SXSWedu Aftermath: This is MY Austin

A back porch blog is, by nature. more retrospective than immediate. No wonder, then, that I am only now, 2 weeks later, writing about the second half of my recent visit home to Austin, the post-SXSWedu weekend.

After my typically immersive experience at SXSWedu, I still had several days in Austin before heading home, so I wanted to make the most of my time, while avoiding getting sucked into the oncoming maelstrom of “SXSW Main.” I was taking it easy on Friday morning when my old friends, Debbie & Michael, decided to come down from Flower Mound for a quickie visit.

tacos! one down, one to go!

Tacos! one down, one to go!

I knew that one favorite local band, DeadEye, was playing a Friday night show out in Dripping Springs, so I wondered if I might catch a ride out there with them. I didn’t think they’d necessarily like the band since they’d been more interested in EDM last ACL Fest we hit together, but I was wrong.

In fact, they were enthusiastic about going to the show, so we all headed out to the Mercer Street Dance Hall, grabbing some Torchy’s Tacos on the way (yay, tacos!).

DeadEye & tribe

My old friends Billy & Karen were delighted to discover the dance hall is only 10 minutes away from their house, so they wandered over as well. Billy and Debbie knew each other a long time ago, but it had been years since they’d seen each other, so it was a bit of a mini-reunion between those old friends, as well as a chance to surprise my friends from the DeadEye tribe.

And a good time was had by all.

Eventually, even Albert & Rebecca made it back from San Antonio — but only for the encore. Never mind, they enjoyed that and a quick visit with the DeadEye tribe before they ferried me over to Billy & Karen’s to spend the night.

Saturday dissolved into a sweet, slow, porch-sitting day out there in the Texas Hill Country. The weather was perfect, a little cool in the morning, warming only slightly through the day. Coffee and scones on the porch slowly morphed intto a leisurely breakfast inside before heading back to the porch with beers for the early afternoon.

Slowly, any idea of heading back into Austin  faded to a vague dream, and the next thing I knew, it was 4pm. I posted this photo on social media, saying:

Help! I’ve been immobilized on this Texas front porch since this morning!
oh wait a minute—DON’T help. do not under any circumstances attempt to “rescue” me.

Karen’s offer for me to stay overnight again — along with mention of grilled shrimp for dinner — was too good to pass up. Add a whole day spent in the company of rarely seen good friends and that’s a marvelous Saturday.

Sunday started then with a Tex-Mex (!) breakfast at Maudie’s Hill Country location with Billy & Karen and Dallas, their lovely retriever, before heading back to Paul’s.

Denim @ the Saxon Pub

My plans to slip in a Sunday matinee from Denim at the Saxon Pub played out just about perfectly as well. I arrived a little early and startled my friends in the band as well as some other unsuspecting friends who had no idea I might be back in town.

Sitting there sipping a beer in the familiar, cool, dark Saxon on a Sunday afternoon with old friends, waiting for the music to start sure felt like I’d only been gone a week or two. As always, the band played fantastic and the music sounded great. I especially enjoyed hearing this song of theirs again:

Indian paintbrush, water color sunset —
And I feel just like a child.
Spring in Texas, oh, what a memory!
Let me stay here for a while.

Right about then, it sounded incredibly tempting to linger longer there in Austin. After the show and farewells to everyone, I wandered a few blocks up South Lamar to the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture for the opening of the Michael Priest exhibit.

I was an hour early and ducked into Planet K for a quick look around. Heading back out, I spotted Jim Franklin sitting by himself at a picnic table on the porch, and asked if I could sit and chat a bit.

We had a marvelous conversation sharing memories of events and people we knew from old Austin. Jim provided some additional details on several stories I’d apparently only heard half of. I would love to see the statue of Roky Erickson he talked of creating.

The opening event honoring Michael Priest was great, but I only stayed briefly. A quick tour of the exhibits inside, a few quick greetings and brief conversations with folks I knew mostly in passing anyway, and I decided to start wandering slowly back to the house.

Sandy’s — that’s MY Austin!

That gave me time me to take a break and grab a Sandy’s burger as I strolled past to check off my list of my essential Austin eats, and then the slow stroll home. I lingered briefly while walking past the empty, shuttered Threadgill’s World Headquarters beer garden before starting the slow climb up the hill towards Paul’s place, sidestepping a few discarded electric scooters on the sidewalk along the way.

Monday was mostly uneventful, except for catching up again with James & Kara for drinks in the evening. Albert came in for dinner as well on my last evening in town. You’d have thought one of us would’ve thought to take a picture, but no, that dinner’s one we’ll have to carry in our minds and hearts till we meet again — no photos.

Leaving the next morning meant waiting at the airport for an hour or so, resulting in a serendipitous last-minute chance to visit with my old friend Michael Kearney, who was also headed out from Austin that morning. A quick breakfast taco (never stop eating tacos while you’re still in Austin!) and a good conversation later, we parted ways. I grabbed Joe Nick’s Patoski’s new book, Austin to ATX, at the BookPeople store and caught my flight.

Little did I know the book would cause my mind and memory to wander back and linger in Austin/ATX a little longer yet.

Next time: Reading Joe Nick Patoski’s “Austin to ATX”

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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