The music and interactive South by Southwest festival went down last month in Austin, Texas, and about 100 L.A. tech people were there.

Among local techies in attendance: L.A. tech and media personality Shira Lazar; MySpace Director of Content Socialization Sean Percival; Maholo.com executives Tyler Crowley, Jason Calacanis and Mark Jeffrey; and Kevin Winston, founder of Digital L.A.

“It’s like spring break for the tech industry,” said Kurt Daradics, co-founder of L.A.-based Freedom Speaks LLC, who was attending South by Southwest for the second year.

Daradics, 34, said he enjoyed encountering people he had befriended online from budding tech communities in places such as Louisville, Ky.

“It was cool finally meeting them in the flesh,” he said.

Another highlight for Daradics came when he was eating dinner in a hotel restaurant and spotted Digg founder and Chief Executive Kevin Rose and tech blogger and author Robert Scoble check in minutes apart from each other.

Soon, hundreds had flooded the hotel lobby, hoping for a glimpse of the two tech celebs.

“That was a trip,” Daradics said.

Taking the Plunge

Arlene Howard has gone on vacations before, but they’ve always been work oriented. So when the 70-year-old Santa Monica publicist decided to take her first relaxing vacation in March, she knew it had to be good one.

It was.

Howard and husband Bryce Noel, a financial strategist for families and businesses, went on a 12-day vacation that included swimming with dolphins on the British Virgin Island of Tortola and sunbathing at a nudist colony at nearby St. Martin.

“This was like ‘The Great Gatsby,’” Howard said. “Every moment was programmed with one more fascinating thing.”

The trip was put together by Howard’s longtime friend and millionaire entrepreneur Marcus Katz, a Fisher Island, Fla., resident who organized the extravaganza to coincide with his million-dollar wedding to Pearl Baker.

Howard’s favorite part of the vacation: swimming with dolphins.

“Having been in the entertainment industry for most of my professional life, I’ve been swimming with sharks most of my life,” Howard said. “So when I swam with the dolphins, it was an easy thing.”

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