Don't mind that sound emanating from the South. It's just Austin residents scurrying to list their homes on airbnb as the marauding hordes prepare to invade.
Yes, another installment of SXSW is upon us. The giant octopus' film and interactive tentacles will be unleashed Friday. The music takes over Tuesday. The drunken Sixth Street scene should be in full effect by Wednesday.
I'm primarily concerned with the movies. SXSW Film has grown in stature, quality and influence over the past decade, thanks largely to shrewd programming, aggressive marketing and Austin's hipster magnate pull. A small sampling of those scheduled to attend either the festival or the conference includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Don Cheadle, Ellen Page, Joel Edgerton, Kerry Washington, Pee Wee Herman, Geena Davis and Key & Peele. (The interactive conference has some guy named Barak Obama. But that's another story).
And, as always, there will be too many movies to see. I'll try to get to as many as I can. In the meantime, we continue our tradition of presenting ten films that have our culture critic excited. In alphabetical order:
The Art of Organized Noize: The story of the Dirty South hip-hop production team that brought the bounce to Outkast, Goodie Mob and other major players from the '90s Atlanta scene.
Baby Bump: If you seek a slice of the surreal, this Polish coming-of-age comedic horror will do the trick. It was produced through the 2015 Venice Film Festival Biennale College program.
The Bandit: 10-4, good buddy: This documentary looks at the making of Smokey & the Bandit through the eyes of Burt Reynolds and his stuntman buddy Hal Needham.
Everybody Wants Some: OK, I cheated and saw this one already. Richard Linklater's follow-up to Boyhood, about a group of college baseball players on the cusp of the 1980 school year, makes a worthy companion piece to Dazed and Confused. It's the festival's opening night centerpiece.
Midnight Special: The latest from Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter) finds his go-to star Michael Shannon on the run with his young son when he learns the kid has special powers. It has been compared, for better and worse, to Spielbergian fantasy.
Miles Ahead - I saw this one already, too. Don Cheadle's gritty fantasia about late-period Miles Davis is as unpredictable and unusual as the jazz master himself.
Orange Sunshine: A dose of counterculture history: This documentary explores the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a group of California surfers and hippies who became kings of the LSD and hash market in the '60s and '70s.
Sidemen - Long Road to Glory: A documentary look at the Muddy Water and Howlin' Wolf sidemen Pinetop Perkins, Willie Smith and Hubert Sumlin, unsung heroes of the blues. This has the potential to be a another 20 Feet From Stardom.
Slash: Dallas' Clay Liford directed this skewed story of a young erotic fan fiction writer and the woman who leads him to new heights/depths.
Tower: This animated documentary look at Charles Whitman's 1966 sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin. The attack is now considered America's first mass school shooting.