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With the publication of this issue -- February 7 -- SXSW 1997 is just four weeks from beginning. This affects the Chronicle in the sense that we print some of our largest issues of the year over these four weeks. The hectic pace of our neighbors across the field at the SXSW compound also affects the Chronicle staff.

Next week is a relatively normal issue but the subsequent weeks will offer:

* The Musician's Register issue on February 21 offers listings for hundreds of Austin acts. A print overrun of the Register section is printed and inserted into SXSW music conference registrant's bags.

* A special advertising restaurant menu insert in the February 28 issue will feature menus from many of Austin's best restaurants. There will also be an overrun of this supplement which will be inserted into the bags of registrants at all SXSW conferences.

* The kick-off of SXSW week (actually a ten-day period) is covered in the March 7 issue, concentrating on film and multimedia/new media though offering extensive music coverage as well as all the usual Chronicle content.

* The 15th annual Austin Music Awards show will celebrate the results of the Music Poll in the March 14th issue, which will be chock full of SXSW information on music and film (the SXSW Film Festival runs nine days).

* SXSW wristbands: There are a couple of new twists to SXSW this year. The most significant is wristband distribution. Over the years, SXSW's single biggest complaint has been about getting into shows, followed by Austinites specifically claiming that they couldn't get into shows at clubs they supported all year. SXSW will now put wristbands on sale February 14, and then take them off the market on March 1. Wristbands will be offered to Austinites at the lowest price during this time, about $51 ($45 for the wristband plus tax and handling) and will be limited to four per person. After March 1, wristbands will not be sold until SXSW week, when, in order to discourage scalping, SXSW will put an additional, limited number of wristbands on sale (priced at $60 each). For the first time this year, wristbands are not being sold over the phone to out-of-towners. We are limiting the number of wristbands sold in order to control crowding and in an effort to offer more of them to Austinites.

* SXSW Music Festival will kick off Wednesday night at about 20 clubs. The SXSW wristband is good for this added showcase night and all its shows, including -- for the first time -- Austin Music Awards at the Austin Music Hall.

Kate Messer has coordinated a commando team of interns, who are busy tallying the votes in the Music Poll while Margaret Moser is on the phone more than she is on the radio (and that is saying something). The Austin Music Awards show (presented by the Chronicle and SXSW, and co-sponsored by 107.1 KGSR and 101X) is near. The confirmed lineup includes: 81/2 Souvenirs, the Sexton Sextet, Texas Tornados, and a special guest-studded tribute to Townes Van Zandt hosted by Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Mr. Paul Ray, will, of course, be the emcee.

The SXSW Film Pass will also go on sale through Star Tickets on February 14; registration is still available for all three SXSW conferences. [There is a conflict of interest here but I beat it to death mentioning it every time, so take it for granted that these are commercial messages.]

The deadline for registering your group or act in the Musicians Register (co-sponsored by KGSR FM 107.1) is this Friday, February 7. The Register is used as a directory of Austin music, by everyone in the music business, not only in Austin. (February 7 is also the last day for accepting Music Poll ballots.) When you register, you can pick up your ticket for the annual Austin Musicians Appreciation Supper at Threadgill's North, co-sponsored by KLBJ- FM, the Austin Music Network, and The Austin Chronicle.

During this same time, the City Council and mayoral races are also taking shape and the legislature is in session, the council is facing any number of serious issues, not to mention the usual rich range of local cultural activities available. This is not a quiet time.

As mentioned last week, on Monday, February 10 the Austin Film Society will present a special screening of Richard Linklater's new film SubUrbia, based on Eric Bogosian's play. The screening, introduced by Linklater, will be held at the Paramount Theater. This event is a benefit for Texas Filmmaker's Production Fund, which gives independent filmmakers money to help with their projects. Tickets go on sale for $15 on January 30 and are good for entrance to the reception afterward. (Call the Austin Film Society, 322-0145 for info.)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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