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Let the SXSW onslaught begin ...

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With SXSW week just seven days away, this is the first of three issues that will devote a significant amount of coverage to SXSW. After that, there will be our three daily SXSW issues published on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- March 16-18. This week, we concentrate on the interactive festival, next week on film, and then, finally, our SXSW Music and Austin Music Awards issue, traditionally our biggest issue of the year. The issues focus on the event, but they are really about the life of this city -- about new media, new ways of thinking about media, film, and music. They are Austin daily life (perhaps expanded by some multiplier), but they are of the city, not grafted onto it. Especially if, as GSDM's Roy Spence suggests, more than a physical reality we've become a city of ideas, defined as much by the way we think and what we think about as we are by rocks, water, and trees. These three issues brim over with the quality that is life in Austin.

We're especially proud of the Austin Music Awards Show this year -- with tributes to Doug Sahm (featuring Shawn Sahm and Augie Meyers) and Sterling Morrison (featuring Alejandro Escovedo, Tosca, and special guest John Cale). Kelly Willis, the Texas Trumpets, Terri Hendrix, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Bob Schneider are also on the bill. Paul Ray is emcee, Kerry Awn is the comic, and KGSR-FM 107.1 and KROX-101X are the co-sponsors. Mistress of ceremonies Margaret Moser is deep into the planning of the event but not -- I repeat -- not neglecting her dogs. Her brother Stephen, on the other hand, is on his own. The show is Wednesday, March 15, at the Austin Music Hall. Tickets are now on sale at all Star Ticket outlets. There will only be a very limited number of tickets sold to this show. SXSW Music badges and wristbands are good for admission.

The whole SXSW onslaught begins next week. SXSW Interactive and Film kick it off, and SXSW Music kicks off with the above-mentioned awards show. Check out the eight-page SXSW supplement in this issue for more information on all SXSW events. SXSW Music wristbands (at all Star Ticket outlets) and SXSW Film passes (at Waterloo Records) are now on sale

In this week's "Postmarks" are more outraged letters about our Lauryn Paige Fuller piece ("Mighty Real: The Scott Fuller Murder and Austin's Drag Underground," Feb 18). I'm not going to drag this out much longer, but I've got to mention that the missing piece of this puzzle is our readers. We're not a tabloid, we're not a lightweight, reader-friendly compendium of capsules. We're word-rich and text-heavy. Our greatest arrogance is that we assume our readers love to read and to think. As our teacher Ed Lowry told us to do so many years ago, we don't write down to people -- we write out to them. The Chronicle is not a tabloid, our readers are not tabloid readers. They don't always agree with us, some of them probably never agree with us. But we tell them what's going on, and if they bother to read what we've written, we'll give them a lot to think about. The Lauryn Paige Fuller piece was just such a stimulant. We don't sell papers; we give them away. We're not looking for lurid crimes or outrageous behavior; we're looking for great stories, as well as the stuff that affects us day to day. I was proud to publish the story and photo essay and happy to publish the response.

I've talked about how great I think morning radio in Austin is -- channel flipping is a real pleasure. After 10am, it's only been Brian Beck on KGSR-FM or John Aielli on KUT-FM. Well, the good news is that Paul Pryor's back on the air on KVET-FM starting at 10am. Sometimes Sammy Allred hangs around for the start of the show, which increases the pleasure. In some ways the opposite of his dad (and in many ways just like him), Pryor is ornery, conservative, and opinionated. I don't always agree with him (on politics I rarely do), but he's always smart and entertaining. And he's Austin, steeped in this town and its longtime ways of thinking and dealing. One morning, Paul and Sammy started talking about John Bustin, and for the couple of thousand of us who got it, radio couldn't have been better.

We're proud to welcome the newest member of the Chronicle family: Eleanor Frances Nichols. She was born to "Media Clips" columnist Lee Nichols and his wife, Margaret Bridgeman, on February 21. end story

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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