SXSW is upon us, and I greet it with one arm open and one arm crossed against my chest. Ambivalence sums up my true feelings toward the festival.

On the one hand (of the open arm):
  • It gives me a chance to go back to the gorgeousness of Austin

  • I get to see my friends from across the US (NYC, Seattle, LA, etc.) and overseas (see you soon, Simon!)

  • I can catch music by hundreds of great bands (OK tens of great bands because no one can be in 20 places at once)

  • I always meet at least one or six new people who I'll keep in touch with

  • Tex-Mex. Queso. BREAKFAST TACOS.

  • But on the other hand (crossed arm):
  • It's expensive. I don't have a corporate sponsor to buy me a badge and the wristband is useless for any crowded show

  • So many non-Austin artists are denied showcases due to lack of inside hook-ups, yet the same roster of crappy local bands plays year after year

  • I'm especially frustrated right now because the music press liaison denied me a last minute press badge for SFist. Hey, I know they've got rules, and it's insanely busy there right now, but in the time it took her to email me back three denials, she coulda ran that badge through the laminating machine and have been done with it.
  • The tiebreaking factors that draw me down south each year are the lure of friends, Tex Mex, and the mysterious and magical free party list. I don't know who compiles said list, but without it, I'd be lost, and with it, I hardly miss having a badge or wristband. At least during daylight hours. Thanks anonymous list-compiler!


    I'm still puzzled as to why SXSW did not select "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" to screen during the film or music festival. HELLO? Matt Dentler, you claim to be a music fan, in addition to a film afficionado. How did you fall asleep on this one? Austinites love Jeff, and AGJB has sold out at every film festival (usually two screenings per fest) including Woodstock, CMJ, Leeds, and just this past week Cinequest. (Read Mary-Lynn's review of the doc on SFist.com.) Yes, I'm in the documentary and have become friends with the filmmakers and Mary since I met them through this project. But I'm also a fan of Jeff, and can honestly say that, aside from my involvement in it, the documentary is amazing. I wonder if we'll ever find out why SXSW just wasn't interested.

    Not to worry, plenty of other festivals are interested in hosting some sold out screenings of their own. Check out upcoming screenings at:
    -> FEST: Festival de Cinema e Video Jovem de Espinho in March
    -> Belfast Film Festival in April
    -> Buenos Aires International Film Festival of Independent Films in April
    -> Seattle International Film Festival in May, the most highly attended film festival in the U.S., and one of 6 North American Film Festivals that qualifies a film for the Independent Spirit Awards.


    Speaking of SFist.com, they just named me Music Editor. Thanks SFist!

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