Lessons learned from SXSW 2005
The more things change, the more they stay the same. You've heard that before. And sometimes it's true. For example, a quick scan of the headlines generated from this year's South by Southwest music showcase in Austin, Texas, follows a similar theme, the same theme in fact that the music press has rehashed now for the past five years.
Quote of the week. Santa Fe City Council member David Pfeffer, angered by an April 5 Albuquerque Journal article titled "Pfeffer Wants to Patrol Border," responded to the story in a letter published in the Journal on April 6 claiming the reporter, John T. Huddy, was guilty of ye olde "complete fabrication."
Impact Fee Psychosis
Leninists and corporate shills make odd bedfellows at the Legislature
Impact fees have amazing powers. They can restore sense to the city's growth policies. But did you know they also induce pathological behavior? Impact fees can turn right-wing Republicans into Leninists and glib liberals. They also have a strange effect on populist Democrats, turning them into shills for corporate favoritism.
The big deal about the Albuquerque Party Patrol
The APD Party Patrol genuinely seemed like a good bunch of people. And so well-behaved. Of course, I was a reporter with a microphone in my pocket, but all the same they seemed perfectly pleased to have me along for the ride. It was fun that night, getting the chance to watch our local party busters in action, even though we didn't break up any raucous events. It gave me a newfound respect for their team—these guys really were the cream of the crop, hand selected to serve in the overtime program that was supposed to save teenage lives and keep the peace. They deserved the extra bucks they were making off the shift—they knew how to deal with kids—they were calm, respectful, yet authoritative (in a good way). All that extra training seemed to be paying off. And so when I wrote my story on the Party Patrol a few days later ["Laying Down the Law," March 24-30], that night stayed with me.
Odds & Ends
Dateline: Australia—Despite recent crackdowns on passengers and the items that they are allowed to carry on to planes, airport security continues to suffer setbacks. Take for example, the story of David Cox, who was waiting inside the terminal at Sydney Airport last week. He happened to glance outside the window, and what should he see but a baggage handler wandering around the runway wearing the camel costume that he had packed in his luggage. On Friday, Qantas Airways Ltd. suspended the handler in question after a video revealed the unnamed man opening the passenger's bag, donning the camel's head and wandering around the airport tarmac. According to Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon, the baggage handler could be fired pending further investigation. “We are acutely aware of heightened community concerns around security of baggage,” Dixon said in a statement. “What has happened is completely unacceptable and is unacceptable to the vast majority of decent, hardworking Qantas employees.”
Recently, I found myself defending an article that I wrote and was published in the Alibi letters section last month. I was seated along with about 20 other civic leaders around a conference room table. Our monthly neighborhood association coalition meeting started on time, following the agenda on topics of importance and interest to the residents of this particular Northeast City Council district.
Not All Music is Created Equal
An interview with Jay Frank, programming director of Yahoo! Music
On the final day of this year's South by Southwest music showcase, I stumbled into a convention center ballroom that promised a lively discussion on the state of the music industry in the United States. I figured no sane member of the music press would pass that up, right? There's just so much to talk about. You've got satellite radio, Internet downloads, peer-to-peer file sharing technology, the iPod, eMusic, iTunes, reggae tone, ringtones, Britney Spears ... you name it. So I went in search of enlightenment.