Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gas - it's natural

So, I haven't really said anything yet about this year's South by Southwest and that's because I'm kind of pretending it doesn't exist. Once SXSW Music starts, it feels like the entire city has gone on grown-up spring break -- the weather has usually just turned glorious, there is free booze and food at every turn, and everyone is in such a great mood it's as though the city water supply is spiked with a healthy dose of ecstasy. (Do people even do ecstasy anymore, or was that just a '90s thing?)

Sooo the music festival starts tomorrow, and I am currently sitting in a Hampton Inn hotel room in Corpus Christi. And then I am off to LA for the remainder of the week/weekend. On one hand this is great because it means I can expand my Texanthropological research to a new city, rack up some frequent flier miles AND see my LA friends (hi guys! expect to be bear-hugged to the point of suffocation in T-minus 2 days!). But on the other hand, whiiiiiiiining. And saaaaad faces.

I did crash a couple of SXSW Interactive parties, though, so I feel good about that. AND I got a VIP ticket to a SXSW film premiere this morning at the Paramount Theater!

Mike's cousin Mark has spent the last year+ in Louisiana making a documentary about the largest natural gas field ever discovered in North America, the Haynesville Shale. The movie is called "Haynesville," and it made its North American debut today during SXSW. Since we're kinfolk of the producer, we got to be VIPs! This didn't mean a whole lot considering the film was free and anyone could come, but I am going to keep right on feeling special anyway.

You know how when you go to see something that someone you know created, you really want it to be good? But you're scared that it won't be, so you kind of brace yourself? Because either way you have to give them rave reviews and this is stressful when you are a bad liar like me. Thankfully "Haynesville" ended up being one of the best movies I've seen in a while, and maybe the best documentary I've ever seen.

It appealed to the nerdy environmentalist in me because it had lots of good facts about natural gas, which I'd been totally ignorant about. And it explored America's abusive relationship with energy in an engaging, enlightening way. But better than all that were the human stories that were layered in to the film. These stories are hilarious, infuriating and moving, but most of all they made me want to have a tangible, positive impact on my own community. And they made me believe that it's possible to do so.

Y'all should see this movie. It's an independent film without wide distribution, so you'll have to buy the DVD or check for screenings near you. Here's the website for more info: http://www.haynesvillemovie.com/

I'll be gathering research on spring break rituals in Texas for the next couple days, so stay tuned!

(P.S. I hope that those of you who thought this post was going to be about farts are not too disappointed. Your time will come, I'm sure.)

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