SXSW has been happening in Austin since I was a kid. But it took me awhile to pay attention to the coolness of it all. And the way I clued in was primarily through my mom. Mom does the film festival with her friend, Rhoda. They stand in line to see funky films and collect these funny characters/friends along the way. In fact, a few years ago, a blogger talked about them in a blog post as “the F*@%ing ordinary housewives.” They ran into the blogger later in the festival and scolded the blogger for calling them ordinary. They didn’t seem to care about the use of the F-bomb.
A few years ago, I followed my mom around to all the films. One of the films that we saw was about a band director from Kashmere High School who changed the lives of the kids that he taught. Later in the week, the old Kashmere High School band was playing at a party that required tickets given to badge-holders (we were measly wristband wearers). We were intrigued and really wanted to go.
While sitting in a theater waiting for another film to start, we leaned over to a badge-holder close by and ask if he had tickets to the party with the high school band. And he pulled two tickets out of his backpack and handed them to us. My mom leaned over and said, “You don’t happen to have two more do you?” The guy sort of looked at her and was like, “seriously?” And then he saw how sweet she seemed to be and said that he thought he could get some more. And so then Mom said, “Do you need some place to stay this week? We have a 4 bedroom house….”
And that is how Stephan, and his wife, Lori, have come to stay with Mom and Dad for the last several years. They went to UT, but moved away for work. They come back to volunteer for the whole 10 days.
Mom took his card, checked to see that he was who he said he was, became his facebook friend, and about a day later, he and Lori were staying with my parents and eating homemade banana bread that mom made.
Things like that just happen at SXSW. Dorks turn cool for a week. Nice things happen. The currency seems to be free cigarettes that the badge-holders get for free in the conference and then can be used to bargain with the volunteers at the door (to get through without standing in line).
It is just a cool week. Mom actually texted me on Sunday; the text said, “I just met a cockroach.” Stuff like that just seems normal this week.