Long Center’s Sound and Cinema event is a great way to explore Austin

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I cycled down South 1st Street to the Long Center to see a show by a band called Darkbird before a performance of “Clueless” September 3. The next day my mother called me to ask me how it went.

Walk to the Long Center “Sound and cinema” the ticket office doors around 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the time the website announced the doors would open, I heard a couple momentarily bemoan their bad luck.

“If I had bought the tickets, you know, I would be more disappointed. But, since it’s free, I’m cool that we couldn’t get in, ”one said. They left.

“Why exactly was this couple turned away? I asked one of the people scanning the tickets under their tent box office. He explained that they had fired a lot of people, in fact, because they had not provided their proof of vaccination or the results of a negative PCR test in a physical copy. Some had pictures on their phones, others had nothing. All in all, I’m happy to have my vaccination card at all times crushed like a soggy cornflake in one of the folds of my wallet.

Past the ticket booth and up the stairs to the oddly (event relevant) HEB branded outside deck, I saw the food trucks that Instagram of Do512 vaunted account, which were opposite. I looked for something to eat. Amy’s Ice Cream… not now. Southside Flying Pizza… hmm. I couldn’t find the mentioned barbecue place on the list, so my hunger found some chicken shawarma and fries from Shawarma Point. Temporarily (silently) disappointed with the lack of options, I hopped a squat near the back of the Hartman concert lawn, against the bridge, to eat.

I sat in silence for a little while as my attention shifted from the birds flying across the under construction section of the skyline from Austin to the Spikeballers, with snot trickling down my philtrum, the spicy retaliation to which I should face the next morning. The silence turned into covers and originals of black bird, an Austin-based band with the ethereal brand that I noted seemed genuinely hot. “We’re going to be so big,” the singer endearingly announced later after the show. All the while, moms would get up from lawn chairs or blankets and sway to the beat with their kids dancing in one arm, their drinks dangling and sweating in the unoccupied hand.

The sun moved west along the Colorado River as Darkbird’s sunset drew to a close. A pleasant gust of wind guided a welcoming compliment on my way.

“Nice shirt,” one woman told me.

I thanked her and mentioned that I was at the event with the school newspaper and apprehensively looking for people to interview. She graciously sat down next to me and we continued to talk as the musical part of the evening drew to a close. She was with her family, like many other event attendees, and told me that she had recently returned to Austin after living in Lafayette, LA for several years. She looked happy to be back, adding that Austin had changed a lot since his last visit. I briefly looked over my shoulder at the still developing horizon. I told him that it hadn’t been long since my only semester in Austin, only a summer, but life alone in the city still seemed unfamiliar and scary at times.

She encouraged me, motioned for me to look around at the people present, assured me that all these people were nice and would answer all my questions; that the city is filled with people like that. “Distraught” started shortly after our conversation ended, and I spent the rest of my night among the crowd of pleasant strangers. As I watched Cher realize that she was in love with her stepbrother, I realized that I might also be discovering a strange love in my own life: a love for the unknown and the scary.

If you don’t know where to start exploring in Austin like me, start by inviting whoever you want to the sound and movies at the Long Center on a September night. Even though the event is still in beta stage due to the COVID-19 delta variant concerns, it’s an easy trip from anywhere in Austin. And if you remember a physical copy of a vaccination card or negative PCR test, the place is “free” – “cold” like the evening breeze off the river.



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