The 2012 South by Southwest Festival has finally ended but my brain (and feet) are still recovering. My phone, appropriately nicknamed the “bounceberry” after the abuse the past 10 days, is covered in glitter, chocolate and tequila. (I don’t even drink Tequila) Despite living on a diet of delicious tacos, burritos, gourmet hot dogs doughtnuts and tater tots served from “fusion” food trucks I have lost 6 lbs in a week due to extreme dancing. The entire town of Austin, which is a very different town than the rest of Texas, is transformed with giant parties in every parking lot, performances on every street corner and a vendor of delicious treats at every turn. I was on sensory overload to say the least.
Rolling solo as usual, I had a blast bouncing from party to party, sometimes with friends, sometimes with someone I met in line at Kabobalicious, a favorite food truck of Austin. The less I planned the more fun I found. Lucky for me, my friend and business/philanthropy idol, Tony Hsieh of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness was in town the first weekend for interactive and had brought not one, but TWO buses fully equipped with all the essentials for a fun 5 day weekend including disco balls, wigs, megaphones, a fully stocked bar with snacks and a great sound system. Tony is a warrior for fun and weird and did not disappoint in any of our adventures. Our first night we just had fun party hopping and cruising on the bus and the second night we were not told where we were going until after an hour long bus ride that ended in up breaking down on the hill to the mystery location. As we walked up the hill in a sort of weird pride parade, a shuttle bus appeared out of no where and took us to our destination; a “mystery mansion” built by video game inventor and astronaut, Richard Garriot. It was full of secret passage ways, tunnels, moving walls and my favorite, a dungeon full of skeletons, human parts like hearts, fetus, mummified hands, shrunken heads and strange “magical” entities like Victorian era vampire hunting kit, a Gorilla’s head and Amazonian battle axes. It was truly a high light of my trip and was lucky to share it with some magical friends, Dan and Nadav.
A little video I made, capturing some of our magical adventure…
I met some really amazing new friends who were not only a lot of fun but very intelligent and motivated to create great things for our world. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by so many awesome people, fun geeks, just my type of people. Now let’s be clear, the term geek is not a negative one. I found this great illustration that explains it perfectly.
Geeks are Hot!
And so are mustaches! I was in facial hair heaven here in Austin. Apparently this is another mecca of fixie riding music loving hipsters with incredible fashion and facial hair. Here is a collage of my favorites.
This past weekend was quite different than the first. The geeks all went home and the cool, trendy music and film people came out in full force. The streets were even more packed, the lines were even longer and the fashion was in your face! I had the opportunity once again, to partner with LMH client, GUESS, for another fabulous event. They partnered with NYLON magazine to produce a two day pool party at the W hotel with a full day of performers, both bands and DJ’s including Kimbra (amazing vocalist from the catchy, “Somebody I Used to Know”), Of Monsters & Men (“Little Talk”), Bleached, Static Jacks, Howler, DJ Dillon Francis, Sofi (Deadmau5 singer on “Sofi Needs a Ladder) Cisco Adler, (half of the group Shwayze) Dev (“Fly Like a G6” & “Dancin in the Dark”) the band FUN, (“We Are Young”) to name a few! The event was great and each performer came through the GUESS celeb lounge where we gifted them with new GUESS eyewear and they gave interviews to NYLON TV. It was such a blast.
The Party Gods stepped in once again at the perfect timing and crossed my paths with some cool LA kids I had met before who were heading to some concerts after the GUESS pool party Saturday night. I hopped on their party train and found myself backstage for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (“Home”) and Mumford and Sons. It was a great show, including a marching band on stage and a seriously awesome performance by a band that has swept the music charts with their folky/banjo/rock n roll.
In typical my typical whirlwind of awesome, after an interesting ride in a hurst, I found myself on stage with DJ A-Trak (one half of Duck Sauce, superstar creators of “Big Bad Wolf” and “Barbara Streisand”) dancing like it was my destiny. As if it couldn’t have been more of a dream come true, some friendly stranger passed me half of a tambourine and I was in heaven. (Anyone who knows me knows of my constant offer to play back up tambourine for ANY touring musical group. Offer stands.)
Needless to say it was a great finale to a great week of events and networking and yet another festival this girl can not miss ever again! See you next year, SXSW.