Sunday, March 12, 2006

AWP Austin: Part the First

I returned this morning from the balmy atmosphere of Austin, Texas. I am tired (please read with Texas accent, as in tai'rd) and can barely keep my eyes open, so this will have to serve as the first of several posts in which the exploits of Dr. Write are reported, if not as fact, well then, as certainly a version of truth, however distorted by wine, dirty martinis, and too much sun.

We had our first "look! there's a writer!" moment in the Salt Lake City airport, when I spotted Lance Larsen and his wife waiting to board the same flight we were on. We caught up with them on the layover in Phoenix, and chatted in line. Luckily we were not seated near them so they didn't have to see the wine debauch that resulted from high altitudes, too little dinner, and an overly generous stewardess (they are a dying breed, aren't they? and I nearly made fun of her hair.). We shared a cab with them after the flight to the downtown Hilton.

Sylvia sat up front with the African cab driver, while he spouted conspiracy theories about the origin of AIDS, and some economic/politics that I'm sure only Sylvia could follow. I sat in back with Lance & Jacqui. We talked about documentary film.

We pulled up at the Hilton and instantly saw Nick Flynn. After kisses and greetings all around, we finally actually entered the hotel and checked in. Our room was great, beautiful, wonderful, but we needed some french fries. Didn't we?

We went down to the bar, which was full but not packed. Sadly, they did not have fries on their appetizer menu, so we started to leave. But wait! First we had to greet Janet Holmes, who will be coming to Writers at Work this summer as the editor of ahsahta press. She was as lovely as I remembered her, and I got to meet her husband, Alvin Greenberg (who will appear again in a later installment of this narrative). I loved some of his poems, and he turned out to be a very sweet guy. What a great couple. We groused about a certain bitter poetry contest person who shall remain nameless, and talked about Dan Beachy-Quick's book, published by ahsahta. A bold initial foray into conference culture.

We left the hotel and wandered the famous 6th street until we found a bar. We had fries, and chips, salsa, and guac, and two of the hugest ice waters I've ever seen. It was great to see a city with a vibrant night life that included people of all ages and ethnic origins, and at 11 o'clock at night. But they were just getting started! We turned in for the night, considering our first outing in the city of Austin a success.


theorris said...

Having somewhat of an inside into all things Austin, I think that 6th street is just the mall version. It is bar after bar after bar. I like going more northerly on Guadalupe to places like the Hole in the Wall. It is still pretty trendy, but much less of an outlet bar than 6th street.

Lisa B. said...

I look forward to further installments. I have no insider knowledge, so I have to admire other people's.

Nik said...

The "mall version"? I thought it was mostly the Bourbon Street version. Though I preferred the Warehouse District, what I loved about 6th streest was though it was full of a bunch of coolies, they were so solicitous and kind. You could talk to anyone in Austin--the bartender, the hot chick at the bar, the pool player, the sideburn heavy sound guy.
One important note: after we left, the SXSW people came in. They had MUCH better hair.