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As I got off the orange-line train to hop a plane to Austin, Texas, via Midway airport, Chicago's second busiest airport, I'm reminded that after all these years, there's still only one escalator connecting from the train-lines, and it only goes one way- up. Poor saps coming off their planes from around the world, trying to catch a train, have to lug heavy suitcases down many flights of stairs. This needs to change - maybe our new mayor will make this a priority ?
I decided to trek out to Austin for some BBQ, and eat my way through town, but than I thought - I need something to break-up the gluttony of it all - so I decided to go to this years South by Southwest fest. There''s only so many taco's, and meals of brisket, ribs, smoked sausages and turkey you can eat. 400,000 extra people flood Austin every year during this massive event centered around film, music, comedy, and technology, along with featured speakers from every faucet of of life. It was a challenge -even for an experienced concert/fest-goer like myself. The hardest part, was the logistics of getting around.. The fest is spread-out over the whole city, and there's shuttles, Uber's, and flying skateboard options to help navigate around the city. One sign that life comes full-circle: one morning I shared an Uber with this Haitian lady, and 13 hours later on the way home - guess who I shared my ride with?
I crammed in as much as possible during my 5-day stay, seeing as many movies, comedy shows, and other business-related events as I possibly could. One highlight was seeing the premier of 'Longshot' with Seth Rogan, and Charlize Theron at the Paramount Theater. The main people involved in the film were in attendance, and afterwards, 'Boyz II Men.' came on stage and did a few numbers. I'm not a B2M fan, but it was cool to see nonetheless. If there was such a thing as a movie killing at a theater, as it relates to a comedy, 'Longshot' definitely brought the house down. One real problem at SXSW can be summed-up as FOMO, short for 'fear of missing out." It's a real fear, cause there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do, but couldn't, cause it overlapped with something else I had scheduled or was impossible for me to miss. Other film highlights included "Villains," a dark-comedy thriller, Barbara Vekaric's "Aleksi, " and Eugene Mirman's, "It Started As a Joke."
Comedy highlights from the fest included Todd Glass's one-man show, and I even got to see shows with Chicago's own Megan Gailey, as well as Beth Stelling, who was on a crowd-work show hosted by Todd Barry. Overall, I had a blast. Spring is here, and I'm happy to be back in Minneapolis this weekend, one of my favorite cities in the country. I'm headed-up to Pequot Lakes for a show tonite. Hopefully, it'll be a good summer.