NOISE: South, West, and all sorts of points at SXSW

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Oh me, oh my, what to do every day at SXSW - the competing pull of day parties and unofficial showcases and the panels and speakers during the day - and then the night parties and official showcases at night - has me torn like a paper bag full of giveaway matches, condoms, beer bottle openers, and random acts of swag. And outfits and tats and hair. "There's a lot of hair going on," said one girly wag in the elevator at my downtown digs. "And lots of interesting facial hair. We're going shopping." Inspirational! Oh, yes, and music, music, music. Read more »

"Hazy Memories" is lame-ass

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By Sarah Phelan

Pardon my French, but the hazy memories excuse that White House spokesperson Tony snow trotted out today is one of the most lame-ass explanations that the Bush administration has trotted out to date.
Ask yourself this: if you were running this country, would you expect anyone to believe that you could not remember who came up with the radical notion to fire ALL 93 federal prosecutors?
Course not.
And if they really can't remember, they should not be running a country Read more »

The dreaded school letters

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By Tim Redmond

The letters go out today assigning kids to SF public schools, and often there is wailing and gnashing of teeth when parents don't get their very first choice. I agree, the system isn't perfect, but my advice, as someone who went through it and though he'd been utterly screwed, is: relax. There are a lot of good schools in SF; you don't have to be in Rooftop or Clarendon.

We visited all the supposedly top schools, applied for seven of them, and got none of our choices. Read more »

NOISE: Mo' SXSW, mo' Mekons, kissy Black Lips, smoky Ghostland Observatory

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Contributor Kate Izquierdo blogs on at SXSW; here's her latest report:

By Thursday, the rainstorms had gone, the sun was blazin', and the Black Lips have lost their bass player. In Mexico. No matter, as they bring a good facscimile of their Sandinista flavor replete with a boy-on-boy guitarist make-out session. How can you suck face with a big ass gold grill? Very carefully.

Dusk led us to Jon Langford and Sally Timms "recalling the Mekons," which loosely translated meant playing a few Mekons songs and commenting on how being in a seminal punk band didn't exactly put them on the map. Read more »

NOISE: From stone-thrower to powerbroker - Gilberto Gil

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Whoa, you really had to catch your breath and race to the Austin Convention Center to catch the major stories, speakerwise, at SXSW. Gilberto Gil took the stage Wednesday midafternoon to talk about tropicalia, new technology, and hip-hop initiatives Brazil has undertaken since he's become the country's Minister of Culture. Read more »

NOISE: Going to Townshend at SXSW

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Loved seeing Pete Townshend speak to a near-capacity crowd at the Hilton ballroom early on during SXSW. The guy still has his brain cells intact.

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Here are a few excepts from his talk:

"What's to stop us from having a festival at some point, having lets say at SXSW next year, an absolutely international web related moment that looks in all the things that happen, but allows the people out there that can't get here to be here. Read more »

NOISE: If it was Thursday, it must have been SXSW...

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Contributor Kate Izquierdo logs on from SXSW:

I'm running way behind shchedule today - nursing the first jack 'n' coke of the day, and watching Dirty on Purpose from Brooklyn. It's a wide-open, delay-drenched moodrock, a mercifully good start to Thursday afternoon.

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A little C&B, anyone?

We got in last night amidst horror stories of flashflood warnings and t-storms. Read more »

NOISE: SXSW beckons, grins widely, then swallows...

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I know what you're thinking. "Oh, poor you - poor you, having to hear so much music, drink so much beer, inhale so much barbecue, and party so hard with all those rock stars, random actors, and piles o' Texans." You can wipe that little sneer off your mug - it's unbecoming, and I see marionette lines in your faded future. Anyhoo, South By Southwest it was. Expect fresh dispatches daily, when I can slog back to a computer, from yours truly and contributor Kate Izquierdo. Read more »

Calling all nudes: Flesh on Bark moment

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By Sarah Phelan

Nothing draws attention to the beauty of an oak tree better than a bunch of nudes draped across its naked branches, their soft curves pressed into the tree’s whorly bark. Read more »

Damn Those Dams

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by Sarah Phelan

In case you missed it, March 14 was International Day of Action for Rivers, those beautiful silvery slivers of water that feed salmon fingerlings into the world wide mobius of oceans, then draw the adult salmon back to the headwaters where they were spawned, like pods beamed back up to the mother ship.

Only in the case of salmon, who jump six feet on average, returning is impossible if there’s a big fat dam in their way.

Such is the case on the Klamath River in Oregon. Read more »