Live from Squaresville: A SXSW Odyssey in Multiple Parts (Phase 1)

SXSW-2014And it has descended upon us again, the yearly carnival, debacle, fanfare, clusterfuck that is South by Southwest.  It’s that two week period when Austin damn near consumes itself in commerce, excitement, food, drinks, and bitchiness.  I’m all for it.  Sure there are aspects of it all that drive me crazy…the influx of people everywhere, the traffic, the veritable police lineup of ridiculous looking characters, and the cold and flu disease-ridden aftermath that we all lovingly refer to as “South By AIDS.”  But on the other hand, I take a week off from work, catch some cool free shows, drink some cold free beer, and generally take in the circus atmosphere like its some kind of cleanser.  And every year it just gets bigger and bigger.  It’s not all music and film anymore.  There’s a tech side, an interactive side, an education side, and I can only imagine beer, food, and puppy dogs waiting in the wings for their own slice of the expo.  So, there is literally something for everybody here.

And I’ll be coming at you fairly regularly with updates of what i’m doing, what I’ve seen, what I’m drinking, and where we are all headed before I resume the shackles of employment on the 17th…which is St. Patrick’s Day.  How can I be expected to go back to work then?  How, I ask you?

(This is my first year of SXSW with a child…so I’m probably going to have to be much more of a grown up than I am used to during this time of the year.)

The Lion King by Tom Whalen

The Lion King by Tom Whalen

First on the agenda for me yesterday was a visit to the Mondo Tees art gallery for their new show, “Nothing’s Impossible,” a whole slew of awesome Disney inspired posters in conjunction with Oh My Disney.  I didn’t make it to the actual opening, but was there early Saturday morning for the kid friendly version…a poster print buying melee with clowns and donuts.  Artists like Tom Whalen (who’s Lion King poster you can see above), Dave Perillo, Francesco Francavilla, Olly Moss, and more created their own movie posters, portraits, and interpretations of a number of classic Disney films.  The prints are pretty impressive, and you should definitely check them all out here.  I bought a couple myself for my son, because nothing says SXSW rock and roll debauchery like The Lion King and Winnie the fucking Pooh.  While this event was not officially involved with SXSW, most everything that happens around here until next Sunday is just a clinging, unofficial bonus.


Taken from my cell phone...TECHNOLOGY!

Taken from my cell phone…TECHNOLOGY!

Now, what would my SXSW be without some music?  Since I knew I wouldn’t be making it to any of the evening’s many free parties all around Austin (again, I am caring for an infant), I settled for some record shopping around town and an in-store performance at End of an Ear by Austin’s own minimalist synthesizer band Survive.  The band was cold and technical as per usual, which is a good thing for their kind of music, instrumental synth compositions that could easily score an old 80’s horror or sci-fi flick.  It’s my thing man.  (Get their new EP from Monofonus Press.)

While I love this city, and I love this festival, there is always an almost alarming amount of dissent and pessimism that goes along with every single year.  Scores and scores of locals bitch and moan about the chaotic state of Austin during Spring Break, cursing at tourists and generally bemoaning the entire affair.  Cultural elitism sets in.  “Locals Only” events spring up here and there, like we’re all some kind of townie in Cambridge shaking our collective fists at some snotty Ivy League transplants.  It’s basically just a lot of hipsters hating on other hipsters from far away places.  But I’m ignoring all that this year.  The naysayers will not have their say!  I will have my fun and spit in the eye of every dissenter.  After all, I got two awesome poster prints and I saw an excellent band yesterday.  What did you do?

After the Survive show, some forays through the cold rain were made, dinner with the wife, and then some Catching Fire at home.  And then I passed out.  (We live it big people.)

But this will all resume again.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

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