Earlier this month, Bill and I attended the annual O. Henry Pun-Off behind the O. Henry Museum in Brush Square Park. We joined hundreds of people who gathered under the large white tent and huge oak trees for a Saturday afternoon of pun.
Bill and I attended two benefit concerts as part of the sixth annual charity event called Mack, Jack & McConaughey. Mack Brown, the former UT football head coach, is now a sports commentator for ESPN. Jack Ingram is a singer/songwriter who just won a Country Music Award for co-writing Miranda Lambert’s hit, Tin Man. And actor Matthew McConaughey might be best-known around these parts for his naked bongo playing back in 1999. Daytime MJ&M events included a fashion show and a golf tournament, but we only attended the two evening concerts at the Austin City Limits / Moody Theater.
Almost 200 artists participated in the 68th annual Art City Austin. They came from all around the country, from Maine to California and many points in-between. About 20 of the artists were local, and two even traveled here from Canada. This annual fine arts festival is sponsored by Art Alliance Austin.
The Fairmont Austin is now open on the corner of Red River and Cesar Chavez, about two blocks from I-35. This 37-story building has 1048 guest rooms and suites. Bill and I stayed here during South by Southwest. The hotel had only been open a week, and finishing touches were still being done.
Twenty-four street bands participated in this year’s HONK!TX, an annual festival of community street bands held here in Austin. I have been able to attend all but one of the eight festivals. For the first time, the Friday evening performances were held at Mueller Lake Park. I liked this location better than those previous Fridays on South Congress. In Mueller, the bands were further apart (but not too far), parking was plentiful, and I didn’t have to worry about being hit by a car while crossing a busy street. My only suggestion is that more food trucks should be invited next time.
Adiós, SXSW 2018. Overall, it was a good conference. The weather was nearly perfect. Free food was a little scarce, but food trucks were abundant. My Interactive highlight was seeing Bernie Sanders from the third row. I went to ten movies. My favorite was The Dawn Wall. Bill, the serious film fanatic, counted up 28 movies. Here’s what else I discovered this year…
The final day of SXSW 2018 fell on St. Patrick’s Day. I wandered around the Austin Convention Center, joined friends for lunch at Gus’s Fried Chicken, and then walked across town to the stages at Whole Foods and Waterloo Records. Throughout the afternoon, downtown became more and more crowded as holiday revelers arrived. Bill and I had hoped to see the evening’s world premiere of Isle of Dogs, but we were unable to snag express passes, and around 4:30 PM, we heard that the line was already impossibly long for the 8 PM screening. So Bill headed off to see a different movie and I decided to head home.
My SXSW Day 8 began with Keith Urban and ended with Keith Urban. No complaints there. In-between, I visited the Gaming Expo, saw a movie premiere at the Paramount Theater, and heard lots of good music.
Today was a SXSW Music day. This morning Bill and I went to the Four Seasons Hotel and tried to get into the KUTX morning concerts. Alas, we arrived too late and the room was already at capacity. After a quick breakfast, Bill went off to see some movies, and I mostly hung out at the Austin Convention Center. I especially like the Radio Day Stage there. That huge room is never crowded, the sound system is clear, and the lineups are stellar.
SXSW Interactive has now switched over to Music. Bill and I started out the day with a highly-recommended documentary at the Alamo Lamar. Bill continued with SXSW Films while I hung out at the Austin Convention Center in the afternoon. We the met back up for music in the evening. The weather was perfect. It was a delightful day.