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Michael Barnes

SXSW Stories 3: Rodrigo Allen, Shannon Donaldson, Michelle Rodriguez, Joane Zoleta and Gabrielle Alonzo

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Rodrigo Allen guarding the parking lot at Allens Boots. He likes it better than being a bouncer on Sixth Street.

Rodrigo Allen guarding the parking lot at Allens Boots. He likes it better than being a bouncer on Sixth Street.

Rodrigo Allen is from Elgin, raised on a farm. “I’m doing parking lot security these days. Used to do security at bars on Sixth Street. It was a headache, especially during SXSW. The drama that went on! The second week of SX is much worse. You have celebrities, music from all over the world, a lot traffic, a lot of attitude, a lot of egos. I’ll plug my current employer: Allens Boots. I’ve met people from Turkey, from Switzerland. I met Willie Nelson coming in and out of here twice; I’m surprised he is still alive and looks the way he did in the 1980s.”

Shannon Donaldson owns the Cutest Little Succulent Cart in Austin. SXSW is not a great sales time, because people are traveling, but you gotta do it.

Shannon Donaldson owns the Cutest Little Succulent Cart in Austin. SXSW is not a great sales time, because people are traveling, but you gotta do it.

Shannon Donaldson owns the Cutest Little Succulent Cart in Austin. She was parked in front of Gueros Taco Bar during SX. Donaldson is an Austin native. “I’m a unicorn. I started selling flowers, then summer came, it was a million degrees outside and nobody wanted flowers, so I started doing succulents. All I do is shop around and find unique containers at reasonable prices. I try thrift stores and flea markets, antique places. A guy in Del Valle, he grows them. I call him my succulent gold mine. I don’t do as well during SX because it’s travelers. So I bring out terrariums and DYI  kits. You have to go out for SX, however, because you want to be seen.”

Gabrielle Alonzo, Joane Zoleta and Michelle Rodriguez are visiting from Houston. They accidentally came during SXSW.

Gabrielle Alonzo, Joane Zoleta and Michelle Rodriguez are visiting from Houston. They accidentally came during SXSW.

Michelle Rodriguez, Joane Zoleta and Gabrielle Alonzo, from Houston, were seated at a picnic table at at Ms. P’s Electric Cock, the one with the big “CHICKEN” sign. They are not here for SXSW, but rather are celebrating Michelle’s birthday. Michelle: “Just so happens there’s a festival.” Gabrielle: “Almost had to cancel it. We stayed at Lake Travis yesterday. Everything else was fully booked. Tonight we found a room 20 miles from downtown.” Joane: “We are going to shop now. This is our first time in Austin for all of us. We hear a lot of good things about the shops here. Now we are waiting for our food.”