SXSW 2012 Highlights: Music, Films, and Talks To Remember

Jorge Rivas brings you a few highlights from SXSW.

By Jorge Rivas Mar 20, 2012

South by Southwest (SXSW) ended Monday morning. 24,569 attendees were registered for the technology and film tracks of the conference and numbers for music track attendees are not official yet but there were more than 2,000 acts at 90 venues that played over the course of SXSW.

Below is a list of films, music and other SXSW related events that I recommend you keep an eye for when they come near you. And there are several items you can watch and listen (and learn from) online so regardless of where you are, you’ll be able to keep up.

Zuzuka Poderosa

MUSIC: Born in Vitoria, Brazil, Zuzuka Poderosa grew up in Rio and spent her formative years in the West Indies. She later moved to Brooklyn, New York to study jazz vocal improvisation and work at her poetry.


MUSIC: The female hip-duo TheeSatisfaction has been performing at SXSW since 2010 but this year they’re on everyones radar: they’ve been featured everywhere from the NY Times to the LA Times and everything in between including what seems like every music blog on the internet. Thee Satisfaction raps about politics, justice, sexuality but they describe their blend of music the best: "funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics with the warmth and depth of Black Jazz and Sunday morning soul, frosted with icy raps that evoke equal parts Elaine Brown, Ursula Rucker and Q-Tip."


FILM: It’s no secret we’re big fans of Wu Tsang’s documentary "Wildness" here at 

Jamilah King recently published an interview with the director of the film that centers around a historic Los Angeles bar that has been home to Latin/LGBT immigrant communities since 1963.

Here’s the film synopsis:

Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, "Wildness" is a portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar that has been home to Latin/LGBT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a weekly party (organized by Director Wu Tsang, DJs NGUZUNGUZU, and Total Freedom) called Wildness explodes into creativity and conflict. What does "safe space" mean? Who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers creates coalitions across generations.

The Last Fall 

FILM: Written, funded and Directed by Matthew A. Cherry, "The Last Fall" is a coming of age sports drama that tells the difficulties an NFL journeyman faces when trying to transition to life after professional football career is over at 25.

The average NFL player’s career lasts three years and many players go in to bankruptcy within two years of retiring. It’s an all too familiar story for many African-American men who make up about 67 percent of the NFL’s active roster, according to the Racial and Gender Report Card published by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

The Last Fall 

Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots

FILM: "Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots" premiered at SXSW last week but will air on VH1 in a few weeks. The VH1 documentary examines the relationship between what was happening on the streets before the 1992 uprising and the rage expressed in hip-hop music.

Sypnosis from the film:

20 years after riots ripped through Los Angeles, "Uprising" documents how hip hop forecasted – and some say ignited – the worst civil unrest of the 20th century. The film revisits the riots in gripping detail and draws from a diverse collection of voices – the rappers, rioters, victims, police officers, journalists and everyday citizens of South Central Los Angeles. The documentary traces the rise of dissent in Los Angeles in the 80’s and 90’s and explores why citizens chose to rise up violently against police abuse and perceived injustices.

You can catch "Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots" on VH1 on May 1, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The Announcement  

FILM: Having the HIV/AIDS virus in 1991 was widely seen as a death sentence and on November 7th when Magic Johnson announced he was HIV+ the world paid close attention to the announcement coming from the Great Western Forum.

Narrated by Magic Johnson himself, "The Announcement" is an intimate behind the scenes look at what was going through Johnson’s head when he announced tot he world he was positive. The Film is directed by Nelson George who’s own mother and sister contracted the HIV virus in the 1990s.

"The Announcement" originally aired on ESPN and is currently available now on the iTunes Music Store.

Austin Brown

MUSIC: Austin Brown was perhaps the most written about musical act at SXSW–even with the likes of Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen performing at the conference. Brown has music royalty in the family: his uncle is Michael Jackson.


MUSIC: Bez recently became the first African artist to debut a song on BET’s popular "106 & Park" and he’s made several "Best of 2012" list even though we’re only in March. Hailing from Nigeria, Bez blends soul with jazz and R&B. 

Samhita Mukhopadhyay Book Signing

Samhita Mukhopadhyay (Executive Editor of made a stop at SXSW bookstore to sign copies of her book "Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life."

If you don’t already know about "Outdated" here’s a brief description from the book’s website.

Outdated analyzes how different forms of media, cultural norms, family pressure, and even laws, are produced to scare women into believing that if they don’t devote themselves to finding a man, they’ll be doomed to a life of loneliness and shame. Using interviews with young women that are living around, between, within, and outside of the romantic industrial complex, Mukhopadhyay weaves a narrative of the alternative ways that women today have elected to live their lives, and in doing so offers a fresh, feminist look at an old topic: How do diverse, independent young women date happily and successfully–and outside of the box?

The Work Connects Us

Lastly The Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin Central Labor Council reminded tens of thousands of SXSW attendees that the work connects us all.

"We are all connected through our work, and with this campaign we are thanking the workers," Lara told of the public education campaign. He said the campaign is meant to highlight the importance of work, how it connects everyone, and also to replace negative ideas about unions in Texas with more positive ones using social media.

Along with volunteers going around SXSW taking photos of the workers, the campaign highlighted workers at the conference with a commercial on local Austin television stations that ran for 6-weeks before the events took place.