Photo by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

Whether the return of South by Southwest (SXSW) in three weeks is putting butterflies in your tummy or sweat on your brow, we're in the home stretch. The newest announcement — another wave of featured speakers — does not say it's the final round, but time is running out to make adjustments before the start of the festival on March 10.

Previous announcements included keynote addresses from Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert and team members who worked on the James Webb Space Telescope. There have also been two rounds of music showcase announcements, culminating in a list of nearly 500 performances.

The announcement on February 14 is heavy with big names including three entertainers presenting keynotes: actor, producer, and New York Times bestselling author Priyanka Chopra Jonas; Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, and author Margo Price; and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton.

Two more newly announced keynote sessions come with longer descriptions: Chef José Andrés presents The Stories We Tell Can Change the World, and Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert of New Order appear in conversation with The Times rock & pop critic Will Hodgkinson.The former keynote tackles the responsibility of storytellers to address crises around the world, using Andrés' humanitarian group World Central Kitchen as a lens. The latter discusses the discography and history of the history-making band.

“Today's speaker announcement is a fantastic milestone for the 2023 event and spotlights five additional Keynotes and numerous Featured Speakers, including influential icons and up and coming innovators,” said Chief Programming Officer and Co-President Hugh Forrest. “We are extremely proud to have assembled a diverse, comprehensive conference program for SXSW, and we can’t wait to share it with our community in March.”

Organized into 25 programming tracks presented in a variety of session formats, SXSW celebrates the convergence of technology, film, television, and music. Tracks include civic engagement, climate change, design, film and TV, psychedelics, sports, travel, and more.

Just some featured speakers and sessions joining the 2023 lineup include:

  • Chair and CEO of General Motors Mary Barra with CEO, CTO, President, and co-founder of Cruise and co-founder of Twitch Kyle Vogt
  • Actress, philanthropist, entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and co-founder of Hello Bello Kristen Bell, CEO of Hello Bello Erica Buxton, and actor, comedian, filmmaker, host of the podcast Armchair Expert, and co-founder of Hello Bello Dax Shepard
  • Chief Diversity Officer of TBWA\North America Aliah Berman with activist, advocate, author, and founder of the #MeToo Movement Tarana Burke
  • Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation Joe
  • Ben Bevirt with Chief Sustainability Officer at Delta Air Lines Pam Fletcher
  • Chief Digital and Commercial Officer at Unilever Conny Braams, President, Worldwide Advertising at Netflix Jeremi Gorman, founder and CEO of Media
  • Link Michael Kassan, and Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Delta Air Lines Tim Mapes
  • Co-founder and President of OpenAI Greg Brockman with founder and CEO of Dot Dot Dot Media Laurie Segall
  • United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm
  • General Partner at Benchmark Bill Gurley with investor, New York Times bestselling author and host of the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show Tim Ferriss
  • The Art of Creating Influence 101 on navigating entertainment careers
  • The Blog Era: Hip-Hop's Wild Wild West on the influence of music bloggers
  • Daddy Issues in Film on fathers in film
  • Dateline 24/7: How the True Crime Powerhouse Became a Podcast Empire on a genre leader
  • Driving Personal Health Forward: The Role of Apple Watch and iPhone on digitally monitoring health at home
  • Evil Dead Rise: Flesh-Possessing Demons Come Home on the new Evil Dead film
  • An Inside Look at “Blindspotting” Season 2 with Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs on the continuation of the series
  • Onyx Collective Presents “UnPrisoned” on a new Hulu series
  • The Kids Are (Not) Alright: Gun Violence Terrorizing Youth of America on activism and justice
  • Leguizamo Does America: Next Stop – Austin on the contributions of U.S. Latinos

For a full lineup and more information on featured sessions, visit SXSW.com.

sPhoto by Soundtrap on Unsplash

Shiner Beer announces star-studded songwriting contest ahead of Austin's SXSW

Time to Shine(r)

Calling all Austin songwriters: Maybe you're a budding musician looking for that big break. Or maybe you always had the dream, but chose a more traditional career. Either way, this upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) could be the golden ticket you've been waiting for to get your song in front of some big-name industry experts.

The festival has long been known to catapult artists to fame, but a special SXSW-adjacent contest is giving one songwriter the chance to have their work reviewed by Martine McBride, Paul Worley, and Wendy Moten (Season 21 runner-up from The Voice). Hosted by VEVA Collect and Shiner Beer, the Shiner Song Contest will grant one grand prize winner $1,000 cash, as well as direct feedback from these industry experts.

Other prizes include a signed item from Martina McBride and Wendy Moten, a two-day recording session with Blackbird Academy valued at $900, a full-year subscription to Inside Blackbird, a full-year subscription to VEVA Collect’s Pro Unlimited Account, a Shiner branded acoustic guitar, and YETI gear.

The contest is open to all songwriters, with entries accepted from February 15, 2023, to March 31, 2023, and interested participants can head to Vevacollect.com for entry guidelines and rules. Ten randomly-selected runners up will receive a full-year subscription to VEVA Collect's Pro Unlimited Account valued at $600 and a full-year subscription to Inside Blackbird, along with written feedback from a panel of experts.

"We're thrilled to launch this challenge and give songwriters the opportunity to showcase their talent and have their work heard by industry legends," said Deborah Fairchild, President for VEVA Sound, in a release. "Martina McBride's music has inspired generations of musicians, and we're excited to see the creativity and passion that will come from this contest."

Fairchild is also partnering with McBride and Moten for a special SXSW panel taking place on March 15 from 4-5 pm CST at the Austin Convention Center, Room 17AB. They will be joined by Beverly Keel, Dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, for a discussion focusing on “Fostering Diversity & Equity in the Music Industry” at the upcoming SXSW Conference & Festival. The panelists will share their stories of triumph and ways they have overcome adversity to sustain and thrive in their careers in the music industry.

"We're excited to bring this important discussion to the forefront at SXSW," said Fairchild in the release. "Women are underrepresented in the music industry, and it's time for us to address this issue and work towards creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry for all."

VEVA Sound is a leading music tech company providing a platform for artists, songwriters, and producers to collaborate, share, and distribute their work. In addition to the contest and the panel, VEVA's SXSW presence will include a special partnership with SoundExchange for the SXSW Artist Village from March 13 to 17; a panel discussion with The Ivors and Credits Due at the British Embassy, entitled "Building Global Recognition of Songwriters – Why The Ivors matter" (10:30 am on Thursday, March 16, at the British Music Embassy); and a sponsored showcase in partnership with legendary record label Kill Rock Stars taking place at Cheer Up Charlie's taking place on Friday, March 18, beginning at 8 pm.

To learn more about VEVA, visit vevasound.com.

Photo courtesy of UTOPiAfest

7 smaller Austin music festivals to keep the jam going after SXSW


This is a warning: South by Southwest is coming. Everyone knows. The most recent news from the festival-to-end-all-Austin-festivals involves a third round of showcasing artists for the music leg, including names like New Order and Killer Mike. But many Austinites prefer to stay out of the way during the full-city transformation, opting instead to visit smaller, more intimate festivals.

Thankfully for those fans, this January was peppered with news from other festivals coming in the spring, reminding Austin what it's like to do things big, in smaller, more genre-specific events. The following festivals cover lots of ground from American traditions to world music, back to American alternative. Austinites, as always, get to stay close to home.

Old Settler's Music Festival— April 20 - 23
This Americana festival brings 28 groups and solo artists across four days of camping to Dale, Texas, about 45 minutes southeast of Austin (near Lockhart). "Americana" is more a guideline than a strict rule, with appearances by Yola and Austin artists Shinyribs, Matt the Electrician, Ley Line, and more. CultureMap published some sets to look out for, and a full lineup and tickets are available at oldsettlersmusicfest.org.

Austin Reggae Festival — April 21-23
Austin Reggae Festival has announced some of the artists on its 2023 lineup, including all headliners: The Skatalites, Jesse Royal, and Inner Circle. The event raises funds for Central Texas Food Bank, and has previously gathered more than $1 million for the organization via ticket sales and direct donations. At Auditorium Shores, the festival promises "good vibes" and is easily accessible from around the city. Tickets go on sale on February 1 at austinreggaefest.com.

MOCO Music and Arts Festival — April 28-30
More camping is in store for Austinites, this time at a secret location in Lexington, about an hour northeast of Austin. The festival has rebranded since its 2022 debut as MoFest, but the mission remains the same: to celebrate Austin's creative scenes. The "intimate weekend celebration" with a capacity of only 500 released a lineup featuring Paul Cherry, Die Spitz, Fat Tony, and more. A full lineup and earlybird tickets ($145.14) are available at mocofestival.com.

Austin Psych Fest — April 28-30
A product of Levitation, an alternative record label and festival, Austin Psych Fest announced its 2023 lineup at The Far Out Lounge. The two stages will include Toro Y Moi, Austin greats the Black Angels, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and indie pop hero Cuco. Ensuring the psychedelic vibes are fully realized, the festival has an epic light show planned. The full lineup and tickets (starting at $75 before fees) are available at levitation.fm.

Austin Blues Festival — April 29
The 'inaugural' Austin Blues Festival may sound like it's the first of its type in the city, but it's reviving a long history of celebrating the genre. It is the first iteration of this particular festival, held at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, but it's not the first blues festival to bless the city (for example, Eastside Kings Festival, among others). Rather, Austin Blues Festival is the revival of a decades-old tradition at the same park, called Antone’s Blues Festival. Still, the festival gaining new life also brings Los Lobos, Booker T's Stax Revue, and Blk Odyssy to Austin audiences all at once in an outdoor party. The full lineup and tickets (starting at $50 before fees) are available at moodyamphitheater.com.

Shows a little further out, but with recent big news:

Utopiafest — May 5-6
Yet another camping festival. This is the "finale" of Utopiafest, a long-running festival, at its more recent home base at Reveille Peak Ranch about an hour northwest of Austin. It'll eventually return (in October) to its more remote first location, out in Utopia, Texas, for two more events. There's no lineup yet, but in January the team launched a permanent venue and bar in Buda, called Meridian, which will live on when Utopiafest is over. CultureMap covered the brass tacks of the transition and tickets are available at utopiafest.com (select specific days and needs to view prices).

Oblivion Access Festival— June 15-18
One of Austin's biggest and darkest "underground" events, Oblivion Access Festival, just announced the first wave of its lineup including headliners Godflesh and Tim Hecker. The multi-venue festival promises more than 50 names on the lineup by the time all are announced. Oblivion draws fans and artists from around the world to the Red River Cultural District, to experience the venue-hopping tradition the area increasingly leans into. The full lineup and tickets (click each show for prices) are available at oblivionaccessfestival.com.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer


Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish


  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish


  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower


  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million


An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.

Uchi spinoff to debut "whisky omakase," bar pairings, and bao in Austin

Raising the Bar

Uchibā isn't a new concept, nor is it newly promised to Austin, but it's finally getting closer to becoming a reality. The bar and restaurant spinoff from Uchi (translated as "Uchi Bar") announced today that it is set to open in late summer in the Google Tower.

Hai Hospitality, the parent group of famous omakase restaurant Uchi, more casual sushi restaurant Uchiko, and drop-in Asian barbecue restaurant Loro, announced the idea in October of 2021, setting a launch date in fall of 2022. The intent was always to open the restaurant in the Google Tower (601 West 2nd St.), so the difference now is just timing.

The original Uchibā opened in Dallas in 2019, operating upstairs from Uchi, an Austin export. This exchange is now coming back around, blurring the lines of what's from which Texas city. Similarly, the lines are blurred between what each restaurant serves, since Uchibā does include some of Uchi and Uchiko's most popular dishes: hot and cool tastings, agemono (deep fried bites), raw fish rolls, yakitori, and more, including dessert.

Of course, there will be lots of menu items that are unique to Uchibā, especially when informed by the spirits behind the bar. Some of these food and drink pairings include the Hawaiian-ish spiced ham misubi with nori, rice, and tepahe, a fermented pineapple drink; and the vodka and caviar with olive oil, burnt butter, brioche, and chives. As well as these "duos," the bar will offer omakase flights for whiskey and agave spirits.

“At Uchi we combine flavors and textures to create what we call the ‘perfect bite,’” said Chef Tyson Cole, the James Beard Award-winning chef who started the Uchi brand, in a press release. “With Uchibā, we wanted to take that a step further by unifying food with cocktails and spirits. Our 'Perfect Pairs' and the whisky omakase play off this idea with intentional combinations of food, cocktails and the the amazing array of Japanese whiskies behind the bar.”

Some menu items aren't just unique to Uchibā; They're also only available at the Austin location, thanks to its chef de cuisine, Vaidas Imsha. His menu includes categories that don't appear at the Dallas location — "Buns + Bao" and dumplings — and a long list of items that could constitute their own menu independently. Among these are a Caesar salad with Japanese twists; a Wagyu beef bulgogi with radish kimchi; two fish crudos with refreshing additions like asian pear and cucumber aguachile; and the more straightforward karaage spiced up with kimchi caramel and yuzu pear.

Uchibā will operate Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 pm; until midnight on Fridays; and until 11 pm on Saturdays. Happy Hour will be from 4-6 pm Monday through Friday.

Uchiba Austin

Photo courtesy of Uchibā

Although Uchi is from Austin, Uchiba, the upstairs bar, has only existed in Dallas until now.