The gloriously sensuous, diamond polished, and highly addictive Woodes spent a week at sxsw, and documented it for us. Using Tumblr as her inspirational guide, and a reflective building as a physical guide if ever lost; Elle Graham shows us the ins and outs of Austin.
Arriving in Austin
We got into Austin, flying in on the same flight as Buzz Aldrin. We’d had two 4am days in a row, with extremely early flights from Melbourne.
We went to our accommodation briefly and then headed down town to Tumblr headquarters. They had tacos & lots of tumblr stickers. I spoke to them about how I use my tumblr as a place to moldboard and compile visual inspiration. It’s evolved from being a diary as a teenager into being a place that I go for lyrical inspiration and references for things such as film clips, photographs and styling.
Visiting the Infinity Room
At SXSW we visited the tech show, the game expo, the Zane Lowe keynote and a couple of the art installations. This was one of my favourites – Infinity room by Refik Anadol.
After our international showcase out at the back lot of the Austin Convention centre before our second showcase of the day.
The Japanese House
Caught the Japanese House at KCRW’s stage in the middle of the day. I’d been wanting to catch one of her set, we ended up finding ourselves there by following our ears. I had no idea she was on next door!
Tea, choirs and lifting
Before one of our showcases out in the back corridor. We ran through the set and drank some tea from the artists area next door. Before our set there was an incredible, cinematic German choir. We had a lot of time sitting with gear during the week. Thankfully it got quite warm and the weather stayed stable. Lots of lifting and moving between venues.
The outdoor stage
We played two shows at this out door stage. It was a really nice vibe out on the grass. We started our week there and finished up there on the Saturday night.
There were many tributes to Willie Nelson around Austin. I found this statue on one of my mornings off. There was this beautiful couple streets up from the river that turned into a fairy light covered woodland in the evenings. I bought some film for my camera and found a good coffee.
Stranger Things and synth
I caught S U R V I V E’s set. They were high on my list, as I love the soundtrack they did for Stranger Things. It was a huge live set up. So so so many synths.
I went to a bunch of the craft shows and found a lady in Austin that hand embroiders jackets. I’d just got my first denim jacket before the trip and had to plan which piece to get on it. I sat on the floor piecing it together and decided on the Armadillo. It’s like wearing a little piece of colourful armour on my back. Feels good.
Braids and self confidence
I found a beautiful boutique store by the river with acoustic, local live music playing and sat in front of the mirror in their change rooms area and braided my hair in preparation for a show. It was nice to find my own little space of silence in a hectic festival. Behind me there was a woman trying on dresses so confidently and it made me beam. She’d do little walks down an invisible runway on the carpet and I’d nod my head in acknowledgement occasionally. It was nice.
There were some great murals down town. This one had great colours.
Whenever I travel with my father we discuss landmarks to use as navigational tools. This building was mine for the trip. I kept getting the blocks mixed up but could always look up and get back to the central area if I wandered too far. In the evenings it would project the sunset so beautifully.
When I first announced we were accepted to play at SXSW I was recommended this store ‘Uncommon Objects” on twitter. I looked it up and put it on my list, it’s described as ‘A quirky shop featuring an eclectic array of antiques including jewellery taxidermy, gadgets and toys’. We managed to get there on our day off (Sunday) once everything had wrapped for the week. Inside was incredible and i was lost in the different mini stores for ages. There were jars filled with eye balls and buckets of old keys. I bought a cow bell for my parents from this wall. They usually have a bell on their front gate back home. I also bought a butterfly wing in a jar, a golden leaf, a horseshoe and a chandelier crystal.
I can’t really decide on an opinion on these little chaps. They’re so beautifully dressed, but the taxidermy aspect is a little intense. Feels very Beatrix Potter.
Bats under bridges
In Austin there is a bridge that 1.5 million bats live under. At dusk they come flooding out and everyone gathers to watch. They were so very tiny and came out in a continual stream. In the sky they formed spiralling shapes. I was expecting them to fly overhead at dusk. I had no idea they would actually pour out of the pipes underneath us. It was so peaceful to watch.
Chicken Shit bingo
On our final night in Austin we went out into suburbia to meet our friends at a small roadside pub that had something called ‘Chicken Shit Bingo’ – as the name suggests, there are real chickens in the back yard of the bar that do their business randomly on numbers on the ground and the humans watching can win money. We didn’t win any money. But I am inspired by the power of those birds.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan