By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Allison WadeBy the time 150 glam industry peeps and five passing-out wretches boarded the Rock & Roll Airplane heading home from Austin-Bergstrom Airport to LAXSunday night—I banishing thoughts of the Big Bopper and Buddy Hollyfrom my woozy head, especially considering my earlier flight was canceled when my plane broke on the runway and was subsequently retired from service—our blood was 80 percent whiskey, and our eyes glowed like bee-yoo-tiful rubies.
The injuries on that plane were manifold, but some folks were clearly making the most of their hangovers, wearing them as badges of badness. Tragic beauty, non? Me, I think I got a concussion when the roving crew of talent bookers jumped me into their gang, or it may have happened while I was boxing Southland booker John Pantle in Austin's most elegant titty bar, The Yellow Rose. Apparently, it is impossible to get kicked out of a Texas strip club. And also? The girls smell delicious! If anybody's got a line on what kind of lotion they use—it was light and fruity—share the wealth!
While those girls were busy smelling so good and draping their nude selves all over half the town (except for LA Weekly's Chuck Mindenhall, who got the laziest lap dance in history; she stayed for less than half a song), members of The Cult lurked at a top-tier table and the guys from Long Beach's Bird (they now have to call themselves Bird3even though the reason for the name change—another band with the same tag—probably doesn't sport Victoria's Secret wings on its backs, so there really shouldn't be any confusion) enjoyed a fine lap dance or 14 down by the stage. Ha! Bet you didn't expect to find Commie Girl sitting there fetchingly when you stumbled into the Yellow Rose, did you, boys? Busted3!South By Southwest (SXSW) was a blazing success.
But I wasn't in the Lone Star state for lap dances! No, sirree, Bob! I was there to take a mental snapshot of the music industry, to record it for you in all its puffiness, smug gladhanding and fakey-fakey glammity. But in fact, many of the people were pretty, well-educated, bright, nice, and just out to get drunk and fucked. And I think I'm still detoxing—two days later.
Wednesday, the first day at SXSW, my homegirl Arrissia and I hit the churningly smoke-filled Room 710 for Long Beach record company Cornerstone RAS' showcase. Within seconds of our triumphant entry, doughily gorgeous Bert Ziggen handed us an unsolicited drink ticket. Is there any greater love? Less than a minute later, handsome Dickie Ziggen was doing that fake making-his-heart-beat-in-his-shirt thing and batting his eyelashes at us. I suspect he must have broken up with his girlfriend. Ladies, it's on!
At the bar were two giants. Wishing to practice this "schmoozing" of which I'd heard, I began to chat them up. What? You're from Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver and wish to give me socks and buy me a bottle of Shiner Bock, the national beer of Texas? Okeydoke!
The three of us took off for the infamously fuckin' great Sixth Street (imagine Beach Boulevard with only bars and no other businesses to mar that beauty, each spilling its patrons onto the sidewalks) and tipped random doormen whether we were entering their establishments or not. Unfortunately, despite their serious capacity for schmooze and schwag, the Evil Boll Weevil (Quiksilver's new marketing director) and Matt the Hopple (its senior web producer) were serial ditchers. I would turn around and they would be gone. I would find them again in the back of a cab and scold them for ditching me, and they would be gone again. But don't worry—I ditched them mightily the next day at the Four Seasonslobby bar while I sneaked out to a hugely packed party next door at the Shoreline, where we ran smack into KUCI host-with-the-most Tazy Phyllipz (who has a fair bit o' the blarney in him as well, as he was later spotted fervently smooching the ass of a Voodoo Glow Skull. "Thank you so much for coming through on the Christmas show," he said. I guess it was way more ass-kissy if you were there to witness it). As far as I know, the Evil Boll Weevil and Matt the Hopple are still there waiting.
The ultimate schmoozapaloozas, of course, go on in the lobby bars of the more ostentatious hotels. The Four Seasons, for instance, is a palace of beige with huge porticoed windows spilling sunbeams onto the assembled, who spread themselves onto every available surface —except the walls, which are hung with dead moose and stuff. I watched numbly as lawyers and producers circled like lionesses, ready to pick off the sick antelopes from the herd so they could give them their business cards. A bellman walked through the hundreds of people crammed in there, ringing a bell, with "Miss Manard" written on his sign. I immediately resolved to have myself paged. Other than that, though, there wasn't much joy here. It's very like The Cowboy: you don't really talk to people unless you came with them or have had the glancingest of introductions at some time previous. And what's the use of that?