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(All events listed occur between Monday, March 15 and Saturday, March 20.)
Honor Ghosts of Austin Music Past
"Hi, How Are You" Mural
2100 Guadalupe St.
Daniel Johnston isn't playing SXSW this year, but he's always part of Austin, having left his mark on the wall of what used to be a record store called Sound Exchange in 1993. It's now an Asian restaurant. Get a preview here.
Pretend It's an Outdoor Music Festival
Auditorium Shores Stage Concert Series
Lady Bird Lake
SXSW's major freebie, open to local residents and uncredentialed tourists alike, includes a Thursday show with the Cool Kids, Bajomond and Ozomatli (who presumably won't get arrested) and an AARP-friendly Friday lineup of Cheap Trick, the BoDeans and Cracker. Saturday, find family-friendly tunes from noon to 2PM, followed by Kimya Dawson, Dawes, Deer Tick, Lucero, Justin Townes Earle, and She and Him.
Live Strong at Lance Armstrong's Bike Shop
400 Nueces St.
Thursday and Saturday
The Dangerbird Records showcase Saturday (with bands like Minus the Bear and Bad Veins) runs in tandem with the Pablove Ride for Life charity event, a ride to raise child cancer awareness, honoring the memory of Dangerbird owner Jeff Castelaz's late son Pablo. Thursday at 4PM there is a secret show. "That's all we can say -- just be here," says the store's Web site.
Eat Free Burgers!
Burger City BCXSW Burger Jam
Grand Social Club and Billiards
4631 Airport Blvd.
Come because you're hungry and cheap. Stay for Austin artists like Flesh Lights and the Golden Boys' Wes Coleman, as well as California's Pipsqueak and Bare Wires. Starts at 1PM.
Get the Entire Beatles Catalog for Much Less Than the Box Sets
Beatles Complete on Ukulele
Jaime's Mexican Village
802 Red River St.
A variety of singers will do every Beatles song ever recorded, accompanied by Roger Greenawalt on ukulele, as well as Austin's Fab Four cover band the Eggmen.
Hear Some 'Yum-o' Tunes
Rachael Ray and Daytrotter Party
801 Red River
"EVOO" would be a good name for a band, right? It's a SXSW tradition to simultaneously complain that the Food Network star is uncool while clamoring to attend her party, which this year features Jakob Dylan and Three Legs with Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, Andrew W.K., Dr. Dog and, of course, her husband's band, the Cringe. Oh, and food. Plus, Daytrotter sessions (RSVP required).
Visit the Epicenter of 'Weird' Austin
Cathedral of Junk
4422 Lareina Dr.
Impressive as it is, the Texas State Capitol has nothing on this landmark, a massive, found-object/garbage installation/sculpture, tucked away in creator Vince Hanneman's backyard, and so tall it has two flights of stairs. He has been building it since 1989.
Watch a Radio Show
KUT Live Broadcasts
Hilton Austin, 500 E. 4th St.
KGSR Live Broadcasts
The Four Seasons
It starts bright and early in the hotel lobby. Highlights include Courtyard Hounds (aka the Dixie Chicks sans Natalie Maines) on Friday at 10:35AM, and returning local hero Danny Barnes on Saturday at 10AM. The folks at commercial adult-alternative station KGSR get up even earlier, with shows and interviews starting at 6:30AM some days. Wednesday at 9AM they host a tribute to the late Texas rock ambassador Doug Sahm with the Gourds and Doug's son Shawn Sahm.
Help Girls Rock!
Girls Rock Austin Day Party
1704 E. 5th. St.
This one kicks off with a set from Girls Rock Austin camp alumnus Jessica Belle and also features several artists who have volunteered their time to the nonprofit, as well as X's Exene Cervenka, the Slits' Viv Albertine and 'The Girls' Guide to Rocking' author Jessica Hopper. Merch sales and a raffle of Joan Jett's guitar will benefit the camp.
Don't Bother Packing Clothes
American Apparel Factory Flea Market
Mexican-American Cultural Center
600 River St.
You'll just need a suitcase to go home with. Admission's free, even if the T-shirts and boy shorts aren't. Discounts of up to 85 percent are promised, with the cheapest items going for a dollar. Also at this location is Carniville, which has a massive slate of bands (including Major Lazer, GZA, Sleigh Bells, the Walkmen) and does require RSVP.
Get Lost in a Supermarket
Whole Foods Market
525 N. Lamar Blvd.
Yeah, you've maybe got one in your town, but this here is the flagship: 80,000 square feet, home of the original chocolate fountain and, hello: free samples! There's also an Australian music showcase Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 2PM, with free sips of Down Under wine.
Test Your Record- and Poster-Buying Willpower
Austin Record Convention
Austin Convention Center
Austin Convention Center
As with American Apparel, "no admission fee" does not mean that you won't spend money. This legendary record show is free Friday and Saturday (serious collectors shell out 20 bucks to get first crack on Thursday); Flatstock, which showcases rock posters, prints and other art, is gratis all three days. Both events take place at SXSW's main HQ but don't require badges.
Say Hi to LBJ
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
2313 Red River St.
Learn about the Pedernales Electric Co-op, Vietnam and the Great Society at this centerpiece of the University of Texas campus, best-known (in terms of entertainment value) for its "animatronic LBJ." Think Disney's Hall of Presidents but more up-close.
See Jon Langford Both Onstage and on a Gallery Wall
1510 S. Congress Ave.
The South Austin folk and outsider art gallery is a SXSW daytime pioneer. Thursday's party with Chicago rock clubs Schuba's and Lincoln Hall (featuring, among others, the Smith Westerns and -- once again -- Japandroids) is the 14th annual event, and Friday's Bloodshot Records show and Saturday's unsponsored party both turn 15. Jon Langford's paintings of figures including Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are a Yard Dog mainstay; the longtime Mekons frontman plays with the Waco Brothers Friday and with his own ad hoc combo Saturday.
Try to Get Yourself on 'Hipster Runoff'
Brooklyn Vegan Party
603 Red River St.
Two of the traditionally hotter tickets, even if you don't have to pay. In addition to sets from the likes of F---ed Up, Titus Andronicus, the Black Angels and -- déjà vu -- Japandroids, BV's party promises free vegan breakfast tacos (from Austin insitution Mr. Natural) starting at noon, as well as other food and drink. Pitchfork artists include Neon Indian, Real Estate, Memory Tapes, Local Natives, Javelin and -- is there an echo in here? -- Japandroids.
Take a Hike!
The Trail at Lady Bird Lake
Hey you! That's right, you! Just how much beer and barbecue have you consumed? Maybe you should go for a little jog around the lake. You can check out the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue while you're at it. Or maybe just squeeze in a stroll between the Dawes and Deer Tick sets. If you can spare the cash and are feeling especially athletic, bikes and kayaks are available.
For more extensive lists of official and unofficial shows and parties, see the SXSW site, Austin360.com, Showlist Austin and (for nothing but free food and drink info) Free Noms. Also check out @wristbandless and @sxswpartylist on Twitter. --Jason Cohen