RSVP to many events. Then roll with it. You might end up front and center like this (Jay-Z at ACL Live, SXSW 2012).
SXSW Interactive is one of the most attended conferences of the year for tech and media types, with 30,000 conference participants flooding Austin. But in recent years, the cost of an official interactive badge has gone up considerably and many are attending unofficial SXSW parties and related events that do not require badges. For people who have never attended SXSWi, it’s good to go with a badge at least one year — the depth and breadth of content discussed across hundreds of panels and sessions can be as valuable and high quality as the networking you’ll do. However, it gets redundant year after year. In past years I’ve attended the music portion of SXSW as well — this is incredibly fun and far fewer people spend time in the actual convention center. Why would you with all the amazing day parties and live music showcases across sunny Austin? Here’s a shortlist of unofficial events that I’ve RSVP’d for this year. For more info and discovery of unofficial SXSW parties I recommend Sched.org, do512, and Unofficial SXSW Guide.
Want to meet up in Austin? I’ll be there from March 6-12. Hit me up!
This year’s Coachella lineup was underwhelming from the start, so much so that I didn’t plan on going until a pass fell in my lap about a week before the festival. It wasn’t necessarily the bands in the lineup that I thought was weak, it was the lack of originality and dynamics that I’ve come to expect from a Coachella. No Rolling Stones or David Bowie. No Replacments. Hardly any hip-hop, punk or imaginative electronic music. Too many wimpy “punch-me-in-the-face” bands like Phoenix, The xx, Postal Service… Basically, i feared Coachella had lost its edge. As much as the environment and experience was always more than fulfilling to me, I wasn’t ready to shell out $500 in support of a lineup that seemed staged for taking a big nap on the Polo Grounds.
Coachella 2013 Panorama from Ferris Wheel: Click to embiggen
In the end I had a blast — Coachella is one of those great experiences that triggers dopamine bursts just at the thought. The first heat of late spring under the desert sun, 100,000 people all out for good times, good music and big smiles. 6 stages (with this year’s introduction of the Yuma Tent) and all kinds of inebriating distractions.
The lights went out last time Calexico visited Los Angeles. Fans at the Fonda Theatre waited for hours in darkness, but a Hollywood Boulevard power outage literally stole the show. “My parents were there, my sister and the whole label and we’re all sitting in the dark,” said Joey Burns, singer and guitarist for the band. “I loved every moment and we probably could’ve played acoustically, but there were safety concerns.”
Calexico’s seventh long-player, Algiers, had recently dropped, marking the band’s first opportunity to play live for its new label, Anti. But after a short acoustic song, Burns bid the remaining crowd good night with a promise to return in January. And tonight, Calexico makes good on its promise at the El Rey.
I got a text from Brent yesterday: “Are you in a Cisco commercial?!” And I knew my fraction-of-a-second of fame had gone live, on nationwide basic cable (namely, CNN). It all came about the Sunday after I moved from Echo Park to Venice (in October). I was walking around Abbot Kinney Festival when a young woman with a Flip camera stopped me. It was election season and I was initially skeptical as dozens of people were roaming about with clipboards and Roseanne/Cindy Sheehan 2012 stickers. Then she explained that she was sent out to cast a specific role for a commercial and the director really liked working with regular, man-on-the-street types found at farmers markets and street festivals. I spoke to her casually on camera about how I had just moved to Venice from Echo Park that week and was looking forward to a nice change of pace on the west side.
Late last year I found a two solid weeks to travel in a country that I’ve never visited and I’m very happy to have chosen Belize. I LOVE traveling and I feel unfulfilled if I go a certain period of time without extensive travel, preferably internationally. This was my first such solo adventure since 2007-2008 when I used up my vacation days (thanks Warner/Chappell) to go to Argentina and Chile. I wanted to explore, and get in some adventure along with some quality relaxation and recharging after an exciting but jam-packed quarter running social for The X Factor (among other things).
Belize was an amazing country to visit and I had an incredible experience first near near San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and then in the jungle and at Tikal in Guatemala before rounding out my visit on the paradisical Placencia peninsula.
Read about my travels in the following photo essay (Click on a photo to view captions and scroll through as slideshow). Special thanks to Milio and Kirsten at Ak’Bol on Ambergris Caye and to Paradise Resort in Placencia.
I feel healthier than ever as I type this. But two weeks ago I was in the worst discomfort of my life and couldn’t figure out why until I eventually drove myself to the nearest urgent care and ultimately had a cholecystectomy — my gallbladder was removed.
This was major surgery, the first (and hopefully last) of my life. What I thought was severe heartburn that would pass was in fact pain from gallstones and a nasty infection surrounding my gallbladder. It never dawned on me that I could have a serious medical issue but in hindsight I had experienced similar abdominal discomfort on 4 or 5 occasions over the course of 18 months or so. It typically lasted less than two hours and I would simply lay down and breathe through it. I was naïve and assumed I had a much lower tolerance for pain than I actually do.
I thought I was taking ace care of myself — I was (and am) in the best shape of my life. I hadn’t even had a cold or flu in years and apparently didn’t even remember what it felt like to have a fever. But I did have a fever and an extremely high white blood cell count as my body fought to contain a nasty infection.
I learned a lot over the past two weeks. Here’s how it all played out…
Colorado here we come! Originally posted to the AI blog by n8thesk8.
AI is very excited to be participating in Aspen Live this year! Host Jim Lewi has graciously invited us to take over the Saturday programming for what we have dubbed “Aspen Integrated“, where we will be curating conversation around the state of social media as it relates to opportunities/challenges in live entertainment, various sides of the music biz, venues, and more. We shall also enjoy shredding some mountain for three days with friends new and old.
If any winter sports equipment and apparel companies would like a beta test and evangelism of their killer new ski gear, please contact @n8thesk8ME.