Saw the amazing Neko Case and her band last night at Stubb’s.
And we spent a good deal of the time questioning Stubb’s as a venue…
We took a break from SXSW on Wednesday and went to the KLRU studios to see Andrew Bird tape an amazing set for Austin City Limits. If you don’t count the Squirrel Nut Zippers, I first saw Bird solo in Columbus in 2004, opening for the Magnetic Fields (he totally stole the show). I’ve now seen him three times. You must see this man live! Drew these after two or three free beers…
He said that he spent most of his childhood on the road and playing in bands, and that although he grew up in Arkansas and lives in California, Austin is like a second home to him. “This is where my heart is. I mean, I know the street people here.”
He bristled at the idea that he was an actor dabbling in music: “I’m a musician who makes movies.”
He said that it’s easy to blame studios and producers in Hollywood for the quantity of bad movies out there, but we also “have to blame ourselves. If we buy crap, they’ll keep feeding it to us.”
And when it comes to making those movies? “Well, I gotta do one every once in a while to pay for the house, you know?”
He hasn’t directed a movie since All The Pretty Horses, a movie the studio demanded an hour be cut from and rescored. He expressed interest in showing the uncut 3-hour version with the original score by Daniel Lanois! (SXSW 2010?)
On his drunk scenes in Bad Santa: “When you do a movie like that you gotta go all the way. And being a method actor…”
At one point while discussing Sling Blade, he said, “Here let me show you something.” He put down his head, raised it slowly, and transformed into the character of Karl Childers for about 15 seconds. It was fantastic, and everyone cheered.
Here’s a sketch of a random dude from the audience who was fun to draw:
Big thanks to Sara Robertson, who gave me a little tour of the KLRU studios afterwards. Let me tell you: KLRU is a great station, and everybody I met there was super nice and if you live in Austin you should support them with as much dough as you can spare.
Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space, and Idiocracy, visited the University of Texas tonight for an RTF “Master Class” with John Pierson. I told John I was a huge fan, and he was nice enough to invite me. Of course, I brought my sketchbook.
Note: if you want to cartoon someone, don’t sit front row. Distance = better abstraction.
Mike lives right here in Austin, Texas, and came off as a really smart, down-to-earth and unpretentious guy. He was even nice enough to make a Sharpie doodle of Butthead in my sketchbook!
Last night there was a party in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Office Space (I missed it, but heard it was great.)
You can read some good quotes and watch some of my favorite clips by him over on my tumblelog.
If you don’t know TV On The Radio, you’re missing out. Buy their new album.
I find myself getting really fidgety at concerts lately, which is why I bring something to draw with. I don’t understand, in this modern age, why there’s so much downtime in between sets. What the hell is a sound check for, if you can’t have instruments tuned up and ready to go? Can’t we get some stupid stand-up comic out on stage to tell some jokes? Can’t we get a video screen with some 30 Rock or something? Dang.
What ticks you off about rock concerts? What do you love about rock concerts? What was the last great rock concert you saw?
Hit up our first Maker Faire yesterday at the Travis County Fairgrounds. Honestly, I think $25 is too much to charge for the experience, especially when there are so many folks with good things to sell…but there was a lot of fun stuff to see, and the weather was great.
My favorite thing was probably the Cyclecide — it’s basically a bunch of guitars tuned to different chords, and as the kids pedaled, the machine would strum a really peaceful and trippy chord progression.
This was a robot that looked really menacing, but just shot ping pong balls out into the barn.
Here I am, hooked up to the Brain Machine.
Some woodcuts by the Amazing Handcock Brothers.
Great view of downtown from the fairgrounds.
A handful of buttons Meg picked up throughout the day.
The ridiculousness of Automusik.
And I didn’t get a shot of the watermelon catapult, but I took notes.
Cartoonist Art Spiegelman was at BookPeople tonight to talk about his new book, Breakdowns. He was funny, he smoked a lot, and he couldn’t believe anyone would rather come see him when they could be at home watching the presidential debates.
Spiegelman is fascinating not because of Maus and the Pulitzer Prize—he’s fascinating because he is someone whose who life has been consumed by and obsessed with comics. The son of immigrant parents, he says he “discovered America” through comics. He has a lazy eye, which makes him see the world in 2-D. He’s spent almost every waking moment researching comics, looking up the words “comics” and “caricature” and “narrative” in any nearby encyclopedia or dictionary.
He’s a prime example of how when you look at everything in life through the lens of your obsession, you not only gain this vast, treasure trove of specialized knowledge, you gain a kind of universal knowledge as well.
It all comes through in his slide show:
He kept talking about how our brains are “hard-wired” to understand comics, so I asked him if he’d come across any specific pieces of neuroscience on the subject that he’d recommend reading. He told me cognitive psychology is a much richer place to look, and gave examples: babies recognizing a smiley face before they can recognize their mother…baby red-beaked birds preferring the caricature of their mother to their real mother—worms fed to them with red chopsticks!
While he was signing my book, my friend Sunni asked him how long he was gonna be in Texas. He said ’til 7AM the next morning. (Book tour has to be a real pain in the ass when it’s all squashed together.)
Thanks Art, for coming to Texas…hope you’ll return when you can stay longer!
Whoo boy, you need to see these guys live. GREAT show. I got almost too buzzed to draw. Just solid country-tinged rock and roll. You can listen to most of their new album on myspace, but it doesn’t quite capture the energy of the live show.
I have more nice drawings from the night, but they might be used for a secret project…more to come on that.
Thanks again to the ACL folks for the tickets!
UPDATE: Here are two other drawings that I did during the taping—the second was used by the Austin City Limits folks on a tote bag!
UPDATE #2: From Patterson Hood:
…our Austin City Limits show from last fall will be released on July 7 on DVD. The DVD will include the entire performance (only about a third of it was aired when it came on TV). This is by far the best live performance of ours ever caught on film.
We were on, the sound was excellent, and the production value top-notch. We loved playing on that stage and the crowd was fantastic. It also features one of the last ever performances of “18 Wheels Of Love”, featuring the full monologue and the sequel monologue.