C19, Austin, 2013

Convergence XIX was held in Austin, and I arranged to room with a friend in an alternate hotel after I missed getting a room in the official one. It was my 17th Convergence, and a big one due to lots of local promotion.

Thursday April 18, 2013

I started packing at around midnight the night before, but was in bed by 1am, one carry on stuffed to the gills. I took the cross town bus to work, running into a co-worker who just moved to Union Square - I just made the bus, hurrying down the hill to Stone Ave instead of strolling the 2 blocks to get the 88 like I usually do. I didn't want to go downtown as my regular route goes through the closed T stop near the Marathon bombing site and President Obama was also in town for the memorial service. K. and I got off the bus at the Landmark Center and walked to the office from there, not much farther than from Kenmore and a bit faster overall.

While getting stuck into work, I got an automated call from United Airlines that my flight was delayed from 7:35pm to 9:21pm, which meant that I was going to miss my connecting flight to Austin. For the first time I tried using the Travelocity VIP customer service number and the guy I got on the phone played intermediary with me (though the first tier of service was all stuff I'd done already). End result: I could either rebook from Boston tomorrow morning and arrive in Austin after 6pm, or take the flight to Houston and when I arrived too late to catch my connector, go to a ticket desk and ask for a hotel voucher and a seat on the 10:27am flight to Austin, no guarantees that I'd get either. Luckily, my room mate in Austin was driving from Houston, and some quick text messaging with Amy as I was on hold determined that she could hold off on her drive until I arrived and she'd give me a lift. Still keeping my fingers crossed that my flights will magically get sorted out, but I've got a backup plan (secondary one is to pay $140 to rent a car one way). Travelocity also said to give them a call if I don't take the Houston-Austin flight and they can get me refunded for that portion of the itinerary. So much for carefully planning my outgoing trip to avoid losing work or spending all day travelling...

I headed to the airport so that I would get there in time for a magically on time flight, just in case (because if I didn't, I would be freaking myself out with the what ifs). I settled in in the lounge and kept an eye on updates. By the time we left, I was definitely going to miss my Austin flight, so I just relaxed into the zen of not quite knowing what would happen. Turns out: the Austin flight was delayed *just* enough for me to get on it! They closed the door behind us Boston folks, to the grumbling of the people who'd been sitting on the plane for an hour. :-( It was a short hop from Houston, and Amy had driven on to Austin when I updated her at how late I was going to be, but she very willingly left the pre party at Elysium to come pick me up at the airport. By the time we got to the Red Roof Inn, I was deliriously tired, collapsing into bed at around 3:30am in our cozy room.

Friday April 19, 2013

And of course I was unable to really sleep in. I was up in time to go for brunch with Amy at the House of Pancakes (not the International one though!) in North Austin. I had a blueberry waffle that I remember was huge, tea in my travel mug, grapefruit juice (since I love it and always order it at restaurants when they offer it fresh). The table leg kept wanting to fall off, we kept trying to prop it back up/in but any little jostle was an adventure.

The Convergence Meet and Greet/badge pick up was going on, so we headed over to the official hotel, popping in to the 10th floor lobby to see friends first (I think Justin had to come down and let us up since we didn't have hotel pass keys). Badges were being handed out up on the 6th floor, we ran into Rhonda there. Then we headed back up to the 10th floor to hang out with the collected goths. The low table in front of the couches was filled with alcohol and mixers, so I had a gin and tonic. I also met a first time converger, David from San Jose.

After hanging out a while, we drove back to our hotel. I changed into a punky outfit, and she droped me back off for the eldergoth cocktail reunion gathering that I wanted to attend at a tiny little bar called Casino El Camino (night had fallen by this point, I was well on my way turning nocturnal). There I re-met Timmy and Julianne (had stayed with the former when I was visiting my friend David in England once), as well as Justin's friends Amanda, her hubby and sister. Service was glacially slow, I shared fries with Kym and managed to order a drink at the bar. I'd wanted to see the fashion show, so headed over a block or so back to the official hotel, where we were seated in hotel chairs, two sets facing a "catwalk", aka an open long space between them. There was a DJ spinning on decks in the corner as we ended up waiting over an hour for the show to start. It was much higher concept than in previous years, Atelier Benton dominated with what seemed like professional models (aka I didn't recognise any alt.gothic.fashion faces, though I think they were represented in accessories).

After that finished up, in less than half an hour I think, it was time to wander over to Elysium and Beerland for the bands. I grabbed myself a gin and tonic and caught Cervello Electronico at Beerland - knob twiddling but good music. I popped next door to Elysium, the larger of the two venues to catch Soria, who was doing Tuvan style throat singing and seemed to have appropriated a lot of Tibetan cultural markers as well. Kinda monotonous and drone-y but well done. I was getting peckish, so I popped out to the food truck parking lot and got a chicken sandwhich. I flagged down Kym as she walked past, and we were asked about bars by a group of guys.

Back to Beerland and saw Pinkish Black or their stand in? They were growly and shouty, ended with a nice cover of "Sail". The theme of the night was club hopping, glad that they were literally next door to each other. In Elysium I saw Adam H and the Wounds, who did not bad gothic rock. They were followed by David J and all of them on stage. I had a red death drink and talked with Miss Janette for a while. Then it was back to Beerland for Provision, a synthpop band who got me dancing. I also met Amy's roommate. Back to Elysium for Douglas McCarthy (from Nizter Eb) - it was kinda generic, with just 1 singer and a repetitive machine knob twiddler. Everything was running a bit late, it was supposed to wrap up around 1 but pretty sure we left at around 2 to head back to our hotel.

Saturday April 20, 2013

We were woken up by an unholy racket from upstairs, they were doing renovations and scraping up floor tiles in the room directly above us at 8:45am. Amy took point on the complaints and went up there to talk to them after calling the front desk didn't do anything, and got us silence until 11am. Got up and out of there quickly at that point and headed back downtown. Parking under the freeway overpass worked out well, only a couple blocks away and cheap/free for the weekend. I joined in the group breakfast at Easy Tiger, sitting at a couple of picnic tables on the patio. From there, we went next door to check out the vendors at the Convergence bazaar. There was one guy making things out of circuit board pieces, very cool. A Bostonian had posted to Facebook saying that she was in Austin and delayed, so I invited her to join us for dinner after checking with Gabriel that it was okay. We met up at Swift's Attic, a neat airy loft space with lots of wood. I think we were the first customers for a dinner at 5pm. Pam found out that her flight was cancelled and rebooked for the next day, so we adopted her for the night. I drove back with her to the Red Roof Inn and got her outfitted in some spare clothes of mine for the evening, she was going to come downtown and buy a night's pass to Convergence. :-) I drove back with her to give directions, and started in Elysium.

It was a bit empty, everyone was in Beerland. I talked a bit with Scary Lady Sarah (no idea how many cities/countries we've run into each other in!) and she told me that she's planning to put in a bit for Convergence 20 for Chicago. I caught part of Mirabilis's set in Beerland, I think they were ex Machine in the Garden members, very swirly. I was getting a bit sleepy and headed back over to Elysium were I saw Talmage d'Amor, then 8MM from LA. The lead singer likes shiny things, they were very rock like, and the band was tight. Next up was Belweather Syndicate with Scary Lady Sarah and William Faith. It relied heavily on Faith, but it was fun. Led Er Est was kinda generic, and I just wasn't into Mentallo and the Fixer. Kym ended up having lots of tequila, and Justin escorted her back to the hotel. When he came back, he and I and Amy (Pam had gone back to the hotel to sleep) went to check out the official afterparty at the hotel. It was noisy and dark and drunk, so instead we went up to the 10th floor lounge and chatted on the couches under the overhang. I got hungry tired and we headed back to our hotel around 3 I think. My pashmina wrap came in handy to keep me warm as it cooled down that night.

Sunday April 21, 2013

Amy and I decided to try to do brunch at Moonlight, but there was an hour plus wait. We walked down 4 or so blocks to Congress and had mexican brunch, the migas were good. There I split from Amy and walked down Congress to the mapped shopping area in the program. I walked across the bat bridge, and saw a bat cruise boat and bike boats. The weather was nice, sunny and just a tiny bit too warm. I found a neat home goods store with $600 dresses. I tried on a Lip Service skirt in a packed with stuff costume shop. I couldn't resist picking out some keys from a bowl on the checkout counter in a packed antiques store. I walked across on Monroe, a pink mohawked guy complimented my military look - cotton shirt dress with epaulettes, cap, big stompy boots. I saw a goth family walking along the sidewalk, then ran into Corwin and two of his compatriots. I popped into a vintage store and tried some things on, but stuff didn't fit well. Finally made it to Secret October, and got 1 skirt there despite the tempting rack of fairly cheap stuff. I grabbed a chai next door (I think from the place that Amy recommended) then caught the free shopping shuttle back to the hotel.

I went back to the vendor's bazaar, and got a death star necklace from the guy doing circuit board stuff. I waited for Amy to finish up a chat and then we went to eat, we picked up San Jose David on the way to Moonlight. I had a huge and delicious green chili macaroni. I left them there, grabbed my bag from the car and went up to Justin and Kym's to change into my steampunk outfit for the bat cruise. It was a bit of a rush (firm departure time), no time to do makeup. Amy met us in the lobby to give us a lift over to save taxi far, and we all got stopped for a picture by a pair doing a special on Austin city life. We were early to the boat in the end, we boarded at 7 and climbed carefully upstairs to the upper deck. We ended up sharing a table with a pair of older women, one of whom I'm met at another Convergence. The cruise was awesome, there was an enthusiastic brass band playing on the top deck, and lots and lots of bats streaming out from the exposed joints in the Congress Street Bridge. They formed streamers of millions of bats winding along over the river as they left their perches to feed as dusk settled over the city. There were warm lights to see by, dancing, and three wine tickets that helped me stay warm.

After we docked, we walked over the bridge and joined a group going to the Driscoll hotel - Rhonda, Sean & Amanda, Amy, Justin and Kym, and the bearded guy from our Convergence Park City road trip. Justin bought me a Sage Advice cocktail, it was very yummy and the setting was gorgeous, an old ornate hotel bar with lots of gold and mirrors and huge couches and chairs. Then it was time to head over down 6th with Amy to meet Peter and Geekers for our reservation at the speakeasy, Midnight Cowboy. I had a Hauptmann then a Eulogy when the others arrived and we moved to the private room. The bartender came with a rolling bar to make our drinks table side. The Aviation I ordered was a mistake, as was sipping a Mint Julep, that was just way too much alcohol for one nigth, though at least most of it was high shelf and tasty. I talked weight lifting with Sean and Amy after we and Peter were the last ones standing... er sitting. We went back to the host hotel at 2 (closing out Midnight Cowboy I think, and I definitely made use of Peter's arm for stability) and then to ours. I'm honestly missing memories of a few things, but I had lots of water in between the cocktails at least.

Monday April 22, 2013

I was feeling pretty rough in the morning. I showered, packed, and checked out, splitting the hotel charge via credit cards with Amy. She dropped me at the official hotel, where I stuck close to the bathroom then to lobby. I said bye to Trid and Chrystal as they checked out and headed home, then went over to Easy Tiger for some mint tea and a croissant. Talked with David and Corwin for a bit while they waited for their airport taxis, David looking very corp goth and ready to face TSA. Sean and Nat stopped in, they were on a bourbon hunt. Peter and Geekers showed up next and Amy and I joined them at a pub down the street, passing a chalkboard that expressed Austin's solidarity with Boston in the wake of the Marathon bombing. I had a nibble at a quessadilla as my stomach settled. Amy dropped me at the airport on her way back to Houston. It ended up being free to check my suitcase this time, score. I drank my water then went through security. The lady there told me about a guy who took off his utilikilt to get through the metal detector, walking through in his boxers. I opted out from the scanner as usual. My gate was busy, and I spotted another goth girl there.

I forgot my book in the seat back pocket on the flight to Dallas from Austin, I had to run back to the gate to try and retrive it. They were already loading the plane so I had to wait, and got to hear an irate businessman tearing a strip into the gate agents for not allowing him to do something (he'd paid extra to get on another flight and wanted to do the same for this to make his meeting). There was no tea at Au Bon Pain, so ordered one at a Starbucks counter. The guy working there asked about my accent (I suspect it got re-Canadianified from hanging out with Canucks most of the weekend) (or he could have just been trying to hit on me). It was a bumpy flight but quiet.

Back to my diary page.