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SXSW 2018 Top 3 Experiences

This article has references to my last post about SXSW.

SXSW: Incredible, informative, educational, inspiring. Now that the dust has settled from SXSW 2018, I've had some time to reflect and determine what experiences I'm still talking about all these weeks later. Here are my top three.

1. Esther Perel - French-born, NY-based couples therapist & author

I hold a special place in my heart for Esther because her groundbreaking podcast series, "Where Should We Begin" helped me emotionally process my divorce. The podcast series takes you into the room with real life couples facing real life issues, something I haven't seen or heard of before. Each episode has gold nuggets of relationship insights waiting to be discovered by anyone who wants a healthy romantic relationship (that means you). Side note: season 2 was just announced at SX.

Here is her must-watch informative and inspiring talk on the changing landscape of modern romance...

2. Free food, free drinks, front row to Kelela

When some friends told me about a group of DC entrepreneurs (as in the Washington, not the comics) hosting a free event that featured chefs and musicians from the city, I didn't ask any questions, I just followed.

Not only did they have an incredible Korean food spread with kimchi, bulgogi, korean potato salad, seaweed, & slaws, but our server Chance started, and never stopped, bringing us whatever we wanted to drink.

Flashback: On a visit to SXSW 2014 I stumbled upon a performance by an up-and-coming musician named Kelela, whose sultry voice and smooth electronic beats combines to create a genre of its own.

As it turned out, Kelela was from DC and would be playing for us on this night too! So we secured spots right up front, and danced to the solid beats from DJ Farrah Flosscett until Kelela came on stage later that eve. The dancing continued til 2am.

3. Elon Musk!

In my previous post mentioned the reasons I unabashedly put Elon on a pedestal. He is real life Iron Man! When I heard a rumor that he would make an appearance at SXSW, my iPhone fingers went into high gear fleshing out fact vs. fiction. I confirmed via twitter that he was coming to support his buddy, Jonathan Nolan, the creator of HBO's Westworld (which also had a mindblowing exhibit that took you into a recreation of the virtual world).

Elon Musk SXSW 2017 Life Coach

After just missing Elon at the Westworld panel, finally I had my lucky break the next day when a stranger on the bus told me Elon announced a last-minute surprise talk that morning. After thanking the SX gods for this coincidental encounter, I secured some free tickets.

And let me tell you, it was glorious. He talked about Mars, how AI is more dangerous than nukes (re: Skynet), solar technology, his new Boring Company (literally that's the name) and the comedy classic Three Amigos. He was smart, awkward, funny, insightful, nerdy, and charismatic.

After reading Elon's biography and seeing curated moments of him on late night shows, I was so thankful to get a true sense of his person and vision.

He ended his talk with a wonderfully terrible acoustic rendition and dance of "My Little Buttercup" from the Three Amigos. I'm guessing the endearing ploy was a wink to how, like the Three Amigos, we might be intimidated by Elon even though he's just a regular person like us. So I'll leave you with this...

If you're curious...

Here are other memorable sessions:

*Pro-tip: you can find any of these videos by googling the name and SXSW 2018

- Bernie Sanders gets grilled by CNN's Jake Tapper. Brings down house with real talk.

- Director & cast from This is Us - the best show on network television. They were surprisingly real, honest, and funny... much like their characters!

- Ta'henisi Coates - journalist/intellectual that discusses racial topics, wrote an excellent book Between the World and Me. Refreshing to see someone who removes their ego to discuss the most important human decency issues.

- Ethan Hawke - one of my favorite actors opines on working with director and fellow Austinite Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, Boyhood), existentialism, and Bill Clinton's sex life.

- Christiana Amanpour - CNN Anchor with a new show called "Sex & Love Around the World."

- Bruce Sterling - hilarious and poignant comedic cultural critic, artist, poet.

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