Good afternoon and thanks for stopping by for a read! Note: This is a personal growth post. For the music recs, scroll down about 2/3. :)
I got in late last night from Austin, TX, where I was attending the music festival South By Southwest (aka SXSW, aka SX or "South By"). I was there on work, my job being to interview bands and solo acts from the UK on camera for the cable net BBC AMERICA.
It was only when a friend told me today that she's in a play at Shetler 54 theater that I remembered I was just in a play (The Winter Comedy Fest') at the same theater for 5 nights until the day before I flew out to SX. Normally I go through a down period after I complete a play but in this case, I didn't even process it. I'm going to do that now --
It was fun. I grew. I hope people liked it.
SXSW, for me, was absolutely unlike anything I'd ever experienced in my life. It was amaaaaaaaaaazingness couched inside one of my worst nightmares, which is: crowds of rowdy drunks traversing narrow streets with blaring loud music in the background, so untethered and high they could probably click their heels together and think "there's no place like (fill in the blank bar)" and end up there in 5 minutes. Cigarette smoke wafted through the thick Texas air like pick up truck exhaust.
No judgments, it's just not how I roll and was overwhelming to say the least. But, with my muscles (pronounced mus-kulls) and sobriety (I rarely drink and don't do drugs) I hiked through the crowded Austin streets to get to each destination, whether it was The British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, the Austin Convention Center on Cesar Chavez St or Fader Fort east of 35, yikes. Had mission, did travel.
Once I got into my desired destination (note: they were easier to get to before 4PM when the debauchery would begin) I was in HEAVEN. The music was amazing, the panel talks were inspiring, the press lounge (fit with coffee, water, seltzer and a chair masseuse!) gave me goose pimples because it was my first and the people I met here, there and everywhere kept me surprised and engaged. The on camera work and interviewing I did was at varying times throughout the week (some early, some well into the night) and I was constantly on my toes between changing locations, times and getting a sense of what would be the best questions to ask the artists who I felt honored to meet. All in all, and despite some nerves, it was love. I was IN LOVE.
I felt incredibly, incredibly free even as I also felt anxious at times. I used to joke with some friends that I'm an anarchist trapped in a people pleaser's body. I grew up with strict parents and did a lot to seek approval. Breaking rules of any fashion scared me -- I was a goody goody! I was Prom Queen as voted on by the teachers, ok? Enough said. It wasn't until I reached about 30 that I started to really unpack and release those patters in a healthy way, as opposed to in some of the previous attempts at acting out which may have helped dissolve some of the "good girl" stuff but also reaped negative consequences. NOW, or, more accurately, in the last 4 or so years, I've been discovering more and more and MORE ways to be free, to be myself, to have so much fun, to do work that doesn't feel like work, and to be the little rocker rebel I always had in me but was too afraid to let out. All this without too many negative consequences but I'm still a work in progress, so you do the math.
So, why the anxiety? Getting myself camera ready in the humid Texas air? My hair, the frizz, omg! Just kidding. I handled the poof with ease by scheduling a few blowouts at BLAST BLOWDRY for only $30. Seriously good place.). NO, the real reason for the anxiety, I think, was summed up in one of my daily meditation books on March 17th, last Saturday:
Feelings of happiness were always linked with another emotion: fear. I feared that my happiness would be quickly taken from me, or that something disastrous would occur to counteract. In other words, happiness caused me anxiety. That's why I often unwittingly sabotaged it...it is still necessary for me to periodically reaffirm that I am deserving of happiness, and that I still have the power of choice -- to accept it or send it away. (From A TIME TO BE FREE, Bantam 1991)
My anxiety could actually be a sign I was doing something right. A lot of things, actually. Well that's a relief!!
It wasn't easy because of the long days/nights but I did exercise almost daily and found ways to eat healthy (I suggest Daily Juice for smoothies/fresh juices, Piranha for reasonably priced sushi, and The Backspace for roasted Brussels sprouts with pecorino and pancetta)
since I just wasn't up for indulging in truck fare this time around. Maybe next time. #SXSW2013 #Leggomytaco
I saw a lot of shows and below is a list of the acts which really stood out and rocked my world in one way or another! The ones with an * are artists I had the incredible pleasure of interviewing for BBC America.
Ray Benson with Kat Edmonson at his restaurant The Rattle Inn. It was Ray's Birthday bash!
Graham Wilkinson performing with Kimya Dawson (not to be confused with Kimbra who I tried to see at La Zona Rosa but the line was too long, even for press)
Frank Turner *
The Staves *
Ben Howard (his live performance at the St. David's Episcopal Church sanctuary was my favorite of the entire festival) *
Waterloo Records party with a few acts whose name I can't recall. Jimmy Cliff was on the way but I had to leave.
Blood Orange *
You Can Be A Wesley
The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Big Pink *
Clock Opera *
This doesn't include the random musicians playing in the streets, the ukulele player from the Therapy Sisters I gave a lift, my friend Sara Wise from Ash Gray and the Girls who I've yet to hear live but will soon in NY, or Hollie Cook, a solo artist I spoke to for BBCA who is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and so delightful and effortlessly cool you relax just standing in her presence.
It doesn't include any mainstream acts either, like Bruce Springstein who performed and gave this incredible keynote speech, Jay Z, Nas, Nora Jones, Eminem or Fiona Apple, stars who made the journey to Austin this year for a night or two. And here's a great list by Andy Langer at Esquire of his Top 30 picks.
As I take this day to recover (I'm still seeing pedicabs and feel like my well lit apartment should be DARKER) my next right action could be a rockin' short nap. I'll doze off to one of my favorite songs from Ben Howard called Old Pine:
Then wake up ltr to another new SX fave by The Big Pink called Stay Gold!
Peace and bloody good rock-and-roll,