ACL Notebook Dump, Pt. 1: Gentrification, Acid, Obama Shirts and More
* Driving into town, the Pretenders' "My City Was Gone" leaped to the top of my mental playlist. The Eastside is lousy with the same yuppiefied townhomes and brownstones that are all over Midtown and Washington Avenue. Austin is obviously copying Houston, so everyone who's still worried about that city being cooler than us can officially quit. Plus, somebody told me one of my favorite dive bars ever, the South Congress parking-garage hovel Ego's, is now a karaoke bar. I've never been happier I moved to Houston than right now.
* Unlike Houston, Austin hasn't got a whole lot of rain lately, so the grass at Zilker Park was a little parched, and in some places looked like it hadn't been mowed for weeks. I also spied a few fire ant mounds here and there, so I hope no one parked their blanket on the ground only to discover a nasty suprise. And for some reason, everywhere I looked I saw a pregnant woman, especially in the media area. Weird.
* I was a little freaked out Friday - though not as much as I could have been - when two different people offered me acid; I guess they spend the whole festival walking around muttering "Want some acid?" under their breath. I wasn't freaked out that I got offered acid at a huge outdoor festival, just that after not happening in any of the previous six festivals, it happened twice in one day.
* For some strange reason, I noticed a lot more Obama T-Shirts than McCain. Especially cute were two kids who couldn't have been more than five in adult Obama tees dancing to "Bad Moon Rising."
* Speaking of Obama, Alejandro Escovedo reprised his performance at the Democratic National Convention this summer with the prime Beggar's Banquet blues of his new song "People."
* There seemed like a prime shortage of freaks at ACL this year, though not frat boys or soccer moms. And for no particular reason, I really want to kill G. Love. - Chris Gray