Tag Archives: sxsw

SXSW: 4 bands headed to music fest denied entry into US

Organizers of the South by Southwest music festival say at least four international bands have been denied entry into the U.S. and that other performers have had their visa waivers revoked.

SXSW officials said this week that every year there are some issues with bands entering the U.S. for various reasons.

But the latest travel problems come amid tensions over President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.

The band Massive Scar Era, whose members are from both Canada and Egypt, posted on Facebook it wasn’t going to “jump to conclusions” about why they were denied entry.

But they noted they have gotten to SXSW twice before with the same documents.

SXSW officials say they’re trying to ensure customs officials treat artist visa waivers as valid.

Obama tries to recreate SXSW at White House’s SXSL

President Barack Obama liked his March trip to Austin’s South by Southwest festival of technology and music so much that he decided to try to re-create the SXSW vibe from Texas on the South Lawn. On Oct. 3, he rolled out “South by South Lawn,” or SXSL, bringing together artists, innovators, musicians and entrepreneurs for the equivalent of a giant White House block party for tech nerds.

The president made a midday visit to the South Lawn to check out booths and vendors promoting everything from virtual reality technology to fake tattoos. He spoke to the crowd about climate change later in the day in a joint appearance with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.

In an email promoting the event, Obama wrote that SXSL was “at its heart, a call to action. The folks out on the lawn today are artists, creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators who will share how they’ve used their unique skills to engage their communities in making the change they want to see — whether it’s curing cancer, fighting poverty, empowering women, and so much more.”

DiCaprio’s documentary film on climate change, Before the Flood, got its domestic premier on the lawn later in the day.

Tech blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash said the South Lawn event was a way to connect the dots between SXSW, with its ideas for changing the world, and the people who are “doing the actual work” to use technology to improve worker rights, civil rights and more. Panel discussions included topics such as “feeding the future” and “fixing real problems.”

The White House tech fest also featured a student film festival, a wall of art made of Post-Its, Lego statues, demonstrations on the science of food and using technology to help the disabled and lots of music. Among those performing: the Lumineers, Gallant, Black Alley, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and DJ Bev Bond.

 

Live-streaming apps dominate buzz at South by Southwest

A live-streaming app called Meerkat, calls to online activism and pedicabs with a “Game of Thrones” Iron throne seat were the top topics of conversation at South by Southwest over the weekend, as 33,000-plus members of the technology, marketing and media industries poured into Austin, Texas.

“You never know what’s around the corner at South By Southwest, it could be a small thing or it could be life changing,” said David Rubin, Pinterest’s head of brand, at the social media company’s annual barbecue on Saturday. He said the festival is a good place to schmooze with clients and do some recruiting.

“Pinterest is about creativity and the employee base is quirky and interesting, so it’s a good place to meet potential employees,” he said.

Here’s a look at top topics so far at the annual gathering of the Technorati.

LIVE-STREAMING APPS

An app called Meerkat is dominating conversations. The simple app allows people to live stream anything at the touch of a button. The app used to let users automatically Tweet live streams too, but that came to a stop after Twitter confirmed it acquired Periscope, a Meerkat rival, for undisclosed terms and limited Meerkat’s access to Twitter.

At a panel about government patents, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker had used Meerkat to stream her official swearing in of the new chief of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office Michelle Lee on Twitter. “Being the first (at)cabinet official to share key events on this exciting new platform,” she tweeted. Countless others streamed other panels and events.

Meanwhile, rival live-streaming app Stre.am is a finalist for SXSW’s innovation awards.

ONLINE ACTIVISM

Some major political figures are using the festival to call for online activism. Former Vice President Al Gore gave a rousing talk about the need for urgent action on climate change. Gore called upon SXSW attendees to get involved in supporting climate change legislation ahead of environmental talks in Paris in December.

“We are at a fork in the road, we can win this, but it requires passion,” he said.

In a keynote, Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud of Saudi Arabia discussed her efforts to bring women into the workplace and announced a new breast cancer awareness campaign that will rely on social and mobile media to spread the word in the Middle East, including the Twitter-ready hashtag (hash)10ksa.

Often in the Middle East, “a woman doesn’t want to admit unhealthy status,” she said. “There are larger cultural issues involved to talk about breast cancer.”

CORPORATE STUNTS

Promotions are everywhere. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is employing pedicabs with Iron-Throne seats and hosting “SXSWesteros,” an event site that serves a “Game of Thrones” beer and allows fans a chance to sit on the show’s Iron Throne.

Meanwhile, smartphone battery pack maker Mophie created buzz with St. Bernard dogs that “rescued” more than 300 festival-goers low on batteries when they tweeted a plea for help to Mophie. The dogs, all locally owned by people in Austin, are part of the St. Bernard’s Rescue Foundation, which was created to raise awareness about rescue dogs.

“People don’t get exposure to St. Bernard’s ever,” said Mophie spokesman Kevin Malinowski. “People get them as puppies when they’re so cute, but once they grow up they can’t handle them, so this is almost an education.”

RUSSELL BRAND’S NO-SHOW

A documentary about actor Russell Brand, called “Brand, a Second Coming,” was a headliner for the film portion of the festival. Brand was set to appear at the Friday premiere and give a talk as well as discuss his daily YouTube show “Trews,” in which he talks about news topics. But that day Brand announced on his blog that he wouldn’t appear at the festival, saying he was uncomfortable with how the documentary turned out, and backed out of the talk.

“I apologise sincerely to the organisers of SXSW for my non-attendance, especially Janet Pierson, Brian Solis and Rynda Laurel from the interactive festival who were responsible for the keynote talk that I was due to do,” he wrote in the blog post.