3/20/2010: SXSW Day 4 Where They At Bounce Exhibit at Birdland Gallery Austin TX

On the fourth day of South by Southwest, I drove down from the hotel to a place called Cafe Java in a North Austin industrial park, listening to a CD of early works of the American composer Marc Bliztstein which I had bought at Waterloo Records the day before. Although I am usually a fan of Bliztstein, I cannot say I enjoyed these highly-dissonant early pieces where the young composer was trying to shock the world. Cafe Java had a decent and inexpensive breakfast, and afterwards, I drove down toward East Austin, to a conference event which had caught my attention in the daily schedule.

Unlike Memphis, New Orleans made a big splash at this year’s festival. DJ Jubilee, Anders Osborne, The Stooges Brass Band, Partners-N-Crime and K. Gates all performed a couple days ago at the Only in Louisiana day party in Brush Square Park. But today’s event seemed even more exciting—a bounce music photo exhibit called “Where They At” which had started in New York and was now being shown at the Birdland Gallery in East Austin.

I expected an exhibit of bounce-related photographs and flyers, and that was there, of course, but I had not expected there to be a DJ, or for bounce artists to be performing. I noticed that a female friend of mine, Ms. Tee, was prominently featured in the exhibit; I wasn’t sure she was in Austin at all, but I decided to call her and tell her to come over to the exhibit because people were asking about her. As it turned out, she was in Austin, and I agreed to come and pick her up from her hotel and take her to the gallery.

DJ Jubilee was performing when we got back to the gallery, and I don’t know if Ms. tee had originally been scheduled to perform, but they allowed her to, and she was of course a hit with the crowd. My fun afternoon could have taken a turn for the worse, however, after I bought a brownie from a sales table. I noticed that it cost $5, but I didn’t think much of it; everything is expensive in Austin during the festival. But after I sat down and started eating it, a boy sitting next to me said, “You know those are special brownies, right? That’s why they’re $5.” I grew alarmed, and said, “What do you mean, special brownies?” He looked at me like the greenhorn I was at that moment and said, “They’ve got weed in them.” I was devastated. Not that I had any moral qualms about eating something like that, but I didn’t know, and I had to speak on a panel or mentoring session in an hour back at the Convention Center. And I had my car, and was going to have to drive it over there. I started praying that the brownie wouldn’t have any noticeable effect, and, to my surprise, it didn’t.

I managed to get through my mentoring session fine, and then headed out for dinner. But violent rainstorms came down, followed by absolute bitter cold. New Orleans artists were supposed to be closing out SXSW with a New Orleans Block Party, but the weather would not co-operate, and it was moved into a night club near the Convention Center called Submerged. Magnolia Shorty was performing, and it would have seemed to be the kind of event I couldn’t help but enjoy, but the temperature had dropped into the upper 30s. I had brought no clothing of that type, as Austin is usually bright, sunny and in the 70s during South by Southwest, so I shivered. The rain had ended, but the northern winds were cutting like a knife, so I made my way back to the car and headed back to my warm hotel room.

11/14/08: Flava in Winston Salem and the Greensboro Hood on Lock/Mid-Atlantic Music Conference in Charlotte

It was another grey and rainy day, and after checking out of the hotel, I drove down to a breakfast cafe near the hospitals, and then started my day of work.
To my surprise, I discovered that The Record Exchange in Winston-Salem was still open, even though I had thought all of the stores in that chain had closed. I was informed that a couple of them had become part of the Plan 9 chain based in Virginia. After a mid-morning break for a latte at Cafe Prada west of downtown, I headed over into the hood on the east side of Winston-Salem where there was supposed to be a record store called Miss Lady’s Creations. I found that it had closed down, so I left the promotional materials with a hip-hop clothing store in the same shopping center, and then I drove to Greensboro.
On the westside near the airport was a store called Hood Locker, and after I visited there, I drove across to a Biscuitville restaurant for a chicken biscuit. The manager there was from Germantown, Tennessee, and his brother had been best friends with Tim Auvenshine, the Select-O-Hits sales rep who passed away a couple of years ago. It really is a small world.
The rain was much heavier now as I made my way to two other Hood Locker locations which sold both clothing and music. Then I headed downtown where there was a new record store called Da Beat Music, but although the lights were on and the music playing inside, the doors were locked, and knocking didn’t bring anyone to the door. So I ran across the street in the rain to a coffee bar and enjoyed another latte before beginning the drive down I-85 toward Charlotte.
I had not known that there were panels scheduled for Friday at the Mid-Atlantic Music Conference, so when I first arrived in Charlotte, I had stopped by EZ Records in Eastland Mall. Then I got a call from Kysii Ingram asking me where I was, so I rushed to the Crowne Plaza hotel and checked in, but I soon found that the conference events weren’t being held at the hotel, but I a place called the Imaginarium a few blocks away.
I managed to make it into the opening panel before it was over, and afterwards I and a couple of the other panelists decided to go to dinner. There was supposed to be a Saltgrass Steakhouse out at Pineville, but when we drove out there, we found it closed and abandoned, so we had to settle for Longhorn Steakhouse instead, which was decent. Afterwards, I had a hard time finding any coffee bar open after 10 PM even though it was Friday. I finally found one in the area just below downtown off of South Boulevard, and even they closed at 10:30, but I managed to make it there before they closed. Then a frightful storm came up, so although it was past closing time, we all stayed there for awhile until the rain let up enough to leave.
All the jazz clubs in Charlotte seemed to have gone out of business, so I went back to the hotel and to bed.