Fck Stats, Make Art at SxSW, March 13, 2009 was a big day for me speaking to a load of my pals and smart/interesting folks at the big crazy con-fab. Where i really dialed in my schtick with the old-timey suitcase fulla treats and “paper point” collages to direct the story.
That night, saw Black Angels rock Psychedelic fest, had a sip of whiskey and a lil puff o something with them afterwards. Met the marvellous queen of Austin Kim Eitze, rode in a magic pedi-cab and rode that good vibe through days of hi-jinks leading to the next few years of rocking so many speakings gigs including TedX, Pecha Kucha x4, Northern Voice, Assoc of Alt Newspapers, and a return to SxSW for “Crowd Sourcing Projects like Tom Sawyer“.
Anyhow, always more to say but came here to share a roundup of the Fck Stats Make Art gig with a buncha snaps, tweets, blogs and whatnot. I have a great hat from David White and a best shirt ever and of course a smoking jacket and pipe cause im not a savage.
Here and there i see “sticker walls” in various bars, toilet rooms of bars, taverns, dives of all sorts, or sometimes coffee shops – maybe – but mostly bars and toiletrooms of bars. So i take photos sometimes, especially since a pal in Squamish mentioned his affinity towards same and another pal from Whalley sometimes shares photos of crappy bar toilets and ask “where’s the sh!tter?”
So anyhow, here are some photos with minor annotations if recalled – no accuracy intended or implied. There are others, we’ll start with these and call the assortment which appears, Vol. 1 of a possible series. Also, these make the best and worst computer screen “wallpapers” too. Tip: Give a try.
Levon Helm’s autobio “This Wheel’s on Fire” sizzles.
I especially like this part:
“First I went to Mexico and lived on the beach until I’d spent all my money. Then I met up with Kirby Pennick, a musician friend from Arkansas, and together we discovered that Florida was a bad place to be broke. We were just bumming around. We got the paper, and there was a drive-away Lincoln going from Florida to New Orleans. We just said, “Let’s go.”
I especially like the above since there is a very similar trip/experience in my dossier… But arriving broke in Florida right after hurricane Andrew on a cheap flight from London after bumming around Europe (grapes, chestnuts, bad yodellers band, Gwar, Oktoberfest etc) > Getting a driveway car from dodgy goodfellas in Miami (after food at Hare Krishnas) splitting across dark sketchy Alligator Alley through bright morning New Orleans > to beers-in-car Texas, with several police pull overs along the way. Yikes.
Oddly foosball in Austin with good ole boys met in Vegas between Dead shows, a 9-11 disturbance, canyon hotspring flings, and a medieval wedding > anyhow and almost met our/my demise dropping the car off in Dallas to a large angry man who expected something very important and illegal in the trunk.￼ Trevor Erikson and i found ourselves very out of place but adjusted rapidly and took control, even recouping deposit (in cash, not cheque) and a lift downtown.
Somehow finagled a Greyhound 2 for 1 ticket to from an even more angry tweaker who chased the bus like a rapid dachshund. Ate well in SLC on a dodgy credit card, zoom zoom ended up at Marble Arch then Tottori. This was 1993 i think or 92.
No photo evidence exists. Oh yeah: Dig Levon’s tome #theband
How to pack a large amount of non-ordinary lifestyle into a small amount of time, without a lot of money – or none really. True definition of adventure perhaps? Will love you forever brother Dave. Such memories create interesting and long lasting pathways within the soul. And, yes, it was 1992.
From SXSW 2008 – amidst sirens and Austin, Texas 6th St. street noise – comes an interview with filmmaker Erich Weiss premièring “Hori Smoku, Sailor Jerry” about the originator of contemporary tattoo-ing – and iconoclastic libertarian American – Norman Collins who combined Japanese technique, Polynesian traditions, and American motifs in Hawaii during WW2. The interview delves into the the “screwed, boozed (blued), and tattooed” wild culture as a million sailors and soldiers descended upon the idyllic islands (especially Hotel Street), plus Mr. Collins’ complex life, the artistic lineage of Sailor Jerry, rivalries and legacies of various tattoo artists/legends, mentorships of Don Ed Hardy and others, and the remarks about “fad” tattooing and (lack of) regret.
Day two or three, depending on how you count ‘em, of my 3rd quest to South by Southwest in Austin Texas… And I gotta say, it’s shaping up just fine man. You know, I’m keeping up a solid effort and fully professional about spreading the love of my job, and that’s going really well. Also very important to maximize the party and good times, and that, too, is progressing suitably well.
Despite shaking off some nasty flu and general haggardness from excess travel and in general just haven’t taking very good care of myself, and then coupled with some disorganization and long stories about things that didn’t get printed and didn’t get delivered and stuff, yeah it’s rolling along just fine.
Recap: Last night down at the Gingerman, one of my favourite beer drinking places (which has moved around the corner to a location that might even be finer than its previous, though I’m really surprised that’s even possible because that old location was just fine).
Yesterday I rallied up after my slumber and scarfed down some nasty coffee and went down to the Hideout Coffee Shop. I met up with this nice Canadian lady that I met every time that I’m down here and as soon as I walked in the door she said, “You’re here from Canada” and I’m like, “Yes I am!”
It was packed and hectic. Just like last year, I was late for these migas breakfast burritos laden with a bunch of leftover odds n ends shit: egg, cornflakes, etc. Tasty. I really needed a good proper breakfast! Where should I go? She told me some directions to this place and I thought I was going off track but then it all came together and I got some wicked blueberry pancakes at the Counter Cafe with poached eggs just the way i like em.
If you’re not careful you end up living on appetizers, which is why today I’m on a quest for a proper breakfast, so again, I am in some dire need of sustenance – need to nourish the body to nourish the soul. At the Hideout I got a big giant smoothie. It was quite charming.
Then, at the convention centre, I stood in line and got my badge! You gotta have a badge. If you don’t have a lanyard, man, you don’t belong.
Then I rallied with some buddies and we sat on the lawn drinking Sobe green tea. I had some Japanese envelopes from my papery stash — back from 1983! I was fortunate to be able to augment my stash with some more packets from a Japanese dollar store in Tinseltown. So I sat with some buddies (John and Jason) and I filled these wee dossiers with stickers, tattoos, pins and sealed my card in. It was like a bundle of diplomatic goodness. Good time doing arts and crafts in the sunshine.
Then I found a little table to setup. I was curious about a press release I had put out so checked on that while thinking about issues about privacy, elitism, notions about early adoption, etc.
Then I headed off to Mellow Johnnies — it’s a bike shop, a complete beauty. It wasn’t super fancy but it felt really comfortable. They had smoothies and maps for local riding routes. I could see how you might like living here with all the distances to ride. There’s not really mountains — not by the B.C. definition but long roads to ramble.
Anyhow, this particular meetup event at Mellow Johnny’s had to do with my professional capacity. The people/hosts knew what I was doing with day-job and knew what we were up to and we had some intelligent discourse about this particular topic.
But, my highlight was sharing these envelopes with all these people. And explaining the love and care that went into those things and they opened them up with excitement and questions. Cheap and Cheerful marketing success.
How an unlikely mix of nerds, rock-and-roll hippie freaks, and business suits grew into the tech worlds most-talked-about annual gathering.
When South By Southwest Interactive launched in 1994, there wasn’t much to it: a couple hundred participants and a handful of panel discussions, all crammed into a few rooms at a Hyatt in Austin. Back then, the festival was really only half a festival—as evidenced by its title, SXSW Film and Multimedia—and was eclipsed by the vastly more successful SXSW Music Festival, from which it had spun off.’
Today, SXSW Interactive welcomes more than 30,000 registrants to Austin each March and has become a coveted launching pad for startups (including Twitter and Foursquare), a hunting ground for tech investors, a laboratory for forward-thinking ideas, and a lavish five-day party that’s often referred to as “geek spring break.”
MEMORABLE PANELS FROM THE FESTIVAL’S FIRST DECADE:
1. INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR MULTIMEDIA (1995)
“What will be possible as … we move toward an age in which text, graphics, audio, and video will be simultaneously delivered to our desktops?”
2. NET SURFING: WEB BROWSING (1995)
“Sample the high-octane Internet environment by taking a Net cruise.”
3. THE WEB IS DEAD? (1996)
“Is Marc Andreessen the next Bill Gates? Or is [it] the other way around?”
4. ANARCHY (1997)
“New communication technologies heighten the potential for both social rebellion and government control.”
5. STREAMING VIDEO TECHNOLOGY (1999)
“How streaming video … will impact our traditional notions of home entertainment.”
6. WEBLOGS (2000)
“How and why weblogs are changing the way we express ourselves on the Internet.”
7. WEARABLE COMPUTERS (2001)
“The next generation of computers will be a fashion statement embedded directly into your clothing.”
8. THE REVOLUTION ISN’T OVER (2002)
“In the wake of the tech meltdown, there are still numerous new trends and opportunities.”
9. HOW TO FUND A SMALL INTERNET BUSINESS (2003)
“The heady days of high-dollar venture-capital investment may be over, but…”
10. THE IMPACT OF WI-FI WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS (2003)
“The number of Wi-Fi hot spots will explode … making Wi-Fi the peoples choice for connectivity in the future.”
Photo by Gary Miller
But its two-decade history suggests the now-famous festival is quite a bit more than that. Within SXSW Interactive’s march from obscurity to prominence is the story of digital culture itself. SXSW was a hive of activity for early web denizens and hackers around the turn of the century, and a birthing ground for the social media revolution that reshaped modern life in the second half of the ’00s. Its emergence from the shadow of the music festival it grew out of mirrors the transformation of geeks into modern society’s newest rock stars.
A glance at the résumés of the dramatis personae enlisted for this oral history speaks to SXSW Interactive’s remarkable breadth and scope: In among the technologists, bloggers, investors, and founders of companies such as Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare are billionaires and a homeless man, rock stars and a pedicab driver, comedians and civil servants. “Something really interesting happened when you brought together all these people with very different backgrounds, interests, and expectations to mingle and get drunk and sleep together,” says Lane Becker, a blogger and entrepreneur, who has missed only one SXSW since 1997. “That is pretty much how culture happens.”
This is their story: a topsy-turvy, occasionally sad, sometimes contentious, frequently messy, but ultimately triumphant chronicle of how what began as little more than an afterthought grew into one of the most important cultural and economic incubators of the new millennium.
In my first year *not* at SXSW in seven years, I woke on this strange day of March 13 where so many good things and so many bad things happened in my small world to read the news that last night another bad thing happened.
I don’t want to go into details but March 13 – besides being my older brother’s birthday and the day I presented fuck stats make art at SXSW – has also a day which has seen sadness and tragedy and frustration and confusion in the most profound and tearjerking ways.
Before I heard the news of what happened in Austin last night, I reminisced about a dearly departed whose life was lost around that same hour on that same day two years ago – and when I saw the news all I could think about is my friends at South by.
Once I saw the details I realized that I stayed in apartment right across from Mohawk, walked The streets around red river and ninth, I would’ve been at that X show at the mohawk or hanging out outside getting a giant plate of six dollar barbecue from that stand on the corner.
It could’ve been me it could’ve been you.
After smashing my face on a moped just months ago I was chilled thinking of the two people happily cruising the streets of beloved sultry Austin on the mopeds and in an instant they were transported to whatever happens next.
I think of the confusion and frustration that this caused so many people: the friends, the families, the hospital staff, the south by organizers, the venue operators, the musicians – but mostly the people who work so hard and saved and planned all the logistics to make this trip down to see their bands that they love to interact with their peers and to live this remarkable experience and to have those dreams, logistics, dollars, expectations dashed with this spurt of irresponsible chaos.
Support your friends and do not underestimate the impact of witnessing such ridiculous horror has on any one of our minds.
Breathe walk take a hike cry and be grateful that you were there breathing – there’s something more for you to do.
Carry-on dear intrepid fans, bands, volunteers, organizers, venues. Do not let such random recklessness delay the important tasks of goodness before you.
I’ve had tussles with the Austin police (no details) and also been at late-night hospitals in Austin and know the strange surreal feeling of going from the most fantastic exuberant emotions to the cold reality of tubes wires bills and blood.
I don’t wish an experience of these rapid changes of reality on anyone – especially as someone who has spent a lot of time in hospitals in the last eight months and witnessed death of a dearest one in the most profound divine manner possible just scant weeks ago.
Our futures are all intertwined with the actions of people we will never meet so the best we can do is intrepidly move towards our dreams and express everything we can while we are in control of these bodies that our minds tote around.
Love and blessings to all in Austin and the families of those afflicted however far-flung they may be – sent on a gossamer thread around the world from my 18th floor recuperation suite overlooking freighters and a gray horizon.