The 5 Hottest Places in Austin for SXSW

It’s just about that time in Texas when mad amounts of people invade for the annual music and film conference known as SXSW. For those unfamiliar, it’s a week-long party consisting mostly of music and booze and then more music and then some more booze. Should you find yourself here, which I highly recommend even if you don’t have a badge, here are some places I would hit up.

1. Progress Coffee Chances are you will be partying extremely hard and you are going to need some fresh recovery food or at least a good cup of coffee to wake up to. Progress Coffee would be the spot to hit right after you wipe the SXSW crust from your eyes. The owner of Progress has been a long-time homey of my label Exponential. Aether and myself played there a few years ago with Tycho. 2. Toy Joy If you venture further out Guadalupe by UT, then this is the perfect spot for that inner kid in you or to find a random toy for someone back home. Seems like it’ stocked and decorated by Pee Wee Herman. Next time I go, I am making it a point to pick up the invisible pregnant woman keychain. 3. Waterloo Records The kind of stuff that girlfriends’ nightmare’s are made of — unless your girl is into shopping for music as much as you are. Really good selection of all kinds of music and vinyl, plus you are probably going to catch a few good in-store performances, especially during SXSW. Make it up to her by hooking it up with some ice cream right around the corner.

4. Beauty Bar Although the name is recognizable as not strictly Austin, it’s worth adding to this list for longtime resident DJ Prince Klassen. An Austin transplant by way of San Antonio, Klassen (my ex-roommate while in S.A.) can be found as the regular Friday-night DJ and taught me the art of mixing half-time and double-time beats — something I still use when DJing and producing. Beauty Bar has also hosted myself and DJ Jester the Filipino Fist a couple of times. 5. Magnolia Cafe The late-night joint, hands down. Open 24 hours a day and serves up really amazing classics with their own twist. I once saw Daedelus attempt to eat the biggest stack of nachos ever here, and we all chipped in but didn’t make a dent in it.

Ernest Gonzales is an experimental musician and DJ.

Joey Arias & Basil Twist Bring the Show to LA

One thing I love about Los Angeles is that everyone comes here, and I don’t have to go anywhere — they come to me. Case in point: Joey Arias, the drag diva who first made a splash in New York’s underground drag scene and then went on to infamy at Cirque du Soleil’s sexytime Zumanity in Las Vegas, is here in town. I can go see him without jumping on a 3,000-mile (or 250-mile) flight for the next few weeks, in “Arias with a Twist.” The name stems from the collaboration with Basil Twist, a puppeteer who conjured the fantastical set that Mr. Arias performs on.

If you don’t know Mr. Arias, he looks like a twisted version of Betty Page (he’s got the bangs down pat) and sounds like a darker version of Billie Holiday. He is not your mother’s drag queen — there will be no cotton candy-colored outfits, no lip-synching to Whitney Houston songs, no bad banter. To call Arias a drag queen is something of a misnomer and a disservice; he’s a performance artist. He’s playing from now till December 13 at the Redcat Theatre.

Back in the day when I was a wee baby raver, I was obsessed, and I mean obsessed with drum ’n’ bass. I began DJing and spent every last dime of my very meager earnings on 12-inch records which now sit in my room and have no value except for a very small sector of the population. A portion of that population will be out at Respect tonight at Dragonfly, a drum ’n’ bass party that has managed to not be extinguished in the face of marginalization. They’ve been going strong since 1999, when drum ’n’ bass was on top of the electronic music world, and tonight they are bringing two DJs from that era who are apparently also still going strong — Optical and Trace. (Also, according to Myspace, Optical is living in L.A..) Old lady raver here might have to go to that.

Another old standard is spreading its wings again: the Beauty Bar, which has been an LA outpost (it was opened after the NYC original) is expanding its mini-hipster empire to another city. Chicago is the lucky recipient of the only indie rock bar chain in the country — and certainly, the only one worth a damn. If the Chicago Beauty Bar is like the others, expect a high quotient of tattooed hot girls and indie rock on the speakers.

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BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

EDITORIAL ● Editorial Director/Editor-in-Chief – Ray Rogers, Café Mogador (NYC) – Hummus, crack-caliber coffee, and outdoor patio for primo people-judging and “novel writing.” ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Babettes (East Hampton) – Don’t let the word “organic” turn you off . ● Executive Editor – Chris Mohney, Pegu Club (NYC) – OCD cocktail heaven. Pith helmet and ivory cane optional. ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, The Jane Hotel and Ballroom (NYC) – Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill.

● Editor-at-Large – James Servin, The Raleigh (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont. ● Staff Writer – Ryan Adams, Republic (NYC) – Minimalist fave and only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Wurstküche (LA) – Hey, sausages! Downtown hipsters with a secret inner-manly-man are pleased. ● West Coast Editor – Matt Diehl, Cole’s (LA) – The 100-year-old buffet-style cafeteria comes back as something new (but the French dip stays). ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, La Esquina (NYC) – Day and night, eating, meeting and playing. ● Paris Correspondent – Dana Thomas, Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel (Paris) – Posh sips & historic ambiance at the Ritz. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Tokyo (Montreal) – Buy one for the buff bartender while you’re at it—he’s a starving actor. Cayte GrieveCafé Asean (NYC) Foster Ethan KamerLa Superior (NYC) – Quite possibly the best little taqueria this side of town. ● Editorial Assistant – Eiseley Tauginas, Alta (NYC) – Alta, as in “high,” as in “haute,” at this sexy Village tapas spot. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Sripraphai (NYC) ● Editorial Interns – Annie Clinton Moto (NYC) – High-flavor food with dungeon loos. Sure, Moto’s for metros, but it’s hot anyway. Delia Paunescu Schiller’s Liquor Bar (NYC) – McNally’s successful entrée into the LES mess. Desiree Pais, Lit (NYC) – Rock bar du jour for hos and bros of the ain’t we the shit? set. Alexandra Vickers, Colette (Paris) – Art, style, music, sex and water.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Five Leaves (NYC) – Café posthumously funded by Heath Ledger does justice to the work and hype put into it. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Brandy Library (NYC) – Highbrow mixology, let us know when it’s time to dust off the antique bottles on the upper shelf. ● Design/Photo Interns – Angela Chen, Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) – Roadhouse bringing southerners to Northern Manhattan. Krista Quick – Ottobar (Baltimore) – What can we say, this place rocks.Jeremy Jones – Tokyo Bar, (NYC) – Schizo décor and food, but decently done all the same.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Director-at-Large – Elizabeth Sulcer, China Grill (NYC) -Heaping plates of Asian fusion amid fashionable environs. ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Bondi Road (NYC) – Wizards of Aus in NYC, we like your style. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Per Se (NYC) – Advanced gastronomy at the Time Warner Center. Thomas Keller pulls out all the stops. ● Fashion Interns – Samantha Shaw, Chez Janou (Paris) – Boisterous southern bistro near the Place des Vosges. Julien Blanc, La Esquina (NYC) – Fairly authentic Mexican and one of the city’s best-known “secret” bars. Laura Watters, Café Habana (NYC) – Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Lindsay Abrams, Sketch: Gallery (London) – Quirky soho hot spot. BlackBook magazine Founder – Evanly Schindler, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Café Select (NYC) – SoHo café marries Swiss Alpine to downtown design, garners Next Brunch Place status. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Lucky Strike Lanes (NYC) – Scenester bowling from the dudes behind Marquee and Tao. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick of Drew Patrick Law, Dutch Kills (NYC) – Modern-day antique saloon from New York’s cocktail kings. ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Motorino (NYC) – Belgian-bred Mathieu Palombino’s Billyburg pizza joint serves up personal pan-sized genius, one pie at a time.

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Gascogne (NYC) – Southern French cooking without the Southern French ‘tude. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Botanica (NYC) – Dive that must be working some kind of Santeria to keep prices down in this excessive nabe. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, La Piaggia (Miami) – Keep your feet in the sand and your hand on the rosé glass at this waterfront café francaise. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, Blind Tiger Ale House (NYC) – Beer bar institution finds new home, devoted crowd. Kristen von Bernthal, Pure Food and Wine (NYC) – Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Perennial (Chicago) – This could easily become Chicago’s summer hotspot for years to come. ● Andrea Forrester, Mirai (Chicago) – Thumpin’ music and bumpin’ elbows don’t deter crowds from gathering for some of the city’s finest sushi. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Gjelina (LA) – New Venice, new American hotspot takes on Hollywood posturing and tude. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, 15 Romolo (San Francisco) – Bourbon & Branch without the passwords and financial types. Shawn O’Meara, Suppenküche (San Francisco) – Fun place, hearty food. Check the diet at the door. Sales Coordinator – Claire Pujol, Fat Baby (NYC) – Dank in a clean way. Do not enter without skinny jeans.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Kingswood (NYC) – Creative Aussie eats. Feel like king of the W. Vill woods. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) – Sunken Japanese paradise. Delectable sushi, incredible drinks. ● Interns – Rebecca Hill, Chicago Brauhaus (Chicago) – One of the last of Chicago’s great German restaurants with live oompah bands and an Oktoberfest menu year-round. Delna Joshi, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. Brianne Murphy, Beauty Bar (NYC) – Kitschy theme bar serving up mani/drink combos under a row of hair dryers. Elizabeth Pirozzi, Pink Elephant (NYC) – Gangsters, models, and house. Where one goes, the others must follow. Monica Dybuncio, Cha Cha Cha (San Francisco) – The Haight’s never-ending Caribbean party where Santerias and sangria rule. Emily Pflug Presidio, Delfina (San Francisco) – Overly moussed males, technophiles, and high-class hipsters collide in this local fine dining favorite. Lea Abeyta, The Annex (NYC) – Grown-up newcomer from Dark Room boys. Tiswas Saturday, Interpol’s Paul B holding down Wednesday. Joanna Rubinstein, Bar Breton (NYC) – Fleur de Sel’s tastes of Brittany now available in brasserie form. Marie Baginski, East Andrews Cafe & Bar (Atlanta) – Label toters run amok at Buckhead restaurant-bar and pack the place on Thursdays and Fridays. Megan Kunecki, Blender Theater at Gramercy (NYC) -New indie rocker hosting artists you put on your iPod for show while you’re really listening to “Since U Been Gone” again. Jay Kassirer, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique. Suhee Eom, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. Jaime Marie, Sueños (NYC) – Sweet dreams of organic tequila and make-your-own-tacos really can come true! Rana Razavi, Sanctuary (Miami) – Swank rooftop bar and the promise of hanky panky in the pool.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Yerba Buena (NYC) – Petite hot zone with wide range of Pan-Latino small plates. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Beast (Brooklyn) – Small plates and top brunch, come get lost in Prospect Heights. Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Developer – Dan Simon, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Manuel’s (Austin) – Immaculate cleanliness, smart design, and Wine Spectator-designated mole don’t come cheap even for the downtown lunch crowd. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Pacific Standard (NYC) – Mellow, big-hearted Slope pub keepin’ it pacific. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Stone Park Café (NYC) – White on white, Williams-Sonoma, Maclarens, fish sandwiches, and burgers. ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Centolire (NYC) – Mangia, mangia, and then ride up and down in the funny glass elevator until the hostess kicks you out.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ● Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Eric Gertler, SoHo House (NYC) – Members-only decadent den where you may find scruffy English rockers or snaggle-toothed English bankers. Guess which is more likely. ● Joe Landry, Local (LA) – Anything goes, as long as it’s not beef. ● Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. ● Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. ● Barry Rubenstein, Shun Lee Café (NYC) – Haute Chinese and dim sum on a glossy, ’80s-fabulous set. ● Jack Sullivan, Blue Ribbon (NYC) – Bromberg bros brasserie takes care of Soho’s after-midnight crowd.
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Trail of Dead’s Jason Reece: Tips for Surviving SXSW

After escaping unscathed from a Midwestern car crash, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead is back on the road (bus engine and trailer repaired), heading home to Austin to play SXSW (March 21 at Emo’s). As festival veterans and Austinites, Trail of Dead is in the position to give rookies and tourists advice on where to eat, what to do, and how to survive the orgy. While en route to the Echoplex in Los Angeles, Jason Reece took a few minutes to discuss which bands he plans to decapitate and the charm of a gun-crazed, pig-blood-covered, PCP-fueled last stand at SXSW.

I heard y’all were in an accident. Is everyone okay? Yeah, everyone is okay. We were stopped on the road in Wyoming, and there’s ice and snow everywhere. The truck behind us didn’t stop in time, and it slid and ran into our trailer and knocked it into the engine of the bus. It screwed the bus up. Nobody got hurt, but it was really annoying because we had to sit there at the truck stop and hang out with all these rednecks.

What are you planning on doing at SXSW? Probably waging war on other bands. Burning the place down. You know, normal stuff. I guess I’ll just decapitate every shitty band that I see.

Will there be a lot of them? I would say that there are a lot of really good bands, but there’s also a lot of horrible crap that comes with the festival. Everyone is trying to make it and whatever. It’s just an oversaturation of bands. The world doesn’t need another band. There’s too much noise pollution. But the cool thing about SXSW is that it’s great to have that sort of party, festive atmosphere.

Are you happy to be home? I get to sleep in my bed, but it’s still going to feel like we’re on tour. Our schedule is going to be crazy. There’s a bunch of shows, parties. The only way to deal with it is to buy a bunch of fucking guns and drugs and hole yourself up in a hotel and get high on PCP and crack.

Pretend you’re a tourist guide. Where should I eat? Where should I hang out? Go to Ruby’s BBQ. The meat is organic, and there aren’t any steroids and chemicals. The cows are free-range cows, and there’s more care involved. The BBQ sauce is incredible. I would get brisket there, the pickles and onions on the side. You’ve got your sauce and your bread. It’s very simple. For Mexican, I really like Vivo on Manor Road. The food is solid there. It’s kind of upscale, but still reasonable, and the salsa is incredible. I go to Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar too. I like the barbacoa there.

Where do you go on your down time? I go to my bar — Beauty Bar. I own it. It’s a place for local bands to get their start. It’s cheap, we don’t really charge cover, and the DJs are pretty amazing. I like to see shows at Emo’s too.

Is that your favorite venue in town? We got our start there, and we know a lot of people that work there. It’s been our home. It’s a shithole. There are no frills about it, but it’s got character. I’ve seen a lot of amazing shows there.

Give me some tips on surviving SXSW. You should only drink hard liquor like whiskey — Powers or Jameson. You should not drink water at all. Don’t get any sleep. Stay up every day, all day, all night. Take off all your clothes, cover yourself in pig’s blood, and talk to yourself like a raving lunatic. Do this and you will go far.

Las Vegas: The Retro Weekend

Friday Stay: Golden Nugget. Check in. Inside the hotel, there’s a Bond villain-worthy pool complex and newly renovated bars and restaurants. Outside the hotel, historic downtown Las Vegas. 3 p.m.: Brass Lounge. Enjoy a “Hello Vegas!” cocktail with a view. 4 p.m.: Nothing in your luggage glamorous enough? For ladies, try the Bettie Page store. Gentlemen can pick up slick threads from days gone by at Valentino’s Zoot Suit Connection.

7 p.m.: Golden Steer. Have dinner at the archetypical Vegas steakhouse where you can sit in Presley’s booth and have your Caesar salad made tableside using Sinatra’s recipe. 9:30 p.m.: Pogo’s Tavern. This unremarkable neighborhood bar becomes a jazz hothouse on Friday nights when the All-Star Big Band, a combo made up of veteran musicians from Vegas’ golden age, takes the stage. 11:30 p.m.: Champagnes Café. Flocked velvet wallpaper, Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and a cast of character actor-like regulars. Feeling inspired and/or tipsy? Kick out your own karaoke Neil Diamond or Judy Garland. 1:30 a.m.: Griffin. Stop in for a quick nightcap by the fireplace, hear the 60s soul and 70s punk coming from the back room and stay for a few dances with local favorites the Bargain DJ Collective.

Saturday 10 a.m.: Golden Nugget Rise, shine and, in the great Vegas headliner tradition, hit the steam room. 11:30 a.m.: Bellagio Brunch. It isn’t Vegas without a buffet. 1:30 p.m.: Classic Car Museum at The Imperial Palace. Mustangs. Cadillacs. Bentleys. Lincolns. Packards. 3:30 p.m.: Golden Nugget pool We’re surprised you waited this long to get on that water slide. 6 p.m.: Battista’s Hole in the Wall. Tip the accordion player extra to squeeze out a few Dean Martin covers. 7:30 p.m.: Jubilee at Bally’s. Old-school production with showgirls in big feathers n’ small sequins as well as a reenactment of the sinking of the Titanic. 9 p.m.: Sidebar. Have an expertly crafted martini or Manhattan at this smart little downtown bar. 10 p.m.: Atomic Liquors. The oldest bar in Clark County has seen the rise and fall and rise of Fremont Street. Get a miniseries’ worth of Las Vegas history for the price of a few rounds. 11 p.m.: Binion’s Poker Room. Vegas’ original poker room. 1 a.m.: Beauty Bar. DJ’s and the occasional live band at this small beauty shop of a bar.

Sunday 11 a.m.: Canter’s Delicatessen at Treasure Island. Mod revision of LA classic still serves lox n’ bagels. 1 p.m.: Pinball Hall of Fame. Get a pocketful of quarters and throw it back to the days before video games. 3 p.m.: Golden Nugget “Farewell Vegas!” cocktail by shark tank.
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