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THE LAUNDRY LIST

Deep in the 'Art' of Texas

LeAnn Stephenson


Some people like to toss generalizations around about Texas. It has been suggested by many that, deep in the heart of Texas, lie a group of lowercase humanity that have a vast void when it comes to culture. A stereotypical jab may consist of images of a people with questionable dental hygiene habits, all of whom walk around dressed like they’re going to a rodeo with large turkey-platter-sized belt buckles attached to their equally large leather name tag belts. Further digs promote the myth that we all possess the uncanny ability to turn monosyllabic words into two syllable words - you know like "peyen" for pen , and "tiyen" for tin, etc. - or that we address our parental units as "Maw" and “Paw”, or that we refer to our cuisine as "vittles". Well kids, I am here to dispel those mis-perceptions with a “case in point”.


Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward performed at SXSW 2008 as She & Him.

Today kicks off South by Southwest. In March of 2008 The Wall Street Journal dubbed SXSW as ". . . a place where new bands come to get discovered, stars seek to burnish their indie credentials, and executives come to share ideas." The 10-day festival showcasing more than 1,800 musical acts of all genres from around the globe on over eighty stages in Austin, includes personal musical favorites like John and M. Ward, plus screenings of films like '500 Days of Summer', a film I can’t wait to see. Additionally, my new music video-crush, Oren Lavie’s video 'Her Morning Elegance', is on the list of films eligible for 2009 SXSW Film Awards in the Music Videos category. Austin’s own Octopus Project’s video, 'An Evening With Rthrtha', directed by Double Triple and Ryan Junell has made the list, as well. The music portion doesn't begin until the 18th, so you still have time to head South. Check out the SXSW ‘09 official website for last-minute deals on flights, places to crash, and tips on navigating your way through all the tragically hip, culturally advanced.

(L-R) Ryan Figg, Toto Miranda, Josh Lambert and Yvonne Lambert of The Octopus Project

In closing, I’d really like to gloat a bit about the fact that Texas is, in fact, the perfect place to get your culture fix. Unfortunately, I haven't the time - my four-alarm chili is boiling over, my horse is double parked, and I’m late for the hoe-down!

Photos and graphics courtesy of SXSW, The Octopus Project, Oren Lavie