Sunday, March 16, 2014

SxSW 2014 Wrap-up

This year, SxSW was a bit a letdown for me. With a sudden change in employment status, my focus changed from casual enjoyment to job hunting and networking. As a result, even with a Platinum Badge, I was forced to miss several mornings, and two complete days of music. (Thanks Ginni!)

Film

When not preoccupied with other things, I spent a majority of my time at film screenings.

Here's a quick list of what I was able to see:

That Guy Dick Miller

A great film. I was flabbergasted by how many movies I had seen with Dick as a character actor.


The Infinite Man

An interesting Aussie film with time travel and lots of plot twists.

The Heart Machine

Poignant commentary on young romance in our modern social media world



Harmontown

This was just plain fun. I love Dan Harmon's comedy.

Penny Dreadful

Going in, I didn't realize this was a pilot for Showtime series. In my opinion, dreadful is an apt description.

I Believe in Unicorns

A interesting drama about a young girl who runs away from home, on a romantic fling.

Animals

Basically, what if Trainspotting had taken place in America?

Raid 2

Yet another projector fiasco at the Paramount! It seems like that this has been the case for 3 out of the last 4 years. My brother and I finally made it the rescheduled screening the next night, not sure that it was worth the trouble. Not as good as Raid Redemption.



Silicon Valley

Mike Judge always seems to find your comedic nerve. This time, he has Silicon Valley start-up culture in his gun-sight.



A Wolf at the Door

An engaging and suspenseful, but very disturbing crime drama from Brazil. Unlike typical U.S. crime dramas, this one seemed too realistic, and probable.

Wetlands

After failing to get into Wes Anderson's premier, My brother and I ended up here, because it was the only screening with seats. All I can say is that this was close I as I ever want to get to seeing a German Shizer Flick. ;)

The Internet's Own Boy: The Aaron Schwartz Story

A fantastic documentary about the prodigy, Aaron Schwartz, and his contributions the to Internet, particularly his fight for online privacy. After watching the film, his suicide seemed even more tragic.

The 78 Project

This film was a documentary about connecting modern musicians to the past. In particular, the 1930's when the 78 rpm record was king.

The main story line involved taking a vintage, portable rig on the road, that was able to cut 78 rpm discs, to make live recordings of modern musicians. Also included in the film were trips to multiple archives and collections containing 78's.

The coup de grace for this screening however, was that they actually had a musician cut a 78 recording on stage during the Q&A.

Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (This is Stones Throw Records)

Great documentary about an influential Indie record label. Kudos to the film maker for showing how it was waning in this new era of the Music Industry.

The Winding Stream

The Carter family, Johnny Cash, Roots Music, what's not to like about this film? As they said in the film, the Carter family ignited the Big Bang that created the Country Music Industry. I learned some fascinating things about Border (aka. Mexican) Radio, and there was a lot of previously unreleased footage of the Man in Black.

Music

For Music this year, I only really went to things on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, I started out the evening with my friends Cedric Theys and Jakes Srinivasan for the GlobeFest showcase at the Speakeasy. As that started filling up, I opted for a more serene experience at the St. David's. The acts I saw included:

  • Lo'Jo from Angers, France at the Speakeasy - All I can say was this band was fantastic
  • Imarhan from Timbuktu, MALI at the Speakeasy - Interesting, but a little thin on the musicianship
  • Tennis from Denver, CO at St. David's Sanctuary
  • Gungor from Denver, CO at St. David's Bethell Hall - A very good band playing out of the element, acoustic.
  • Vance Joy from Melbourne, VIC at St. David's Sanctuary

For Saturday, I was able to catch the following:

  • Ramesh from Austin (whoops) at the Central Presbyterian Church - A good pop band, once you got past that, they weren't very interesting.
  • Andy Shauf from Regina, SK at St. David's Bethell Hall
  • The Wood Brothers from Nashville, TN at St. David's Sanctuary - Chris Wood from Medesky, Martin and Wood teamed up with his brother, Oliver. These two are fantastic.
  • Kumbia Queers from Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Russia House - I went here to catch up to Jakes. Was a bit underwhelmed by this band, although others seemed to be getting into them.
  • Pigpen Theater Company from Pittsburgh, PA at the 18th Floor - Outstanding Irish influenced stuff.

BBQ

I managed to get over to the BBQ. It was a bit anti-climatic this year, because it felt like I had attended half of a SxSW. I did run into my good buddies Hillary and Marvin, once again.

Here's to SxSW 2015, and hoping that things are much better then.

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