Tag: festivals

Annual Mavericks: Other Minds Festival 17

“The San Francisco Symphony does ‘Mavericks’ every ten years; we do it every year,” joked Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian at this year’s Other Minds Festival of new Music, the Bay Area new music community’s annual three-day get together. This was the 17th iteration of the festival, which has been running regularly with only a few skipped years since 1993. Each year a group of eight to twelve composers is featured in three concerts, several composers per night, with sets focusing on each composer in turn.

OM 17 composers with Charles Amirkhanian (far right), photo from <a href="http://www.henceforthrecords.com/2012/03/other-minds-festival-of-new-music-2012-day-2/">Henceforth Records</a>

OM 17 composers with Charles Amirkhanian (far right), photo from Henceforth Records.

This year’s event (March 1–3) included a characteristically diverse group of nine composers, including 75-year-old Harold Budd and 31-year-old Tyshawn Sorey; Berkeley-based Ken Ueno and Lotta Wennäkoski from Finland; and glissando virtuoso Gloria Coates and laptop improviser Ikue Mori. Also featured were John Kennedy, Simon Steen-Andersen and Øyvind Torvund—a multiplicity of compositional voices, from various locations, by composers at different stages in their artistic careers. In a separate fourth performance on February 29, the festival also highlighted work by four younger American composers who had been named OM Fellows, a program now in its second year.

“Community” is frequently used these days by arts organizations as a buzzword, but OM concerts truly have the feel of a gathering of a certain community within the Bay Area. The sense of familiarity among those in attendance is immediately noticeable: people seem to be greeting old friends and colleagues constantly from the moment they arrive at the hall. Board members are publicly acknowledged for appreciation during the show. The announcements are informal and there’s a notable lack of pretense—when the raffle winners were announced, one was greeted from the stage by Amirkhanian with a homey “Oh, hey, Tony, nice to see you. Glad you could make it.”


The Djerassi property. Photo by Richard Friedman via Kyle Gann.

This sense of community building extends to the festival composers and Fellows as well, who spend five days together at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program on a rural ranch about an hour south of San Francisco prior to the concerts. (Here are some charming and bucolic photos from previous years by Kyle Gann and Richard Friedman.) In fact, although the festival concerts are the most publicly visible component of Other Minds’ work, they are only a detail of a bigger picture in which international and intergenerational dialogue is encouraged among individual artistic creators.

I attended the second and third concerts this year, as well as the performance featuring the four Fellows’ work. (The first concert, with works by Torvund and Steen-Andersen performed by the Norwegian ensemble asamisimasa, I unfortunately had to miss due to illness.) Some sets were performed by the composers themselves (Budd, Mori, Sorey); others by the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet, mainstays of the festival, and by members of the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a young, malleable instrumental ensemble with roots in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The works presented were as wide-ranging as OM audiences have come to expect. (A full list of repertoire can be found here.) Concert 2 featured Coates’ Fifth String Quartet (two movements of which were composed almost exclusively using glissandi); a quiet, spare and introspective work by Budd for piano and bass; and almost overwhelmingly aggressive simultaneous improvisations by Mori on her laptop, Sorey on drums, and Ueno on vocals that included overtone throat-singing, death metal growls, and extreme high-register squeals. Concert 3 had Magik*Magik in different configurations, ranging from a percussion duo playing Kennedy’s First Deconstruction (in Plastic) on upturned Glidden paint buckets to a 12-person chamber orchestra configuration with string quartet plus bass and winds/brass. That was followed by improvisations by Sorey solo, first on a drum kit and then on piano, and the world premiere of Ueno’s Peradam for string quartet (who are asked not just to sing, but throat-sing).


Del Sol String Quartet with Gloria Coates (center). Photo by Charles Amirkhanian.

Though Other Minds has apparently cultivated an audience that knows that they are coming to hear something unexpected—attendance in the 410-seat Kanbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco was very respectable at the concerts I attended—the format of the concerts makes certain demands of the concert-goers. Because each composer is represented by a set that is approximately a half-hour long and often there are dramatically contrasting compositional approaches, there is sometimes a disjointed quality to the festival’s performances. In addition, the performing forces change from set to set, so the added time for changeovers and announcements affects the pacing of the performances significantly. For the listener, the result can be disorienting, and during Concert 2 especially I wished there were more of a sense of journey and connectedness throughout the evening.


Rootstock Percussion performing Jen Wang’s Renderings of Things We Couldn’t Take Home at The LAB.

In that sense, the most satisfying performance event of the festival for me was actually the Composer Fellowship Concert, which was held at a small, 100-seat visual art space in the Mission called The LAB. Rootstock Percussion, a Bay Area trio, performed all the works on the program, which featured one work by each of the four Fellows—D. Edward Davis, Peter Swendsen, John P. Hastings, and Jen Wang—framed by pieces by John Cage. Having the instrumentation limited to percussion allowed each composer’s identity to come into relief in relation to the others’. While Swendsen’s Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is for bass drum solo and electronics (controlled by the composer via iPad at the back of the hall) took inspiration from the sounds of weather and seasonal transitions in Norway, Hastings created numbered grids for Terce that provided guidelines for the three percussionists to construct the work by playing wine glasses like bells and by bowing Styrofoam and large metal springs. Cage opened and closed each half, ending the program with Amores, Parts II and III—the only obviously pulse-driven pieces in an evening of percussion music.


Cactus awaiting its star turn in Cage’s Child of Tree.

The Other Minds Foundation is in the process of digitizing its audio archive, and the results can be accessed for free online at RadiOM.org. Recordings of many past festival concerts and panel discussions are available, and the current festival recordings should be added soon. The site also includes a trove of archival material from KPFA-FM in Berkeley, where Amirkhanian was music director for over two decades.

SXSW 2012 Postmortem

You can feel SXSW approaching about two weeks before Austin’s population doubles and everybody and their grandmother has a keg and a band in the backyard. The locals can be divided into two categories: those who have made travel plans, and those who haven’t and are preparing like the Mayans got it right. For those in the latter group, supplies are purchased and thoughtful itineraries are carefully outlined. Friends are flown in, stationed on couches, given keys, and told where to get breakfast tacos; specifically where to get them at 3 a.m. Bars, venues, coffee shops, food trucks, transportation, wristbands, multi-level passes, and wardrobe (always tricky with the sketchy weather) are all prepped.

Everything is possible.

And then you end up doing a fraction of what you had planned, you lose your phone, your wristband turns out to be fake (happened to a friend, tragic) and the highlight of your Thursday was the time you spent east of I-35 watching a band from Iceland play chip tune music on rewired Game Boys….

And it’s still a blast.

What strikes me about my SXSW experiences in the twelve years I’ve been here (and what I typically hear from friends and acquaintances) is that some of the best parts were not vaguely planned. What they stumbled upon as they made their way around downtown Austin and the surrounding area is what made their festival experience fun and unique. I, too, have stumbled around downtown Austin (SXSW notwithstanding), and this year found a few shows that I’d planned to see, and a few that just showed up.

Owen Weaver - Photo by Elisa Ferrari

Owen Weaver – Photo by Elisa Ferrari

SXSW 2012 was a cloudy, overcast affair. The festival that starts and ends with music is nonetheless dominated by its technology-focused interactive festival which takes place at the start of SXSW and is indoors by and large; a situation that played out well this year. “Yeast By Sweet Beast“ (my stumble-in) is a three-day experimental improvisation and “outsider music” festival founded in 2000 by poet, musician, and film maker Anne Heller. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” happenings, these showcases of sound artists were accompanied by installations by video artists Paul Baker, Katie Rose Pipkin, and Laurel Barickman, creating a thoroughly hypnotic vibe.  Held at a number of venues including Skinny’s Ballroom, Trophy’s, and Headhunters, the festival featured a tremendous variety of artists and styles. Highlights included the scattered vocal improvs of Bosco Stravinsky, Futureblondes, the “pop with big beats” of Ichi Ni San Shi, the rhythmic noise trance of Daze of Heaven, and Austin favorites Matt Burnett and Rebecca Ramirez.

The “They Used to Call it Classical” panel was held at the Austin Convention Center and featured Ed Ward, Justin Kantor, Alex Ross, Janet Cowperthwaite, and Carl Stone discussing the classical crossover trend that got its start decades ago but has since become the “It Girl” of new music discussion. The modest crowd heard a number of stories and insights, including Kantor’s take on keeping the doors open on a venue that features different styles nightly, Cowperthwaite’s discussion of the Kronos Quartet’s long-term commissioning project, and Alex Ross’s historical perspective on crossover. This should be required listening, and I hope that there is a repeat/update for next year.

Peter Gregson - Photo by Elisa Ferrari

Peter Gregson – Photo by Elisa Ferrari

Nonclassical and Fast Forward Austin curated a showcase downtown on the last weekend of the festival. Steve Snowden’s live remixes of music from the Nonclassical catalogue providing a great beginning to the show while offering a buffer for those filtering in a little late. Solo bass performances by P Kellach Waddle of his own compositions were followed by the Bel Coure sax quartet which performed music by Rob Honstein, Jennifer Higdon, and Nick Sibicky, resulting in an enthusiastic standing ovation. Cellist Peter Gregson brought a minimalist vibe to the room with pieces by Reich, and Nonclassical’s Gabriel Prokofiev and percussionist Owen Weaver performed a “sculpture piece” providing one of the more captivating visual performances of the evening. The Aiana String Quartet gave stellar performances of music by Piazzolla, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Bartok’s First String Quartet, the last of which was clearly the “classical” music of the night. Finally, Line Upon Line closed the show with pieces by Snowden, Ethan Greene, and a killer performance of Xenakis’ Okho. Well aware of the time limit imposed on the show (they run a tight ship at the Hilton, folks) LUL performed ninja-like set changes between pieces, a bit of ballet all by itself.

The Innova Records showcase the following night was held in the same “is this really a conference room?” venue as the FFA/NC show the previous evening.  Kicking off the showcase was Prester John  sounding every bit like the Presidents of the United States of America, if they were locked in a room for several years with a metronome, a monster work ethic, and a penchant for scales. I can only imagine that the phrase “quirky pop” is used from time to time in describing these guys, but it doesn’t do them justice. From fun tunes like “Fireman’s Drive Inn,” to the Zappa “Black Page“-esque (at least the intro) of “The Library Thief (with The Half Speed Cakewalk),” Prester John managed to maintain a sense of humor while displaying impressive chops. Sxip Shirey came on stage guns blazing, bearing train whistles, harmonica, prepared guitar, and an effects set up that sounded at times like trains in the distance (his description) and at others like the solo from “Owner of a Lonely Heart (my take, which I think is very cool btw…check 2:35). The Golden Hornet Project dusted off their Prokofiev (Sergei this time) arrangements (among the first pieces the group worked on when they formed) and dropped them, early Mr. Bungle-style, on the crowd. Their hyperkinetic mini big-band stylings, complete with pounding piano and killer horns, would have fit seamlessly into nearly any venue in town.

During the set change, Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” was playing over the P.A. and man, there was a lot of whistling and humming going on in that room. Just sayin’….

Todd Reynolds’s set was, for me, the highlight of an evening full of great performers and composers. His performance of Michael Lowenstern’s Crossroads was absolutely thrilling and had the audience positively grooving. Val-Inc’s Afro-electronica set included field recordings mixed with beats and a theremin-like control interface which made for a compelling show both visually and aurally. Finally Grant Cutler along with Innova’s own Chris Campbell laid a bit of an ambient mix on the audience, a fitting come-down to a very stimulating evening.

Owen Weaver and Adam Bedell – Observations by Tristan Perich (excerpt) from Fast>>Forward>>Austin.


Now that the town has released its seasonal population to the four winds, I can take a moment to reflect on another South By Gone By. Bookended by the weird and freaky YBSB at the front and the somewhat more formal but nonetheless funky showcases at the end, this year’s festival had a lot to offer those who are looking for something other than the usual fare. If there is anything that the audiences at these shows have in common with audiences at the traditional SXSW venues, it’s the fact that it’s hard for anyone to get out and see everything they want to see, especially if your tastes are varied. An embarrassment of riches such as SXSW demands that some shows go unseen, and that’s a bummer. However, the shows I made it out to this year were all pretty fantastic, and that gives me hope that (assuming the Mayans blew it) next year will be even better.

Improvising Conversation: No Idea Festival

No Idea poster

Poster artist: Noel Waggener

To the uninitiated, free improvisation can often seem formless and confusing. Unlike theater or comedy, the lack of text to provide a narrative can leave an audience member lost in a world of sounds, rhythms, and gestures that may be difficult to reconcile as a whole. The “free” in free improvisation can give the impression that anything goes, and while there may be a kernel of truth in that, those for whom improvisation is a regular and important part (or the whole) of their musical experience know that the real freedom in improvisation is working within the initial constraints that often come in the opening moments of a performance. Listening, communicating, and moving towards a cohesive realization is no less than real-time composition, and to do it well requires experience, patience, and perhaps most importantly, restraint.

The No Idea Festival recently celebrated its ninth year with seven days of concerts in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. An international roster of artists participated in workshops and performances in spaces large and small and, as a run up to the festival, the No Idea Sunday Series featured four performances from local and regional improvisers. Each performance was preceded by screenings of Derek Bailey’s documentary On The Edge: Improvisation In Music, a series of four 55-minute films broadcast in the UK in early 1992. The Austin NIF shows took place at The Broken Neck, a venue in east Austin that has not forgotten that a warehouse is supposed to be a huge unrefined space. Nods to acoustics were evident, but by and large this was a space that could in no time return to its storage or manufacturing roots. AV equipment was ubiquitous, not just for use by the performers but in service of archiving the event and at times the two sets of equipment seemed to overlap. NIF was sponsored by some of the usual suspects, including the Texas Commission on the Arts and Meet The Composer (its logo now amended to reflect the New Music USA transformation), as well as a few local heroes like Ruby’s Barbecue (Austin) and St. Arnold’s Brewery (Houston) which supplied a great spread (gratis!) and a keg respectively, with beers available for a modest donation.

Andrea Neumann and Bonnie Jones

Andrea Neumann and Bonnie Jones

The first set featured Andrea Neumann from Berlin and Bonnie Jones from Baltimore. Both artists were set up behind large custom-made electronic kits attached to boards approximately three feet square, replete with hard and soft-wired elements. Neumann’s board also featured the miniaturized guts of a piano which she was able to manipulate both physically and electronically during the performance. As Neumann began generating a low frequency, Jones slowly played bells that recalled the sound of an analog phone. Neumann’s frequencies slowly opened up, though still remaining in the low range, while Jones began to create light static in a rhythmic pattern, the pulsing beats panning across the stereo field. Jones used her fingers to create and break connections on the board, causing small, pointed moments to occur slowly and without pattern, like rain dripping from a tree long after a storm. Neumann began to work with the “piano,” physically playing a few notes while the electronics transformed the sound, the last note of which became the only controlled and sustained feedback of the set. While the feedback echoed in the space, Jones manipulated a number of stompboxes and other custom equipment, at one point dragging one piece around the board, using the sounds of the analog contacts connecting and disconnecting within the device to create a counterpoint to the feedback and a reimagining of the previous patternless rain music.

Maggie Bennett

Maggie Bennett

Maggie Bennett’s dance set began as the audience returned to their seats following a brief set change. Attached to the wall was a tremendous paper construction, like a waterfall pouring from the wall and flowing ten feet across the floor. Bennett’s performance was an exercise in control, her movements mostly small and subtle, at one moment seeming to fall asleep and the next moment waking up on the large paper wave. It was a compelling and direct translation of movement into sound, so much so that late in the set when she moved away from the paper, I experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance in that it was odd to see her move without hearing the sound of the paper. It struck me that in conventional dance the sound of the dancer’s feet slamming into the marley flooring is always distracting. It’s a sound that I’d rather not hear if possible, but here the secondary sound was developed, celebrated, and made a strong follower to Bennett’s lead.

Bhob Rainey, Greg Kelley, and Jason Lescalleet

Bhob Rainey, Greg Kelley, and Jason Lescalleet

Sound artist Jason Lescalleet was joined by his nmperign collaborators Bhob Rainey (saxophone) and Greg Kelley (trumpet) for the third set of the evening. Lescalleet used a variety of reel-to-reel and hand-held tape machines to create organic textures. He began by placing a reel-to-reel unit at the front of the performance space and setting in motion a length of analog tape which went through and then out of the machine, made a circular trip several feet around a microphone, and returned to its origin. A broken ostinato slowly formed from this circuit and remained for the first few minutes, establishing itself as a static framework. Rainey joined the ostinato, his sax sounding long tones like a sine wave mixed with breathing through the instrument that recalled the broken static of the original signal. Lescalleet moved almost constantly around the stage and behind his own electronic setup at the back, manipulating various pieces of equipment including smaller tape decks that were placed on the side of the stage. Kelley removed the mouthpiece from his muted trumpet while he and Rainey complimented the spare tape textures with long, quiet, subtle quarter-tone lines and more breathing and blowing through the instruments. As the piece developed, Lescalleet removed tape from one machine, spliced and taped it on the fly, and fed it into the main machine at the front of the stage. While he held the tape, minute changes in the timbres could be heard as the tape machine motors worked to keep the mail moving through the system. Low aquatic sounds shared space with more breath effects from Rainey and Kelley, leading to pops and crackles from the reassembled tape. Finally, Lescalleet disconnected each of the machines, bringing the performance to a close.

Bryan Eubanks, Chris Cogburn, and Vic Rawlings performing as LUCRE

Bryan Eubanks, Chris Cogburn, and Vic Rawlings performing as LUCRE

The fourth set featured Chris Cogburn, Bryan Eubanks, and Vic Rawlings on percussion, electronics, and cello respectively, performing as LUCRE. Though Eubanks’s contribution was primarily electronic, both Cogburn and Rawlings had their own electronic setups as well which they used during the set. The performance began with Cogburn creating resonance on a snare drum (snares off) by dragging rubber beaters and other materials across the head of the drum. With cymbals placed on a tom tom, Cogburn used a long thin dowel and did his best fire-starter impression, using both hands to create vibrations in the stick that drove both cymbal and drum. Eubanks created a slight white noise texture that extended for several minutes while Rawlings drew clicking sweeps from the cello, the sound further altered electronically to sound a bit like the ocean from very far away. Most of the performance (and this was true of all the performances) utilized primarily old school analog electronics, with instruments and sounds largely derived from older hardware, but this section also featured the odd contemporary digital moment, adding a welcome trace of “reverse anachronism” to an otherwise earthy and visceral show.

It was impressive that in these chamber performances the members of the ensembles spent as much time (or more) listening as they did playing. Thoughtful, well-paced conversations and occasionally conventional forms with fairly clear beginnings, middles, and ends (as opposed to more open-ended jams in which less formally connected smaller moments and motives might play a larger role) were evident in each set. Among Cogburn’s goals for this yearly festival is to provide a forum for performers to improvise together multiple times, not just within a given festival but over the course of several meetings over many festivals. These relationships change and grow over time, and it’s a treat for performers and audience members alike to experience the results of that growth.

Austin Music 2012: New Year Evolution

The Top Five Shows to See Before The Sun Comes Out In Austin
1. No Idea Festival – February 2, 3, 4 in Austin, February 5 in Houston, and February 6 in San Antonio: Solo and ensemble improvisation.
2. Austin New Music Co-op’s 10th anniversary party-concert – March 23 and 24: Music by NMC composers as well as Feldman, Lucier, Dreyblatt, Cage, Cardew, and more. Also featuring inventions and ephemera from a decade of new music in Austin.
3. Revel – March 30: Piano trio performs contemporary chamber works
4. Fast Forward Austin – April 15 (yes, Tax Day): Second annual festival featuring regional and national performers and composers.
5. Fusebox Festival – April 25 through May 5: Innovative works of art across a variety of different mediums.

I wrapped up my last article with a comment about new music coexisting with the music Austin is most well known for; namely the blues, Americana, indie rock, and country twang that have filled the bars and clubs of Austin since forever. Venues like Antones, Armadillo World Headquarters, Continental Club, and the juggernaut festivals South by Southwest [1] and the Austin City Limits Festival (not to mention the original Austin City Limits show) have served to spread the sound and style of Austin music, as well as the general vibe of the place; one built on organic growth that was equal parts cheap rent, cheap beer, complete indifference to upward mobility, and an odd hippie/cowboy dichotomy that Austin’s favorite son, Willie Nelson, helped foment in the mid-seventies.

While these venues, styles, and festivals have garnered the lion’s share of interest and publicity, a lower profile and largely behind-the-scenes group of composers, performers, and curators have quietly developed a burgeoning independent new music scene amid the glitz and glamour of the national players–and in some cases these new folks have infiltrated the national scenes. In particular, the last decade has seen a number of significant groups, festivals, and events pop up here in town that share little with their popular cousins except a zip code, and my plan for 2012 is to feature these groups in and around Austin as they ply their wares.

Fusebox “End of Year” 2011 from Fusebox Festival on Vimeo.


Among these is the Austin New Music Coop, a group of musicians dedicated to bringing new music to a different and diverse audience. Since forming in 2001, ANMC has featured dozens of premiers and hundreds of new works, including “a commission of a program-length work by Berlin-based American composer Arnold Dreyblatt, a realization of John Cage’s Songbooks, music for the extinct instruments of Luigi Russolo, Pauline Oliveros’s Four Meditations for Orchestra (with the composer in attendance), a three-day series of the works of the New York School, and Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument Performance at Seaholm Power Plant.” A multi-day performance (and detailed audio and video recording) of the late British composer Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning is ANMC’s most recent large-scale undertaking, and it will be featured in an upcoming podcast by yours truly.

Austin New Music Co-op rehearses Arnold Dreyblatt’s Kinship Collapse from Fast>>Forward>>Austin on Vimeo.


Ten Pounds To The Sound and the No Idea Festival (both curated by Chris Cogburn) have created an environment for improvisation to flourish in and around Austin, as well as nationally and internationally. Featuring a variety of group, solo, acoustic, and electric performances, their concerts display a wide range of improvisational styles and voices, and have fostered fruitful long term relationships among the participants. The ninth annual No Idea Festival promises to be the biggest ever with an international roster of artists and shows and workshops in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.

Remi Alvarez / Ingebrigt Håker Flaten / Stefan Gonzalez from no idea festival on Vimeo.


The Golden Hornet Project has its roots in the Golden Arm Trio and Brown Whorenet groups that came together around the end of the 1990s. Initially featuring post-punk and free improvisation in a number of haunts on Red River Street, Graham Reynolds and Peter Stopschinski (of the two groups, respectively) eventually joined forces and have since made a significant mark on the Austin music landscape, in the area of new music and otherwise. Live performance, film music (live and recorded), orchestral, chamber, jazz, dance, opera, and a number of cross-over varieties have been part of the ground covered by this group. The recent Symphony VI concert (the sixth of a sorta-annual orchestral show) was named “Best Symphonic Performance of the Year” by the Austin Critics Table, beating out performances by the Austin and University of Texas symphony orchestras. This is “new music notable” in that both sold-out shows were organized, rehearsed, and performed without the typically large and long established infrastructure normally required for such undertakings.

New music groups across the nation and around the world will celebrate John Cage’s centenary this September 5. In Austin, “Happy Birthday Mr. Cage” will continue its second decade with another evening-length program of Cage’s works curated by the Austin Chamber Music Center’s Michelle Schumann. This event has become an Austin favorite, partly because of Cage’s notoriety outside of musical circles (which is to say that a similar concert of Partch might be of interest to a smaller and more music-centric community given Cage and Partch’s relative blips on the cultural radar) and partly because Austin cottons to the unusual. When 4’33” is performed, it’s funny to watch a few of those “in the know” roll their eyes at the performance of Cage’s “hit.” It’s not because of the content or concept of the piece, mind you. It’s because these people want the deep cuts, and Schumann delivers.

Not everyone got their start during the last administration. Newcomers Revel came on the scene in 2009, and since then they’ve produced dozens of concerts as well as a CD of early 20th-century works. Based primarily in Austin (with occasional performances in New Mexico and points in between), Revel’s mission is to provide an audience experience disconnected from the formality of traditional concerts.

Fast Forward Austin will celebrate its second anniversary this spring with another day-long festival featuring local and national performers, including headliner Vicky Chow of Bang on a Can All-Stars fame. Last year’s inaugural festival was a huge success and featured a wide variety of music, improvisation, and dance.

Bel Cuore performs two *Bagatelles* by Gyorgy Ligeti from Fast>>Forward>>Austin on Vimeo.


Very few of these shows will be held in conventional venues and none of them will be targeted at traditional audiences. There won’t be many ties, clasped hands, or perfectly motionless audience members. There will be lots of people who don’t know what they’re in for, and that’s why most of them will have bought their ticket. They want something new, and they’ll find it here in Austin.


1.     One of my favorite parts of SXSW is walking through downtown a month or so after the festival. Here you’ll find recently relocated hipsters (who have made the move to town based on the generally epic spring weather in Austin) sweating through their skinny jeans as the Big Sun takes up its six-month residency