The Austin Chronicle

Wave It in the Air Like You Just Don't Care

Derek Powazek and Fray Cafe

By David Garza, March 8, 2002, Screens

Derek Powazek, the fuzzy-warm creator of such juicy content nuggets as and, is waving his naughty bits in the air. "Independent content is without rules, it's without boundaries, it's about doing it for fun," he professes. "It's like waving your dick in the air." And truth be told, people are impressed by all that he's waving. After establishing himself as one of the must-see panelists over the past few years, Powazek has created a true legacy at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival with his afterhours Fray Café. The Café, a live version of the Fray storytelling Web site, invites regular contributors and visiting locals to stand onstage and share personal stories with a room full of webheads. Part stand-up comedy, part Alcoholics Anonymous, the event functions in much the same way as the Internet; that is, it gives voice to the masses, allows people to find like-minded pockets of friends, and dares them to say anything they want without consequence. As a result, it is no stretch to say that the Café, held this year at the Hideout, is the most human and most entertaining couple of hours in the whole Interactive Festival. Plus, visitors get to learn a whole lot about fellow conference attendees and stars. Superstar Josh Davis of wowed the audience Sunday night with his history of performing drag shows and snorting mountains of coke with David Faustino -- "Bud Bundy" -- in the New York of the early 1990s. Heather Champ, Web maven and Powazek's live-in girlfriend, brought the audience to tears with her story of nearly dying of E. coli after moving to California to be with her man. By the time she was done, the audience of bloggers and businessmen had experienced the creative spirit the Interactive Festival has promised all along.

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