welcome to your digital afterlife: upload creator greg daniels in conversation with amy webb” and the future beyond | sxsw 2022

welcome to your digital afterlife: upload creator greg daniels in conversation with amy webb” and the future beyond | sxsw 2022

SXSW 2022 was all types of greatness. The entirety of the festival was focused on the future. While many panels and installations chose to speak about driving the near-future in ways that align with heart-centered outlooks, there were plenty of post-apocalyptic discussions and even more about technology and digital progression in the more distant future.

One of the first panels we enjoyed was “Welcome to Your Digital Afterlife: Upload Creator Greg Daniels in conversation with Amy Webb.” This panel took place on opening day, Friday, March 11th. If you are not familiar with Greg Daniels and his incredible career track, here’s a quick rundown. Greg is a screenwriter, television producer, and director. A big portion of his work centers on creating storylines for episodes about the future. His writing credits include The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, The Office, Parks & Recreation, King of the Hill, and more. (But did we need more? His credits are insane!) He is the genius responsible for the flash-forward episodes in many of your favorite television shows and sitcoms. (Think: “Lisa’s Wedding” and the finale of Parks & Rec. ) He co-created Space Force with Steve Carell, which almost entirely focuses on the future of space tech and travel.

Daniels has always employed a reporter’s eye when creating his storylines and characters. This is a trait he has passed down to other writers on his projects and proteges over the years. Learning about the past to correctly identify the future. Allowing himself to observe people in their natural habitats – Texas, when researching King of the Hill, for example – has given him space to breathe authenticity into his characters and storylines. Perhaps this is why so many of his episodes ended up predicting the future when looking back years later.

When asked about what inspires his work, Daniels initially pointed out The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He expanded by explaining: “I also worked with Jim Brooks [one of the Mary Tyler Moore Show creators] on the Simpsons. So to me, he is a great icon on a very humanistic way to get characters where you don’t look down on them or treat them poorly. I like that style and that’s the style I write in.”

future panel

The focus of this panel was on Greg Daniels’ creation of the science fiction comedy series Upload. The premise doesn’t stray far from concepts discussed in many of his previous television works, and many other futuristic ideas pop culture has explored over the last few decades. In 2033 – the not-so-distant future – humans have the capability of uploading their consciousness into an afterlife of their choosing. The series 2 premiere was released on March 11th, the day of the panel, so focusing on it was a given.

As to Daniels’ idea of what the future may actually hold? His take is that, regardless of how it all unfolds, he sees pseudonymity in it. (He also admitted to having just learned the term during a panel the morning of March 11th. What a win!) “Your avatar develops a reputation that you have to live with.”

Amy admitted, quite quickly, that she is terrified by this idea. “My unit of measure is going to be quantified by some type of algorithmic scoring system,” she responded, trailing off a bit. When considering it as a reality as opposed to a train of thought induced by what we believe the future should be, it really is quite alarming. However, addressing our fears of the future can actually also prepare us to plan for what we WANT our future to look like, instead of what we think it will ultimately be (if science has its way).

Check out more of our SXSW 2022 coverage here. (We will be rolling out coverage for weeks to come!)

kcwmn spotlight | alisa jefferson

kcwmn spotlight | alisa jefferson

As much as we love covering music on an international scale, we see the value in (and need for) local artist spotlights. Since Imperfect Fifth is based in Kansas City, we have teamed up with the Kansas City Women’s Music Network to bring you artist highlights about twice per month.

About Alisa Jefferson:
Alisa has always been very passionate about music and the songs she delivers as a singer/songwriter. She grew up in the Kansas City area with influences from ’70s Motown to mostly ’80s and ’90s rock/pop. She played viola in orchestra before she received her first acoustic guitar at age 13 and she hasn’t looked back since.

Currently, Alisa is writing, recording, and planning to release a 10+ track LP this summer. She has released four singles from this new LP to most major music platforms.

Check her out on Apple Music, Facebook, and Instagram. Find out more at
alisajeffersonmusic.com. If you are interested in being featured in KCWMN’s next Member Spotlight, check out the website here.

rockwood music hall reopens for 2021 concert season

rockwood music hall reopens for 2021 concert season

It’s happening, it’s actually happening. After a 15 month closure Rockwood Music Hall is finally reopening this weekend. It’s so exciting and such a relief to see the calendar filling up again. Kudos to Ken, Matt, and the team for pushing through this awful time and hopefully the room will pack out every night from here on out. Never take anything for granted!
On Saturday June 5th at 8pm, Irish man Niall Connolly performs with his band.

Rockwood Music Hall reopening gives me a real sense of hope. It feels like a good metaphor for the resilience of New York City. One of the most respected venues has survived this pandemic. In a time when so many people have lost so much, I am very grateful to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am very grateful to have my health and to have an opportunity to play on one of my favorite stages. I am also so excited to play alongside the band again. I am not certain I won’t drown in a puddle of happy tears as soon as I hear them sing. We released two remotely recorded new singles during the pandemic. We have had a few socially distanced walks, countless Tuesday night zoom chats and so on, but I have really missed sharing the stage with them. It’s going to be emotional.

All of the shows at Rockwood Music Hall will require proof of vaccine (dated 2 weeks from your second shot). This includes the excelsior pass or your vaccine card. Anyone without proof will be turned away, no exceptions. There will be no mask or social distancing rules, and the venue will run at full capacity.

Get your tickets now!

kcwmn spotlight | ro myra

kcwmn spotlight | ro myra

As much as we love covering music on an international scale, we see the value in (and need for) local artist spotlights. Since Imperfect Fifth is based in Kansas City, we have teamed up with the Kansas City Women’s Music Network to bring you artist highlights about twice per month.

About Ro Myra:
“I grew up in a small, dried-up oil and farming town in the middle of nowhere Nebraska,” says Ro Myra. “I spent most of my life running away from it, and now I’m right back where I started.”

‘Nowhere, Nebraska,’ Myra’s extraordinary debut, is more than just a musical homecoming, though. Recorded in Denver, Nashville, and Austin, the self-produced collection is a complex reckoning with the past, a nuanced, literate reexamination of small-town life in the shadow of heartbreak, self-destruction, and second chances. While the arrangements here are broad and sweeping, Myra’s storytelling is sharply focused and firmly rooted. She writes with a novelist’s eye and sings with the kind of weathered grace that makes even hard truths go down easy, calling to mind everything from Kathleen Edwards to Lucinda Williams as she makes peace with the past in order to more fully inhabit the present.

Though her path seemed anything but obvious, Myra knew from an early age that her future lay beyond the endless cropland that surrounded her growing up. She taught herself piano as a child, studied classical composition in college, and spent her post-grad years working with international non-profits before returning to music at the urging of her mentor, renowned composer Dr. Eric Funk. The result is a captivating debut all about memory and forgiveness, a warm embrace of an album as raw and windswept as the landscape that inspired it.

Ro Myra may have left home, but home, it seems, never left her.

Find Ro Myra’s music on Spotify, Facebook, Kickstarter, and Instagram. If you are interested in being featured on the Member Spotlight check out the KCWMN website.

documentaries of note | sxsw 2021

documentaries of note | sxsw 2021

Two documentaries caught my eye when I was planning my South by Southwest schedule in 2021. I felt fortunate to be able to see both of these as they had their world premiers.

The first of the two is Hysterical, a documentary that peeks into the lives of some of the most famous women in stand-up comedy. The cast includes Margaret Cho, Sherri Shepherd, Judy Gold and Kathy Griffin as well as many others as we learn about the beginnings of their careers and the roadblocks they experience to this day. Director Andrea Nevins moves deftly between subjects as they describe the lure of comedy. It’s an unvarnished portrayal of a life that each of these women are drawn to, but most of us can only imagine. No topic is off limits to these comediennes.

A particularly harrowing story is told by Kelly Bachman. She recalls telling jokes about Harvey Weinstein one night when someone pointed out to her that he was in the audience. People initially booed, but when she began talking about her own rape, the audience was on her side. Some of the other stories of sexism and discrimination are, unfortunately, as prevalent today as they were 30 years ago. 

Hysterical is funny, poignant, and thought provoking. Exactly what you want a documentary to be.  Hysterical is currently streaming on FX on HULU.

The second documentary was the eagerly awaited Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free, the story of the making of his 1994 album Wildflowers. Because of recently discovered black and white 16mm film shot during the making of the album, Director Mary Wharton was able to have Tom Petty star in his own movie. Current interviews with former band members, producer and Petty’s daughter Adria, filled in the edges with stories and explanations. Wildflowers became, to most, Tom Petty’s best album, certainly his most perfectly formed. When it was released, it sold 3 million copies, but most people didn’t realize how much unreleased material was left after recording. 

As the story unfolds in the documentary, Petty wanted to record a solo album (only his second) and Rick Rubin signed on as producer. It was the first album he had produced with Petty. Eventually, most of the members of the Heart Breakers would end up being session players on the album. Although the nuts and bolts of record producing are interesting, the more fascinating angle to me was the song writing. Petty was in the midst of a failing marriage and this was laid bare in the songs on Wildflowers. The interviews that were recorded with Petty in 1994 are especially touching, since his divorce would not occur until 1996. 

Full disclosure:  I am a huge Tom Petty fan, so had been looking forward to this documentary. Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free did not disappoint – I felt grateful that all of this footage exists and that art, in some form or another, lives on after the artist has gone.

Wildflowers and All The Rest is a 2020 re-release of the Wildflowers album, but includes deleted songs, demos and live tracks. 

Hysterical synopsis from SXSW:

Premiere Status: World Premiere
Runtime: 87
Language: English
Country: United States
Synopsis: HYSTERICAL is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Premieres April 2nd on FX.
Cast: Margaret Cho , Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger, Kelly Bachman, Lisa Lampanelli, Wendy Liebman, Carmen Lynch, Bonnie McFarlane
Director: Andrea Nevins,Executive Producer: Andrea Nevins, Ross Girard, Jim Serpico, Jessica Kirson,Producer: Rebecca Evans, Carolina Groppa, Ross M. Dinerstein, p.g.a.,

Tom Petty Somewhere You Feel Free synopsis from SXSW:

Premiere Status: World Premiere
Runtime: 89
Language: English
Country: United States
Synopsis: Drawn from a newly discovered archive of 16mm film showing Tom Petty at work on his 1994 record “Wildflowers,” considered by many including Rolling Stone to be his greatest album ever, “Somewhere You Feel Free” is an intimate view of a musical icon.
Cast: Tom Petty, Rick Rubin, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Steve Ferrone, George Drakoulias, Alan “Bugs” Weidel, Adria Petty, Stan Lynch, Howie Epstein
Director: Mary Wharton,Executive Producer: Warner Music Films,Producer: Peter Afterman,Cinematographer: Anne Etheridge,Editor: Mari Keiko Gonzalez,This film has not been rated.

sxsw 2021 set a higher expectation for diversity. now what?

sxsw 2021 set a higher expectation for diversity. now what?

“Ah, another virtual event that I will RSVP to and not at ALL want to attend most of,” I thought, as the first electronic communications regarding SXSW 2021 came through to my device.

And, as we got closer to the start date, I thought more and more about the piles of work and other obligations that I could not take a vacation from in order to attend – like I would in a non-pandemic year where I would be physically changing locations and turning on my out-of-office messages.

But, of all the virtual events I’ve attended – and chosen not to attend – during the COVID-19 pandemic, this one was by far the most beneficial for me to attend.

And, it’s not because there were speakers/talent who looked/were like me (a white, cishet, straight female), but because there were speakers/talent who looked


Sure, there were some missteps. Namely:

1.     Mark Cuban – not only is he the whitest dude, but he offers no additional perspective he hasn’t already spewed across all digital/media channels
2.     MOST of the speakers were pre-recorded – so, couldn’t you pre-screen some of the talks to ensure that those catchy titles that were submitted in the panel picker process actually lived up to their name? (i.e. – anything that started with “How To” should have been some sort of how to…not just “I am so successful, here is how I am so successful”. See: Every white man – including Mark Cuban).
3.     Allowing ANY talks with a white man – or a group of white men – by himself. Panels, groups discussions, or fireside chats with all types of people that include a white man? SURE! But our lives have been so saturated with mediocre white dudes on a podium talking down to us for LITERALLY OUR ENTIRE LIVES that we just don’t need one more talk by a solo white guy. 

And, I’m not saying that was all that was there – but, constructive criticism is important. We’ve all got to keep organizers on their toes. Because, yes, there were plenty of talks that were out-of-the-box and from traditionally marginalized speakers. There were tracks on cannabis and living outside of the gender binary and women in [insert career here]. This was, in fact, the event with the widest array of representation I have attended yet.

AND it can’t stop here. 

This can’t be the “diversity year” – one and done. 
I hope this year’s SXSW sets the tone for pushing boundaries and innovating and leading the charge in representation across ALL events, multimedia, etc.
I hope it continues into the next in-person conference – and I am not left sitting in a cold conference room staring 10 feet up at a million Seth Rogens all week. (As delightful as one Seth Rogen can be). 

I am delighted that I “left” SXSW having heard about subjects that move me from the people who are on the ground, doing the work. 
Feeling full. 
Feeling rejuvenated. 
Feeling hopeful about things to come.

I didn’t leave thinking: so what?
I left thinking: what now?