Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Where do I even begin?  I guess at the beginning...Robert mentioned that the Beauty Bar was opening a brand new venue on the East Side called the Beauty Ballroom and would be having two nights of extravagance for the grand opening weekend.  I didn't think much of it until he mentioned that Daniel Johnston was going to be performing.

Rewind four years.  My mom, sister and I go to Austin for Spring Break to check out the city and find out what Austin was all about.  Among some of our activities included going to the ZACH theatre to see Speeding Motorcycle the Rock Opera based on the music and art by Daniel Johnston.  I hadn't been listening to his music at the time, but I did manage to recognize the song "Speeding Motorcycle" from the Target commercial.  

When Leanne and I moved to Austin about 2 and half years after that we finally got around to watching the documentary, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" which blew my mind away.  If you have not seen it yet, I highly HIGHLY recommend you see it. Now.  Really. Get off your computer and go watch it!

Are you back now?  Ok.  After I saw the documentary I knew that he was a musical genius (alright, I might be a little late on that one).  I also knew that I needed, yes, needed to see him perform.  I heard a couple times that he would randomly appear in Austin and do shows and then, right before my very eyes I saw his name on the playbill!  

Now let's get back to the opening of the Beauty Ballroom...Robert and I are cruising by the venue scoping it out before we found parking and there he is the man, the myth, the legend, Daniel Johnston!  Just standing outside the front doors, smoking a cigarette.  No joke!  I was convinced that he would have gone back inside by the time we found parking and walked over, but no, he was still there.  Just chillin'.  I so very much wanted to get my picture with him, but being the lame person I am, I just walked by not wanting to disturb him.  He performed a total of two songs with very shaky hands, but he's still got it!  I still can't believe I got to see him, I knew it would make my life here in Austin complete.

And now how do I explain some of the other things that went on that night...

Even though I was there to see Daniel Johnston, Robert was there to see Jason Reece one of the creators of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.  See that guy in the black shirt looking to the left?  That's him.

I promise one of these beers belonged to Robert....

This Ambitious Orchestra backed provided some wonderful music as part of an Elvis and David Bowie tribute.  They looked like they were having fun and definitely weren't your typical orchestra.
Oh yeah, and there were acrobatic burlesque performers from Lady Circus hanging from draped cloth in the middle of the dance floor.

And of course, Daniel Johnston...

So. Awesome.
It's really incredible how many artists have covered his songs (full list here).  One of my favorites is Karen O's version of "Lucky Shoes" that she did for the "Where the Wild Things Are" soundtrack.  So finally, I will leave you with this:

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  1. A lovely account of an outing! Can I just say that the acrobatic burlesque dancers need to make more appearances...everywhere? Because your photos make me say yes.

  2. So jealous! Weird/amazing shit like that just doesn't happen in Albuquerque.


Thank you for putting a smile on my face!