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Best of Austin 2004

Best of Austin 2004

“Check this out,” my SXSW partner-in-crime Jarod told me tonight, handing me a piece of paper. It was a certificate of some sort, declaring SXSW the winner of the category “Best Annual Festival.” Somehow, through a series of exchanges, this piece of paper wound up in my hands. Big mistake. I was on my way to get some food. Bigger mistake.

We were at the annual “Best of Austin” party, hosted by the Austin Chronicle. In a nutshell, it was a party celebrating the annual “Best of Austin” issue, the kind of issue every newsweekly publishes, about the best area restaurants, movie theaters, etc. etc.

So, with our award in my hands, I found some of the catered Mexican food. I set down my Corona, the food, and the award. Within moments, I realize that I’ve place the award on top of a salsa stain someone had left behind. Big mistake.

All the same, the party was a fun excuse to get out and enjoy a beautiful night. I’d been laying low this week, trying to relax. It was nice to be out again. Meanwhile, Primer director Shane Carruth was calling my cell, on the road with his girlfriend Tara as they were driving to Austin from Dallas, trying to make the party. They missed it. Shane’s coming to town for a screening of Primer tomorrow night.

What they missed was a slew of Austin regulars collecting their awards and having cocktails. Tim and Karrie League arrived to accept the “Best Movie Theater” award for their Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. Danni Knowles stopped by to pick up her prize for winning “Best Reason To Own A Region-Free DVD Player” for her great video store Pedazo Chunk.

Meanwhile, Robert Rodriguez showed up, taking a break from his two simultaneous productions (including Sin City, which I can’t wait for). Robert was hanging with casting director Beth Sepko, who is easily one of my favorite film people in Austin. Beth’s working on a series of projects, and even doing some duty on Rick Linklater’s upcoming Bad News Bears remake. Beth was hanging with Heather Collier, a local talent agent who just opened the doors on her own company.

The moment in the party when I knew it was time to leave, was not when I helped stain our award… it was when a bevy of partygoers decided to disrobe and dive into the pool/fountain outside the shindig. Big mistake.

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