SxSW Reaction – Faders Up: The John Aielli Experience

It’s wonderful to always see Austin stories, and FADERS UP is no exception. Premiering recently at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin, I have heard nothing but great reactions from festivalgoers and there are still a few screenings left to check it out!

About: “Faders Up” takes a cinematic deep-dive into the extraordinary life and career of iconic KUTX radio host John Aielli. With a legacy spanning over fifty years on air, Aielli was enigmatic and controversial, and had a profound influence on Austin’s musical diversity and cultural landscape. Best known for his free form style of sprawling interviews, technical snafus, and stream-of-consciousness musings on art and life, but who was John Aielli off the air? How did a gifted, young opera protege from small-town Killeen evolve into the legendary voice of Austin? The name of Aielli’s show, “Eklektikos,” meant “chosen from the best.” The best of what? Only he knew for sure.

Jason’s Reaction: A loving and fun tribute to local legend John! Being from Western Canada and a regular to SxSW, I am always fascinated by the local legends in this city, and I was more than entertained by this local DJ that played a varying mix of music matching his own personal styles. This doc really gets into what made John such a local radio legend, both good and bad. One of my favourite parts of the doc was John’s famous “silences” including a “Dead Air” counter while cars are stuck in traffic on South Lamar under the bridge.

I loved hearing the documentary subjects talking so passionately about such a unique individual. There’s also footage of the late John himself, which makes the finale even more powerful . FADERS UP is a very local Austin story, immediately hitting us with familiar images of the Congress River and downtown vintage footage making anyone from the city feeling right at home. Not sure how this would translate to audiences outside of Austin or possibly all of Texas, but this is still very well made with good interviews and a total love for its subject.

This is one of the many movies playing at SxSW this year. For more information on the festival, point your browser to!

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