Page Two

Page Two
I keep trying to think of some way to start this without talking about the obvious. Some pocket of silence, maybe some civic matter worth commenting on, but I'm lost in the swirl. I'm in a bit of a daze from movies to trade shows to panels and workshops to Chronicle production to Awards show planning. From Interactive to Film to Music, there is a steady tumble to the days, I'm stuck in a dryer, slowly spinning and not set to stop for a week. Around me, the same slow-motion frenzy as a small army works, works on the conference, works on the awards, works on the issue.

On the Tuesday I write this, we are in production on the largest Chronicle issue ever while the Film Conference finishes up (four days this year instead of two) downtown, SXSW Music gears up today, and the Awards show is tomorrow night. See what I mean about the tumble? I find the energy in the air contagious; everywhere there is the sense of possibility. I can do that. It should be the slogan of South by Southwest, "I Can Do That." I can make a movie, design a website, produce a game, start a band.

Just look at the range of talent the Chronicle has highlighted over the last three weeks. The concentration on noting gamemasters and filmmakers, acts to watch and acts that are being watched -- article after article. Yet we honestly barely scratch the surface in recording the extraordinary range of activities in Austin.

South by Southwest is national, but it is rooted locally; it emanates from this community and its interests. Sometimes I'm asked if we could have done this somewhere else. I always answer no; maybe if Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro, and Louis Jay Meyers had been somewhere else -- Seattle or Minneapolis -- we might have started something like SXSW there, but the exact identity of this nine-day concentration of art and business, creativity, and inspiration could only be what it is here in Austin.

All of this is very satisfying to the Chronicle staff. The issues, beliefs, and interests that have always driven this paper reach an accessible fruition for nine days every year. Austin becomes what it is always but now magnified.

SXSW '98 is just a recipe consisting of the mixing together of thousands of people. Always noted are the musicians, filmmakers, writers, webmasters, game designers, and other creative stars. But the staff required for every aspect of these events is amazing. The Chronicle, all the SXSW manifestations, and the Awards show happen because a lot of Austin people kick in and cover the details. You will see them all scurrying around (and they are mostly in motion, they don't stop moving for days). When you see them, remember how many amazing things are going on and these are many of the people making them happen.

Stay at home and read about it, watch it on TV, check it out on the Net, ignore it entirely or go out and enjoy it, SXSW week will be over next Monday. I'll miss it.

There is no issue we are more proud of each year than the Austin Music Awards issue. Here, our readers -- the club-going, record-buying audience -- speak and pick the talent worth noting. To read the polls over the years is to read the history of Austin music. The people do know; in this issue they speak and the results are the poll winners. What a celebration of Austin music and its rich diversity! (Along with the people, we offer a lot of critics who won't shut up and will tell you exactly what they think about SXSW '98 past, present, and future). Enjoy.

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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