Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Keepin' It Weird

Apparently I am not going to be able to post stuff without a week's lag. That may have been too lofty a goal, like last year's ill-fated resolution of being nicer to stupid people.

So, Austin. Their creedo is "Keep Austin Weird". Weird, as in non-conformist. Despite their recent expansion, new tollroads, 40 or so new downtown residential towers, I am happy to report they are keeping true to their trend-bucking roots.

Most of my friends in Austin are heavily involved in theatre. I went with Andrea' to see a play called Trickster at the Vortex Theatre. It was an amazing play, mainly a interesting, tolerance-building spin on how perceptions of reality differ. Two things stood out 1) The production was done as a mini Cirque, complete with one of the leads spinning himself up and down on two pieces of cloth hanging from the ceiling. Quite an accomplishment considering the stage was about the size of my kitchen (small). The other thing that stood out was that the play was very sexually-charged. Very. In Dallas this would have caused people to get up and walk out, in Austin it received a standing ovation. It was tastefully done and everyone seemed to "get" the interpretation, even the senior citizens.

Next Andrea' and I walked the downtown entertainment district until 1am. What I like about the area is the variety of venues all on the same street: Jazz, Rock, Country, Gay, Straight, etc., all seem to blend without issue or age-delineation. We spent some time in Rainbow Cattle Company, Austin's gay C&W bar. What I found odd was that noone arrived until 1130, then it was like a stampede. Fun place, good music and an unsettlingly friendly crowd of men and women in equal amounts.

Austin Museum Of Art

Next day I checked out the Austin Museum of Art. They were having an exhibit called "Radical NY", art from the Soho modernist movement of the 70's and 80's. Considering the size of the city, the exhibit was huge and very-well presented. I almost felt like I was back in late-70's NYC.

Auntee: 'What the hell is going on here?'

My big cheese table design

The other reason I went to Austin was for my aunt's surprise birthday party. My cousin and I had been conspiring for months and I'm happy to report it was a success. We had a mutual friend keep her out of the house all day so we could decorate (my big contribution was lighting and arranging the cheese table).She was completely surprised, as well as a little freaked out. And here she thought she would just pick up a few things for dinner at Whole Foods then watch a movie. Only if you share with your 50 guests, Auntee :)

(I highly recommend Whole Foods downtown Austin for party catering, wow!)

My restaurant recommendation from this Austin trip is Thai Tara. Good location, incredible Panang, helpful service and very decent prices ($6-12).

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Anonymous Jason said...

I've been way too long since I've visited Austin. I need to go back. I hear such great things about it. It sounds like it fits my disposition.

Dang, look at the cheese spread! I'm in heaven. I must remember that for a party idea, looks great.

6:34 PM

Blogger Jim said...

As long as you like the non-standard, you will still like Austin, Jason!

Don't forget the 100 pounds of broken granite pieces for you nect cheese party! (BTW, they are a bitch to clean and remove, lol)

7:42 AM

Blogger JC said...

Well now we know 'Who cut the cheese".... like how many times did you hear that at the party...
Glad you had a good time in Austin. I live just outside to the N., in Round Rock, - it's toll road heaven now...we have a new bumper sticker to balance out Austin's - "Keep Austin Wierd" and College Station's, "Keep College Station Normal". It is 'Keep Round Rock Mildly Amusing', what can I say - they must have pulled out the big bucks for that Ad Campaign....yet I actually like it.

11:33 AM

Blogger Jim said...

LOL, JC ... Keep it mildly amusing? I think I like that too!

7:50 AM

Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Very impressed withthe cheese table my friend!

11:26 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Why thanks Gavin!

1:07 AM

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

I love Austin and all of it's quirkiness.

8:54 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Its what makes it so unique, Steve!

11:56 AM


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