Get together at Hollywood speakeasy takes place same day as SXSW 2017 schedule goes live
South by Southwest is closely identified with the Texas capital, but in some respects the Austin festival is a moveable feast.
SXSW came to Hollywood on Tuesday, the final stop on an international party tour that has hit New York and Toronto in recent weeks. The LA event took place at No Vacancy, a speakeasy-style night spot off Hollywood Boulevard which patrons access through a second story bedroom -- a bed lodged in the corner splits in two, revealing a hidden staircase leading to the downstairs bar.
A big crowd turned out, including a requisite number of heavy-bearded hipsters, along with guests of all genders and facial hairstyles. Among the notable attendees Nonfictionfilm.com spotted Janet Pierson, the head of the SXSW Film Conference & Festival [there are separate directors of SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music].
Some of LA's top documentary talent accepted the invitation to attend including master editor Doug Blush, whose latest credits are Jim: The James Foley Story directed by Brian Oakes and Morgan Neville's The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
Eileen Meyer, who received the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship at SXSW back in March, joined the festivities. The party took place on the same day the schedule for the 2017 edition of SXSW went live. The festival runs March 10-19, 2017
Among the keynote speakers locked down for the film section are Gareth Edwards [director of the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story]; director/producer Lee Daniels [Empire, Precious, Monster's Ball], and Transparent creator Jill Solloway.
Among the scheduled speakers is a man in the center of the news right now, FBI Director James Comey. He has come under intense criticism after issuing a vaguely-worded statement last week indicating additional emails had turned up that may or may not bear on the investigation into Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private server while Secretary of State [reports say the emails were discovered on a computer belonging to disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin].
Regardless of who wins the presidential election -- or whether Comey is still FBI director come next March -- he should receive an interesting reception in Austin.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is another of the political figures on the roster of speakers. By the time March rolls around, assuming Hatch is still in office, he will have become the longest-serving Republican Senator with over 40 years in the upper chamber.
Controversial Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) is set to speak as well.
Among the other scheduled speakers is Motion Picture Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who has spearheaded the diversification of the Academy's membership in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of the past year.
Additional speakers: basketball legend and entrepreneur Magic Johnson, fashion designer Marc Jacob, producer Gale Anne Hurd and actor Taye Diggs.
More photos from Tuesday night's SXSW soirée [credit Matt Carey]:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.