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Film, music and interactive events form the foundation of any good South By Southwest festival experience — but if you’re looking to diversify your schedule, the following artworks and galleries are especially innovative. Listen to your inner artist and detour slightly off the beaten path, because this art deserves a block of time on even the busiest schedule.

SXSW Eco Light Garden

Get lost in the midst of glowing LED lights at the SXSW Eco Light Garden, an interactive public art project that bridges innovative light technology with landmark art. The light show runs from Sunday to March 21 at Republic Square Park. 

Colorful neon lights are the most prominent feature of the garden, and visitors can walk both on and among the displays. With towering light structures and bright colors, the Eco Light Garden gives off an otherworldly vibe while simultaneously showcasing the latest developments in efficient LED technologies. During SXSW, the garden will feature projects from various art studios and advanced lighting companies such as Lumenpulse, Ink Tank Art Collective and Houndstooth Studio. 

The Sailor Jerry Gallery

Ever been inked? If you like your tattoo, you probably have Sailor Jerry to thank. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, known as the godfather of the American tattoo, will have his art featured in “The Sailor Jerry Gallery: The Original Artwork of Norman Collins,” a collection making its American debut at SXSW. The exhibition includes Collins’ original flash — or tattoo designs — art and sketches influenced by elements of Southeast Asian culture he encountered during his travels at sea. 

Collins’ depictions of hula girls, bottles of booze, dice, pistons, birds of prey and nautical imagery are extremely popular in Hawaii, where his last studio was located. The collection premieres Thursday and runs through March 21. 

SXSW’s Impossible Wall Project

Between the “Hi How Are You” frog and the “i love you so much” wall, what else is as distinctly Austin as brightly colored graffiti gracing otherwise unremarkable walls? In the spirit of creating art, SXSW has partnered with POW! WOW! Hawaii and sprATX to paint over dull, blank spaces around the city. The central event of the week will bring together more than 100 local and international artists to collaborate and create murals, transforming some of Austin’s still-blank walls into enriching works of art. 

POW! WOW! originated as a week-long event in Hawaii that has since expanded internationally, promoting appreciation for art through lectures, gallery shows and art installations. 

Hello Lamp Post: Austin

“What do you think is Austin’s biggest claim to fame?” Soon enough, you might be getting text messages like these, but not from your human friends — instead, from the fire hydrant down the street. “Hello Lamp Post” is a new city-wide project that combines technology and art to encourage interaction between pedestrians and objects dubbed “street furniture,” such as lampposts, telephone poles, parking meters, mail boxes or any structure with an identifier code. 

Hello Lamp Post was inspired by the idea of the city as a diary. The game goes like this: A passerby picks an object with a code, texts the number with a “hello” and begins a text conversation with the object. Created by London-based PAN Studio and commissioned by the City of Austin in partnership with Art Alliance Austin, the goal of the project is to encourage people to rediscover environments that already
feel familiar.

APD Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference Thursday morning addressing the car incident from the night before that left two people dead and 23 injured at the intersection of Red River and 9th streets amid SXSW activities.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

Updated (Friday, 7:15 p.m.): Travis County district judges issued a formal arrest warrant Friday afternoon for 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who has been accused of driving his car through a crowded area of downtown during SXSW activities, killing two people and injuring 23 others. Owens was charged with one count of capital murder and bond has been set at $3 million.


The booking photo of Rashad Charjuan Owens, who was formally charged with capital murder Friday afternoon. Courtesy of Austin Police Department.

Initially, APD Police Chief Art Acevedo said Owens would be charged with two counts of capital murder, which is a felony, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. So far, no other charges have been filed.

Earlier Friday, police officers released a statement clarifying that in Texas, capital murder is defined as two or more deaths in the same “criminal transaction.”

According to the police affidavit, Owens attempted to evade police because there were other warrants out for his arrest.

“Owens … said that he got scared because he has warrants and didn’t want to go to jail for 5 years for something he didn’t do,” the affidavit said. “Owens said that he has Kidnapping warrants and explained that he was part of a custody battle for his daughter.”

The affidavit describes a violent, chaotic crime scene.

“Victims were reported to have been flying everywhere as they were being struck by the Honda,” the affidavit said.

Updated (Thursday, 8:52 p.m.): Christopher Ziebell, emergency department director of University Medical Center-Brackenridge, said Thursday night that he was concerned about the recovery prospects for the most critically injured victims of the SXSW crash.

“The two most critical patients, I have a great deal of concern and worry about,” Ziebell said at a press conference. “We’re going to do our best for them, but these are some of the worst injuries that we see, and not everybody with these kind of injuries is going to survive.”

Seven of the 23 people injured in the crash were taken to the medical center from the scene. An eighth person came to Brackenridge from another hospital after the person's injuries proved more serious than doctors initially realized, Ziebell said.

The two individuals who died were 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West. West's husband, Evan West, is among those who were injured and transported to the hospital.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Reverends Katie Wright and Bob Gribble of St. David’s Episcopal Church hosted a vigil for the crash victims, with about 30 people in attendance.


A woman attends a vigil held for the SXSW crash victims at St. David's Episcopal Church on Thursday. Photo by Shweta Gulati / Daily Texan Staff

Michelle Marshall, a SXSW attendee from Austin, said she was disturbed by the unexpected crash.

“I come every year and this accident just kind of put a damper on the whole weekend — I felt like I needed to pay my respects,” Marshall said. “There’s just a very reverent feeling in town now.”

In an address, Wright said she hopes the community can reflect on the tragedy, while also appreciate the positive aspects of the festival.

“Let us remember those who have died, and let God accept our prayers on behalf of the servants who died last night,” Wright said. “Let us remember these artists and patrons, as well as our city.”

Updated (Thursday, 1:40 p.m.): Austin police officials have named 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens as the driver who allegedly struck more than 20 individuals, killing two, with his car while speeding down Red River Street at SXSW after midnight on Thursday. Owens was charged with two charges of capital murder by terroristic threat, a felony-level offense, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. Owens was processed at Travis County Jail at 5:44 a.m. No bond has been set.

While many SXSW activities will continue, St. David's Episcopal Church at 301 E. Eighth Street will host an open prayer service for the victims at 5:30 p.m. 

The car incident killed two people and injured 23. One of the victims who died was 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr, a creative director for the international branding and promotion company, MassiveMusic. The identity of the woman who died has not been revealed by the police.

The Mohawk, which is located right by where the incident took place, has canceled all of its afternoon events though it has not announced a plan for the evening events. APD will also be closing Eighth and Ninth streets from the I-35 frontage road to Neches Street at 5 p.m, though access to the frontage road will not be affected.

International relations sophomore Rush Evans, who was inside The Mohawk at the time of the crash, said the events were barely noticeable from inside the venue.

“No one seemed to notice that anything weird was happening,” Evans said. “Everyone was just going on their way having a good time.”

Evans said his view from the balcony allowed him to watch the first responders react to the scene.

“It literally looked like something just pulled through there and moved everyone out of the street,” Evans said. “People were lying on the sidewalks almost exclusively. It was pretty disturbing to see a little blood.”

Evans, who is a native of Austin, said he did not anticipate such a serious incident would happen at the festival. He said he was shaken by his proximity to the crash.

“If I had gotten there 5 minutes later, it could have been me,” Evans said. “I would have been in that line the car plowed through.”

Earlier Thursday, Fort Hood soldier Andrew Barmwell filed a police report for a stolen vehicle with the Killeen Police Department, according to Chris Haug, media relations chief at Fort Hood. Haug said Barmwell believes his stolen car, a gray Honda Civic, may be the one used in the crash. Barmwell was not available for comment.

Updated (Thursday, 11:50 a.m.): MassiveMusic, an international music branding and promotion company, identified 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr as the man who was killed in the car incident. Craenmehr worked as the creative director for the Amsterdam, Netherlands-based company.

"During the eight years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter," the company released in a statement on its website. "This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family and we are grateful for the years we spent with him."

Updated (Thursday, 11:26 a.m.): At a press conference Thursday, SXSW managing director Roland Swenson said SXSW operations would not be affected by the early-morning car crash that resulted in two deaths and more than 20 injured pedestrians.

“As much as we would just like to go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue operating today,” Swenson said.

APD police chief Art Acevedo said the police originally incorrectly reported the identities of the deceased people. Though the suspected driver struck a man and a woman on a moped, only the woman, who Acevedo said was from Austin, died.

“The male driver is actually stable and in good condition,” Acevedo said.

A SXSW visitor from the Netherlands whose name has not been released was the other fatality, Acevedo said. The man from the Netherlands was on his bike at the time of the crash.

Of the five patients originally reported as being in critical conditions, at least two are still critical, while the other three patients are in surgery or being evaluated, according to James Shamard, chief of staff for Austin-Travis County EMS.

Acevedo and other city officials, including Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, praised the efficiency of the first responders to the scene.

“I want to acknowledge the excellent performance of our first responders,” Leffingwell said. “There were about 25 people involved, and the incident was cleared from the street in less than 15 minutes.”

Leffingwell said city officials do everything they can to promote the safety of SXSW attendees.

“SXSW is a long-time event, 27 years, and this is the first time in 27 years we’ve had an incident of this kind,” Leffingwell said. “We will continually evaluate our events to make sure they’re as safe as they can possibly be.”

Daytime events will go on as planned, while planners at Mohawk Bar and Cheer Up Charlie’s, where the crash occurred, are still determining the best course of action, Swenson said.


SXSW managing director Ronald Swenson tells the media on Thursday morning that most SXSW operations will continue as planned. Photo by Shweta Gulati / Daily Texan Staff

Original story: At least two people died and more than 20 were injured after a car ran through the intersection of 9th Street and Red River Street during South By Southwest just past midnight on Thursday, according to the Austin Police Department.

The incident took place right outside The Mohawk, a bar and live music venue.

At 2:15 a.m., APD reported that it had apprehended the suspect driving the car by tasing the driver. The driver, who has not been publicly identified, struck multiple people, as well as a taxi cab. A man and a woman who were riding a moped were pronounced dead on the scene. In total, there were 23 victims, five of whom were in critical condition. APD Police Chief Art Acevedo said the driver will be charged with two counts of capital murder, as well as 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

“You cannot stop a person that decides rather than face potential drunk driving charges, at a high rate of speed, shows total disregard for human life,” Acevedo said. “That’s why we will be charging two counts of capital murder.”

In a joint press conference, Acevedo and Harry Evans, Austin Fire Department chief of staff, said the incident began when an APD officer initiated a traffic stop outside the Shell Gas Station on the intersection of I-35 and 9th streets. The driver weaved through the gas station lot and accelerated against the flow of traffic on 9th Street. When APD officers tried to overtake the vehicle, the driver took a right turn down Red River Street at a “high rate of speed,” Acevedo said.


APD Police Chief Art Acevedo addresses the media around 2:20 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff.

“The gas station, as you can imagine with all the activities around, was very busy,” Acevedo said. “He was in a smaller vehicle, he was able to weave his way through.”

Acevedo said the driver drove through police-patrolled barricades to speed through Red River Street.

“We had an Austin police officer in uniform working barricade patrol, and he was forced to move out of the way to avoid being struck himself,” Acevedo said. “The suspect driver then accelerated down Red River Street, and at a high rate of speed struck multiple pedestrians.”

Acevedo said the chase ended after the driver crashed at the northwest corner of 11th and Red River streets.

“[He crashed] into a parked van, and then he exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot,” Acevedo said. “The officer was able to overtake him on foot, and was actually forced to tase him to take him into custody.” 

Mike Benavides, Travis County Emergency Medical Services spokesman, said EMS worked with 25 patients, including five who were in critical condition. Benavides said those five people had been transported off the scene within 15 minutes.

Benavides said Travis County EMS were prepared and had resources dedicated to SXSW patrol.

"This traffic management plan is a plan that has worked for years," Benavides said.

The area between the I-35 access road and Neches Street, and stretching from 10th to 11th Street, will be closed for most of Thursday.

Acevedo said the incident was unlike anything he had seen before as police chief.


A blocked off portion of the street following in the incident taken around 1 a.m. on Thursday. Photo by Cameron Peterson / Daily Texan Staff

“Nothing like this has happened at SXSW in the seven years [I’ve] been chief officer,” Acevedo said.

Computer science senior Calvin Lau was lined up at The Mohawk to watch rapper Tyler the Creator perform. Lau saw the police cars and witnessed some of the aftermath of the incident.

"It really just came out of left field for me," Lau said. "I didn't hear of anything like this happening before. I don't think anybody saw that coming."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the nationality of the man who died in the incident. The man is from the Netherlands.

Justin Atkinson, Lauren L'Amie, Jordan Rudner, Shabab Siddiqui and Hannah Smothers contributed to this report.

Radio-television-film lecturer, Steve Mims will premiere his feature film “Arlo and Julie” at South By Southwest next week. Competition at SXSW has increased, with more than 5,716 film submissions fighting for the 133 feature and 110 short spots.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Eleven film projects made in part by UT students, faculty and alumni will be featured at this year’s 28th annual South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival, alongside projects from aspiring filmmakers and experts from around the world.

According to the SXSW website, film submissions have increased over the past few years, making the 133 feature film and 110 short film spots even more competitive than before. This year, 5,716 film submissions were considered for the spots. Nine features and two short films created by alumni and current University students and faculty will screen at the festival. 

Paul Stekler, chair of the radio-television-film department, said SXSW helps grow the overall film community in Austin, and more people are staying because it’s been successful.

“The whole filmmaking world here knows about SXSW,” Stekler said. “UT and SXSW both reinforce each other.”

In 2013, more than 155,000 people attended the SXSW conference and festival from 58 foreign countries, breaking the event’s previous attendance records. The international vantage point is a key draw for filmmakers, said radio-television-film lecturer Kat Candler.

“Having a feature film at SXSW is always a phenomenal opportunity for exposure to new audiences,” said Candler, who has had three of her projects shown at the festival. “It serves as a launching off point for sending your film out into the world, and the folks at SXSW support their filmmakers every step of the way — before, during and months after the festival is over.”

Although attendees’ interest in SXSW is 75 percent industry-based as opposed to fan-based, exposure doesn’t necessarily equal employment, said radio television-film lecturer Steve Mims. 

“I think the biggest benefit of the fest is the attention you get from the people in the industry — that’s a very real thing,” Mims said. “I don’t think you can say people walk into SXSW with a film and walk out with a job, but it’s certainly a great way to get your work out and meet the industry head-on.”

Mims’ SXSW feature film, “Arlo and Julie,” was produced in his radio-television-film class “Feature Film Workshop” at the University, with 15 students participating in the creative process.

The film portion of the festival will be open March 7-15 across Austin venues.

Taskbox founder Andrew Eye, developers Ian Ragsdale, Kris Wong, and Ed Burns, and communication manager Jessica Stough are the minds behind the social task management app. Co-founder Adam Cianfichi is not pictured.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Looking out over downtown Austin’s skyline from the top of the Omni Hotel, the Capital Factory office space is populated with plush beanbag chairs, endless desk space and 85 tech startups. From mobile email apps to weather-tracking software, these companies create technology solutions for other businesses and general consumers alike. As a local “tech incubator,” Capital Factory sells the resources and mentoring services necessary for small businesses to develop their products.

For many startups, South By Southwest is a chance to catch the eye of potential investors and attract new customers. In pitch events like the SXSW Startup Accelerator, companies will pitch their product ideas to audience members in hopes of attracting angel investors to help launch their businesses. 

When Josh Baer first attended the festival five years ago, the SXSW Startup Accelerator was the only pitch event available to entrepreneurs. The popularity of these programs has since grown, and now, as the managing director of Capital Factory, Baer is hosting his own event on Friday, March 8. He also noted that the Startup Accelerator is a bit of a misnomer. 

“The most popular use of that word … is an intense program that helps ‘accelerate’ a startup over a period of time with mentoring and with some funding, usually culminating in a demo day,” Baer said. “The SXSW Accelerator … is only a pitch competition.”

The “Startup Village,” a small section of downtown Austin dedicated to startup events like Capital Factory’s, will center on the Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom, which can hold more than 1,000 people at a time.

The big feature of Capital Factory’s event is the “Move Your Startup to Austin” competition, where six startups from around the world will pitch their product ideas to a panel of judges and investors. Companies from as far away as India will compete for a hefty prize that is aimed at bringing more tech startups to the Austin area. 

“The prize is worth more than $100,000. We’ve got a $35,000 actual cash investment, but also a house to live in, office space, groceries, server hosting. There’s a whole ton of stuff we’re giving them,” Baer said.

Although Capital Factory’s event will only last one day during SXSW, the company’s downtown office will serve as a VIP lounge for the remainder of the festival. Invited guests will be able to hold meetings, use the Internet and enjoy the view from the top of the Omni Hotel.

SXSW’s marketing department anticipates that about 65,000 people will attend the Trade Show exhibit, a portion of the festival dedicated to business promotion. 

One of the six local startup companies that will be featured by Capital Factory at SXSW is Taskbox, a company that has designed a more mobile-friendly email app for the iPhone. Andrew Eye, the CEO and founder of Taskbox Mail, said that this is his third startup.

“We started this [company] up in June of last year,” Eye said. “What we’re focused on is helping people with email while they’re on the go. So this past year, for the first time in history, mobile email opens exceeded desktop email opens; people now read more email on their smartphones than they do at their desks.” 

The mobile application, which is currently available on the iTunes App Store, helps users navigate and prioritize a high volume of emails. According to Eye, the app requires fewer gestures and is easier to view on the iPhone than the standard mail app.

Eye’s Austin-based company is excited to use SXSW as a way to promote its product and gauge customer satisfaction. 

“We’re launching our 2.0 version of the application, so we’re really excited about the fact that the world comes to Austin for South By,” Eye said. “Getting to see how people react to our latest product release, I’d say that’s at the top of our minds.”

Why on Earth would you want to leave Austin during spring break? As I hope you know, next week, Austin plays hosts to one of the greatest annual events nationwide, the South By Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival, or SXSW. The myth on the street is that you have to buy a wristband or a badge to enjoy the festival at all. While the purchasing of the unnecessarily expensive wristbands and badges will grant you access to exclusive shows and most of the film and interactive events hosted during SXSW, the sheer volume of free music shows and parties hosted during SXSW is too good to pass up for anything else — I don’t care what they let you do in Colorado while you ski.

SXSW music is the gift that keeps on giving. To start, there are the three nights at Auditorium Shores that are chock-full of free music. It costs literally nothing to attend — you just show up with a pair of ears and enjoy the night’s lineup. What’s even better is that the headlining act for 2013 is none other than The Flaming Lips, the rock act notorious for putting on a live show that no one in the crowd could forget.  The Flaming Lips take the stage on the night of Friday, March 15th. They cap off an awesome lineup of totally free music, put together so the people of Austin — college kids included — could enjoy the city the way it was supposed to be enjoyed.

But that’s not where the free events end. Even now, a week before the glorious event is set to begin, local and nationwide companies are releasing the lineups for their showcases, many of which are free. It just takes a little more effort to find out about them. Search the web for SXSW showcases. Set up Google Alerts to notify you whenever a post appears that says “SXSW free” or something similar. Follow Twitter accounts that specifically deal with SXSW showcase announcements. I didn’t purchase a wristband or a badge, but I still have free showcases lined up for every day from Tuesday, March 12th all the way to the last Sunday of spring break.

Check the showcase posters for any badge/wristband requirements and make sure that, if you are underage, the posters don’t bear the menacing “21+” stipulation.

These showcases usually last the better part of the day and consist of five or more bands playing set after set, all for our enjoyment. Youth Lagoon, Toro y Moi, Surfer Blood and Unknown Mortal Orchestra are just a few of the bands that are gracing the streets of Austin, free of charge.

We break our academic backs left and right in this great city, our lives sometimes moving so quickly that we don’t get the opportunity to stop and enjoy Austin. SXSW during spring break provides such an opportunity.

Hays is a journalism freshman from Dripping Springs.

UT Government Professor James Henson and Texas State Representative Dan Branch hold a panel on education in the state of Texas at the downtown Hilton hotel on Monday afternoon. The panel was part of SXSWedu.

Photo Credit: Jorge Corona | Daily Texan Staff

State Senate and House educational leaders discussed technological education reform and reformatting college readiness testing during a policy forum on the first day of SXSWedu.

SXSWedu is a four-day event that hosts education panelists and speakers and is part of the annual SXSW Conference and Festival. In a series of panels focused on policy, State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, and Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, dissected the higher education issues to be discussed during the current legislative session.

Branch, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, said the most pressing issues for higher education are testing accountability, fiscal restraints and technologically revolutionizing the college classroom.

“Higher education seems to be in this crucible,” Branch said. “We have this notion of fiscal restraint and therefore higher education is finding itself having to do as much with less.”

Branch and Allen strongly promoted incorporating technology in the classroom both at the K-12 and higher education levels to push students to graduate with a college degree — an initiative UT has implemented and made concrete partnerships to promote.

A year after the UT System Board of Regents voted to offer massive open online courses, UT-Austin will offer free online courses starting this fall through edX, a nonprofit distributor of interactive online courses.

In 2011, the System also invested $10 million in the MyEdu website to facilitate planning degrees and online advising in an effort to increase graduation rates.

Allen, a former educator and vice-chair of the public education committee, said all public schools should track students’ progress throughout their college careers to measure effectiveness and efficiency of investing in human capital that prepares students in technological fields in which they are interested.

“In the K-12 program, we cut allocations for technology and say ‘Don’t bring that laptop in here,’” Allen said. “We walk them into a classroom and say ‘Open that book and turn to page 22’ completely turning them off. We need to think 30 years out, not us sitting here today.”

Seliger and Allen also discussed the importance of reformatting public education testing to show progress and college readiness. Both politicians said they would be pushing for this during the session.

“We want K-12 to align very, very closely with higher education so for those young people who wish to access higher education will be prepared for where they end up,” Seliger said. “We get far more information about students from SAT testing reports than we do from the STAAR testing.”

Seliger, chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, said the public education system lacked technical and STEM pathways.

“It doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all-students but one-size-serves-all-students,” Seliger said.

SXSW partnered with the Texas Tribune to produce the policy forum.

Printed on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 as: SXSWedu launches with policy panels