Monday, March 18, 2013

SXSW 2013: Getting Back to Abnormal, This Ain't No Mouse Music!, No More Road Trips? Don Jon












Geeky, admittedly devoid of tact, and first seen on a radio talk show in which an series of African American callers accuse her of being a racist, Stacy Head makes an unlikely heroine. But that’s just what she proves to be, as Getting Back to Abnormal conducts a tour of the racial politics of New Orleans that’s as meandering and culturally rich as a second line parade.

Friday, March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013: Computer Chess, Swim Little Fish, Loves Her Gun












The fuzzy, shades-of-gray black-and-white of the decades-old Sony video camera that director Andrew Bujalski used to shoot Computer Chess is a worm tunnel through the space-time continuum, shooting us straight to the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. We arrive a computer chess tournament to which teams of artificial intelligence programmers from places like MIT and Stanford have lugged bulky CPUs and monitors. It’s an annual milestone in the race to develop a computer that can beat a human chess master. It is also, as one of the spectators puts it, the beginning of “the end of the world”—and the dawn of the one we inhabit now, in which we take it for granted that computers can do a whole lot of things better than we can

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SXSW 2013: Before Midnight, Mud, The Act of Killing














My friend John Morthland, who programmed panels for the South by Southwest film festival in its infancy, says he could only get panelists from Texas and nearby states in those days. The schedule is crammed with panelists and films from all over now, but SXSW’s programmers still leave plenty of space for native sons and daughters.