Inhuman Swill : Texas

SXSW Film recap

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Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing
This is long overdue, but some folks over on Facebook asked me for a recap of the movies I saw last month at the SXSW Film Conference & Festival. But first, you might be asking, what was Bill doing at SXSW Film anyway?

Nothing mysterious. I attended the SXSW Interactive Festival for the first time in 2012. Though I had a great time there, I kept seeing posters for movies I wanted to see but couldn't because I didn't have a Film badge. So for 2013 I bought the Gold badge, which gives access to both Interactive and Film.

If I go again in 2014, I might just get the Film membership. I enjoyed it that much.

I didn't get to attend everything I wanted, but here's a rundown of the four feature films I did manage to see.

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20x2: What Changed? Saturday, March 9, 2013
Tonight I'm participating in a long-running SXSW tradition called 20x2. Twenty people are given two minutes apiece to answer the same question any way they like. This year the question is "What Changed?", and if you come out tonight to Elysium (705 Red River St.) you'll be treated to twenty different answers in the form of essays, poems, slideshows, songs, videos, and more.

How will I answer? You'll have to be there to find out. Doors at Elysium open at 6 pm, show starts at 7. Admission is $10, or free with any SXSW badge. I hope to see you there.

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Sheila Williams & Connie Willis
Laura and I had a memorable weekend in Austin, Texas. We were there, of course, for the Nebula Awards Weekend, but we spent Friday evening out with local friends—expatriate New Yorkers and repatriated Texans. This was a very good thing, we later decided, since Laura was forced to deal with a terrible work crisis almost as soon as we reached our hotel and the evening out with close and sympathetic friends served as a better tonic for that than would brooding at home or making small talk with strangers.

Saturday morning we dragged our hangovers out for breakfast with our friends up from Houston. We arrived back at the Omni Austin around noon—just in time to spy Geoff Landis at the breakfast bar in the restaurant, rush up to say hello, and stumble into the middle of the Dell Magazines awards ceremony that was just getting underway. Sheila Williams was very mostly almost patient with us as she invited us to sit down right now so they could start handing out certificates. Sorry, Sheila! Sorry, Stan! Hi, Trevor!

While Laura hoofed it in search of a pedicure, I lingered to chat with Geoff, [info]maryturzillo, Connie Willis, Nancy Kress, and Jack Skillingstead about politics and other ephemera. Next was the SFWA Business Meeting, after which I enjoyed an afternoon snackie in the bar with [info]paulmelko, [info]scottedelman, and Mike Marano. I spied Toby Buckell across the bar, and though he was suffering from something nasty, I managed to get close enough to him to have a long conversation about writing.

We sat with Geoff and Mary and Paul and Scott at the banquet and awards ceremony—an occasion, I agreed with Mary, which is always more enjoyable when one is not nominated. Mary was, and, sadly, did not take home the Lucite in the short story category. Michael Chabon did win, however, for his wonderful novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union, making 2008 one of the years when SFWA most certainly got it right. His acceptance speech was charming and heartfelt; he admitted that he'd started wanting a Nebula at the age of 15, and he thanked his editors for not catching on to the fact that his novel was really (if I can recall his phrasing correctly) "at its counterfactual heart a work of science fiction."

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William Shunn

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