Another SXSW coming up; it’ll be good to see old friends and make new connections. The Austin Chronicle asked me to write something for their SXSW Interactive issue; that led to an interesing interview with cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, a longer version of which I might post here later. When “bOING bOING” was a magazine, I was an associated editor listed as “cyborganic jivemeister,” and the magazine I published, FringeWare Review, focused quite bit on “cyborging.” Originally a science fiction term, a mashup of “cybernetic organism,” the term represents a potentially huge field of study – how humans interact with, and how human experience is enhanced by, digital technology. If you’ll be at SXSW Interactive, don’t miss Amber’s keynote Sunday, March 11, 2pm at the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5 (#SXAmberCase). Meanwhile after the interview was done she and I kept talking, and will be working on a project together, a blog on the subject of augmented reality.
Hearing via Twitter that my friend Gary Chapman of the LBJ School has died. News of his death was posted by Isadora Vail of the Austin American Statesman. No details yet. I had just emailed Gary today asking for his support in putting together an Austin Wikileaks Summit. [Update: Statesman article by Vail reporting that Gary died of an apparent heart attack.]
Gary was a visionary thinker, always exploring the edge of emerging technologies… and he was a fine guy and a good friend. I interviewed him for the Austin Chronicle in 1999. [Link]
I think that a lot of people in the technology policy community feel there’s a kind of vacuum with respect to crafting a vision for why the United States should invest in science and technology in the future. That’s seen as a liability in forming consensus about what we should be investing in, but also an opportunity for helping craft a new vision.
The last organizing principle of technology policy was the Cold War, and that lasted for 50 years. But that’s pretty much over, and now we need a new organizing principle. It’s not clear what that’s going to be. There’s been a de facto consensus around global economic competitiveness, but that doesn’t really seem to have the same kind of glue that the Cold War rationale had. So I think there’s still work to be done on crafting the vision, and I think there’s certain pieces that have to go into it:
(1) Sustainability, that is, its relationship to the natural environment and our ability to build an economic system that doesn’t deplete the earth’s resources.
(2) Global commerce that is not solely competitive, but cooperative in nature as well.
(3) Social justice and equity issues, so that we don’t end up with technology policy that just favors the wealthy. That would have to take into account vast disparities in education and literacy and access to economic resources.
(4) A technology policy that’s democratic, and that offers the opportunity for people who are not scientific and technological experts to help craft it.
Tantalizing free music minifest jamming during SXSW, at the great Fran’s Hamburgers, 1822 S. Congress, March 19, 3pm-6pm… assembled by my friend Joe Rae Di Menno of Hard Pressed Publicity, sponsored by Santa Fe Brewing.
Give your ears a break from the Fender Strats and your bellies a reprieve from the all-you-can-stomach chili con queso to unwind with your friends at Green Light Go and Hard Pressed Publicity. Located in the heart of South Congress, and right around the corner from Jo’s Coffee Shop and the Continental Club, not only does Fran’s Hamburgers dish up the most noteworthy burgers in town (we hear the Homemade Hickory Burger with a touch of BBQ sauce and dill pickles is to die for!) The food, of course, is just the appetizer to the main event.
Bands, Burgers, and Beer will feature acoustic performances by:
3:00-3:20pm – The Handsome Family – Albuquerque’s husband and wife duo, Brett and Rennie Sparks have hit the pavement running. With alt-country swaggers and dark, haunting melodies, The Handsome Family celebrate their 20th anniversary with bittersweet love songs that travel like tumbleweeds through the chambers of our hearts.
3:25 – 3:45 – Ben Mallott – Recently releasing his first solo CD with dustwind melodies and straight to the heart lyrics, Look Good, Feel Good, was coined by Austin Monthly as “as one of the top nine to watch in ‘09” while Austin Chronicle’s Austin Powell named him “one of 9 locals poised to breakout at SXSW this year.”
3:50 – 4:10pm – The Motion Sick – When The Motion Sick aren’t tuning their Rickenbackers, they’re busy picking up “Band of the Month” and “Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen” titles from Spin Magazine. After taking notes from influences such as Nick Cave and Modest Mouse, lead singer Michael Epstein taught a Hearing Science course at Northwestern University, before laying down a few tracks of his own. While still on campus, The Motion Sick decided to shoot a video for their single, “30 Lives”, which was added to Dance Dance Revolution, sending feet into a frenzy over the surf pop hit. Class is in session!
4:15 – 4:30pm – Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township – are releasing Yearbook due out this April 2009. With his core, bass and drums, lead by Wayne Dalchau and Matt Morris, they’ve shared the stage with Regina Spektor, Hayes Carll, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kimya Dawson, legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, as well as friend and mentor Alejandro Escovedo (will guest on new CD.) Hayes Carll says “Graham is like no other musician on the scene with charisma in spades and the songs to match.”
4:35-4:55pm – Static of the Gods – Fusing melodic indie rock with sweet-yet-sultry vocals, Jen Johnson (voice, guitar, & keyboard), Mike Latulippe (drums) and Ben Voskeritchian (bass & guitar) have all the right moves. The trio’s innovation and ability to reinvent the musical wheel prevents critics from putting a finger on them, while fans continue screaming for more. Be sure to catch the Boston natives before Metric can swoop them up for an opening slot.
5:00 – 5:15pm – Aimee Bobruk –Austin’s own songbird, Aimee Bobruk, collides dreamy indie pop with ambient folk rock, presenting listeners with rich orchestral melodies, crisp lyrical images, and creative instrumentation. Recently performing at the Folk Alliance and chosen as one of 12 Regional Finalists for the nationally acclaimed NPR show Mountain Stage New Song Contest, Bobruk will release her Darwin Smith produced CD, The Safety Match Journal (Darwin Smith)nationally on April 28, 2009.
5:20 – 5:35pm – Golden Bloom – Golden Bloom combines the crisp vocals of Shawn Fogel with driving hooks to create pop songs that would turn Jeff Tweedy green with envy. Handling all of the instruments on his upcoming album, while sharing the stage with the likes of Michael Azerrad during traditional live performances, Golden Bloom recently earned the title of SPIN Magazine’s “8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen.” Be sure to catch Golden Bloom and watch these golden boys who are winning the heart of America faster than you can say “record deal”.
5:40 – 6:00pm – Robert Harrison (Future Clouds & Radar) – Listing Peoria as Blurt’s 5th Best Record of 2008, Future Clouds and Radar’s latest offering finds the band focusing their kaleidoscopic vision into a single cinematic narrative about the illusory nature of mortality. Harrison stays true to his genre-hopping eclecticism, leading the journey through a maze of fuzz-box vocals and ethereal keys. The band released their self-titled double-disc debut in 2007, and Harp Magazine named the band “Debut Artist of the Year” and called the release 4th Best Record overall.
Green Light Go earned their stripes within the ranks of the entertainment publicity world. With over fifteen years of experience working in the music industry for BMG Distribution, representing such clients as Morrissey, Belle & Sebastian, Ray LaMontagne, and The White Stripes; Green Light Go founder and CEO, Janelle Rogers, combines her library of industry knowledge with an innate level of creativity, integrity, and passion. Green Light Go emphasizes the motto “quality over quantity”, focusing their efforts on an integrated approach of working with traditional media of today and the internet media of tomorrow.
If there were such a thing as a royal family of Austin’s music scene, Jo Rae Di Menno of Austin’s Hard Pressed Publicity would certainly be a member. In addition to spending 10 years as director of publicity for the world-famous South By Southwest Music & Media Conference (which included escorting and organizing press conferences for keynote speakers Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, Carl Perkins, Nick Lowe and Bob Mould), Di Menno has conducted successful media campaigns for Alejandro Escovedo, Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan of the Faces, the True Believers, Trish Murphy, Bernard Allison and many others. For nearly 20 years, she’s represented some of the world’s top musicians (and trendy record labels like Rough Trade and Fat Caddy) – both at home and overseas.