Tag Archives: sxsw

SXSW Cancels Panel Discussion On Gaming Harassment Due To Threats

Last year, The Washington Post published an aritcle online titled ‘Rape and death threats are terrorizing female gamers. Why haven’t men in tech spoken out?’.  I saved that article because not only is the headline such a true statement in itself, but I was glad to see mainstream media covering this topic.

Now for those adults who consider video games ‘childsplay’ – well, I have a few words for you but this is not the time.  I am a 40+ year old woman who happened to grow up in the birth era of video games. Played them with/against my younger brother and did the same many years later when my twin boys were of age to get spanked at Mortle Kombat by their awesome mother.

As technology progressed and the evolution of online gaming came about, unfortunately came along rape and death threats against female gamers. Not to mention the ongoing gay bashing and constant racial slurs being thrown around – but we’ll save that for another time. Yes, this has been happening for quite some years now and nothing much has been done about it.  Not too sure what can be done about it at this point.  I mean, someone did invent a voice altering device so that females can sound like males while online….but really? Yeah, no voice altering mechanism for me, thank you.

So that brings us to today.  While on twitter, I saw a tweet come across my feed from @randlLeeharper stating that SXSW had canceled her panel due to death treats. Of course this peeked my interest so I researched by visiting the SXSW website to find the description on her panel titled ‘Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games.

Official description:

A panel from experts on online harassment in gaming and geek culture, how to combat it, how to design against it, and how to create online communities that are moving away from harassment. The panel will dive into data around abuse in larger gaming communities. One of our panelists will talk about about ways to actually develop the social aspects of games – including UI decisions and how they can influence accuracy and usage of reporting abuse. Another will dive into UX design choices to stymy harassment in social media spaces.

Of course, after that initial tweet, many started to respond. Some upset and others, well let’s just say that the “others” are probably those that are respsonsible for the rape and death threats. So because this tweet gained so much traction in so little time, SWSX officials released this statement:

On Monday, October 26, SXSW Interactive made the call to cancel two sessions for the 2016 event: “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games.” We had hoped that hosting these two discussions in March 2016 in Austin would lead to a valuable exchange of ideas on this very important topic.
However, in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.
SXSW prides itself on being a big tent and a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas.
However, preserving the sanctity of the big tent at SXSW Interactive necessitates that we keep the dialogue civil and respectful. If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised.
Over the years, we are proud of the healthy community of digital innovators that has formed around SXSW. On occasions such as this one, this community necessitates strong management to survive. Maintaining civil and respectful dialogue within the big tent is more important than any particular session.
— Hugh Forrest
SXSW Interactive Director

I don’t know about you but canceling a panel on death threats because of receiving death threats…..umm, well isn’t this kind of defeating the purpose? A dangerous cycle continued and yet another important topic swept under the rug, just like that…. yet again.

Attempting to Conquer and Cover #SXSW While Battling #Lupus

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve attended SXSW (South By Southwest).  There are a few reasons as to why that is so but for the sake of not making this a 50 page dissertation (insert laugh),  I will only address two of those reasons.

1) Anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am a lover of music who often roots for the indie artist.  You know, that one with so much talent oozing out of the depths of their soul?  The one that prepares for SXSW in hopes that he/she will be seen, heard, or perhaps discovered.  And well, to me, the substance of SXSW isn’t much about that anymore.  And so,  for a while, I decided not to attend because of this but then I thought about it – what if others felt like me? What if we all stopped attending? Then who would be to witness to all of the great music out there? And while, I still have my feelings about the politics of it all, I am not here to criticize. Not at all.  It’s a great experience and I am thankful to be have been a part of it.

2) A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus, although I had been battling the symptoms years before I was diagnosed. And without going into too much detail, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation — pain and swelling. It affects the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body (more information here).

With that being said, I recently had to take a step back (I love being busy!) and actually leave the career that I loved so much.  However, I knew I just couldn’t sit at home doing nothing.  Fast forward to today, and I have the privilage of writing for a weekly Houston publication along with contributions to some music blogs here and there; all from the comfort of my own home and at the leisure of my own pace!

So yes, it was time to tackle SXSW again but this time as an accredited writer/photographer.  No lie, I was intimidated.  Covering a festival this massive is fast-paced.  Who can upload their write up first….who got that million dollar picture? How in the hell was I going to keep up?  Please no Lupus flare up. 

Upon opening day of the festival’s interactive and film portion, I had already been to Austin twice that week.  One for a business meeting and the other for the Latin@s In Tech conference.  For some, that 2 to 3 hour drive from Houston to Austin (and back) might be an easy feat but for one battling Lupus, not quite so. Needless to say, my first day at SXSW, I was exhausted yet thankful.  Thankful for the clouds that beautifully shielded that sun from pounding down on me.  Sunlight can cause a lupus rash to flare and may even trigger a serious flare of the disease itself.  The sun has bought me down one time too many.

And I’ll be damned that on the very first day, I began to get a flare-up.  My hands swollen, legs in so much pain – the pain  I just didn’t know how I was going to get from one location to the other – would I give in to the pain in my knees?  The arthritic agony when snapping pictures of iconic artist? 

Unfortunately, in the end Lupus won but I didn’t accept defeat until after I got what I headed to SXSW for! I proved to myself that yes, I can still do what my heart desires, you’re never too old (or sick) to have some fun, and I got my picture of Molly Ringwald during the 30th anniversary of the Breakfast Club!



“MURDER BOOK” Movie brings SXSW Experience to Houston

“Murder Book” raises the bar higher than ever before for Texas filmmakers, and will put Houston on the cinematic map. A stellar cast, a flawless script, Hollywood quality cinematography, and award worthy directing will get “Murder Book” its deserved National attention. Juan C. Vazquez, the mastermind behind the provocative murder thriller “Murder Book” is no novice to motion pictures. His first project “Through the Valley’ starring Danny Trejo (Machete) established his credentials as a filmmaker. “Murder Book” is his latest ambitious masterpiece. The film is sexy, provocative, and dangerously twisted.
“Murder Book” uncovers the criminal investigation to find a serial killer who leaves no tracks or evidence in a series of murders. The only gruesome denominator in the murders of all victims stemmed from a social media site where aspiring models get booked for gigs. Taking the lead in the film, Venezuelan born actor Neal Kodisnky, who has previously appeared in NCIS New Orleans & American Horror Story plays the role of Detective Rich Rodriguez. His career will come to a screeching halt if he and his partner Lisa (played by Heather Williams) cannot identify the killer at large. Detective Rich Rodriguez morphs into character as “Ricardo” a modeling mogul causing model mayhem in Houston. The investigation exposes the fast paced life of aspiring models, and the dark side of party life often associated with it. Defying his partners and colleagues doubts, detective Rodriguez follows his instinct and takes the lead on the investigation.
Celebrity cameos in the film include Green Bay Packers Michael Montgomery and Fashion powerhouse Danny Nguyen. The entire movie was shot in Houston with scenes featuring Chinatown, Asian Supermarket Viet Hoa, Downtown Aquarium, and the beautiful Downtown skyline. The Asian community in Houston has taken notice and has already published a piece about the film. “Murder Book” is being pitched to premium Cable Networks such as HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and will be distributed by Eugot Movies. Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network & Lionsgate have already expressed interest. The film will also be submitted to Film Festivals such as NY Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Latino Film Festivals, and many more. Vazquez hopes to inspire Houston filmmakers and pave the way for the Texas cinematic landscape.
World Premiere: March 21st , 2:30 pm
Alamo Drafthouse
114 Vintage Park Blvd.
Houston, TX 77070
Post Premiere celebration / Q&A with Cast & Crew
Chicago Joe’s
18433 Kuykendahl Rd.
Spring, TX 77379
Sponosored by No Label Brewery
Movie Facts:
Written & Directed by: Juan C. Vazquez
Executive Producers: Juan C. Vazquez & Efrain Abrain Gutierrez Jr.
Cinematography: David Nguyen
Distribution: Eugot Movies
Duration: 105 Minutes
The film is rated “R” for language, sexual content and violence.
Movie Hashtag #MurderBookMovie

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and eBay Giving Works Team Up At SXSW To Raise Money For Charity [@JimmyKimmelLive @ebayGivingWorks]

For a second consecutive year, eBay Giving Works and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” are teaming up to raise money for charity. eBay Giving Works will auction off signed guitars from guests appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this week at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Stars confirmed include Willie Nelson, “The Walking Dead” cast, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Romo, Kevin Hart, Brad Paisley, James Bay, Spoon and Robert Rodriguez. Tune in to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” weeknights at 11:35 p.m. | 10:35 p.m. CT on ABC.

100 percent of the proceeds benefit local nonprofit, and a cause close to Kimmel’s heart, Urban Roots. Urban Roots is an Austin-based youth development organization that uses food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community. To date, eBay Giving Works has raised more than 500 million dollars for nonprofits around the world.

The auction will be live Friday, March 20 through Monday, March 30 at www.ebay.com/kimmelinaustin.

Bid on signed guitars from @JimmyKimmelLive guests @eBayGivingWorks! 100% benefits @UrbanRootsATX #KimmelinAustin ebay.com/kimmelinaustin