SXSW Q and A

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Several people posted questions in the comments on my South by Southwest diaries last week, so I thought I’d answer them here. I don’t usually answer questions posted in the comments, because then I get involved in conversations and spend 10 hours a day on my own site. If you have a question you actually want an answer to, it’s always best to just e-mail me.

But since some of these may be of general interest, here they are, all in one stack.

Hello Eric ,
sorry to bump on you – also English not being my native I appologize in advance.

yep , a fangirl here , and we at the Boreanaz fandom are following the movie with ‘eagering eyes’ .. we expect much from it as well, yes directed by A. Cumming ; not a little penny in the movie world.
So eventho you didn’t like the movie or in a way it let you down , can you comment on DB’s acting.

(ps. please be gentle)

Is that parenthetical at the end a plea to be gentle in my assessment of Boreanaz’s performance in “Suffering Man’s Charity”? Why ask for someone’s opinion if you’re going to include the stipulation that the opinion be nice?

Anyway, David Boreanaz is fine in “Suffering Man’s Charity.” He doesn’t have the charisma or acting skill necessary to carry a film himself, but as a supporting character, he’s OK.

Isn’t there a Drafthouse like theater in SLC? How does it compare?

This is in reference to Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a fantastic theater that offers full food and beverage service during the films. Salt Lake City does have a similar theater, Brewvies, and comparable models are popping up all over the country.

Brewvies is a fine place, but the Alamo has it beat on one major count: At Brewvies, you must order your food at a counter in the lobby, then return to pick it up when it’s ready. At the Alamo, you do everything from your seat, just like in a restaurant, including paying the bill. If you need to order after the movie has started, you write down what you want on a sheet of paper (pencils and paper are provided) and post it in the metal slot that runs along the counter in front of your seat. That serves as a “flag” to alert a waiter, and he or she will take the paper quietly, with minimal disruption to the movie experience.

At the non-downtown Alamo locations, the films shown are the regular things you’ll find at the multiplexes, with the added bonus of being able to order non-movie-theater food while you watch. At the original location downtown, there’s one screen, and it’s what we call a repertory theater, with special events, one-night-only engagements, and other diverse entertainment. Check out their calendar for examples.

Another fun thing at the Alamo is the stuff they show on the screen before the movie. Sometimes it’s trailers from uber-cheesy horror flicks from the ’50s and ’60s; sometimes it’s clips from bizarre children’s shows or educational films; sometimes it’s old-school music videos, rendered laughable by the passage of time. One time it was a series of “SNL” sketches from the “Best of Will Ferrell” DVDs. It’s the only pre-show entertainment I’ve ever seen at a theater that’s actually entertaining.

Is it just me, or is SXSW way-better than Sundance? Are they supposed to be comparable? It seems like, when you compare Eric’s experiences at both, SXSW is light years better. Only day four and what, 5x as many celebrity sightings? And 5x as many movies that he seemed to actually like?

You are not the only person to make this observation. A lot of the people at SXSW are Sundance-goers, too, and we frequently commented to each other how much more fun we were having in Austin than we had in Park City.

I wrote earlier this year about how some of the fun has gone out of Sundance, and attending SXSW two years in a row now only serves to highlight those failings. SXSW is still small enough that it can get away with being laid-back and goofy, while Sundance is so huge that it must be rigorously structured and maintained.

But there’s a difference in the general attitude among festival-goers, too. The best example is the parties. In Park City, you can’t get into the parties unless you know someone; the official Sundance-sponsored parties are lame; and the people who go are only interested in acting famous and being noticed. In Austin, you’ll find Paul Rudd and David Wain drinking beers with the people who just got done watching their movies. There are industry people and Hollywood bigwigs at SXSW, but they don’t act like pretentious jerks the way they do at Sundance. They’re just there to have fun, like everyone else.

As for the quality of the movies, my gut tells me it’s about the same ratio of good to bad at both festivals. We’ll see what the grades look like once I’ve actually written reviews of everything, but I’m feeling like it’s a B-/C+ average all the way through.

I must point out, however, that Stevie Ray Vaughn does NOT write country songs. He was a blues artist and I fine one indeed who died in his prime. We readers need to send Eric some CDs to expand his music education.

True enough. The song I referred to, “Good Texan,” sounded like country to me when I heard it, though upon further reflection — and knowing it’s by Stevie Ray Vaughn, who I’m only mildly familiar with — I suppose it was probably more bluesy.

You know they sell magazines at Target and grocery stores, right? Not just at Barnes & Noble.

This is in reference to my search for an Entertainment Weekly. When I told the story, I abbreviated it. I left out the part where I went to one grocery store and found a month-old issue for sale, and where a couple other places that sell magazines didn’t have it at all. ‘Tis true that grocery stores sell magazines, but ’tis not necessarily true that they sell Entertainment Weekly at all, or the current issue if they do. I figured a place that actually devotes some of its attention to magazines (rather than just having them as one of the 11,000,000 things you can buy) would be a more reliable source.

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