10 Things Not to Miss This Year

Every year SXSW offers up a typically eclectic mix of secret shows, surprise appearances and offbeat seminars designed to appeal to its forward-thinking demographic. What other festival showcases Harry Knowles one day and Barry Diller the next? Here’s a look at some under-the-radar festival gems you won’t want to miss.

1. Ain’t It Cool News
March 14, 10 pm at the Paramount
In honor of Ain’t It Cool’s 15th anniversary, Harry Knowles gets his own programming slot.Rumor has it that he’s gotten his hands on a summer blockbuster movie.

2. Conan O’Brien
March 13, 1:45 pm at the Paramount
The ginger king will swing Coco-style at the world premiere of Rodman Flender’s Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, which followed the late-night victim throughout last year’s cri de coeur national tour.

3. HBO Treme Party
March 17, 12 pm at The Ghost Room
See a real New Orleans second line weave its way down to Sixth Street, then pop inside The Ghost Room two blocks away for an exclusive look at season 2 of HBO’s Treme.

4. The Broken Spoke
According to local producer Sallie Jo Effenson, whose MMC Joule Films has A Year in Mooring in competition this year, this beloved local joint offers “a great time to learn the two-step, and lots of real cowboys and girls to teach you. Cheep beer, too.”

5. Spin Party
March 18, 12 pm at Stubb’s
Demand for the Spin laminate hits a fever pitch as the weekend approaches. It’s no wonder: Bands like Vampire Weekend, the Black Keys and Kings of Leon have headlined the popular party.

6. Barry Diller on All Things Media
March 14, 11 am at Austin Convention Center
The former Paramount Pictures and Fox chief is set to share his thoughts on the intersection of old and new media.

7. Going Beyond the Social Graph Panel
March 13, 5 pm at TX Ballroom 5-7, Hyatt
StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp, YouTube’s director of product management Hunter Walk and Pandora’s Tom Conrad talk content discovery on the Web.

8. The Major Rager
March 14, 8 pm at Cedar Street Courtyard
GroupMe, Hashable, Dailybooth and Spin Play will join forces to host what should live up to its name. Didi Gutman (of Brazilian Girls) and Dan Gentile (of Flying Turns) are the evening’s special guest DJs.

9. mtvU Woodie Awards
March 16, 9 pm AT Austin Music Hall
MTV’s college-aimed awards show will be broadcast live. Host Donald Glover promises, “I will definitely be drunk. That’s the only way to do it.”

10. South By San Jose
March 17-19, 12pm At Jo’s coffee
Thirty-plus bands (including Autumn Defense, featuring members of Wilco), will crowd into the tiny java spot just down the street from the San Jose Hotel.