SXSW is Decadent and Depraved…

(We brought Aquarium Drunkard's J. Crosby with us to Austin last week---his first sojourn into the four-day romp that is SXSW. We traveled by car from L.A. to Austin. I asked Joe to keep a loose diary of events. Below are his notes. An homage to HST. Loosely based on facts, soaked in Lone Star and salsa, covered in tex-mex and BBQ.   - AD)

After speeding across the desert from L.A. we had crashed in El Paso, a wretched border hive evolved into faux-society after generations of midnight crossings, dusty trade post quarreling and unapologetic inbreeding. We drank piss-warm beer till 5 a.m., speculating on the days to come. The next eve, seventeen hours of wandering and 600 miles later, two of our cohort--myself and a mustachioed "businessman"--were dropped at a roadside watering hole in Austin, bags in tow. "Sleep be damned," the businessman said, and I cringed at the thought of excess. We walked inside. There, we met an albino Venezuelan woman and a tall, elastically built man who rambled about ghost sightings, corporate America and prostitutes. The four of us delighted in innocent revelry, telling stories, laughing and patting each other on the back when a certain anecdote saw fit to it. This interpersonal play had all the ostensible makeup of normalcy, despite the players.

The following morning looked more like an afternoon, and indeed it was. My eyes felt like stones, their lids tufts of unrefined cotton. My mouth was as parched as the cracks in my hands, but I otherwise felt fine. And in any case, I had business to do, so I gathered myself and prepared to make a few calls.

The businessman--a loose description, I'd soon find out--meanwhile headed toward the Convention Center, which for all intents and purposes is a bland structure of massive proportions serving bland appointments of benign futility. But on this day it would be the last jumping off point of the River Styx, where you pick up your registration accoutrements.

At the 11th hour, the businessman had arranged for me to receive a wristband. In most stretches of the world, wristbands are reserved for hopeless, swollen and jaundiced hospital patients roaming moribund halogen halls. Here in Austin, the wristband is a badge of honor, an access key, your mark flashed cooly at gatekeepers to gain entrance into the orgy of music, industry networking and Lone Star, into the darkest corners of South by Southwest. As though there were any difference.

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