Austin is Aweeeesome

August 19, 2007 at 10:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’m sitting at the Cafe Caffeine sipping some hot tea and munching on a poppyseed muffin. This was just a short walk from my friend Marisa’s house in the South Congress area of Austin–a very lively, artistic area that reminds me a little of a mix between Waldo and Westport. She’s at church this morning, but graciously offered to let me nab her Macbook and hang out in this coffeeshop until she’s home. My in-laws are driving in from San Antonio to meet us for lunch today–likely at Lambert’s BBQ. I have yet to experience Texas BBQ, so I want to see what all the hubbub is about.

I’ve known Marisa since my senior year in college, when she was dating one of my best friends Todd. We just instantly connected and have been good friends ever since. I used to come up to Columbia to visit her while she was still in school, staying in her little one-room apartment with the Murphy bed and the kitchen the size of a small closet. She eventually moved to NYC for awhile, and her advice was instrumental in our survival there. Now she’s in Austin working for Big Brother/Big Sister and working on a kid’s book. She’s an absolute delight to hang around with, full of energy, and always up for trying new things. The perfect host for my first trip to Austin.

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Yesterday, after familiarizing myself with her neighborhood a bit, we headed down to 6th street for a snack at Halycon Coffee Bar, where I had a very yummy pesto pasta salad. Marisa hosts these potluck dinners every week, and she’s thinking of trying to make some of her own next time. Me too 🙂 With art supplies in tow, we then headed down to Dr. Sketchy’s for some burlesque-style drawing. For $10, we got two hours of the most entertaining life-drawing class I’ve ever attended. The theme was “lunch ladies”, so the girls were garishly dressed in gaudy aprons, and doing naughty things with their egg beaters. I was a little timid at first–only because I haven’t done a life-drawing class since college. But as time went on, I discovered my skill returned somewhat, and by the end my drawings weren’t half bad. Marisa also did a nice job–i never knew she was so artistic! I understand there’s also a Dr. Sketchy’s in Kansas City, so I’ll definitely be checking that out.

For dinner I decided I wanted some authentic Mexican, so we went to Curra’s, a tiny little place in her neighborhood that definitely rivaled my NYC fav Arriba Arriba for it’s delicious Mole. And at only $12.00, the price definitely won out.

After dinner, Marisa invited her friend Armando out with us to the Coldtowne Theater to see some local improv. The tiny house was packed, and we were in the front row. I don’t think we stopped laughing the entire time. A great, talented group who, as i understand it, were refugees from New Orleans who migrated to Austin to start up a new theater, and who are starting to even gain attention from the New York Times. That probably explains the crowd, half of which have to wait until next week to get a seat.

Afterward the three of us grabbed some pizza and much-needed water at a walk-up pizza joint. The warm breeze and interesting conversation kept us captivated for over and hour. We met an English ex-Pat named Ian who fascinated us with his knowledge of music (after introducing myself, he proceeded to sing the entire first half of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”–and his rendition actually made me like that song, heh) We then had a very involved conversation about differing attitudes between Americans and British toward popular music, and how Americans are far more critical about trends. Then somehow we steered toward religion, and Armando posited an amusing theory about how we as humans are at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, and that we’re all really striving to become rocks. He was cracking me up, and yet he kind of had a point, lol. Armando’s an artist, among other things (check out his website), and a very funny guy. I can’t wait to meet Marisa’s other friends at karoeke/sushi on Monday.

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