South Turns Southwest

28 Mar, 2012

In the interest of preserving some Lenten silence and honoring my limited internet access, I am going to refrain from reviewing my Austin experience in words. I’m going to let these pictures tell the stories, and hope that you can find some Sabbath in my quiet. Thank you to all of my incredible friends and loved ones who made the time restorative and fun!

Compadre and Thad's denizen Hunter Perrin rocked out a great show with his band Thunderado during SXSW.

It was great to catch old friends and Austin tunesmiths Gold Beach several times during SXSW.

It was great to visit old friends Michael Winningham and Leyla Abou-Samra. Their son Moustapha is a real kick: smart, active, and full of life, as these next photos illustrate.

GIGANTIC THANK YOU TO TONY DAUGHERTY!!! Tony is an incredible human being. I've known this for years. I think of him like family, not simply because we played in an intimate four-piece band called the Glass Family. He's an excellent drummer and tried-and-true friend. Although he had to wrestle his career, several musical engagements for SXSW, and several major life changes, Tony let me crash on his floor for the entirety of SXSW. Thank you so much, Tony! Congratulations to Tony and Elena Perry on their recent engagement!!!

One of my favorite things about Austin is the abundance of places like this: the Greenbelt. Within a few miles of downtown, you can escape to the lush woods of this series of trails and water sources. Thaddeus and I took a trip to one of my favorite swimming spots and set up shop for an afternoon.

Austin is known for a bridge that houses the world's largest urban bat colony. Here they are, darting out at dusk for another night on the town. Seems to be the M.O. in Austin.

Here, Maribeth Schroeder shows her Carbon Sabbath support by inadvertently matching with the bike and South Austin's Curra's Tex Mex.

10 years ago, I moved to Austin with these two guys: Ross Flournoy and Ben Musser. Good to see them together again!

On a sunny day just before the festival began, someone stole the odometer off of Thaddeus outside of Allen's Boots on South Congress. It was a real blow. The last number I can remember reading was 9,286mi. I got a replacement and accepted the loss.

SXSW really is an extravaganza. There are bands everywhere. I was nearly run over by Fiona Apple as she darted out the back door of Stubbs afer her NPR showcase. I also ran into Norah Jones while she was signing records at Waterloo. Bands of varying quality and fame are everywhere. Best to focus on the folks you know you want to see and accept the surprises.

There were several free shows, including M Ward and the Shins out by the lake I still call Town.

Outside many shows and food venues, there were lines galore. In every line, I noticed the same phenomena: fixed stares at tiny screens killed conversation. I know that smart phones can make time go by quickly, but they also keep us from experiencing the world around us. They also contribute to our practice of distraction when used as a crutch or as a nervous vice. Be careful with that thing in your pocket. It really might impede your path to happiness and connection with the divine. Or maybe not! Use as you please.

I took a little break and met Hunter and Paul Beebe at Hunter's family ranch near Dripping Springs. Great little break from the mayhem.

Out on the ranch, I came across this beast that was unfamiliar to me. Apparently, various exotic game ranches across Texas have had difficulty keeping their animals encaged. As a result, beauties like this black buck antelope now roam the hill country. Shortly after this photo, I was cycling to dinner with Hunter and his folks when this buck charged across the road between a car coming the opposite direction and me. I was close enough to hear his hooves on the pavement and the air rush by his antlers. Striking.

Among the great things I learned about in ATX was the Austin Interfaith Environmental Network. Check out their work ( and the musing of fellow environmentalist and musician Chris Searles (, who regularly plays drums with Alejandro Escovedo and recently had the pleasure of playing with SXSW keynote musician Bruce Springsteen.

Special thanks to Miles Brandon, Scott Bader-Saye, Tony Baker and all of the folks at St. Julian's and Seminary of the Southwest for welcoming me and chatting with me! Sorry that we didn't get more pictures. Hope to remedy that in the future!

Thank you so much to brother Steve Kinney and the Front Porch community in Austin for hosting a great discussion on my last night in Austin! All of you who are interested in adventurous, authentic spiritual communities, keep your eye on the Front Porch!

By near accident, I met up with fellow YDS alumnus Beth Magill and some of the great UT students that she works with. Great to talk to you guys!

Thanks to Beth and the crew for making me breakfast tacos for the road!

Until we meet again

More grateful for our friends

Than we thought possible