Hello lovelies! This past Friday (3/10/17) saw the start of SXSW Film and thanks to my wonderful boo thang, I got a badge! Quite the splendiferous and exciting thing! In case you are unfamiliar, South by SouthWest (never spelled out like that) is a festival that encompasses beaucoup amounts of areas. In addition to Film, there is Music, Interactive, and Gaming and they are all all kinds of fun. Being the film nerd that I am, getting to go to all of these screenings and premieres has been so fun. I am extremely grateful. So, all that being said, what follows was my weekend!
Friday was opening night and the new Ryan Gosling/Rooney Mara movie Song to Song. I got off work at 5 and rushed to pick up my badge ($8 for parking that lasted 3 minutes btw) and over to the Paramount (if you’re ever in Austin for anything, you should go check out the Paramount. Austinite tip: bring a jacket no matter the season!!!). By the time I walked to the end of the line I had gone five blocks. I asked a volunteer where she thought the cutoff in the line was going to be…I was one block and a courtyard behind who she projected. (I later found out she was pretty spot on.) So I left with a plan: go get dinner and come back for Alien.
This time I arrived two hours early and sat in line with a couple of reporters from Brazil; the publication they work for is Omelete, check it out! So we chatted for a while and ended up sitting together to watch the film. That is one thing that I have really loved about this whole experience; getting to sit in line and chat with strangers and then share a really cool experience with them right then and there. So we get in and sit down and out comes Ridley Scott, Catherine Waterston, Danny McBride, and Michael Fassbender. They Q&A for a bit and goof around and then like 15 minutes worth of clips were shown! It looks pretty similar to Prometheus stylistically. There’s some creepy stuff (sorry for using such a vague word, terrible, I know). For starters, this is a colonizing mission so everyone is spoused up making for some stressful situations no doubt. There was also this cool “commercial” for your very own David (if all robots looked like Fassbender, would you be okay with robots? Hmmmm). Afterwards, the original was shown. I left about half way through to get some sleep in prep for Saturday.
Bright and early the next morning, I arrived at the Austin Convention Center and was number two in line for American Gods. While Neil Gaiman wasn’t there himself, he did record a message to introduce the first episode. While I have read other titles of his, American Gods is not among them. It was really cool to watch it right after he set it up for us. The episode was an hour and some change and did a great job setting up this world in which we are going to see gods, old and new, and how they are existing and still meddling in society today. Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle do a great job at leading the story and the whole cast is just phenomenal. After hearing the writers and producers talk I think that fans of the book and new fans as well will find this to be a really well told story. Plus Gaiman is doing some of the writing!
While waiting in line for this one I sat with this wonderful woman Patty. I know not her last name nor if I am spelling her first right. What I do know is that sitting in line with her and all the others I met this weekend allowed me to learn not only about where these strangers came from but also other things that they experienced at the festival that I had not. For instance, Patty told me about this panel she went to that was about the new frontier of law in space. How cool is that?!
After this, I made my way back to the Paramount and got in line for Small Town Crime. A real shoot ’em up movie, Small Town Crime features John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer, and Anthony Anderson. Billed as a thriller, Hawkes stars as an alcoholic former officer who got kicked off the force for reasons you’ll have to find out on your own. He finds an almost dead woman on the side of the road and what happens from there, as he tries to help police find those responsible. It was a really great movie with a nice steady pace and a great storyline. However, it seems to sway in tone pretty frequently. Regardless, I would recommend checking it out. The only downside of the experience had nothing to do with the movie…it was pouring the whole time I stood in line for this one and so my jeans were soaked up to the knees. SOOOOOO COLD!!!
Finally, I rushed over to 6th Street for a tapping of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. This was another line where I spoke and sat with a franger (like that? I just made it up. Friend and Stranger). She taught English abroad which is a fantasy of mine! Getting to hear all about her two years in rural Japan was fascinating. The podcast was good and Bob Odenkirk was among the guests but ultimately it ended up being five guys, one girl, and all white. Wasn’t too impressed or stoked about this…considering where we were, it wouldn’t have been hard to get a more diverse panel of comedic guests. But whatever.
My last day to report on was Sunday. I realized at the end of the day I had made it into a documentary themed day. This time I was accompanied by my friend and line buddy Amanda. Fist up: Muppet Guys Talking which took us into an informal setting with five of the originals swapping stories about Jim Henson and talking about all their different voices. My favorite part came during the Q&A with all of them afterwards (hosted by Robert Rodriguez) when they each talked about how they workshopped their characters together. Hearing the origins of Miss Piggy and Gonzo, just to name a couple, was just beyond cool.
The lettuce of the day was a documentary shown at the Ritz about this man who chose to be homeless. I have very mixed opinions about this one and was really glad that I saw it with a friend so as to discuss it afterwards. The first act of the doc introduced us to Dylan who is an attractive 20something white male. He gets money and food and nice conversations when he approaches people. He is ungrateful occasionally. He does goes about his life not answering to anyone or having any real responsibilities. It is interesting how he is initially presented to us. Why choose this life? Why do this when there are people that really don’t have any other choice but to be homeless? Then in the second act, we meet his father and learn that there is a bit more to the story. Dylan is an alcoholic and was once addicted to hard drugs, on top of this he suffers from schizophrenia. He was kicked out of his house as a teen and began his life crossing the country and going on what was portrayed as adventures. Living a life that does not seem at all typical of the average homeless story. He would get invited into people’s homes and receive rides to places. I can’t help but wonder what his travels would have been like if he looked differently. It was a tale that unraveled in an interesting way and still has me thinking about it today.
Last: the piece de resistance! Bill Nye the Science Guy!!!!!!! I waited in line for this one for three hours and was proudly number one. This period of time allowed me to take a nap and prepare myself not to fall asleep in what I knew was going to be a really good piece. Bill Nye: Science Guy is a documentary which focuses on global warming and what Bill has been up to for the last few years in fighting climate deniers and creationist goons. It was an insightful piece which showed the behind the scenes Bill; the man who is worried about the health of his brother and sister who share a genetic disease of which Bill shows no signs. We see his frustration at the Ark Project which shows dinosaurs and humans existing together. But we also see his need for notoriety and that sense of not wanting it to ever disappear. All of these pieces of his life come together for a really interesting watch. The audience questions which he took after were so heartwarming. Almost every person started their question with a thanks to Bill for getting them into science and helping them learn and understand. No matter what you say about the man, his passion for science and educating the minds of the future makes him one hell of a human.
All of that happened over the course of two days and three nights! I was understandably exhausted Monday night. There are a lot of really cool events happening during the work day during the work week so I’m not sure what all I will get to see throughout the next couple of days. Saturday however is the premiere of Life and you best believe I will be trying to see Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively in person!
The moral of all of this is: talk to strangers, remember a jacket, and always leave time in your schedule for waiting in line.