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Category: SXSW

‘Which Side Are You On?’ Rapper B. Dolan On Corporate Power & Making Racists Afraid Again

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and SXSW

B. Dolan was my favorite discovery of SXSW, an unabashedly political rapper from Rhode Island, and also an anti-corporate activist with Knowmore.org. I caught him during the same show where I saw Wheelchair Sports Camp and I knew we’d have to talk more.

It took until early last month before we finally connected with an interview, and then another month (thanks to the distracting spectacle of the election) before I finally put his words up on my site.

Thanks, B. Dolan, for taking the time to talk, and for your patience in seeing this published!

Kit O’Connell, Approximately 8,000 Words: Talk to me about what it’s like to play a huge commercial event like SXSW, especially the impact it can have good and bad on a community or your career. We had anti-gentrification protests at the event this year, in fact — is this something you take into consideration, as a politically aware musician?…

Wheelchair Sports Camp On SXSW, Music Festival Accessibility, & Occupy

Posted in Austin, Journalism, Occupy Wall Street, and SXSW

Wheelchair Sports Camp is one of the better-known bands in the “krip hop” movement, led by Kalyn, a self-described “MC/beat-maker/activist/educator/shit-talker.” Their music combines electronic sounds and hip-hop beats with live jazz instrumentation, and, of course, Kalyn’s rapid-fire words. Sometimes funny, sometimes experimental, I’ve enjoyed every performance I’ve seen since I first caught them in 2012 at Occupy Austin’s ambitious “Occupy SXSW” mini-festival.

After seeing Kalyn perform again at this year’s SXSW, I asked her to answer a few questions by email.

I’m looking forward to their upcoming album, “No Big Deal,” which Kalyn mentions below.…

‘Orange Sunshine’: Tune In, Turn On With 100 Million Hits Of LSD (#SXSW)

Posted in Journalism, and SXSW

LSD is back in the news, as scientists begin to study this intriguing substance again.

After spending years banished to the realms of forbidden science, a study published in March from The Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences USA used neural imaging to examine the areas of the brain activated by the psychedelic drug. David Nuitt, a lead researcher, told Nature that he thinks LSD has potential to treat addiction and depression.

In the 1960s and 1970s, scientists and psychotherapists were fascinated by the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms), even as everyday Americans experienced their effects firsthand by the thousands. A politically-motivated surge in the war on drugs sent both research and psychedelic culture underground.

“Orange Sunshine,” which premiered at SXSW in March, tells the story of The Brotherhood Of Eternal Love, the hippie surfer cult that fueled America’s LSD boom. In the name of helping the country “turn on,” they created and distributed millions of hits of acid to celebrities and festival-goers alike.…

In ‘Ovarian Psycos,’ Women Use Bikes To Claim Space & The Streets (#SXSW)

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and SXSW

There’s a particular liberation found on two wheels, gliding through a night time city street.

That feeling becomes simultaneously even more liberating and powerful in a group of cyclists, reasserting our right to take up space normally dominated by cars.

But cycling culture is notoriously sexist — just ask almost any woman who has tried to purchase a bike or get repairs at a shop, and group rides are often male-dominated and unwelcoming to women and the gender-nonconforming.

The Ovarian Psycos are a women-of-color cycling crew from East Los Angeles and the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Beyond simply spreading the joy of the ride to more people, their work is directly situated in a historic tradition of feminist and Xicana activism.

“Ovarian Psycos,” a documentary from directors Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle that premiered this year at SXSW, brings the crew’s politics and passion to the screen, where it can hopefully inspire other women like them to take up more space on the streets and in their everyday lives.…

As Cannabis Becomes Big Business, Who’s Getting Smoked?

Posted in Journalism, MintPress News, and SXSW

Hundreds of people marched to the White House early this month to show their support for less restrictive federal marijuana regulations and nationwide legalization.

In an act of peaceful protest, many at the event organized by DCMJ, a local legalization group, smoked marijuana, puffed on vaporizers containing hash oil, or consumed cannabis edibles. Although the activists at the April 3 rally were prepared to risk arrest, CNN reported just two citations.

Although possession of up to 2 ounces of pot has been decriminalized within Washington, D.C., smoking marijuana could be considered an act of civil disobedience because public consumption remains prohibited.

As the group staged their 4:20 “smoke in,” they briefly inflated a 51-foot inflatable joint emblazoned with a clear message: “Obama, deschedule cannabis now.”…

SXStreetcrash: A Tribute to David Bowie In The Streets At SXSW (Photo Gallery)

Posted in Journalism, and SXSW

2016 marked the 7th “SXStreetcrash,” an interactive, guerrilla performance event held in the center of 6th Street, Austin’s downtown nightclub district, during the massive SXSW Music festival. It’s hosted every year by Crash Alchemy, a local arts collective.

This year’s SXStreetcrash was a tribute to David Bowie, in honor of his recent passing. For the first time, the local chapter of the Decentralized Dance Party joined in, providing sound through their synchronized boomboxes. The DDP is a movement that originated in Canada which believes in promoting world peace through partying, and they use a portable FM transmitter to create a dance floor in the streets.

The idea of the Streetcrash is that the participants, including many community volunteers, gather ahead of time to create characters for the performance and practice a set of dance moves. Then, the group filters out into the 6th Street crowds, acting strangely and attracting as much attention as possible before, suddenly, coming together in a grand performance that “crashes the party.”…

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