Earlier this summer I headed to Austin for work, it's no secret that the Weird capital of Texas has become a bit of a scene in the last years. With 100 + folks moving there a day in addition to a giant college nearby, being the live music capital of the world and huge festivals celebrating movies and tunes like South By SouthWest and Fantastic Fest, it's the premiere middle stop between Los Angeles and New York. I'd been there once before, literally for a day, last year for screenings of Lionheart and Only the Strong with Sheldon Lettich. The Alamo Drafthouse on Sixth seemed a little college grody to me but I learned that's what the area, dubbed Dirty Sixth, is all about. Bachelor-ette parties, bums and university kids line the closed off streets on weekend nights while there's a little bit older and calmer demographic on Rainey Street and a mix of both over on West Sixth.
Staying downtown at the half hotel, half office complex the Omni, I had a nice view of the city from their rooftop pool, construction and homeless shelter alike. I got to see a bit of the city with my co-workers and sample some tasty grub ranging from burgers to seafood to pizza. On my own I ventured over to Pinballz, a local establishment with arcade games and pinball machines that was BYOB! Walking around the selection was pretty varied with old school 80's games like Donkey Kong and Mario as well as a nice selection of driving ones like Batman or shooting with personal favorite Time Crisis. Lots of pinball with new to me Twister and Demolition Man being highlights. There was a small row of fighting games and after going on a tear in Time Crisis, my joystick jiu-jitsu continued as I won six matches straight on X-Men VS Street Fighter on one credit. In the end I took on Magneto and beat the game as Ken with a cute ending of him hanging out with his kid.
It was a fun trip and I'm glad I got to see more of Austin's eclectic mix of new modern sleekness, vintage architecture and random, slapped together looking houses and business surrounded by grass and gravel. I can't say I'd like to move there but it's a great place to visit with some nice folks. Plus I saw an old co-worker who had moved to Austin from LA, taking my copy of Hard Target with him and finally returning it.