Metro has sent me to Austin, Texas, to cover the Film and Interactive programs at the massive, pop culture-swallowing conference that is SXSW (pronounced "south by southwest," or just "south-by" for those in a hurry). There's just one problem: I've never been to SXSW before. Heck, I've never been to Austin before. So this should be interesting.
Knowledge is power, of course, so before setting off on my maiden voyage to Austin, I checked in with some more experienced individuals for advice on what I should do while in town. From what they told me, I should show up hungry — and thirsty.
Elijah Wood (who will be at SXSW with his new film, "Open Windows")
"I will say that Austin during South-by is not really a true representation just because the population doubles — or triples. It's insane. It's just madness. There's people everywhere, the hotels are f---ing packed. But you're going to have a f---ing blast."
"You need to eat some barbecue, so you need to make a point of going to Franklin. It's going to be f---ing jammed because it's South-By, so everyone and their mother is going to want to go. Even if the line is three hours you should wait. I promise you, it's the best brisket you'll have in your life."
"You're going to drink a lot of beer. Walk on Sixth Street, although it's a total madhouse. And there are so many restaurants. That's the thing, I would go to Uchi for dinner, I would go to Barley Swine and the Odd Duck, I would eat food from the East Side King trailer, which is the back of a bar called Liberty. East 6th Street I would say is the place to drink. It's a little bit quieter than 6th and slightly east of the 35 highway. There are some really good bars there and it's a little off the beaten path. You're going to love it."
Sam Rockwell (who is sad to missing the festival this year)
"It's a fun festival, man. You're going to have a blast. It's much less claustrophobic than Sundance, you know what I mean? I would go to the White Horse Tavern and maybe play some pool, do some two-stepping and have a couple of beers. There's some great bars downtown, good Tex-Mex. Go to Congress, get Jo's Coffee if you're a coffee drinker. That's a great town. It's hot, though. It's hot as balls there. You've got to, like, drink a lot of water and stuff. But it's a great town."