SXSW 09: Week 1
One week in and as the Interactive and Film festival’s close the whole scale and feel of those wandering the streets of Austin changes. The geek boys and girls have been replaced by the chic with every passing person looking like they might be playing that night not just watching. Twitter is the phenomenom of the festival so far. Everyone has an iphone in hand, tweeting their every move. At partys people now introduce themselves by their twitter handle, in preference to their name – the worlds gone mad! AT&T had to do last minute upgrades to the phone network to cope with 90% of fesival goers being iphoners.
It was five days into the trip before we managed to make it out of the hotel room for a couple of drinks. Auntie Beeb has to justify sending me out here so its filming during the day and editing at night (I could write a comprehensive review of the Austin Pizza establishments though).
Tech highlights of the first week: Trying to film a GPS bowler hat game in the torrential rain, the fabulous but marginally unsafe tesla coils performing Star Wars and Doctor Who covers at the Dorkbot fair (photo:Darren Waters), and spending a couple of hours blocking the lifts at the Hilton hotel doing elevator pitches with 5 web start up companies. (See full Doctor Who cover on Youtube.. minus the robot drums though i think)
The digital storytelling site “We Tell Stories” won best in show, and the sheer number of sites bustling for attention was overwhelming. Filter.com aims to do what last.fm did for music to “all entertainment” ie learn what you like and feed you it direct. Mixcloud tags itself “the Youtube of radio”, with easy uploads for all budding DJ’s and podcasters. Finally Kyte.tv had my jaw on the floor with its ease of use and power – run your own live TV channel with a few clicks of the mouse. Use a video camera or even your mobile, and send and recieve comments instantly while “on air”. Phenomenal.
For the Film festival, Director Brett Gaylor was kind enough to disapear down an Austin side street to tell me a little about the SXSW buzz film “RiP!: A remix manifesto”. Check out the trailer featuring Girl Talk here. Viewers can download footage from the film to remix themselves, then upload the results for inclusion in the ever evolving movie. Eclectic Method have already provided some amazing audio/visual mash-ups.
“Good Copy, Bad Copy” (video below) is another take on the copyright issue, and simarly deals with bootleggers, mashup artists and piracy. Well worth a view.
oh yes this is a music blog. Well I saw The Proclaimers the other night, does that count? Slightly surreal but hopefully catch a few more bands from the 100’s playing over the next four days. 6th street is a heaving mass of people cramming into countless wild and wonderful venues from Presbyterian churches to outdoor carparks.
In non SXSW related news, Public Enemy were joined by The Roots on Jimmy Fallon the other night (Youtube). Flava Flav still rocks it at 50, and the Security of The 1st World dancers are still the campest dance troupe around.