By Nicki Kasper
I was excited when I was asked to work the Austin show. I hadn’t been to Texas, and was looking forward to checking out the city. After a full-body search courtesy of Portland airport security, a long flight and a cab ride that almost sent me flying through the windshield, I was happy to get checked into my hotel room...
Luckily, my friend, Omar Edmison and his apprentice, Chris also got in on Thursday. Omar lived and tattooed in Austin for years, so it was nice to have someone to pal around with who is familiar with the city. They picked me up from the hotel and we headed to The Eastside Showroom for appetizers and drinks, then made our way to a place called DK Sushi Market to meet up with a bunch of Omar’s Austin friends.
This wasn’t the average Sushi place… It was one-third Sushi restaurant, one-third Asian market and one-third karaoke bar, complete with soft-porn playing behind the words on the teleprompter! (I couldn’t make this up.) The owner was the MC for the night and he was pretty hilarious. And… so was his mullet ponytail. He kept saying things like, “Come on! Party with me, you fucking pussies! We’re making memories!” That was his way of encouraging people to take the stage, and it seemed to work. The experience was fun, strange and really good for laughs.
The next morning, I was lucky enough to have an amazing hotel shuttle driver. He not only loaded all seven of my 50-pound boxes into the van, he also helped me unload them, and then he put them on a dolly and delivered them to my booth! Score! (And yes, I gave him a fat tip.)
As I started opening my boxes, I was introduced to the promoter, Marcy. She gave me the run down on where to find what, and then sent one of her staff members to Starbucks to get me a coffee! Double score!
The show was good. I saw a few old friends and made a few new ones. Marcy and her staff did an amazing job, and props to the Embassy Suites staff. They were amazing. The hold they put on my debit card for six days, not so amazing, but what can you do?
After the show, a group of about 50 of us met up for dinner at an amazing Indian restaurant called the Clay Pit. I was introduced to Austin’s signature drink, the Mexican Martini, which is bomb! The food, as well as the company, was awesome. Our bill was literally seven-feet tall. No joke.
After dinner, we headed to Austin’s famous 6th Street with Scott Ellis, Joey Ortega and Adam Walsh of Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin. We were given VIP treatment at a bar called Barcelona and tortured with Dub Step. We found a cell phone in the VIP booth, and I watched as some members of the group proceeded to look through and make fun of the photos, and then take a few new ones before the phone was handed over to the bartender.
From there, we went to another bar so a few brave souls could ride a mechanical bull… while listening to more Dub Step… By this time, pretty much everyone except Omar and I had a good buzz going, so watching the bull riding was pretty comical.
We ended up staying out until last call. I drank water, because my airport shuttle was scheduled to pick me up at 4 a.m. I had enough time to get my shit packed and head to the lobby. No sleep that night, but it was a lot of fun!
I love Austin, and can’t wait to go back, but if I never hear Dub Step again, it will be too soon...