SXSW ’06 – Day 1 – Friday

Whoa. I’ve never been to Austin and it’s one heck of a place. I just came home from a loud party on 6th Street where the street is closed off and young people (I can’t believe I’m using the term “young people”) are out in their mini-skirts and cowboy boots respectively. It helps that it was about 90 degrees today. But, I’ll start at the beginning.

There’s a first time for everything and today was a new first (besides my first trip to Texas and SXSW). I missed my flight. And it wasn’t because I was running late or my bags didn’t make it or anything. I got there with time to spare and I ran into a friend. As it turned out we were on the same flight so we sat in the terminal chatting. Time was clicking by but we both kept checking the gate and it didn’t look like anything was going on. Finally just after 9:15 (when we were supposed to be flying), Edward went to check it out and we had missed our flight. We were both looking at the wrong gate and we just plain missed it. Didn’t hear any of the announcements, didn’t hear them calling our names, nothing. So…luckily we got on to the next flight just 2 hours later. The travel day is such a headache.

I thought for sure I would make it to a 7:00 evening movie, but no such luck. So at 9:00 I ventured out to find the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s a pub and grub in a movie theater. And I have to admit it’s the first time I’ve eaten a Greek salad in a movie house. Before the feature rolled they showed tons of fun clips from You Can’t Stop the Music, interspersed with cool ads and other crazy stuff (who knew Gene Autry endorsed Sunbeam bread?) While I chomped away on my salad the place filled up to see Malcolm Ingram’s small town gay bar. It was good but sort of all over the place. The film starts out simply enough profiling a bar in Shannon, Mississippi called Rumors, the only hang out for gay folks in that neck of the woods. But then the film meanders a bit introducing other bars in North East Mississippi and other characters and eventually makes its way around to bringing it all back together (probably similar to this blog entry). The film premiered at Sundance and this is only its second outing (no pun intended).

“Sometimes it’s just nice to be out where you don’t have to be with terrified heterosexuals,” says one female bar patron. The film poses the question, what do you do if you’re gay, you can’t come out, and there’s no place to go and be comfortable and just be yourself.

Then I went off to explore the Friday night Austin nightlife and hit the opening night party at Buffalo Billiards. The saying, “everything is big in Texas” is no joke. With an upstairs and downstairs, more pool tables than players and a full stage, this billiard room and bar is huge! I don’t think I even saw the whole thing. The party, like most SXSW parties, was open to all pass holders. So it was a good place to meet filmmakers and hang out. But, as the travel day is a killer it was off to find a taco truck and then my bed before I could say, “Remember the Alamo.”

The conference starts on Day 2 and there are some panels I want to attend on top of movies and of course…more parties.

Buffalo Billiards
The crowd waiting to get into the opening night party at Buffalo Billiards.

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