sxsw in retrospect

I finally got a SXSW wristband this year and had four incredible days chock full o' music. It's Tuesday and I'm still a little fuzzy - but given yesterday's post, apparently alert enough to string sentences together.

I saw a lot of bands ranging from mainstream to indie, awesome to WTF. Here are the ones that left an impression on me the most.

BEST BEATS: Ladyhawke

Saw her at Stubb's Wednesday night and couldn't sit still. Most in the crowd weren't familiar with Ladyhawke, but by the end of her show they were dancing around to the 80s-esque tunes with the best of 'em. She didn't exactly engage the crowd, but with beats like the ones on her self-titled album, she doesn't need to. Ladyhawke's music is just plain fun and fabulous - and her "Dusk Till Dawn" video is hilarious. Listen to everything.

MOST UNIQUE: Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

Dent May's songs make me feel like a 50s housewife throwing a tiki party in Hawaii. In a good way. Or, in the words of May himself, the band is "Tropical/French pop/Healing & Easy Listening." We almost missed his show at Antone's on Friday but I had to see this ukulele action in the flesh. My boyfriend is pretty much obsessed with Dent May now; we can't help but smile when we listen to him. Oh, and the drummer gets extra cool points for using a tambourine and a maraca instead of drum sticks. Listen to "Meet Me In The Garden."


Dan Keyes, the (very attractive) genius behind Young Love, knows how to work the crowd - or, more specifically, the ladies in the crowd. We went to two shows and for both he hopped off the stage to dance with his (adoring and subsequently flipping out) fans. The girl in front of me at Pangaea turned to the girl next to me and said, "Were you at his Volume show Wednesday? I recognize you!" I like artists that bring people together. Keyes dances and sings through his entire show, which is impressive because his songs are intense. Keep your eyes open for his new album on April 28th (the day after my birthday...cough, cough). Listen to "Discotech."


To catch their two shows we waited a total of four hours. I'm not a patient person but the funny thing is, I don't miss those four hours. It was worth it. The first show was a SXSW Live taping on set and the second was at Stubb's on Saturday - the perfect ending. Their self-titled 1997 album will always have a special place in my heart; "Jumper" made it into the set list and it was awesome. Stephan Jenkins doesn't take his success for granted and seems like an artist who genuinely appreciates his fans and music in equal parts. He even threw flowers out into the audience when he walked on stage. There's a reason they've been around for 12 years - and they'll be releasing another album soon. Listen to anything off their eponymous album, or "NonDairy Creamer."


apocalypse now?

I feel like a broken record, but advertising has been in trouble for some time now. I knew it was bad in September while I was in New York. I knew it was awful a month ago when I emailed my resume to an agency hours after it announced a new account, only to receive an automated response that their disk crashed. And now there's today's AdAge article by Bob Garfield.

Here's part of Garfield's intro:
Chicken Little, don your hardhat. Nudged by recession, doom has arrived.

The toll will be so vast -- and the institutions of media and marketing are so central to our economy, our culture, our democracy and our very selves -- that it's easy to fantasize about some miraculous preserver of "reach" dangling just out of reach. We need "mass," so mass, therefore, must survive. Alas, economies are unsentimental and denial unproductive. The post-advertising age is under way.

This isn't about the end of commerce or the end of marketing or news or entertainment. All of the above are finding new expressions online, and in time will flourish thanks to the very digital revolution that is now ravaging them. The future is bright. But the present is apocalyptic. Any hope for a seamless transition -- or any transition at all -- from mass media and marketing to micro media and marketing are absurd.

The sky is falling, the frog in the pot has come to a boil and, oh yeah, we are, most of us, exquisitely, irretrievably fucked.

Advertising is infamous for its incessant evolution. Like Garfield, I suppose, my gloom has turned into sheer curiosity: what the hell is going to come out of this mess?


dear vogue: green is the new black

Vogue's March issue garnered a lot of positive press for its cover choice: First Lady Michelle Obama. I was ecstatic to come home and find the issue waiting to be unwrapped.

Until I tried to pick it up.

Better known as "The Power Issue" of Vogue, every March means one - well, maybe two - things: a workout for your mailman and a workout for you.

I was disgusted to discover that the first article, Susie Boyt's "All the Things You Are," doesn't appear until page 256. Total issue size? 510 pages. The spine is one inch thick.

Given my background, I like to think I'm predisposed to favor advertising more than the average consumer. I also appreciate Vogue ads in particular because they're usually high fashion - whimsical, artsy and occasionally stunning - and great fodder for my collages.

But it's 2009, the era of hybrid-car-driving, reusable-shopping-bag-toting locavores. For the most part, I'm happy the rest of the world has decided to jump on the green bandwagon.

Which is why I'm disappointed that Vogue still marches on with its massive, tree cemetery of a Power Issue. The only powerful thing about it is the ad dollar signs the magazine must be seeing.

Looks like our ideas of green differ.


little miss opinion featured on sxsw edition of 'the saucidoslant'

Now, for a bit of shameless self-promotion: little miss opinion was featured on a special SXSW edition of The SaucidoSlant last night. I gave my two cents for artist recommendations this coming week; check out the video below to hear my top three...

Midnight SaucidoSlant! SX Special!

And for all you foodies out there, be sure to check out Yelp Deals at SXSW Week which features specials by the likes of Uchi and Sugar Mama's Bakeshop. It looks like this year SXSW = YUMM. Yes, I just made that corny joke.


icons of america, updated

In celebration of Glamour's 70th anniversary, American icons have received an
update from a handful of young celebrities. Think Alicia Keys as First Lady Michelle Obama, Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter and America Ferrera as Dolores Huerta.

Some renditions are stunning, like Bledel's. Others miss the mark, like Emma Stone as Carrie Bradshaw.

But I give these ladies props for attempting to fill such enormous shoes. What a fun idea!


fortune's list: the good, the bad & the ugly

I like lists because they never fail to get me fired up. Especially when it comes to lists regarding corporations.

Enter the World's Most Admired Companies - all 363 of them. Number one? The company who makes the laptop I'm typing this very post with, Apple. And since my dream car is a pimped out Prius, I'm thrilled to see Toyota at lovely number three.

The least admired, in terms of innovation: Dillard's. I wasn't surprised, but felt bad when I heard an Austin Dillard's is closing...at a mall already struggling to stay afloat.

Fortune also has a top 10 list for financial soundness. Number one is - brace yourselves, gentle readers - Exxon Mobil.

Personally, I find it hard to respect a company that posted record profits while the rest of us were writhing in pain at the gas pump.

I'm stepping off my soapbox now. But I'd love to hear your point-of-view on this list.

professional what?

There's something odd about this economic downturn - but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I read this Wall Street Journal article.

In it, Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn points out that the 64% of Americans who identify themselves as 'professionals' are hit harder than those employed in, say, the fast-food industry.

Bottom line: the stimulus package will create jobs, but not relevant ones for professionals who perhaps need it the most. Penn said it best:
We are totally unprepared for this new phenomenon. We have safety nets for the chronically unemployed, for the fast-food workers let go (oddly they may be the only ones keeping their jobs in this recession), and for the manufacturing plants that have been shuttered. The stimulus will create construction jobs galore. But we have nothing for the tens of thousands of displaced advertising creatives and newspaper writers and editors that are among the newly unemployed. They can't build roads -- all they learned how to do was to write ads and draft editorials.
To reach their target audience, great creatives use ideas to build a bridge.

If push comes to shove, will they trade thinking caps for hard hats?