Tell you how much of a badass Mrs. Austin is, she's my own little PR firm.

Last night we went to Shady Grove, an Austin restaurant that occasionally has some live music. Well Bob Schneider was playing last night and, Mrs. Austin being the enormous fan that she is, wanted to go. I arranged the baby-sitting with a friend and we were off.

First of all, there is barely enough parking at Shady Grove for when you just want to go and eat, let alone when a local legend is playing for free. She got there at 5:30 for an 8pm show and it was already packed. After I dropped the kid off, I headed downtown and circled the establishment for about 45 mins before finding a spot to park, then waited in line to get in for another 45 mins. It was 30 mins into the show when I was finally able to get in. Luckily he didn't play any of my favorite songs yet.

So we watch the show, do a little dance, drink a little beer and just have a good old time. Today reports from local radio KGSR indicate attendance records were broken for Shady Grove to the tune of 1,500 people. Doesn't sound like a lot I know, but when you consider the restaurant has the seating capacity of your average Bennigan's, with a moderate size patio, the number is staggering. Needless to say it was standing room only, unless you were one of the fortunate 200 that got chairs. Our view was really good, we were only about 70 feet away from the stage and had a clear view, clearer as the evening went on and people in front of us began leaving or moving around.

I was a bit saddened that he didn't play Beatomatic, otherwise known as the Batman song, but they did do Tarantula so I was pretty pleased. After a crowd pleasing set, he excused his drummer guitarist and bassist and brought up a string quartet and they proceeded to lose the crowd. This really gave me the impression that he just loves playing and he's in it for his love of music and hopefully some fans will appreciate it to. The last 2 songs were love songs, very somber and quiet and the strings weren't miked so all you heard was him for the most part. Interesting way to end a show.

But it gets better.

I wanted to draw a picture of Bob wearing a Batman tee shirt to pay homage to the guy in a way only I can. But I didn't know how to get it to him other than finding his agent or promoter and mailing it to them, knowing it'd see the trash before it got to him. (Which is unfair to say, the last show we saw him I was having a smoke by the entrance and he just walked by like he was coming to see the show, then later that week I saw him at a mall with just one girl. In Austin he's a household name, but outside of that I'm not sure.) Let's just say he's probably still local enough to be pretty accessible, but famous enough to require event staff at a show.

So Mrs. Austin knew about my comic book picture idea, so after the show was over and the lamo fans who didn't get their encore left, leaving the drunk and stoned among us to mill around discussing the finer aspects of how much we really wanted to get some pancakes or enchiladas at 10 at night, she "rushed" the stage. Bob was greeting people, signing some shallow chicks' breasts or faces or whatever, saying hi to friends, and this is how the story goes as told by Mrs. A.

"So I walked up there and he's signing autographs and all and I said 'Hey Bob, can you listen a minute while you sign stuff?' 'Yeah,' he said. 'My husband is a comic book artist and he wants to draw a picture of you wearing a Batman tee-shirt.' He stops what he's doing and looks at me and says, 'What?' 'My husband is a comic book artist and he wants to draw a picture of you wearing a Batman tee-shirt, does he have your permission?' 'Yeah,' he says. 'Ok,' I say, 'So how does he get it to you?' 'Tell him to bring it to Antone's on Tuesday, I'll be there,' he says. 'Ok,' I say, 'thanks.'"

My brush with fame brought about by my personal PR firm. Only problem is now I have to produce. I have 3 days to come up with a good picture. Not that the picture itself is going to be hard, but as an artist I'm going to stress about this because I'm showing it, GIVING it, to what would be considered a huge celebrity, local or otherwise. So I'm off to start sketching, wish me luck.

P.S. Should you need balls the size of coconuts, talk to my wife.

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