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Pop Culture Happy Hour: SXSW And Hometown Cliches


If you've listened to Pop Culture Happy Hour in the last, say, 12 weeks, you've probably heard me moan about some element of my pre-SXSW workload. So it seemed only fair to indulge in a little discussion of what this year's festival was actually like, complete with scads of music recommendations.

For that purpose, we didn't have to look far for our guest panelist: Katie Presley has been a big part of NPR Music's SXSW coverage since before this time last year, and has spent additional years covering the festival (among many other topics) for Bitch Media. From her home base in Austin, she writes loads of entries in NPR's First Listen series, in addition to being close with the entire Pop Culture Happy Hour gang — more on that in the first minute or two of this week's show.

Katie and I take turns praising some of the festival's highlights: Her picks in this episode can be found here and here and here and here, while mine can be found here and here and here. (Also, it would be silly of me not to point out that you can download many of our picks as part of The Austin 100 — the stream will be up for a whole additional year, but we pull the free downloads on April 2, so get cracking!)

Then it's on to a discussion of hometown cliches in pop culture. Katie currently lives in Austin, grew up in Seattle, and has lived in Portland and Los Angeles, so she knows a little something about seeing people make art about places she's lived. We talk Friday Night Lights, as well as Portlandia, America's No. 1 party school, a fountain in Farragut Square, the fictional town of Pawnee and more.

Finally, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy this week. I sing the praises of a new SXSW tradition, as well as a narrow defeat for Pop Culture Happy Hour and a forthcoming memoir I'm likely to actually read. Glen is happy to hear about the coming return of a TV institution, and at least partially credits this great podcast — for more on the subject, here's our Small Batch from Thursday — and closes with some words about this Australian TV show. Katie revels in the brilliant work of a magnificent NPR Music colleague (and, by "magnificent," I mean, "obviously not Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton or Stephen Thompson") and gushes about a book she couldn't put down. And Linda discusses a surprising way for you to contribute your talents to Pop Culture Happy Hour, as well as this long read about a much-discussed TV show.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or reach out individually to me, Linda, Glen, Katie, producer Jessica and pal Mike.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)