carl boxer 13 march

staying with carl at the omni in downtown austin, here for south by southwest. because of doug's film "home page" i've now been to two of america's exciting above-ground film festivals where i get to absorb all this culture and enjoy at once the feeling that i am part of a cultural moment amidst better or more edgy

"should i cry because i only have paper" carl asks since i'm on his laptop

but after sundance i'm not feeling like standing in line for more thought-provoking independent cinema, as much as today i felt drawn to "video game cinematics" - a presentation of computer/console game cut-scenes, those highly rendered and very slick and surface-rich introductions to games. conduit-3 put on by the roadhead folks and esther and other nice smart young nearly 30 year old people this year declared their festival-within-a-festival explores digital/film/game convergeance. south by southwest is nice to have interactive and movie festivals running cucurrently, these conduit folks are smart to put them in the same room. anyways i was stimulated a little by the videos, and more by the people attending. my first chance to facetalk to some actual game designers in some time. and origin had donated their stand up arcade units from their employee break-room (tired of programming that computer game? how about relaxing with a video game?) so there were free games to play to set the scene of nostalgia and knowledge, games and videos.

basically i felt like i was at a conference i would want to go to and it felt quite natural and like an appropriate place to hang out. i don't have the sense that many festivals are my festival - but watching engaging eye candy, playing games, drinking tequila, talking to digital artists; i got my fun on.

films/shorts than i would otherwise find around me or take the trouble to see, and i am drinking and drifting away from my home roots and workstation only becoming more and more anxious that i haven't finished redrafting my dungeons and dragons short stories to apply for gaming jobs or even further considering my own weltanschauung and writing about the internet as i see it for the benefit of a few bucks and some professional validation.

esther robinson, dear fabulous producer of home page today enlightened me a little as i hadn't seen things.

what are we doing for our panel tuesday?
"i think we should have a talk about what we should talk about. i just want to get the audience to agree with me that everything you think of is an absolutely shit idea."
(carl and i, the witty repartie continues)

she talked about home page as an example of boomer politics - howard and doug working over an idealism and world-view from their youths that they ascribed to me. in fact perhaps the san francisco scene is/was permeated by that - old folks wanting to make a revolution, again, and young folks wanting to have a reason to wear tye-dyes. all along there have been people sharing theories about hippies and the internet but i hadn't seen homepage drawn into that situation clearly until today.

harmony polka each time i visit austin i find music seeping out between every slat of every two-bit bar and saloon. the sheer quantity of musicians makes for a pretty high standard of play. last night i saw Daniel Johnston at the electric lounge. upon the heated recommendations of some new friends, i was excited to see the man. i had to wait for three unannounced preceeding acts, including two singer/songwriter amateurs, one of which was the busboy at the bar (who sang an accoustic guitar number with the verse, "can you feel the pain inside," which actually, i was in fact feeling) and the second act was "that guy who rents me videos" said new-friend Jerm. he played the harmonica and the guitar, each with one hand, neither with much attempt at clarity or statement other than total noise saturation. it was an evening of democratic access to music. it was nice in that way. it was also nice they had Arkanoid, the old video game, so joey and carl and i played and made fun of each other and asked joey questions about day trading stocks - making large trades in a few seconds on 1/8th point fluctuations and actually tangibly doing his part to destabilize the market. i don't believe he's an anarchist at heart though - he just plays one on the nasdaq.

wesley willis daniel johnston played a simple guitar in a blue sweatsuit with his belly almost below the belt and his tongue up around his lips most of the time. he seemed to sing with his eyes closed. his lyrics were touching and simple and direct. it was extremely refreshing music. so what if he's got mental problems? that's what they said about tiresias and cassandra too. and wesley willis!

i ran into mark meadows, he gave me a six and a half inch pillbottle - quite an item. he's making art these days, a lot of channeling demons. there's something that makes me a little leery of dealing directly with demons, though i don't always mind their intermediaries. they tend to have unique insights, and a taste for disruption.

other than that, i'm underslept and overstimulated by the partying - each night this posse of people just a little older than me goes from bar to bar downing drinks and talking over music. i don't think i'd ever really bar-hopped until the other night. you really need the kind of extensive strip available in this university town. education and drinking together.

on my way mad dashing out the house i asked my dearly beloved amy for a novel, she handed me Haruki Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase which has just turned out to be the best book i've read in months if not years. joy and insight - what more could you ask from a book? amy likes contemporary japanese fiction. now so do i!

so there's a book drawing me in, harry knowles is wandering about - wouldn't it be nice to chat with him? and there's panelists, (as esther put it, a chance to know what people have to say without actually reading their books) (as carl put it, none of the interactive panelists actually ever made anything on the web. humph. pundits.)

so i'm up past six am working on my web site, watching the sun rise over austin.