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SXSW Day 4: Protesting Israel, Legalizing Cannabis

Posted in Journalism, and SXSW

I finally got a few solid hours of sleep last night, which is good since I was back downtown at 8:30am to attend a protest sponsored by Jewish Voice For Peace. They were targeting the panel “Building The Perfect Country,” which featured Israel’s general consul in New York, Ido Aharoni, among others.

Obviously, some folks felt like Israel has no business being on a panel with that name. Additionally, Aharoni is the leading mind behind the “Brand Israel” campaign, which seeks to replace Israel’s current image (“conflict! occupation! war crimes!”) with a white-washed alternative (“innovation! creativity! democracy!”).

The security — which was heavy! — gave me some serious stink eye when I went from the protest to the panel. I’ll be writing about both events for MintPress News.

A security guard glares at Kit O'Connell at a SXSW event in the JW Marriott Hotel in this March 14, 2016 photograph. (Kit O'Connell)
A security guard glares at Kit O’Connell at a SXSW event in the JW Marriott Hotel in this March 14, 2016 photograph. (Kit O’Connell)

I also attended Ending Cannabis Prohibition: Tech Politics Culture, which I’m writing about for MintPress News, and New Media and Government: Holding Our Institutions Accountable, which I attended because I’m a new media journalist and my friend (and editor at the Texas Observer) Andrea Grimes was part of the panel. I’m not writing about this, at all, really, but you can find some tweets about it on @KitOConnell.

I had my first big disappointment of the festival today. The publicity team for “You Me Her,” the new “polyromantic” sitcom, told me they weren’t going to let me interview any of the talent or creators of the show. It’s funny, but before SXSW started, I figured I’d shoot for the moon and try to get to talk to celebrities like Wendy Davis or Pee-Wee Heman. And their publicity teams have bent over backwards to give me access. Meanwhile, though I thought the poly sitcom would be eager to have my coverage, I had to chase them down just to get a fairly curt “no.”

I’m still planning to watch the premiere tomorrow, but I don’t have high expectations.

Don’t miss my new SXSW writing from today:

I’ve had some new donors to my crowdfunding campaign over the last few days. I appreciate you all so much, and also everyone that’s shared my work or even just given positive feedback on my writing. THANK YOU!