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Julia,

Two things happened this week that made me wish you were here. When Jay came to town Ian sold some stock to make sure we had a great time. That money carried over and allowed us to do more things even after Jay left. We’ve been squeezing our pennies tight for the five months we’ve been here (news flash: we’ve been married for over six months now!) and so this was a chance to do more city exploring than usual.

On Saturday we went down to Red Seven, a venue on Seventh street (Sixth street is where all the hot bar action is). We’ve been once before because we met up with Steve and Lena there. It’s a lot like the Black Cat. There’s a bar space and then behind it, a music space. The bar space can be used for bands because there’s a stage there, so that part is a little like the upstairs area of Black Cat, but overall you’d feel at home there.

Well, at least, most nights you would. Last time we were at R7 we hung out on the covered porch area and ventured in briefly to get beers. We didn’t look around much. On Saturday we strolled past the ID guy and into a bar that felt very different. At first we weren’t sure what was going on, and thought maybe we hadn’t noticed much the first time but as we looked around we realized we were in the middle of an elaborate advertising venture.

Imagine you’ve walked into the Red Room.  You pass a row of young people with laptops acting as concierge. Instead of the grungy booths and tables that usually take up the floor imagine you see red carpets creating pathways through the room. Imagine gold framed pictures on the wall and a gaming table instead of the pinball machine. Imagine pub tables and stools have replaced some of the booths and tufted leather sofas the rest. Imagine those sofas creating seating nooks like a living room and a fake campfire burning in the center of one. Now, toss in some hipsters who don’t quite know what happened to their bar and aren’t sure how they feel about the decor. Is it supposed to be ironically cool? Is it just a cheap ploy to get us to pay attention to the PSVita, the handheld gaming system they’re throwing this shindig for, or is it a smart and funny idea to take a good but grungy bar and turn it into a fantasy version of an English gentleman’s club? My favorite part of the evening was when a group of people Ian works with slowly gathered around the pub table and we got to show them this Really Cool Book! which happened to be bolted to the table. Every time a new person tried to lift it to check it out I giggled like an idiot. You can take a look at the place at CultureMap Austin.

But it was when we stepped through the back door to see the show that I really began to miss you. The music was loud and the musicians fun to watch. I could feel it pulsing through my ribcage. I bummed a cigarette from Ian, stood around looking cool and really wished you’d been there. When you come back we will try the drinks at the bar, like the Pretty in Pink or the Road House, which is a Pearl and a shot of whiskey. Just so you’re not confused like I was, a Pearl is a beer much like a PBR. And then we will go see a show at the outdoor stage and call Ian for a ride home. I can’t wait.

The other event we went to this week was actually on Sixth Street, at the Alamo Drafthouse. I know I’ve told you about the Drafthouse before. You can order food and drinks but can’t talk, they show crazy shorts before the show and often have retro movies or singalongs. Soon they’ll be doing a quote-a-long for Office Space and showing Battle Royale, the Japanese film that is very similar to The Hunger Games.

Last night, though, they were showing Everything Is Terrible’s Doggie Woogiez! Poochie Woochiez!, a found footage montage of all things dog that is a loose remaking of The Holy MountainI haven’t seen the original, but I still enjoyed the movie because it is such well crafted insanity. Before the show began the EIT team came out dressed in ridiculous dog costumes (a 1990s “cool dog” costume and a Grateful Dead costume as well as a dapper old dog) and did a bit. It added to the overall performance of the whole thing and I sat back to enjoy the fact that I get to live in a town that can be this awesome.

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