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    The teachers behind Project Ventura know the best way to get kids excited about engineering is to let them get their hands dirty building things. That's why it's our Kickstarter this week - the kind of tech class project that'll actually make you wish you were still in high school. 

    The 10th grade class at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is learning how to install plumbing, wire electricity, use power tools and work together as they completely gut then refurbish a vintage 1977 trailer using green materials and methods. This is exactly the kind of project that makes the things you learn in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes soak in. It’s easy to forget dry facts from a book, but you’ll remember climbing on the roof of an old trailer to install solar panels. Better yet, you’ll understand how all the discrete systems studied in class work together in the real world. It’s a great idea.

    Because this is Austin, of course the trailer can be used for outdoor classes when the weather is good or camping trips for the girls. They also plan on taking it to elementary schools to show younger girls the neat things they can build if they study math and science.

    A beat up old vintage trailer may not cost much, but the supplies to turn it into an eco-friendly classroom add up. The girls need $5,000 to make this project happen.

    Their rewards are pretty simple. At the $10 level, they’ll thank you on Twitter and on their blog. For $20, one of the girls will send you a hand written thank-you note. For $50, you get a 4x6 photo of the engineering class. Bump it up to $100 and they’ll include your name on a commemorative plaque inside the trailer.

    Obviously, these rewards are aimed at parents and grandparents of the students. Don’t let that hold you back. I urge anybody who would like to see more women in STEM careers to donate the cost of a box of Girl Scout cookies. This is just as good a cause, but won’t go to your waistline. The girls are already halfway to their goal. A few $10 donations add up really fast.

    Admit it - you wish you’d spent your sophomore year doing something this cool.


    Curious how our previous Austin Kickstarters did?

    Ten Acre Organics was 158% funded! Their goal was $10,000 and, with your support, they brought in $15,828.

    The Ghastlycrud Zombies was fully funded! They earned over $6100 with an initial goal of $4300, so the book is in good shape.

    The Live Action Jem and the Holograms Movie was over 250% funded! Mind you, they were only asking for $200. Go ahead and throw them a couple more bucks just to be part of something awesome.

    Jumpshot made an amazing 500% of their goal! They raised more than $147,000, putting them in the top tier of all Kickstarters.  

    My Education was fully funded!  Our instrumental band is set for their European tour.

    Rockrgrrl Magazine’s GRL Talk Book was fully funded! They made over 120% of their original goal.

    Strange Kid Comix was over 114% funded! They raised more than $2850 for their taste of pure pop culture nostalgia.

    Wholly Kabob was 100% funded. They raised $15,250 to start a tasty new food trailer.

    Texas or Die: An Anthology of Horror sadly didn’t reach its $7000 goal and therefore didn’t receive funding.

    The Anachronist sadly didn’t reach its goal and therefore didn’t receive funding.

    Stabil-i-Case sadly didn’t reach its goal and therefore didn’t receive funding.

    The Doctor Who Review Project sadly didn’t reach its goal and therefore didn’t receive funding.

    Taskbox sadly didn’t reach it’s goal and therefore didn’t receive funding.

    The original Spinferno Kickstarter was cancelled and replaced by a new Spinferno for Android kickstarter.

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    A program giving pregnant women and new mothers who are poor access to fresh, locally grown produce is growing fast at Austin farmers markets.

    The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is run by Women, Infants and Children, the government program that provides supplemental food and nutrition to pregnant women and kids up to five years old deemed to be at "nutritional risk." Although the farmers market program was established in 1992 and Travis County has taken part in the past, this year the number of participating farmers markets is increasing.

    Hope farmers market

    Here's how it works: Each participant receives five $4 vouchers that are good March through September and can be used only for fruits and vegetables from qualifying farmers at participating farmers markets. Last year 1,500 clients picked up their vouchers, resulting in a 77 percent redemption rate, said Suzanne Santos of the Sustainable Food Center, which administers the program in Travis County. Farmers market managers are then reimbursed for any vouchers that were redeemed for food.

    “The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program can bring tens of thousands of extra dollars to farmers pretty effortlessly, while at the same time ensuring that thousands of families with young children are taking home fresh, nutritious and locally grown fruits and vegetables back to their kitchens, to their plates,” Santos said.

    The program is open to women, infants and children certified to receive WIC benefits. In 2011, more than 1.9 million people received FMNP benefits, which allow participants to receive a variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs with vouchers.

    In Travis County, there are more than 20,000 eligible WIC participants that can use their vouchers at eight farmers markets, including the downtown and Triangle markets, the HOPE market, the Cedar Park market, the Mueller market and Green Gate Farms. Santos said her group is working with a handful of other farms that she believes will get on board this year as well, increasing the number of participating markets to as many as 11.

    In addition to helping families get fresh, locally grown produce, the program also brings people together, said Carla Jenkins of F2M Texas, a non-profit benefiting Texas farmers markets. “Markets also bring people together, support the local economy, provide education about fresh, local and seasonal food, are easier on the environment and give families a place and time to be together.”

    Main image courtesy roger_mommaerts on Flickr.

    Federal Program Grows Here in Town
    Related Articles: 

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    Get ready for some small, intimate groups before the big loud awesomeness of SXSW.  This week is full of great user groups. You can learn about cloud architecture, mobile design, education technology, and a whole lot more.

    Startup Grind Welcomes CEO of VolunteerSpot
    Feb. 25, 6:00 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th Floor
    Startup Grind is an event series designed to help educate, inspire and connect local entrepreneurs.  We welcome amazing speakers who share their stories with our community and tell us what worked, what didn't, and what they'll do differently next time.  It's an amazing opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the startup community and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.

    Architect SIG: Cloud Architecture
    Feb. 26, Noon
    12365 Riata Trace Pkwy
    Cloud technology is big. Real big...and it's everywhere. The Architecture SIG feels that we've delayed discussion on this long enough. Time to take the bull by the horns. Let's talk about not only about Cloud Architecture, but how it applies in Agile Environments.

    DevOps SIG - More Agile for Ops
    Feb. 27, Noon
    3900 N. Capital of TX Hwy
    Based on group discussion at the January meeting, we are going to revisit the topic of what it is like to apply core Agile concepts in an Operations environment. We will dive into mapping the lessons of Agile to Operations activities and continue the discussion of how it can help Operations execute better.

    EdTech Meetup
    Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos St, 16th Floor
    The Ed-Tech Meetup is the hub for the amazing keynotes, panel discussions, edtech mixers, member spotlights and hands-on learning experiences that inspire teachers, entrepreneurs, technologists, education reformers and ed-tech enthusiasts to connect, collaborate and innovate. We meet to explore various topics at the intersection of education and technology, to learn about the latest technologies that are supporting teachers, and to hear from teachers about the problems in education that must be fixed now.

    OpenStack Austin Happy Hour
    Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m.
    The Goodnight
    2700 W Anderson Lane, Suite #101
    The last week of February a group of brave souls is going to write the Operator's guide in five days, based on this outline: Don't let the URL fool you, we've been needing this guide for a long time and the OpenStack Foundation is sponsoring this sprint to get it done. By Wednesday night I'm sure we'll all need to unwind a bit. Here's the writing team we've assembled. Let's get together to encourage the team, say hi, see how it's going.

    Austin HubSpot User Group
    Feb. 28, 11:30 a.m.
    Central Market
    4001 N Lamar Blvd
    It's time for another Austin HubSpot User Group (HUG) Meeting! Come talk about HubSpot with the group as we trade ideas with each other.  We'll be upstairs at Central market with a sign out. Hope you can make it!

    RISE Austin Happy Hour
    Feb. 28, 5:30 p.m.
    The Rattle Inn
    610 Nueces St
    RISE – a Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs – is Austin's must-attend conference for entrepreneurs, startups, and business leaders! Whether you are an entrepreneur, business leader, investor, or student, join us as we celebrate the 7th year of RISE Austin with a FREE Kickoff Happy Hour! Meet or reconnect with fellow RISE participants, while learning what resources, programming, and events we have in store for May 13-17, 2013.

    Code Dojo
    Feb. 28, 7:00 p.m.
    Genuine Joe’s
    2001 W Anderson Ln
    Agile Austin’s mission is to promote agile software development concepts such as those set forth in the Agile Manifesto to create a public forum for the exchange of practice information, and to create opportunities for the professional development of members.

    Austin Mobile App Design and Art Group
    Feb. 28, 7:00 p.m.
    Rio Rita
    1308 E 6th St
    There are plenty of Meetup groups geared towards mobile app development and coding. If you are like me and interested specifically in the *visual design* of mobile apps, then this is the Meetup for you.  My goal in starting this group is to bring together people who want to learn and share their ideas and experience with creating compelling visual designs that can be intuitively enjoyed by the massive and growing mobile worldwide audience.

    Agile Leaders SIG - Problems Maintaining Innovation in an Agile/Lean World
    Mar. 1, Noon
    CA Technologies
    5001 Plaza on the Lake, Third floor
    In this discussion, Matt Roberts will help shine a light on this issue that can be especially challenging for a product development company that seeks to maximize the velocity of a product team working against the near-term roadmap but may lose sight of competitive challenges that may change the very nature of the playing field. He will describe the challenges faced by teams he has worked with both in the past and currently and share what he has learned. A healthy discussion is expected to follow!

    Intro to Responsive Design
    Mar. 2, Noon
    Happy Cog Austin
    3601 S. Congress Ave., Suite C-304
    Websites are no longer seen only on computers. These days, people access content on their phones, their e-readers, their TVs, and even their portable gaming consoles. Designing responsively allows for the website content be seen at its best on any device. In this class, you'll learn how to make a website responsive. We'll cover best practices, common design patterns, and code.

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    Grits for Breakfast is an award-winning blog that examines the state of criminal justice in Texas, run and largely written by Austinite and former journalist Scott Henson. While attending the University of Texas, Henson worked at TheDaily Texan, and co-founded – with Tom Philpott, now a food and ag blogger for Mother Jones – The Polemicist, an independent investigative publication that covered UT. After leaving college Henson worked as an associate editor for the Texas Observer before turning his investigative skills to opposition and defensive research for political candidates in nearly 70 local office, judicial and state representative campaigns from 1991 to 2004. His growing interest in criminal justice led him in 1997 to create the Austin Police Department Hall of Shame website, and the following year Henson co-founded a local political action committee, the Sunshine Project for Police Accountability, which successfully campaigned for Austin's current Police Monitor and Oversight Board. From 2000 to 2006, he was director of the Police Accountability Project at the ACLU of Texas, and since 2008 has done public policy work for the Innocence Project of Texas.

    Henson started Grits in 2004 as an independent blog that offers news, views and analysis on Texas criminal justice matters as a personal pursuit as much for any public goals. Nonetheless, his concise, knowledgeable, in-depth and sometimes counter-to-prevailing wisdom posts have earned the blog such kudos from professional journalists as "a protein-laden dose of big thinking on criminal justice reform" from Texas Tribune editor-in-chief/publisher Evan Smith, and "the best coverage of criminal justice in the entire state" from Pamela Colloff at Texas Monthly. For anyone interested in the subject, Grits for Breakfast is where the rubber meets the road on pretty much anything and everything related to criminal justice in the Lone Star State.

    Scott Henson follows his nose for news on Grits for Breakfast
    Austin Post: How did you shift from journalism to blogging?

    Scott Henson: Right after I left UT, the Houston Post and the Dallas Times-Herald went under, and hundreds of very experienced journalists were dumped on the Texas market. And for years after that, no young people were hired because basically you could find someone with 20 years of newspaper experience out of a job. I got out of school at exactly the wrong time to find a journalism job if you wanted to stay in Texas. So I basically began using the same set of investigative journalism skills working for political campaigns. And for about 13 to 14 years performed opposition and defensive research for political candidates. Did that for quite a while and made pretty good money at it. I also did similar work – often "follow the money" work – for attorneys in the 1990s.

    AP: What prompted your interest in criminal justice?

    SH: The criminal justice work really began as what I spent most of my volunteer time on. There was a major civil rights incident in 1995 referred to locally as the Valentine's Day Police Riot over here [on the East Side] on Cedar Ave. where 68 cops descended on a junior high kid's Valentine's Day party. [Partygoers and neighboring residents were shocked with cattle prods, maced and arrested. The U.S. Justice Department later investigated the Austin Police Department's actions in the incident.]

    I knew the family that happened to very well. The next day it became one of those culture war moments that was drawing national media attention. And the family were not folks who were prepared for that, so they asked my wife and I to help them with their media response and dealing with the city. So that was the first incident where I started to work on criminal justice stuff, and began to realize that there were not many advocates at all addressing those topics and a real vacuum of leadership of people pushing for reform efforts.

    So I had been exposed to this pretty horrific episode of local police brutality and had gone through the exercise of interviewing everyone who had been involved in that Cedar Ave. incident and it opened my eyes. And I guess you could say that the local police department responded to that in ways that I thought were false and disingenuous that also opened my eyes. I just thought that there was a vacuum, and in some ways it was, I guess, less passion than calculation: This is an area where, hey, there's no one doing anything on this and it's huge. It was a challenge.

    AP: What were the statewide issues within how criminal justice was pursued at the time that concerned you?

    SH: That was the period when Ann Richards ran against George W. Bush bragging that she was going to triple the size of the prison system, and we ended up more than tripling it. We now release almost twice as many people from prison every year as were in prison en toto when Ann Richards took office. The prison system was at the beginning of this massive growth stage from the laws that had just been passed when they rewrote the Texas Penal Code in 1993. And from the massive expansion of Texas prisons that Ann Richards had authored – in cahoots with some Democrats, the most prominent of which had a concrete company that sold all the concrete that built the new prisons – I could just see that it was an area where there was terrible public policy, where there was corruption, and where no good government types were focused at the time, certainly as far as I could see. So in many ways it was a calculation.

    I'd say that it's also a case that I'm not a huge people person and never been one to follow the crowds. I follow my nose in more the journalistic tradition. So once I realized that the dynamic on criminal justice was fascinating to me, that a problem this big could be so ignored, and there could be this bipartisan consensus on positions that I thought were just foolhardy, that was how I got into all this.

    AP: How did you begin writing on the Web about criminal justice?

    Henson's first Web venture was his Austin Police Hall of Shame site
    SH: In 1997 I learned HTML and started a website: The Austin Police Department Hall of Shame. Every month under open records I would get all of the new disciplinary actions against APD officers and post the text online of what they had done. As you can imagine that made me immensely popular with the local police union. A lot of my work evolved from there to where I started following stuff statewide and not just in Austin, not doing the same level of open records work but tracking what was being published in the media. So it was a proto-blog by that point.

    The blogging – both the original Austin Police Department Hall of Shame website and then later Grits – grew out of a frustration with just very poor media coverage on the topics I cared about. I felt like almost every story I would read there would be more unsaid than actually said; all the important points were often just absent. It was a way to have some additional analysis out there and a way for me to organize my own thoughts and information. And I would also say – and this is antithetical to the way people think about blogs – especially at the beginning, I didn't really expect anyone to read this stuff, it was much more for me than it was for readers. To the extent that I had a target audience at all, it was very very small: Basically local decision makers and local journalists who cover these issues to give them access to background.

    It was almost like Sherlock Holmes' clip file. I used to have six four-drawer filing cabinets in my office filled with paper. I would keep every scrap of paper I found interesting. Well, today I have one cabinet. Instead, the blog is how I do that. I pull the money quotes, put a headline and a date so I can footnote it later if it's taken offline. And it's a way for me to organize that stuff for the benefit of my own work as much as it is for outside readers. Other people find it useful and I'm glad for that, but its primary purpose was a way for me to organize my work on all these advocacy issues.

    AP: Why is the blog called Grits for Breakfast?

    SH: It's such a heavy subject that I wanted the name to be lighter. It needed an air of humor to it. You can hear that I've got this hick accent. And Grits just seemed like this appropriate nom de plume and breakfast is something you have every day and every morning. And I do most of my writing in the morning, and it seemed like an appropriate allusion.

    AP: What are the key issues in criminal justice in Texas today?

    SH: I just think in general both state and local, the criminal justice system is taking over our budgets. At the city council level, they spend a ridiculous amount of money on public safety compared to, say, 20 years ago. At the state government level it's becoming more and more expensive with this ballooning system.

    One of the problems with the death penalty and using it so often is that the appellate system is so incredibly expensive. Another big issue that's a cutting-edge issue here in the 21st Century is the effect of technology on privacy and the retraction of the Fourth Amendment with all the new technology that tracks us everywhere. I'm right now trying to shop a bill at the Legislature that would actually require a warrant for GPS tracking of someone's cell phone or electronic device, and the Dallas Morning News did a nice front page story on that effort. There are all sorts of applications of that. A lot of them are federal, but local law enforcement uses all those same tools.

    11 felonies committed with an oyster can land you in court
    The Fort Worth Police Department recently purchased a device that essentially acts as a fake cell phone tower and can suck in all of the phone calls and looks at who is talking to who. They say that we're gonna get a warrant before we ever use this. But our law doesn't necessarily require them to. It's great they say they will. But the law hasn't kept up with the technology. That's one of the things we will be talking about for the next two decades.

    In Texas, if they put a physical tracking device on your car, they actually have to get a court order. Well no one does that anymore. With a judge never hearing about it, using a subpoena, they can get your location data from your cell phone company. So that requirement for judicial oversight has become moot.

    AP: The Innocence Project has gotten attention for helping some wrongfully-convicted persons who were facing the death penalty get their convictions reversed. What are your thoughts on capital punishment?

    SH: I am not an abolitionist. I think the death penalty is justified in some circumstances. A good example is: Say you have a prisoner who is already serving a life sentence, and he kills another prisoner. Does he just get a freebie? Is that really justice? No. I think any absolutist position on these culture war questions just leads to absurd stances.

    The final Texas death row in Huntsville
    You can say the same thing for those who want to maximize the use of the death penalty: If you kill someone you should just die. Even juries don't agree with that a lot of the time. For years until very recently when the Legislation disallowed it, juries could give probation for murder and often did. Because sometimes, frankly, the victim needed killing. You would see situations where an abused wife kills a battering spouse. Who's gonna say that her use of force was unjustified? Well, you can charge her with murder and you can theoretically say that every motive deserves the death penalty, but situations are complex, life is complex, people are complex. It's just not a cut-and-dried thing.

    At the same time I think that the death penalty is overused. I think that we've expanded the types of situations in which it can be applied too broadly in Texas. And I don't think we have enough safeguards to make sure innocent people aren't executed. But in the larger scheme of things, far more people die under the Department of Criminal Justice from crappy healthcare in our prisons than from executions. But you don't see movements or marches on that issue even though it's killing more people.

    I just think that all diverts people from the issues that matter. For example, we had I believe nine new death sentences last year. Well, there's 153,000 people in Texas prisons. The issues for all those people are obscured because so much attention is focused on this narrow issue of death penalty cases.

    AP: What are some overall changes in and solutions to how we pursue criminal justice in America, Texas and Austin that you see as important?

    SH: I think we've just criminalized far too much of public life. I think we have somewhere in the range of 2,500 or so felonies on the books in Texas. There are 11 different felonies you can commit with an oyster. This expansion of law enforcement, especially as we've contracted civil law – tort reform means you can't really sue for damages anymore, but harms still occur – has resulted in this push to criminalize to fill that gap in civil society. That trend has to reverse before the over-incarceration of prisons and the diminishing of the Fourth Amendment can be solved. All those issues are a function of using law enforcement for things it was never designed for: social control as opposed to simply tracking criminals, theft, rape, murder, things we all actually think of as crimes. Today we've criminalized things that wouldn't have been crimes in our grandparents' generation. Criminal laws should not be used to dictate social trends. When it's used that way it's ripe for abuse.

    AP: You also have a personal blog, Huevos Rancheros. What's the relationship between the two?

    SH: I don't update the personal blog very often. I write compulsively. So when I write something and I look up and say, that's not something that should go on Grits, I'll flip over and stick it on the other.

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    We’ve trolled Facebook, LinkedIn and odd corners of the Internet looking for the tech jobs you won’t find on Craigslist. Most of these come from people at the company in question hoping a friend of a friend can help them find a good person to hire. Luckily for you, the Austin Post is your friend.

    LIN Digital is is seeking an experienced digital professional to join our team as Publisher Relations Manager. This person will be in charge of growing the premium publisher network by using various business development techniques including cold-calls , meetings, networking existing relationships.
    R/GA Austin is hiring an Android/mobile developer. Contact: angela [dot] saunders [at] ]rga [dot] com for info.
    ___ is looking for a SEO Content Manager.
    Lifesize is hiring a new/recent grad with programming/scripting (Python, Java, Perl, etc.) experience for a Jr. SQA role. Contact:  jchang [at] lifesize [dot] com if interested. Also hiring Senior level SW QA Candidates as well.
    Facebook is looking for an Austin based Associate, SMB Community Support.
    Writer-Online Marketing Web Content, long term contract. Must have enterprise technology experience.
    I am looking for an android developer looking to work with my team ( on a project. Know any? Contact: matt [at] thephuse [dot] com.
    Wellington Group is looking for a rockstar Strategy & Creative Director. We are a one-stop shop, providing social media marketing, email marketing, graphic design, branding, public relations and more to small to mid-size businesses.
    HOMEAWAY is hiring a Project Coordinator and Email Marketing Designer.
    eCommerce platform Volusion is looking for a Tech Writer.
    Hiring Commission only sales. Entirely social media based. For Speed Friending Events, an Austin Based company. Contact: matt [at] austinvisuals [dot] com.
    It's time again for more job openings at the Google Marketing Community Partnerships Program. It's a 1 year program developed to help you learn Google marketing principles and strategies. Jobs are open in Austin. (As well as  Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, L.A. San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, D.C. and Raleigh.)

    If you are interested see the site below and apply!
    Awesome opportunity for an ANDROID DEVELOPER. It's full time for a fast growing, really successful, fun company with that Austiny relaxed vibe. Contact: jen [at] technologynavigators [dot] com.
    Know a talented college student interested in startups? RISE is looking for awesome undergrad & grad school interns to help put on the RISE Austin conference series! This is an excellent opportunity to build a network in Austin's startup community and learn the inner workings of a top nonprofit conference for entrepreneurs! Intern openings: eMarketing Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Speaker Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator
    Intern descriptions & more info:
    On the hunt for a Tech Writer! Must have extensive XML and Linux experience. Email resumes to elena [at] lunadatasolutions [dot] com.
    Looking to get involved in SXSW? This is a great opportunity to network in the tech sphere (and you get paid!) Details below:

    Experienced Brand Ambassador (Downtown Austin)
    6th street at Congress Ave.
    We are a local Austin startup that is planning a kickass campaign for SXSW and we need a promotional team! The position is high-energy and will be a ton of fun! If interested please email the following to shannon [at] canwestudios [dot] com

    -Availability during 3/7-3/17
    -At least 2 pictures
    -Description of past experience working at promotional events
    (must be at least 21 years of age)
    Rockfish is seeking a Search Developer. Come join the SEO team at our new Austin office.
    Looking for fun, outgoing and talented Social Media Interns to join our team here at

    Send your resume to jobs [at] patientconversation [dot] com if interested.

    (P.S. We are a dog friendly office:)
    Searching for quality candidate for Mobile Application Developer. Contact Cindy [at] ppaac [dot] com.
    Don’t forget - the free SXSW Tech Career Expo takes place on March 8-9, 2013. They’re billing it as "The premier job fair showcasing the best tech jobs and career opportunities available."

    If you didn’t see anything that looked like a good fit, other good tech job resources in Austin include:

    Startup Hire
    Launch Pad Job Club


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    Even more than being about music or networking or tech or panels, South by Southwest seems to be about making a quick buck. National companies take over bars, the streets are littered with flyers; hell, last year, even our homeless folks were used as Wi-Fi hotspots. This train has a momentum all its own, and if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.

    Here’s a roundup of some of the job opportunities – the good, the bad and the ugly – for locals during SXSW 2013.

    Thanks for the ride, yo.
    Be a taxi for drunk people.SideCar is willing to pay you $20 an hour to listen to people talk on their cell phones from the backseat of your car, as long as you have a valid driver’s license and a four-door vehicle made after 2000. They call this a “networking opportunity.” I call it a test of patience.

    Good work if you can get it.
    Be a brand ambassador. "Brand ambassador" is a fancy word for “shot girl” or “dude who shoves flyers into people’s hands” and if that’s your lifelong dream, there are opportunities galore for you during SXSW. Some of these jobs actually pay decently (I saw one for $15 an hour). However, most of them request a full-body picture and some ask for body measurements, which makes me cringe and think of Hooters. Do you think they pay extra for every time your ass gets pinched over the course of a day? Here’s one that wants a street team to give people colored bracelets based on their relationship status – “Red means ‘stop - I'm taken,’ while green means ‘go - ask me out’” – and then take photos of them wearing the bracelets. I wonder what that photo database will be used for.

    Be a model. If you’re the type that flaunts what you gots, there are plenty of opportunities for you as well. You can be a body paint model, which should prepare you well for Burning Man this summer. Here’s one looking for models for promotional flyer shoots, which will help prepare you to be the face of depression on the side of buses. Or, you can model clothes for this gig, where you’ll be paid in swag. Here’s one where they’re looking for that “trailer trash” model, one able to channel a déclassé broad who sips Miller High Life.

    Be a writer. When I went to journalism school, back in the good ol' days when people got their news from news people and not from Facebook, taking an unpaid internship was unheard of. Of course, that was before papers (printed on paper!) across the country really started crumbling as online media assumed the throne. Now, with the economy still trying to climb out of the dumps and more aspiring writers than paying gigs, students take what they can get. Luckily, if you’re interested in honing your music-writing skills to one day write indecipherable album reviews for Pitchfork, a variety of publications like The Deli are looking for interns and guest bloggers during SXSW.

    Work in a trailer. If you have experience working in kitchens or front-of-house in restaurants, working in a trailer downtown during SXSW is one way to drum up some money.Of course, the quarters are tight, the trailers are hot, and you might spend a lot of time hunting down table sign No. 13, which wound up in the customer’s pocket rather than on the table, where you could actually see it to bring him his food. Sheesh. Trailer positions range from order-takers and food-runners to cooking positions.

    Be a … ummm…. For the really open-minded Austinite, there are a variety of postings for "personal assistants" that might be open to doing some work on the side. This one is looking for a “sexy, attractive, open minded personal assistant model to help with just about everything.” The job includes some “light” fashion modeling from a home in an “upscale neighborhood.” I wonder exactly what kind of modeling this includes. This one is looking for a “non shy flirty” model; just provide pictures and a cell phone number, and they’ll text you about the job. Because texting about a job interview is totally not a shady thing. Another ad for not shy people describes the position as a “kissing model.” They want full red lips and will pay $50 an hour to take pictures of you kissing, and in case the job isn’t clear, the ad specifies, in all capital letters, no less: “THIS IS NOT ARTISTIC SHOOTING.”

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    On a chilly Saturday night in February, Churchwood holds seemingly effortless sway over a packed house at the Hole in the Wall. The five men who comprise this artful, avant-blues rock quintet have collectively bagged many hours of Hole stage time over the years in multiple bands, but tonight is special. The band summons peak levels of intensity and the thrill-seeking, graybeard-dominated crowd responds in kind.

    Garbed in matching white suits from K&G Fashion Superstore that make them resemble low-rent guardian angels, Churchwood unspools a heady barrage of slightly off-kilter, multi-helixed arrangements that speak directly to the pelvic core in a low, throbbing growl. Fists pump the air as vocalist Joe Doerr leads the sing-along cabaret chorus of “Keels Be Damned” from Churchwood’s new album, 2:

    Joe Doerr declares "Keels Be Damned" with gusto
    I’m coughing bullshit through my fist, crossing fables off my list
    I turn the tables and resist the razor’s edge against my wrist
    the ship of state has locked its rudders in a tailspin
    let the keels be damned, set the sails to wind      

    While blues is at the heart of Churchwood’s sound, it’s not the kind of blues likely to appeal to guitar god worshippers who value proficiency over empathy or authenticity whores who insist on curating the form in an airtight glass museum case. Race-baiting Southern strategist Lee Atwater would not have hired them to play the elder George Bush’s inauguration party.

    Churchwood first took shape in 2008. Guitarist Bill Anderson and bassist Julien Peterson were in Cat Scientist and wanted to keep playing together after that band imploded. Anderson, a longtime Texas Legislative Council staffer by day who previously explored blues-infused punk in Poison 13 and punk-infused blues in Bigfoot Chester, already had a vision for the new band.

    “I got on this insane Captain Beefheart jag at work during session when I would just listen to all his albums every night,” Anderson recalls. “It was kind of keeping me sane because I was really hating my job at the time.

    “It made me think about what music I love to play the most, which is blues music. But just loving it isn’t enough to make you able to play it. When you’re basically a white guy from the suburbs, you have to do something different with it. Something that comes from yourself.”

    Doerr & Anderson in Hand of Glory. (Video by Dave Prewitt.)

    When it came time to find a singer, Anderson immediately thought of Doerr, the onetime LeRoi Brothers vocalist who previously played with Anderson in Ballad Shambles and Hand of Glory. Greater D.C. émigré Anderson and St. Louis native Doerr both got to Austin in the mid-Eighties. Doerr’s 1983 journey to town had all the lyrical trappings of a foot-stomping rag.

    “I left St. Louis on a midnight train,” Doerr says. “A real midnight train, not a proverbial midnight train. It was on my mom and dad’s 37th wedding anniversary. The train got maybe 40 miles out of St. Louis. I was sleeping and the train derailed in a snowstorm. And there was a real red moon. One of those rare celestial events. So I started having second thoughts about the move.”

    When Hand of Glory ended in 1992 with a Halloween show at Hole in the Wall, Doerr turned his energy to writing and poetry. He completed his undergraduate degree at UT. Then Notre Dame offered him a full scholarship. After seven years under the Golden Dome, Doerr received his doctorate. He’s now an English professor at St. Edward’s University.

    When Churchwood plays, they slay
    In recounting the particulars of their musical life together, Anderson and Doerr correct each other’s recollections and complete each other’s thoughts like an old married couple. Their back-and-forth resonates with innate trust in each other’s abilities. Anderson’s fealty for rehabilitating the image of the blues clearly finds its match in Doerr’s passion for kick-starting poetry.

    “As far as I’m concerned, good poetry has to sound good,” Doerr says. “I think American poetry, at this point in its history, is completely devoid of musical aesthetic.

    “So when I write, a lot of times, I’ll put the microphone up on my desktop and read back what I’ve written. If it doesn’t sound musically viable to me at all, then I rewrite it. I got into that habit in grad school and the habit stays with me.”

    Doerr’s provocative wordsmithing takes center stage on the off-balance choogle, “Weedeye.” Built spontaneously during band practice, the song started with an Anderson riff and took lyrical form when Doerr blurted out, “We don’t have to white or wheat, we already rye!”

    An equally surreal litany of verses followed, tied together by the refrain, “We don’t have to anything ‘cept live ‘til we die.” Doerr got that one from his dad.

    “My mother would tell him, ‘Jim! You’ve got to get up and get ready! We have to be at the wedding reception in an hour!’ And he would say, ‘I don’t have to do anything except live ‘til I die!’” Doerr recalls. “When you think about it, that’s absolutely true.”

    Further evidence of Churchwood’s circle of trust can be found in the guitar interlocution between Anderson and slide specialist Billysteve Korpi. Eschewing the shackles of constant chord changes, the two guitarists twist and turn their way around the root like dueling serpents. According to Korpi, who also plays in the Crack Pipes, most of his back-and-forth with Anderson comes about spontaneously while jamming at practice.

    Sharp-dressed men take no prisoners
    “I don’t usually play well with other guitar players,” says Korpi, describing his relationship with Anderson. “I’ve been the only guitar player in most of the bands I’ve been in. So I had a lot of trepidation about it, but it’s really easy to play with that guy.”

    The band’s greatest leap of faith may have been allowing Peterson to switch from bass to drums despite never having played the latter instrument in a band before. Anderson was skeptical, but Peterson was persistent. As it turns out, Peterson’s voracious, slightly behind-the-beat drumming is one of Churchwood’s most distinctive elements.

    “I wanted the drums to be different,” Peterson says. “I wanted them to be syncopated and I wanted them to take the music in a different, more proggy direction, I guess.

    “I’m not a very technically proficient drummer, but I’ve seen many people play the drums that I don’t think have a mastery of the drums. They’re just very persistent and charismatic behind the drums, you know? I just wanted to do that.”

    Holding it all together is Peterson’s bass successor, Adam Kahan. Anderson found Kahan when the two were performing in the Daniel Johnston-inspired musical, Speeding Motorcycle (full disclosure: Kahan and I used to play together in two Seventies soft rock cover bands). The other members of Churchwood describe Kahan as the band’s rock-solid fu

    Churchwood enforce new laws for Austin blues music

    “I'm flattered and a little confused by that,” Kahan says. “I do think I try to simplify my basslines since Bill and Billysteve cover a lot of sonic ground between them. Often I just try to provide something lower-frequency and simple to stay out of their way!”

    The most readily noticeable difference between Churchwood’s self-titled debut and 2 is expanded range. Songs like the horn-enhanced “A Message from Firmin Desloge” and the prurient funk of “You Be the Mountain (I’ll Be Mohammad)” build upon the band’s surrealist blues foundation in a way that fosters new avenues for accessibility without compromise.

    Churchwood plans to take their show on the road with a mini-tour to Chicago later this year. They also hope to parlay a positive review of their debut in Sweden’s biggest newspaper into a European tour at some point. And even though the paint isn’t dry on 2, Anderson is already thinking about Churchwood’s next album.

    “I think we can do four albums before we’re too decrepit.” he deadpans.

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    This week, you can earn your PhD in Horribleness with Austin’s Joss Whedon Fan Club, show off your smarts with your fellow Redditors at Geeks Who Drink Trivia, learn shiny new things about the universe with a talk about telescopes as time machines, and enjoy plenty of chances to play boardgames.

    Doctor Horrible Viewing
    Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.
    Join to learn the meeting location
    Come and earn your Ph.D. in Horribleness with the Evil League of Evil and the "villain" we all love to love. Plus there's singing! And laundry! And Moist! How could you resist? P.S. Singing along is encouraged!

    Austin Fan Force Monthly Meeting
    Mar. 2, 1:00 p.m.
    Dog & Duck Pub
    406 W. 17th Street
    Join Austin’s own Star Wars fan club for a relaxing afternoon of geeky goodness.

    CenTex PopScience/Sci-Fi Book Club
    Mar. 2, 2:00 p.m.
    Barnes and Noble
    La Frontera Village 2701 Parker Road
    Bldg A Suite 700
    Round Rock
    This is a group for individuals interested in reading science related topics and lively discussions. We also thought we'd read a little sci fi now and then as science is fueled by imagination, isn't it? We started this group to socialize and meet fellow book lovers. We're looking forward to meeting all of you.

    Nocturnis-Amtgard Park Day
    Mar. 2, 2:30 p.m.
    Brushy Creek Park
    3300 Brushy Creek Rd
    Cedar Park, TX
    If the SCA has too much authenticity and LARP’s don’t let you get violent enough, check out this boffer sword fighting group. If you’re not familiar, boffer swords are usually made from PVC coated with foam and duct tape with a nice cloth cover.  People get together to beat on one another, drink, and go camping. If you’re an outdoorsy geek looking for some good exercise, check them out.

    Pho and Boardgames with Austin Geeks and Gamers
    Mar. 2, 6:00 p.m.
    Join to learn the location
    Join us for delicious Pho at Pho King followed by a laid back night of boardgames.

    Strange Worlds: An Improvised Pulp Hero Adventure
    Mar. 2, 8:00 p.m.
    The Hideout Theater
    617 Congress Ave
    Join us for pulse pounding, improvised tales of action and adventure set in the thrilling worlds of the pulp heroes.

    South Austin Game Night and Boards and Brews Meetup
    Mar. 5, 6:00 p.m.
    Rockin Tomato
    3003 S. Lamar
    This weekly gathering of gamers regularly hosts over 40 people playing a dozen different games. New people are always welcome.

    Let’s Play Catan!
    Mar. 5, 6:30 p.m.
    Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy
    6111 Burnet Rd
    Game ON! It's time to scratch that Catan itch! We usually have a base game going at one table and either Cities & Knights, Trails to Rails or some other variant at the other table.  A third table will be available if enough people show.

    Girl Geeks of Austin Board Games and Brews
    Mar. 5, 7:00 p.m.
    Black Star Co-Op
    7020 Easy Wind Dr
    Not in the mood for mixed company? Enjoy some microbrewery beers along with Euro style boardgames in the company of your fellow geek girls.

    March Social and Pinballz with Austin Single Gamers
    Mar. 6, 7:00 p.m.
    Pinballz Arcade
    8940 Research Boulevard
    Did you know that Austin has one of the best collections of pinball machines in the world? Did you know that they are all in working condition and ready to play, all in one place?  Check out the collection at Pinballz Arcade and watch the news story on Pinballz. Then join us on Wednesday night, March 6, for a trip through the greatest pinball machines of the last 30+ years (and some classic arcade video games as well). Plus, Wednesdays are "Time Warp Wednesdays" with retro music and retro prices.

    Hot Science, Cool Talks: Telescopes as Time Machines
    Mar. 6, 7:00 p.m.
    Student Activity Center
    2201 Speedway - UT Campus
    Hot Science Cool Talks is presented by the Environmental Science Institute at the Univ. of Texas, Austin. This special edition is "Telescopes as Time Machines: The Legacy of Hubble and the Future through the James Webb Space Telescope." Presented by Jason Kalirai,  an award-winning astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore MD.

    Geeks Who Drink with Reddit and New to Austin
    Mar. 6, 8:00 p.m.
    Fast Eddie's Billiards
    13945 N. Hwy. 183 Ste. #D122
    Join Reddit and New to Austin for a weekly chance to show off your smarts at Geeks Who Drink trivia.

    Want to see your event listed? Post the date, a current link, and a good reason why your event belongs in This Week in Geek on the Facebook group, This Week in Geek.

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    The Tom Miller Dam is a great place to see wildlife.

    With most things in life, the further out there you go, the fewer people follow you. While that may not be such a good thing when it comes to political opinions, it’s great for nature lovers. Take the road less traveled and you generally have an area all to yourself; that’s when you really appreciate what nature has to offer.

    Even within our city, there are places that seem to be crowded year-round that offer quiet solitude if you just go out far enough. A certain part of Lady Bird Lake is one of those places. The Bearded One and I recently went for our first canoeing outing of 2013 in hopes of spotting some nesting great blue herons and their babies. While it seems to be early for babies, we got an eyeful of nature in a reserved spot.

    If you set in at Texas Rowing on the north side of the lake near Austin High, it’s about 2 miles to the Tom Miller Dam, which separates Lady Bird Lake from Lake Austin. The nice thing about this trip is that hardly anyone ever goes all the way to the dam; just yards after crossing under MoPac, you leave the throngs behind even on the busiest of days. So especially on a February weekday afternoon when the winds were gusting at 20 miles per hour, we had most of this beautiful lake to ourselves.

    Turtle yoga is the next big thing.

    Last March or April, we made this canoeing trip from Zilker Park Canoe rentals, which added an extra mile or so but was on a not-nearly-as-windy day. We loved seeing how the river bends and changes, how the weather changes on the river as it narrows. We wondered together about the houses on top of the bluffs – who lives in them, how long have they been there, do they ever actually use the stairs that lead down to the lake? – but the best part was getting to the dam.

    There, in a towering tree at the base of the dam were three large nests. Three great blue herons sat in the trees, and one juvenile waded in the water at its base. We sat quietly and watched the beautiful birds looking over their offspring.

    This year though we were too early to see a repeat of last year’s performance, but the bird watching on our most recent trip was still fantastic.

    We saw the to-be-expected wood ducks and lesser scaups, we also saw hundreds of turtles, which, although predictable, I always get a kick out of seeing piled on top of each other in a game of turtle Twister or sometimes yoga. I can’t help but laugh at the piles they get themselves into, after which they hear me and fall off their logs like dominoes, each creating a splash in the water, only to resurface, see that we’re still there, and then dive back down.

    Beware the Sidling Swan.

    We also saw six birds together that looked very similar to the great blue herons that populate Lady Bird Lake, but their color was darker, showing an iridescent green in some spots. The egrets stood around, showing off the full, downy plumes they grow for mating season. We were impressed.

    Paddling along, staying quiet, we must’ve seen two dozen large wading birds, in addition to the dozens of ducks. Once we passed Red Bud Isle dog park, the solitary swan that hangs out near the island and the dam (possibly contemplating his existence, possibly waiting for dog treats) came to greet us. The first time we saw him, he snuck up on The Bearded One, who didn’t notice until the Sidling Swan was directly next to the canoe, staring him in the face and startling him so much I can’t believe we didn’t tip. This time, the swan made his presence more known and supervised our trip around the island, at the base of the dam.

    There, we saw a hawk perched in a tree and a group of about 10 cormorants, passing through on their end-of-winter migration. Birds, turtles, swans and beards alike relaxed in the peaceful shadow of the dam, admiring each other.

    Related Articles: 

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    Sometimes, I think people should be required to have a license to do things in public. The same way you are required to have a driver’s license to drive a car, maybe we could require people to have a grocery store license to maneuver the aisles, or an eating out license to go to a restaurant. Like a driver’s license, the applicant would be required to learn the rules of these public interactions – you don’t take up an entire aisle with your cart; tipping less than 20 percent is rarely an option – before they would be allowed to engage in them.

    One of the most frustrating public activities I’d like to see this plan put into action for is riding mass transit. For some reason, people seem to arrive at a train or bus stop, and all common sense just flies up to the clouds. What is a schedule? What is a bus pass? Do I just flag the bus down? Will the bus drop me off at my house? This bus is full, but nobody should use the seat next to me, because then I have to put my bag on the ground.

    I’ve come up with a list of pointers. You can think of it as a study guide for your “riding public transportation license” test.

    Do some research.

    A couple years ago after the Friday of Austin City Limits Festival, I was taking the bus home, when I realized that some people think of the bus as a glorified taxi. Rather than doing any research whatsoever – looking at the map at the bus stop, looking up the website on their smart phones, coming up with a plan before leaving the house – people would just get on a bus, ask the driver if it went near their house, then either sit down or get off the bus, depending on the answer.

    In Austin, the bus drivers are so very nice and patient. Anywhere else, those riders would get an earful and a shove out the door. One driver even stopped for a couple of college kids who flagged him down not at a bus stop. They asked where the bus was going, didn’t like the answer and waved him on. Are you kidding me? Get a taxi if that’s how you want to get around. Otherwise, take some responsibility and do a little research about where you are, where you’re going and how to get there.

    For the love of god, MOVE IN.

    I was riding the MetroRail downtown one Saturday afternoon and didn’t know until I got on the train that it was the day of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Throngs of families from the suburbs were having their first-ever experience with public transportation and, oh joy, I was there to witness it. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that these folks are leaving their gas guzzlers behind and introducing their children to public transportation. But again, where is the common sense?

    We were getting on the train at Crestview, already a handful of stops into the line. There was room for folks to stand inside the train, in the aisles, but every person was crowded into the doorway. As we pushed on, a woman with a smug look kept loudly saying to everyone, “There is plenty of room inside the train,” in that exhausted voice you use to chide children. After the third time she said it to all of us who couldn’t get into the train because she and the rest of the airheads were blocking the door, I yelled at her, “Then go there! Move in!” I admit, I lost my patience, and the bus-riding New Englander came out. But what on Earth could this woman have been thinking? You get on the bus or the train and you move back. Every time, you move all the way to the back. That is the rule. Now you know. Just to reiterate: you don’t block the door, you move to the back.

    Take up as little room as possible.

    This is a rule everyone should learn and practice every single time they set foot out of their house – stop taking up so much room. Especially on a crowded bus, what are you doing with a backpack strapped on, standing with your legs spread, blocking the aisle? If you’re wearing a large bag, purse or backpack, take it off when you get on the bus. Hold it down, between your knees in front of you or put it in your lap if you’re sitting. Under almost no circumstance is it OK to take up the seat next to you with a bag; that’s what your lap, the floor in front of you and the area under your seat is for. The seat next to you is for someone else’s butt. And speaking of that seat, don’t be the jerk who takes the aisle seat, leaving the window seat empty but making people climb over you to get in it. Unless you’re over 6’4” tall, there’s no reason you can’t sit in the window seat.

    Nobody wants to listen to you.

    Have you ever gotten onto a bus and said, “Gee, I really hope someone tells me their life story while I’m trying to quietly read this book after working nine hours”? No, you either? If someone has headphones in, a book or magazine open or is making a conscious effort to avoid eye contact with all humans, just leave them alone. They aren’t on the bus to make friends; they’re on the bus to get home. That goes for too-loud music as well. Nobody wants to listen to the music blasting from your phone, headphones or, in rare instances, boom box. Have some respect for your fellow human beings and hush, y’all.

    The bottom line when it comes to riding public transportation is to have a little self-awareness. For some reason, that’s a hard thing for most; rather than seeing themselves as tiny parts to one whole, people are too busy thinking only about what they want or need or what affects them. It takes a well-oiled machine to make the wheels on the bus go round and round comfortably for everyone, so pay attention to what you’re doing next time you’re on the bus. And then maybe you can be a deputy “out in public” license granter.

    Cover photo courtesy Athene_Numphe on Flickr.

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    SXSW is notorious for being expensive, inconvenient and only for tourists.

    We can’t have that.

    To heck with the crazy crowds, impossible parking and tickets that cost more than your mortgage. The Austin Post and the Diabolical League Of Awesome have teamed up to bring you a totally free Mini-Film Fest on March 9th. We even have ample parking.

    You don’t need to hike all over downtown to meet the most interesting filmmakers in town for SXSW. Instead, we’ve gathered up over 20 of the best moviemakers at SXSW Film under one roof for your convenience. Join our live studio audience, talk to them before and after their interviews, take home a little swag, and enjoy the SXSW experience without the lines or cost. Studio audience tickets are free, but space is limited.

    Come for an hour or stay all day. You can book tickets by the hour, so you're free to show up for your favorites without any worry about waiting through interviews that don’t interest you. We’re kicking off the day with great films like the controversial “Maiden Trip” with Laura Dekker, the youngest person ever to sail around the world solo, Matt Adams from Improv Anywhere talking about his new film “We Make Scenes,” and a great behind the scenes look at Burning Man with “Spark.” Just to name a few.

    Don't hide in your apartment until all the out-of-towners leave. Instead, come down to Channel Austin on March 9th for the best of SXSW Film packed into a single free day.

    You can reserve your tickets here:

    Saturday, March 9. Confirmed filmmakers include:

    Christopher Smith

    Jilian Schlesinger and Laura Dekker

    Spark: A Burning Man Story
    Steve Brown and Jessie Deeter

    We Cause Scenes
    Matt Adams

    Pearl Basinski

    Soley - “Bad Dream”
    Adrian Svirčić

    Charlie Hughs
    Kyle Matthews

    Petra Costa

    The Village
    Liliana Sulzbach

    Deniz Tortum

    Reality Show
    Adam Rifkin and Scott Anderson

    Getting Back to Abnormal
    Louis Alvarez

    The Retrieval

    Swim Little Fish Swim
    Ruben Amar

    Los Wild Ones
    Elise Salomon

    Caleb Johnson

    Carlos Puga

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    At 7 p.m. today, an event will kick off with the aim to raise $1 million total for more than 300 Central Texas nonprofits, including the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, the Austin Film Society and AMOA-Arthouse, in just 24 hours.

    Amplify Austin Day is an offshoot of I Live Here, I Give Here, a service that helps Austinites find local charities they want to donate to, using online techniques. I Live Here, I Give Here targets the hyper-connected 25- to 40-year-old demographic, so it only makes sense that Amplify Austin would also have an online focus.

    “Amplify Austin is 24 hours of online giving. It’s a digital giving festival,” said Patsy Woods Martin, I Live Here I Give Here founder and executive director. “Studies have shown that if people don’t start making charitable gifts by the age of 40, they won’t make them in their lifetime. Our target market is the 28- to 40-year-old, and we believe that this particular mode of giving will resonate with that target.”

    To donate, people can visit between 7 p.m. today and 7 p.m. tomorrow and search for the name of their nonprofit of choice. Donors can then give a minimum of $25 directly through the secure website. The website will feature a leaderboard to track who is receiving the most donations, and prizes will be given to nonprofits that get the most donations or donors overall and per hour.

    The event was open to any nonprofit that is headquartered in Central Texas, is a 501c3, is in compliance with IRS 990 requirements, is registered with the Texas Secretary of State, that provided audited financial records, completed their paperwork by Feb. 15 and then participated in at least four hours of training for the event. About 320 nonprofits are participating.

    Although this is the first time the planned annual event has taken place in Austin, I Live Here, I Give Here planned the day after similar events across the country.

    “We took a look about a year ago at what was beginning to be a giving trend across the United States,” Woods Martin said. “There were six or eight communities that had done annual days of giving, and we thought this would resonate with Austin because of the young average age and how wired the community is.”

    Woods Martin said she and the other organizers are confident that the $1 million goal will be reached and plan to hold the event next year as well.

    “Our goal is for this to be a community-wide day of giving and for that to happen on an annual basis,” she said. “We want the donors on Amplify Austin Day to get to know their non-profits better and become more engaged with the work they do.”

    A kick-off party will be hosted by and at the Long Center for the Performing Arts from 5 to 7:30 p.m. today. The event will including snacks, beer and wine and performances by Sara Hickman, Soul Track Mind, The Jeff Lofton Electric Thang and The Austin Community Steelband.

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    There are literally hundreds of SXSW events happening over the next couple of weeks. If you have a badge, you’ve already pored over the schedule trying to budget every minute of your time. If you don’t have a badge, don’t despair - there are still plenty of good, free tech events for locals, ranging from the laid back festivities of BASHH to plenty of practical user groups.

    Amplify Austin Kickoff Potluck
    March 4, 7:00 p.m.
    The Christi Center
    2306 Hancock Dr
    We are happy to be part of Amplify Austin, a 24-hour event designed to encourage philanthropy in our city! The city-wide goal is $1 million dollars and 300 nonprofit organizations are participating, including The Christi Center! Please bring a potluck dish, we’ll provide the beverages and paper/plasticware! Anyone who donates between 7 - 8 p.m. will receive a Christi Center reusable tote bag as a thank you gift!

    UT Entrepreneurship Week
    March 4, 7:00 p.m.
    Student Activity Center
    Black Box Theater
    Speedway Black Box Theatre
    After learning at the D&W Legal Workshop, get a firsthand look at the new student startups on-campus. This event gives the opportunity for the university community to ask questions and offer help to student entrepreneurs while also giving student entrepreneurs an opportunity to interact with potential mentors, customers and founderati. More information about startups that will be presenting coming soon!

    Wordpress Hack Night
    March 5, 7:00 p.m.
    Capital Factory
    701 Brazos Street, 16th floor
    We've all got work we're plugging away on. Some of us might even have extra projects or ideas we keep putting off due to time constraints. For our Developers / Advanced meetup for March, we're going to use our time to work on things. For fun, use the comments for the meetup to mention what you'd be working on or who you'd maybe like to pair up with, etc.

    Austin iPhone Developers Meetup
    March 5, 8:00 p.m.
    Join to learn the location
    We introduce ourselves, have a few beers and share iPhone developer tips and tricks. It's also a good time to talk about what apps we've noticed. New SDK easter eggs, etc. If you are an iphone developer, then feel free to join us. Please no sales offers, recruiters, etc.

    QA Sig Downtown - How Do You Hire?
    March 6, Noon
    412 Congress Ave
    Hiring good testers has always been a challenge, and with a hot job market, it's even more difficult. What qualities do you look for in a tester? What does your interview process look like? We'll have an open discussion, sharing tips and tricks on what methods we use to ensure the quality of our new hires.

    Google Developers Group Meetup
    March 6, 7:00 p.m.
    714 Congress Avenue, Suite 200
    This month Wesley Chun will be flying in from the Google office in New York to discuss the latest in App Engine and a little on Google's High Performance Computing services. App Engine currently supports Python, Java and Go so programmers from any of these languages can get up to speed quickly. There will be plenty of code examples and a knowledgeable speaker to answer all your App Engine questions. The presentation will outline the architecture of App Engine, what it's major components are, introduce its features and APIs, discuss the service and how it works (including information on the free quotas), and also present some information about current users and usage, including integration with Google Apps, and finally, we'll give a quick introduction to other cloud related products and services from Google.

    Social Business Summit
    March 7, 9:00 a.m.
    W Hotel
    200 Lavaca Street
    The Fourth Annual Dachis Group Social Business Summit series brings together the world’s foremost brand marketers, social strategists, media planners and social business thinkers to discuss the future of social marketing. In 2013, we have expanded the series to take place in seven locations across four continents, and have teamed up with exclusive presenting sponsor Oracle to present these day-long events focused on the state of social business and data-driven social marketing.

    Security SIG: Password Security
    March 7, Noon
    12365 Riata Trace Pkwy
    Welcome to Agile Austin's newest SIG, the Security SIG. While "Security" means many things to many people - application security, network security, host security, cloud security, physical security, compliance, pain, cost, hassle, safety - our group aims not to choose but to help each other enable security in an agile world. To kick off, our first topic will center around the security aspect everyone interacts with daily: passwords and security.

    iSEC Open Forum
    March 7, 6:00 p.m.
    Buffalo Billiards
    201 East 6th St
    The iSEC Open Security Forum is an informal and open venue for the discussion and presentation of security related research and tools, and an opportunity for security researchers from all fields to get together and share work and ideas. The Forum meets quarterly in the Bay Area, Seattle, New York City and Austin. Forum agendas are crafted with the specific needs/interests of its members in mind and consist of brief 30-40 minute talks. Talks are not product pitches or strongly vendor preferential. Attendance is by invite only and is limited to engineers and technical managers. Any area of security is welcome including reversing, secure development, new techniques or tools, application security, cryptography, etc.

    Big BASHH (Big Ass Social Happy Hour)
    March 7, 7:00 p.m.
    The Ranch
    710 West 6th Street
    You don’t need to spend $1,200 on a SXSW Interactive badge to meet the cream of Austin’s tech crop. Come to BASHH, Austin's totally free relaxed mixer filled with professionals of all backgrounds that feel awkward knowing each other online but not offline. There are no speakers or panels, no lame pitches, no egos; all are welcomed to relax and have happy hours!

    Defcon 512
    March 7, 7:00 p.m.
    Buffalo Billiards
    201 E 6th St
    The Austin Defcon Chapter (Defcon 512) meets the first Thursday of every month at Buffalo Billiards on Sixth Street, downtown Austin. Meetings will feature a single speaker presenting Defcon-style talks on a broad range of Information Security related topics.

    2013 door64 Austin Showcase
    March 8, 10:00 a.m.
    Norris Conference Center
    2525 West Anderson Lane
    Austin is a place where startups and startup culture thrive. Here at door64, we want to be a part of the startup and entrepreneurial scene, and help watch our homegrown companies grow into great successes. So Door64 is excited to present its 2013 Austin Showcase, well away from all the hubbub downtown. We are proud of the homegrown Austin startup scene, and want to make sure our local tech companies have a place to showcase and have their own party! So come celebrate Austin Startups with us. We expect to have some great talks about angel investing, getting funded, startup culture and more. But first and foremost, we want to celebrate our companies. So help us gather up some of the best to showcase, and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks to party Austin-startup-style, Attendance is free, but RSVP’s are requested.




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    We’ve trolled Facebook, LinkedIn and odd corners of the Internet looking for the tech jobs you won’t find on Craigslist. Most of these come from people at the company in question hoping a friend of a friend can help them find a good person to hire. Luckily for you, The Austin Post is your friend.

    American Campus is  currently looking for 2 entry level graphic designers.
    Looking for a Certified Scrum Master with financial services experience. Know anyone? We can pay a $500 referral if they're placed! Contact: elena [at] lunadatasolutions [dot] com.
    WP Engine is growing fast and hunting for some strong programming talent.
    HomeAway needs to fill a bunch of tech jobs:

    Lead Java Engineer, eCommerice
    Marketing Copywriter.
    Sr Java Engineer, Core Platform
    Sr Software Engineer, Listing Management
    Bed & Breakfast .Net (MVC) - HomeAway
    RezoWeb .Net (MVC)
    Sr Integration Engineer
    Sr Java Engineer, Global Search
    I'm looking to hire a project manager for Web development projects. If you have experience and are looking for fun projects to work on, please drop me your resume to: jobs [at] marketingclique [dot] com.
    We are looking to hire an Android Developer in Austin! Please email me for more details at: elena [at] lunadatasolutions [dot] com.
    YouEarnedIt is hiring a creative UX Design Associate.
    We are launching a new digital magazine in April and are looking for contributors for the first issues and beyond. The magazine is called The Ascender, A Magazine of New Futurism. It is going to be a stripped down, minimalist magazine with investigative, narrative stories exploring contemplations of the future across cultural genres. We are looking for writers who can execute a creative non-fiction style and general awesomeness for media contributors. Yes, contributors will be paid. The Ascender is 100% independently owned and operated here in Austin. Please feel free to spread the word to any talented writers or media contributors (photographers, illustrators, etc.) you know who might be interested. You can find out more about us, the types of contributors and style we're seeking, and how to query at:
    Searching for Lead Software Engineer - Web Application Developer. This is a permanent position located DT. Excellent health benefits, stock options, profit sharing, free parking and more. Client is ready to hire immediately for a talented, team-oriented, motivated and challenge seeking professional. Send your resumes to: Cindy [at] ppaac [dot] com.
    Momentum Factor is looking for awesome experienced social community managers in Austin to join our fast-growing firm. Meet at sxsw?
    ARC Solutions is looking for a Software Engineer with 8+ years enterprise C++ & Java coding experience with Linux systems.
    Volusion is looking for an Android Developer with strong Java skills and experience developing apps.
    PSI International needs a J2EE/Java Developer with 5 + years dedicated J2EE/Java programming experience with strong design and development skills of multi tier web based applications.
    I'm looking to hire some friendly & energetic people for:

    A) Our street team for Sched during SXSW! You'd be in Downtown Austin, working as an integral part of our recharge service during the festival -- meeting up with mobile users + making them happy with free batteries+maps.

    B) Project management assistant to help make sure things run smoothly.

    Both are paid gigs from March 7-16, with a daily shift of 6 hrs. You would be free after 9pm every night (at the latest) to enjoy SXSW.

    Rockstars, ninjas, superheroes, gurus and champions need not apply. Just happy + self-motivated, hard working people like you 'n me.

    Contact: michelle [at] sched [dot[ org.
    I'm looking for a couple of people to work at the Hipstamatic Brunch house taking photos (using the Hipstamatic app of course).

    You need to be available from 11-4 March 12th-16th.
    You get paid! 20/hr, plus you can legitimately add professional Hipstamatic photographer to your résumé! Email photo samples to: ilanajill [at] gmail [dot] com.
    I'll be heading down to Austin for SXSWi with my team, launching a mobile product. Looking for some help during our evening event on Monday 11.

    The gig is paid. Will mostly be all day.

    The Details:
    Need a AV/IT person to help set-up, manage and breakdown a digital installation onsite at a venue for SXSW party. It's not huge installation, just a few monitors with some connected devices. The biggest thing is making sure things are run smoothly and in any instance, fixed immediately if things stop working, breakdown etc. We are relying on your experience in AV/IT to lead this project to ensure it impactful during our event.

    We'd need a person for the full day on Monday March 11, 2013.

    It's imperative that you are available for the full day as the event set up is morning/afternoon and breakdown is in the evening.

    Contact: patrickjohnson9 [at] gmail [dot]com.
    Don’t forget - the free SXSW Tech Career Expo takes place on March 8-9, 2013. They’re billing it as "The premier job fair showcasing the best tech jobs and career opportunities available."

    If you didn’t see anything that looked like a good fit, other good tech job resources in Austin include:

    Startup Hire
    Launch Pad Job Club


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    SXSW landed the incomparable Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal as one of this year’s keynote speakers. To save you from spending hundreds of dollars on admission and hours waiting in line, the Austin Post recently talked to Inman about his future career plans, Nikola Tesla, and sea monkeys on Mars.

    Austin Post: First off, congrats on becoming the keynote speaker for South By Southwest in 2013. You’ve been on TEDTalks before. Were you surprised when they invited you to kick off South By Southwest?

    Matthew Inman: Yes. I was. I’ve been on a TEDx Salon. TEDTalks are the speech of a lifetime. TEDx is the watered down version of that. The Salon is an even crappier version where you’re crammed in a tiny room with a kid with a cellphone filming you.

    So yeah, I was genuinely surprised. It’s funny, I spoke at South by Southwest the year before last, and the next year I didn’t even attend because I didn’t think I had anything new to say. I make comics that are funny and are relatable, but beyond that, I didn’t feel like I had anything  new to say.

    When it comes to writing and speaking, I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have anything to say, don’t talk. Then I was sued and turned this lawsuit on it’s head, and now I have something to say about crowdfunding, philanthropy and turning villainy on its head. So I submitted my pitch to do a panel. Midstream in the voting, the Tesla thing came cup. I think that’s why they chose me. I was really happy. I’m a bit nervous, too, it’s not the kind of speech where you can just wing it.

    Austin Post: You’re a great 21st century indie success story. Twenty years ago, comics meant a newspaper’s profanity free funny pages. Now, you’ve made a career off wonderfully funny and offensive comics about pig orgasms, angler fish and murderous cats. Do you think this is what the guys at DARPA were dreaming of when they invented the Internet?

    Matthew Inman: No. Definitely not jokes about bears shitting everywhere.

    I don’t think this is what comics artists had in mind either when comics were born. I think it’s a good thing the way funnies have changed. In my opinion, the former three-panel format where you wrote that for all eternity, that’s not the funnies anymore, that’s just the sad trombones. Visually, we can write whatever we want now. Mine are usually 700 pixels wide and 10,000 to 20,000 pixels long. That’s a lot more more freedom creatively. I can write about whatever I want in any way that I want. I’m not limited by how offensive it is or how it fits into the paper.

    Lastly , if I decided I wanted to be a cartoonist, these older syndicates aren’t going to give up their spots. Peanuts have been syndicated for half a century. With the Internet right now, comedy is democratically chosen and democratically rewarded, it’s like the playing field has been leveled for cartoonists. If you’re funny, you’re popular. It’s a great place to be if you have something funny to say.

    Austin Post: I personally love how you dealt with Funny Junk’s attempt to steal your work for their profit. I think it was a valuable lesson about not giving in to Internet trolls and bullies. Did you ever expect it to get that crazy?

    Matthew Inman: No. I was really nervous about that. I thought it would be embarrassing for me. When I posted the donation page I couldn’t stop hitting refresh. No one was donating. I thought I’d raise $8 and feel like an ass. The post I wrote was really long, and  it takes about 20 minutes to get through, and then that’s when it started to go nuts. Once people read it, it started raising money right away.  It was a shock and a surprise, but it was nice.

    I get a lot of traffic from Facebook and Reddit, but I was getting things from Mashable and news sources, and it was awesome, but I found myself wishing it was for my comics. I mean, that’s not reproducible. Last year I got sued, so next year, what do I need? To get murdered or something?

    Austin Post: Why do you think they believed they had a right to steal your work?

    Matthew Inman: That’s not just them. That’s kind of the Internet now. It’s a tough place to be for someone like me. I’m a small operation, so when someone steals my entire content, it does hurt me. There’re those memes, like the ‘You don’t just walk into Mordor,’ and that’s obviously someone else’s intellectual property, but no one cares. I think people see that and they assume everyone's the same in that regard, so they can take my comic and post it everywhere and it won’t hurt me, but it does affect my business, especially when someone posts my entire website.

    I’m not going to go on the Internet and start policing everyone's images. This guy, I was willing to leave well enough alone, but when I got that letter, my response was you just put your testicles in a hornet’s nest and that’s when the war began.

    Austin Post: You asked for $20,000 - the amount demanded by Funny Junk’s crazy lawyers - and raised over $200,000. Were you surprised to see that much love from your readers?

    Matthew Inman: Yeah, absolutely. My readers are very generous with comments and clicks and Facebook likes and other intangible Internet actions, but to see them become generous with their money was very very cool. When you say ‘can you donate?’ that’s when people say ‘Oh, no I have to buy a sandwich later,’ so to see all this money roll in was remarkable.

    Austin Post: As your following has grown, you’ve recently started using your powers for good. First, raising over $200,000 in the Bear Love Good, Cancer Bad campaign. Now, you’ve raised over $1.3 million to build a Tesla museum. Can we have a Mars colony next?

    Matthew Inman: I think the hard part would be to convince someone to go to Mars and die horribly there. We should put sea monkeys there next, because no one gives a shit about sea monkeys. We should put them on the Curiosity rover, though, so we would have a living creature there.

    Because of the previous campaign I thought we could probably raise six figures, but it was so cool to see it get that high. I think over 200 countries donated. It struck a nerve around the globe.

    Someone tweeted they fucking hate Oatmeal comics but they love Tesla so they’re donated. That was really cool for me to see.


    Austin Post: Tesla is sort of like bacon. Most people in real life are familiar with both of them, but they’re practically enshrined as examples of beatific perfection on the Internet. Why do you think Tesla is so insanely popular online?

    Matthew Inman: I think a lot of it has to do with his character, not just his achievements. The man was brilliant and worked very hard to change the world, but he was also very naive about money and marketing. There’s also a clear villain with Thomas Edison. So from a story perspective, you have a real hero, a real villain, and someone who lost. How often with the Internet do you have a story of a real inventor who fought and lost? It’s a rare opportunity for people to honor that legacy.

    Austin Post: I agree, but Tesla’s been dead for nearly 70 years. He hasn’t come back as a zombie time traveller. Why do you think he’s suddenly so popular now?

    Matthew Inman: I think it was just an intersection of Internet things about him. There was his appearing in The Prestige played by David Bowie. After that, I saw the Tesla Badass of the Week and my jaw was on the floor. This guy was crazy awesome and I had no idea he did all these things, and I guess it culminated in him becoming this icon.

    Furthermore, in some ways I see his life paralleling a little bit of Steve Wozniak’s, who was this genius who worked at Apple in the '80s and was responsible for a lot of the major feats that put Apple on the map. He believed everything should be free and open source - he wasn’t naive, but he was a believer. Woz isn’t poor now, but he isn’t Steve Jobs.

    Austin Post: Speaking of technology and the 80’s, is it true you actually draw everything with a mouse?

    Matthew Inman: Yes. Inertia? I’ve been drawing that way for years now, and to try and change is tough. I have Adobe Illustrator and a very sensitive tablet and all the tools I need to draw like a normal person, but I keep drawing with Adobe Fireworks and a mouse because I’m comfortable with it. Plus, my comics have been great, why should I change? I feel like I’m getting stagnant, though, so every year I tell myself I’m going to practice more with different software and try to change what I do.

    Adobe Fireworks, I’ve been using it for 15 years now. It’s an extension of my body. I have every single keyboard shortcut memorized. It’s very sad, and it unfortunately makes me feel like my work is very stagnant. Visually, it’s not really going anywhere. It’s all ovals. I’m tired of it, I want to change. There’s no real reward there for my business, it’s more of a personal thing.

    I tell that to comic artists, too. They tell me they’ve taken all these classes and learned how to precisely draw an anatomically correct human form, and I say congrats, but in comedy that doesn’t matter. Visual realism isn’t as important as the punchline. In comedy, the less specific you are the better. Breaking the visual style down into simpler forms, like in South Park, make it easier for people to relate to.

    I really like comics, but I’m also sensing I have a five-year run left in comics.

    Austin Post: What are you interested in doing next?

    Matthew Inman: Animation. I’ve been interested in it for awhile, but it seems like over the last 8 weeks, every studio in LA is interested. Maybe it’s the Tesla thing that put me on the map, but I’m interested in doing that.

    Austin Post: Would you like to do your own voice work, like Matt Stone and Trey Parker with South Park?

    Matthew Inman: No. I would prefer to keep my voice completely out of it, but it’s tough. It’s such a fine line. With a comic, when you read it, it’s in the voice you want to hear, and it’s the funniest voice possible. But when you see it animated, you have this jarring other voice that doesn’t sound right.

    Austin Post: You’ll be at BookPeople on October 24th, and you have some good advice for people who come to book signings.

    Matthew Inman: I really like BookPeople. In fact, I love that store. It was one of my favorite signings of the last tour.

    With book signings, I hate standing and posing for photos. It clogs up the line, and it’s rude to everyone else in line. You can take a forty minute line and turn it into 3 hours. I’d rather draw a doodle with the signature.

    Think about it. If you got to meet Matt Groening from The Simpsons, what would you prefer - for him to take out a piece of paper and draw you a picture or would you rather have a blurry Facebook photo?

    If you’re attending SXSW, you can hear Inman speak live on March 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Exhibition Hall 5 at the Austin Convention Center. 



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    Not long ago in a galaxy not far away - here on Earth, actually - there was no such thing as the Internet. We used to use these giant phones with dials on them, and you'd look things up in big yellow phone books and musty encyclopedias. Maps and dirty pictures were printed on paper. I know, weird.

    Then one day a little over 20 years ago, this fellow named Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. This Web thing took off like scalded cat, a bat out of hell, a rocket sled to oblivion - the Big Bang? - the thing went crazy. And now it's hard to remember what pre-wired life was like.

    Before the Web the Internet had been around for a while, but was the province of nerds and university researchers and Defense Department types. The Internet used all these archaic protocols (Archie, WAIS, don't even get me started...) so that in order to do anything useful, you had to know all these difficult commands and you couldn't really "surf" per se. In fact, cheesy old AOL was about the best way for mortals to use the Internet at all.

    Then came Berners-Lee. His genius was seeing that you could take existing ideas - the linking of text and "pages" together - combine them with the Internet's existent infrastructure that wired together cities, universities and the like, and boom! you could create a sky's-the-limit network where everyone can connect to everyone else. (Technically, what he did was invent the basic protocols for how webpages and servers talk to each other.)

    I remember the very first time I experienced the Web, way back in 1992 before you could even see pictures on the damn thing. There was a browser called Lynx, and you could browse the text-only Web (you still can - try it out!). Even on a Web without pictures, I remember sitting in front of my greyscale-screen computer linking around the world and feeling the awesome power of this secret thing that I could just tell was about to explode. 

    In April of 1993, Marc Andreesen launched the Mosaic browser, which could show pictures and text - what we still think of as a webpage today - and the rest is history. 

    Doesn't look like a revolution, does it? The Mosaic browser.

    Imagine - since 1992 the number of Internet users has grown from 7 million to 2.4 billion, now more than one-third of the population of the planet. For this we can thank Sir Berners-Lee.

    Not only is Berners-Lee appearing twice (we are not worthy!) but he will be discussing a very important topic indeed.

    The Open Web 

    In the beginning, the Web worked due to some simple rules. There was HTML, the language Web pages were programmed in, and some other straightforward protocols that made the whole thing run. Anyone anywhere could participate. Rock and roll.

    Lately, however, the Internet and its new trends - from Facebook to cloud computing to Apple's iOS - is increasingly populated by closed systems. The death of the open Web has been foretold, but then again it's the nature of this technology to want to spread, and the most open systems often spread the fastest and last the longest. But the jury is out.

    Tim Berners-Lee will speak twice on the "open Web," at the Convention Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and then at 3:30 p.m. the same day at the Driskill in more of a meetup setting. Touch the hand of the hand of the man who PWNed the printing press made the future now. (Berners-Lee's appearances are for badge-holders only, sad to say.)




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    SXSW has become like a spring break for the music, interactive and film businesses that attend it, along with the many thousands who flock here to have a good times galore. Even with all the music shows, films, parties with free drinks and other merriment readily available, some also have the urge to indulge in some adult and erotic fun.

    It's not just hotels, bars and clubs, restaurants and shops that reap the rewards of some quarter million people coming to town, so do strip clubs, lingerie and nude modeling parlors, escorts and others.

    The music isn't live at Exposé but the dancers sure are
    "Of course," says the manager of one adult-oriented enterprise. "Every business in Austin gets more business during SXSW."

    "South By definitely increases business for us," says B. Miller, manager of Expose on S. Congress Ave. And with all the out-of-towners in Austin for the event ready and eager to spread some disposable cash around, the gentlemen's club tries to make the most of it. "We'll advertise in the Chronicle, we'll send girls downtown to give out flyers and passes." And even locals and regulars include it in their party week celebrations. "We have local people who will come in here to have a drink and then go downtown to SXSW."

    Louis Montalvo, manager of Palazio on Ben White Blvd., concurs. "We sure do" have a bump in patronage, he says. "We staff up pretty heavily for it." He finds their biggest draw comes "more with the music events than the film."

    "Yeah, we get busier, definitely," confirms an employee of one Austin escort service. At Exquisite Escorts, proprietor Cash notes that "with that thing next week people are already getting a bit busy early." He sees a 40 percent increase in business over the 10 days or so of SXSW. "It's a pretty big deal. Starting next Thursday night [March 14] through Sunday morning it will be total f**king mayhem. Nobody will sleep. We'll be hurting Monday, but it's okay."

    After all, the influx of visitor dollars ups everyone's income. "Amen, brother!" Cash declares. "It's pleasantly accepted but it's an extra long two weeks."

    Our city's gay bathhouse, Midtowne Spa, also sees a – ahem– rise in business during the festivities. "It's good, it's above average, every year" says the company's regional manager. "And a lot of that comes from out-of-towners." Last year, two European executives for a major search engine company even used Midtowne as way to get a break on housing costs by renting rooms at the Spa for their time in town. "They actually stayed here for four full days. They went out during the day and did their SXSW thing and came back at night and that was that. We loved it and they had a great time."

    Been a bad boy? Mistress Josie knows what you need.

    The economic benefits appear to span the wide range of erotic interests and proclivities. "I hadn't really put it together before, but I do notice an increase of non-regulars during events like SXSW and ACL, now that I actually think about it," says Cherrie Black, a transsexual provider of GFEs (girlfriend experiences). "It seems to me that m2f [male to female] trans are quickly becoming America's secret obsession."

    Professional Dominatrix Ms. Desirée aka Mercenary Mistress says she expects "numerous random 'wankers' calling my phone during late night hours or sending me one-liner emails inquiring about services. I don't cater to last-minute callers and the types of clientele that come in to party."

    However, "SXSW has so many professionals it is worth casting a net into that pool. I have made up special cards for the event and look to lure a few dedicated boys who might want to come for return trips." And she notes how "the SXSW inquiries are more dignified than the ones I receive during the ROT Rally.... Those guys have no manners whatsoever."

    SXSW is even a time for visitors in such vocations to gin up some additional business. New York City-based pro Domme Mistress Josie says, "I am going for pleasure, but the nature of my job allows me to take my business on the road. I figured I would see if I could find any new clients while I was down there."

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  • 03/06/13--20:58: SXSW Survival Apps
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    Sure, the city is about to explode for SXSW, but that’s no reason to hole up in your home like you’re undergoing a two-week-long apocalypse training drill. You can enjoy our very own free SXSW Mini-Film Fest where you can meet 22 different filmmakers without needing a badge. If you’re not into films, you can always meet actual amazing NASA scientists thanks to Nerd Nite. For those of you who just need to get out of town, escape the modern world by visiting Sherwood Forest Faire.

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  • 03/07/13--06:03: The Sexy Side of SouthBy
  • South by Southwest has a certain reputation. Not the post-apocalyptic feel of 6th Street during the music festival. No, not the epic collection of hipster mustaches on display at the Violet Crown for the Film festival. Actually, both of those, but I’m talking about the part of SXSW Interactive’s reputation that resulted in three very special emails in one day.

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