How to Do SXSW Without Killing Yourself

The 2010 South by Southwest Music Festival kicks off tonight, featuring bands like Fanfarlo and She & Him. This year’s line-up presents 1,900 musical acts on 89 stages in venues located throughout the city of Austin — so if you don’t have your shit together, you might find yourself stumbling down 6th Street like the Ghost of Real World Season XVI Past. Here are some tips to get you SXSW-savvy

Download the iPhone App – For the love of god. The my.SXSW application provides official social networking and scheduling for SXSW 2010, allowing you to view and build your schedule, map conference and festival events each hour, exchange contact info with people you meet, view news, and search attendees, events, and venues all from the your little magic box. No iPhone? You can still use my.SXSW online, but you’ll probably need a map.

Be realistic – Are you really going to be able to see the 11:45pm Shwayze show at The Phoenix and attend the 12:30am The xx show at Central Pres across town? Drunk? The best way to handle SXSW is to prioritize and stick with a small number of venues that are within walking distance of each other. There are a few venues that have solid line ups all day — especially around Red River and or 6th Street — it might be worth it to stick it out at Mohawk for a few hours if you really want to see a certain band. Establish a good viewing location, order a Tecate, and relax.

Twitter – Way back when in 2007, SXSW is what tipped the microblogging site into the mainstream. But not only is there history, it will help keep you updated on all the big bashes and events. Follow local news outlets such as SXSWist (@sxswist), Austin 360 (@360sxsw) for starters. Some supplements include @SXSWfreeNOMS, @SXSWPartyList, and Brooklyn Vegan @BVSXSW.

Eat right – This is the only time I would ever discourage heavy amounts of Tex-Mex or bar-b-q. Spicy food + long lines at Port-a-Potties = well, you do the math. That said, some really great alternatives with Texas flavor around the area include Thundercloud Subs for a quick and easy sandwich on the go, Austin Java for a pick-me-up, and Kerbey Lane Café for all-nighter diner fare.

Drink right – Of course, you know how to do this. But in case you want a more authentic Austin drinking experience, try some of the local beers on tap. Live Oak uses a rare, old-world style of brewing that gives it a rich, malty flavor, and Real Ale’s spring release, “Devil’s Backbone”, uses house made candy sugar for a distinctive flavor.

Party on.

See also: The 5 Hottest Places in Austin for SXSW

Pop Quiz: The Thermals’ Kathy Foster

It’s fair to say that the power-punk trio The Thermals have major credibility. It was Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie that handed their demo to their first label. They just made the move from Sub Pop Records to Kill Rock Stars. They live in Portland. It’s also fair to say that, after seeing The Thermals headline Bowery Ballroom last month, I have a girl crush on bassist Kathy Foster. She’s adorable, her band covers Nirvana, and she has no problem playing in a short dress. Catch Kathy, Hutch, and Westin live as The Thermals are currently on tour in support of their fourth record Now We Can See , and have just been added to the Pitchfork festival in Chicago this summer. But first, check out Kathy’s answers to our Pop Quiz.

What’s the last thing you do before going to bed? Turn off the light. Duh.

If you could take a meal with anyone living or dead, who would it be? Richard Pryor. I would hope he would tell lots of funny stories. I would happily cry and choke on my food.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m a grown ass woman and I’m livin’ the dream!

If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Organic Portland cuisine.

How much time do you spend online? Two or three hours a day at home, much less when I’m on tour — I never want to be on my computer.

If you could have any super power, what would you choose? The ability to fall asleep anywhere at any time.

How many times a day on average do you think about sex? A handful. Heh heh.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Watching my Sex and the City DVDs over and over again.

What’s the last restaurant you ate at? Kerbey Lane in Austin. Delicious 2pm breakfast.

Ever been star struck? Kind of, when I met Flaming Lips and walked right by Gwyneth Paltrow on the same day.

When you get good news, who’s the first person you tell it to? Either my boyfriend Mark, or my best friend/bandmate Hutch.

What do you always watch if it’s on TV? Sex and the City, or other sitcoms — Seinfeld, Friends, The Simpsons.

What’s the first thing you think about in the morning? Yeah, like it’s the same thing every morning.

What do you normally sleep in? Depends on the weather — it ranges from thermals to nothing.

Who was your first kiss? Ray Madrigal — my boyfriend when I was 13.

Where’s the craziest place you’ve had sex? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep (I censored myself).

Who was the last person you texted? My boyfriend.

If you could be any literary character, who would you be? Do I have to?

Where do you really want to be right now? In bed with my boyfriend.

What family member do you get along with best? My cousin Cynthia, but I never get to see her. Sigh.

Where’s your favorite place to eat/go out? My friend’s bar, Tiga.

What’s the best advice you ever got? Watch what you’re doing.