It happened as soon as I landed in Austin, Texas. Not the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival- that would start the following day… however it didn’t take long to see some friendly faces, deep in the heart of Texas.
I was posted up in baggage claim, doing my normal multi-tasking: texting, listening to music, checking e-mails, playing Words With Friends (you know) the usual mindless activities while I waited for the baggage gods to release my personals.
I started to hear a muffled voice trying to break through the noise blasting in my ears. As I turn to see the source, I realize that my buddy Hunter [Spanks] was trying to get my attention as he crossed the baggage claim area to greet me with a friendly smile and, “How the hell are ya.”
I had no idea he was coming so this was a great surprise, and as we sat outside smoking and talking I thought, “this is going to be a good weekend.” I was right!
And then it hit me! My sinuses swelled, my throat felt like sandpaper and my eyes were on fire. Oh, crap! I’m getting sick… Little did I know that what I was experiencing is something the natives call “Cedar Fever.”
I definitely had the fever (for the flavor of cedar) and that nastiness stuck with me the entire weekend. Apparently, I’m allergic to cedar, which coupled with record highs of cedar pollen in the air (even for Austin) meant I was in for a long weekend of drinking grandpa’s cold medicine –whiskey.
But on with the show… The Austin convention is always like a family reunion for me. This year’s booth was sandwiched in-between Rock of Ages and Austin Tattoo Co. It was more like a hang-out spot after everyone got situated. A constant flow of traffic and friends on both sides of me made the weekend fly by…
Once again the Star of Texas convention was stocked full of talented artists including Richard Stell, Thomas Hooper, Steve Byrne, Chris Trevino, Timothy Hoyer, Derek Noble and Chad Koeplinger… just to mention a few.
Friday was a busy day for TAM, mostly because the new issue (#23) just came out, and Fridays are always kinda hectic, between simultaneously setting up and selling things. After the show on Friday a group of us (Hunter, Donnie Kizzie from Taylor Street Tattoo, Andrew Conner and the Underwoods) went over to the after-party at Triple Crown Tattoo.
Those Triple Crown guys know how to treat their guests… free BBQ and booze all night long. The shop itself is really cool Hunter and I got lost in the walls several times looking at all the original artwork, tracings of works-in-progress and collectibles. If you find yourself in Austin it’s worth the trip to check out the shop.
I was in search of “party-tats” (definitions vary) while I was in Austin, but none were had on this night…
Saturday… ummm, don’t really remember much about Saturday. This I blame Tony Hundahl for…ha-ha! Let’s just say that after procuring an “illegally” purchased bottle of Jameson from an “undisclosed” location a few of us proceeded back to Tony’s place and stayed up waaaaay too late… or early depending on how you perceive reality?
Sunday was again a busy day at the booth, as it seemed everyone wanted the new issue on their way out of town. Keith and Kindel Underwood and the crew at ATX Tattoo Co. were having the “after convention party” and after I boxed and taped up my schwag I cruised over to their shop.
It was a perfect end to the weekend. Just hangin’ with friends and family, and then the C-Lo starts… I never win at C-Lo… never! So I was pretty apprehensive at first, I told myself, “I’ll lose this five bucks real quick and then watch everyone else jump around like monkeys.” But then something very silly happened –I won. And then I won again, again and again… incredible! C-Lo bitches! Well, after an hour of that everyone was mad that I had all their money… really though, I never win… it’s true.
Still no party-tats…
Then I saw Kindel up front drawing something… it was supposed be a Yosemite Sam but it just looked like a Lego-man with 10-gallon cowboy hat with “Texas” written underneath it.
“Tattoo that on me,” I said, as I pointed at the line drawing. She agreed, and the rest is history…
Quote of the Weekend: “Let’s make some memories,” -Tony Hundahl
[Extra special thanks to the following people: Marcy Molkenthen, The Underwoods, Donnie Kizzie, Hunter Spanks, Tony Hundahl, Bobby (Road Kill) Phil (the shop guy at ATX Tattoo Co.) Scott Ellis and the Triple Crown homies, Annie the Nanny and all my Austin friends/partners in crime… see y’all next year!]