Yes, the time has finally come! I'm sure that everyone out there is wondering who won this year's coveted Gold Badges to the SxSW Music festival and conference in Austin. We had a ton of entries and a number of promising essays, but ultimately, there can only be one winner.
As you're reading this, I've already been enjoying the warmth and music, and this year's winner should now be walking headlong into the South By experience. Who is that luck soul, you may ask? Surprisingly enough, this year's guest correspondent is a character you may already know - none other than Malan Darras.
At first we were a bit skeptical of sending a well-known local musician down to Austin as part of our unofficial team, but hey, Mr. Darras played by the rules and made a good argument for sending him across the Red River.
So what made his essay stand out from the pack? Besides a good sense of humor and solid compositional skills at a keyboard, Malan promises to bring Urban Tulsa readers a new perspective of SxSW. As a musician who has played the festival previously, Darras can provide an insider's view of the week and the chaos that surrounds it. And anyone who is familiar with Darras knows that he can spin a tale.
If there's adventure to be found on the streets of Austin, you can be sure that Malan will find it (and likely documenting it on his video blog at www.malandtv.com). In fact, I'll even be reviving my blog from last year at www.gkhizer.blogspot.com, and checking in from time to time with updates from the eye of the storm.
Urban Tulsa Weekly would also like to congratulate our runner up, who while not enjoying the nightlife in Austin, will also receive consolation prizes from the UTW vault. JS Maloy tempted us with a native Austinite's view of the acclaimed festival.
In the end, however, there can only be one king, and this year, it is Malan Darras. Here's his winning essay, for you to peruse while day dreaming of winning you own trip to Austin next year. Until then, we'll be anxious to see what Darras brings back in his post-SxSW report, which will run right here in UTW in the coming weeks.
Without further adieu:
Hi, my name is Malan Darras and I just wasted sixteen words telling you my name.
Seven years ago I started playing music in Tulsa and during my stint as singer for the band Rewake. I helped open the doors to several of Tulsa's clubs for bands that wanted to play original music. At the time it was unheard of for local bands to play their own music for four hours... and actually be entertaining. Friends in the local market said it couldn't be done and I thoroughly enjoyed proving them wrong. Wait, what does this have to do with anything?
Oh yeah, SXSW.
I've been to SXSW before, as a performer in 2001. We played the first day of the festival but stayed until the end for the experience. It was my first time at a large music festival and I was shocked by the talent and diversity we found inside (not to mention that homeless guy in the bikini bottoms).
My eyes and ears were drenched in genres that performed bipolar switches from venue to venue. Venue A: Metal Band with big hair screeching about "Rock & Roll Tonight!!!" Venue B: Emo band staring at the floor, Venue C: Gooding.
We thought we'd found Mecca and lived the experience to the drunkest fullest. Record label parties, wasted with Bowling for Soup, conferences, the homeless guy in the bikini bottoms (yep, him again). We chased the experience from block to block like butterfly hunters on LSD with bed sheets for nets.
By the end we were exhausted, filthy, unshaven, and incredibly happy. We'd experienced heaven. We promised we'd "never miss this festival again" and began the drive back to Tulsa.
It appears that with every mile we drove, we lost a piece of the engine of the car experience and the car blew up in the driveway promise of our return faded. As the festival kicked in the next year we were nowhere to be found, another year passed and again nothing... we never returned.
The opportunity to return to SXSW this year as correspondent for Urban Tulsa Weekly is huge, and I think I can capture it in a way that is totally unique. I am an avid writer embarrassment to my family and video blogger at www.malandtv.com and have the gear that will allow me to provide written articles as well as video blogs (you mean you didn't already think of that?) for the UTW site as I wander the streets of Austin.
One hundred percent sobriety allows me to cover the event with a keen eye and clear head, unlike someone who's just going to experience the "party going on in Austin."
You want SXSW documented in an entertaining, informative way by someone who understands the business, bands and the city? I'm your guy.
Congress of A Crow would make an amazing addition to SXSW. Their music is currently exploding throughout the city and front woman Danelle Phillips would truly shine on this national stage. They have to be heard!
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