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Lent 2013, Entry 26

Living in Dallas I’ve always been aware of the annual Austin showcase South By Southwest Conference and Festival. They define it this way: “The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals (March 8-17, 2013) offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.” I think the short version is “celebrating art in whatever form it may take.”

It’s one of those events where I always think, “Yeah, I should really go. Maybe next year.” Then I read about all that’s going on here in my Dallas newspaper and kick myself. Repeat process annually.

My oldest daughter happens to be the editor of the Life and Arts section of The Daily Texan student newspaper and this year her steady stream of Tweets and texts have piqued my interest even more. She’s kind of in-the-know about it this time as she’s working. Fun work. But working, so she’s keeping a professional distance. Meanwhile, what I keep hoping for is a photo of her next to cool/famous rock/movie/author stars holding a piece of paper saying, “Hi, Brent! Wish you were here! Love, Dave Grohl.” That very professional distance is something I don’t think I could reign in.

At any rate, I’ve been told I should listen to Dave Grohl’s Keynote Address to the conference. For those that don’t know, Mr. Grohl is the guy behind the drums when the band moved from local gigs to legends, and now fronts a really good band named Foo Fighters.

I thought I’d do the blogging equivalent of “live Tweeting” as I listen…so here goes:

1) I think you should all heed the warning underneath the video before you hit “play” about this video containing profanity.
2) It’s peculiar to see a rock star put on reading glasses. I don’t know why.
3) I’d like to start a sentence like, “As you can imagine, Bruce Springsteen is a great dinner guest.”
4) I, too, purchased the K-Tel record with Edgar Winter’s instrumental “Frankenstein” on it at a drugstore. It was after that Mr. Grohl and I took distinctly different career paths.
5) Hold on. I gotta watch the “goat yelling like humans” video again.
6) [on playing music as his religion/church] “I had finally found *my* voice.” I think that’s what we’re all trying to do in one way or another, no?
7) I think his story about his youthful dedication to learning music in his room on his own lends credence to Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” theory.
8) I wonder if the amount of time young people spend on social media/video games these days would keep his homemade cassette multi-tracking type things from happening. Are we losing the creative spirit if most of the play is in the game and not the kid?
9) I wonder if high school still have “battle of the bands” competitions. They should.
10) The list of his cousin Tracy’s record collection reads like a list of CD’s that I should’ve shared with my kids. They wouldn’t like them, but it might give them insight into a little of who I was at that time in my life when those bands “spoke to me.” I do have a 4-volume compilation that should suffice.
11) Man, I get it when he said that was the first day of the rest of his life. Somehow, even though I couldn’t possibly have known the “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones would say the same thing to me as it was happening.
12) I still prefer concerts in clubs instead of arenas.
13) “These bands were now my Beatles and my Stones, my Zeppelin, my Dylan.” Right there with ya, Dave.
14) I don’t think artists fit well within the confines of the public school system, even if they have advanced placement art classes or programs. Often, true artists cut their own path. My guess is they learn more if they get kicked out or leave school, even (especially) art schools.
15) Paying your dues is valuable…maybe the most important part of any career. Keeps you humble no matter how big you get.
16) Our worlds would be better if we all were honest about our inconsistencies and imperfections were on display. Honest, pure & real. Don’t we all want to be part of such tribes?
17) Great question after you go from “fringe” to “mainstream”: “How do you now define success?” It’s a good question to ask periodically, no?
18) “Who determines what is a good voice? The Voice? Imagine Bob Dylan standing there singing in front of Christian Aguilara.” Brilliant.
19) I’ve learned that starting over can be really inspiring. The hard way. Amen, Dave.
20) I’ve heard so many artists say something to the effect of “turn off your inner editor.” As one who has a very critical & stern inner editor, I think I need to learn how to kick her in the effing teeth. I think my life will be better & deeper. Any insights you could give me here, patrons, would be helpful.

I think every aspiring artist might enjoy this 40 minutes of inspiration.