Category Archives: megan

NEW AETV! HOW TO CHOOSE WINE ON A DATE, FEATURING REX PICKETT: AUTHOR OF SIDEWAYS

Sometimes while out eating, I like to look over at couples and guess what date they’re on based on body language.  “Oh, definitely first,” I’ll say to Ross.  “Second, contemplating a third,” or “third, and this might be the last one.”  He usually tells me to stop staring at people.

But when we got an opportunity to visit with Rex Pickett (author of Sideways – yep, the awesome wine movie Sideways) recently, it got my AETV director Los and I to thinking: What wine should people order on dates?  What’s a nice thing to order when you’re just getting to know someone?

So we asked Rex about the matter, and invited my friend / Austin Eavesdropper contributor Megan to join us.  This was filmed at Hyde Park Bar & Grill on Duval, and side note: My dad, whose favorite movie is Sideways, was off-camera watching this whole thing and grinning like a jack-o-lantern.  He interviewed Rex himself after the shoot, and I kind of wish we had also gotten that on camera.

Hope you enjoy!

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ACL Download: Day 2. This is probably why I’m not a professional music journalist.

Hello, I am 13 years old. A 13 year-old boy.

While watching The XX yesterday, I took 17 pictures of this naked inflatable blow-up doll.  It was acting as a place-marker for a group of friends, and according to my photos, commanded a little more attention from my camera than the band itself.

Heh.  That one is my favorite.

Anyway.  In the middle of The XX‘s set, I squeezed my way out of the crowd with my buddy Dan. He needed a beer, and I needed to catch the last few songs of The Temper Trap‘s set.

Now: A word on The Temper Trap. I’d like to share with you a photo I took at SXSW 2009, right before the band popped. This was pre-Diet Coke commercial, pre-500 Days of Summer soundtrack.

(I’m sorry the photo is so crooked. I went through this phase in 2009 where I thought tilted pictures looked really cool, but now I see they just force you to tilt your head sideways).

Note how close I am to the stage in this picture. I took this with no zoom, inside the diviest of 6th St. dive bars, Dirty Dog. Note also the discernible amount of physical space between each audience member.

At that show, I remember turning to Ross and saying, “I feel like I’m part of something important right now.” Because it’s true, I was completely blown away by them. Dougy Mandagi, the lead singer, turned around and played the drums at one point along WITH the real drummer, and I thought: “Dear God. Who are these guys?”

THIS was their audience yesterday.

My, how times have changed for The Temper Trap!

I ran into them at the Rock the Vote Nights party last night, and congratulated them on how far they’ve come in just a year and a half.  Somehow, this devolved into a discussion about haggis. That Scottish dish made out of a sheep’s heart and lungs. It was a pretty solid interview.

Speaking of bands who popped at SXSW 2009, Local Natives were also at last night’s Rock the Vote party – and put on one of my favorite performances of the whole weekend.

I’m quickly beginning to latch onto these intimate small-venue parties that have risen up around ACL proper. Austin is a little city, mind you, so there’s really only a limited number of places you can do stuff like this – and American Legion Hall, in the very second story room where Local Natives played last night, was the exact same room where two friends of got married last summer. Back in July, I stood in a quiet, reverent circle in the room’s perimeter, watching Karl and Rendi sway to the beat of their first married couple dance; last night, I jumped up and down in that room with a hundred sweaty bodies to the frenetic drumming of Local Natives.

In all of Austin, this one room, in this one house, is a very sacred spot for me.

Local Natives were so thankful during their set, repeating over and over again how much they loved Austin. We were drunk with flattery.

Outside, Megan saw one of them, and insisted I interview him. She tapped him on the shoulder.

“HEY. DO YOU READ BLOGS.” (This was her opener).

“…yes?” he responded politely.

“THIS GIRL HAS A BLOG!” (Now pointing in my general direction).

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi. Your set. It was really good!!” (Last two words pronounced in high-pitched squeal).

“Thank you!” he said.

“How does it feel to be a rockstar?” (Pause while I considered a point of clarification)–

“A curly-headed rockstar?”

Quickly realize that qualifier was a mistake.

“Um…I guess it feels pretty great!”

“HEY. WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE WITH US.” (Megan again).


From left: Ari from Republic of Austin, Megan, Ryan Hahn from Local Natives, me.

Thank you, Ryan, for not punching us in the face. And being generally lovely.

Last day of ACL is today! Off to go get ready for that. Step One is changing out of pajamas.

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We try new restaurant Urban, and, what makes a "foodie?"

Last week, Megan and I joined a few other bloggers in town to try out Urban, a new restaurant inside The Westin, which technically speaking, is inside of The Domain.  Did you just get a vision of a Russian doll?  Because I did.

Anywho.  We were lucky enough to sit with Becky Bullard from Texanthropology, who is also an Austinist food writer and Examiner drinks writer, as well as her friend Jessica.  Before our samples arrived, we got to pondering this matter: Just what, exactly, makes a foodie?

But like I am about to do with you, we were suddenly interrupted by gorgeous food before we could dive too deeply into that question.

Grilled Crab Cake with Avocado, Micro Cilantro, and “Dynamite” Sauce. “Dynamite?” Yes, dynamite. To indicate a flavor explosion, if you will, and after licking it off my spoon, I’d say that’s an accurate description.
Texas Quail, with Green Tomato Chow Chow, Grits, Guajillo Honey.  Teehee, “chow chow.” I have no idea what that means!  But let’s pretend we do anyway. The chow chow was fabulous!

Seared Tuna.

Bar Steak with Chile Arbol Chimichurri, and Sweet Corn Bisque. Let me tell you something. That bisque was ridonkulous. We all decided to call it not bisque, but rather, a “little bowl of heaven.”  I wish I could reach out of the computer screen and offer you a spoonful of this amazing bisque.

(PS. Are you wondering why these food photos are in a completely different, altogether better league than the photos you normally see on Austin Eavesdropper?  That is because Megan took them. Isn’t she too good.)

Chef Mizael Saucedo, who put together the sample menu for the evening, came to Urban from Bess Bistro – Sandra Bullock’s restaurant.  For dessert, he served us Avocado Tres Leches, far and away my favorite dish of the night.  We heard that Mizael used his mom’s classic Tres Leches recipe, and when he added the avocado, his mom got mad at him.  Well.  What the dish loses in classic form, it gains in screams of ecstasy.  I am being serious.

There are no words for Avocado Tres Leches.  Only guttural sounds. We were so taken with it, we forgot to take a picture.

Alright, so back to our original question.  What makes a foodie?
Here is my opinion.  I think most people are snobby about something.  Me?  Books.  I’m sorry, I don’t like Twilight.  Oh well.  But television?  Five words: The Real Housewives of New York.  See?  I’m kind of a dumbass in that department.

(My mom is the most hilarious example of this high culture/low culture thing, by the way. Namely when it comes to movies.  She loves Big Night, Happiness, these two French flicks she’s been raving about … but, also, White Chicks.  Yes.  THAT White Chicks.  As in, starring the Wayans brothers).

So “food” is one of those things, I think, where if you train your palate long enough on high quality versions of things, you get to become a “foodie.” The only time this gets tricky is when people have different definitions of “quality.”  Which to you, might mean “local,” but to someone else, might mean: “imported from its country of origin.” Gruyère cheese that actually comes from the town of Gruyères, for instance.

What do you think makes a foodie?

Oh, and! I almost forgot to thank lovely Jetté Momant, for inviting us out, and putting this lovely tasting at Urban together. Thank you dearly, Jetté!

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Grab your best Never-Nudes and hop on a Segway immediately.

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Do you want to know what one of the best YouTube videos of all time is?

Ross and I could seriously watch this for HOURS.

Afterwards, we always walk around the house going, “What the F!”

So when I got an email in my inbox this week that the Society of American Magicians was throwing the First Annual Austin Street Magic Festival this weekend, I knew I had to share!

Ok, so, the art of ILLUSION is not a hobby I necessarily practice myself.  But if I had a kid, I would totally take he / she to the Street Magic Festival. Heck, I might even borrow a random child from somebody and hit this up.

Also? In addition to the street festival, The Texas Association of Magicians is having a convention this weekend. I didn’t even know there was such an association!

from today through monday:
* Single ticket shows and close-up magic performances. Tickets here.

(My very favorite, favorite show listing of all is: “MAX MAVEN, Thinking in Person: An Evening of Knowing and Not Knowing.”)

If you go, maybe you’ll learn how to saw yourself in half—under the clause of silence, of course.  

*Special thanks to Megan for contributing facts and wit to this post!

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TOMORROW: After Crystal Castles, Art Versus Industry brings the pain.

Ok, fellow former teenagers of the ’90s. Who here gets a little bit excited when NIN comes on the radio?

I certainly do. “Closer” is, in fact, my karaoke song of choice, even though when I look out at the audience, I see concerned faces. That’s because my rendition involves a lot of growling.

So when Art Versus Industry, a local pop/goth/synth outfit known for their NIN channeling, let us know they were playing the Crystal Castles after show on Wednesday — well, I admit I was intrigued. That’s because their lyrics are very emotional, very non-ironic, which is unusual here in Austin. And, refreshing. Because sometimes I get bored with irony, you know? Sometimes I want PAIN. Not very often, but sometimes, when I fear I’m walking around with a bit too much ennui.

Ever-fabulous Eavesdropper Megan interviewed the trio, so I’ll let you listen in on their conversation. Here she is, being hilarious as usual:

If Trent Reznor and Robert Smith had a baby, it would be a machine…obviously. And this baby machine would grow up and play music. Throw in a light show that rivals Ghostland Observatory’s and you have Art Versus Industry, a sophisticated, dark band that really isn’t anything like Trent Reznor or Robert Smith. If it were up to me, I would categorize their music as highbrow goth avant-garde punk pop synthesized, or HGAGPPS for short–but don’t you dare simplify it to just ‘electronic rock’. Hell, nah.

Art Versus Industry will be playing the after show at Stubb’s after Crystal Castles this Wednesday, August 11th. Their performance is something to behold. Check them out. Then get their album when it releases around September 28th (1st EP of two). (Interesting fact: it’s currently being mixed in NYC’s Avatar Studios where noted notables such as the Kings Of Leon and Paul McCartney record.)

But before that, learn all their secrets:

Art Versus Industry only formed just last March, and yet you’re already opening for
Crystal Castles. Is Satan your overlord?

Avi:  (Laughs) We all serve many masters, in fact, we’re all paying off our debts with interest at an APR of eternal infinity.

Matt:  Nintendo is my overlord.

Nick:  It turns out Satan is a sucker for sexual favors.  But seriously things have happened pretty quickly for this band.  I think we have managed to strike a chord with those who might have heard our music or seen us live and it has just spread by word of mouth.

Avi: We’re beyond fortunate and are excited to be a part of this show- we really don’t take it for granted.

I can’t seem to find only one or two words that encapsulate Art Versus Industry.  You’re like highbrow goth avant-garde punk pop synthesized, or HGAGPPS for short. How would you describe your music?

Nick:  I love that description!  I think that once people can find only one or two words that pigeonhole our sound, then I think it’s time we got more creative.   I would definitely classify us as a rock band.  I don’t like getting into sub genres and sub categories when we never really set out trying to write songs that would fit a certain type of style or sound.  I just describe it as ‘death by synth’.

Matt: Our music is way too hard to encapsulate.   It really is song-specific really, such as trip-hop/goth, avant-garde/electronica , trance/punk, etc.   So maybe just electronic rock to be simple—but that’s a grave injustice to what we’re doing.

Avi:  Wow.  That’s single-handedly the crème de la crème of musical categorization.  I don’t even think we’re worthy of such a category, but I’ll take it.

In all seriousness, there are elements of everything in what we do.  I like to describe what we do as ‘the future’.  What is the point of limitation when we can channel everything we love about Wu Tang Clan, The Beatles, and Rasputina in the same song without resorting to self masturbatory, pretentious snootiness?   I’m a sucker for great hooks and pop sensibility, so we focus on writing good songs alongside our ambition to do something challenging, innovative, and unique.
On a sidenote, you think we can get Waterloo to put us in the “HGAGPPS” section? (Looks at Nick & Matt)

Your shows are more like performances, really, combining primal beats with theatrical lighting. Is it a collaborative effort? 

Matt:  Having our shows being theatrical performances, rather than the lackluster plug and play was definitely a conscious decision on our part.  It not only gives our audience what they deserve, but we also get what we want.  We all have great respect for bands that go above and beyond in a live setting and provide an escape from reality for their concert-goers.   We hope to captivate minds at every show, presenting something that meets our standards in what we’d expect to see if we were coming from the audience’s perspective.

Nick: Absolutely, we collectively decide on how each song should sound and look live. We put a lot of time and effort into our live shows and we are really proud of the end result; which is exactly why you should come see us play with Crystal Castles this Wednesday.

Avi: Just to resonate on what Nick and Matt said; this entire beast is the culmination of three people united by our love for music and all that it has to offer.  We all collectively vow to ensure every body in attendance is entertained and continually push ourselves to deliver “shows” that are larger than life, despite the setting.  Even coffee shops are targeted prey to our strobes.

You’re compared to NIN-a lot. Is that fair? Was that a huge influence or just one of many?

Matt:  The NIN comparison is flattering, but I think often overused simply because of a general lack of awareness in this specific scene of music.  There’s no possible any modern musician has not been influenced one way or another by NIN, but they are just a small part of the complex puzzle of influences to our art.

Nick: I feel that the comparison to NIN is a huge compliment but at the same time I think this comparison only happens because that is the one and only point of reference the general public has for music like this.  I personally think that the two bands are tremendously different, and I think people will think the same once the Art Versus Industry record is released.  I come from a completely different musical background so they weren’t a huge influence for me.  I do love me some Josh Freese though.

Avi: Personally, it’s endearing to be associated in the same ballpark as NIN.  There’s a lot worse to be compared to.  I’m just a fan of music that pushes boundaries in general and I’m fortunate to have developed a varied sonic palette and have a pretty wide range of appreciation.  Reznor is undoubtedly an artist that had caused a paradigm shift in our pop culture and we hope to do the same in some impactful capacity.  My primary influence has always been life and experience; hopefully that honesty shines through in what we do.

Thanks to Art Versus Industry for photos.

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