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Firts Loook Inside Rice's New Swishahouse Library Archive

Screwston, Texas

A bejeweled pimp cup. A young Chamillionaire in do rag. Slim Thug before the ubiquitous singles. Mike Jones clutching a cell phone on the cover of Murder Dog.

These are only a handful of the Swishahouse images and memorabilia now archived in ­Special Collections at Rice University's ­Fondren Library.

Neil Young sported a sweet Willie Nelson cap at this year's ACL Fest.
Marco Torres
Neil Young sported a sweet Willie Nelson cap at this year's ACL Fest.
Snoop Dogg at FPSF 2012, before his "Snoop Lion" transformation.
Marco Torres
Snoop Dogg at FPSF 2012, before his "Snoop Lion" transformation.

Rice has released a video of some of the materials, and it shows Swishahouse head honchos G-Dash and Michael "5000" Watts poring over artifacts from the label's 15-year history. Rice professor Dr. Anthony Pinn helped mastermind the initiative through the Center for Engaged Research & Collaborative Learning at Rice University (p/k/a the H.E.R.E. Project).

Says Pinn: "Rice has an obligation to help Houston preserve its historical and cultural memory, in part because it's significant for us on a local level but also a recognition of the role that Houston has played in shaping the cultural lives of people in the United States and far beyond.

"You can't think of 20th-century and 21st-century culture — world culture — without giving proper recognition to what hip-hop has meant," he adds. "So we are delighted to be able to initiate this effort through materials brought to us by Swishahouse. This has just been phenomenal."

The materials on display include cassette tapes, awards (among them a Houston Press Best Label award from '09), photos from Swishahouse beach parties, various video shoots and in-store signings, plus tapes, flyers, posters and more.
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ACL Fest

Austin City Limits Festival 2013: What's Next?

As we close the books on ACL's 2012 festivities, full of mud (but not too much), Iggy Pop's elastic skin, Neil Young's reverb and light shows aplenty, we look forward to the 2013 edition of the Texas megafest.

The '13 affair will be scattered over two weekends, with identical lineups, like California's Coachella. Jazz Fest in New Orleans has had two weekends of music for many years but with different lineups save for some of the locals.

Fan chatter at Zilker Park was heavy on talk of next year and whether it would change the dynamic of the event.

For one, ACL will tie up one side of Austin for nearly three weeks in terms of raising and striking the festival, not to mention the trauma on the park grounds that will occur. The whole fan-perceived magic of one weekend out of the year being devoted only to the fest will be gone, too.

Economically, it will be a boon for the city on par with SXSW and the quickly growing Fun Fun Fun Fest. Disgruntled locals are already harrumphing over the idea of spending two weeks with muddy out-of-towners, traffic snarls and other general headaches. SXSW lasts almost two weeks now, with the interactive portion nearly eclipsing the music side this past year in terms of star wattage.

For ACL's organizers, though, it's a good way to alleviate the stress of heavy crowds, lightening the mental loads on the staff, artists and vendors. Everyone will make double the cash, too.

With a dynamite lineup, they could sell out two weekends straight. For sure, some rich folks will line up for two rounds of ACL.

This could open the door for larger-scale events, too. The Rolling Stones are trickling out dates for late 2012, and 2013 is imminent. Having them headline two straight weekends next October would be a moneymaker.

The Stones have hinted at discarding the normal road-dogging touring model for camping out days at a time in one major city for multiple shows instead. At their age, it makes total sense.

Throw in Daft Punk or U2 one other night and you have a major happening, but both could probably headline the park all on their own. Craig Hlavaty
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Free Press Summer Fest

Inside That $14 Million Summer Fest Study

Earlier this month, the producers of Free Press Summer Fest released the results of an economic impact analysis they had commissioned from the University of Houston about the 2012 festival. The figure they arrived at is certainly impressive: According to the study, Summer Fest juiced the coffers of local merchants and other businesses by an estimated $14 million.

But what does that mean? It's easy to throw out a number like $14 million, but figures like that don't really mean much to most laymen unless there's some kind of context. It sure sounds like a lot, but is it really?

Recently Rocks Off spoke with one of the men who co-authored the study, University of Houston economics professor Steven G. Craig, who worked with Evert Crawford, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the Hobby Center for Public Policy.

Comparing data provided by Summer Fest with visitor-expenditure numbers from the Greater Houston Partnership, the authors determined that more than 25 percent of people who attended the festival came from out of town. (Total attendance is listed at 81,000 people.)

What Craig found most impressive, he says, was not the figure itself so much as how much money generated by Summer Fest came from out-of-town visitors.

"What [the study] tries to get at is that some activities in a city bring new resources into our area," Craig explains. "So with the example of this festival, the new resources are the visitors that came to town to go to this festival from out of town — so people from Austin, and even as far as New Orleans, like that came here."

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