Flashback to March 2020: SXSW was abruptly cancelled just a few days before the conference was scheduled to begin. This was our first indication that the COVID-19 pandemic was a serious problem. Like most people, Bill and I had no idea how much our lives would change in the coming year.
Fast-forward to March 2021: Austin’s Stage 4 restrictions prohibited large gatherings, so SXSW pivoted to a five-day online event. Bill and I had deferred our 2020 passes to 2022, allowing us to attend this year, too. The online format had some advantages: less exhausting; no long lines; fewer decisions to make; watch on demand (mostly); pause and rewind capabilities. We also liked watching the movies from home. SXSW Film had an excellent selection of documentaries this year.
An abundance of yard signs have popped up in our neighborhood during this pandemic. In past years, you’d mostly see yard signs around election times (which is still true), but these things are ubiquitous now. I guess everyone’s spending more time at home, plus we seem to have a lot to say.
Halloween 2020 is certainly a strange one. With COVID counts going up again, there’s no big in-person events happening this weekend. Annual events like the Vida la Vida Fest and Polkapocalypse became live streams. Other popular activities, such as the German-Texas Heritage Society’s Oktoberfest, were simply cancelled. And to top it all off, there’s a full moon tonight.
With COVID-19 still spreading throughout Texas, Bill and I have been staying close to home. This is the first time that we’ve spent an entire summer in Austin instead of escaping to cooler climates for a few weeks. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been so enchanted by the abundance of wild sunflowers in our neighborhood—I’ve never been around to appreciate them.
What a crazy spring this has been! Lacking both topics and motivation, I haven’t written any blog entries for a long time. But, this is a diary after all, so documenting our 2020 COVID-19 experiences seems appropriate.
The Austin Music Awards took place as scheduled on Wednesday, March 11th, at the ACL/Moody Theater. This annual show recognizes the achievements of our local musicians. Bill and I made a late-minute decision to attend after SXSW was canceled and balcony seats became available. We had an entire row to ourselves up there. This was one of the last big music events before COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in Austin.
Bill and I finally toured The Independent, a condo tower that locals call “The Jenga” due to its offset design. At 693 feet, this is now the tallest building in Austin and the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi. The Austonian previously held these honors, but has slipped to second place at 583 feet.