The Austin Chronicle

Page Two: Coming Down Fast

Barreling toward SXSW 2011

By Louis Black, March 4, 2011, Columns

On Friday, March 11 – in just a little over week – South by Southwest 2011 will officially begin. For some of us, it began quite a while ago, but the preparations have now become nonstop. What follows is a recap of last week's column, along with new information about wristband and Film pass sales and news of announced events and performers.

You will also find in this issue our illuminating pullout guide to South by Southwest Interactive; our fine geek reporters will continue to weigh in through all manner of blogs and social media, as well as in future print editions throughout the event. This issue our Screens section previews this year's Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards, and our Music section officially kicks into SXSW overdrive.

Our SXSW website ( features news updates, blog posts, related stories, and an ever-growing list of unofficial parties, so view it early and often.

Conflict of interest note: I am a co-founder of and (along with SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson and Chronicle Publisher Nick Barbaro) a current partner in South by Southwest, as well as a co-founder of the Texas Film Hall of Fame; as I wrote last week, "calling this column an advertorial would almost be flattering it. It is a straight-out, pedal-to-the-metal slam, a roller coaster car having climbed the highest loop of tracks and now heading straight down fast, and there's nothing that is going to stop it."

SXSW Music: Wristbands and More

This year, SXSW Music Festival showcases will begin on Tuesday, March 15, with nine venues hosting bands. Among the many great shows announced for that day at the Central Presbyterian Church, where Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas, interviewed in our Music section this week (see "Sturgeon's Revelation," Music), will perform his original score to Tod Browning's 1931 film Dracula – the Spanish version.

SXSW Music wristbands will again be for sale at various locations during the Festival. See for details.


Last year, there were crowding issues at a number of SXSW screenings. Over the past year, we spent a lot of time figuring out how to minimize such problems this year.

SXSW is once again selling Film passes, which are currently available at Waterloo Records (in-store only) for $70, but only a limited amount – about half the number we've sold in the past. We've added screens, but the price has stayed the same.

This year's theatres include: the State, the Paramount, the Vimeo Theater at the Convention Center, the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, and the Alamo South Lamar. Also, SXSatellite will be at the Regal Arbor Cinema at Great Hills and the Regal Westgate.

Passes allow entry to all SXSW films, subject to capacity. Since people holding passes are admitted after badge holders, the passes are ideal for the films in larger venues, such as the Paramount and Vimeo Theater, and should often work at midrange venues like the State, the Rollins, and the SXSatellite venues.

Important: It's unlikely that passes will gain admittance for many, if any, of the screenings at the Alamo South Lamar or Alamo Ritz because they fill so quickly. If these Alamo screenings are on the top of your list, we encourage you to buy a Film badge.

This year, we introduce SXSatellite at the Regal Arbor in North Austin and the Regal Westgate to the south. The main idea behind this is to allow Austinites who would like to see some of the films playing in the Festival to have access to them without having to drive Downtown. The programming at the Westgate and Arbor won't be exclusive but will complement what is being featured in the rest of the Festival. The idea is not to introduce new films but to give local moviegoers a chance to see SXSW Film Festival programming.

Look for our SXSW Film issue next week (publication date: Friday, March 11) for much more in-depth Film Fest coverage, including reviews, previews, interviews, and other information.

Austin Music Awards and Poll Results

The 2010-11 Austin Music Awards show will be on Saturday, March 19, at the Austin Music Hall. The 29th annual awards show, beginning at 7:09pm sharp, is the ending celebration for SXSW Music 2011.

The lineup this year includes singer-songwriter Sahara Smith (Myth of the Heart) accompanied by Will Sexton; legendary Eighties country band the Wagoneers featuring Monte Warden with special guest Joe Ely; Bubble Puppy, one of the most storied bands from those wild psychedelic times now long past ("Hot Smoke & Sasafrass"); the Bright Light Social Hour; and the Meat Puppets with Roky Erickson. Finally, there will be a concert-length closing set from Mother Falcon.

For several decades now, The Austin Chronicle has published the results of its annual Music Poll on the first Wednesday of the South by Southwest Music Festival. The Chronicle issue for that week was always a giant Music issue that included the poll results as well as extensive SXSW Music coverage. The issue was published on Tuesday, and Downtown distribution began on Wednesday evening. The rest of distribution was finished on Thursday, the day on which the Chronicle is normally distributed.

During almost all of that time, the Austin Music Awards show honoring the poll's winners occurred on Wednesday night, the first night of the SXSW Music Festival.

Last year, for a number of reasons, we moved the Austin Music Awards show a few days over, to the Saturday night of SXSW Music. Still, the poll results appeared in the regular issue of the Chronicle that was distributed on the Thursday preceding the show.

The sense of celebrating the community and honoring musicians, as well as the overall fun and traditionally great music of the show, was all there, but the evening was drained of some of the excitement and suspense usually associated with it. This year The Austin Chronicle issue with a street date of March 18 will be a SXSW Music issue, but it will not contain the poll results.

Instead, the results will be posted online on the evening of Saturday, March 19, concurrent with the Austin Music Awards show. The results will be printed in the Chronicle that comes out the week after SXSW, with a street date of March 25.

The Austin Music Awards are presented by The Austin Chronicle and SXSW and co-sponsored by 93.3 KGSR Radio Austin and the Art Institute of Austin. The event is a benefit for the SIMS Foundation. This year, the Music Awards show will air live on America's longest continuously running community television station, channelAustin (Channel 10).

Tickets are currently on sale at Waterloo Records. The price is $15 in advance and $20 the night of the show. Your SXSW badges and wristbands include entry to the Austin Music Awards.


As with every year, there are free events all over town sponsored by SXSW. SXSW FREE 2011 kicks off with SXSW ScreenBurn, the video-game element of the SXSW Interactive Festival that merges the new media, music, film, and video-game industries all in one place – at the Austin Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public Friday, March 11, from 2 to 6pm, and Saturday-Sunday, March 12-13, noon-6pm.

The free shows at the Auditorium Shores stage on Lady Bird Lake, as always, offer across-the-board strong music bills.

Confirmed for Thursday, March 17, are: 6pm, Luke Rathborne; 7pm, Twin Shadow; and at 8pm, Levi's Presents: The Strokes. Announced for Friday, March 18, are: 6pm, Suzanna Choffel; 7pm, World Party; and 8pm, Blue October.

During the afternoon of Saturday, March 19, the show will be family-friendly, with gates opening at 11am and the Groundwork Music Orchestra at 12:40pm, Ozokidz at 1:30pm, and MarchFourth Marching Band at 2:30pm. Then the lineup continues: 3:30pm, Kurt Vile & the Violators; 4:25pm, Man Man; 5:20pm, Middle Brother; 6:15pm, the Felice Brothers; 7:30pm, Bright Eyes.

At the Convention Center, during SXSW Music, there will be the Texas Guitar Show and the Flatstock 29 poster show, both of which will be free and open to all. The Texas Guitar Show is an insane, instrument-centered buy-sell-trade event. The Flatstock poster show is run in conjunction with the American Poster Institute and features unique concert posters from some of the biggest artists around the globe.

Visit for hours of operation and more info about these exciting exhibitions.

In conjunction with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, SXSW will offer two weekends of free events at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center (1165 Angelina). The weekend of March 12-13 features Film and Interactive events, and the weekend of March 18-20 features Music events. Film events at the Carver: Saturday, March 12: 10am-4:30pm, Youth Filmmaking Workshop With the Austin School of Film; 6-8pm, Texas High School Shorts Screening.

Austin Film Society 2011 Texas Film Hall of Fame

Not officially associated with SXSW, the Austin Film Society presents the 2011 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards on Thursday, March 10, at Austin Studios Stage 5 (1901 E. 51st). This year, honorees include Rip Torn and Renée Zellweger. Friday Night Lights will receive the Star of Texas Award, to be accepted by Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler with Brad Leland, Jesse Plemons, and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson. The Rising Star Award will go to John Hawkes, best known for playing Sol Star in Deadwood and Teardrop in Winter's Bone, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, all in best supporting actor categories.

Spoon will be honored for their work on soundtracks. A lot of their songs have been featured on such TV shows as Veronica Mars, Scrubs, Chuck, The Simpsons, Numb3rs, How I Met Your Mother, and the pilot episode of Bones. "Take a Walk" was featured on the soundtrack to the video game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2, and "The Underdog" was used in Cloverfield, as well as being featured in 17 Again and I Love You, Man. "The Infinite Pet" was used in (500) Days of Summer.

The evening's emcee is comedian and writer Wyatt Cenac. Among the presenters will be filmmaker Jeff Nichols and columnist Liz Smith. Finally, special guests include Thomas Haden Church, Catherine Hardwicke, Richard Linklater, Luke Wilson, and Mike Judge.

Stay tuned; there's a lot more to come!

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