SXSW 2014: Lost in the Crowd and Contextualizing Tragedy at the Mohawk

AUSTIN, TX: Late last night, day two of SXSW Music was coming to a close and all eyes were on popular venue the Mohawk — not because of the Tyler, the Creator show that was about to get underway, but because a hit-and-run by a drunk driver had left two bystanders dead and 23 others injured, five critically. At around 12:30am, police tried to pull the driver over, an attempt he evaded by going the wrong direction down a one-way street and eventually driving into a police barricade and several vehicles (including the moped that the two victims were riding). After the crash, the driver fled his vehicle on foot, eventually to be chased down by a police officer. … Read More

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5 Things Everyone Will Be Talking About at SXSW Music 2014

I could make a list of acts I’m excited to see at SXSW this year: Mark Kozelek, Sylvan Esso, Eagulls, London Grammar, Diarrhea Planet, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Perfect Pussy, Future, Sam Smith, Against Me!, and a lot more I won’t know about until I stumble upon them, tipsily, in the middle of the afternoon.

But half the fun of going to SXSW is improvising when you can’t get into shows or don’t want to deal with lines, in the process seeing artists you normally never would. So instead of focusing on my personal to-do list at SXSW Music, I want to take a look at the topics I expect will garner online chatter this week, once music industry folks and writers alike map out their own highly personalized schedules. Some will focus on the deeply sponsored events, like Lady Gaga performing in a Doritos vending machine, or the entirety of the iTunes Festival, while others will completely eschew the sort of shows that require a badge or even an RSVP. These should cover most of our bases, though. … Read More

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Is SXSW Worth It for Young Bands Anymore?

South By Southwest seems to get bigger and more commercial every year — the queues get longer, the volume of bands on show gets larger, the stunts get sillier. (At least there were no homeless dudes with wifi hotspots this year, though.) There’s been talk online that 2013 seemed to represent something of a tipping point as far as bands’ experiences of the whole strange affair went — the dude from DIIV went off on a spectacular rant about how “here, the music comes last,” and even peace-and-love neo-hippies Foxygen had a hissy fit at one of their fans. All of which raises the question: Is SXSW worth the trouble any more? We asked a bunch of our favorite bands to find out. … Read More

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Windows 8 and Flavorpill Want to Party With You in TX

We’ve teamed up with Microsoft Windows to present the Flavorpill Sanctuary in Austin this year, March 8-12. The Sanctuary at #FEED at the AMOA-Arthouse features Beats & Bytes dance parties with Dirty Projectors (DJ set), Reggie Watts, Neon Indian (DJ set), Classixx, and Juan MacLean (DJ set) all spinning (and touching, thanks to… Read More

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Flavorpill’s Guide to SXSWi 2013

SXSW is a game of strategy, a test of endurance. But, as always, we’re here to help you make the most of your trip to Austin. Here are our top ten picks (by day) for SXSW Interactive 2013. If you want even more recommendations, check out our SXSW site, where curators like Dennis Crowley, Jessica Lawrence of NYTM, Thrillist’s Ben Lerer, and more are posting their suggestions. Or, join us at the Flavorpill Sanctuary for a daily KIND breakfast, boot camps and yoga classes provided by Crunch Gyms, spin classes from CYC Fitness, and a juice bar, plus afternoon dance parties presented by Microsoft. For an even more interactive experience at the fest, check out our friends at Kismet, a social discovery app that helps uncover hidden connections for people in the same location. All of Flavorpill’s events will be listed on the app during SXSW. … Read More

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The Year in Memorable Musical Controversies

2012 has been a crazy year in many ways, and the music industry hasn’t exactly been immune to its air of pervading insanity. (In fairness, the music industry is rarely immune to any sort of insanity, but still, humor us here.) This year has given us a particularly rich vein of memorable controversies, conflicts, and contretemps, and as part of our ongoing end-of-year wrap-up, we’re looking back at some of the most significant. Some of these are hilarious, some of them depressing, some of them hilariously depressing, and some just plain old bewildering — but from the resurrection of dead rappers through homeless people functioning as wifi hotspots to a record company suing an entire country, all of them have been worth remembering. … Read More

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Six Lessons Learned at the SXSW Film Festival

Your humble film editor spent last week at the South by Southwest Film Festival — my first time not only at that event, but in Austin, period. (It’s a lovely town, full of friendly folks and outstanding smoked meat products.) Normally, when I go to a film festival, I just try to jam as many movies into my eye-holes as possible, but there were some interview and panel opportunities this year, and I knew you guys wouldn’t forgive me if I passed up the chance to talk to Patton Oswalt or Nick Offerman or Aubrey Plaza or Mike Birbiglia, or to go to panels with Joss Whedon or Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow. But the moviegoing took a hit — I accomplished a pathetic average of two movies per day. Hell, I do better than that sneaking into multiplexes at home.

And although I managed to see not a single solitary one of the SXSW Film award winners, I did learn some valuable lessons from the movies I did manage to see. I’ll share them with you after the jump! … Read More

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How Mike Birbiglia Turned a Trip Through a Window into One of the Year's Best Films

AUSTIN, TX: Mike Birbiglia told the sleepwalking story for the first time at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. That was the first time he told it to a big audience, anyway: “I had told it on the road — I was on this Comedy Central Live tour, and I had come out with an album called Two-Drink Mike, and I found that for the first time in my career, I showed up in places and people knew my jokes. So I couldn’t tell those jokes anymore. Comedy’s not like music: once you’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, you’re done. And people were like, ‘Ha ha, what else?’ And I had been developing this one-man show, Sleepwalk with Me, and I just started telling stories from the show, that I had written never imagining that they would be in stand-up.” The centerpiece was the true story of how his sleepwalking condition go so out of hand that it led to him jumping out of a second-story window at a La Quinta Inn in Walla Walla, Washington. The injuries sent him to the hospital, which was enough for him to finally see a specialist.

At Just For Laughs, he says, “I told the story and it just killed, in this way that was getting kind of monstrous laughs, and was really connected with the audience. I came off-stage, and Doug Stanhope said to me, ‘Do you tell that story on stage?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m trying to.’ And he said, ‘You should tell that.'” … Read More

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