One of the things I love about SXSW is all the people you get to meet. With attendance at over 30,000 this year, there was no shortage of great people to talk to.
This year was no different.
I make a point of not worrying about a schedule because serendipity always comes into play. For example, because of friends at Xomo (a Vancouver company that developed the SXSW schedule app), I found out about a secret wine party at an underground venue. We headed there and I find my pal Chris Heuer there who co-paneled a talk with me a few years ago:
Also Brian Solis was there, signing his book:
We then left the wine party and ended up a night of adventures, hitting a number of other venues for food and drinks into the wee hours of the morning.
I finally got to meet Violet Blue. We’ve both been to SXSW many times and I’ve never had the opportunity to meet her.
Even Grumpy Cat was there this year:
Another example of the serendipity that occurs is with my pal Josh. I first met him years ago at SXSW when he worked for a company that hosted bus trips out to Driftwood, Texas, to the Salt Lick BBQ. During one of these bus trips, a band (Shinobi Ninja) snuck onto the bus to get BBQ (who can blame them, it is amazing BBQ). They end up getting hired to perform at the Salt Lick the following year. This is the same year that Josh proposes to his wife Traci at the Salt Lick and asked me to take a few photos of the special occasion.
Fast forward to 2013. Josh, John, Rebecca and myself are leaving a party that was getting too crowded. We get on the street and I spot a bouncer across the street at Empire Control & Garage with an interesting headband on – it had scrolling LEDs built into it. I needed to investigate it further. Turns out it was the Huffington Post/NASA party and they would loan anyone a headband with the LEDs in it if you gave them your ID. The band playing (French Horn Rebellion – who are awesome) could control the animations on the headbands or they would pulsate to the beat…very cool! But wait, there’s more.
It turns out that Empire is owned by members of Shinobi Ninja. My random interest in a bouncer’s hat ended up Josh reconnecting with Terminator Dave from Shinobi Ninja and we ended up getting a full tour of the venue from Dave. He knows our friend, Nardwuar as well. Rebecca sends a message to Nardwuar, who is in town for SXSW as well (more on this in a minute) and connects him with Dave who is a big fan of Nardwuar’s. Dave finished our tour saying he had to go…on stage. Dave and DJ Axis Powers were performing a DJ & Drum set next.
An amazing night of music and it wasn’t even over yet!
Afterwards, I ran into a bunch of friends at one of our favorite pubs, the Ginger Man, which lead to me staying out until 4:30am…something I haven’t done in a long time.
As I mentioned, Nardwuar was in town too. He told us he was doing some interviews the next day and invited us to meet up with him. On our way to do that, we had a little time to kill so we headed to the Samsung Blogger Lounge in the convention center. We walk in to find Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live, Portlandia) about to do an interview there so we grab a seat.
Fred graciously answered questions from the small group in the lounge and posed for photos with just about everyone. I was even able to get him to pose for a Lytro shot:
After that, we headed into one of the main halls for Fred’s panel about alternate comedy on television (which was hilarious). I then bumped into Nardwuar who was about to interview Fred and Marc Maron. He asked if we wanted to tag along. Then all this happened:
I’ll post Nardwuar’s interview videos once they are live (see below)…it was awesome to see him work.
Another cool event that happened at SXSW was the Five Hole For Food event called Hoot Hockey. My pal Richard Loat and his team arranged a street hockey game featuring players from Hootsuite, the Dallas Stars and others that formed teams to play. Even Guy Kawasaki came out to play. At the end of the tournament, they raised the equivalent of 7,500 pounds of food for the local Austin Food Bank.
Thanks to a tip from a friend, we found out about the Showtime Lounge. This was a spot a good walk from the main convention area but very worth it. Named for the television network that produces Dexter and Homeland, it was a place to relax, have some food and drink and recharge. They even had a photo booth on Dexter’s kill table!
They also had a ton of props from the shows on display and a huge recharging station for all our phones and gear.
A block from my hotel was the Yahoo! Launch hall. This is where Flickr and other Yahoo properties were set up in a huge space with multiple photo booths, a live band stage, a huge bar and lots of food.
They had a ton of couches so it was a great place to meet up and take a load off after a day of walking around.
I had to leave early on the last day of SXSW so the last thing I did was check out Ryan Leslie at the Yahoo space before heading back to my hotel and packing. I’m still kind of bummed that I missed Deadmau5 and Ritchie Hawtin performing at the closing party at Stubbs but I just didn’t have anything left in the tank and had to get up at 4am for my flight home.
Part 3 will be about my Lytro Portraits at SXSW 2013
UPDATE: Nardwuar just posted the video from the interview with Fred:
and the one with Marc Maron: