The February Rush

pictures by Justin T. Arthur (full album here)


In the month leading up to the glorious chaos of SXSW buildings that have laid dormant for months are inhabited by construction workers, designers, carpenters, cleaning crews in the fevered rush to turn every available space into a fully-functioning venue.

Construction on The Capital Grille (Austin location)

There has been some major construction including the Spaghetti Warehouse on 4th and Colorado being given a second floor (pictured above). Other bars being renovated, re-named or spruced up include: Chicago House (formerly, Fuel; pictured below), Bourbon Girl (formerly Spill), Malia (300 E. 6th), Hyde (4th st) and Treasure Island which now has a liquor license under the name “413 Bar”. This effort included a rush to get new liquor licenses for the former Yassine properties issued by the end of January.

The Chicago House

The Chicago House, a new beer bar on Trinity at 6th

The Beautiful Upstairs of The Chicago House
Interior of The Chicago House

There are still a few places downtown looking vacant such as 404 (error: bar not found, formerly Kiss n’ Fly), Pure, Roial and Lovejoy’s (may it rest in peace). The lack of any obvious renovation or activity on these prime spots of SXSW real estate is all the more surprising given the ever-growing amount of economic stimulation Austin receives from the festival.

According to the yearly economic impact report by SXSW, the 2012 festival had a “direct impact” of $125.8 million. Added to the estimated “indirect” and “induced” cash-flow and the overall impact is just over $190 million over the course of 12 days.

Art feeding business, business feeding art.

We are presented with bands, artists and films from all over the world. Some of the bands won’t end up recording an album and some of the films won’t be picked up for release so here we have the potential to see something that might never be played to a wider audience.

That is why we look forward to South by Southwest every year. The opportunity to discover new things for yourself. Meet interesting people and take in art that might not come around here, or anywhere else, ever again. Even though the rush is sometimes jarring, it can also be very rewarding. If you ask me, the rewards far outweigh the minor inconveniences.

This, in part, is what has kicked our re-launch of into gear. We have been busy with major changes in our lives (new jobs, new homes, etc) and we can’t promise that we will ever be weekly again, but we will be a bit more consistent. Our new site is wordpress based, mobile-friendly and has an embedded player. Simple and sexy. We have just posted episodes recorded at Quakecon 2012 in Dallas, Texas, another recorded after attending Wizard World Austin 2012. Next is our SXSW 2013 Preview episode. We live… again!