Axios Austin

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It's Thursday, or Friday's little brother.

☁️ Today's weather: Cloudy, with a high near 76 and a slight chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Situational awareness: The U.S. government is again suspending its free distribution of COVID tests. Friday will be the last day to order them, if you haven't already this time around.

Today's newsletter is 871 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Rooster Teeth calls it quits

Fans of the Rooster Teeth show "Blood Fest" attend RTX Austin in costume in 2018. Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images

Rooster Teeth, the Austin entertainment firm that started in a Buda garage 21 years ago, has been shut down by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.

Why it matters: Rooster Teeth successfully bottled a strain of irreverent, creative Austin, one that blended anime, gaming, fandom, sarcasm and slackerdom with shows that ranged from puppeteering to podcasts.

  • The company closure will lead to layoffs of roughly 150 full-time employees — and freeze work for dozens of contractors and content creators as well, Variety reports.

The big picture: The company, arguably best known for its sci-fi satire "Red vs. Blue," launched in 2003 and ultimately fell victim to the upheaval in digital advertising roiling media firms around the country.

What they're saying: "It's with a heavy heart I announce that Rooster Teeth is shutting down due to challenges facing digital media resulting from fundamental shifts in consumer behavior and monetization across platforms, advertising, and patronage," Jordan Levin, general manager of Rooster Teeth, told employees on Wednesday.

  • "Rooster Teeth basically kickstarted my interest in pursuing a career in the arts," Eōin J. Leahy, a Canadian actor, wrote on X. "Just a small group of people creating things together because they enjoyed it."

Between the lines: Rooster Teeth had a dedicated fanbase — it hosted an annual get-together called RTX — but in the era of YouTube and TikTok, its content was competing for eyeballs in an increasingly crowded entertainment space.

  • Rooster Teeth's subscription video service, First, once had about 225,000 paying members — but that had fallen off to about 60,000 today, per Variety.

What's next: Warner Bros. Discovery is aiming to sell Rooster Teeth's catalog of content and intellectual property, including the popular anime-style series "RWBY" and Michael B. Jordan's animated sci-fi streaming series "Gen:Lock," a company spokesperson tells Axios.

2. Your guide to free events at SXSW

Photo illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

You don't need a badge or wristband to experience the fun of South by Southwest.

What's happening: We've wrangled up a list of some events that are free and open to the public during the festival.

International Women's Day run

Take a jog with Austin's women runners to celebrate International Women's Day.

Details: 5K run from Fleet Feet and a recovery meetup with giveaways from Team Milk and The Cut at 7am Friday.

Where: Fleet Feet, 211 Walter Seaholm Drive.

Community concerts

The three-day concert series returns to Auditorium Shores.

Details: Music kicks off March 14 at 3pm.

  • Bring food or stop by a food truck and grab a drink at the beer garden.
  • Check the lineup online.

Where: 800 W. Riverside Drive.

Hangover brunch

Wrap up your week with Hotel Vegas' third annual Honky Tonk Hangover brunch.

Details: Live music from Dale Hollow and Pedal Steel Noah, food from Las Brasas, and Lone Star beer specials from 11am-2pm March 16.

Where: Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. 6th St.

Eight more ideas

3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

📢 Several music artists are dropping out of their official SXSW showcasing concerts in protest of the festival's U.S. Army sponsorship. (Austin Chronicle)

👶 Tiny Health, an Austin startup that has developed an at-home gut microbiome test for babies, has raised $8.5 million. (Austin Inno)

🚨 Two Austin police officers are being hailed as heroes after saving a 4-year-old boy who was choking on his own saliva. (CBS Austin)

⚖️ An attorney representing two former Williamson County Sheriff's deputies charged with an in-custody death was tased in a demonstration for jurors Wednesday morning. (KXAN)

4. Move fast to see the solar eclipse from a park

Texas state parks like Pedernales Falls will be within the path of totality for the April 8 total solar eclipse. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

If you're hoping to view the upcoming total solar eclipse from a Texas state park, set your reminder now.

Why it matters: State officials expect the limited number of reservations to fill up quickly for the solar spectacular.

Zoom in: Day pass reservations for April 8 will open at 8am Friday, per the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

  • Make a reservation online, or call 512-389-8900 to make one by phone.
  • Admission fees vary by park.
  • If you want to book the ever-popular Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, you can only book by phone on Monday.

Camping reservations opened in November, and many parks in the path of totality are sold out of campsites.

By the numbers: Texas has 31 state parks within the path of totality, per TPWD.

Pro tips: Set up an online account with TPWD if you don't already have one to help the process go faster and increase your likelihood of snagging a reservation.

  • Have your vehicle information ready.
  • Park officials recommend having backup plans for other parks to book in case your top pick is filled up.
Sponsored job listings

Fresh job openings around town

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5. Weekender guide

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

We've got you covered with non-SXSW happenings this weekend, too.

🎪 Wonder at trapeze artists, jugglers, tumblers and contortionists at the Venardos Circus at Buck's Backyard in Buda, tonight through March 17. Tickets start at $27.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids.

🎨 Play, draw and listen at the BIPOC Pop comics, gaming and animation conference — "Zine-making with barrio writers" is the title of one panel — at the University of Texas' Glickman Conference Center, today through Saturday. Free.

📝 Stop by the Letterpress Play studio as type director and designer Paul Soady talks about his career, with a letterpress printing session and happy hour. Friday, 4:30-7:30 pm. Free.

🎾 Cheer on the University of Texas' nationally-ranked women's tennis team as they take on Cincinnati at 11am Sunday. Free.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

🎬 Asher is listening to this podcast on the politics of handling movie stars.

🫧 Nicole, who is addicted to sparkling water, can't wait to see the LaCroix House at SXSW.