SXSW 2017: Bill Nye BookPeople signing draws throngs of bow-tie-clad fans

He might not seem like the most obvious heartthrob, but when Bill Nye enters the building, people shriek. That was the scene Sunday morning at BookPeople, where Nye — aka “Bill Nye the Science Guy” — spent an hour signing bookplates for his new book, “Everything All at Once,” which will be released in July.

Nye was friendly but efficient as he greeted each of the hundreds of fans who stood in a line that looped around the store and down the stairs. A documentary about Nye, called, appropriately, “Bill  Nye: Science Guy,” will show at SXSW tonight.

Robby Cole and his dad, Robert, dressed in matching blue shirts and bow ties for the occasion.

Robby Cole and his dad, Robert Cole, dressed in matching attire for the Bill Nye signing at BookPeople on Sunday morning. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Robert Cole said meeting Nye seemed like a great opportunity for his science-loving son.

“(Nye) has had such an impact on the world of science, not just by what he knows, but by what he inspires,” Robert Cole said.

Robby Cole agreed, adding, “He’s just so awesome.”

The audience included both children who are currently watching Bill Nye’s science programming at school and adults who said he influenced their career paths.

“He inspired me to study science,” said Nick Nguyen, who is doing just that now at the University of Texas.

Friends Cristina Cano-Calhoun, Nick Nguyen and Jennifer Perales at the Bill Nye signing at BookPeople. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Nye made a point to spend a little extra time with the children who came to see him, pointing out one little girl’s shirt, which read, “Yay science!” to the entire room.

Ruby Ragsdale, 7, said she’s learned a number of things from watching Nye, including that “your left lung is smaller than your right lung so your heart can fit.” She said she enjoys using her microscope and her science kit at home. Her current plan is to be a baker, but she’ll consider science, too.

Ruby Ragsdale shows off the bookplate that Bill Nye signed for her. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Her dad, Ian Ragsdale, said he and his wife wanted to bring Ruby to the signing to reinforce the idea that no career is off limits for her.

“We’re really big on making sure Ruby knows she can do anything,” he said.


SoulCycle class DJed by M.I.A. drummer is most SXSW workout ever

It’s not every day that an internationally known DJ plays the music at your spin class, but that’s exactly what happened at the new downtown SoulCycle location, 401 Congress Ave., on Saturday morning.

Madame Gandhi, drummer for artist M.I.A., provided the tunes for the hourlong class and even treated riders to her newly release track, “The Future is Female.”

“(Playing the track) felt really beautiful, and everyone was just moving in sync,” she said after the class. “I felt so grateful to give that positive message to such a positive space. SoulCycle has been like my life coach. As a musician, it just gives me such joy.”

Inside the new SoulCycle studio on Congress Avenue. credit: Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

In addition to providing the soundtrack, Madame Gandhi also drummed along and even did some reps with 3-pound weights. Instructor Rachel Rivas matched her energy with a positive but challenging workout.

“(At a live DJ class) it’s kind of expect the unexpected. You really have no idea what you’re getting into,” Rivas said. “It’s so fun. It keeps you on your toes.”

The live DJ classes are part of SoulCycle’s celebration of SXSW and will be available every morning at 9:30 a.m. through Tuesday at the downtown location, which opened in February.

The new downtown SoulCycle location opened in February. credit: Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Madame Gandhi will DJ again Sunday morning and will be playing various SXSW showcases over the course of the week. Find out where she’ll be at And check out our music writers’ recommendations for shows you can access without a badge, including one featuring Madame Gandhi.

Ria Pleta, left, Jessi Williams and Liv Wignall before class at SoulCycle. credit: Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

SoulCycle is also hosting a pop-up from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day that includes an in-studio photo booth to capture customers’ auras, merchandise with custom embroidery by Fort Lonesome and juice provided by Juiceland. To learn more or sign up for classes, visit