Music was everywhere Friday, even if the volume had to be turned down at some day parties across town.
Sixth Street, closed to traffic east of Congress Avenue, resembled a street fair as performers played to the throngs rushing to get from one venue to the next. Pop-up concerts by artists such as Bright Eyes and J Mascis kept people guessing. Expect a repeat today as SXSW winds down.
Who's hottest act in town? Ask Jimmy
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is in Austin this week to find the hottest band playing the festival. Kimmel, who will co-host Rachael Ray's annual Feedback party today at Stubb's, is working with Whooznxt, which just launched at SXSW. Official SXSW bands can register at www.whooznxt.com, a fan-based platform that measures heat on a month-to-month basis. The winner will play ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on March 29. Whooznxt founder Jeff Yapp, a former MTV executive, gave a live demonstration Friday.
"The charts are no longer relevant," Yapp said. "Shows like ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!' are looking at other ways of measuring how hot an artist is."
As of Friday, according to Whooznxt, the hottest artist of SXSW was the British metalcore band with the Lilith Fair name, Asking Alexandria.
Ono proves charming in Denberg interview
At an age where it's more common to be contemplating hip replacement surgery, Yoko Ono, 78, has had six No. 1 dance singles on the Billboard charts. It's yet another noteworthy chapter in a fairly epic life.
KUT personality Jody Denberg interviewed Ono before several hundred people Friday morning at the Austin Convention Center, following a short film highlighting her confrontational and frequently very funny art and, of course, her life with John Lennon.
After joking that Ono might be the only person Willie Nelson hasn't dueted with, Denberg spent an hour talking about music, art, activism and the destruction in Japan, Ono's home country.
There was time to plug her tweets, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, her work with son Sean and her showcase tonight but, alas, no time for audience questions.
Nonetheless, wearing a white hat, black suit and sunglasses, the woman that so many people blamed for breaking up the Beatles was utterly charming.
If it's too loud, you filled out the wrong permit
Paul Oveisi, executive director of Austin Music People, responded Friday after hearing of additional problems with sound level enforcement along South Congress Avenue.
Oveisi's group was created recently to "protect and grow Austin's music culture and our reputation as the live music capital of the world." It launches with a party March 29 at ACL Live.
"This is exactly spot-on why we are forming AMP," Oveisi says. "Because issues like this can be avoided."
Many of the problems experienced by music promoters in South Austin had to do with changes in the City of Austin permit process. Oveisi blames miscommunication.
For instance, South by San Jose's Liz Lambert filed for a permit under an older directive for live music attached to a restaurant, which limits sound levels to 70 decibels. Two months ago, a new permit was created just for temporary music events like the ones happening in South Austin during SXSW that sets levels at 80.
Don Pitts, who heads the City of Austin's new music office, tried to broadcast the information about the new permits. But Lambert didn't know that. Apparently, others did not either.
"It shouldn't have worked out that way," says Oveisi, who credits Pitts with doing whatever he could to get the message out.
Friday highlightsThe 16th edition of Japan Night got under way at Elysium on Red River Street Friday night. All single admission receipts are being donated directly to the American Red Cross Japan Relief fund.The always popular Spin party at Stubb's, headlined by TV on the Radio, featured a guest appearance by Moby, who played with OMD.Ellen Barkin premiered her movie "Another Happy Day" at the Paramount Theatre.
Today's eventsMoviegoers who've been turned away from repeat showings of SXSW Film Narrative Jury & Audience award winner "Natural Selection" will get another chance today with a 9 p.m. showing at the State Theatre.The Austin Chronicle will present the Austin Music Awards tonight at the Austin Music Hall, with acts such as Sahara Smith, a reunion of the Wagoneers featuring Monte Warden and special guest Joe Ely, Bright Light Social Hour, the Meat Puppets with Roky Erickson and Mother Falcon.On stages: Bright Eyes, Eliza Doolittle, Deer Tick, Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, Jean Grae, Chico Trujillo, Big K.R.I.T. and hundreds more.
Compiled from staff reports