Nothing has changed. Movies are showing, bands are plugging in, computers humming, the conversation level going. SXSW is just Austin, maybe Austin times 10, but still Austin. It works so well because it is so organic. It couldn't have happened anywhere else. It is here.
It starts slowly, then falls into motion, then is over. We are in the car; we are needed here. On the way we are asked a question on the walkie-talkie. We answer the question. We find Roland, ask our own question. Go where we are needed, do what we are needed to do. Everywhere there are people. Most of them seem happy. Everywhere there is music. Sometimes it is morning; sometimes it is night. Sometimes we are in our hotel rooms, or at the Convention Center but mostly I remember being in cars, in motion, talking, arriving, working, getting back in cars. There were old friends, new friends, co-workers, familiar faces, lots of people, everywhere we went and we went everywhere.
So another one came and went. It was wild; it was calm. It is hard to critique our own show. Three huge issues of the Chronicle, the Austin Music Awards show, the Film Conference, the Film Festival, the Interactive Festival, the Music Conference and Festival... a hell of a few weeks. It is over now but, again, things don't change. Every topic we covered in the last three weeks is one of ongoing concern. As SXSW is Austin, expect the Chronicle's coverage to just be more of the same.
There are too many people, places, business, institutions, and spiritual inspirations to thank by name; I thank them all.
Working SXSW `98, I watched new dad Roland Swenson brave the SXSW torrent, all the time wishing he was at home with wife Roseana Auten and their new daughter Christiane Helene Swenson. ("The Future of SXSW" read the infant's badge.) It occurred to me that her birthday will be February 27. From now on, she will always think that SXSW is a giant birthday party that her daddy throws just for her. In many ways, I suspect she will be right.