This weekend thousands of edgy, creative, cosmopolitan types from all over the globe will descend on Austin for the South by Southwest Film and Interactive festivals. By the time they leave, most of them will gush openly about their love of Austin's laid-back, eclectic lifestyle (Oops! Where'd that go?); awesome barbecue and Mexican food; and skanky dive bars. Some will even declare outright their intention to relocate here permanently. Awesome. Austin is always in need of a few thousand more pasty-skinned Urban Outfitter hipsters willing to pay $5 for a Lone Star and half a mil for a Lilliputian Downtown condo. Why wouldn't they be? Living in Austin is like being on spring break year round. It's always a balmy 75 degrees. The trees and lawns are perpetually verdant with the first fresh growth of spring. There are always lots of cool parking lot/backyard day parties with bands and free beer. At night there are hundreds of more live music clubs to go to – both real and improvised. Austin is creative like that, yo. Living here, knowing better, you might feel the urge to scream, "The emperor has no clothes!" Resist it. Why crush the fantasy? If they move here, Austin will crush it soon enough – just about the time they walk outside in August wearing an authentic poly-blend black Misfits T-shirt from Hot Topic and vampire eye makeup. The result invariably looks like the Wicked Witch of the West death scene from The Wizard of Oz: "I'm melting! I'm melting!" The thing that will really take the shine off Austin's penny is when they figure out Austin's dirty little secret: You can make all the art/film/music you want here; you just can't get paid for it. Creativity might be a precious and rare commodity in other burgs, but here in River City we're up to our necks in it, which means, in three words, art is cheapo. You just finished a new film/painting/song/literary opus? Y-A-W-N. So did your waitress, your landscaper, the guy who changes your oil at Jiffy Lube, and the really stoned dude who makes your sandwiches at ThunderCloud. It might be less depressing too if they sucked, but they don't. They're creative badasses willing to endure what would be a shameful amount of poverty anywhere else in order to perfect their craft – plus at least one of them can make a fucking majestic corned beef on rye. Yes, in that respect, Austin is like SXSW all year round, but why let the cat out of the bag? You'll only sound like a crazy, bitter, homeless person (no use trying to convince out-of-towners that what you're wearing is actually Austin fashion and not a symbol of your destitution). Your best strategy with these starry-eyed interlopers is to give them what they're expecting. Sprinkle your Austin hipster patois with and extra dash of hillbilly: y'alls and ma'ams and fixin's and whatnots. And really, would it kill you to wear a cowboy hat and some cutoff overalls? That way they'll feel like they're really getting over on the locals, and you'll have your sweet revenge in August. If you want to see what this will look like on film, check out SXSW Film's Friday night screening of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, a wicked, hilarious send-up of slasher-in-the-woods movies that explores what happens when a group of college kids on spring break encounter what they believe to be a couple of deranged backwoods killers. Could there be a better metaphor for Austin during SXSW?
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