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Phil West
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Phil West is an Austin-based writer whose articles and essays have appeared in a number of publications, online journals, literary magazines, and anthologies, including the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, San Antonio Express-News, Austin Chronicle, Mid-American Review, and November 3rd Club. His first book of poems, The Arsenal of Small Stars, is available from The Wordsmith Press, and he's currently working on a book of essays about indie rock. He's especially interested in exploring the places in which pop culture and politics intersect.

Blog Entries by Phil West

F1 Comes to Austin: For Fans Still Hard to Define and Find, There Is, for Real, a Fan Fest

(15) Comments | Posted November 16, 2012 | 4:11 PM

As recently as two years ago, it's a safe bet that most people in Austin still weren't aware of the phenomenon that is Formula One Racing. When it was announced that an F1 course would be built in one of the more rustic (to put it politely) corners of the...

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Don't Think; Get The DVD Instead: How Chemical Brothers Took The Big Screen On The Way To The Small Screen

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 7:49 AM

Yesterday, good news arrived for Chemical Brothers fans, with the announcement that its full-length concert film, Don't Think, will be released to DVD on both sides of the pond -- available to American fans on April 10.

However, this wasn't the typical DVD release announcement -- it...

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YACHT at Fun Fun Fun Fest: Lessons in Dancing and Breathing

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 1:14 PM

While the name, Fun Fun Fun Festival, seems just a little tongue-in-cheek in its exuberance, there's still something about the first day of a multi-day music festival, in Austin, in postcard-perfect weather, with still unsullied grounds and still relatively rested fans traipsing along the landscape, that at the very least...

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Laughing at Another Man's Life: James Braly's Wry, Candid Look at Marriage

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 12:07 PM

James Braly introduces his latest show by letting the audience not only know that they might be a bit conscious about their "desire to laugh at another man's life." But, rather than have them shy away from that, he invites them to enjoy themselves and embrace that feeling. Given the...

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The Nerdiest Party Ever: Celebrating Ernie Cline's Ready Player One, and Pretty Much All of the '80s

(2) Comments | Posted August 28, 2011 | 2:55 PM

Ernie Cline is living the dream.

Albeit, it's a dream in which Wil Wheaton reads your audio book, you effectively become prom king of Comic-Con 2011, and one of the biggest thrills in getting published is (as you tell your blog readers) getting to re-enact the...

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Poetry Slam at 25: Why Some People Stand in Line in the Rain to Hear Poems

(2) Comments | Posted August 14, 2011 | 10:17 PM

Last week, a somewhat remarkable thing happened: Throughout Boston and Cambridge, people stood in lines outside venues, sometimes for more than an hour, and sometimes even in the rain, to go see poetry. And not just any poetry: poetry created by a mix of spoken word practitioners -- some known...

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SXSW 2011 Music Day Shows: How One Intrepid Reporter Attempts to Make Sense of an Entire Sprawling Festival

(26) Comments | Posted March 20, 2011 | 6:25 PM

At this point in SXSW's evolution as a music festival, the only way you could adequately report on every day's show offering is to gather a hundred rock critics (literally a hundred), give them assignments and rations and canteens, send them out early enough to wait in line at all...

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SXSW Music Festival 2011: Cold War Kids and the Vague, Creeping Dread of Mainstreaming What Was Formerly and Reliably Indie

(4) Comments | Posted March 19, 2011 | 3:00 PM

Assuming that the world needs more soaring, sing-along melodies that align themselves into anthems for a subset of music fans -- let's say, for sake of argument, the same subset that welcomed Kings Of Leon's Only By the Night -- the arrival of Cold War Kids' Mine Is Yours earlier...

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SXSW Interactive Party Round-Up: Do Not Underestimate a Nerd's Ability to Party

(4) Comments | Posted March 16, 2011 | 6:05 PM

First of all, let's dispel the misconception (which should be thoroughly dispelled by now) that SXSW Interactive is the domain of stereotypical nerds in the Bill Gates/Lambda Lambda Lambda mold.

And interactive parties aren't exclusively card-swapping, venture capital-seeking affairs, either -- one peek at the #techkaraoke hashtag on...

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SXSW Interactive, Day 2: Why We'll All Be Playing Games Soon

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 12:40 PM

At SXSW Interactive, you're occasionally going to run into this profile: 22-year-old CEO of company, dropped out of Princeton after a year, has given himself the title "Chief Ninja." And, yes, those of us whose corporate backgrounds include pre-Zuckerbergian strata have to resist the urge to eyeroll when faced with...

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SXSW Interactive, Day One: Bigger, Gamier, and More of Me

(1) Comments | Posted March 12, 2011 | 6:02 PM

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm pretty much the target market for what the South By Southwest Interactive Conference has had to offer in years past. While I'm certainly not naïve about its status as a conference in which people are trying to network in the hopes...

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Why America Hates Arcade Fire, and Why That's Sort of Hilarious

(51) Comments | Posted February 22, 2011 | 3:06 PM

It's been a little over a week now since Arcade Fire -- an earnest, joyous, unassuming Canadian indie band who release their albums on an earnest, joyous, unassuming American indie label (Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Merge) -- won an Album of the Year Grammy for The Suburbs.

In retrospect, the competition...

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Collage, Alchemy, and Glowsticks: A Night With Girl Talk

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 6:00 PM

This past Friday night, at an extremely sold-out Austin Music Hall, Gregg Gillis (better known by his nom de DJ, Girl Talk) presided over a two-hour dance party (as part of his current national tour) that could have easily gone twice that long without the gathered throng -- starting with...

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Black Swan and the Anxiety of Celebrity (SPOILER)

(5) Comments | Posted December 29, 2010 | 3:37 PM

In retrospect, Black Swan is a simpler, more obvious, and more telegraphed movie than it first seems. The heroine dying at the end of the movie is really no surprise, after all -- it's not only a classic and tragic Hollywood ending, but it's an ending that mirrors Swan Lake,...

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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: How It's of This Time and Totally Not of This Time

(9) Comments | Posted November 25, 2010 | 1:01 PM

So far, I've spent Thanksgiving indulging in two holiday traditions. The first is the annual making of the Southwestern Cornbread Stuffing, which I will take to my in-laws' house so they can again eye it suspiciously. The second is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. I know it's on...

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The Daily Show, the Sudden Start to the 2012 Elections, and the Distinct "Yee-Haw" Feeling That Might Have

(8) Comments | Posted November 11, 2010 | 11:53 AM

The day after the 2008 Elections, I made a point of listening to Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Trust me, it's not something that I do regularly, but I felt it necessary, given the self-congratulatory banter of my lefty friends, to check and see what the defeated side was thinking in...

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Making the Nature Scene: Why Sonic Youth in an Austin Park Was the Best Thing All Weekend

(5) Comments | Posted October 12, 2010 | 12:53 PM

The Austin City Limits Music Festival, since its launch in 2002, has made a case for being the best music festival in the nation. Starting on Friday -- a Friday that has pretty much become an unofficial city holiday -- and ending on Sunday, ACL brings around 70,000 people to...

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Staying Alive: Bristol Palin Lives to Dance Another Week, and What That Says About the Pending Mid-Term Elections

(16) Comments | Posted October 6, 2010 | 4:12 PM

Say what you will about Bristol Palin -- and people have said plenty since we collectively became aware of her -- but she's clearly a better dancer than David Hasselhoff or Michael Bolton. And, as was revealed last night -- according to the confounding algorithm that is the Dancing With...

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