Is this Garth Brooks SXSW tweet shameless? Let’s let the friends in low places decide


By now, the news is out— Garth Brooks is indeed playing a free show Saturday night at Auditorium Shores for South By Southwest. He announced the free show at an 11 a.m. press conference Friday at the Austin Convention Center, where he previewed a snippet of his new single “Ask Me How I Know.”

Garth Brooks discusses his upcoming show at Auditorium Shores during a press conference at SXSW on Friday, March 17, 2017. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Tickets for the show were available at noon Friday but sold out within minutes.

Got $1,000? That’s what Garth Brooks tickets are going for on Craigslist

Brooks’ streaming partner, Amazon Music (he famously refused to put any of his music on any streaming service until October 2016) tweeted out that the show was sold out a mere five minutes after they went on sale.

Brooks’ team retweeted the Amazon Music tweet with what could be interpreted as a bit of hubris.

What does this mean? Are we to understand the implication of that tweet is that Garth Brooks LITERALLY the epitome of SXSW? Does his ego need to be fenced in? Is this just a shameless attempt to rope the wind of social media?

Maybe, but it also looks like the @SXSW part of that tweet was meant to literally mean “Garth Brooks is at the SXSW Conference” and not meant to equivocate Garth Brooks with the event.

At any rate, tomorrow will come, and it will bring a free Garth Brooks show.

More: Tickets sold out for free Garth Brooks show Saturday at Auditorium Shores

SXSW-goers find Austin’s lack of Uber, Lyft disturbing


South By Southwest is in full swing, which means crowds. Crowds everywhere, full of people with panels and parties to attend.

Many of those people forgot (or didn’t know) that Uber and Lyft no longer operate within the Austin city limits. And when it rains all weekend, as it did last weekend, people got upset at the gouged prices and long wait times for Austin alternatives Fasten and RideAustin.

Fasten is the latest mobile ride-hailing app to jump into the Austin market. Credit: Fasten

More: What we learned about Austin’s ride-hailing options by testing six of Austin’s ride-hailing apps

Making matters worse, both Fasten and RideAustin went down on Saturday night’s rainstorms, creating issues for people who needed rides, and needed them ASAP.

Local ride-hailing service RideAustin posted on Facebook early Sunday morning that its database locked up throughout most of the evening Saturday, and Kirill Evdakov, CEO of Fasten, confirmed that service also had problems, beginning a little after 8 p.m. Saturday. He called SXSW, rainy weather, and glitches with other services simultaneously “a perfect storm” that led to Fasten receiving about 12 times as many ride requests as normal.

More: Two Austin ride-hailing services report problems in first days of SXSW

During the outage, many people complained on Twitter about the resulting price surges…

While some people who just got into town were aghast that Austin does not have Uber or Lyft anymore…

One person was angry at Uber and Lyft for leaving Austin after the May election that included Proposition 1…

While another was worried about how RideAustin’s app could legally exist because it looks so close to Uber’s…

While many people thought the whole idea of complaining about transportation during a huge conference event was preposterous…

And others simply found (gasp!) other means of transportation for the weekend.


Anyhow, the whole event got its own Twitter moment Sunday night:

However, many people who arrived in town Thursday night for SXSW Interactive were well aware of the ridesharing situation in Austin. The following is from breaking news reporter Katie Hall, who went out to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Thursday night to interview conference-goers.

Britt Deyan, of San Francisco, landed in Austin on Thursday night for SXSW Interactive. Deyan said that SXSW had been good about sharing the fact that Uber and Lyft no longer gave rides in Austin.

“Every communication I was sent about SXSW told me Uber wasn’t here,” Deyan said as she climbed into a taxi.

Alisa Hetrick and Sami Huerta, both of Minneapolis, also grabbed a taxi after landing at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Hetrick and Huerta said they had been told by friends in Austin, who invited them to SXSW, that Uber and Lyft didn’t operate in Austin.

A group of six Mashable employees huddled together outside the airport after landing in Austin, discussing the ride-hailing app RideAustin. Their company had called a car ahead of time to pick them up, they said. A few of the people in the group said they were well aware of the fact that Uber and Lyft left Austin because their website had written about it. One of them, however, was not.

“I didn’t know until just now,” she said, after asking the reporter for ride-hailing app suggestions. “After the tragedy that happened a couple years ago at SXSW, I think they’re asking for another tragedy.” She declined to give her name.

What about you? Have you been having a tough time getting around at SXSW? Let us know in the comments.

Statesman reporters Katie Hall and Elizabeth Findell contributed to this report.

SXSW festivalgoers recreate Beyonce’s iconic pregnancy photo at Mashable House

Have you always wanted to be more like Beyonce? Some South by Southwest attendees got the chance Sunday at the Mashable House, which had a backdrop nearly identical to the one in Queen Bey’s now-iconic pregnancy reveal (yeah, she’s having twins, we still can’t get over it).

Tove Blum and Ebba Sundstedt laugh after taking a photo at a photo booth replicating Beyonce’s Instagram pregnancy announcement at the Mashable House on the second day of SXSW on March 11, 2017. Photo by Tamir Kalifa/American-Statesman

Here are some of the best photos:

Also, there was apparently a stack of tortillas 22 inches tall at the Mashable House Sunday, so you know, that happened.

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.


PHOTOS: Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender in Austin for SXSW ‘Song to Song’ premiere

He’s here. Ryan Gosling is in Austin. “Remember the Titans” fans everywhere — it’s really him! Ryan “Baby Goose” Gosling has landed in Austin, Texas for SXSW and we have plenty of handsome, photographic proof.

Photo by Tina Phan/American-Statesman

Austinites shouldn’t be too surprised to see the “La La Land” actor, as he stars in Terrence Malick’s new film “Song to Song,” which premieres tonight at the Paramount downtown and was filmed in the city.

READ: SXSW film ‘Song to Song’: a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ for Austin landmarks

Gosling didn’t occupy the red carpet alone, however. The Gos, as he’s never called, was joined by similarly talented and handsome Michael Fassbender, who also stars in “Song to Song.”

Rooney Mara was also there…

Austin 360 will keep you up-to-date on all your SXSW celebrity sightings. Especially those involving Ryan Gosling.

SXSW parties? We’ve got your RSVPs 

You can take a photo with a giant white buffalo at SXSW, if you’re into that sort of thing

If you’re in town for South by Southwest and you’re thinking, “Man, I really wish I had a photo of myself standing next to a 23-foot-tall, 30-foot-long, 6,000-pound white buffalo,” then, well, we’ve got good news for you.

Contributed by Starz

Starz has installed a great white buffalo at the corner of Red River and Cesar Chavez streets as part of its promotion for “American Gods,” the new television show based on Neil Gaiman’s popular novel of the same name. According to Starz, the buffalo installment is homage to the recurring image of a buffalo in the series.

Where’s the party at? Check out our list of the best unofficial events during SXSW 2017

In the Starz activation area, festival attendees can also charge their phones, get some free “American Gods” swag” and check out custom “American Gods” Snapchat stickers.

But hey, that buffalo. Don’t miss it (and how could you miss it, really).

SXSW 2017: Your first look at the real-life ‘Los Pollos Hermanos’ restaurant

We told you last week that AMC is bringing “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos to life this South by Southwest.

The restaurant is set up at 5th Street and Colorado Street. Reshma Kirpalani/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Well, it’s day one of the festival and the restaurant (which looks identical to the TV version) is open to the public.

Judging by the looks of that crowd, it’s pretty popular. And yes, you can get real food there.

SXSW attendees enjoy food at the Los Pollos Hermanos popup. Reshma Kirpalani/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
You’ve got all kinds of dining options at Los Pollos Hermanos. Reshma Kirpalani / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

According to our crew at the scene, the line on Friday afternoon was long but manageable, so you’re chances of getting in and enjoying some of Gus Fring’s wares are pretty high. There’s a catch, though: There isn’t any air conditioning in the restaurant, so be ready to sweat.

LOOK: More pictures from the opening of the pop-up restaurant

The pop-up restaurant won’t be the only appearance related to the AMC shows — Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul Goodman in both shows, is speaking at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 12 during the festival.

It’s not a dream: SXSW to include ‘Twin Peaks’ diner with plenty of ‘damn fine coffee’

It’s all the coffee and pie you want in the eeriest setting — but it’s real.

via Showtime

This year’s South by Southwest will feature a pop-up version of the iconic Double R Diner from “Twin Peaks.” The diner, which is sponsored by Showtime, will be located at Clive Bar on Rainey Street, March 16-17, and will offer up free coffee, doughnuts and pie. The goods will all be provided by local vendors: High Brew Coffee, Tiny Pies and Voodoo Doughnuts.

The event will also feature performances by Neko Case and M. Ward.

Here’s to hoping the coffee is just as Dale Cooper always says:

Stay in the loop, but still out of the box when it comes to SXSW parties this year by following our unofficial party guide here.

Burt Reynolds debuts modern version of ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Trans Am

Trans Am Depot and Burt Reynolds debut new Bandit Trans Am. Photo courtesy of Trans Am Depot.
Trans Am Depot and Burt Reynolds debut new Bandit Trans Am. Photo courtesy of Trans Am Depot.

The year is 1977. Pontiac is preparing to release its latest model of the Firebird Trans Am and Burt Reynolds is about to make history on screen as Bo Darville in “Smokey and the Bandit.”  It’s the year that shot Reynolds and the car into outlaw, cool-guy stardom.

Now, 77 is the number of available Trans Am SE Bandit Edition cars, a recently released new line of vehicles inspired by its forefather. Each car is individually signed by the Bandit himself, who announced their release a few days ago along with Trans Am Depot, an automotive conversion company that redesigns and creates retro-styled muscle cars.

“It was hot,” Reynolds said in the Trans Am Depot’s video. “It was hot in every way. It’s a love story and most guys had a love story with their car.”

In the same fashion as the Bandit’s car, the upgraded model comes equipped with the Shaker hood, T-tops, white-letter tires and snowflake wheels. And of course, there’s the iconic firebird that stretches across the front of the car.

“If you only saw that bird you would say that’s the Trans Am,” said Tod Warmack, co-founder of the Trans Am Depot.

But unlike the original, the Bandit Edition’s seats are modeled after the ’78 Trans Am, has an 840 horsepower to the crank compared to the original’s 185, and a specially crafted Bandit logo that marks the inside.

“This is a class act here,” Reynolds said.

The special editions come in light of Reynold’s new documentary “The Bandit,” which takes a look at the cultural import of the ’77 action comedy. It premiered at this year’s South By Southwest at the Long Center where Reynolds and director Jesse Moss made an appearance. The film, which received a standing ovation, will air on CMT in August.