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In spite of being totally online, the iconic South By Southwest Festival (known as SXSW) is the number 1 trending topic on Texas Twitter today. Folks from all over are praising the independent films, musical and comedic performances, and panels they are streaming online.

There's tons of buzz for the Kevin Smith documentary "Clerk" which debuted virtually today at SXSW. The film has actually waited an entire year for its moment today:

After SXSW was canceled at the dawn of the COVID-19 shutdowns in March 2020, Ingram and the “Clerks” director sat with the film for a year.

Another film getting a ton of praise is the psychological thriller Here Again. Here's one reviewer's take:

There are many films going on my must-watch list, Recovery is getting reviewed as being absolutely hilarious, and I love that in a film.

Texans are also tweeting about panels from Willie Nelson, LL Cool J, and Queen Latifah, with hugely positive feedback. You can see clips of the panels on SXSW Twitter:

So it seems that SXSW is surviving, maybe even thriving in a digital format. It's a double-edged sword for Austin, I'm sure, as many of my friends who live there always lamented the influx of crushing crowds on their city. However, those tourism dollars are sorely missed by the hotels, restaurants, and venues that benefitted from them.

Going forward, I would imagine (and hope) that a sensible hybrid model would emerge for SXSW. I imagine there are many people who would prefer one format over the other, and the option to choose benefits everyone. Personally, I would love to see SXSW musical acts in person, but I would absolutely prefer to watch the films in the comfort of my own home.

Cheers to SXSW for making it happen in spite of everything, and we'll see if 2022 floods Austin with people again.

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