As I prepare for real life again on Monday after 8 days of thinking, eating, walking, drinking at this, my first SxSW, I realize I can manage only a brain dump of a summary of the overall experience. A mashup of random meetings and interactions and myriad suggestions and tips that led to the inspiring, the bizarre, and maybe even life-changing people and panels.
Memory Lane Stream Of Consciousness Brain Dump (from notes along the way)
Baconator attempted at lunch, over and over - oh why oh why is the dual-line system for this and the panky dog and the Cap'n Crunch and cous-cous delicacy SO confusing? Tired and cranky. Give up and try again another day for that pulled pork over slaw and spicy remoulade sauce in a bacon waffle cone. Head to Hackney House our East London connection with tech community; will backdoor into Angers somehow for technology enterprises and JVs, etc. etc. Follow up to follow. Those Hackney House folks' sccents adorable. Cannot understand them.
Back to Interactive. New to me buzzwords: market pane - huh? Oh: "market pain." Ergo SIRI: SIRI invented to diminish multiple steps/touches to web-searching that resulted in loss of users to get to transactional state (money/purchase). So true. I give up after couple of clicks/touches.
3-D printing is not weird printing fad to use and then look at through 3-D glasses but radical iteration of the first Industrial Revolution: e.g. I decide I need a pair of yellow flip flips or a toy figure of my own imagination and bam the Bre Pettis Makerbot can make that. THAT is 3-D "printing."
Elon Musk...spectacular biceps -- flash: recall is TESLA guy and PayPal guy. SpaceX kind of mind-blowing: get it takes cool calm brilliance - arrogance? - to say we should go to Mars and I will do it if NASA will not. Vision of reusable rockets here (after all we don't throw away a plane after one use, do we). Elon shows us first - besides cameraman. Via Johnny Cash Ring of Fire soundtrack successful test of reusable rocket. Grasshopper. Yes, I was there. Saw it. One of the first. Thank you EE for recommending I hit this. Lessons here of failure, faith - yes money too, but failure and risk and failure again. See also Twenty Feet from Stardom. Failed - frustrated - paths to greatness for amazing black women those background singers (open with the Lou Reed song Take Walk on Wild Side); stories of why there, why stay, why and how cannot move up and out and the curiosities and cruelty of fate stomping down voices so magnificent: chills up and down and up again the spine.
Entrepreneur Lounge: Off site Fogo de Chao: tech companies/associations from Nantes. Invites for them to meet the startup scene, Eve Richter, chamber of commerce heads, city leaders, way too many freely available Caipirinhas (below) boy that bacon-wrapped chicken and the sausage was great.
Austin City Limits "Lounge" (okay alcove) at Convention Center. Decide to sit in there on couch and because tired and want to sit in green and red and purple light. And charge phone. No care who else there. Is band Orange County, CA just drove in ready to go on Beacon Lounge. Beacon Lounge the fav. (Well, no, Yahoo! lounge surprisingly cool at Brazos Hall. Checked it out for architecture and ended up staying.) When else are red bean bag chairs, outlet for phone, great salsa and chips all there for the taking? Earlier in day had hearty oatmeal cookie with raisins for sort of protein at that lounge.
Catch some of the Four Seasons live KUTX program one morning. Note: this is all the SxSW music I need. No need for platinum badge. Yep, this is the way to go. Hear Robin Hitchcock. Feel sort of in-the-know now.
Food Crawl Saturday with foodies: Drag self to Long Center. In drizzly rain. Get wristband. With 100s others. Cannot deal with Tweeting and walking in rain to follow maps on secret site. W cocktail instead. Listen to music. Meet up with Food Crawlers at Kenichi. Food gal there met my Paris food startup acquaintance Cedric day before. Learn of BakeSpace, TechMunch: decide to attend food blogger seminar next day at Whole Foods in global HQ offices. In quasi-hangover state tell Serena next to me at the seminar that it would be cruel joke for me to win basket of Argentinean wine being given away that day because I am so tired of drinking and so do not need it. I won it.
New foodie friends, including lawyer who does Foodie Is The New Forty. Note foodies are very thin. Why do I feel so fat. Will deal with later. Try cold brewed coffee. Chameleon Coffee. Tried at TechMunch demo day at Whole Foods with Horchata. Realize may never live in France because unsure can live without Horchata. Food panel with Addie Broyles and others so surprisingly substantive and thoughtful: the whys and what-fors of food porn, molecular gastronomy, over-eating/doing (ironically, was my question to the panel....). A re-Tweet by Addie.
Chef Remi for the Angers bands' big invasion of combining the music and food cultures to bring it all here for the Austin Angers scene gets hooked up for pork blood and other pork items (or reasonable substitutes under the circumstances and they are superb substitutes). High 5 Trace at W and Slow Food Austin. Sebastien comes to rescue. All under control.
I decided one day in late late late a.m. in cavernous Austin Convention Center that with protein depletion and inadequate hydration movie popcorn and red wine in a chair sounds good. Why. Why do this to self. Because I feel like a kid playing hookie and it feels bad (i.e., good) to do so. But now yes those buttery kernels are stuck on my mid-section and require weeks of ab work and paleo.
Walmart run to help Chef Remi for coolers to get the food over to Bungalow for the showcase and the brunch preceding. Gladly. Drop off at Justines and hang out and wait. Photo ops. Justine's delicately lovely in a.m. before masses invade. I check out kitchen. Chat with Pierre en francais. Direct electrician as Pierre had left. Stir some things on the stove. Chef Remi arrives. Approves coolers. I leave. I get TexMex at Joe's on way back to downtown. Get parking. Movie No. 2: Finding the Funk. Great seat. Call from home. Leave. All works out. Go back to downtown. Park again. Take Nantes, France delegation to party out in country. Sun setting over in the hilliness of Nutty Brown Road. Lovely.
Next day brunch via Chef Remi spectacular success duck tartare really something duck pate chicken liver pate all so lovely. Austin-Angers music showcase stunning in colors and sounds and diversity amidst this superb food spread. Stick around for rest of afternoon. Charge phone. While racing to outlet to charge phone, again, meet Episcopalian minister. Talk Jesuits and Pope and community and music. Promise to go to his panel. (I did not make it.)
Meet gluten-free Chef People's Pharmacy learn about French Paleo cookbook. Meet Austin Music Foundation peoples and jazz trumpet awesome guy Jeff Lofton and his cool wife Dean. Great glasses she had. We talk about and talk to people about jazz venues in France. Get free CD.
Titi Robin Trio rocks it with the virtuoso guitar of Titi and that percussion. No wonder they are the band from this trip chosen to be on Fox morning show to spotlight in prime spot. Get French Paleo cookbook signed. Listen to Erin Ivey, mpish voice and guitar. Pause needed away from this Bungalow place. Ice cream at new fav Ice Cream Social. Madagascar Vanilla and Salted Caramel the chosen flavors. Topped with Cardamon Toasted Coconut. Must nap.
Friday wake up early to get band (Titi Robin Trio) for TV spot. Get them south of Ben White. 7 adults in the MDX and the instruments. Funny. Stop at gas station en route. Drive to Fox Station on 11th. Do coffee run for band. Translate some timing issues. Agent Amelie handles better. Nerves on edge from too much coffee too little sleep too many Brazilian cocktails. Spot done. Cut. Done. Get car. Drive to Justine's for the Friday brunch with the official peoples and later the bands.
All food now. No worries. Lovely day. All the important people are there already.
(Le Chabada co-director Francois here with moi in bloated state and Consul General of France, in from Houston Frédéric Bontems).
Again the nice Cultural Attache, Sylvie, from day before event also. Austin Mayor. Sunny skies. Breeze. Tables - pain au chocolat - coffee. Olivier whipping up espressos inside as adeptly as he handles those French 75s at crush time. I ask him if French 75s can be done. He says oui. I say see you soon. Victoria joins me with wine. (That white wine - the "vin nature" - so good.) French friends shocked (again) with me but do not care so much by now as so relieved made it to here and so happy they are having this wonderful moment.
More wine. More duck pate and duck tartare. More music and bands. Victoria buys French 75s for us.
Lunch at Justine's with Victoria. For like two hours. Thierry is our waiter. New guy. Never seen him before here. I drink water. She leaves for next engagement. Chat with Francois, Germain. Wonder if more friends can come or I will head downtown again for movie. Amy arrives. Admire amazing decor the Justine's team did. Francois tells us they did all this.
More music and sitting on bench with Amy and Francois in the sun ... through German hard rock group. Paris acoustic group. Discuss ideas of "the real Texas" with Francois and Amy. Bands over now. Official Justine's dinner time rolling around. Day Drinking at Justine's and lunch: marvelous. I ask Pierre if he will continue. Non.
Sun setting. More friends arrive. Francois invites us to stay for dinner with the Angers contingent. Amy stays. I stay. More wine, Chef Remi gives me gifts and intel on his new restaurant. Chef pulls off the "sabrage" maneuver on the champagne - the champagne used for the Austin-Angers toast earlier in the day. So classy those French. Champagne (small, moderate amounts) for us all.
Melanie, here with the group to donate her time to make a documentary about the Austin-Angers connection, now tells me she needs to interview me before I leave to go home. Melanie: you realize I have been here since 10H30 a.m. and starting on the organic white wine at 11 a.m.? No worries. It works. I am done. Will pick up the coolers next day.
While in line for Twenty Feet from Stardom earlier in week met Fitz, lawyer from Colorado. Learn about free CLE on Saturday. Look at CLE program see lawyer from Paris there. Will go. Wake up Saturday. Go downtown. Get parking. Get coffee. Go to CLE. Copyright reform underway. Interesting. Massive issues of Pandora, Spotify (good thing heard those talks earlier in the week); costs of content. Costs of negotiating. Battlegrounds for how the digital economy for music will be managed. What is fair for artists/consumer/the company that provides the service.
Walk to Milk and Honey. Walk back to Convention Center. Paris lawyer talks about alternative financing for music groups and tax issues in US and France. Talk to Paris lawyer at break. Exchange cards. Meet Montreal company and cool publisher guy: Montreal indie music scene huge: 200+ indie record labels. Get free CD. Meet Venezuelan Latin dubstep gal. Get free CD. (Really love this CD.)
Last gasp: movie at Stateside Theatre all the way back up on Congress. While in line, more music, bands, peace march down Congress. Couple next to me in line, in 60s, in their "retirement home" condo downtown, do movie part every year. Had seen 12 movies so far this year. Prince performing across the street that night from their condo.
Glad stayed in line for Good Ol' Freda. Nice to be in cool dark place. It was then nice to be done with the movie. It was nice to walk outside, into the fray of the Saturday night of Vampire Weekend of SxSW getting ramped up.
And it was very nice to take off le badge, walk to the car, and drive home. And sleep.