SXSW Day 1: Legend + Party + Film = Fun!

Today kicked off the real festival(s) and conference(s), so I put my free badge earned from the many volunteer hours I worked by attending three events.

Introducing Comedy and TV Legend Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett exiting stage right.

I’m not old enough to have watched his original show and probably missed subsequent ones, but I certainly know who Dick Cavett is.  He took over the Tonight Show from Jack Parr, and since 1959 has been on television more than off un.  Considered “the thinking person’s host” due to his pedigree from Yale and intelligent questioning, he has an identifiable voice and droll sense of humor as well as an acerbic with.  This was on display tonight at Esther’s Follies, as the first comedy event of the festival.  I was lucky to get in and sat next to a cyclist from New York who said he brought his bike and had ridden 140 miles in two days.  Wow!


Cavett had Dave Hill, a comedian friend with him who acted as interviewer and foil.  He was pretty funny too, and drew Cavett out and kept him on topic the few times he strayed.  At 81, he may have lost a step, but a very short one indeed.  He began the conversation by talking about and then (somewhat) demonstrating moondancing — with a surgical shoe on!  And then went on to recount his experience meeting Michael Jackson when he was quite young and a member of the Jackson Five “back when he was still black.”  That’s not a new joke but to hear it from his voice in 2018 was shocking to some but still funny, because of course Jackson did lighten his skin color.  Naturally he was not serious.

Door sign “Cavett on Comedy.”

There were so many gems and stories about Hollywood legends that I can’t recount them.  Cavett was here to promote a new documentary which collects 12 of the 14 interviews (two were lost) with Muhammad Ali, with whom he famously became friends.  I hope to see it but if not, maybe it will become available later.  It was a great start to the show and I could have gone home happy after just that.  I only got one crummy photo because signs said no pictures, but I went to the press booth and learned that was only for long lens cameras.  Oh well, you can’t get everything right.

Faux Sports Party at Some Bar

I only went to this because the Interactive opening party had a line up and down the block then across the street.  I ran into two crew-mates in the bathroom and they pointed me to this event.  I had free tacos sans the tortillas and a nice chat with a marketing guy.  He said I should get some start up crowd-source funding and then either hire a social media consultant or pay them if and when my blog made any money.  That’s what it might take to get my blog and unwritten book and so on to the next level.  I didn’t stay long but got tips on some movies and headed off to one I expected would be sold out.

People, big screen TVs showing soccer, free tacos and beer if you wanted.
These cameras would capture you with a soccer ball and make a neat effect.
Lionel Messi, the Argentine star and world’s best soccer midfielder.

American Animals

SXSW premieres a number of films, and this is one.  It was written and directed by Bart Layton who is British and with one star also from the UK who had to master a US accent.

Director and cast of the new film American Animals.

It was based on a true story.  At times comic, tragic, silly, tense and dramatic, it wove together the story lines while keeping the action and characters moving.  It has a unique plot device that I will leave to you to see in June when it hits US theaters.

Afterward, there was a Q & A with three of the main four actors (Evan Peters of American Horror Story fame was not in attendance).  That was fun as getting the free poster they gave audience members.  It is a print of a really nice painting done by one of the people that the character is based on.  The film will come out in June, so I won’t say anymore.  Except to say that I give it a hearty two thumbs up.

Print of painting from the real person a character was based on.











Well, that’s about it for today.  I’m pretty tired, having biked 56 miles Monday-Friday, walking 10,000 most days or 30 minutes when not, and not sleeping enough.  Tomorrow’s another day.


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Intro v. Extro: What Type of Vert Are You?

Many years ago, when I was living in our nation’s cesspool, I mean capitol, I had the occasion to retake the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This personality test, based on ideas by famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, shows you what your tendencies and preferences are in 16 different areas. One of the main categories is whether you are internally focused or externally focused, or introverted or extroverted.

I told the person grading the test they did it wrong, because my results were always the same, and I was right. I’m pretty much in the middle, but on the introverted sign. Working as a volunteer at SXSW EDU the last four days, I’ve been reminded that I need alot of down time to recharge from interacting with other people, whereas for extroverted people, they are energized by being with other people. So I thought it an interesting topic worth exploring a bit.

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Two Succinct Stories Famous News Anchor Dan Rather Told Me Today at SXSW EDU

When he was a young man of 18 in 1949, Dan Rather was an oil field worker in Texas for a summer.  He was the only boy on the crew; the rest were men, he said.  For digging ditches and other hard labor, he got paid a good wage.  Payday was every Thursday, which was when the rest of his crew played poker.  His first paycheck came and to fit in, he joined the poker game.  But he wasn’t very good so he proceeded to lose his entire wages for the week in that game.  His rent was due so he had no other choice but to ask his father for help.  This experience taught him the value of not gambling and budgeting his money.

After he got married, he told his wife Jean that since he was the man of the house, he would be the one to manage the new couple’s money.  A couple of weeks went by, and the checkbook was a mess.  He had to admit that he wasn’t good at the task, and gratefully relinquished control to his wife, much to his relief.  She’s been in charge of every dime they’ve made ever since.  This taught him humility and trusting other people. Continue reading

How to Change Your Bicycle’s Front Shifter Cable (Almost)

Bikes have a lot of parts. Eventually they wear out. The more you ride, the faster they break down. This was the case with my shifter cable. Put simply, it’s the thin wire that moves the derailleur (fancy French word for gears) and makes the bike harder or easier to pedal. After riding 10,000 miles in 2 years, this was not the first time it was replaced, but it was certainly overdue. I decided to have a go at it myself. How hard could it be, right? Well, it was simple but not easy. And in the end, I still had to take it by the shop. Live. Learn. Forget. Repeat. That’s A Dude Abikes motto.

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Last Day in the Holler

After a few weeks in the country, today it was time to head back to the city.  I’m still unpacking and will be for some time, but I really enjoyed the experience of living in a cabin in the woods with peace, quiet and a dog named Buddy.  It was generally a great time and no coyotes or bobcats ate us, so that was great.  While the reason for being there was not great at all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to have the time to write this blog and interacting with other bloggers.  Thanks to everyone who has been liking, commenting and following, but more importantly, actually reading what I write. Continue reading

Wow! I Met Author Walter Mosley at a Book Reading and Signing Event! (+ 12-Mile Trainer Ride)

Coincidence is a funny thing. When two disconnected but interrelated things happen for no clear reason, we search for answers. Religious people would say it’s the will of the one(s) they worship. Agnostic athiests and secular humanists like A Dude would chalk it up to chance. The spiritual might say it’s the butterfly effect, or intentions coming back to you. Scientists would say something… sciencey.

I don’t know what Walter Mosley would say about me writing a blog about one of his books just a few days ago, and then him coming to town from a reading and book signing. Well, I think he may have said thanks.  I wasn’t starstruck as much as feeling like “Wow!  That’s Walter Mosley!  Did I somehow summon him to Austin?”  I wish I had that superpower.  But anyway, what I’d say about this coincidence, fate, destiny, kismet, stupid luck, good fortune, or whatever — it was freaking awesome! Thanks to my host for reading my review and cluing me in. Continue reading