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Austin City Limits

posted by DL Byron on March 16, 2004

On Friday, Pam and I flew into DFW and drove to SXSW. Neither of us had ever seen a city quite like Dallas. Its strip-mall architecture and audacious, neon-lit skyscrapers punctuate decaying infrastructure and it smells like fuel. Thick, hanging fuel. Skinny roads and two-lane bridges result in daily gridlock and we drove out of the rental car center right into rush hour. Inching along for an hour or so, I called out an HOV lane and Pam quickly exited onto it. Up a slight rise, back down, hard left, and the lane suddenly narrowed to a foot, sometimes less, on either side of us. It was like a white knuckle, Jersey-barrier flume ride. We determined that the city planners must have been faced with losing federal money because that HOV lane was either built out of spite, in a hurry, or by commuter haters. For 5 miles, we banked left, right, avoided a few big cracks, yelled at each other, down, up, and finally shot back into the regular lanes.

Later, while Pam slept, we approached Waco and Terry Gross was interviewing novelist Tim LaHaye about his Left Behind series of books. While LaHaye evangelized the end of days, I noticed hundreds of churches lining the frontage roads. I was beginning to freak out a bit as the sun set and LaHaye’s voiced assured Terry that only the believers will be delivered into paradise.

Pam woke up as we reached the Austin City limits, I told her all about the end of days, wondered where Koresh’s church was, and then switched to a comedy station on XM radio. We both stated that we could use a drink at the hotel bar.

On Saturday, I got badged, and we tried to find the Austin downtown core. Well, there isn’t one. We figured out that after walking miles in each direction. No one lives downtown. They work, party, and attend SXSW.

Speaking of partying, we attended Frog Design’s handshake party. Didn’t shake any hands, but did enjoy Les Messieurs Du Rock’s unique set that included an angry french guy, suicide girls, go-go dancers (moblog photo above), geisha girls, and an accordion. Daily experience has a brief video of their performance.

Google is returning hits for SXSW blogs. Also check metagrrrl, Jason Calacanis, blog.sxsw.com, mezzoblue, and Wanderlost.

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