Life & Arts

SXSW 2011
1:21 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

After Biggest SXSW Ever, City Official Suggests We "Dial It Back"

A sign outside the bar Shangri-La on E. 6th St. yesterday thanked SXSW attendees for visiting and urged them to leave.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

The epic ten-day party that crashed down on Austin last week has grown to the point where it needs to be scaled back, according to City of Austin Music Programs Manager, Don Pitts.  "We need to curtail it, and I think dial it back some," Pitts said in a phone interview with KUT News.

"Some tougher standards should take place, and a lot of the events that we saw, the promoters or event producers were pretty inexperienced in handling those sizes of crowds," Pitts told KUT News.

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sxsw 2011
11:33 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Crews Fixing Brocca Gallery After Fire Disrupted SXSW Partying

Yellow tape restricts access to Fast Folks bike shop and Brocca art gallery after a fire last night.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Work crews arrived this morning to 1103 E. 6th St. after a fire disrupted a South by Southwest party at Brocca Gallery on Tuesday. The Austin Fire Department says the blaze caused an estimated $100,000 in damage and was started by malfunctioning electrical equipment. The cause has been ruled accidental.

The fire also closed Fast Folks Cyclery next door. The owners posted on their Twitter account last night that their shop is okay.

Continue reading for pictures and video.

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sxsw 2011
9:52 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Is Free Beer Enough To Win On the SXSW Trade Show Floor?

The trade show floor at SXSW is filled with companies competing for attention, but once they reel you in, are they delivering the message?
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Tech companies, ranging from independent iPhone app developers to multinational wireless providers, are competing for the attention of South by Southwest Interactive attendees who wander onto the trade show floor at the Austin Convention Center. Free beer and cotton candy are among the enticements, but once that traffic is built, is the message getting across?

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sxsw 2011
3:53 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Social Media For The Social Good

People pack the streets around the Austin Convention Center for South by Southwest Interactive. One discussion today examined how social media can be used for social good.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Non-profits are using tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Foursquare to grow their base of support, and at a South by Southwest Interactive panel this morning, representatives of those companies spoke about what's worked and what hasn't.

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SXSW 2011
4:09 pm
Sun March 13, 2011

Marketing The Return Of Pee Wee Herman

Paul Reubens says the creative use of social media helped promote his Pee Wee character and connect with longtime fans.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

 

Creative use of social media helped market the return of Pee Wee Herman to a national audience, according to the actor who created the character, Paul Reubens.

Reubens was interviewed at South by Southwest today byJoBlo.com editor-in-chief Mike Sampson. The two had a wide-ranging discussion about Reubens' three decade career and recent comeback. At least 200 people packed into a room at the Austin Convention Center room to hear Reubens speak as himself, not in his Pee Wee character.

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SXSW 2011
4:54 pm
Sat March 12, 2011

SXSW Screenburn Arcade Provides Stage For Startups

RockLive's Sam Shahidi poses with Mike Tyson to promote his startup's second iPhone game, Mike Tyson Main Event.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

 

Would you pay $10,000 and set up a boxing ring in the Austin Convention Center to promote an iPhone game? For Sam Shahidi with RockLive in Irvine, California, it was a no brainer.

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SXSW 2011
3:52 pm
Sat March 12, 2011

Japan Disaster Shifts Focus At SXSW Interactive

People watch live coverage of the disaster in Japan at the CNN SXSW Grill in downtown Austin.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant emergency have derailed plans for many South by Southwest attendees who work for non-profit fundraising organizations. Even those outside that community have been riveted by the scale of the calamity.

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Arts and Culture
1:28 pm
Sat March 12, 2011

Reporting From The Most Dangerous City In The Americas

Reporter Judith Torrea blogs about daily life in the violence-torn city of Juarez
Photo of website by Nathan Bernier

More than 3,000 people were killed last year in the Mexican border town of Ciduad Juarez. But 98 percent of the families can't afford the $300 required for a funeral, according to Judith Torrea, who describes herself as the only foreign journalist living in Juarez.

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sxsw 2011
5:17 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

SXSW Panel: Personal Blogger to Professional Marketer

Many bloggers are giving away their stuff for free when they should be charging, according to SXSW Interactive speaker Melissa Lion.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Many people blog, but how many get paid for it? That was the topic of Melissa Lion's panel at SXSW Interactive.

The most important thing is never to accept offers to write content without charging a fee, Lion said. The problem is bloggers aren't asking for anything, and marketers are able to get content out of them for next to nothing. Lion says the only solution is to say, "No."

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SXSW Interactie
4:53 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

SXSW Panel: Mind Your Manners

The temporary society that is SXSW requires adherence to a few simple rules, according to a panel discussion held at the conference today.
Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

A panel entitled "How Not To Be a Douchebag at SXSW" kicked off the SXSW Interactive conference this afternoon, featuring four SXSW veterans and and noted members in the tech industry.

The four speakers gave pointers to newcomers of the conference on how to behave properly without making a joke of themselves. 

"Don't be a pitch," said Amber Osborne, Vice President of Head of Lettuce Media, who commented that nothing was worse than being hit with a drive by shooting of business cards.

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Arts and Culture
12:29 pm
Thu March 10, 2011

SXSW 2011 Street Closure Map

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SXSW has opened the gates to the wave of creative minds who will flood this city for the next ten days.  But for many Austin residents, SXSW means one thing: downtown transportation nightmare.

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Arts and Culture
3:53 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

NPR Board Chair Speaks Out on Schiller Resignation

NPR's Headquarters Building in Washington
Image by Sarah Reynolds

The chairman of NPR’s Board of Directors spoke with public radio stations across the country this afternoon about the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO.  You can listen to that statement here.

Dave Edwards of WUWM in Milwaukee said in a teleconference that the decision to accept the resignation was a difficult one for both the board  and for Schiller.  Edwards praised Schiller’s work for the company and for the industry during her tenure at NPR.

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Arts and Culture
3:26 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Alamo Drafthouse Signs Deal With Fandango

The tiled entrance at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz downtown. Soon you will be able to buy your Drafthouse tickets at Fandango.
Image courtesy mirsasha http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirsasha/

Alamo Drafthouse fans who snapped up last week's enormously popular LivingSocial deal of $9 for two movie tickets from Fandango are patting themselves on the back right now. That's because the local food and film franchise announced today in a news release that it is partnering with the web-based movie ticketing firm.

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Arts and Culture
4:10 pm
Thu February 17, 2011

Treasure Trove of Dashiell Hammett Stories Unearthed at Ransom Center

A portrait of author Dashiell Hammett by Edward Biberman hangs in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Image courtesy cliff1066 at flickr.com

Fifteen previously unknown short stories by Dashiell Hammett have been found in the archives of UT's Harry Ransom Center.  Hammett, who penned such classics as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man" is considered by many to be the father of the American "hard boiled" detective fiction.  The discovery of the new stories by Andrew F.

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Arts and Culture
5:29 pm
Mon February 14, 2011

City Council Members Want To Promote Austin's Cultural Exports

Shearwater performing live at a KUT event
Photo by KUT

The City of Austin could launch a "creative industries ambassador" program to promote the works of local musicians and artists outside the city, and further market Austin's brand as an artistic Mecca. Two city council members, Laura Morrison and Mike Martinez, held an afternoon press conference today to announce they are getting the ball rolling on the idea.

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Arts and Culture
2:30 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Texas State Whittliff Collections Acquire More From Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard, left, and Johnny Dark, 1981
Photo from the Sam Shepard/Johnny Dark Correspondence Collection

 Texas State University in San Marcos is adding to their Whittliff Collections on Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Shepard. The new Sam Shepard/Johnny Dark Correspondence Collection will include personal letters, photographs, taped conversations and a homemade film which documents the friendship between the two men over many years.

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Arts and Culture
5:02 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

2011 Session: Opening Day Time Lapse

Arts and Culture
4:41 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Emerging Artists Get Seven Extra Days To Apply For $65,000 City Contract

This is where the city will build a African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. Emerging artists are encourage to apply for a grant to create a work of public art at the location.
Image courtesy City of Austin and Google Maps

Artists have an extra seven days to get their act together and write a proposal to create public art at the new the African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. The building will be constructed at 912 East 11th Street near Branch Street.

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Culture
4:46 pm
Wed December 29, 2010

How To Get Out Of Downtown Austin On New Year's Eve

Image courtesy atmtx http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/

The cops just sent out a news release saying New Year's Eve will be another "No Refusal" night. Austin Police officers will forcibly extract blood from any drunk driving suspect who refuses a breathalyzer.  The policy will be in effect from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday.

It shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone, given the APD's penchant for launching "No Refusal" initiatives anytime there's a major holiday.  More than half of the traffic fatalities over the past year have been alcohol related, according to police.

Not that you would ever consider drunk driving, of course. But you may want to plan ahead if you plan on going out for New Year's Eve. Calling a cab after midnight on NYE is notoriously difficult in Austin.  Wait times can be up to 2 hours, if you can even get through to a dispatcher.

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Arts and Culture
4:05 pm
Wed December 29, 2010

Austin Poet Susan Bright Dies

Austin poet and publisher Susan Bright with fellow poet Ali F. Bilir.
Image courtesy of the family of Susan Bright.

The term “force of nature” can be overused. But Susan Bright’s friends say, in her case, that description may not be enough.

The poet, publisher and Barton Springs advocate lost a short battle with cancer Wednesday morning. She was 65.

Bright was also the founder of Plain View Press. It’s a publishing house for local authors, and it has turned out over 350 titles so far.

Irene Pickhardt was a friend of Bright, and remembers her deep involvement in community issues.

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