The latest from our team at South by Southwest in Austin

Thursday Morning Roundup

PACKING ‘EM IN: When I visited the Dallas Museum of Art the other day for a lunch meeting, I saw something at the museum I’d never seen before in all my trips there: the very end of the parking garage. And this was at noon. On a Tuesday. The reason, of course, is that people are still turning out in droves for “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” The show closes this next weekend, so the crowds will probably only increase. But there is good news – the museum has extended the exhibition’s hours, keeping it open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. next Friday-Sunday (Feb. 10-12).

SXSW FILM: The complete lineup for the film portion of SXSW has been released. Predictably, the revamped 21 Jump Street will premiere there, as will documentaries about everyone from Jeffrey Dahmer to Ginger Baker. But I’m already lining up for America’s Parking Lot, which follows two die-hard Cowboys fans in the last year of Texas Stadium.

FORT WORTH’S NEW STUDIO: Downtown Fort Worth is getting a cool new addition – a recording studio. The space is the brainchild of Will Hunt, a producer who’s worked with everyone from Evanescence to Burning Hotels. Hunt tells fwweekly.com the decision was pretty simple – he and his wife have lived in the city since 2004, and this just another way of putting down deeper roots. The space should be open this summer.

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Friday Morning Roundup

THINKING BIG: Stage West’s New Jerusalem looks back to 17th Century Amsterdam, where Jews were allowed to live but were not allowed to talk about religion. At all. And that stipulation proves to be too stifling for philosopher Baruch de Spinoza, who discusses That Which Shall Not Be Talked About with anyone who will listen. And those discussions offer plenty of mind vitamins for the audience. “If you go to New Jerusalem, and you should, be prepared to have your assumptions about God, man and nature challenged,” David Novinski writes on theaterjones.com. Not to worry, though. “Aggravating, circular religious debates are not inherently entertaining,” Punch Shaw writes on dfw.com. “But this show works, thanks to some deft direction by Jerry Russell that prevents things from becoming stagnant.” Catch it through Jan. 29.

SWING, SWING, SWING: The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo begins on Saturday and, this being Fort Worth, you can expect to hear some Western Swing coming from the stage. But Western Swing’s survival hasn’t always been a sure thing. As Erik Swanson of Dallas band Shoot Low Sheriff tells dfw.com, “We’re too country for jazz and too jazz for country.” Give the story a read for a good introduction into how the genre got its start in Cowtown and a primer on the bands keeping it alive today.

FIRST SXSW FILMS ANNOUNCED: The Cabin in the Woods, the Joss Whedon-produced horror film, will open the film portion of South by Southwest on March 9. It’s directed by Drew Goddard, who directed Cloverfield. Other notable films announced by the festival include Small Apartments, which brings Billy Crystal back to the screen, and Marley, a Bob Marley documentary.

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VIDEO: On the Road with Sarah Jaffe

The last installment from SXSW in our On the Road video series finds Sarah Jaffe singing “Before You Go” in an Austin hotel room.  Many thanks to all the artists who participated. And special big ups to  April Kinser and Dane Walters for their work on this series, which we hope to continue. For more from Sarah, check out her q/a below.  And here’s where you can hear NPR’s recording of Sarah’s performance at SXSW.\

What bands are you looking forward to seeing?

Well I missed out yesterday because I had too much to drink, but I really wanted to see the Kills and I wanted to see the Strokes. But I’m looking forward to seeing Chromeo tonight.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I’m a pretty closed-mouth person, but I tend to become even more so. I try to mentally let go of any pre-show anxiety and also let go of any apprehension. And I also enjoy every once in a while partaking in a toast with my bandmates. I like cheap champagne.

What’s been your most embarrassing moment on stage?

I’m pretty sure when I first started playing that I mispronounced the last name of a guitarist I played with a while ago. It was incredibly awkward because we were fairly good friends. Any sort of word flub is always kind of embarrassing, but I always try to play it off a little bit.

What’s the ultimate road trip song?

ELO’s “Telephone Line” is really good. Also, you know, I’m kind of a sucker for Top 40 radio. I enjoy a lot of that and a lot of older stuff as well. I always try to compromise with those things because I think when I put on something that’s Top 40, my bandmates are dying in the back.

What’s been your biggest career highlight?

Touring with Midlake in Europe last year was pretty phenomenal. I turned 24 in Amsterdam, which you couldn’t have timed it better. It was just being with friends and playing in these very ethereal places. It was pretty miraculous. Every night was a dream. It’s all been really great. Dallas has been so supportive and a very big launching pad for m

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Flickr Photo of the Week

Congratulations to Ian Aberle of Allen, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! This is Ian’s second win in the contest; he previously won almost exactly a year ago with this photo. He follows last week’s winner, Lyn Caudle.

If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took earlier than the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Monday to Sunday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Monday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through FlickrMail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Wednesday.

There’s actually an apt story behind Lyn’s shot this week:

Name: Ian Aberle

City of residence: Allen

Title of photo: SXSW on 6th Street

Equipment: Canon 7D, a steady arm, and the willingness to stand in the crosswalk a little longer than I should.

Tell us more about your photo: The photo was taken during a photowalk organized by travel blog photographer Trey Ratcliff. During SXSW, over 200 photographers showed up to walk around and photograph downtown Austin. Upon returning to the hotel, I was taken by the lights and people on the famed 6th Street. This image was from my third attempt crossing the street to capture it. The actual image is a combination of three exposures combined into one to create the intense neon effect.

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VIDEO: On The Road with Middle Brother

Super group Middle Brother takes a break from SXSW to sing “Million Dollar Bill” for the next installment of  On the Road series.

What bands are you looking forward to seeing?

John McCauley: Odd Future

Matt Vasquez: Old 97’s

Taylor Goldsmith: Bright Eyes

What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?

Taylor: I went on stage once and my fly was down. On the third verse the song really broke down and got really quiet with just guitar and vocal. The whole room was quiet and this dude in the fourth row yelled “Your fly is down!” The whole venue started laughing at me. It was awful.

What has been the band’s career highlight so far?

Matt: We (Delta Spirit) missed 10 flights one time on our way to Bonnaroo. Our booking agent Jackie and our PR dude Ken helped get us the last night at Bonaroo and it was one of the most insane shows we’ve ever played. When we started to play, it rained and it was the headiest, craziest experience.

What’s the ultimate road trip song?

Taylor: King of the Road, by Roger Miller.

Any pre-show rituals?

Matt: Drink beer.

John: A lot of it’s illegal.

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SXSW VIDEO: Ramble Creek-ShowLush Day Show

My favorite thing about SXSW are the day shows.  I love enjoying several of my favorite bands and still home by dark.  The Ramble CreekShowLush day party was the perfect setting and chock full of my favorite bands.

Callie Snyder aka ShowLush joined forces with Britton Beisenherz (Ramble Creek Studio and Monahans) for a five year commitment to stage backyard shows that are welcoming, relaxing and family friendly.  Most of the bands consist of the excellent roster of artists who have recorded at Beisenherz’s Ramble Creek Studio.

The crowd that packed Callie’s backyard this past Friday were a lovely eclectic mix, that ranged from 3-month old babies, to one couple well into their 90’s.  As the music filled the air, show-goers enjoyed complimentary Tito’s Homemade Vodka drinks, Lone Star Beer and Waialua Sodas, all Texas-based sponsors.

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VIDEO: On the Road with The O's at the Austin Motel

South by Southwest is over, but we’ve got more videos coming. Today check out the O’s, who performed “We’ll go Walkin'” for us in front of the Austin Motel.  Taylor Young and John Pedigo were also kind enough to answer a few q’s, which you can read below.

What’s your favorite venue to play in Austin and why?

Taylor: The Parish is totally badass, but probably the Mohawk is our favorite because we’ve had the best time there so far.

John: I love the Mohawk.

What’s your most embarrassing moment on stage?

Taylor: That time that we killed it too much.

John: Boom!

What is your biggest career highlight?

John: Right now, with KXT, in front of the greatest shrub that Austin knows.

Taylor: It’s now called “The O’s Shrub.”

John: It’s called the “Greater Austin South Congress O’s Shrub.”

Are there any bandmates that have any annoying habits in your group and what are they?

Taylor: Let’s start with the most annoying: Too much fun.

John: Yes, we do have too much fun together. I don’t know. I think we get along pretty well. That’s why we’re in a band together. That’s kind of a lame response isn’t it? Actually, he doesn’t groom enough.

Taylor: Yeah, like, sometimes he gets pissed off because I don’t shave my beard to a three guard, when he wants a four guard.

John: I don’t know, it’s all about image, you know?

Taylor: Sometimes he’s like “Why?” And I’m like “Because!”

John: As (Andre) Agassi said, “Image is everything.”

Is there an annoying audience habit you’d like to share?

John: I’ll just say a name: Pete Reece.

Taylor: Wow, that’s a slam

John: I love you Pete.

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SXSW: Japan Nite Turns Into Cross-Cultural Love-In

Despite the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan, dozens of Japanese attended South by Southwest last week. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports that they found an outpouring of support from those who went to the music, film and interactive conference:

  • KERA Radio Story:
  • Expanded online version:

Friday night is traditionally Japan Nite at the SXSW music conference. The event is usually just a package tour of Japanese bands that stops through Austin before heading off to the coasts and back to Japan. The audience stops by to check out a cultural curiosity and to see how the Japanese are putting their spin on American rock music. But this year, the night served as a cross-cultural love-in.

An hour before the 8 o’clock start time, a line had already formed at Elysium, the club hosting the concert. When the doors opened at 7:45, the black and red split-level club was almost instantly full. The night’s opening band was called Zukunasisters. And when they hit the stage, it was clear that despite the tragedy in Japan, this wasn’t going to be a pity party.

EMI: “Many people is hanging there, and helping each other. We don’t give up. We don’t give up! So, please give me your power. Please give me your power! [crowd cheers]”

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SXSW: Yoko Ono's Long Fight for Respect

AUSTIN – Depending on your perspective, Yoko Ono is either a) a boundary-pushing artist, b) a respected peace activist c) the person you blame for the Beatles breakup or d) some combination of the above.

While many people know about her artistry and activism, it’s her relationship with John Lennon that she will always be most famous for. And because of that, she’s always had to prove to her detractors that her art can stand on its own. But during a conversation Friday morning with KGSR’s Jody Denberg, the 78-year-old revealed that she was fighting for artistic respect long before she ever met Lennon.

As a child, she says she wrote her first song at the age of 4. Soon she was interested in becoming a pianist like her father, who played when he wasn’t busy working as a banker. While she was struggling to learn the instrument, she heard her father talking in another room.

“Yoko’s not going to make it as a pianist. She should probably forget it. No more practice,” he said.

Amazingly, the young Yoko thought, “This is great!”

But that was just the beginning of the discouragement she received from her father, who she says she feels was only looking out for her. When she got a little older, she told him of her dreams to write songs. She says that he told her women “didn’t really have an aptitude” for composing and maybe she should focus on singing songs written by other people.

That thought stuck in her head when years later, Fort Worth’s Ornette Coleman asked Ono if she would like to perform with him during a concert he was giving at Royal Albert Hall in London. Ono told him she would only if she could play her own material, too. He said sure, and they played the show together.

And now she’s just released her sixth straight single to top the Billboard dance chart. Wonder what her ol’ dad would think about that?

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SXSW: Black Joe Lewis and His Dallas Friends

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Categorized Under: Music, South by Southwest

AUSTIN – An afternoon show by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears on Friday turned into a gospel revival when a special guest showed up on stage. For the first 20 minutes or so, the band plowed through cuts from its new album, Scandalous. Then four guys in suits walked out and things really got interesting. The special guests were The Relatives, a Dallas-based gospel quartet that knows how to put the spirit in ya. For the next 15 minutes, the normally laid back lunchtime crowd was on its feet as the main attraction essentially played backup band for The Relatives.

Before this afternoon, I have to admit that I had never heard of these guys. But I’m going to be keeping an eye out for them when I get back home. Kudos to BJL&HB for devoting some of its well-earned time to another group also worthy of the spotlight.

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