12 SXSW Panels, Films and Concerts That Deserve Your Attention

South by Southwest, the mega-conference for tech, film and music geeks, starts today. Colorlines.com multimedia editor and pop culture blogger Jorge Rivas shares his top picks.

By Jorge Rivas Mar 08, 2013

Every March, droves of techies, film enthusiasts and music lovers migrate to Austin, Tex., for South by Southwest (SXSW), the film, interactive and music festival. It starts today and runs through March 17th. Colorlines.com publisher Rinku Sen and I will join more than 27,000 other conference-goers this coming week.

You don’t have to be at SXSW in person to participate. You can watch live streams of the keynotes at http://sxsw.com/live and follow the hashtags for individual panels. Below is a list of the events I’ll be attending. Stay tuned for my SXSW coverage throughout the week, follow my updates on Twitter, and share your picks in the comments!

PANEL: Racism on YouTube
When: Sunday, March 10; 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Austin Convention Center
Follow: #sxsw #YTRacism

Panel description via SXSW:

The Racism on YouTube panel will take a hard look at the various struggles that black members of the YouTube community face each day. YouTube is an expansive, diverse community, but its foremost personalities largely fall under the white and Asian racial umbrellas. Only two of the site’s top 100 personalities are black (DeStorm, Kingsley), and there’s a significant drop-off after that. This panel will examine why it is that blacks struggle to contend with other races on the platform and also explore various issues that arise with racist commenters and detractors. Panel features Andre Meadows, Chase Hoffberger, Franchesca Ramsey and Jenny Korn.

PANEL: Naturally Social: Growing Your Hair, Growing Your Audience & Growing Your Brand
When: Sunday, March 10; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 500 N. Interstate 35
Follow: #BiTHouse

Franchesca Ramsey has been creating natural hair video tutorials for more than five years. She’s also often recognized for creating and starring in the "Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls" YouTube video that has close to 10 million views. Here’s a blurb for the panel she organized as a part of the Blacks in Tech series:

Join us as we examine how the natural hair movement has grown in recent years, largely in part to the social media savvy of natural hair bloggers and brands. Hear from natural hair superstars including Carol’s Daughter, Curl Box founder Myliek Teele and Afrobella, and learn how you can incorporate their social media strategies and avoid their missteps to help grow your online audience and brand.

PANEL: Asian Entrepreneurs Struggle with Fear of Failure
When: Monday, March 11; 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Austin Convention Center
Follow: #sxsw #failasia

Panel description via SXSW:

To many young Asian entrepreneurs, starting a company is an act of rebellion. It means defying the lessons of parents, teachers, and culture, who say: Be proper. Find a stable job. Don’t take risks. It means – in many cases – feeling uncertainty, shame, and fear of failure. It’s a struggle that will continue as these entrepreneurs gun to compete with US companies, get funding from US investors, and partner with US corporations.

This panel discusses where fear of failure comes from, how it affects Asian startups today, and what it means for the future of Asian innovation. It will include stories from the moderator’s recent six-month trip to seven Asian countries interviewing over 100 entrepreneurs and investors.

FILM: "Los Wild Ones"
When: Monday, March 11; 11 a.m. to 12:17 p.m.
Where: Stateside Theatre, 719 Congress Ave

The film’s plot summary via SXSW:

Wild Records is an LA indie music label comprised of young Hispanic musicians, it is run by Irishman, Reb Kennedy. Wild is an unconventional family, reminiscent of the early days of Sun Records, all of its musicians write and perform 50s Rock ‘n Roll. If Wild is going to continue to grow and reach broader audiences, its current business model will cease to work.


FILM: "The Punk Singer"
When: Sunday, March 10; 10 to 11:20 p.m.
Where: Vimeo Theater, Austin Convention Center 
(Check http://schedule.sxsw.com for more screenings.)

The film’s plot summary via SXSW:

Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. She became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons, a cultural lightning rod. Her critics wished she would just shut-up, and her fans hoped she never would. So in 2005, when Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Through 20 years of archival footage and intimate interviews with Hanna, "The Punk Singer" takes viewers on a fascinating tour of contemporary music and offers a never-before-seen view into the life of this fearless leader.


FILM: "Linsanity"
When: Sunday, March 10; 7:45 p.m. to 9:13 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. 

(Check http://schedule.sxsw.com for more screenings.)

The film’s plot summary via SXSW:

In February 2012, the New York Knicks, mired in a disappointing season and out of desperation, looked to the end of their bench and found Jeremy Lin, an undrafted free agent from Harvard. On the verge of seeing his lifelong NBA dream vanish, Lin – at, or near what was believed to be his last chance as an NBA professional, underwent a now-legendary run, obliterating stereotypes along the way, and in the process birthed a global phenomenon known as "Linsanity." Basketball — and the world – was never the same.


MUSIC: Karriem Riggins at the Stones Throw Records showcase
When: Wednesday, March 13; 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Red 7, 611 E. 7th St. 
(Free entry with RSVP, no SXSW badge required)

Karriem Riggins is best known as a jazz drummer and producer for hip-hop artists including Common, Slum Village, Talib Kweli and The Roots. At Wednesday’s showcase, he’ll be front and center. 


MUSIC: Shugo Tokumaru 
When: Wednesday, March 13; 12 p.m. to 12:40 p.m.
Where: International Day State, Austin Convention Center

Japanese singer-songwriter Shugo Tokumaru uses more than 100 traditional and non-traditional instruments in his recordings. (His videos aren’t bad, either.)


MUSIC: NPR Music’s Alt.Latino Hosts Auditorium Shores Showcase
When: Thursday, March 14; starts at 4 p.m.
Where: Auditorium Shores, 800 W. Riverside Dr.
(Free and public event)

Genre-defining (and -bending) group Café Tacvba headlines a showcase hosted by NPR Music’s Alt.Latino founders Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras and KUT’s Michael Crockett. The band is joined by the politically charged band Molotov and the tango-fusion collective Bajofondo.


MUSIC: Las Cafeteras at official SXSW showcase

When: Friday, March 15; 11 p.m. to 11:40 p.m.
Where: Copa Bar and Grill, 217 Congress Ave.

Los Angeles band Las Cafeteras will share their Son Jarocho-inspired songs. Son Jorocho is a folk musical style from Veracruz, Mexico. The band says their mission is to learn, share and practice the beauty, culture and energy of Son Jarocho music for the purpose of building autonomous communities. Brownout and Sonido San Francisco are among others performing. 



MUSIC: Big Freedia at The Big One showcase   
When: Saturday, March 16; Doors open at 11 a.m.
Where: 1100 Warehouse, 1100 E. 5th St. 
(Free entry with  RSVP)

Openly queer rapper Big Freedia is the undisputed "Queen Diva" of New Orleans Bounce Music. Freedia shares the bill with Texas rock bands including Girl in a Coma and The Polyphonic Spree.


MUSIC: Delorean at True Panther Sounds/Terrible Records showcase
When: Saturday, March 16; 1 a.m. to 1:50 a.m.
Where: Mohawk Outdoor, 912 Red River St.

The Spanish alternative dance band formed in 2000, outside of Barcelona, headlines an evening that also features Le1f and Empress Of among others.