closed the weekend with a big sushi meal, and slept like logs...
Saturday was rainy... all rain, all day. We chose a VIP covered area party at the Whole Foods rooftop. Took the kids with us.
With an entire Whole Foods at our disposal... we ate well, and drank a bottle of really good champagne. When that bottle was done, our friend Darla would call down to the wine dept and have them ready another... this went on for a while. HEY! you got to beat those rainy day blues!
We saw several bands at Whole Foods, then we stepped over to Little Woodrow's. Ran into more friends and caught a show by Hey Marseilles!
That Lagunitas party was good fun... but we managed to get up and out Thursday Morning. A quick restorative lunch at La Condesa and we got in on the VIP list for the UNDER THE RADAR showcase at Flamingo Cantina.
They'd already run out of all the free Kirin, but that might've been for the best. We had a great spot for the shows and we saw several, Jacco Gardner, SOAK, East India Youth, MEW, Of Montreal
(VIDEOS POSTED AT THE END OF THIS ENTRY)
Of Montreal above. We closed the evening with dinner, drinks and dancing at the W Hotel.
Bird Peterson and my Disco Gnome got the people on their feet, which is sort of amazing at this point because the dogs should be barking by now.
And while all this was happening... let me tell you about Laura and Lyle...
Our friend Laura has been coming to SXSW with the hopes to meet Lyle Lovett. She stepped up her game this year, made a T-shirt and set up a twitter account in the hopes of tracking him down. So, there we are, at the W. Then Mark casually mentions, "Weird, I just ran into Lyle Lovett over at the bar" (Mark had no idea Laura was actively seeking him). Then it happened, just like that, her goal was attained.
It's true, the man was just right there. He was patient and polite. She was happy, we were all happy. Such happiness. (full disclosure I snagged the previous two pics from Laura's FB)
CMoore and I used Uber to get home, but some guy claiming to be our driver (in a DUNE BUGGY) picked us up, drove us half way home before we realized he had no association with UBER! We had a brief dispute about cash and how much CMoore weighs, but we made it home. Dune Buggy SHOULD'VE tipped us off he wasn't with UBER....
We made it out of the house by Noon, got a quick lunch at the MPress Records party. Then another quick lunch at Canada House before making our way to Brooklyn Vegan SXSW party at Red7.
We did not let the rain stop us.
side note, SXSW is not a good time to get together with a bunch of different people. I have my list of bands and places to go, and it just doesn't work well with a large group that has no plan, hasn't RSVP'd or wants to get lunch some place in the opposite direction. We left the house with a plan, and we stuck to it.
I was sure the Single Mothers were going to break themselves. This was old-school hardcore punk. Singer was already missing front teeth and the bass player was drooling all over himself as they threw themselves around... they had more energy than we did. We all soldiered on.
After Single Mothers, we saw The Pianos Become The Teeth, Mac McCaughan and Swervedriver.
I have long been a fan of SUPERCHUNK and recently fell in love with Portastatic. The highlight of the show was Mac McCaughan solo show. However, without drums, and in the rain to a half attentive crowd that was probably there to see swervedriver, Mac had an uphill battle. He was polite and smiled as he told us "THANK YOU FOR COMING, YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!" Then he closed the set with Slack Motherfucker! It made my day.
After some more snacks at TRACE at the W Hotel, We made our way to the Stereogum Exploding in Sound Party at Hole In The Wall. The bands there were REALLY good, but the volume was too loud and distorted. I hate it when you can't understand the vocals. Baked was great, as was the other band that came on after them...
Fantastic Negrito, King Tuff at Lagunitas Brewing Party SXSW
I'll preface it this way, SXSW is not easy. It can be hard. Hard on relationships (friends, family, spouses and girlfriends and pets too), hard on the feet, hard on the ear drums, hard on the liver. But each SXSW morning, we muster the drive to get out there and do it again, because it will not wait for anybody. Lagunitas Brewing laid it out like this "Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint". Then they poured more free beer than I've ever seen in my life.
They also had one of the best acts we saw, Fantastic Negrito (videos inserted at the bottom of this post)
Lagunitas entertained us between sets with all sorts of gymnastics, clowns, burlesque shows... (one of the tamer pictures offered here)
The Barreled party by Dulce Vida is always one of our favorites. It's easy and they treat us really well. It's sort of the party, before the Music portion of SXSW really kicks it up.
Dulce Vida provided food from the best food trucks Austin has to offer, a great assortment of cocktails and beer (twisted X) and great music. The highlight was Michael Martin Murphey playing Wildfire (video at the bottom of the page).
We also played in the photo booth.
somebody could've told me my shirt collar was all wonky....
Quiet Company have a great catalog of their own songs, but it's always fun to find a classic cover in a live music show. Something that everybody can sing along with, complete with a call and response participation. Great show!
Max- Where the Wild Things Are at the Eanes Fashion Show
They had a fashion show at Eanes. The kids were asked to dress as a book character. #2 son chose Max from Where the Wild Things Are
The costume effort became a collaborative event. My Mother made "the hood" (hat with wolf ears and whiskers) while Kat made the wolf tail, gloves and buttons. I sourced materials (wolf fur) and provided moral support in the form of compliments and encouragement.
He was happy with the results, "It's PERFECT!" he exclaimed. We were all pretty happy with how it came together.
Then came his turn to walk the red carpet. He was quite energetic and managed some great poses.
HEY! What happened to the wolf hood (hat)? Somehow it was not on his head... just flopping down his back.
Oh well, he was happy.
Teachers and Principal also joined in on the I Love to Read Fashion Show
Our favorite winery is Turnbull. We are members, they occasionally ship us wine. On special occasion (or sometimes just a Tuesday) we open and consume them. I received an invitation from the owner, Zoe, that they were in town hosting a Happy Hour. We did join them at Winebelly.
The wines were amazing, but we knew that ahead of time. They also provided a cheese and meat board. Kat and I both enjoyed the fried pig ear strips.
Funny, a couple near us was wondering what they were (as the husband chewed). I tried my best to explain "pig ear". "But what's it MADE of?" they responded twice... Their faces just about fell off as I made it as simple as I could "it's made from PORK! Pigs are pork. This is the EAR part of a pig, fried, cut into strips and marinated".
So we picked up a few bottles they were selling there and the Winemaker (Peter) and Owner (Zoe) signed the bottles.
A cold front had just blown in and that back patio at Winebelly was getting COLD. It was still early so Kat and I took the opportunity to grab a table at Odd Duck.
Everything we had at Odd Duck was creative and delicious. We started with soft boiled duck egg with broccoli stem puree, mustard seeds and fish roe (shown above).
We also had pretzel sticks stuffed with ham served in mustard béchamel as well as, beef tongue and goat cheese quesadilla.
Kat especially liked the giant fried whole fish head. She cracked it open and a plume of steam shot upward (seen below), it was dramatic. I hate getting my hands in my food. The waiter assured us he'd be bringing warm towelettes by and Kat dug right in. She helped supply me with such tender and delicious meat. Without her guidance, this dish would've been wasted on me.
Our final selection did not disappoint. Naan stuffed with "pig face" and a curry yogurt sauce.
So... if I were to recap things I ate that evening, it would go something like this:
With #2 son at my Mom's and the daughter off to a birthday party, the three remaining needed a big brunch. We decided to try someplace new, St. Philip.
The wait time was 35 minutes at 1:30 pm Sunday. They offered drink service and transfer the tab to your table (LOVE THAT!) and they passed out free Pretzel bites with delicious mustard. You can't properly enjoy a fresh made pretzel without beer so...
They have St Arnold's Root Beer on tap along with a great list of our favorites.
Fennell Sausage Pizza and Brisket Hash (below) were both delicious.
#1 son enjoyed blueberry soft serve ice cream. We stopped at the bakery on the way out.
Later that same evening... We celebrated a friend’s successful Peking Duck hunt along with some French Pinot. Then we enjoyed the pastries from St. Philip. Not bad for a Sunday evening!
We started with family dinner at Zax Pints n Plates, http://www.zaxaustin.com. The food was good and they have a great beer list. I have met the owners of this place a few times. They challenged me to come try their crab cake, said it was free for me if I didn't agree it was better than the one at Eddie V's (where we were at that time). I was anxious to put it to the test, but there was no crab cake on the menu! I guess I shouldn't have waited so long to go back (two years)
Austin Samba School and Drums
Yeah, I can't really talk about it, I'm in a box.
Kat looked great in her red angel attire (can't hardly see it but she has wings on too).
Oh, did you think you'd come here to see a bunch of images of half naked people? Well, it's not that sort of site... Well, maybe just a little bit.
There were plenty of people in their Saturday night least. I only took a few pics this year.