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 Austin next week
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   04-01-12 20:41

What should I see? Arrive Tuesday, leave Sunday.

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   04-03-12 11:17

The best resource for what to do in Austin is the Austin Chronicle (for whom I sometimes write). You can check them out online, and I highly recommend picking up an issue on Thursday. It's free and you can usually find copies everywhere.

For food, I would recommend Chuy's for Tex-Mex (it's actually a chain, but a very good one), or there's El Jacalito, which is right around the corner from my apartment and has long been my favorite Tex-Mex place. It's a secret, though - shh.

The Salt Lick is the best place for barbecue - it's in Dripping Springs to the South of us, but it's worth the drive. If you need to stay in the city limits, the County Line is also very good, and the Green Mesquite is pretty good if you want "fast food" barbecue.

If you want a good old fashioned hamburger, there are a couple of places: Hut's, which has the advantage of being just up the road from Waterloo Records, and another local chain called Texadelphia. The latter is best known for its cheesesteaks, but I think its burgers and, surprisingly, its chips and queso are superior.

Austin loves its Asian food, and in that area I'd recommend Madam Mam's, an excellent Thai restaurant, especially if you like it spicy, and 888, which is mainly Vietnamese.

If you're a vegetarian, every place in town has veggie options, but the places that specialize are Kerbey Lane Cafe, Magnolia Cafe and Veggie Heaven.

Austin is also the headquarters of that equally beloved and villfied chain Whole Foods, which has a pretty good cafe. The similar but more cost-effective equivalent (Whole Foods is known as Whole Paycheck by some wags around here, including me) is HEB Central Market.

I'm not very up on high culture, but we do have the Blanton, a great art museum on the UT campus. Also on the campus (and just a block or two away from the Blanton) is the Harry Ransom Center, which has hosted great exhibits on Poe, On the Road, American censorship and more. Right now they have an exhibit on the King James Bible. They also have a Gutenberg bible on permanent display.

If you want to go record shopping, the best place is Waterloo Records. Lots and lots of local music and a very knowledgeable staff. If you're on a budget, just up the road from Waterloo is Cheapo Records, which is mainly a used CD place. Both have vinyl as well as CDs. We also have several vinyl-only shops, though they tend to come and go as demand waxes and wanes.

I should also mention that Waterloo is across the street from both the national Whole Foods headquarters and Book People, a very cool independent bookstore.

If you want go see some music, while you're here (and why wouldn't you?), you have a shit-ton of options. The Chronicle is the best place to check out what's happening in the clubs (or Google, of course). But here's a rough (very rough) guide:

If you want more roots rock/Americana sounds, the Continental Club on Congress is the place to go. They're also one of the most local artist-heavy clubs in town. They have touring acts (Dave Alvin and Chuck Prophet play there regularly), but locals are the meat of it. Alejandro Escovedo has a Tuesday residency when he's not touring and uses it to workshop new material, and James McMurtry plays every Wednesday if he's not on the road. Former Merle Haggard guitarist Redd Volkaert, probably the best country picker on the planet, also has a free Saturday matinee show.

If you want metal, Emo's East is the place to go. Its sister club the Beauty Ballroom hosts more eclectic music and is only a block away. Red 7 will also give you heavier sounds, as well as punk.

The most famous club in town is Antone's, but I gotta warn ya: it's no longer the home of the blues. It diversified like crazy to survive, and usually has blues only one night a week, unless it's a touring act or the club's anniversary. Otherwise it's pretty eclectic - I saw Robyn Hitchcock there a couple of years ago.

Other choices: Stubb's, which has an outdoor amphitheater for midsized and big touring acts and an indoor club for smaller tours and local acts. La Zona Rosa, which splits its time between triple-A acts and popular alternative bands. (And Nick Lowe, who's playing there with his band on May 8. He outgrew Antone's, which is where I saw him last.) ACL Live at the Moody Theater also handles the midsized touring acts, everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Ziggy Marley to Megadeth. Upcoming shows include Howard Jones doing Human's Lib and Dream into Action and Dead Can Dance.

If you want more offbeat roots music, visit the White Horse. If you want strictly local indie and punk, go to Skinny's Ballroom (where my buddies Leatherbag/No Future and Wiretree play a lot), the 29th St. Ballroom (which also hosts a spoken word/poetry slam every Tuesday) and Frank (a hot dog joint that has live music). If you want reggae, hit up the Flamingo Cantina. The Hole in the Wall is 99% local artists and covers roots rock, punk, power pop, folk and everything in between. The Parish covers indie rock and electronica, mostly touring acts. The Scoot Inn will give you roots rock, punk and metal. I'm also fond of the Mohawk, an indoor/outdoor joint which has hosted everyone from Bob Mould to Boris to Wire to Ghost, plus plenty of local bands.

Threadgill's will also fill your Americana needs, as well as give you some good ol' Southern comfort food. I recommend the south location rather the north. The Saxon Pub also has food, is mostly (but not exclusively) local and supports mainly singer/songwriters and Americana acts. And Stan Ridgway, who plays there every time he comes to town.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Broken Spoke - if you want to two-step to old-fashioned C&W and Western swing, that's the place to do it. Always a live band, usually the best country Austin has to offer. And if he's not touring, Ian McLagan holds down a free happy hour residency every Thursday at the Lucky Lounge, which is next door to Antone's.

I don't know if this is unusual, but for a midsized city we seem to have an inordinate number of strip clubs (though not as many as Dallas, which is a much larger city, of course) and those "adult modeling" places, if your tastes incline in that direction. We also have plenty of porn shops.

We also have plenty of parks if you want to just take a walk and chill. Dog parks as well, if you're bringing your canine family member.

That's all I can think of at the moment. You can Google most of the places mentioned above to look at their calendars and see what's what. Questions?

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Nile 
Date:   04-03-12 15:23

That was impressive, Michael.



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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   04-03-12 16:37

thanks. You know, I've always felt I don't know my town very well, but maybe I know it better than I thought. This is all filtered through my personal preferences, of course.

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: rhettlawrence 
Date:   04-03-12 19:11

Impressive indeed. Good to know this is here if and when I ever make it to your fair city. Which I want to do even more now....

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: nosepail 
Date:   04-03-12 19:17

I forwarded this to my sister who is vacationing this week. If she doesnt seek out any cool music or book spots based on Tolands advice, than she cannot genetically be my sister.

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   04-03-12 20:06

Hats off to you. That's awesome. Gig tonight that seemed interesting is Coffee Sargeants - compared to Bevis Frond and Green Pajamas. Up my alley. Email michael@zwirn.com if it sounds good!

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   04-04-12 11:08

I love the Coffee Sergeants - one of the best psychedelic rock bands anywhere! (I'm old pals with a couple of the guys, which is the only reason I haven't done a TP entry on them.) I didn't realize they were playing tonight - their bassist unexpectedly passed away a few months ago and I thought they went into permanent hibernation after that. I may have to make that gig.

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Delvin 
Date:   04-05-12 10:56

Michael, that's a terrific guided tour of your town! Here's hoping I can eventually be as useful a resource for my soon-to-be-adopted city of Seattle. Hats off to ya, brother.



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 Re: Austin next week
Author: zwirnm 
Date:   04-08-12 22:21

Just back to DC, and although were never able to get together, (other) Michael, thanks so much for being an awesome virtual tour guide. Saw the Coffee Sergeants, as mentioned, at Carousel. Saw Devon Sproule last night at Flipnotics, pleasant coffee shop place. Was at Hole in the Wall for an hour or so a few nights ago but the band - whomever it was - was taking forever to start so I eventually bailed. Nice bar though. Popped into Waterloo Records for awhile last night too.

Foodwise, ate at Chuy's, picked up takeaway at Green Mesquite, had a decent barbecue tofu at Mother's, and enjoyed the baked goods at Quack's on 43rd.

Otherwise, mostly entertaining a three-year-old, so my other activities don't really fit into your concise but remarkably comprehensive lists, but it was a great visit!

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   04-09-12 08:57

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Austin is a great town to hang out in.

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 Re: Austin next week
Author: STEVE 
Date:   04-13-12 22:03

inspiring,
gonna grab my 'true stories' dvd n head doowestXsw.



Post Edited (04-13-12 22:14)

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