Jon Lebkowsky sez, "My amazing friend, neurocomputing specialist, musician & composer David Demaris has created the most geek-tastic opera ever, For Fear the Glass May Shatter. It's been produced as part of Austin's Fusebox Festival, and is running through this weekend at the Vortex Theatre here." Read the rest
Dirt Road To Psychedelia is a documentary about the underground culture and music scene in Austin, Texas during the 1960s. Above is the trailer.
"With a folk-singing Janis Joplin, the 13th Floor Elevators, peyote, LSD and the first psychedelic music venue in Texas, Austin was a fertile ground for the emerging counterculture of the 1960s," says director Scott Conn.
If you're lucky enough to be in Waxahachie, Texas this Sunday (3/23), check it out live at the wunderkammer that is the Webb Gallery as part of their "Big Hair & Sparkly Pants" Texas-themed group art show. You can also buy the DVD on Amazon. Read the rest
The ACLU and SXSW will host a video chat with Edward Snowden on Monday, during the day's civil-liberties-focused program track. I'll be speaking immediately before Snowden, with Barton Gellman, and we will be staying for the Snowden event. Snowden will be interviewed by ACLU technologist Christopher Soghoian, and the event is moderated by the ACLU's Ben Wizner. I hope to see you there -- it's why I'm flying to Austin. Read the rest
Jonl sez, "Streets near the University of Texas at Austin today are safer, thanks to quick and effective action by the local police, who caught and arrested a jogger, observed wearing a pony tail, black shorts, and a headset in the area. She was apparently menacing traffic by crossing the street in a manner construed as 'jaywalking,' however her apparent arrest was due to her failure to provide identification: i.e., she was guilty not just of jaywalking, but of anonymous jaywalking."
Woman arrested on 24th street after crossing intersection
(Thanks, Jonl!) Read the rest
I'll be returning to SXSW Interactive this March for the first time in more than five years, to interview Pulitzer-winning journalist Barton Gellman, who is one of the journalists who's been entrusted with some of the Snowden NSA leaks. We're doing a presentation called "Snowden 2.0: A Field Report From the NSA Archives," which follows an address by Glenn Greenwald. We're speaking on March 10 -- I hope to see you! Read the rest
Lizzy writes from Austin's magnificent toy emporium Toy Joy:
Read the rest
Here at Toy Joy, April Fools Day smells like Unicorns! Specifically, Unicorn Farts! Not only is April 1 celebrated globally as a holiday of mischief, it also happens to be the best day for harvesting the rarest of poots: Unicorn Farts! Currently offered both in store at Toy Joy and at ToyJoy.com for the low price of $2.95, this enchanted product is sure to bring a smile to your prince or princess.
* 100% Organic Concentrated Unicorn Farts
* Unique Addition to Most Fart Collections!
* Important Ingredient for Magic Spells.
* Handy Household Fragrance.
* Delicious on Salads!
We anticipate a high demand for these rarest of odors, and recommend stocking up on this magical product. Unicorn Farts won't be around forever!
Please feel free to contact the wizarding team at Toy Joy for additional information on this product, or the harvesting process. Send all emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Mutant (and EFF-Austin co-founder) Jon Lebkowsky has a great piece in the new Austin Chronicle about Aaron Swartz, privacy, copyright, and the future of computers:
It's an odd predicament, seeing your customer as the enemy. Attempts by the music industry to protect its control of distribution have risked alienation of a customer base that has a multiplicity of channels for free and low-cost alternatives via cyberspace, including a bazillion "Internet radio" channels; online services like Pandora, Last.FM, and Spotify; savvy artists distributing their own tunes online; and, of course, various file-sharing sites like the Pirate Bay. Even with the "pirate" sources out of the way, record labels would be hurting, because they no longer control distribution. The same is true for all media. Distribution channels are more ad hoc, product is abundant, it's cheap or free, and competition for whatever dollars are still flowing is fierce.
Invaluable Information: Technology, privacy, hacking, and legislating in the new digital age - Screens - The Austin Chronicle Read the rest
Aaron sez, "SXSW Create is a free and open to the public event during SXSW Interactive that will showcase local and national hackers, makers, and creators. It is a hands-on, interactive, and exciting event intended to showcase creativity and innovation that will inspire and encourage others to create themselves. It is located at 101 Red River, directly behind the Austin Convention Center." Read the rest
Another awesome score from this trip is the Hello Kitty Reversible 8" Plush: Hamburger
, a plush Hello Kitty toy that inverts and forms a Hello Kitty hamburger. It's a thing, then it's another thing!
Scenes from a book-tour, part sqrt(-1): the SPIDER DUCK, at Austin's magnificent Toy Joy.
Spider Duck, Toy Joy, Austin, TX, USA Read the rest
Hey, Austin! I'm in town today, doing an event at Book People at 7PM, and then an EFF-Austin benefit. Saturday, I'm in Portsmouth, NH, then on Sunday I'm in Nashua, NH. Read the rest
After my event at Austin's Book People on Feb 22, I'll be doing a benefit for EFF-Austin on their location privacy campaign. We did this the last time I came through town and it was tremendous -- come on out!
An evening with Cory Doctorow and EFF-Austin Read the rest
Photo: Leslie Cochran at rest at an Austin intersection in 1998 (Vernon Bryant, The Austin American-Statesman via NYT)
New York Times reporter and native Texas son John Schwartz writes about the death of Albert Leslie Cochran, 60: "A bearded, cross-dressing, often homeless Austinite who was also an occasional candidate for mayor."
Read the rest
Wearing a cheerleader’s uniform, a tutu or a simple thong, accessorized with a feather boa or tiara, Mr. Cochran was an eye-catching figure in a city where eccentricity is nothing special. A popular bumper sticker, “Keep Austin Weird,” is the rallying cry of a place that resists the civic homogenization that can turn every town into pretty much every other town. “When people see the bumper sticker, they think of Leslie,” said Debbie Russell, a local activist and friend.
Hey, Austinites, Bruce Sterling's giving away his books at the ATX, the Austin Hackerspace, on Saturday from 5-7PM. Read the rest
Scott Henson, "a former journalist turned opposition researcher/political consultant, public policy researcher and blogger," recounts how he was repeatedly stopped and eventually cuffed and detained while walking his granddaughter home through a park in Austin, TX. Henson is white and his granddaughter is black, and the police said that they were responding to a "kidnapping" call. But their response terrified the little girl and humiliated her grandfather. And it's not the first time it's happened to them.
Read the rest
As soon as we crossed the street, just two blocks from my house as the crow flies, the police car that just passed us hit its lights and wheeled around, with five others appearing almost immediately, all with lights flashing. The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child. I complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly. Meanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying. One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren't there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars. (By this time more cars had joined them; they maxxed out at 9 or 10 police vehicles.)
I gave them the phone numbers they needed to confirm who Ty was and that she was supposed to be with me (and not in the back of their police car), but for quite a while nobody seemed too interested in verifying my "story." One officer wanted to lecture me endlessly about how they were just doing their job, as if the innocent person handcuffed on the side of the road cares about such excuses.
Austin's astoundingly great Alamo Drafthouse cinema is hosting a Valentine's Night "Princess Bride Quote-Along & Feast" with Rodents of Unusual Size on the menu, and special Inconceivable wine.
We love this movie every bit as deeply as Westley loves his Buttercup, and so when we discussed launching our very own Alamo Signature Wine collection, we immediately knew that we had to start by featuring none other than THE PRINCESS BRIDE. We partnered with the good people at Helms Workshop to produce artwork for two varietals, and this February we are pleased to introduce the world to The Bottle of Wits, featuring an Inconceivable Cab and the As You Wish White!
THE PRINCESS BRIDE QUOTE-ALONG & FEAST
(via Neatorama) Read the rest
Austin's Old Murder House Theater has mounted a rendition of Aliens -- on ice! It's more or less faithful to the original, and it's, well, stupendous:
Anyone who has seen Aliens can follow what transpires over the next 70 minutes or so. It's James Cameron's film on fastforward…and caffeine…and possibly cocaine. The show captures the little details and turns of phrases that fans will know by heart and cast makes creative use of the ice, never standing still when they have to. Ripley's confrontation with the board that accuses her of destroying the ship from the first film is transformed into humorously blunt exchange, with every party involved skating around each other in menacing circles. The colonial marines searching the seemingly abandoned colony of LV421 becomes a showcase for humorously clumsy figure skating. The subtle relationship between Ripley and Hicks becomes gloriously unsubtle when the two share a brief little spin together on the ice.
These guys may not be professional skaters, but they're not bad. Not bad at all. They're certainly not afraid of the ice and they're not afraid of taking risks. When they do stumble, they play it off beautifully and keep moving. They make the "on ice" part of the show look effortless until they make a mistake and then it becomes a newly improvised joke. Using expert skaters as the aliens is a truly inspired choice and seeing the aliens literally skate circles around the clumsy humans is a genuinely thrilling experience.
'Aliens on Ice': The Review (With Video!)
(via JWZ) Read the rest