Next, I drive downtown to the Convention Center. The SXSW Film and Interactive Conferences are going on. Panelists are being lead down the hall. I take the endless walk from one end of the Convention Center to the other to find a person who has just left for the other end by a different route. Everywhere there are people moving. A series of faces pass by you. Some you talk to, some you just wave a quick hello. You see old friends, hug and talk about catching up, and then don't see them again.
It is March, SXSW time -- film, interactive, and music. The Chronicle is producing some of our largest issues of the year. It is Austin Music Awards time. It is spring break. Nothing is quite the way it usually is.
In your hands you hold the largest issue of the Chronicle we have ever produced -- 216 pages. Including this issue, we have produced an astonishing 712 pages in the last four weeks. The staff is exhausted but, I think, very proud.
This issue will hit the streets Wednesday night as the Austin Music Awards are going on at the Austin Music Hall, co-sponsored by KGSR-FM 107. I'm writing this on Tuesday morning before the Awards, though by the time most of you read this the Awards will be over. There may be a couple of you standing in the back of the Music Hall reading this as the Awards are going on.
As I write, 8:30am Tuesday morning, I'm listening to Kevin Phinney and Kevin Connor of KGSR's Kevin and Kevin morning show chatting up celebrities as they sit at the bar at the Four Seasons, from where they'll be broadcasting this week. I'm sitting at the Chronicle, which is mostly still deserted except for Nick Barbaro, writing away. They are relaxing, listening to live music, talking to many of the most exciting SXSW filmmakers, most of whom I won't get to meet. At least Kevin and Kevin aren't staying at the Four Seasons, are they?
Driving in to the Chronicle this morning I kept switching back and forth between KGSR-FM and KLBJ-FM 93.7 (I started listening to this show regularly because Corcoran is always talking about it). At one point on both of them local bands were performing live (81/2 Souvenirs and Malford Milligan).
I was thinking that there aren't many cities in the country you can drive around in and find even one station that supports the local music scene. Here we have two; they both present local music all the time and they're not alone. Not only is there Austin music all over the radio, but it's also on television, from the coverage given by local news to the Austin Music Network. There is also, of course, the live music scene, not to mention everything and everybody from studios to managers floating around. Mostly there are musicians. When I'm asked why SXSW works so well, there is one quick answer: "Austin, Texas."
In this issue our readers honor their favorite musicians with the results of The Austin Chronicle Austin Music Readers Poll. In 50 categories we hold our own city's talents up for acclaim. More readers than ever voted this year and the results are diverse and exciting.
SXSW and The Austin Chronicle presented the Austin Music Awards, which I'm willing to bet began promptly at 7:55pm (tomorrow as I write) Wednesday, March 17 at the Austin Music Hall (which is yesterday as most of you read this). There the musicians and acts you voted for were honored. In this issue we print all the winners.
SXSW will be in full swing when you get this. SXSW Interactive will actually be over, as will the Film Conference. The Film Festival still continues at the Alamo, Dobie, Paramount, and the Austin Convention Center theatre. Music will be everywhere. During the day, panels, workshops, mini-meetings, and the trade show will be going on at the Convention Center, and at night there will be music at over 40 clubs. That's just SXSW. There will be music going on everywhere from bookstores to art galleries, backyards to swank private parties.
SXSW presents two free outdoor shows at Waterloo Park this year. Joe Ely and friends and Fastball will play on Friday, March 19, and the Damnations TX, Spoon, the Gourds, and Guided by Voices are on Saturday, March 20. The shows are co-sponsored by Entertainment Weekly, Sam Goody, VH1, KLBJ FM 93.7, and H.E.A.R. And the beat goes on.
SXSW Film and GSD&M presented a double bill of Jack Hill's Spider Baby and Switchblade Sisters on the roof of the latter's new parking garage on Monday night. The design of the garage really lent itself to a drive-in atmosphere; the place was packed, as over 800 people showed up. Unfortunately Quentin Tarantino didn't show, as he was sick, but his mom was there. Jack Hill and actor Sid Haig presented the films, the weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all. GSD&M and SXSW Film had been looking for something to do together and this was a perfect drive-in party. The GSD&M staff went overboard to make sure everything went well. They designed tickets and posters as well as helped coordinate every aspect of the event. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, and I bet GSD&M ends up doing more outdoor shows.
Enough introduction, this issue is truly loaded with information. Read, digest, and enjoy. Then go out and have some fun.