An Open Letter to My Drinking Buddy About Our SXSW 2012 Plan

The brisket from Franklin BBQ makes me so, so happy.

Dear Justin,

It has been SO LONG (okay, like three weeks) since we’ve hung out and partied together! And South by Southwest has consistently been a real championship-level debauchery event for us. Now, because SXSW itself has gotten so out of control in recent years — WTF, there’s a list and a line to get into places like Buffalo Billiards?!? — I’d love to use this time to do off-campus, meaningful connecting with some of the coolest journos and digital media folk around.

There’s also a lot of pure Austin stuff I want to do, since the last time I was in town was so short (and most of it was in Fredericksburg.) Here is my to-do list of SX and not-so-SX stuff:

1. There is a new Bush’s Chicken down on Brodie near Slaughter. Hello?! Bush’s Chicken, a staple of my post-college diet when I lived in Waco, features the best combo of chicken trips, crinkle cut fries, yeast roll, white gravy and a 32 ounce giant sweet tea drink for UNDER $7.

2. I am going to the screening of HBO’s Game Change at the LBJ Library next Sunday. The authors of the book that inspired the movie, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, will be on hand for Q/A, and YOUR employer, The Texas Tribune, is putting it on. Hope to see you. I think I will bring our favorite movie critic, Chris Vognar, if he is free.

3. We are eating the following meals for deliciousness sake: The “Regular Dinner” at Maudies. The #2 at Dario’s. The Democrat and the Fried Avocado Tacos at Torchy’s. The fatty beef brisket at Franklin BBQ. Steak Frites at Justine’s. Beef Noodle Soup at Coco’s Cafe. Chicken Tikka Masala at G’Raj Mahal. The Love Cleanse Green Juice at Whole Foods. Assorted Dim Sum with the dim sum group at Shanghai. Family-style everything at Asia Cafe. And as for new restaurants, I still haven’t tried Contigo, which Hannah raves about.

This is me and Justin and our favorite activity besides vodka drinking: Stuffing our faces.

4. My employer is one of the gazillion sponsors for a giant journalism party next Saturday. I think we should do this. All my coolest NPR pals will be there, and you remember my boss’ boss Kinsey from that night we went to the bars and taco trucks? He is likely to make an appearance as well.

5. Speaking of journalism, Poynter’s Mallary Tenore put together a long list of all the journalism-data-open web related panels to catch at SXSW. I will be making it to some of these and hoping to run into familiar faces and old friends in digital media.

6. We’ll hit a handful of private parties that I RSVPed you for as a plus one. “Confirmed attendees” include actors Leo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire, which I’m sure you really care about.

7. I will make Reeve go running with me on the trail like the good ol’ days of 2009. He will show up under the Mopac Bridge thirty minutes after our scheduled meeting time, as usual.

8. Tuesday night I’m going to an intimate Radiohead show, the one they are taping in the new theatre/studio for Austin City Limits. I have wanted to have Thom Yorke’s babies since I was in 10th grade. Radiohead is also responsible for my relationship/marriage. In short, I love, love LOVE Radiohead. Anyway, do you want to be my date to the show?

Your pal,


PS. Let’s face it though, the beauty of this confab is that you should not plan for it. The night we were wandering up Lavaca and a woman in a slutty baseball outfit started throwing us cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and hot dogs, which we then took as invitation to enter some random party was one of my favorite serendipitous nights with you. And DJ Chicken George was spinning! I love that guy.

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