Saturday, September 16, 2006

ACL wrap-up

When I started writing this, it was Day 2 then Day 3, of the Austin City Limits festival, and by all rights, I should have been napping. Truly, it's insane that I didn't.

Friday I took the day off, and enjoyed coffee and a visit with my two best friends. Then I went home and vastly enjoyed my afternoon alone, completing all of the laundry and taking apart and reassembling our entire computer hardware set up. The wires, they were out of control!

At 3:30 on the dot, my neighbor and her 13 year old daughter came to get me and we rushed off to Austin H.S. to pick up a freshman and a sophomore. Finally, our party was complete, and we were able to enter the festival.

This was the first thing I saw - I'm always so happy to see Daniel Johnston get recognition - it made my day.

It was 99 according to the HS sign, but we had plenty of water and enthusiasm. As soon as we entered, we split with the kids, who headed to see Gnarls Barkley. We took our fancy badges and went backstage to get free beer and water and visit the CLEAN porta-potties. Heaven. After hooking up with the kids at Gnarls (We're by the Tweety Bird balloons! Right by them! Yes, they were, along with 20,000 other people), we left them again in pursuit of said free stuff, and ran into Lisa. In a crowd of, I don't know, 50,000 people? Soon after, we found Paula and the party started. Her story of the Top Five Reasons Her Cousin is Gay is hysterical. (Here's a tip - if a man steals your tweezers, he might be gay).

Paula being Paula, she ran into 1) Lance Armstrong 2) Jake Gyllenhaal (see Lisa's blog for the photo) 3) her sister and 4) Leslie.

It's taken by my phone, in the dark, so the quality sucks, but it's still Leslie.

Some great times were had that night, and the stories will endure for years. When you're not sure if you gave that guy a ride or kidnapped him, that's a good story. When you start talking about what you do when you're "in a hurry to freshen up," that's an even better story. And the next night, when you return, if two guys say to one of your party, "Did you sleep with Satan last night?" you can't pretend to not know what they're talking about.

I have to say, I don't go there for the music - although I'm well aware that it's a travesty. I go for the society. But we did see the following: Gnarls Barkley, who invited all the women in the audience to take off their shirts; Los Lonley Boys, who rocked; Sparklehorse, and if you can tell me who played bass for them I'll be your best friend; and Van Morrison. By the time he came on, I was way beyond listening, but on my phone are videos of Brown Eyed Girl, so we must have stayed until the end.

We had rock star parking, so it didn't take us long to pick up and then drop off Matt (the guy we maybe kidnapped) and head to Guero's for a snack. I also have videos of us singing to Journey on the way there...

Saturday, I dropped off Jesse and Paula and her family around noon, and stayed home with the girls until 4:00 when our fabulous sitter arrived. Dawn and I took a tip from Paula and parked on Lamar and rode the bus in a few blocks. Jesse was hot and tired when we found him, but was still able to rave about the show Phoenix put on. He also told me the whole Ben Kweller nosebleed story, without which I would have been fine.

Paula, Dawn, me and the crowd:

I watched Calexico from backstage for awhile, then we went out and headed for What Made Milwaukee Famous. They were pretty good, and the crowd-watching was supreme.

Lisa and Michael were at the String Cheese Incident, so after a health break and a run for free beer, we headed to that stage to see Willie Nelson. While we never met up with Lisa or Angela, we did get great spots toward the front. I took a few vidoes, although they aren't the same without the smell. Willie was good, but he seemed tired - maybe bored of the same damn songs? Once he played his new stuff he seemed to perk up. He is over 70, and it was pretty hot.

Can you see Willie?

Me neither.

After we found our husbands again, and the teens found their cell phones and each other and us, an amazing accomplishment, we set off down Barton Springs for the bus. The first two times we went to ACL, we were able to walk home, which was a mixed blessing - it is a steep hill. But the bus stop was close and afforded good comedy: an out-of-towner asked the crowd for the area code, and Paula supplied it. Then she offered to help him - did he have questions about the bus service? No, he was calling a cab.

One of the women waiting for the bus turned to her boyfriend and drawled, "That's the funniest thing I've heard all night." In Austin, there are about 20 cabs, and during ACL, they're all taken. We're no thriving metropolis.

All in all, this was a great ACL. It was the 5th, and the 3rd I've been to. For the first one, we'd just moved in, just bought our house, andhad a 1 year old. The next year, we had an infant, and the stories of people passing out from the heat the previous year deterred us. Year 3, we went with the girls, but those special passes made it all OK, as did the cooler and wetter weather. Year 4, the familia was here for Hurricane Rita, and we had a ton of passes b/c most of the folks from my place of employment were otherswise occupied. That was a good year, but for the heat. This year topped the charts in terms of good friends and good times.