There may actually be a terminal velocity for times such as this—the hula hoop girls outside of Bikinis are wearing green flair and girls in Daisy Dukes are trying to foist green glowing vodka-company schwag on bargoers, but the heavy foot traffic and loud music and bar-hopping on 6th Street seems familiar from nights that weren’t either St. Patrick’s Day or the first night of SXSW Music. You have to really try hard to spend more than $3 on a drink, though.
I’m writing this from a bar on 6th, near the Alamo Ritz, called The Library. (Unlike the one in Alphabet City, the book spines lining the walls are fake.) It’s 70 degrees, clear and dry. The first games of the NCAA tournament are on—yet another national drinking holiday for us to celebrate—and the front screens are open, as they are all along the street; people are sitting at streetside tables and looking out over second-story patios and checking out bands as they walk past (just down the street, an emo-ish indie pop group and a female-led country-blues group are trying to drown each other out in adjacent windows). Flyers for day parties, BBQs, evening showcases, sponsored parties are everywhere. An ATM just tried to charge me a $4.99 withdrawal fee.
The atmosphere here had been described to me as a “street fair,” which I can now confirm. The lines for films are much shorter now that Music has taken over from Interactive—of course they are, because who could commit to sitting in the dark for two hours straight right now? The town’s population has swelled in the takeover—it’s crazier, certainly, but also more functionally crazy, as the whole town moves to an ambulatory flex schedule, or skips half a set to catch up with friends at the bar. The SXSW folks have done a fine job of creating a festival atmosphere around film screenings and new-media trade exhibitions, but it’s pretty clear that the real kids are in town now.
Tomorrow I’ll catch you up the last couple days’ worth of movies, and any music I make it in to see.