SXSW Street Closure Map

Mar 13, 2012

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

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

When Joss Whedon introduced The Cabin In The Woods to a rowdy, friendly, huge crowd at the Paramount Theater on the opening night of the South By Southwest Film Festival, he explained that one of the challenges of marketing the film is that you really can't say anything about what happens in it. And he begged everyone in the audience not to say anything about what happens in it, either.

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Attending South by Southwest is a little like entering IKEA for the first time. The sheer size of it is enough to make anyone sweat, and ask themselves nervously: "So, where do I go first?"

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is in Austin, where he was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest’s second annual SXSWedu conference. But Duncan also took time today to speak to a crowd at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus for a “town hall” discussion on education issues.  

But once applause greeting Ducan settled, he received  a more abrupt welcome: Three Occupy Austin members stood and shouted out a prepared statement attacking the privatization of public schools and other educational grievances.

The "mic check" can be read on Occupy Austin Twitter magnet Kit O'Connell's website. It reads in part (emphasis in original): "As Secretary of Education, Your job is to discover a way to provide schools & teachers PUBLIC resources & funding, NOT from private charters & corporations."

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Get ready Austin: the South by Southwest Interactive and Film festivals are starting Friday, March 9. 

The City of Austin has announced the first of several street closures and lane reductions beginning Friday.

  • Northbound Congress Avenue will be reduced to two lanes between Seventh and Eighth streets from 10 a. m. to 11 p. m.
  • The Rainey St. district will be closed to traffic between Driskill and River streets from 3 p. m. to 11 p.m.
  • Trinity St. will be closed between Cesar Chavez.
  • Fourth streets and East Second and Third streets will be closed between Trinity and San Jacinto streets from 7 a. m. to  6 a. m.

Austin Homeless Icon Leslie Transferred to Hospice

Local transgendered celebrity, Leslie Cochran, was transferred out of hospital care and into an area hospice provider this weekend says community activist and friend, Debbie Russell. Russell says Leslie remains in critical condition and is receiving comfort care.

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

After a rowdier than normal South by Southwest last year, the city sought ways to “prune it back a little bit” in 2012, says city Music Office director Don Pitts.

A trifecta of high-profile incidents marred SXSW in 2011: a crane-camera fall at Stubb’s BBQ; crowds rushing gates at Auditorium Shores at a free concert by The Strokes; and an agitated crowd's  attempt to tear down a fence at the Beauty Bar during Death From Above 1979’s set. The bedlam inspired an April Fool's Day prank from the Austin Chronicle suggesting events be moved to a self-contained dome, and Pitts pitched a proposal to “dial it back” next year.

As a result, this year the rules have changed. Promoters had to apply for sound permits up to a month in advance.

This audio is no longer available.

SXSW is all about volume, in more ways than one. Roughly 2,000 acts perform at the four-day music festival every year, so to spend just three minutes with each in advance of the big event is to deny your friends and loved ones a solid 100 hours of your waking, undivided attention.

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Whether you’re ready or not, South by Southwest kicks off in just over three weeks. Here’s a compilation of recent festival announcements and reports:

SXSW Music: The music showcase grid is live on the SX Schedule website, showing who is playing where at what time. Let the tough decisions begin. In other music news, influential indie-music website Pitchfork  is trumpeting its booking of Fiona Apple at its Central Presbyterian Church showcase. "The beloved singer-songwriter hasn't played more than a handful of shows since 2007,” the site writes.

SXSW Film: A string of film conference panels and late additions to the festival has just been announced. Panels include A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane, wherein the “Family Guy” creator sounds off; Funny or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else, a talk with the minds behind the popular comedy website; and Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV's Holliston, featuring players from the horror channel and filmmaker Adam Green, who’s developed a program for the company.

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SXSW Wristbands For Sale this Morning at 10 am

South by Southwest begins wristband sales for its music festival this morning. Purchases can only be made online to people with an Austin area zipcode:

South by Southwest will be here before you know it, and here’s another sign of the impending takeover: Today, the festival released its lineup for SXSW Film, including 65 world premieres and ten U.S. premieres.

High profile picks include the reboot of “21 Jump Street,” starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube. The comedy has been named a “Centerpiece” film; SXSW Film producer Janet Pierson tells The Austin Chronicle she went into the screening “with total skepticism,” but came away impressed, calling the film “a real social commentary.”

Also receiving special designation as closing night film was “Big Easy Express,” a documentary on a train powered concert tour spearheaded by indie revivalists Mumford & Sons (which included an Austin stop.)