The Joup Friday Album: The Jesus Lizard – Blue

TJL_BlueIn 1998, I was working in Ohio at the Dayton Daily News as a page designer and copy editor. I was also just starting to dabble in music writing and criticism, thanks to the encouragement of the features editor there. His office was always full of promotional releases and cool freebies — this was in the music industry’s last Golden Age, so it was almost as though every day was an episode of “Storage Wars” based on the bounty you could find in one small office. He would invite me in and allow me to pick through the hundreds of CDs that would arrive each week, and I would select a few to review for what now seems like an obscenely large weekly entertainment guide, considering a lot of mid-range markets produce only an A- and B- news section these days. Ah, the ’90s.

Los Angeles to Austin: Austin to Los Angeles

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I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, fresh out of my 20s and still basically a newlywed. I was coming from Chicago, where I’d met my husband, Shawn. He had lived his entire life in Chicago, specifically in the south suburbs. Meeting Shawn and his tight-knit group of friends was like being thrust into the pages of an Andrew Greeley novel. Irish, middle-class, witty, fatalistic … it was something I found hard to relate to at first, since my own experiences were so different. But Shawn was only informed by his past; he was also his future. So when I got an offer out here for a job, he put our persnickety feline, two computers and an aluminum softball bat “just in case we run into trouble,” into his car and we set off.

Los Angeles to Austin: The Follow Up

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I think I am probably “wanted” in West Texas, although God knows where exactly.

The problem started east of El Paso.

  • The first 100 miles: This is so beautiful!! I’m so inspired! So spartan and gorgeous, and unique! I wish I could paint!
  • The second 100 miles: Hmm, interesting. A border control checkpoint. “Yes, sir, I’m a citizen of the USA.” I wonder about the effectiveness of this operation. It’s broad daylight on the main road. Do you think anyone ever says, “No, I am from Cartagena, and I have 50 kilos of coke in the trunk.”? 

Los Angeles to Austin: The Preview Edition

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

It’s doubtful there will ever be another travel memoir that will have as much effect on pop culture as Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Countless writers have tried — most have failed — to recreate that uniquely American take on driving through the open desert, the twin engines of speed and freedom propelling them forward. It’s Thompson who springs to mind as soon as I find out that I’m going to be driving 1,300 miles to Austin, Texas, through the California desert, Arizona and New Mexico, especially since the entire route is essentially one road — Interstate 10.

Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 6)

Coachwhips

Coachwhips

And our story, our adventure, our foray into the liver damaging, hipter sighting, ear piercing melee that is Austin during SXSW comes to its inevitable close.  This city is going to smell like a dumpster that hobos urinate in for the next 48 hours, but eventually it subsides.  The tents and stages come down.  Beer is no longer free (but on the plus side, non-free beer is no longer marked up 50%).  The vultures are circling.  The circus left town.  And in a year, we’ll all do this again.

Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 5)

Gruff Rhys

Gruff Rhys

Okay.  It’s time to be honest with myself.  I am not as young or able bodied as i’d like to continue thinking I am.  These things happen.  I’m just so very, very tired.  SXSW has the upper hand now.  Whatever you do, don’t look at what’s in the box!

Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 4)

Melissa Etheridge rocking Tom Petty with The Midgetmen and Diarrhea Planet

Melissa Etheridge rocking Tom Petty with The Midgetmen and Diarrhea Planet

Last night, a piece of human garbage named Rashad Charjuan Owens got drunk, drove his car, fled from police, and plowed through a blocked off street killing two people and injuring another 23.  In light of that, it doesn’t really feel right to go into any detail about all the fun happenings around Austin today.  A cloud and a general somberness kind of hung over most of the day’s events, but everyone also just seemed a little friendlier today.  There’s a collective numbness that usually occurs after a tragedy, but there can also be a collective oneness as well.  Even in the darkness you can feel the love.  Thoughts, prayers, and love to everybody.

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