SXSW Caught In Immigration Debate After Artist Cancels Show Over Contract Provision | KERA News

SXSW Caught In Immigration Debate After Artist Cancels Show Over Contract Provision

Mar 3, 2017

Five stories that have North Texas talking: South By Southwest under fire; Larry McMurtry’s selling his “Lonesome Dove” typewriters; Rick Perry to safeguard country’s nuclear weapons; and more.

A week before Austin’s downtown swells with out-of-towners, South By Southwest is under fire over a contract provision stating that U.S. immigration agents may be contacted if an international artist violates the performance agreement.


Thursday, Felix Walworth of the band Told Slant tweeted a screenshot of a section of the artist contract. Walworth's tweet drew swift reaction on social media and comes amid heightened fears of immigration crackdowns under President Trump. Walworth singled out a portion of the contract that states "SXSW will notify the appropriate U.S. immigration authorities" if organizers determine an artist acts in ways that "adversely affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase."

Walworth canceled the band's show in response and called on others to do the same. "SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement the contract clause was merely a safeguard in case an artist does 'something truly egregious' such as disobeying rules about pyrotechnics, starting a brawl or causing safety issues," The Associated Press reports.

Musicians perform hundreds of "unofficial" events around Austin in addition to the official showcases that require festival credentials. Swenson said the contract warns artists that U.S. immigration authorities "can create trouble" for international artists who don't obtain a work visa and perform at an unofficial SXSW event. [The Associated Press]

  • Rick Perry has been confirmed to lead the department he once forgot. The former Texas governor will be responsible for the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons as head of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Texas Tribune reports: “Perry, at times a lightning rod back home in Texas, was one of the least controversial nominees President Trump put forward for his Cabinet. Much of that ease came about from Perry's comments during his confirmation hearing, when he said, among other things, that he would pursue ‘sound science’ as energy secretary and that human activity has contributed to climate change.” [The Texas Tribune]


  • Larry McMurtry is selling the two typewriters he used to write "Lonesome Dove." Dallas-based Heritage Auctions is offering up the typewriters in New York City next week, expecting them to sell Wednesday for about $20,000. McMurtry told The Associated Press he "just decided that it would be fun" to sell them at auction, "and I actually have too many typewriters." The prolific Texas author said he still writes on a typewriter and has about 15 of them. While writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Lonesome Dove," a story about a cattle drive in the 1870s, he kept one typewriter in his hometown of Archer City and the other in Washington D.C. [The Associated Press]


  • A local event later this month will honor the “hidden figures” of North Texas. Inspired by the Oscar-nominated film, the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers is celebrating 10 women of color working in STEM fields. The inaugural winners were named over the weekend, and they will be formally recognized on March 25. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for scholarships for high school seniors and college students in Dallas-Fort Worth who have declared a major in a STEM discipline. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson will be the event’s keynote speaker. Meet the honorees. [Dallas Innovates]


  • George W. Bush has painted more than 90 portraits of former U.S. veterans. The former president and governor of Texas painted all of the portraits over the course of a single year. An exhibit of the oil paintings opened Thursday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. Col. Matthew Amidon, deputy director of the Military Service Initiative at the center, tells Texas Standard Bush’s teacher inspired the collection to paint “people no one knows.” The portraits are compiled in a new book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors,” which also made its debut this week. [Texas Standard]