First of all, let me clarify something — I had a wonderful time at South by Southwest. I always do. As I’ve mentioned previously, this was the ninth time I’ve attended and spoken, and look forward to my tenth year next year. I’ve always loved Austin during South By because it’s so personable. But the size made that a lot more difficult to find this year. Conversations with the team putting on the conference yielded unofficial information, like this was maybe 500% bigger than last year, that there were more panels than even the music conference. It proved harder to get into official interactive parties than to secret, cool, music parties. Since when was geekiness ever exclusive? A velvet rope for Break Bread with Brad?
I enjoyed meeting new people, seeing some of my favorite people that I don’t see enough, others I’ve met the last several years, reconnecting with people I should have been in touch with (also insert Max Whitney here as I can’t find a link for her) and catching up with old, old friends. A GIGANTIC shout out goes to the wonderful Justin Cox, who I met last year, and who offered Enrique and I his bedroom for a full six days, not far from the SXSW action. And the biggest of high fives to Hugh Forrest, who has led SXSW all the years I’ve known it. He does an amazing job.
Add to all of this the bonus of running into Andrea Troolin and Dan Connelly during Flatstock yesterday. Andrea and I met at a winter German language camp when we were in 8th grade. We went on to date the same Jasons in high school and college, and still have friends in common. She’s put out some of my favorite music. Dan? I babysat him. He was best friends with my brother Andy growing up; his brother Sean was best friends with my brother Ben. He’s now national director of radio promotion for EMI. Though I didn’t speak to her, Dan was walking down the street with Norah Jones and two others. Go Dan.
Final events before getting out of town: discovering it was Grand National that we were hearing at the Austinist party, and seeing the Go! Team at Waterloo Records (who rocked for a brief five song set, down to high kicks in tube sox, God, I love them). It struck me that you really could have an enjoyable time at SXSW without paying for a music wristband — you could just go to day shows and after parties.
We’re now back in San Antonio, attacking the heap of schoolwork that needs completing before we return to New Haven: a stack of blue books to grade, a book to finish for Gender, Territory and Space, a Perspecta proposal, and a paper for my theory class, which I’ll write on postmodernism, nostalgia, camp and memory. It shouldn’t be hard — I’ve been bouncing around the ideas in my head for a while. Enrique’s brother, Fran, shows up today as well — they are best friends and I’ve never met him. We fly back on Sunday. Maybe by then, I’ll have my voice back!
Final random thoughts? I feel like posting to my website for the first time in a long time. And it struck me that maybe, a video blog would be fun to do. I have a camera, the university has good mics, and I like my friends. Is this a crazy idea?