SXSW in Austin

SXSW Week One – Red Fan in the Trenches

The first week of South by Southwest started with a roar with Red Fan in the thick of the action talking to comedians, film stars and other participants.

Here are some fun highlights gathered by Media Strategist Kristen O'Brien.

SXSWedu: Fostering educational engagement

Highlights from SXSWedu included a chat with Austinites Andy Roddick, the founder of the Andy Roddick Foundation and retired tennis star, and model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker, who were VIP judges at Austin Think It Up, a national initiative from the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), interacting with hundreds of local students who put their best ideas forward at this science fair-meets “shark tank”-type event designed to promote empowered, engaged learning.

When Decker was asked about how her dedication to education has changed since having a baby five months ago, she enthusiastically responded, “It’s intensified my passion for it for sure, just because I think, it’s an unfortunate truth, but when something applies to you directly you become inherently more passionate about it.”

In other interesting SXSWedu news, a health science program coordinator at Eastside Memorial High School was named winner of the inaugural Rather Prize. The prize, named for former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, awards those with ideas to improve Texas education.

SXSW Film: What to see and who was there

In film news, SXSW Film kicked off with the Texas Hall of Fame Awards at the Austin Studios and a tribute to San Antonio grand dame of comedy, Carol Burnett, introduced by Maya Rudolph. When asked about her favorite current comedians Carol responded, “You know I really associate myself with women and so it’s the usual suspects: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Kristin Chenoweth, mostly sketch performers. And Maya Rudolph, bless her, she’s here tonight, and it’s just wonderful to see this plethora, because as I said, back in the covered wagon days, when I started out, it was just Lucy and me and now look at all of them.”

Films to catch this week, even though some were a little under the radar, were Richard Linklater’s latest oeuvre, “Everybody Wants Some,” Burt Reynolds making an appearance for the documentary “Bandit” about the story behind “Smokey and the Bandit,” and the work-in-progress midnight screening “Keanu” (no, not Keanu Reeves, it’s a Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele project about a cat). And speaking of cats, of course SXSW would not be complete without a visit from everyone’s favorite irate cat, Grumpy Cat.

Parties, parties and more parties!

Some of the best parties of the week included the NY Times Magazine music issue party at Easy Tiger that was jam packed with, well, everyone. The Marie Claire party for the gals from “Broad City,” Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, at Juliet was a little more intimate with guest appearances by Keegan-Michael Key of ”Key & Peele,” Ellen Page and Ian Daniels of “GAYCATION.” And the always-favorite GSD&M party held at their sprawling offices hosting musical guest Ghostland Observatory who put the crowd into a techno and light show trance.

Stay tuned for more SXSW news from the Red Fan team. To stay updated on our latest South By whereabouts, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

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