This Friday, March 11th sees the opening of the first in-person South by Southwest (SXSW) since 2019, running in Austin, Texas until Sunday, March 20th, with select films also screening online. We take a look at some the LGBTQ+ highlights in the sessions, music, and film lineups at the upcoming edition of the Conference and Festivals.
Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce presents Big Gay Kickoff Party – March 11th 6pm – 9pm at Rain, 217 W 4th St, Austin TX 78701.
Trans Texans Need Us: Hear From the Front Lines – March 13th 10am – 11am, Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EF. The State of Texas recently announced its intention to try to investigate and potentially take transgender children away from their parents, and block them from lifesaving healthcare. CPS has started to go into families’ homes. This is part of a coordinated national effort to erase LGBTQ people from classrooms, sports, daily life, and their own families. A panel of activists and Texans living through these attacks will discuss why this is happening and how anyone can help build a world where transgender people are safe and able to be themselves. With Charlie Apple, Andy Marra (Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund), Emmett Schelling (Transgender Education Network of Texas), Jessica Shortall (Texas Competes), and Diamond Stylz (Marsha’s Plate).
A Clarion Call for More LGBTQ Inclusion in Sports – March 13th 11:30am – 12:30pm at Four Seasons, Ballroom CD. Sports can provide forums that bring people together, creating dynamic communities that transcend generations, backgrounds, and geographies. Yet for all the power of sports environments, they have also been historically antagonistic toward LGBTQ people and continue to be a breeding ground for discrimination. In the past year, there’s been increased visibility of LGBTQ athletes, but we’ve also seen a record couple of years of state legislation intended to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth from playing school sports. The juxtaposition of these phenomena proves there’s a long way to go to achieve ubiquitous LGBTQ acceptance in athletics. This session will explore the state of athletics and fight for a future where people don’t need to choose between being themselves and playing sports. Featuring Katie Barnes (ESPN), athlete Chris Mosier, The Trevor Project’s Amit Paley, and Olympic Figure Skating Medalist Adam Rippon.
TRANSforming Comedy – March 12th 11:30am – 12:30pm, Austin Convention Center, Room 13AB. TRANSforming Comedy is a conversation centered around transgender comedy creatives in the world of film and television. In the face of disproportionate and divisive debate, comedic writers and filmmakers with the lived experience being transgender challenge the reflexive overrepresentation of dramatic treatment of trans stories through the radical genre of comedy. Audiences will hear and learn how comedy can change culture, inviting connection through shared humor and catharsis through laughter. With Jaclyn Moore (Peacock), Sav Rodgers (Transgender Film Center), Alex Schmider (GLAAD), and Zackery Stephens (Peacock).
Helping Queer Youth Find Joy – March 15th 12pm – 12:30pm, JW Marriott, Salon D – Youth values and perspectives shift with each generation; the brands seeking to engage with youth audiences must shift as well. Join It Gets Better Project Executive Director Brian Wenke to learn about the ever-evolving queer youth experience — and the positive influence brands can have on the sexual orientation and/or gender identity journey. This session will offer a spectrum of insights, pulled from case studies and supplemental research, to inform safe and effective strategies to engage with the incredibly dynamic LGBTQ+ youth community.
Addressing Our Transgender Health Crisis – Mar 11th 2:30pm – 3:30pm at Austin Marriott Downtown, Waterloo Ballroom 4, Few groups face more daunting health challenges than transgender and gender non-binary Americans, more than 52 percent of whom, according to one recent survey, have seriously contemplated suicide. Making matters even worse, physicians and health care providers too often lack the sensitivity and education required to offer their transgender patients the best care. This panel of experts and advocates will survey the landscape and propose concrete ways in which health systems, policy makers, and other interested parties can work together to make sure at-risk transgender patients receive the care they need and deserve. With Andrew Keaster, MD (The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center), Danielle Ofri, MD (Bellevue Literary Revue), David Rosenthal, DO, PhD (Northwell Health), and Alex Wade (Oklahomans For Equality).
Jonathan Van Ness & ALOK – March 14th 11:30am – 12:30pm, JW Marriott, Salon 6-8 – Jonathan Van Ness is an Emmy-nominated television personality, New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, and hairstylist to the stars. He stars on Netflix’s Queer Eye, hosts and executive produces Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, based on his popular podcast. In September 2019, he released his revelatory memoir, Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love, and his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss the book, living with HIV, and HIV stigma earned a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode. Jonathan is passionate about using his platform and voice for change. Jonathan will be in conversation with ALOK, an internationally acclaimed writer, performer, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021). They are the creator of #DeGenderFashion: a movement to degender fashion and beauty industries. Over the past decade they have presented at more than 600 venues in 40 countries, most recently headlining the 2021 New York Comedy Festival.
Additionally, Jonathan’s inclusive sustainable hair care brand, JVN, will be hosting a two-day JVN Pop Up Salon on March 14th and 15th 10am-6pm, where guests can enjoy dry styling and blow out appointments, test and try the product, learn about the revolutionary new collection, giveaways, samples, and more. At Janet St. Paul Studio, 110 San Antonio St., Ste. 130, Austin TX. Click here to book.
There are No Girls on the !nternet? JK WE RUN IT! – March 16th 4pm – 5pm, Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H – Women, Black folks, the LGBTQ community, and others from traditionally marginalized backgrounds and identities have been shaping what it means to be online since the very beginning. We’re the same communities who are doing the work to make the internet and technology safer, more inclusive, and just more fun for everyone. That work is often, at best, ignored and at worst punished. Bridget Todd is creator and host of the critically acclaimed tech and culture podcast There Are No Girls On The Internet. She is taking us on a journey through OUR history of the internet, and imagining a tech future where our voices are valued, heard, and given the space to make digital experiences better for everyone. In-person, online, and on demand.
LGBTQ+ Rights and Politics – March 12th 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon C. From 2015 to 2022, we’ve seen LGBTQ rights take center stage in Texas politics with an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ measures. After suffering a devastating loss with the repeal of the Houston Equal Rights ordinance, LGBTQ political organizations and advocates have mounted a strong defense against insurmountable odds. This panel will break down our response to defeat and how we’ve built our model of advocacy to push back on those efforts. With Rebecca Marques (Human Rights Campaign), Ricardo Martinez (Equality Texas), Emmett Schelling (Transgender Education Network of Texas), and Jessica Shortall (Texas Competes).
LGBTQ+ in Music Meet Up – March 17th 2:30pm – 3:30pm – Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 408. Meet LGBTQ+ professionals in the music industry, share your experiences, and make connections at a time when visibility is very important.
How Do I Un-Remember This? – March 14th 4pm – 5pm at Austin Convention Center, Room 10AB – Danny Pellegrino will take the audience behind the making of his memoir How Do I Un-Remember This?, revealing behind the scenes details, how the project came about, and the intense connection he has to pop culture, nostalgia, and the Midwest that appears throughout the book. He’ll talk about being an LGBTQ creator, and what it’s like to share so many personal details within the writing. Danny will also touch on his hit podcast, Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino, including how it came about, growing organically, behind the scenes stories about celebrity guests, favorite moments, and more. Finally, Danny will touch on whatever is going on in the pop culture universe at the time of the event, touching on everything from Bravo and The Real Housewives, to whatever else is making headlines
LGBTQ+ Sex Education for Brands – March 16th 11:30am – 12:30pm, JW Marriott, Salon E. For decades, the ad and marketing industry has infused sex into every product, from condoms (obvious) to hamburgers (not obvious, but OK). And for years — in June — we’ve added a rainbow to everything from search engines (obviously) to mouthwash (sure?). Yet there’s so little authentic LGBTQIA+ sex in advertising. If “sex sells”… why not to us? From a place of strategy and inclusive representation, we call to brands: if you continue to sell sex, you better get informed by the community reinventing sex for the world. Ultimately, you believe in innovation, culture, and progress, or you don’t. So unless your brand becomes celibate, reconsider how you respectfully experiment as a marketer. Culture started this. Brands followed suit. Sex sold. Now we discuss what’s next. With Arielle Egozi (Bread), Kayla Gore (My Sistah’s House), Graham Nolan (Do the WeRQ), and Alicia Sinclair (COTR, Inc).
Marginalized Voices In Film & TV Journalism – March 13th 4pm – 5pm, Austin Convention Center, Room 13AB. Created by GLAAD Media Award winner, Gold House A100 honoree and former Deadline editor Dino-Ray Ramos, DIASPORA was launched as an “alternative” Hollywood trade publication for and by people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, the disabled community and other marginalized voices. This space is and has been dominated by white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men and the panel is an opportunity for Ramos, alongside other underrepresented journalists, speak to the importance of inclusivity in newsrooms and how it impacts the Hollywood ecosystem altogether. The panel will allow seasoned journalists to speak about their experiences while working in Hollywood, the ups & downs as well as problems & solutions to help bolster representation in newsrooms across the board. With Valerie Complex (Deadline), Kristen Lopez (Indiewire), Dino-Ray Ramos (DIASPORA), and Jeff Yang
(CNN/ They Call Us Bruce).
Social Media Platform Accountability: LGBTQ+ Edition – March 12th 10am – 11am, Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon A. Join internationally acclaimed writer, performer, and media personality ALOK (they/them); GLAAD’s senior director of Social Media Safety, Jenni Olson (she/her/TBD); and Media Matters for America senior strategist (and SMSI advisory committee member), Brennan Suen (he/him) for a discussion of GLAAD’s inaugural Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) report — which found Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok to be unsafe for LGBTQ users. From algorithms and AI to content moderation and data privacy — how can these companies be held accountable, what are the top recommendations from leaders in the field, and how can we all be a part of creating safer spaces for LGBTQ people online? With ALOK, Jenni Olson (GLAAD) and Brennan Suen (Media Matters for America).
Tech and the New Fluidity of Male Sexuality – March 17th 11:30am – 12:30pm, Austin Marriott Downtown, Waller Ballroom DEF. Queer is cool, and the rigidity around male sexuality is crumbling. Now more than ever attitudes around sexuality are more liberated, mercurial, and permeable. 1 in 6 Zoomers identify as something besides “heterosexual,” and expressions of gender and sexuality are becoming more accepted into the mainstream every day. Queer stories are more visible than ever in media, social media stars are capitalizing on queer trends to garner clout, and A-Listers are publicly celebrating their queerness — everywhere you look the restrictive tradition of heteronormative masculinity is quickly becoming outmoded. Our panel of sexual educators and experts will discuss the wide acceptance of a new kind of amorphous sexual expression, the simultaneous importance and triviality of labels, and the way technology. With Alexander Cheves, Eli Martin (Sniffies), Jacob Tobia, and Zachary Zane (Z Zane Enterprises).
Unlocking Inclusive Media with Intersectionality – March 15th 10am – 11a, Austin Marriott Downtown, Waller Ballroom DEF. Do you ever wake up in the morning and pick up your phone to tune into a YouTube series, TV show, or even the morning news? What do you see? Does it make you think differently or provide a new perspective? For years, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic & gender inequalities have run rampant in the media. Today’s media & entertainment landscape play an integral role in setting the tone for the future of inclusion. Creators & businesses globally are elevating underrepresented voices through an intersectional framework from the beginning of their production process through their premieres.
In this session, you’ll hear from members of the Black, Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Latino & Transgender communities on how to connect with your audience & avoid blindspots using the concept of intersectionality. With Ben Abraham (Storyblocks), Jon Higgins – DoctorJonPaul (Edith Entertainment), Zahara Hill (HuffPost), and Aiden Korotkin.
Web3 For the Rest of Us – March 11th 12pm – 12:45pm, 5th and Trinity. As the Web3 revolution continues to integrate the internet’s potential into nearly every aspect of human life, there are segments of the population that could benefit but aren’t being included: underserved communities; from middle America to BIPOC to women, rural and the LGBTQ+ communities. Web3 innovation can enable opportunities to transform key aspects of life in these communities, but there is a lack of awareness and education. Speakers include LATASHÁ (Music Artist and Head of Community Programming, ZORA), Kit Mueller (VP Corp. Development @ Stronghold Digital Mining), Brian Kaplan (VP of Marketing and Digital at EM.Co), and Danielle Simmons (Head of Strategy, Shareability).
The Art of Making It, directed by Kelcey Edwards. Focusing on a diverse group of compelling young artists at pivotal moments in their careers, “The Art of Making It” explores the forces that thrust some into the stratosphere while leaving others struggling to survive. Who gets seen, who gets left behind, and why does it matter who is anointed to tell the stories of our time? Interweaving the voices of creative luminaries and disruptors, the film is both a cautionary tale about what America stands to lose if we don’t rethink what we value and why, and a love letter to those who persevere in their artistic practice in spite of the extraordinary odds of ever achieving commercial success. Screens at various times March 11-19th.
Clean, directed by Lachlan McLeod. Trauma cleaners clean spaces that no one else will touch – hoarder sites, meth-labs, murder scenes, deaths and suicides. They clean the homes of some of society’s most vulnerable people – the neglected, the lonely, the addicted, and the mentally unwell. When illness forces her away from her beloved trauma cleaning business, Sandra faces up to her traumatic past and begins a search for her birth mother. Meanwhile, the workers approach this difficult work with camaraderie and humour, bringing hope to their clients despite carrying trauma of their own. CLEAN shows us that life is more fragile than we might think, but there is hope and reassurance in human connection. Screens various times March 12th – March 17th.
Hypochondriac, directed by Addison Heimann. Will, a young Hispanic gay potter, is one gregarious guy. His boss is terrible, but he’s got a great boyfriend and a great job. Unfortunately, behind that veneer is a dark past of violence and mental illness that he is desperate to keep hidden. When his bipolar mother comes out of the woodwork after ten years of silence, he begins exhibiting unexplainable symptoms. After an injury at work, he starts losing functioning of his arms, and something sinister lurks in the corner of his vision: a silent and ominous man in a wolf costume. Will spirals into an obsession, determined to solve this mystery of his own. What is going on with his arms? Can he trust his boyfriend? Is he becoming his mother? Screens various times March 14th – March 17th.
Kids In The Hall: Comedy Punks, directed by Reg Harkema. Through never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with celebrities, industry insiders and the “Kids” themselves— this two-part documentary delves into this cult-famous comedy troupe’s post-punk origins in the mid-1980s and provides inside access to their tumultuous 40-year journey across five seasons of their renowned television series, a controversial feature film, multiple sold-out tours and their recently announced reboot for Prime Video. Screens various times March 15th – March 16th.
Lover, Beloved, directed by Michael Tully. In this experimental blend of film, theater, and music, Suzanne Vega reinterprets two talks Carson McCullers gave at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. During the first, in 1941, she drinks her way through the lecture, revealing messy romances and illnesses. In the second, 25 years later, she confronts her mortality, reminiscing on her novel and play The Member of The Wedding; also on her twice failed marriage and romances of both sexes, ending on the credo she forged with her husband. Agape love matters in this life, not Erotic. Ironically, Carson McCullers, despite her compassion, is destined to solitude. Screens various times March 14th – March 17th.
Mama Bears, directed by Daresha Kyi. Usually when we say films are about transformation, we are speaking metaphorically, but “Mama Bears” is the story of women who have allowed nearly every aspect of their lives to be completely reshaped by love. Although they may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their children safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart. Shot in a poetic, deeply intimate style, the film uses social media posts, home movies, photos, interviews, and cinema verité to explore the complex intersections of politics, religion, faith, and true, unconditional love. Screens various times March 13th – March 18th.
Sissy, directed by Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes. Cecilia and Emma were tween-age BFFs who were going to grow old together and never let anything come between them, until Alex arrived on the scene. Twelve years later, Cecilia is a successful social media influencer living the dream of an independent, modern millennial woman… until she runs into Emma for the first time in over a decade. Emma invites Cecilia away on her bachelorette weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains, where Alex proceeds to make Cecilia’s weekend a living hell. #triggered. Screens March 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Still Working 9 to 5, directed by Camille Hardman and Gary Lane. When the highest grossing comedy, 9 to 5, starring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman and Lily Tomlin, exploded on the cinema screens in 1980, the laughs hid a serious message about women in the office. Still Working 9 to 5 explores why workplace inequality 40 years later is no longer a laughing matter. Screens March 13th – March 18th.
All the Crows in the World, directed by Tang Yi. 18-year-old high school girl Shengnan is invited to a mysterious party by her cousin. She enters a night of adventures in the adults’ world. Shorts Program 2, March 12, 13th, and 16th.
Clare, directed by Lauren Minnerath. When 17-year-old Clare and her best friend sneak away from a high school talent show to vape in the locker room, they discover their teacher, Mrs. Larsson, has also snuck away to cry. As Clare tries to reach out to Mrs. Larsson over what she saw, it becomes apparent that their lives are intertwined in ways that go beyond a simple student-teacher relationship. Shorts Program 3, March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You, directed by Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair. Margaret is an international renowned composer who witnesses the violent accidental death of her partner – and becomes convinced her spirit is still within the house. In the search for an answer, she composes a suite of new music to drive the spectre out from the shadows. In doing so, she evokes her own deep unresolved pain and guilt – and what she’s afraid to confront about her own feelings for someone else. Midnight Shorts Program, March 13th, 14th, and 17th.
For Love, directed by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Nkechi, an illegal immigrant, who has been living in fear hiding from immigration for the past three years, lives with her girlfriend Martha and their two other friends Dolapo and Tolu. When two immigration officers show up at their front door to do a random check on Dolapo, both Nkechi and Martha are forced to make decisions about their love and their future together. Shorts Program 2, screens various times March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Freedom, directed by Jeremiah Sudarmanto. What does freedom mean to you? Four teenagers from Austin, Texas answer that question with the unique influence of their artistic abilities. Xavier Stewart, a long time dancer, explains his struggle dealing with anxiety. The constant worry of the expectations other people have of you. Natalia Murillo, an illustrator and musician, reveals the resistance they experienced trying to win homecoming court for being queer. Alex Zhou, a music producer and founder of clothing brand “sazosmind”, speaks on how his parent’s pursuit of freedom carried into his own lifestyle and creative endeavors. And lastly, Jeremiah Sudarmanto, who opens up about the difficulty of trying to account for everyone. Texas High School Shorts Program, screens various times March 12th, 13th, and 19th.
Gay Haircut, directed by Jude Harris. For a stand-up comic, a drastic life change can mean losing one’s entire act. Bisexual comedian Krista has decided her relationship with a trans woman is worth coming out over – but will she commit to an entire rebrand with one gay haircut? Texas Shorts Program, screens various times March 11th, 12th, and 15th.
Homesick, directed by Will Seefried. An absurdist thriller about an unhappy man who attends a retreat offering adults a second chance at a happy childhood. Shorts Program 1, March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Monsieur Le Butch, directed by Jude Dry. by When Jude ends up unexpectedly living at home in their 30s, they must deal with a lovingly opinionated Jewish mother who doesn’t quite get the whole trans thing. As the lines blur between scripted, improvised, and completely off the rails, Jude and Mom talk past and over each other, but rarely to each other. Over an intimate haircut, Jude realizes they don’t have to be fully understood to be fully loved. Shot in the dog days of quarantine during a picturesque Vermont summer and featuring an original instrumental score, “Monsieur Le Butch” is a tender and authentic meta-comedy about the line between the stories we tell ourselves and the stories that get told about us. Shorts Program 1, screens various times March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Peaches, ‘Pussy Mask’, directed by leah shore. My pussy wears a mask my pussy don’t play. Music Video Program, March 14th, 15th, and 17th.
Tank Fairy, directed by Erich Rettstadt. In Taiwan, “song wa si de” are workers who routinely supply gas tanks to street vendors and old residential buildings. The magical Tank Fairy delivers her tanks unlike any other – with sass, stilettos and a healthy helping of glitter. Her arrival upends the life of Jojo, a lonely ten-year-old who dreams of dancing and drag. Outcast by classmates and misunderstood by his stern, single mom, Jojo is inspired to live out loud by his fierce, propane-toting fairy godmother. Tank Fairy is a musical extravaganza that encourages us all to embrace our authentic selves. Midnight Shorts Program, March 13th, 14th, and 17th.
Too Rough, directed by Sean Lionadh. After a night of intoxication in Glasgow, a hungover and hysterical Nick wakes up next to his boyfriend Charlie and must conceal him from his own homophobic and dysfunctional family. Shorts Program 3, screens various times March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Warsha, directed by Dania Bdeir. Warsha follows Mohammad, a Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut. One morning he volunteers to take on one of the tallest and notoriously most dangerous cranes. Away from everyone’s eyes, he is able to live out his secret passion and find freedom. Read James Kleinmann’s review from Sundance. Shorts Program 1, screens various times March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
West by God, directed by Scott Lazer. At a water park deep in the Appalachian Mountains, Nelly locks eyes with Dane. On an awkward date, they drive around their West Virginia town, and Dane shares a version of himself others don’t see. Shorts Program 2, March 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Boyish – March 18th, 10pm – 10:40pm, Creek and the Cave. Boyish was formed by India Shore and Claire Altendahl in 2016 under the name The Blue. Boyish released their most recent EP, We’re all gonna die, but here’s my contribution, on May 28th of 2021. The project has been streamed over 1.5 million times. Boyish was the recipient of the 2021 LGBTQ+ Emerging Artist Award presented by the Music Forward Foundation as well as the the first band to be added to the Bandsintown Big Break Class of 2021. Boyish is now gearing up for shows across the country opening for artists such as Spill Tab, Ella Jane, Gully Boys and Remo Drive. The lead single from their upcoming EP, Smithereens was playlisted on Spotify’s New Music Friday, Lorem, All New Indie and featured in Billboard, Paper, and Office Magazine.
Lyons & Co. – March 17th 8:30pm – 8:55pm, Empire Control Room. SXSW 2020 playlist chart topper, Chicago native Bridget Lyons leads Lyons & Co. To their 2022 return to Austin, TX. Performing “swamp rock” under the Americana genre, this music sounds like southern rock, blues, country music and folk. Joined by an ever-changing cast of talented friends and performers, the latest release I Dare You was recorded in Tulsa, OK. and self-produced by Lyons as a single from her new album C’mon Big Truck.
Carley Bearden – March 19th 8:45pm – 9pm, Swan Dive. As part of the LGBTQ+ community, young singer + songwriter Carley Bearden promotes acceptance and vulnerability through her live sound and honest lyrics. She is a truthful, meaningful artist that gives listeners a safe space to be themselves. With a “0-tolerance” toward negative energy, the music is relatable with catchy hooks that stay on your mind. Carley ‘s colorful presence welcomes people with open arms, so come as you are. This is just the beginning.
Chateau Chateau – March 18th 11:50pm – 12:30am, Cheer Up Charlie’s Inside. Equal parts melancholy and glitter, Chateau Chateau is an evolving community of musicians from Tuscon, Arizona making cathartic indie pop for weirdos, outcasts, queer folks, and anyone else who needs it. Formed in 2018, the band is led by Bleu and Alex, a DIY-minded duo who transform things that are “traditionally ugly, abstract, and leftover” into new shiny and special forms. Although their songs explore dark subjects like mental illness, addiction, and trauma, Chateau Chateau channel their anguish into upbeat, danceable tracks packed with grim humor and messages of resilience. After releasing Crisis Party, their debut single that took off on streaming services, the band quickly built a local reputation for their outrageous performances and flamboyant self-designed stage costumes. To be released May 6, Grow Up, the band’s debut release for Kill Rock Stars, tells the “coming of age story” of frontperson Bleu, who dedicates each song to a different person, and all of the scarring abuse, addiction, and toxic relationships that she grew from. She hopes her story resonates with others – especially their LGBT+ fans, “let’s take back our power, stand up tall, and be whoever we want.”
Miki Ratsula – March 16th 8:45pm – 9:15pm, Victorian Room at The Driskill. Miki Ratsula has been releasing music independently since they were 16, having racked up over 21 million streams in the process. Now 23, the non-binary artist has developed a devoted following both in the LGBTQ space and beyond. Their debut album, i owe it to myself, is set to be released in March 2022 under prominent indie label Nettwerk. Five singles have already been released giving a sneak peek to the acoustic pop dream Miki guides with their perpetually smooth vocals and a lush, lo-fi inspired production. Some other career highlights include landing an original Christmas song atop Spotify’s “New Music Holiday” playlist and having a song chart on Spotify’s “Viral 50” playlists in the US, Canada and Australia. Miki recently started writing and producing for other artists, with Flashbacks by Zach Hood being their first co-write & producer cut.
Explore for the full SXSW 2022 schedule for yourself. SXSW runs March 11th – 20th 2022 in Austin, Texas, with select films also receiving online screenings.