SXSW Day 1: Legend + Party + Film = Fun!

Today kicked off the real festival(s) and conference(s), so I put my free badge earned from the many volunteer hours I worked by attending three events.

Introducing Comedy and TV Legend Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett exiting stage right.

I’m not old enough to have watched his original show and probably missed subsequent ones, but I certainly know who Dick Cavett is.  He took over the Tonight Show from Jack Parr, and since 1959 has been on television more than off un.  Considered “the thinking person’s host” due to his pedigree from Yale and intelligent questioning, he has an identifiable voice and droll sense of humor as well as an acerbic with.  This was on display tonight at Esther’s Follies, as the first comedy event of the festival.  I was lucky to get in and sat next to a cyclist from New York who said he brought his bike and had ridden 140 miles in two days.  Wow!

Cavett had Dave Hill, a comedian friend with him who acted as interviewer and foil.  He was pretty funny too, and drew Cavett out and kept him on topic the few times he strayed.  At 81, he may have lost a step, but a very short one indeed.  He began the conversation by talking about and then (somewhat) demonstrating moondancing — with a surgical shoe on!  And then went on to recount his experience meeting Michael Jackson when he was quite young and a member of the Jackson Five “back when he was still black.”  That’s not a new joke but to hear it from his voice in 2018 was shocking to some but still funny, because of course Jackson did lighten his skin color.  Naturally he was not serious.

Door sign “Cavett on Comedy.”

There were so many gems and stories about Hollywood legends that I can’t recount them.  Cavett was here to promote a new documentary which collects 12 of the 14 interviews (two were lost) with Muhammad Ali, with whom he famously became friends.  I hope to see it but if not, maybe it will become available later.  It was a great start to the show and I could have gone home happy after just that.  I only got one crummy photo because signs said no pictures, but I went to the press booth and learned that was only for long lens cameras.  Oh well, you can’t get everything right.

Faux Sports Party at Some Bar

I only went to this because the Interactive opening party had a line up and down the block then across the street.  I ran into two crew-mates in the bathroom and they pointed me to this event.  I had free tacos sans the tortillas and a nice chat with a marketing guy.  He said I should get some start up crowd-source funding and then either hire a social media consultant or pay them if and when my blog made any money.  That’s what it might take to get my blog and unwritten book and so on to the next level.  I didn’t stay long but got tips on some movies and headed off to one I expected would be sold out.

People, big screen TVs showing soccer, free tacos and beer if you wanted.
These cameras would capture you with a soccer ball and make a neat effect.
Lionel Messi, the Argentine star and world’s best soccer midfielder.

American Animals

SXSW premieres a number of films, and this is one.  It was written and directed by Bart Layton who is British and with one star also from the UK who had to master a US accent.

Director and cast of the new film American Animals.

It was based on a true story.  At times comic, tragic, silly, tense and dramatic, it wove together the story lines while keeping the action and characters moving.  It has a unique plot device that I will leave to you to see in June when it hits US theaters.

Afterward, there was a Q & A with three of the main four actors (Evan Peters of American Horror Story fame was not in attendance).  That was fun as getting the free poster they gave audience members.  It is a print of a really nice painting done by one of the people that the character is based on.  The film will come out in June, so I won’t say anymore.  Except to say that I give it a hearty two thumbs up.

Print of painting from the real person a character was based on.











Well, that’s about it for today.  I’m pretty tired, having biked 56 miles Monday-Friday, walking 10,000 most days or 30 minutes when not, and not sleeping enough.  Tomorrow’s another day.


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12 thoughts on “SXSW Day 1: Legend + Party + Film = Fun!

      1. It’s not all that but does have some things of interest. Too expensive for the average Joe or Jane. And some lines are insane. I earned my badge though today cleaned and organized so may not see much.


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