Wednesday was the official first day of the music festival at SXSW. The interactive conference was wrapping up, and the mood in Austin definitely shifted. The temperature went up to the high 80s, trendier outfits are strutting through, music is blasting everywhere, and thousands of people are roaming around downtown. A bunch of streets are blocked off and it seems as though every single bar or restaurant is playing a packed live show.
I started the morning at a showing of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at Rollins Theatre. The modern take on Shakespeare was shot in the director’s beautiful home in Santa Monica over 12 days. The actors did an amazing job blending together Shakespearean verses with their LA accent, and proved that the fuss and misconceptions made in relationships are still very much relevant and humorous today.
I then attended the Animated Shorts Competition at Paramount Theatre. There were eleven shorts in total. My favorites were the “Cicada Princess,” a story about underground bugs that get to spend one wild night above ground before dying, and “Blue Umbrella,” a Pixar short that will precede “Monsters University.” Both were made in the Bay Area — “Cicada Princess” was made by Mauricio Baiocchi with the San Francisco Film Society and “Blue Umbrella” was created in Emeryville — and I was proud to hear the loudest laughs and cheers for these films. I got to interview the producer, Marc Greenberg, and director and writer, Saschka Unseld, of “Blue Umbrella” at the Hilton shortly after.
On the flight to Austin, I happened to sit next to the campaign manager of Beats by Dre’s “Pill,” a bluetooth wireless audio system shaped like a big pill. He showed me around Pill Clinic in the artist lounge of Vice Magazine’s music venue.