Austin, Day 2: The Revenant, the Park, The Gatsby, and the Transsexual

Winter in Texas. No filter.

Yesterday was an amazingly beautiful, sunny, warm Texas day but I actually spent a long stretch of it indoors because I decided to go to the theater to see The Revenant. And that movie is about 3 hours long. By the time I got out, the sun was starting to go down.

My quick review: it’s an excellent film. It is not a feel-good movie, but it makes you weirdly grateful because it shows you how miserable and awful life can be. It makes you glad that you aren’t in that world, and thankful for the conveniences and luxuries you have, even if you don’t have many. And it inspires you to want to be a badass like Leonardo Dicaprio.

What the theater itself looked like. Servers would walk between the aisles throughout the movie to take your order.

By the way, I have to talk about movie theaters in Austin, or at least the ones that are within walking distance from me. They aren’t the ordinary, normal movie theaters like I’m used to. I went to The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, and there’s another one on Sixth. They have a bar and will take your order during the movie. The theaters seat less than 50 people, so every seat is a good one. There were classic movie posters lining the walls, and posters of foreign films, and fake movie posters. This was an establishment that didn’t just show movies—it loved movies. It was a very cool scene for cinephiles like me.

The sun was still up for a little while after the movie. I went to the park that surrounds Lady Bird Lake and strolled around. Then I helped a fitness instructor named Jeff carry his speakers to the location where he does his class. Because why not. I then walked along the trail for a while. There are so many runners on that trail. In time, the sun vanished and it was pitch black along some parts of the trail. But there were always runners. It was pretty spooky in those darker areas too, but also beautiful seeing the moonlight reflecting off the lake.

In daylight, you get an awesome view of the lake and the Austin skyline from the trail.

From the trail, in such darkness, I didn’t know exactly how to get back to the downtown area. I was going to The Gatsby, a bar, to see some standup comedy. I knew the general direction to go, so I just started walking that way. I was much farther away than I realized and had to trust that I wasn’t getting myself lost, because I was just walking and walking and walking. My savior was IHOP. There was a very tall neon sign in front of the restaurant, and I knew that the IHOP was right near the area I was going to. Thanks, IHOP. Really.

The standup comedy wasn’t spectacular, but it was a free show so how can I complain. It felt more like an open mic, and I think that’s why I was a little disappointed by it. Some of the guys were really funny and some had no material at all, making me wonder who even let them go onstage. There was exactly one lady who went up and I thought, “Wow, she’s really pretty!” And then I thought, “She has such a surprisingly deep voice.” And then I heard her jokes and learned that she was a transsexual. That explained the deep voice! It was funny to me, because of the handful of transsexual people I have met (which includes Laverne Cox, somehow), I’ve never found one to be pretty before. It was just a funny moment for me, as a heterosexual dude.

There are tons of regular, awesome events in this town and it has been difficult deciding what to do. I have literally had to deal with this problem: “Okay, there are 5 awesome things happening at the same time, how do I decide which one to go to?” And that’s a great problem to have. If I had transportation, even just a bicycle, I would have even more options, as there are plenty of events that take place beyond walking distance from downtown. There are comedians, dance performances, concerts, and “yoga rides” – cycling followed by yoga, WHICH I WOULD SO LOVE TO DO if I had a bike and yoga mat with me. And there were a lot of awesome events that happened last week, before I arrived, and more awesome events this upcoming week, when I won’t be in town anymore. This is a city worth spending more than just a week at. All of Austin is a very cool scene. This is probably the second-awesomest place I have ever been, after Santa Monica.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write about traveling and why it’s literally the greatest thing.