SXSW: Over and Out

by |
03/22/2010 2:33 PM |

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Friday Afternoon

Taqwacore, the documentary on the Muslim punk scene inspired by Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel The Taqwacores, is better than the film of the novel, as it feels less clumsy when people in a documentary articulate their belief systems, and their antics, being public, feel fresher and more indicative of a genuine sentiment.

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I have some between this screening and my last one of the festival, so I wander Sixth Street for some day parties. It appears that one venue is showcasing Canadian bands all week. Amused, I wander up to the second-story bar and patio. DD/MM/YYYY, who I know from proofreading the L’s Daily Picks, is playing time-signatured thrash that seems awfully ambitious for a show that’s just set out complimentary tuna salad sandwiches on white bread, cut into quarters. “We’re Day Month Year,” the singer says at the end of the set, which is good to know honestly.

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Across the street is another day party that appears to be sponsored by the town of Fort Collins, Colorado. It is cosponsored by an ok beer, and a premixed margarita product, the bottle of which proclaims “37 Proof, Ready to Serve.” As I sip my premixed margarita product, I note that the guy standing next to me has the logo of The Onion tattooed on his neck in green ink. (“Area Man Has Satirical Newspaper’s Logo Tattooed on Neck, Unironically”.)

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The Parking Lot Movie is a documentary by a UVA grad about The Corner Parking Lot, a pay lot in Charlottesville, near the University of Virginia and many bars frequented by its students. The CPL has historically been a low-impact day job for musicians, grad students and other independent-minded peripatetic folk; its alumni, interviewed in the film, include philosophy professors and the bassist from Yo La Tengo. The film is equal parts talking-head interviews with current and former attendants—usually, documentary subjects are not as articulate as their director thinks they are; this is not the case here—and on-the-ground footage of the attendants at work (chasing after drunk fratboys who’ve stolen the gate; arguing over single-digit parking fees with people in SUVs; chasing after drunk fratboys who’ve driven off without paying). As one former attendant—the self-deprecating John Lindaman, an eleven-year CPL vet who’s now a librarian at the Met—puts it, the film documents what happens when overeducated people get undemanding service-sector jobs; it’s a delightful portrait of extravagant wasteful creativity and undisguised class-war fury.

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Walking down Red River Avenue to one last day party, I pass the famous Stubbs, and am pretty sure I can hear Hole playing “Skinny Little Bitch.” At the Mohawk, I stand far back on the upper patio, listen to a pleasant background-y set from Frightened Rabbit, and note that the party is cosponsored by Batter Blaster, a pancake mix that comes in an aerosol can.