A Family-Friendly Day at SXSW: It's Possible

True story: Art Attack was supposed to be in Mexico this week, but we forgot to renew our passports. So instead of hitting the beach, we're accepting the best consolation prize the world has ever known, a long weekend in Austin and SXSW. True, we've got three members of the under-10 set tagging along, but the feat is a lot more family-friendly than it used to be.

Time was, we got through the fest fueled entirely by bourbon, Mexican Coke and movie-theater-sized boxes of candy. Now we plan ahead and get home before dark: There's a box of apples and cookies in the car in case the kids get peckish.

The very things that were new-and-cool back in the day are now conventional, safe (but still fun) and perfect for the family--like free afternoon parties at Yard Dog (currently showing a set of paintings by punk-rock legend Jon Langford of the Mekons). Also suggested: day shows at the French Legation, Guero's and South by San Jose.

Note to Families: Go Wednesday. Austinites haven't taken off for the long weekend yet. We got a parking space and a table at Guero's in short order.

And always, when traveling with kids, the key to success is keeping expectations low and taking what you can get. We got to hear old-time favorites the Silos at Yard Dog, but had to leave before "Let's Take Some Drugs and Drive Around," which we guess was fitting under the circumstances.

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