Dec. 22nd, 2017

mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I went to San Antonio to see my sister, and briefly to Austin, and when I got back late Wednesday I was already planning out the entry I was going to write. Then the exhaustion set in. I didn't sleep well in the unfamiliar bed, for two nights in a row, that's the main problem. Plus I drove all the way to San Antonio (which is a several-hour drive at best) in the rain on Monday, and spent more time walking around than I'm accustomed to on Tuesday, before driving back again on Wednesday. I enjoyed the trip more than that makes it sound like I did, but still, I'm tired. Yesterday I still felt pretty much exhausted, but today it's better.

I meant to leave earlier on Monday, but I dawdled around and kept thinking of things that needed doing, and then I lost my debit card and had to go to the credit union and get a replacement one. (I wasn't sure if I had actually left it somewhere else or not, but the old card was having an issue with the stripe and so I needed a new one anyway. I finally did find the old one way in the depths of my purse, last night.) We had worried about me hitting rush hour traffic in San Antonio because I was planning on leaving in the early afternoon. Instead it was four o'clock by the time I left, and I ended up in Houston rush hour instead. It took two hours just to get across Houston in the spitting rain to I-10 so I could go west. Not fun. (I could have skirted around the edge of Houston somehow, but I'm pretty sure anything like that would have taken just as long.)

(I hit enter accidentally - I keep doing that - so I might as well do this in installments.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 So the reason my sister finally invited me to come visit her was so I could go to the Armadillo Bazaar in Austin with her. She'd kept saying, "When we finish the renovations to the house you should come visit!" They have a older house (by which I mean, I dunno, 80s, maybe?)  which sustained a lot of damage in that big hailstorm they had a couple of years ago - so bad it tore all the windows out on one side of the house, and I think part of the roof, too - and the renovations seem to be ongoing, to some degree, but they're mostly done. P. said she had a guest "suite" for me to sleep in (with its own bathroom, is what she meant by that) so that part was fine. (That bedroom faces the other way than all the storm damage and as I understand it, she had her husband slept in that bedroom for a year or so because it was the only one with intact windows!)

I'll talk more about my sister and her husband at some point but right now I feel like talking about the the Armadillo Bazaar. It's technically just a Christmas gift show, but being in Austin it ends up being kinda different. I had been many years ago - I think I mentioned that at some point earlier this month. (Here.) I don't have any clear memory of where it was back then, although I would have said it was somewhere downtown, on the other side of Town Lake. Now it's at Palmer, but it's possible that's where it always was and I'd just forgotten. It's been something like 35 years, after all.

Going to Austin is always a huge nostalgia-trip for me, because college, and then also because Austin is so different from anyplace else. Austin of course has grown up in the meantime and is a big city now (I started college FORTY YEARS AGO, omg, when I think Austin had around 300,000 people) but bits of the old Austin are still there and they were totally on display where we were. Palmer Center has two parts (+ possibly some more that I don't know about), and I went to concerts at both of them back in the day. There's a conventional auditorium and then there's just a big room that I think had bleachers (so sort of like a big basketball court, I guess!), and this was where bands played. It was general admission, and you could sit down on the bleachers if you wanted or you could just stand up in the middle, Which was what most everybody did. I saw R.E.M. and, god, Howard Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood there, and more. And that's where this Armadillo Bazaar thing is held.

My sister is back to wanting to try to be a real artist again - if you've been reading here forever you may remember that she's been through this before, and she is actually talented so I don't mean to demean her about that. She does kind of mixed media stuff which is pretty fashionable these days and I think it has possibilities, commercially speaking. So anyway, what she wanted to do was look at other people's artwork and booth setups and stuff, and boy, this was a good place to do it, because this was mostly an art show. There was other stuff but there were a LOT of artists, and it's juried so they were all good. P. is one of those people who can talk to anybody, and she did stop and talk to people in the booths from time to time, and one of the artists told her that they made $18k in eleven days at this thing last year. Which is not a huge fortune but it's nothing to sneeze at, either!

I knew the Armadillo Bazaar had music because I looked at the website, but I was imagining that it was off in a separate room and I didn't think P. would want to sit down and listen. But that turned out to be wrong. The booths are all around the edges of the big room (no bleachers in evidence) and the stage and a smallish number of seats are set up in the middle. So you can walk around and still hear the music - you can't avoid it if you wanted to, in fact. It wasn't so loud you couldn't hear so it was great, actually.

We got there, as it happened, right when the 7pm entertainer was starting, and I knew who it was going to be and the name was familiar - I think he may be one of those people who's hung around the Austin music scene off and on for years - but I don't remember having heard him before. It was Ray Wylie Hubbard, and you can hear a little snippet of his stuff in the video below. I liked him a lot. I insisted on going around to where I could actually see him, briefly. (P. said, "He looks like an old man," and well, that's true. But it just seemed weird to be there listening and never see the guy.) Anyway, it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed looking at the artists, too.


I already posted this video for Music Advent, but here's Ray Wylie Hubbard from several years ago, on David Letterman:

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