Photo courtesy of ApartmentAdvisor

Here’s a few nerve-wracking questions that Austin’s college seniors have likely heard multiple times throughout the semester: What are your post-grad plans? Will you pursue a graduate degree here, or will you move elsewhere to continue your studies? Do you plan on working in the city or going back to your hometown?

Graduation is a freeing experience, but working on those future plans can be intimidating. Luckily for Austin’s graduating class of 2023, staying in your college city isn’t as bad as you think it is. And according to a new report from ApartmentAdvisor, Austin is the No. 8 best city in the nation for college grads just starting out in the workforce.

Austin’s affinity for tech startups and entrepreneurship was the main reasoning behind its ranking. The report spoke highly of the University of Texas at Austin’s Technology Incubator, which was founded in 1989 and currently stands as the longest active tech incubator in the country.

The city’s high growth rate for entry-level jobs is a major draw for recent graduates, especially since LinkedIn declared Austin the No. 1 city for grads to land entry-level jobs in 2022. Other key factors include a low unemployment rate and what the report calls a “healthy” median income-to-rent ratio, even though Austin’s apartment rent has increased nearly 10 percent since last year. The city’s bustling nightlife is always a fun after-work perk, but it won’t come cheap.

ApartmentAdvisor analyzed 84 of the largest American cities across several economic criteria such as average salaries, rent prices, access to nightlife, and others to determine their rankings.

The top 10 best cities for college grads are:

  • No. 1 – Madison, Wisconsin
  • No. 2 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • No. 3 – Seattle
  • No. 4 – Atlanta
  • No. 5 – Salt Lake City
  • No. 6 – Pittsburgh
  • No. 7 – Denver
  • No. 8 – Austin
  • No. 9 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 10 – St. Louis, Missouri

Austin was the only Texas city to make the top 10, giving it the title of best city in the state for college grads. Eight other Texas cities made the list, including Lubbock (No. 22), Dallas (No. 25), Houston (No. 39), Amarillo (No. 54), San Antonio (No. 60), El Paso (No. 65), Corpus Christi (No. 67), and Brownsville (No. 78).

The report can be found on apartmentadvisor.com.

Photo courtesy of Austin Forum on Technology & Society

Austin Forum on Technology & Society presents Making the Metaverse Matter

Metaverse is not a new concept, but it is recently generating lots of buzz as new metaverse games and applications advance in hardware capabilities and software techniques to provide superior experiences. Gaming serves as a big driver, but we are also starting to see innovative applications in education, retail, healthcare, and more.

The Austin Forum on Technology & Society for a conversation with three leading metaverse experts - Amber Allen of Double A Labs, Hrish Lotlikar of Superworld, and Finn Staber of Chicken Waffle - discuss the current state and expected innovations and applications in metaverse technologies and uses. There will be ample time for audience questions, and then networking with the speakers and attendees. And, as always, one in-person attendee will have a badge for SXSW 2024, at which there is sure to (again) be lots of programming about the metaverse.

Photo courtesy of 19 Keys

19Keys: The Highest Level Tour

19Keys is a global thought leader and one of the pioneers in the space of Web 3, business, tech, metaphysic, and financial literacy, having millions of followers across the globe. He is known for his efforts in matters of wealth creation and is the co-founder of initiatives such as The Block World Order (BWO), Goldewater, and Crownz Society.

19Keys and special guests will talk about everything from making more money to being happier and more successful.

Photo courtesy of Austin Forum on Technology & Society

Austin Forum on Technology & Society presents AI in 2023: Exciting Developments and Heightened Risks

In the AI in 2023: Exciting Developments and Heightened Risks talk, Dr. Steve Kramer will give an introduction to AI for non-practitioners and then highlight current use cases in generative AI, computer vision, natural language processing, time series forecasting, anomaly detection, reinforcement learning, and recommender systems where AI-based systems are already performing well or offer significant promise to do so in the near future.

Some key examples include creative writing and video generation, drug discovery, robotics, language understanding, climate change mitigation, and supply chain optimization. A major focus will be on recent generative AI models like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT that have attracted broad attention across the world.

Kramer will also discuss the significant risks of AI systems related to incorrectness, bias, fairness, privacy, fraud, cybersecurity, and misinformation/disinformation and then the current efforts in algorithmic accountability and AI ethics to minimize negative impacts or harms.

There will be plenty of accessible content for those newer to AI as well as pointers to technical details for those with strong AI backgrounds who want to learn about key recent research developments.

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

Staple Austin venue turns up the sliders on music tech for free SXSW showcase and talks

A music tech empire

Here's the beautiful thing about Austin: Music technology is anything from sound-based NFTs to one musician, to an acoustic guitar to another, and they're probably playing down the street from one another during South by Southwest (SXSW).

Austinites with and without SXSW badges are invited to get together to discuss everything in between and beyond at Empire Garage and Control Room, one of the city's core venues in the Red River Cultural District, on March 13.

This event is an official SXSW panel, but it is open to the public via an online RSVP. Presented by Dentity, an authentication app for internet security, "The Power of Connection with Emerging Technologies" gathers experience in music tech from Dentity CEO Jefferey Schwartz, Rebecca Thorne of See Tickets, Stephen Cilton of Psyko Steve Presents, and more panelists. Each will discuss how progress in the field affects audiences, venues, digital platforms, and other industry experiences.

According to the official SXSW listing, the panel runs from 4-5 pm, but Empire's event goes from noon to 2 am, filling the extra time with shows by some of Austin's best, plus exciting guests. This industry state-of-the-union doubles as the venue's 10th anniversary, and invites performers from several genres to come together and celebrate. It is one of countless unofficial showcases that will be going on throughout the city to celebrate the festival with those who did not officially register.

An Austin-heavy lineup features The Black Angels, Sir Woman, Pearl Z, and more in the Garage, while the Control Room stage welcomes DODO, Jarobi of Tribe Called Quest, Nappy Roots, and other friends.

Of course, this is not the venue's only SXSW showcase. The venue has some official programming on the schedule, plus other free events include a free "weekender" curated by local booking agency Resound; "Lost Weekend" with Resound and famous music blog BrooklynVegan; and the 4th Annual "Brooklyn Bowl Family Reunion," in collaboration with the trendy New York venue.

See the full lineup for "Dentity & Empire Presents: Music Tech Mashup — Powered by Dentity" and RSVP at empireatx.com. Other SXSW programming is listed under the "Events" tab.

Photo courtesy of Helios Visions

Chicago drone company lands in Austin as part of Texas-wide expansion

dropping in

A Chicago-based company that provides drone-based infrastructure inspection services is bringing new offices in Texas — including Austin.

Helios Visions revealed its expansion into Texas in December 2022, and named three new offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. The company specializes in collecting automated and repeatable aerial data via drone technology within the architectural design, engineering design, and construction industries.

"Houston, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth are large markets, and it is a natural next step of our continuing expansion strategy," says Ted Parisot, co-founder of Helios Visions, in a news release. "Moving into the Texas market allows us to best serve the needs of both existing and new clients in architecture, engineering, construction, and commercial real estate.

"Coupled with the urgent need for infrastructure inspections across the United States, it was the right time to expand our drone services in Texas," he continues. "This also represents the continued growth and value provided by the commercial drone services industry as a whole."

Helios Visions, founded in 2015, will offer its Texas projects drone services in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure Inspection (bridges, overpasses, viaducts, etc.)
  • Building façade inspection
  • Construction progress documentation
  • Commercial real estate

"Given its central location and the high population growth trajectory, we knew that expanding into the Texas market would allow us to best serve the needs of both existing and new clients," says Calvin Gin, co-founder of Helios Visions, in the release. "I am often traveling across Texas for other projects including Luby's Restaurants and Charming Studios, so it is a natural progression for Helios Visions to expand our drone service offerings here."


This article originally ran on our sister site, InnovationMap.

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Everything to know about Austin's 4th annual Stay Black and Live Juneteenth Festival


A weeklong celebration of Black history is returning to Austin with a focus on local organizations and people that are making long-lasting impacts in the local community. The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center is hosting the fourth annual Stay Black and Live (SB&L) Juneteenth Festival June 12-19.

The festival began as a livestream in 2020, and has since captured the attention of community members citywide, making it the cornerstone event for Austin's Juneteenth celebrations. SB&L's theme for 2023 is "Austin Family Reunion," centered around community kickbacks, cookouts, live music, and more.

In a release, Carver Museum director Carre Adams said the museum continuously aims to "honor the significance of Juneteenth" with their festival programming and education.

“We are incredibly proud to continue Austin’s Juneteenth celebration and tradition at our historic museum,” said Adams. “We invite the Austin community to join us as we commemorate this momentous occasion and bring Black history past, present and future to the forefront.”

The festival will begin with a presentation on Monday, June 12 hosted by 2023 Grammy Music Educator Award winner and Desoto, Texas high school music teacher Pamela Dawson. The website states she will sing and use "negro spirituals" during her interactive session to inform guests about "African-American contributions to the sonic art form." Dawson's lecture will take place from 6-8 pm at the Boyd Vance Theater.

Below is a full weekend schedule for the festival:

Thursday, June 15
James Beard award-winning food historian and author Michael W. Twitty will take the stage at the Boyd Vance Theater from 6-8 pm. He'll discuss the eating habits and culinary practices of African Americans, and open a conversation about modern-day abolitionist movements.

Friday, June 16
Austinites of every age are invited to the festival's community kickback and dance party from 6-9 pm at the Carver Museum's Freedom Lawn. The party will be accompanied by high-energy music by DJ Cysum and DJ Dontizl. The event is in partnership with Creative Action, who will also set up a "sensory station" for attendees to express themselves with glowsticks, kites, bubbles, and more. A special performance by BodyRockATX will close out the event.

Saturday, June 17
The day will begin at 10 am with the annual historic Juneteenth Parade through Austin's Rosewood neighborhood. The parade route starts on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and goes all the way to Rosewood Park.

Following the parade, visitors can gather for the Austin Family Reunion Cookout and Music Festival behind the Carver Museum from 3-6 pm. Veteran pitmasters will provide the delicious barbecue while Lady Joy and KAZI 88.7 DJs host the festivities. Attendees can also enjoy a vendor market, carnival games, workshops, and more.

Saul Paul will host the music festival from 6-9 pm on the Freedom Lawn, with performances by Distinguished Soundz, Stretch Muzik, and DJ Kay Kali. Headliners GAPX will perform at 8 pm.

Monday, June 19
Historian, Harvard law professor, and Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed will lead a Free Your Mind Conversation Series discussion about her book, On Juneteenth, from 1-3 pm at the Boyd Vance Theater.

Later that afternoon from 5-8 pm, the museum will host their final event for the week with their "Community Revival and Remembrance" ceremony in partnership with the Austin Justice Coalition. The closing celebration will pay respect to those who were victims of police violence in Texas.

More information about the Stay Black and Live Juneteenth Festival can be found on juneteenthatx.com.

Political satirist John Oliver heads to Austin on standup tour

Terrifying Times, Again

After the end of the regular legislative session, many Texans could use a dose of political satire, and John Oliver is on his way. The comedian and TV writer will perform live at Bass Concert Hall on Sunday, August 20 as part of the John Oliver Live tour.

Oliver is best known as the host and producer of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a political recap show that showcases the English comedian's biting sarcasm, which has won him several awards: 23 Primetime Emmys, five Writer’s Guild Awards, two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, four Television Critics Association Awards, and two Peabodys.

His work with similar shows spans nearly two decades, starting as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2006, and including his time hosting podcastThe Bugle with Andy Zaltzman.

Oliver's standup career goes about as far back, starting with his 2008 special, John Oliver: Terrifying Times. Fans may also recognize the actor for his role in Community as a disgruntled, morally-ambiguous professor of psychology, or his voice work on cartoons including Big Mouth, Bob's Burgers, and Rick & Morty.

Tickets will be available to Texas Performing Arts' "Texas Inner Circle" members on Wednesday, June 7. General sales begin on Friday, June 9, at 10 AM. Check Ticketmaster for availability.

Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle plots out 4 Texas arena shows, including Austin

Chappelle's Show(s)

Comedian/actor Dave Chappelle will soon bring his "Dave Chappelle Live" stand-up comedy show to arenas in four cities in Texas, including the Moody Center in Austin on July 14.

Other dates include the American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 29, the Toyota Center in Houston on July 1, and the AT&T Center in San Antonio on July 12.

Chappelle is a complicated figure who's been celebrated for his trailblazing comedy and vilified for his controversial stances. Chappelle's Show, which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Comedy Central, was widely praised, and Chappelle remained extremely popular despite the abrupt end of the show and him choosing to recede from the spotlight in the following decade.

His re-emergence in the late 2010s brought success in the form of three straight Grammy wins for Best Comedy Album, but also continued jokes aimed at transgender people. He has been the subject of multiple protests over that material, and has even had a show canceled by a venue in Minneapolis after receiving criticism for hosting him.

As if to underscore the contentious nature of his comedy, no cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed at any of the four shows. All phones and smart watches will be secured in special pouches that can be unlocked at the end of the show. Anyone caught with a cellphone in the venue will be immediately ejected.

Tickets for the four shows will go on sale at 5 pm on June 5 at ticketmaster.com.