The Red Carpet at The Woodie Awards Is Black

by Joshua Heller

The crowds have swelled on Sixth Street. This city is full. I am barely alive. Being slightly buzzed on caffeine and beer have become routine. The so-called utopia has caught up with me.

I am out of my mind standing on a red carpet next to journalists from college outlets. I am really thirsty. I’ve never been on a red carpet and this carpet is black. I am not familiar with any of the artists. Who are these people? A publicist tells me the name of a band she wants me to talk to. I Google them. Wikipedia doesn’t even know who they are. I don’t have any questions prepared, and the only recording device I’m carrying is a notepad.

I ask Lil B “The Based God” if his stream-of-consciousness raps are inspired by a Dadaist tradition. He says his flow is focused on expressing himself to the fullest while spreading world peace. He shows me an amulet with beads. I ask if growing up in Berkeley made him New-Agey. He says “I’m a hippie to the max.”

A band with facial hair called Atlantic Line stop for a moment to talk. I don’t know what their music sounds like so I ask about beard maintenance. They suggest staying away from electric shavers and using aloe as after-shave. I am an amateur journalist at an amateur awards show.

Nic Harcourt from KCRW tells me he’s heading a department at MTV to put new artists’ music into television shows. With the death of the recording industry, this seems like a viable way to make money. A publicist asks if I want to interview the producers of “Like a G6.”

The Friendly Fire ask if I was recording our rapport. I say no. They pull out their camera and interview me: “Where are we?” “The most prestigious award show in North American history… founded over 250 years ago: the Woodies….” They turn off their camera and walk away.

I tell Donald Glover his rap album reminds me of Bright Eyes because of its earnest commentary on the state of becoming famous. He thanks me for not comparing him to Drake.

I ask Wiz Khalifa if he’s the only rapper from North Dakota. He says he was born there but moved away when he was young. He asks if I was from North Dakota. I say I just really like reading Wikipedia.

I walk with a girl who works for websites that cater to teenagers into the college award show. I am disappointed that the beer is not free. The mohawked security guard tells me that there is no way I’m going up to the VIP area. I leave the venue while Wiz Khalifa performs his famous song.

Then I reunite with Internet people down the street to watch meme-to-musicians Gregory Brothers perform their chart-topping hit “Bed Intruder.”

Joshua Heller may be going to rehab after SxSW.