Quincy Jones at SxSW Music 2009

It was just announced today that Quincy Jones will be the keynote speaker at the South by Southwest 2009 Music festival.

Legenwait for it. . . .dary.

<3Caitlin

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South by Southwest Festival

I know I’m super early, but I love this too much to hold it in any longer – the South by Southwest Festival is one of the coolest things about Austin, hands down.  The festival is broken into 3 parts.  It kicks off this year with the Interactive and Film portions of the festival (both start on March 13; the Interactive runs until March 17, and the Film until March 21.)

Billy Bob Thornton at SxSW 2008 (Photo by kris krüg)

Billy Bob Thornton at SxSW 2008 (Photo by kris krüg)

In 2008, Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of the social networking site Facebook), Frank Warren (from the online phenomenon PostSecret) and Jane McGonigal (an established game designer) were the keynote speakers for the Interactive fest. The Film fest showcased the hit films 21 and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, among many, many others.

Then. . .there is the music part. The SxSW Music Festival is undoubtedly one of the coolest fests to hit Austin, because it attracts people from all across the music industry, and also brings hundreds of bands into town, both big and small. In my three years at the music fest, I’ve had the honor of listening to Neil Young, Pete Townshend, and Lou Reed keynote, have listened to Iain Archer perform in a tiny Irish pub while the guys from Snow Patrol stood next to me, and ran into Teitur (literally) on my way to a show. On a personal note, I always love the fest, because it has always been on my birthday in past years. This is the first year where I will turn 22 two days before the music fest kicks off, but that’s OK – I’m just glad I’ll be 21 for the duration of the festival! (It helps, a LOT.)

A few bands have already been named for the 2009 Music Fest, including St. Vincent, Sage Francis and Anni Rossi. To keep up with all of the SxSW announcements of keynote speakers, performers and panel folk, you can follow them on twitter, but I think it’s more efficient to check out the Austin, TX Showlist and SxSW Baby!

Elijah Wood DJs at SxSW 2008 (Photo by aaron)

Elijah Wood DJs at SxSW 2008 (Photo by aaron)

One huge complaint about the festival is that it is incredibly expensive to attend, and that if you don’t have a badge or wristband, it’s almost impossible to get into shows. I always shell out the money for a badge, because – let’s be honest, this is all I do with my life. I paid $550 for my badge this year, which is definitely a huge sum of money that many can’t afford. Wristbands aren’t on sale yet, but they are usually upwards of $100, if memory serves me. *If* you just want to pay for a few shows, make sure you arrive at the venue REALLY, REALLY early – otherwise, you probably won’t get in. And if it’s a band like Vampire Weekend, who had so much buzz at the 2008 festival that honey came out of their noses, don’t bother; it is highly, highly unlikely you’ll make it in without a wristband or badge. What happens is, three lines are formed – a line for badges, a line for wristbands and a line for everyone else. The badge folk are let in first, followed by the wristband folk, and then everyone else. And as more and more badges show up, they’ll get trickled in to the already-moving lines. It can definitely seem unfair, but remember that badge people are usually industry people, and the bands really need them to see their sets and write about them/get excited about them, etc.

Keynotes should be announced soonish, so get excited about this festival! Hey, we start celebrating winter holidays way too early, why not celebrate an awesome music festival 3 months early?

How do you feel about SxSW? Lemme know!

-Caitlin

No more [Dhaba] Joy.

This was the storefront to Dhaba Joy.

This was the storefront to Dhaba Joy.

I am a vegetarian, and often enjoy the vegan treats scattered around Austin at places like Mother’s Cafe and, until this fall, Dhaba Joy. Indeed, I had not found a better place for vegan cupcakes, cookies and cake. Dhaba Joy was a delicious vegan haven, and they began to expand their deliciousness to include deli sandwiches and other meal-type foods. However, this past fall, they opened their doors for the final time. I still haven’t figured out why for certain, but I know it’s a travesty. Dhaba Joy became incredibly popular in its short time on the other side of Toy Joy, and it is missed by many. There are rumors that the bakers will continue to create their delicious treats, but I have found nothing to confirm this yet. I hate that you are gone, sweet Dhaba Joy.

Does anyone know of any other great places for vegan baked goods? Or perhaps, have you heard where the bakers from Dhaba Joy are headed?

Munch on,

Caitlin

Holiday traveling.

Austin, being located in the middle of the state of Texas, is in a perfect location for beautiful day trips. Because it is now the holiday season, my dad and I went shopping for a pine tree today. To be honest, we drove from San Antonio, but since San Antonio is only about an hour and a half away from Austin, the tree place we went to would only add about ten minutes to your drive.

If you celebrate Christmas, Pipe Creek, Texas is a fantastic place to pick up your tree. The Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm is open until December 21st, and it is a wonderful farm with a huge spread of trees. The farm offers saws so you can cut your own trees, or you can get help from the workers there. There are also measuring sticks, because the farm charges by the foot. They also offer hayrides and, on specified dates, pictures with Santa!

This is the map to the farm.

This is the map to the farm.

The best thing about this farm is the drive. I highly, highly recommend getting onto TX 16, because the drive is gorgeous – hills scattered with red, yellow and orange treetops. It was perfect today, because the wintry clouds just barely kissed the hilltops. Please be careful when you’re driving along the winding roads, though – there was actually a fatal accident today.

Pretty drives to day-trip locations are absolutely something I love about Austin. What’s your favorite day trip? Let me know!

Happy Holidays,

Caitlin

Storyville – “Wear Your Story”

There is an awesome little t-shirt shop on the corner of one of the most famous streets in all of Austin (Guadalupe), and it is called Storyville. Boutiques like Storyville give Austin a very distinct style, which is something I LOVE.

Storyville Tee, designed by UT student Jennifer Mitchell.

Storyville Tee, designed by UT student Jennifer Mitchell.

Particularly wonderful about Storyville, they strive to be more Austin-oriented. Storyville’s only other location in the country is near LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the designs there are typically more Louisiana-oriented.

Iconic Austin tees inclue the “Hi, How are You” frog design by Daniel Johnston, and a UT tower graphic tee.

You can choose from a myriad of awesome pre-designed shirts, or you can even design your own. Storyville will charge $25 for your own special tee, and you can pick from tons of fonts, colors and graphics. They print on American Apparel t-shirts, which are sweatshop free! [I am not linking to American Apparel, because I do love that they are sweatshop free, but I don’t love their exploitation of women.]

The store itself is worth visiting, if only to see the incredible artwork on the walls. One of the employees has painted tons of great themes, including a Muppets-themed room and an Alice in Wonderland theme. He has also written fantastic quotes on the ceiling of the Muppets room; they are hilarious!

Storyville is one of the coolest t-shirt boutiques in Austin.  The employees are super friendly, the vibe is really artistic, and they give you an opportunity to “wear your story,” as they say. Check it out!

-Caitlin

Bar manners (or lack thereof.)

OK, so I haven’t been hating much recently, because I do love this town. And I was actually going to come on here and love, but I’m afraid the hate overrides my love at the moment.

Ethan Kennedy playing at the Carousel Lounge.

Ethan Kennedy playing at the Carousel Lounge.

I went to the Carousel Lounge tonight to watch one of Austin’s brilliant local musicians, Ethan Kennedy. He was absolutely amazing. . .but the people up at the bar watching the Tech game were less so.

Bar manners, folks. I understand you want to get out and enjoy yourself during a football game, but Ethan was actually drowned out a couple of times by the hooting and hollering (and he had a microphone!) Also, he was recording the performance, so now, scattered throughout, there will be random “Come on!!”s and whatnot. SO rude. It isn’t as if the people didn’t know Ethan was playing. . .there is no partition in the club between the stage and the bar. People need to be more mindful of their surroundings, and more respectful of performers. I have had other experiences where audience members have been really rude during performances, so let’s keep this in mind as we head out to enjoy a Saturday evening, Austin.

Stay cool,

Caitlin

Conor Oberst + Ben Kweller = EPIC LOVE.

This is going to be a brief music news update from me, but this is a HUGE reason why I love Austin:  amazingly cool people live here. In 2006 at an Austin City Limits Festival pre-show at Stubb’s (Gnarls Barkley, to be exact,) I saw both Jake Gyllenhaal and Lance Armstrong hangin’ out on the upper deck. But tonight’s show at Stubb’s takes the cake.

The AMAZING Conor Oberst graced us with his genius this evening (check him out, people!! Both the new stuff and the older stuff.) He is a ridiculously talented guitarist, a moving lyricist, and his band clearly has fun when they play together. They did a ton of stuff off of the new album, including “Moab” (their opener,) “Cape Canaveral,” “Sausalito,” “Get-Well-Cards,” “Lenders In The Temple,” the short-burst-of-energy-inducing “NYC – Gone, Gone,” the single “Souled Out!!!,” and they ended with “I Don’t Want To Die (In The Hospital)”.  My favorite was a sweet love song that Conor said was a “love song from the future,” but I asked a super-fan what the song was, and she doesn’t think it’s ever been released.

Now. All of this would be great just by itself. BUT, towards the end of the show, people started pointing to the left side of the stage. Turns out, Ben Kweller was hanging out (and it was so much fun to watch him dance around and really enjoy Oberst.) Then, the greatest thing ever happened:  Conor coaxed Ben out on stage, and Ben played with the band on their last two songs (including “I Don’t Want To Die,” when many members of the 2 opening bands came onstage and it was just this giant party for everyone.) I tried to take pictorial evidence of all of this, but unfortunately, Stubb’s doesn’t allow flash photography, so everything came out really blurry. Still, I think the blurryness captures the energy, so I’ll share a couple favorites.

The blur in the middle is Ben Kweller!

The blur in the middle is Ben Kweller!

A fuzzy photo of sir Oberst, rockin' out in a funky hat.

A fuzzy photo of sir Oberst.

Thank you, Austin, for nights like this!

-Caitlin