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Austin: Day 1

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 12:01 PM

gueros_web.jpgDeparted for Austin yesterday from Newark Airport. When I arrived at my gate, it became clear that space in the overhead bins was going to be scarce: the seating area was filled with musicians and their instrument cases. The flight was delayed more than an hour, but our technical director Irene and I were entertained by CNN and the apparent demise of our governor.

As we boarded, Irene struck up a conversation with Rasmus Kroyer, clarinetist of the Danish band Afenginn (dubbed 'bastard ethno from Denmark!' on their Myspace page). They're playing at the Rio tonight.

With its coach cabin packed full of rock 'n' rollers (and several bastard ethnos), Continental Airlines opted to show us the awful music prodigy film August Rush. Groans were audible over the jet engine roar.

spider_house.jpgI rendezvous with my Austin friend Vic, who's been leaving tips on his fair city on this blog. We waste no time eating at Guero's, where I enjoy something called 'El Presidente.' It's a two-taco-and-a-tamale combo that El Jefe Bill Clinton once devoured. (The menu claims he ate the whole thing. Was there ever any debate?). It's incredibly delicious. We end the evening with a nightcap at the Spider House, where the jukebox plays long runs of Queens of the Stone Age, Outkast and Prince. I drink the state's atrocious beer, Lone Star, which makes me feel neither lone nor a star.

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