For thirty years and counting, thousands head to Austin, TX each March for the annual SXSW Festival. Once again, Fine Living Lancaster joined this pilgrimage to act as your eyes and ears at the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive festivals. What a wonderful, educational, entertaining, and, well, super fun trip it was. Check out our roundup of our best discoveries here!
One of the greatest things about SXSW is the fact that you (literally) never know what cool thing you are going to find. Case in point: we bought boots! In the Austin Convention Center, we found Penny Luck shoes. Specializing in hand-made shoes and boots, Penny Luck was founded by Brian Munoz. We were drawn in by their unique display, creatively utilizing a mobile showroom built from a customized Chevy Blazer. The Penny Luck team was at once enthusiastic and engaging. All it took was a quick fitting, and we were sold on the quality, style, and craftsmanship. Try your luck with a pair at pennyluckshoes.com
10 Minutes with KOLARS
Band members: Lauren Brown (drums/percussion) and Robert Kolar (vox/guitar) [A simultaneously adorable and totally kick ass married couple.] Genre: Desert Disco, Glam-a-Billy, Space Blues, R&Beyond
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
On their unique genre descriptions: “All of those came from Robert trying to describe our music,” Lauren laughs. “I just feel so over the indie-rock sensibility, it just doesn’t make sense with our music,” Robert adds.
Trips to SXSW so far: “This is not our first rodeo,” Robert says, smiling. “But this trip so far has been particularly
magical, and so not insane,” Lauren adds. Robert has been to SXSW four times; Lauren has been three
On how they met: “We met in a basement bar in New York City,” Robert recalls. “I walked in and Lauren was in
this leather jacket, playing pool. She started knocking in balls like she was a pool shark or something.”
Their favorite places in Austin: “Lamberts! It’s the first place that ever booked our band in Austin, and they
have great food,” Lauren says.
On where they’d go if they had a time machine: “Medieval times… there’s magic, knights,” Robert starts. “Wait,”
Lauren laughs. “Are you talking about like, a mystical version?”
Be still our hearts. You know you love a restaurant when you go there twice during a one-week trip AND head home having purchased one of their official employee tees. For FLL, that place was Irene’s Restaurant & Bar. Named after one of the investor’s grandmothers, Irene’s infuses the cool, trendiness of Austin with retro 1960s vibes. Eating there is as comforting as spending time at your grandmother’s house… but, like, back when your grandma was super young and way cooler than you. And, in the case of Irene’s, all of this coolness is accompanied by a sense of genuine hospitality. No ‘too cool for school’ attitudes here. Check out their iced chai lattes (SO GOOD) banana pudding with homemade vanilla wafers, or, our favorite, the sweet Ricotta toast with bourbon-brown sugar ricotta and citrus marmalade, and piled high with pistachios. Find Irene’s online at irenesaustin.com.
“Good as Hell”
The crowd was amped up and dancing from the first set of the night until the last note of the final song rung out at NPR’s SXSW Showcase at Stubb’s BBQ. Though we enjoyed the entire concert, featuring acts like The New Pornographers and Sylvan Esso (who played a killer set of their best known songs and crowd favorites), Minneapolis-based singer and rapper Lizzo rose to the top of FLL’s “Faves” list. We were already huge fans, but her live performance featuring her “all-female crew” was celebratory, riotous, and frankly, in the words of Lizzo’s hit single, “Good as Hell.”
Stay tuned for more stories from our pilgrimage to Austin, Texas!