sxsw 2014

SXSW 2014
2:09 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: A Father, A Son and A Lot of Live Music in 'Thank You A Lot'

Musician James Hand stars in the film. Willie Nelson (and KUTX's Jay Trachtenberg) describe him as "the real deal."
Courtesy "Thank You A Lot"

In Austin, it seems like everyone's a musician and there’s live music every night. But between that dynamic of stage and crowd, there’s a cast of characters: including band managers, doormen and promoters.

The film “Thank You A Lot” premiered at SXSW Film. It explores some of these characters – particularly a father-son pair caught in the middle of all the bustle.

KUT sat down with Austin-based writer/director Matt Muir:

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SXSW 2014
8:38 am
Fri March 14, 2014

What Happens When a Local Business Opts Out of SXSW

Craft Pride general manager David Voss answers a customer's question. The bar did not participate in any SXSW-related events this year.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

Thousands of bands have come to town for SXSW, and many of them are here thanks to one thing: brands. Doritos is reportedly paying Lady Gaga millions to do a show. Chevy is giving people free rides around town. Toilet paper brand Cottonelle even has a "refresh lounge" at the festival this year.

But what happens to local businesses that opt out of corporate freebies and VIP-only parties? 

To find out, just head to Rainey Street, aka Corporate Party Central. But at the southern end of the street sits a bar that's proudly banner-free, with no velvet rope and no VIP guestlists: Craft Pride.

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SXSW 2014
6:50 am
Fri March 14, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Rob Thomas Brings 'Veronica Mars' to The Big Screen

Kristen Bell reprises her role as Veronica Mars in the film based on the characters in the TV show.
Robert Voets

Austin-based writer/director Rob Thomas’s film “Veronica Mars” hits theatres this week. But South by Southwest audiences got to see it first.

The film revisits the characters Thomas created for the “Veronica Mars” TV show – which was canceled back in 2007 after three seasons. But fans demanded more. And an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign provided the budget for the much-anticipated follow up.

KUT sat down with Thomas to talk about the journey of making this film:

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SXSW 2014
7:07 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

SXSW Crash Raises Concerns About Barricade Safety

A car plowed through barricades like these early Thursday morning, killing two and injuring 23. Now, some are questioning whether the city of Austin should use stronger barriers to increase pedestrian safety.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Every year during South by Southwest, police use barricades to create pedestrian-only streets. They’re meant to protect the large crowds that descend on the city.

But early Thursday morning, a driver plowed through one of those barricades, killing two people and injuring 23 others.

Now, some people, like pedestrian safety expert Rob Reiter, are questioning if the city should put more protective barriers in place. He says crashes like the one last night are preventable if the right types of barricades are used.

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Austin
6:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

How You Can Help SXSW Crash Victims

People offered prayers for the victims at a vigil Thursday at St. David’s Episcopal Church. You can also help by donating blood, offering money or providing evidence to police.
Mary Elizabeth Ashton

After an early morning crash on Red River Street claimed two lives and hospitalized almost two dozen people, some are understandably asking, "What can I do to help?" Here are some ideas.

Give Money:  SXSW, the City of Austin and Transmission Events set up a relief fund for the victims and their families. You can make a donation at SXSWCares.com. Other ways to contribute are at sxswrelief.org.  

Albert Smith, who operates the Unofficial SXSW Guide, is also raising money at this GoFundMe page

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SXSW 2014
4:52 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Two Dead After Driver Plows Into SXSW Crowd; Suspect in Custody

The incident took place outside The Mohawk, a popular SXSW venue.
Ashley Park for KUT

This post is no longer being updated. See more from KUT:

Summary: An Austin woman and a male visitor from the Netherlands are dead after a car plowed through South by Southwest crowds in Downtown Austin early this morning. The collisions took place along Red River Street near The Mohawk, a popular SXSW venue. Nearly two dozen were injured.  

Austin Police have a suspect in custody, 21 year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens. He's been charged with two counts of capital murder.

The Austin victim is 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West, according to several news reports, including one from the Austin American-Statesman.  

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Thursday morning that the incident started as a traffic stop (part of police efforts to crack down on drunk drivers) at the Shell Gas station at Ninth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road. Chief Acevedo says the driver drove into the gas station parking lot, but then sped off and started driving the wrong way down Ninth Street.

APD pursued the driver, who then tried to strike one officer working barricade duty, and continued speeding onto Red River. Acevedo says the driver hit multiple pedestrians on the street, killing two on vehicles: an Austin female that was a passenger on a moped, and  a male visitor from the Netherlands who was killed on his bicycle. (Initial police reports said both passengers on the moped were killed.)

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SXSW 2014
4:46 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Austin's Kat Candler Explores Consequences in 'Hellion'

Filmmaker Kat Candler says she got the idea to write "Hellion" based on stories told by her uncles.
Lauren Logan

Austin-based writer/director Kat Candler’s star continues to rise. Her short film “Black Metal” attracted the attention of critics and her feature film “Hellion” premiered at Sundance.

“Hellion” is also screening at South by Southwest Film. It's about a father and two sons struggling to deal with a recent death and the consequences of their poor choices in reaction to it.

KUT talked with Candler about her latest film:

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Politics
4:18 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Activists Plan to Carry Guns on Sixth Street During SXSW Wednesday

Twitter pictures captured from a similar walk last Saturday.
Twitter user @SocialMatchbox and David Yoakum/Twitter user @davidb00ts

Update: About forty gun activists marched from the Capital and down Sixth Street today, many openly carrying black powder revolvers and rifles strapped across their backs. The rally occurred right in the middle of the South by Southwest festival. 

“We’re trying to get open carry of hand guns passed," says Chris Way from Fort Hood. That’s be a lot easier than carrying an AR-15 over the street. Really all it is, is we don’t want the government in our lives and we don’t want telling me how to protect my family and my little one.” 

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SXSW 2014
10:46 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Why Austin's Restricting Uber Over SXSW

Apps like Uber connect transportation users and providers – but the City of Austin says they're essentially unlicensed taxi companies.
Wikimedia Commons user Bull-Doser

South By Southwest brings a lot of things to Austin: film premieres, start-ups, newsmakers, bands, traffic and tech savvy out-of-towners.

It's that last group that might take umbrage with the city's ride-sharing policy, which outlaws apps like UberLyftSideCar and since-shuttered Austin-based Hey Ride. 

The city contends these services have unregulated – and potentially unsafe – drivers.

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SXSW 2014
6:30 am
Wed March 12, 2014

SXSW Traffic is Terrible. This Street Closure Map Might Help.

Update: Starting today, it’s going to get even tougher to get around downtown. That’s because the music portion of South by Southwest is now underway.

The City of Austin is closing off several exits from I-35 to downtown. Starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday:

  • The I-35 NB and SB exits at  Cesar Chavez will be closed.
  • The I-35 SB exit at 8th Street will be closed.
  • The I-35 NB exit at 6th Street will be closed.

Original Story (March 6, 2014): SXSW provides a great opportunity for people to see bands, films and hobnob with bigwigs in the tech industry.

But road closures in downtown Austin may pose a problem for some travelers.

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SXSW 2014
2:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Latinos Welcome SXSW Spotlight, But Still Feel Marginalized (Update)

The first ever Latinos in Tech event, which took place on March 6, 2014, was founded by the Kapor Center and Esquivel McCarson Consulting.
Kety Esquivel/Esquivel McCarson Consulting

Update: KUT's Veronica Zaragovia's story on Latinos at SXSW Interactive aired on WBUR's Here and Now today. Listen to the conversation here.

Original story:  South by Southwest Interactive is underway in Austin. This year, there’s a focus on the Latinos innovation in tech – a field where many Latinos face significant barriers. 

When SXSW Interactive kicked off on Friday, people began discussing where Latinos stand in the tech world. Geographically, at least, they haven’t been at the center of SXSW events: the so-called Latinos in Tech sessions took place at a Holiday Inn about a mile from the Austin Convention Center.

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SXSW 2014
2:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

SXSW Puts Spotlight On Latinos In Tech

The first ever Latinos in Tech event, which took place on March 6, 2014, was founded by the Kapor Center and Esquivel McCarson Consulting. (Kety Esquivel/Esquivel McCarson Consulting)

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 1:56 pm

The interactive section of South by Southwest (SXSW) wraps up today, and for the first time it included three days of panels and discussions specifically focused on the integration of Latinos in tech.

The sessions were designed to make Latinos feel more comfortable in a field where they are underrepresented.

We hear a report from Veronica Zaragovia of KUT that for some Latinos, the results were less than satisfying.

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SXSW 2014
8:48 am
Tue March 11, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Finding El Chapo in 'The Legend of Shorty'

Authorities arrested Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman just over two weeks before the premiere of the documentary in which two filmmakers try to track him down.
"The Legend of Shorty"

In a film that premieres at SXSW Film, two filmmakers set out to do what authorities could not: find Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Authorities eventually did catch up with Guzman – just last month.

But directors Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos were hot on his trail in their documentary “The Legend of Shorty."

KUT talked with Macqueen and journalist Anabel Hernandez about the film, El Chapo and what they say is the real danger in Mexico.

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SXSW 2014
4:14 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW: Software, Apps Still Rule But A Hardware Resurgence Is On

A set of littleBits comes with more than 40 different types of electronic pieces that connect with magnets.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:59 pm

The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.

"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.

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SXSW 2014
12:02 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Edward Snowden Speaks at SXSW Interactive

Edward Snowden's revelations have launched debates about surveillance, privacy, and democracy, but not everyone agrees he should speak at South by Southwest.
livestream.com/texastribune

Update: Edward Snowden made the case for online privacy in his South by Southwest video appearance today. 

Speaking via Skype, and superimposed over an image of the Constitution, Snowden said it needs to be easier for people to interact with secure data.

"If any journalist in the world gets an email from somebody saying, 'Hey, I have something that the public might want to know about,' they need to be able to open it, they need to be able to access that information, they need to be able to have the communication," Snowden said. "Whether they’re a journalist, or an activist, or even your grandma."

NPR has a live blog of Snowden's remarks you can read here.

Original story (10:55 a.m.): Edward Snowden is scheduled to speak via video from Moscow this morning at South by Southwest Interactive.

Snowden, the former contractor facing felony charges for leaking classified documents revealing National Security Agency surveillance, will speak to SXSW's tech community today at 11 CST. The conversation will be moderated by Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and Snowden’s legal advisor.

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SXSW 2014
10:59 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Watch This Mural in Downtown Austin Come Alive on Your Smartphone

Two artists have created a mural in downtown Austin that becomes interactive when you hold up your smartphone to the mural.
Kate McGee, KUT News

The side of the Recess Arcade Bar on the corner of San Jacinto and East Sixth Street looks a little different.

Artists Jordan Seiler and BC Biermann spent the entire weekend pasting an 84 foot long mural on the side of the building.

Sieler, based in New York, says the mural deals with ideas of production and consumption.

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Special Coverage
12:11 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

WATCH: Julian Assange Speaks at SXSW via Skype

Watch live as WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange speaks via satellite video at SXSW Interactive. Livestream is courtesy the Texas Tribune.

SXSW 2014
11:10 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Austin: Here's the App You Need to Ditch the SXSW Crowds

An Austin-based advertising company created a web app to avoid crowds at SXSW. It uses Foursquare technology to let you know which bars, restaurants and coffee shops people haven't checked in at.
avoidhumans.com

Yogi Berra's famous quote – "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" – has never really applied to Austin's South by Southwest festival.

Yes, there are crowds galore. But people keep coming: in 2012, the number of registrants increased by 15 percent over the previous year.

But now an Austin-based ad agency has developed an app for locals who might be looking to avoid the SXSW masses. It lets you know where people aren’t.

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SXSW 2014
10:03 am
Fri March 7, 2014

SXSW Film Preview: Trends, Ones to Watch And Avoiding Long Lines

Latham Smith, a tugboat captain who works for the oil industry, is featured in "The Great Invisible."
Courtesy of Participant Media

The annual South by Southwest film festival kicks off in Austin today. The 10-day fest features more than 89 world premieres and a total of 133 feature films. Janet Pierson heads SXSW Film. And it’s ultimately her job to weed through the thousands of submissions to come up with the slate of film offerings.

Janet Pierson stopped by KUT to talk about this year’s lineup.

On What Makes a Good SXSW Film:

"It's a total picture that we're looking for. You know, you look for a lot of things. Original voices is a big deal, something that surprises you, something that really works - that has a depth. We look for a transformational experience. We want to be moved somehow."

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SXSW 2014
7:23 am
Fri March 7, 2014

SXSW Relies on Volunteers. Is That Legal?

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

It takes a lot of manpower to put on a festival, especially as one as big as South by Southwest.

"One thing that I don't think a lot of people realize is that there's like 200 people that have full time jobs at South by Southwest," says SXSW cofounder and managing director Roland Swenson. "During the event there are hundreds of more temporary workers that we hire."

When it comes to volunteers, Swenson knows there's a lot – even if he's not quite sure of the number.

"You know I think there's going to be over 3,000," he says. "I don't have a precise count, but that's for 15 days of South by Southwest." 

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