The Austin music industry festival that started in 1987 and has since grown to encompass film, the internet, the environment, and education is now expanding again. And for the first time, South by Southwest is looking beyond Austin City Limits.

The inaugural SXSW V2V runs August 11 to 14 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and will focus primarily on tech startups.

“We think there’s enough momentum in the startup space to power a second event and not in any way weaken the things we’re doing in Austin in March,” says Hugh Forrest with SXSW Interactive.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

South by Southwest Interactive announced the bulk of its 2013 programming today – some 450 panels, discussions and events covering everything tech you can think of. The five-day tech festival has eclipsed its music counterpart in registered attendees in recent years. 

Marquee names included among the festival's “Featured Sessions” include Univeristy of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers on innovation in higher education; Whole Foods founder John Mackey on “conscious capitalism;” Craigslist founder Craig Newmark on the future of journalism; video game developer-turned-space tourism advocate Richard Garriott de Cayeux; and “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” creator Chuck Lorre.

The first Interactive keynote has also been announced for 2013: Matthew Inman of comedy website The Oatmeal.

The second-annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco conference comes to an end today.

SXSW Eco is an offshoot of the wildly-popular SXSW festival that takes over Austin for a good chunk of March each year, and has since grown from its roots in music and film to encompass technology and education.

SXSW Eco is still a comparatively smaller affair, viewed against the whopping $190 million in estimated economic impact SXSW brings overall. But this year’s festival expanded its focus onto five themes: Scalable, ecological solutions; collaborations between disparate communities on global issues like climate change; advances in technology and design; green economics; and visions for an environmentally sustainable future.

The team with KUT News’ StateImpact Texas has been filing dispatches from Eco, starting with an interview with Michael E. Mann, a Penn State University professor whose work includes the iconic “hockey stick” graph showing a rise in global temperatures since the dawn of the industrial age – work that his made him a target of climate change deniers.

Good morning and a happy Friday. A cold front should blow in around midnight, meaning weekend lows plummeting into the 40s. Here’s some recent stories from KUT News.  

Here’s some more Austin and Texas stories folks are talking about:

  • As Voters Weigh Austin District Plans, a Question Lingers: Who Should Draw the Boundaries? (Statesman)

One of the two plans voters will consider Nov. 6 — switching the council from seven citywide members to 10 district representatives and a citywide mayor — calls for a commission of citizens with no paid ties to city politics to draw the district lines. Critics say that approach, added to the ballot by a citizens’ petition effort, has several possible pitfalls, including strict criteria that could disqualify too many people from serving.

The other plan — eight district representatives and three citywide seats, including a mayor — doesn’t say who would draw the lines, but the City Council would likely be involved. Detractors worry that would lead to the council manipulating the lines for political gain.

Lawmakers Look at Retirement Plans

Texas lawmakers are scheduled to examine some retirement programs this morning – including the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

The Texas House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services wants to know the viability of the plans as they are now. And they’ll look at what might happen to the retirement plans if they are switched from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans or some combination of the two.

TRS is the largest public retirement system in the state, with more than 1.3 million people are on the plan.

Assange’s Legal Threat to SXSW

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange threatened the South by Southwest festival with legal action if it proceeded with its planned showing of the documentary Wikileaks: Secrets and Lies in 2012. That's according to London’s The Guardian.

Courtesy SXSW

Tickets go on sale this afternoon for a music event being held in honor of a beloved member of the Austin music community.

SXSW Music Creative Director Brent Grulke passed away August 13 at the age of 51.

GrulkeFest is September 8 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Tickets start at $20 – proceeds will go to an education fund for Grulke’s seven-year-old son.

The line-up for the festival includes Doctors’ Mob, the Reivers and Wild Seeds.

Kelly Connelly for KUT News

Here's one heck of a lunch topic: Responding to a terrorist attack in downtown Austin during South by Southwest.

That was one of the noontime subjects city officials considered yesterday, in a workshop discussing their role in case of catastrophe – such as terrorism, an infrastructure collapse or a natural disaster.

Attendees, including the members of the Austin City Council, considered a range of worst-case scenarios. One was that SXSW attack: “It is a beautiful morning in Austin – bustling, with SXSW in full swing,” a planning scenario posited. “Without warning a large explosion rocks downtown Austin … Confirmed fatalities – 83; Injuries – 200+ (some key officials and staff are known to be among them.)”

"I do music for women," said Timbaland, onstage at the Parish in Austin, Texas on Thursday afternoon to debut tracks from his as-yet-untitled and unfinished new album, likely coming this fall. "Y'all determine everything," he added, gesturing at a hoop earring-clad fan standing at the lip of the stage.

Day two for NPR Music's team at South By Southwest started on a high note and hardly ever flagged. After the Wednesday night showcase ran to the wee hours of the morning, Thursday's opening event, a keynote address by Bruce Springsteen, didn't start until after noon, local time.

Photo by KUT News

Texas Challenges Voting Rights Act

Texas is challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act that requires the state to get pre-clearance from the Justice Department for any change to voting procedures. Yesterday Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed that petition to a three-judge panel in Washington.

SXSW Street Closure Map

Mar 13, 2012

Update: Looking for SXSW 2013 street closures? Click here.

View Larger Map

As South by Southwest Interactive comes to a close, the SXSW Music festival is gearing up – and with it, a new, vastly expanded round of street closures.

The closures that began during the SXSW Interactive and Film festivals will stay in effect. And a new slate of traffic snarls, depicted in the map above, began at 5 a.m. this morning.

You can click on any highlighted closure in the map above for more details.

More than a decade ago, an album came out recorded mostly on cassette in a house, never released on a major label — and until last month it had been out of print for almost that long. When Noel Gallagher of Oasis heard it, he declared it "amazing," and The Guardian called it "the best album The Beatles never recorded."

Photo courtesy

How did a group of Internet enthusiasts evolve from online trolling to altering the course of world politics?

That was the focus of a South by Southwest Film and Interactive panel today delving into Anonymous, the loosely-organized collective of “hacktivists” that have brought attention to the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and claimed credit for compromising the servers of Austin-based global intelligence firm Stratfor, releasing the company’s emails to Wikileaks.

In contrast to many of the sensational stories Anonymous generates, “I don’t think anything had been done where you’re trying to figure out where it came from and what it is,” said Brian Knappenberger. He’s at SXSW with his documentary, “WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists.” Although this today's panel was ostensibly about the film, it ended up being largely about Anonymous in general, which continues to generate headlines.

Photo courtesy

While it's easy to forget in the hubub of South by Southwest, it's college Spring Break this week. So as thousands of college students get ready to party, and perhaps try out their pickup lines, one local blogger is warning women to be on the lookout for dubious techniques.

Amanda Marcotte spoke at SXSW Interactive over the weekend. Marcotte, who runs the liberal feminist blog Pandagon, was part of the panel “Sex Nets: Pickup Artists vs. Feminists,” which delved into tips and tricks men share online – and charge money to teach in seminars – on how to "pick up" women.

“I felt like a lot of men are attracted to this [concept] for somewhat of the wrong reasons,” Marcotte told KUT News. “That they feel it’s frustrating for them to be told that women can say no, when men are given a lot of entitlement in this world. … I think pick up artists sort of prey on that in men, and use that to get money from them. And I don’t like charlatans, and I definitely don’t like sexists, so it’s sort of a combination of two things I really hate!”

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

One of the trends at this year’s edition of South by Southwest involves major national brands using food trucks to create a kind of interactive marketing experience. But they’re relying on Austin eateries to inject some local flavor into the mix.

Live video by Ustream

Here’s one South by Southwest Interactive panel you don’t need a badge for.

At 9:30 a.m. today, a group of panelists are gathering to answer a question: “Can Bloggers Put Hope Back Into the 2012 Election?” The group is set to discuss whether the online team the Obama campaign assembled in 2008 can be jump-started this cycle and counter potential Democratic unenthusiasm:

2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. Four years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Follow Us on Tumblr

KUT has a Tumblr account documenting SXSW on the fly, with photos, videos and more. KUT’s Terrence Henry, covering SXSW Film, has posted a review of "Electrick Children":

They shot the film on the burnt orange landscapes of Southern Utah and the urban desolation of Las Vegas over four weeks, filming six days a week. One of the bigger obstacles they faced during filming, despite the fact they were in the desert, was rain. “The rain follows us wherever we go, even here to Austin,” the director said during the Q&A afterwards. 

The film stars Rory Culkin (yes, of that family) and the delicate Julia Garner (playing the lead, Rachel), who’s only eighteen years old. You may remember her from a smaller role in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

This week, more than 2,000 bands will perform live as part of the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas — and each will hope to stand out somehow. It's one thing to play SXSW, but another to generate excitement.

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin has become a hotbed for technology companies. They account for one out of every eight jobs in the city, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. But a shortage of qualified workers is making it tough to fill some of those positions.

South by Southwest Interactive, currently in its second day, has brought about 18,000 technology workers to the city, and local tech firms are hoping to skim some of that talent.

Photo courtesy Mindy Tucker

The SXSW Interactive kickoff keynote address was delivered today by Baratunde Thurston. That name may not be widely familiar outside plugged-in circles, but Thurston’s work is: He’s a comedian and political satirist who's driven the digital development of satirical newspaper The Onion.

He’s also an author that discusses topics from an African-American perspective. His first book, “How to Be Black,” was just published. He entwined the threads of his heritage and digital connectivity by describing how his mother, raised in rural Pennsylvania, came to join in the Black Power movement. “She changed her social networks!” Thurston said, displaying pictures on his mother marching in the street.  

But the Onion’s online content – and the strange way fake news can bleed over into real-life events – was another theme of Thurston’s speech: Earlier this year, Republican Rep. John Fleming shared a fictional Onion article, “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex,” with his followers on Facebook, allegedly believing the article to be real.