...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Outing with Batman & Robin

Being Chapter the 10th in the 2010 SXSW March into Spring Haiku & BBQ Tour--a novella
Saturday, March 20th , 2010

Morning comes really soon when you go to sleep at 4:30 am. Ye gods! What were we thinking? Well... hellfire. We start the shower queue while Michelle & Kurt fry up eggs, and butter toast, and brew coffee. Bless them.

There is no wiggle room on departure time today. We have to get to Dallas for an in-store appearance and it's in an hour. Then we have a four hour (ish) drive to a ten o' clock show in San Antonio. Are we insane? Probably. Shut up.

We pile into the vehicles and pull out of the garage. I'm riding to Dallas with Kurt and Michelle--a welcome break from the claustrophobia of my jumper-seat nest in Andrew's truck...or is it claustrophilia under which I operate...? Hmm.

We arrive at our first venue (Bill's Records--yes a REAL record store!!) and a solo performer (KEG) is making real-life-hair-metal magic. He's rocking out on his axe to drum-loops, flicking his tongue in time to manic double kick drum patterns, leaping perilously off the stage virtually into the arms of the groovy dads & their kids and a couple of substantial-looking biker-types--and our handful of fans---all who appear to be quite genuinely entertained. We're up next.

As I carry in gear I receive the first in a series of reactions to the t-shirt I happened to throw on this morning. It features an image of Batman & Robin making out with the general outline of their embrace cleverly forming a fat red heart encircling the whole romantic moment (it's rather sweet). A sixty-something fellow sees the shirt and delivers a small soliloquy about how jealous he is of me living in San Francisco where anyone can be anything they want-- unlike here in Texas--and then he bursts into tears. I hug him, wondering at the long tale of sorrows that a human might endure alone. I swear.

Excusing myself, I go to the restroom to dab at my eyes, put on some fresh eyeliner, pull myself together. This is the whole point of going on the road: to really connect with new people. And it could enlighten you. Or break your dang heart.

Meanwhile, Keg winds up his set with a stage-dive that almost lands him in the cash register--and now it's time for True Margrit. We play some tunes and hand out stickers to all the kids. A few adults take them too--who doesn't like stickers? And we have some pretty ones. The kids laugh when I jump on the keyboard. We wind up our set, tear down, pack up the truck. We know we need to get on the road, but it's hard to say goodbye to Kurt & Michelle--they've traveled many miles with us, listened to three shows, and hosted us in their home. Oh hell. Here we go. Bye, y'all!!

We are instantaneously lost. DAMMIT ALL! It happens to be near Lamar Street. Every town in Texas has a Lamar Street & we ALWAYS get lost near it. Seriously. LAMAR!

But we right ourselves quickly and speed off for points southwest. As we near Austin we start seeing the billboards for a BBQ restaurant that sports a cartoon of a distraught-looking bovine beast. Andrew lets out an anxious moo that goes with the image. It makes us all cackle hysterically. It's going to be a long day.

We stop for fuel at a massive restaurant/gift-shop/gas-station. The wind is blowing unpleasantly cold gales off the lonesome plains. We hurry inside. They have BBQ. Hmmm. We are actually hungry. Predictably, we are soon all sitting down to a gas-station BBQ lunch. It is good! But no, it's not Andrew's Ideal Texas BBQ Moment. Not yet.

We drive on. I doze off with my face mashed into my pillow. Oof. We stop for fuel and I buy some revivifying chocolate. The cashier says to me,"Heh heh. where's you get that shirt?" I laugh & confess to him that I stole it from my roommate. Batman & Robin continue to be an icebreaker today.

The sun sets. We are still two hours from San Antonio--at least. We drive on. I warm my voice up singing along to some Led Zeppelin. The guys are patient.

We finally pull in to our venue, Gig-On-The-Strip around 9:00 pm. It's a funky fun storefront space packed with mis-matched couches, Indian bedspreads, strings of X-mas lights. Some nights it ends up being an all-ages hangout for students going to UTSA & other local schools/colleges. Ruben, the proprietor greets us jovially and gives us bottles of water. I settle into a couch to write a setlist. Andrew heads to the bar next door to get a before-gig beer.

When he returns we drag our gear through the back door. It swings shut and locks us out several times and one of us has to go sheepishly around to the front door. Fooled me once, twice...oops.

The first act goes on--3D Friends --a singer/performer with cool loops, effects, excellent melodies, and a sweet tenor. He informs the crowd that this is his first gig-- wow, well, he's a natural! He's followed by the very talented James Merryman, a Harry Potter-esque singer-songwriter and keyboardist with great ease as a performer and wizardly levels of moxie.

And then it's our turn. We place our gear onstage and have at it. Instead of our road weariness dominating the set, some devil-may-care late-night fury has taken possession of us and we hurl ourselves into the grooves, and the melodies mean something new for this exact moment in this city, on this planet, right here and now. I see all eyes in the room riveted on us and suddenly every beat is expanded into a long history of boisterous rhythm, sound, and vibrations. We rock the house.

I exit my keyboard at the end of the set and a young woman reclining upon a velvety couch catches my eye and says: "Flawless". Wow--thanks! I love that kind of review! A few more comments of a glowing persuasion are offered to us from others. NICE!

A guy at one table asks, "hey what's on your t-shirt?"

I say, "Batman & Robin sharing a special moment...I'm so glad those lonely superheroes found each other. I just wish The Dark Knight could make an honest man of the Boy Wonder." The table chuckles. Hey! I'm here all week. Well...only another hour, actually.

I hang by the merch table. One well-coiffed youth approaches and wants to know if I've seen the movie, "Milk". I tell him I did see it & that in fact, I saw at the Castro Theatre near where Harvey Milk had his famous camera shop. He looks pleased about this story and then he buys our CD. We shake hands companionably, if somewhat formally. Folks are quite polite here in Texas.

We pack the truck. Once the adrenaline starts to wear off, I am ravenous. Gary & Andrew are non-committal about their current food needs, but I ask Ruben for a Mexican restaurant recommendation. He draws a wee map to his fave place and send us on our way. With this power of suggestion Gary & Andrew are soon on board for this last stop before we finish the today's giant travel loop. After a few false starts we find the eatery and settle in to a table. The guys both order an ultra-turbo-mucho-meat burrito with bacon, pork, beef, and --god knows, a turducken, maybe. I get two tacos-- a veggie one and a potato chorizo one. They are, like a buck and half each.... wow! Cheaper than the Mission in San Francisco! The chips are super crunchy, thin, and perfect and with the garlicky salsa, quite heavenly.

After the edge of hunger is taken off, we look around the room. How about that--the place is filled mostly with guys on dates with each other. It's as if San Francisco's Mission and Castro Districts had gotten married-- a straight-up traditional taqueria that can't even think straight. Oh yeah--I remember then that Ruben had mentioned to us that the gay bars were letting out & the restaurant would be packed. It's a proper environment for Batman & Robin. Interestingly enough, nobody here comments on my shirt.

Satisfied from our delectable repast we pile in our trusty vehicle and turn northwards to Austin--and Julie & David's comfy home and the beds that beckon like beacons. There we will sleep in. And tomorrow is our only day off (on this entire trip) from BOTH gigging AND driving. And it's Sunday. God bless America.


Blogger Unknown said...

Feel like I'm riding shotgun! Excellent read Margrit!

Fri Apr 30, 01:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Margrit said...

Thank you!!

Sat May 01, 10:19:00 AM PDT  

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