Thursday, March 17, 2011

Austinite's Guide to Surviving SXSW

For an Austin local, SXSW always brings a mixed bag to the table.

SXSW's allure for the local is this "hip," nationally recognized venue dedicated to music, parties, movies, parties, technology, and blogging about SXSW at parties - all in your backyard. If you are a UT frat boy whose parents have deep pockets, it's the ultimate playground; hell if you are any sort of shade of "mildly handsome," the blogging gargoyles the event attracts from all over the world  will pose little competition in your quest to cross "alternative girl" off your bucket list.

SXSW's 2010 Tech Summit All-Star Gargoyle declares the iPad2 "best mobile porn device"

But if you are like most locals without the pockets to afford the wristband or the "all-access" badge, SXSW can quickly bring out one's inner xenophobe. Thus, I have compiled a survival guide with a few tips and tricks to getting through the corporate spring break known as SXSW.

 Blend in

 Like any chameleon, the trick is getting the right shade. The palette to choose from, unfortunately, is pretty damn eclectic. Do you go straight hipster, sacrificing sperm count as you force yourself into your lady's finest skinny jeans? How about rocking a punk's finest fohawk?

OK truth be told, the quickest way to blend is to get sloshy. Why? Because every demographic runs together when you're two sheets and can't tell a Jabba from a Princess Leia.

Listen, I don't condone binge drinking; SXSW is just one of those events where chugging coincides with eliminating the supreme annoyance of foreign yuppies and their insistence that the shitty British band you are listening to is the next Oasis. So if you fancy yourself a liquid warrior, go forth and PI your way to ignorant bliss - it makes telling your friends that you hooked up with a sea cow that much more forgivable.

Hey, that's not Natalie Portman!

Work for the "man"

You don't belong - you have accepted that.; you can't tell the Foo Fighters from Nickleback, or Ice Cube from Juvenile. Yet there is a way to appear like you know what's going on: be a part of the extensive SXSW staff!

That's right, you're official now! That dangling badge around your neck might as well be made of diamonds; people who look at you will think you know what's going on, will now nod less aloofly when you proclaim "next year, Guns N' Roses!", and men/women may even throw themselves at you to get them in the "back door." Basically, the suits figured out a way to laminate "popular," and now it's around your neck! 

Wait, they didn't tell you are working the door at that sketchy West 6th biker-bar that was almost shut down because of a "shanking" last week? The band that's playing is a metal/techno fusion group called "Painscab Superbleed?"  Why is no one else but you concerned about the toothless man puking on your foot?

It's like "Cheers," but with more bleeding and crying.

My bad, I must have forgotten to tell you. As just another faceless staff member and low man on the totem poll, you pretty much just resigned yourself to the worst venues at the worst times! 

Enjoy the the SXSW SARS from all those mouth-breathers! Oh, and that badge cannot be destroyed, even if you throw it in to the fires of mount doom.

Bunker Down

"OK," you say to yourself, "I am going to facestab the next guy in an affliction t-shirt." 

Well in that case, friend, maybe it's best to treat SXSW week as a mock zombie-apocalypse. Throw out a "no event parking" sign on your lawn, gather all the necessities you would need if you were under siege, and find that serious gun-collecting friend with a mild twitch and request some "heavy ordinance." 

All that's left is to wait it out. 

Hey, this will be easy!

Dr. Pepper after Dr. Pepper courses through you as you plow through hours of life-sustaining video-gaming. Those whispers you had told your mother you suppressed long ago start to become louder, beating like a drum in your ears, "Screw them, who needs people." 

You begin to distrust your dog. 

What hour is it? You can hear sounds of laughter and music in the distance, but you know that joy to be false. 

You are the only one that is real

Clothes...who needs them? Ah, that feels good, doesn't it? 

You know what else feels good? Taking that squirrel's life. He's taunting you, you know.



Days after the police arrest you for indecent exposure while you were feeding on that squirrel, you can decide for yourself whether or not a psychotic break was worth more than a wristband or "all-access" badge. 

It's wasn't.

 Happy SXSW 2011!

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