I arrived in Austin with a thirst to critically assess SxSW. As the week progressed, I believe I began to lose my mind. My sense of self-awareness was buried beneath the revelry and hedonism of the happening.
On Thursday, I set out without a goal. I blindly looked for friends or live music. I roamed on into the night without any success. The next day I made a schedule that I actually adhered to. The younger version of myself is going to kick me for saying this, but “organization is the key to success.”
The crowds have swelled on Sixth Street. This city is full. I am barely alive. Being slightly buzzed on caffeine and beer have become routine. The so-called utopia has caught up with me.
I am out of my mind standing on a red carpet next to journalists from college outlets. I am really thirsty. I’ve never been on a red carpet and this carpet is black. I am not familiar with any of the artists. Who are these people? A publicist tells me the name of a band she wants me to talk to. I Google them. Wikipedia doesn’t even know who they are. I don’t have any [...]
At a desk in the press suite, I told everyone that I was going to observe the transition of technology nerds into punk rock party animals. A film critic said he was happy to be leaving because he hates “all those hipster douchebags.” Another critic said there should be a booth for loosening tight pants. I felt uncomfortable, as I was wearing a pair of Pacific Sunwear “Skinniest” jeans.
I am also wearing a button-front light blue striped shirt and very tight jeans. I chose to wear sandals this morning, because I couldn’t find my shoes. I am wearing the exact outfit that I wore out last night.
SXSW Interactive is the convergence of utopian techno-futurism and base primitivism. Men hold screens in front of their faces as they ride down escalators. These devices work the best that they ever have. Instead of Tweeting into a void, they’re communicating with people on the other side of the convention center. People use their location-based applications to tell friends which bars they’re at. Women that meet in passing can follow each others Tweets and reunite an hour later, better-informed. These technologies are working exactly the way their developers say they should. Human beings connect to one another.
But Austin during SXSW is not a good test-case for “real world [...]
I flew to Austin by way of the most conservative flight route in all of western North America: Orange County to Salt Lake City. The in-flight magazine exalted the merits of Utah. An article about Munich referred to the city’s “complicated past," a really terrific euphemism. While waiting for a gate in Austin for thirty minutes. I checked my phone. In two hours, I’d gotten 25 e-mails from publicists wanting me to see their films. They’re form letters that all look the same: Bold and centered 18-point font announcing the name of the movie. Two sentences in italicized 16-point font briefly explaining the film. A six paragraph press release, [...]
Over the past month, college campuses have started to ban or otherwise reduce availability of the increasingly popular Four Loko. The combination stimulant and depressant has led to hospitalizations amongst college-aged binge drinkers. But for mature fun-seekers, the drink isn't just for rappers any more: it can be a cost-effective way to feel the euphoric effects of far more expensive drugs in the midst of this Great Recession.
Dear The Awl,
I was going to write an incredible piece detailing the exploits of a controversial "hipster conference" on an esteemed university campus. No other journalist would have the guts to write this because of the potential backlash from the Hipster Media Elite. This event was to be held on neutral territory to prevent "New York media gang violence."
I was going to start by detailing the crowd.
I love Latin America. I'm not sure if it's the food, the people, the culture or its vibrant collection of knockoffs.
I'm also not sure why I'm so passionate about fake things. Maybe it's the mockery of consumer capitalism, or the satisfaction of the common man owning something he could never afford. I own a fake Adidas jumpsuit from La Paz. A pair of Phony (brand) headphones from Bogota. And a copy of Avatar filmed during a 3D screening.
And so I was delighted the other week, when I went to Mexico City for the sixteenth time.