Every year, after getting your SXSW badge (an undertaking of Herculean proportions which you can witness John Norris undertake in this clip) you are rewarded with a large canvas tote bag stuffed with a bunch of promotional crap that you’ll inevitably end up leaving in a gutter on Sixth Street after one too many Shiner Bocks.
Ladies and gentlemen, your SXSW gift bag!
And in keeping with tradition, festival organizers have an established artist design the bag (in previous years, David Byrne and the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne had the honor), and this year it’s Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore who gets the call. His contribution? A bunch of stick figures cavorting underneath a smiley faced sun! Thanks for spending three minutes on it, Thurst.
Moving on to the contents of said bag … Rather than go through each item individually (something that would take from now until Sunday evening), here are some of the, uh, “highlights”:
- Twenty-seven promotional fliers of differing sizes and textures, pimping everything from the Blue Man Group and “pioneers of garage glitter” Star Mother to the Utne Reader and Mpress Records’ showcase, home to such luminaries as the Kin and Amy Speace & the Tearjerkers. Remember, thousands of trees died for this.
- Ten magazines and newspapers, including copies of both Performing Songwriter AND American Songwriter (competitors!), the soon-to-be-online-only No Depression (R.I.P.) and a broadsheet touting the Australian bands at SXSW (hey, the Vines are still around!)
- Eight CDs, by artists you’ve never heard of.
- A peanut-butter-and-chocolate Zone Perfect Snack Bar, which was delicious; a three-pack of Dentyne Ice gum (attached to an ad for some group called Ben’s Brother, who all look like they’re 45), which helped keep my breath minty fresh in between cigarettes and BBQ breaks; and “Sgt. Solo,” a plastic army man clutching a guitar, that served no discernable purpose.
There's more from me at SXSW in my Bigger Than The Sound column, plus check back with the Newsroom blog throughout SXSW for more highlights, and be sure to visit our sister blog You R Here for concert reviews, photos and more.