Salute to Chief Boima and Dutty Artz for this post that laid out a lot of things I’ve been thinking about the last 5 years I’ve been to Austin for SXSW.  I urge you all to mediate on this and figure out how we can continue to build space with each other both in our communities and at gargantuan event$ happening nationally. Read the entire piece here:

SXSW has been around for a long time. I only attended for a brief three year period. So I can only speculate as to what it was like in the early years. However I can’t help but feel that the dismantling of a unified community in the tropical whatever you want to call it scene, wasn’t completely unrelated to a noticeable boom of corporate attention paid to the annual event in Austin (and a general increase in non-music related brands competing for young people’s attention.) Our peripheral space of horizontally inclusive interaction between like-minded but struggling artists had become popular enough to threaten SXSW. And they chose to dismantle that grassroots community instead of invest in it. I believe that this community – born on the Internet, raised in local clubs around the world, and having brief romantic encounters at our figurative summer camps every year – was the precursor to the corporate invention of EDM. And today, with no acknowledgement afforded to the ground breakers, EDM acts are a major draw for the conference and the corporate sponsored events that surround it.

The conversation is* being had at the highest level$ – and I’m not sure those gatekeepers even know it.  In the wake of Steve Stoute’s “Tanning of AmericaTV special – here Steve, Nas and Ben Horowitz spoke at the conference this week precisely about the changes happening in the country and across the globe.  And while I think what’s being said is mi$$ing the bull’s eye of what’s happening and our collective potential to change/overthrow oppressive systems, it’s important to watch.  It’s our job to get into this conversation and steer it so that in stepping towards the future, we don’t forget the past. So, get at me Nas! #YoungWorldCulture

I can say from a collective standpoint, “Listen Global, Act Local” will continue getting bigger and better.  But when I say bigger, it may not be what you think.  The goal is to inspire global/local thinking not only in the belly of the beast at places like SXSW, but in our own communities. THAT’S HOW BIG WE MEAN. This event was started, continues to be imagined and is executed by a group of us “Local Globals‘ doing this work in our own communities:

Peep all the photos from 2014’s event HERE.

So, join us! Events like #GlobalLocal2014, Peligrosa, Austin Vida and others leading with their hearts is the light that continues to shine bright in the darkne$$. We want to work with you next year! Let’s come together! #PuentesFuentes: meaning, let’s bridge together to get it flowing, y’all!

indexCheck out this re-cap in the Austin American Statesman of the event – click on the picture! Big thanks to Nancy Flores for covering us!  I’m also sharing some photos from the event below – you can look on Instagram search via the hashtag #GlobalLocal2014. Thanks for all of you who posted and engaged:

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I think something Chief Boima says towards the end of his post really resonates:

If SXSW just becomes an excuse for corporations to set up stages and tents, blast their logos all over the city, and find corporate backed nationally established acts to pull the biggest crowds, they’ll repel independent ones who don’t see the value professionally in joining the official conference, and don’t feel the personal camaraderie of community that can exist in its unofficial spaces. The actual conference will become an empty shell of the innovative initiative it set out to be. And that’s exactly why if you’re in Austin – when you get tired of all the bulla – head straight down to Peligrosa and Kenny Dorman’s backyard, and Listen Global, Act Local.”

And finally, Harold McMillan from DiverseArts which summed up the vibe, purpose and future so nicely days after the event on his Facebook wall:

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got some stuff to say. please read me.
we are tired. we need a couple of days to rest. will be difficult to contact us by phone, but here and email works.

The marriage of culture and commerce is possible. But, you gotta want to find out how it can work. You have to want to do it.

Proud of our work!
As community members (East Austin), a parent (Harold McMillan), as a CULTURAL ARTS producer/venue ( Kenny Dorham’s Back Yard, and DiverseArts), as the most prolific and diverse producing/presenting organization in the East Austin Cultural Heritage District/East End IBIZ District, this weekend we proved that the annual onslaught of BIG MUSIC BUSINESS chaos into our community does not mean that successful, socially/culturally conscious, community-based events cannot be well-produced and attended for the benefit of like-minded tourist folks and neighbors.

I am proud because this SXSW-season DiverseArts/ Kenny Dorham’s Backyard came closest to what I envision we want to do amongst and in the middle of SXSW week in Austin.

Our partnerships with and created the kinds of events that speak most directly to the mission of DiverseArts and what I envision as our responsibility to our local and global community. and filled our venue with World Groove, dance, live painting, garden planting, Native American, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, American Roots/folk, Hip-hop, CRAZY, Caribbean music and appreciative and respectful FAMILIES. This is who we are, this is what we do.

Our shows on Friday and Sunday were attended by a multi-ethnic/multicultural community of FAMILIES—old folks, toddlers, teens, t’weens, and parents. Our stage featured high-school musicians, old masters, mid-career pros, and successful touring stars. And, the kids in the audience had run of the Backyard, had toys to play with, and free books to take home with them.

Our patrons did not pee in anyone’s front yard, they didn’t get drunk in public, they didn’t throw trash on East 11th Street and Juniper St. As customers, they said “please and thank you.” And they didn’t park in front of my neighbors houses and sleep in their cars.

Believe it our not, even in the midst of all of the craziness of big-business SXSW-week activities in Austin, it is possible to do socially/culturally/artistically conscious events, respect your neighborhood, and connect with the local music community and folks who actually live here….and folks from all over the world who share your world view.

This, I believe, is possible (and I think we’ve proved it). It is/can be commercially viable.

You just gotta WANT to address these goals in such a way that you still can pay your bills for the show.

And, for this, I commend Sol Collective and Chicken Ranch Records/Peelander-Z for having shared vision and commitment. DiverseArts is proud to be in such good company.