[thechat] snippets from Austin

Marlene Bruce marlene.bruce at cdgsolutions.com
Wed Mar 14 16:12:16 CST 2001

Hi all, 

I wrote the following to the admin last night, and was requested that I post
it here. Here you go!


I'm going to eventually do a travelogue of my entire trip in Austin, both
the evolt part and afterwards (for thechatters, I'm still here, visiting
friends). However, I didn't take any pics during the first part, and will be
requesting permission from all of you picture-takers to include a few pics
(with credits and links, of course) in what I write and post online.

But not to make everyone wait, some of my (expanded) notes are below. A lot
of what I jotted down was impressions and little reminders.

Austin, the city, seems rather flat overall (though I'm discovering the
surrounding area is quite hilly). Temperatures during the day reached about
a high of 70 the first day, and gradually became cooler over the weekend.
One little local oddity ... all of the street lights are horizontal rather
than vertical, which I find unusual. Great neon signs.

The facades of the nightlife part of town (4th and 6th streets particularly,
but not exclusively) are definitely western ghost-town inspired. I didn't
know the "trendy-run-down" look was in vogue! The best places for local
cuisine are the ones who look the most delapidated on the outside (but not
inside), and have rather obscure signs. Tons of tattoo parlors (none of
which were used in the end, though I would have gone if others had), and the
music scene is phenominal. Apparently (according to the friend Erik I'm now
staying with), some places have resorted to posting signs out front which
say, "No music here, come in and talk" in order to attract customers looking
for quiet. Even the book stores and groceries have live entertainment some
of the time.

Adrian has fabulous shirts. I wanted to steal every one. 

Scott reminds me in some ways of Bill Murray (which he took, and I meant, as
a compliment). 

Adrian's friends showed up as we were drinking and baking in the hotel room
(Friday?) night after dinner, and the woman looked at all of us, and asked
the fatal question ... that's the question that indicated she WASN'T ONE OF
US ... "What's <body>?"

Martin may (claim) he sucks at frisbee, but at least he still has his 'abort
instinct' (as Bob called it). I received some ribbing when I went running
after the frisbee and fell face-first into a stand of bushes. At least I
didn't crush the nearby flowers, though they may have been a softer (and
less scratchy) landing.

There was a bar we passed repeatedly, called the Atomic Cafe (ever seen the
movie of the same name?). Their S&M looking postcards out front said,
"Austin's authentic underground nightclub" and I believe it. One ofthe times
we passed--in the middle of the afternoon--there was a fellow standing out
front, talking to the bouncer. *Really* interesting looking ... dressed in
layered black leather, standing at his roughed up bicycle, and wearing a
pack, out of which was sticking (angled down) several 3 1/2-foot long metal
rods, on the ends of which were what looked like fist sized metal
sleigh-type bells. He had some kind of floppy hat on, and a burgundy
moustache and goatee. His moustache was long and waxed, and he had eyes like
a Russian. Very cute. As I approached I was looking at him so intently that
he gazed back and said hello as I passed. Would have liked to talk with that

The people we saw at night were reminiscent of this kind of individuality.
Some seemed to have "put it on" for the night; others, like that fellow,
appeared to dress to who they were. Lots of cool hats and freaks.

Saturday night at the Ginger Man, one of the non-admins who attended was
named Tyra (or was it Kyra?). She thought, given his handle and emails, that
Aardvark was a female!

So, what time is it? It's EVOLT TIME! 

Adrian spent part of that evening stamping everything in site, including
cigarettes and my glasses lens. The latter is a bit regrettable, it's not
coming off! Oh well, no bother, it doesn't obstruct my vision (much).

Rudy and I admired Sam-I-Am's baby. Rudy asked if I'd have babies with him.
I said yes. Rudy's a cutie too. And Bob, but I've said so before. And Scott
... might as well get you all in there.

(By the way, I'm a bit tipsy now, having had wine with dinner.) 

"Evolt: On-line Community or Cult?" 

In the evening the greater stretch of 6th street is blocked off by barriers
and filled with pedestrian traffic. Music overtakes passer-bys from indoor
and outdoor venues, one next to the other. People dressed in all manner of
freakish and trendy garb flow into the street, linger around store-fronts,
and line up waiting to enter places like Polly Esthers (in their pink lapels
and tube tops). Very laid back, milling around, the young and not-so-young.
Not like DC. I have to get away from there.

Given recent travels and my own growing awareness of the diversity of
cities, I found myself wondering about 'city flavors' -- how independent and
self-confident are the inhabitants? Do they develop a social memory? This
city seems like a mix of San Francisco and (so I hear) New Orleans.

Some quotes and moments I found notable (some out of context, which I'm not
giving now, and some whose owners I didn't note):

Scott: "There is a fine line between kindness and apathy." 
Dave 'the flame' McLean 
Dan was constantly "building community." ... at times, a bit *too*
A man I passed on the street, "I'm afraid this is more sandal than I can
Sign on a plaque: 
   It is the essence of depression 
   It is immoral 
   It is socially corrupt 
   And it is an act of violence 
   (--In memory of those who have lost their lives on the streets of Austin)

Dave (what he wanted to say to a vendor at the trade show, who asked what it
would take to get him to wear one of their t-shirts): "You'd have to kill me
and stuff me."
Scott (about Dave): "Dude, you were Rockstar Drunk!" 
One of the open-mike speakers at Fray, describing a bad trip: "The
Pooh-Bears were mocking me!" 
Also at Fray: Lane and Courtney got engaged. 
...then those two guys got engaged. 
...and the guy who, as a sheltered child, prayed to a carved and lit pumpkin
(thinking it was an Indian symbol). 
...and Emily, describing the application of make-up while driving: "Time
management, you know!" 
Dave (to Adrian): "You'd make a crappy Jesus." 


Hanging out with everyone ROCKED. Evolt admin and the members who attended
Saturday's gathering make up an amazingly cool group of people.


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