South by Southwest (SXSW) 2019 Days 5 & 6 = Walking. Weird. Wonderful.

After two more days of seeing films and comedy at South by Southwest, and walking well over 10,000 steps per day as a volunteer and then participant, I’m even more exhausted than last week.  But it’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time to tell y’all (who actually are reading this blog) what’s the big deal about SXSW. In addition to telling, I’ll do some showing.

This bus used to belong to John Denver for touring. Some guy bought it and used it to rent out as a party bus.  I happened to pass by and ask a woman who was standing there about it, and she obliged.  I was (and still am) a fan of the pop country crooner, so I thought it was a pretty cool piece of history.  The singer of “Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy” and many more hits died in an experimental plane crash.  But his music lives on to entertain, inspire and educate.  Many of his lyrics were ecologically-minded and focused on the great outdoors.  So while some people may not have appreciated his musical style, you have to admire his message.

The Bike Farm is a local Austin organization that builds and demonstrates creative bikes formed in the shape of animals.  In this case, I happened to catch six cyclists piloting this snake.  I caught the asp end of it.  (That’s a pretty good pun, if you ask me.)  It was a sight to behold going down Congress Avenue. The lead cyclist changed lanes, forcing the others to follow, so the snake slithered it’s way around downtown. Cool.

German Haus was one of the many “pop-ups” or “activations” where companies, governments, or even specific TV shows would have a display, party or something interactive. I wandered into this one to find a woman singing while an image appeared on the screen behind her. I was at the tail end so missed out on what it was about. But I got a free apple and a sparkling water, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Jack Conte co-founded a band called Pomplamoose.  After modest beginnings, the Do-It-Yourselfers started making their own videos to their songs and releasing them regularly on YouTube.  Eventually, they took off and became very popular.  Later, he had the idea to help other creative people get their art to the people more directly.  For five years, he has built a company that has an internet platform to do just that. As it says on his Wikipedia page, “It’s like a Kickstarter for people who release things regularly.” 

Fast forward to 2019, and that company has over $100 million dollars in venture capital, 170 staff, and is a major force for many artists independently and collectively making a good bit of money.  It’s called  Patreon, and while it works well to support some artists, it does not work for all who have tried it.  I’m considering it but am not sold on it yet. After hearing his session, I am inspired to keep trying to put out this blog and work on my book to the extent possible.

This dude was playing with two pythons. I don’t know if he was from Austin or not, but it was definitely weird. But not as weird as two guys with pythons I saw the day before — while on hover boards. Maybe this was one of those guys and his hoverboard was in the shop for repairs. The thing is, why? What was the point of probably stressing out those poor snakes in public? Was this an attempt at compensation for his… shortcomings? Who knows?

Kumail Nanjiani is known for the dramedy movie based on the true storey of his wife, the funny and touching movie called The Big Sick, and his hilarious appearances on Portlandia and Silicon Valley. Yesterday he passed by and I said “Hi!” He turned to look and said “Hi!” back and then kept on his way. I blew off seeing his movie Stuber because my backpack was too big for the venue, the line was too long, and I’m sure his movie will be out soon. I got this decent shot.

Well, that’s all the wonderful weirdness on Wednesday for now. Come back Friday for more!

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3 thoughts on “South by Southwest (SXSW) 2019 Days 5 & 6 = Walking. Weird. Wonderful.

    1. Weird is every day, but it’s not seen as much, like an endangered animal. California & Silicon Valley money has invaded and made Austin very expensive, congested and noticeably unweird.


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