Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SXSW, an Introduction

If you care a lot about music, movies, or interactive media, then you should know about SXSW, or "South by" as it is often referred to here in Austin. It stands for "South by Southwest," and it's an annual, week-long event of conferences and festivals. (It's also the name of the private company that hosts the event.) It began in 1987. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Web site:
The classic problem facing Austin musicians was being isolated from the rest of the world here in the middle of Texas. SXSW was a way to reach out to the rest of the world, and bring them here to do business. To do that successfully, SXSW needed to appeal to people other than local artists whether they were from Austin, Ft. Worth, Chicago, Toronto, Munich or Tokyo.
It's true: Austin is in the middle of nowhere. But if the creators of SXSW wanted to put it on the map, they did. In 1987, there were 700 registrants; now, there are about 17,000. It shows, too. Traffic is horrible this week! On the plus side, I ran into a couple from Montreal, who came for the conference. That's pretty neat. :)

A small group of girls invited me to people-watch with them in downtown Austin on Saturday. Things were just starting to gear up for the big event. Here are some pictures:

There was a random carousel in the middle of downtown. It was a marketing ploy for I don't even remember what company . . . Hm. Looks like their marketing didn't work.

Aubrey, Kendyl, and Jenna:

Holly, Aubrey, and Kendyl:

In the same parking lot as the carousel was the Firefox trailer. We got free Firefox t-shirts and free ice cream sandwiches. Now that's good marketing. Check out the names of their ice cream sandwiches! Brilliant!

Below, Aubrey is holding a Chilla from Mozilla, which is a fancy way of saying "Salted chocolate cookies with orange sherbet."

We walked around for a long time. Here, you can see the infamous 6th Street. Sixth Street is lined with bars. Every Friday through Sunday, it's blocked off from traffic because it's easier for cops to block the street, than to contain hundreds of drunk people.

I tried to capture the energy of 6th Street, but I had to keep up the pace with the girls I was with. I may have to go back later when I have more time . . . Then again, 6th Street is kind of gross on the weekends. This may be the only picture you get.

And here's your standard postcard shot of the Texas State Capitol, which incidentally, is 7 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol. (Oh, Texas . . . Why are you so proud???)

Thing I'm thankful for: just being alive, I guess.


Blogger bh said...

sara, i am so jealous of you right now. i swear, if you complain about living in austin this week, i will fly out there and smack you in the face.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Love it! The first time I went to Austin they were having SXSW too so we went down there and it was INSANE! But I love the energy!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I admit that I spent most of my time with SXSW complaining about the traffic :) Then there is this biker convention every year that usually results in numerous deaths. I complained about that a lot too ;)

4:34 PM  

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