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Posted: 5:11 p.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014

SXSW 2014 No. 13: MusiCares, Dart International and Grammys at the LBJ 


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Michael Barnes
Andrea Villareal and David Messier during Grammy Party at LBJ Presidential Library

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Michael Barnes
Dave Dart and Matthew Covey at Dart Music International SXSW party
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Michael Barnes
Erin Hanson and Erica Krusen during MusiCares event at Gibson Guitar Showroom

By Michael Barnes

SXSW 13.1: MusiCares echoes two essential Austin outfits: HAAM and SIMS. A nonprofit outgrowth of the Recording Academy, best known as the Grammy group, MusiCares is in the human safety net business. According to California-based Erica Krusen, MusiCares visits SXSW every year, sponsoring a showcase, spreading the word about health care and overseeing Safe Harbor, a room at the SXSW HQ for folks in recovery. This day, MusicCares had partnered with Soriya Estes of Estes Audiology to provide custom earplugs for musicians. We’ve profiled Estes and her amazing work locally. Yet it was pleasant to drop by the Gibson Guitar Showroom to check out the low-burn day party that went along with the health care. (Could have used these special plugs years ago.)

SXSW 13.2: Dart Music International is busy all year long. Founder Dave Dart looks after the interests of overseas musicians and, as a special treat, produces a showcase of some of those acts. This year, crowds flocked to Güero’s oak-grove venue for the action. I met Brazilian artists who were being filmed by a Serbian film crew. I asked many questions of Matthew Covey of Brooklyn-based Tamizdat Artist Services. He helps artists obtain visas. He’s never tried North Koreans. Hardest for him are the Cubans, who not only must get into the U.S. but out of Cuba. Iranians are a special case because we have no embassy there, so all the paperwork must go through a third party. (Fascinating business.)

SXSW 13.3: The least SXSW event during SXSW. That’s what I’d call the Grammy party at the LBJ Presidential Library to salute “The Soundtrack to Change,” 60 songs from the 60s enshrined now at the museum. The Texas chapter of the Recording Academy sponsored the dignified event in the travertine great hall to showcase its educational initiatives. A harpist soothed. Fine food and drink abounded. Media folks gathered with music standouts like Susan Antone, David Messier and Marcia Ball. I caught up with KVUE’s Mark Murray and his wife, Crystal, along with dozens of other local dignitaries. Much of the chat returned to Willie Nelson’s essential appearance earlier that day on the Jimmy Kimmel set. (Tired. Sore. I racked up 12 miles on foot that day.)

Michael Barnes

About Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history. He also writes the Out and About social column and blog.

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