During March, Austin plays host to the SXSW (South by Southwest), which is really a bunch of difference conferences back to back - Interactive, Film and Music. I've never really paid much attention to SXSW, other than grumbling at the increased traffic in town each spring. We're also overrun by hordes of hipsters wearing skinny black jeans, faded t-shirts with concert logos, big sunglasses, and the all-important SXSW badges.
But last week I got an invitation to attend a brunch hosted by PBSKids Interactive. I forwarded the invite to Wendi and asked what she thought. She agreed that it sounded interesting and said, "At the very least, you'll get a free brunch and maybe some swag." Then she asked if she could go with me. I e-mailed my contact asking if I could bring a guest, and she said I could.
Sunday morning, Wendi and I met up in the lobby of the Driskill and headed upstairs to the brunch. I am so glad that Wendi was with me. I had expected, based on the information in the invite, a panel of folks from PBSKids Interactive talking about plans they had for the site and how they were coming up with ideas of good programs and games for kids.
Instead, it was a brunch mixer attended by the PBSKids Interactive team and about a dozen bloggers. I am horrible at making small talk with complete strangers, and if I had been alone, I might have bolted for the door instead of staying to chat.
According to Wendi, there were some big-name bloggers there, but I had never heard of them. And given that I'm far from being a big-name blogger, I have no idea how I ended up on the guest list.
Wendi and I stayed for about an hour and chatted with a few people. Then we bolted for the door and headed out to wander 6th Street and enjoy the scenery. There were lots of hung-over conference attendees heading to the Convention Center, the site of most of the SXSW Interactive events. Given that it was only noon on a Sunday, the day of the time change, no less, I was surprised at how many folks were up and out.
The highlight, or lowlight, of the walk was the six pack of skanks dressed in short-shorts and string bikini tops with all their tramp stamps and piercings on display, hoola-hooping in front of one bar hoping to lure customers inside. When I told B about the hoola-hoopers and wondered whether the bar owners really thought it would work, he pointed out that I wasn't the bar's target demographic. Instead of going inside and drinking, I wanted to tell the girls to put some clothes on and stop bleaching their hair in stripes for heaven's sake.
Finally, since I'm all about blogging with integrity and stuff (cough), PBSKids did not ask me to write about the event as a condition of attending. And after reading this and seeing their name mentioned in the same post with hoola-hooping skanks, they'll probably wish that they hadn't invited me.
Also, none of the people at the brunch was actually a hipster. No one was wearing skinny jeans or black sunglasses. They were all very nice and normal.