SXSW: Local Filmmakers and Yoko Ono

Austin is a pretty awesome city that is one part state capital and one part college town. The independent energy of musicians and filmmakers who have strong roots in Austin is a huge part of SXSW (Richard Linklater, please raise your hand.). One thing I really like about SXSW is how local artists are celebrated. On Tuesday night I saw Emily Hagins’ film My Sucky Teen Romance. Hagins is an 18 year old Austin native and this is her third feature film! When I was 18, I wasn’t doing anything nearly as exciting as having my third feature film debut at SXSW to a sold-out theater. My Sucky Teen Romance is a delightful play on the current vampire craze. My favorite part is that the teenagers in the movie are actual teenagers, most of whom attended high school with Hagins. What the film lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in humor and authenticity. And really, it is so much better than many of the comedies that get lucrative distribution deals.

John Vanderslice on stage at the French Legation Museum.

As I’m trying to at least experience a taste of the music festival, today I went to a show at my favorite venue in Austin, the French Legation Museum. There are two outdoor stages, lots of lawn space to sit, and food and drink booths. I headed over there to see John Vanderslice play as my friend (and one time WIP audio editor) Jacob Winik is JV’s sound man/tour manager. It was so nice to escape the crowds while working on my tan and listening to a great set! After JV finished, Sean Lennon’s band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, took the stage. I joked to Jacob that Yoko Ono was at the show as she was at SXSW with her own band. Within minutes, Ono was standing next to the stage watching her son perform while a body guard stood watch. In person she seemed even smaller, but really looked exactly like I thought she would. She was wearing a black hat very similar to Sean Lennon’s hat (which he took off to perform), so now I like to think that they go on mother and son hat shopping trips!

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