Monday Day: With all the late nights at SXSW - getting up in the morning for the first panels (there was an interesting one at 9:30 about the future of the GOP online) was way too hard. AT 12:30 I make it to a panel on Slow Twitter - how to make well crafted tweets
that are funny, witty and . . . publishable. With names like @momku @luckyshirt @clapifyoulikeme and @lonelysandwich . . . You know you're dealing with social media types at #sxsw!
One of the panelists calls on everyone who uses to twitter to raise their hands - the entire place becomes a sea of arms. Now everyone who doesn't use twitter. One solitary hand is raised in the air . . . is he for real? Wow!
The panel had several pearls of wisdom:
One of them? What if you spend too much time 'crafting' your tweet, that the joke is no longer funny. Don't worry! Expired jokes are never too late - Go ahaid and make that
Olympics joke even now . . . as we're all into metajokes these days. (uhh . . . what's a metajoke?)
Walking around the trade show I found the Google Android demo booth. Catching the final demonstration, everyone there scored Google Chrome stickers, Google puzzles (more on that in a future post - so ask me about it!), and a few of us got Google shirts. A lady to
my right didn't manage to get a shirt - and was very upset that there
were none left. Seeing that my Google shirt was too small to fit
normally, I offered mine to her. She took it and walked off - not even a thank you! Man these people
take their Schwag seriously! (If anyone can score me some
Foursquare buttons . . . I'd be so psyched by the way).
(First and last picture taken by my Wife - middle pictures by Daniel Sieradski)
Monday Night: A few months before SXSW I mentioned the idea of a kosher
BBQ . . . A week before I was slated to speak everyone woke up and got really pumped about it. "Great idea!" they said. I spoke to HQ and got them to sponsor it (read all about it!), and after schlepping a ton of meat from NYC, we were ready to roast! Almost . . .
Sunday night and Monday day, we began going after the remaining supplies - mustard, buns, soda, beer etc.
(I figured that most people like to drink cheap beer - so breaking character I got a bunch of Lone Star beers, along with a nice selection of Shiner Beers - no one touched the Lone Star . . . the Shiners went down fast!)
In any event, running around town we
managed to grab all the things needed for the BBQ (with some help from Chaviva and Dave Weinberg).
By 6:30 the digeratti, tech fans, Jews, what have you, started to come in. Then the place got really rocking! People I knew IRL - Leah Jones - or had spent time with before (Daniel Sieradski) mingled with new faces, even if linked to well known twitter accounts (Jeff Pulver Yoni Bloch) . . . only to name a few - it was great!
Kosha Dillz and Flex Mathews made it to the party, and did an awesome job of free stylin' for us!
Game day - our panel was on!
The Judaism 2.0 panel was a Core Conversation - meaning that it was more akin to a group conversation then normal panel.
When talking to a group of largely secular Jews, along with several Non-Jews, the question of how to relate to religion came up.
Were we to openly discuss Jewish ideals and the divergence between secular and religious outlooks? An example: Should Jewish organizations tweet on Shabbos? Obviously the Orthodox Jewish and Secular Humanist answers would vary greatly - is there a way to broach the subject, that while true to Halachic mandates, is mutually informative and practical for all parties? I for one would use it as a spring board to address a wider issue: Is technology in general in conflict with our religious and moral beliefs? Can the two be used together in either a mutually beneficial or complementary way - or are they exclusive of each other?
The panel went very well - and after what I found to be a surprisingly dull address by Bruce Sterling (it felt like one long droll rant about every opinion he had on the world people and life . . . in other words - an academic) and the tail end of a panel on QR codes.
and with that SXSWi 2010 ended.
With another day left in Austin, we went to the kosher deli at H E B for a bite. While munching on a very tasty hot pastrami on rye (much better then the one in New Orleans - but more on that when I backtrack to that trip), I noticed a Yiddel sitting with his wife eating deli meats. Asking me to open a bottle of grape juice for him, he smiled and thanked me in thick Yiddish accent. I must confess - I love speaking to Jews from the Old World. Aside for the ability to play geography with them (all that time spent in Eastern Europe has some use), they all have fascinating stories.
I asked my new acquaintance for his name.
"Bar-Adon," he told me . . . For some reason the name didn't click in my head - I thought that he was introducing himself by his fathers name (as if he were being called to the Torah).
"Bar Adon" he said again. "It's a shem ivri (Hebrew name) - do you speak Hebrew?"
Realizing that this Yiddel here was a serious Zionist, I figured asking him which shtetle he was born in wouldn't jive as well as I thought it would . . . So I started making small talk in Hebrew.
"I do indeed speak Hebrew," I said in Hebrew. "But I have an American accent."
"Thats ok," bar-adon told me. "I have a friend who used to speak Hebrew like you too - his name was Abba Eban. The only difference is that his English was an Oxford English."
ouch! A zinger . . .
That evening I noticed that Kosha Dillz tweeted that he and Flex Mathews be opening for the Canadian Klzemer band SoCalled at the YouTube party. Having missed getting into the FourSquare party, I was itching to get in with the VIPs at some web event . . . So Chana and I jumped in the car and made a B-line for the party. Parking was a mess, with the streets crawling with people running from one venue to the next. After several minutes of searching, we found a space, and then headed to the party.
Walking to the front of the line, I nodded to the bouncer and said, "We're with Kosha Dillz." - fully expecting to be ushered in right away.
"Who?" The bouncer said. 'Is your name on the list?'
"We're guests of Kosha Dillz - he's opening for SoCalled."
So there we stood for several minutes, waiting for Kosha to show and get us in. When at least he did come, and nod the Rabbi and his wife in, we were stopped for ID. By some chance, Chana forgot hers, and despite promise that she was over 21, and wouldn't buy a drink, she couldn't get in.
Now we were in a pickle - Kosha was on in 30 minutes, but despite the short drive back to the hotel, finding parking again would be near impossible. Walking towards the car, we spotted a Pedicab. Negotiating a price, we figured it would be easier to go back and forth on the back of the guy's bike, then find a space. There and back again, we rushed from one venue to the next . . . making it in time for end of SoCalled's gig - thus ending the Austin trip!
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