SXSW Online: March 2022

First, a confession: this post is one year late. While preparing for SXSW 2023, I realized that I had never posted about last year’s conference. Back then, Bill and I decided to just stay home and watch online because the Omicron variant of Covid was still active. This was convenient, but not as much fun as experiencing SXSW in person. We watched some Interactive sessions and lots of movies—mostly documentaries since studio filming had shut down during the pandemic. We did venture downtown a few times to look around and listen to outdoor concerts. Here’s my notes and photos from SXSW 2022:

Friday March 11 2022

The Future of Content: The trend is toward streaming instead of art films. There will be a decline in movie theaters, but theme parks will be resilient. In 2021, sports accounted for 96 out of the 100 most-watched shows.

Provocative Predictions – Scott Galloway: Bad business models: Space Tourism, RobinHood, AMC theaters; Good business models: OpenSea (NFTs); He has no health insurance! Mexico City is the new Austin.

More than Robots – Gillian Jacobs & Joel McHale: Documentary about FIRST robotics teams in LA, Mexico City, and Japan. Their world competition was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, so some team pivoted to create masks, face shields, and grocery delivery robots during the pandemic.

Saturday March 12 2022

Sheryl: Documentary about Sheryl Crow, who sang backup for Michael Jackson and with Prince & The Rolling Stones.

Beto O’Rourke in Conversation with Evan Smith: Discussed current issues in Texas, such as trans kids, foster system, energy grid. “Gregg Abbott is a thug. … He’s got his own oligarch.”

Keynote – Reggie Fils-Aime: Retired CEO of Nintendo of America

Fire of Love: Documentary about Katia and Maurice Krafft, volcano scientists, who died in Japan while studying volcanos.

Crows are White: Starts out as a documentary about monks in Japan and ends up as a memoir about a Buddhist filmmaker.

2022 Emerging Tech Trend Report – Amy Webb: Discussed three general categories: 1. AI: cat recognition, AI-created essay about the future of AI, recognition by laser heart prints and breathing patterns instead of faces. 2. Metaverse: Web 3.0, blockchains, multiple avatars, incompatible interfaces, NFTs and digital collectibles are bad investments, sensory digital experiences (not keyboards), digital IDs to protect personal details and just facilitate transactions (replace government IDs). 3. Synthetic Biology: meat, DNA.

Sunday March 13, 2022

The Pez Outlaw: Documentary about Steve Glew, who takes on Pez and loses. Some activities were probably illegal. 

Keynote – Lizzo: Interviewed by Angela Yee, Lizzo has a new TV series, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, features auditions for her backup dancers “…a dream come true.” 

Monday March 14, 2022

Pfizer Moonshot: Interview with Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, who wrote a book and said he took no money from Operation Warp Speed which created friction with White House. He also talked about oral treatments (“a game-changer”), vaccine hesitancy & lack of infrastructure in Africa, and tier pricing between poor & wealthy countries.

Really Good Rejects: Documentary about Reuben Cox, luthier and owner of Old Style Guitar Shop in Los Angeles and creator of rubber bridges for guitars.

Shouting Down Midnight: Documentary about abortion rights in Texas and told through the story of Wendy Davis’ filibuster in 2013 and other women’s right activists. “In Texas, it is absolutely the case that the diversity of our communities is not reflected in the people who represent us, and what that means is that those communities tend to be on the receiving end of legislation that impacts them negatively.” Davis founded the non-profit Deeds Not Words to train young women to advocate.

The Thief Collector: Documentary about the discovery of Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre” in the estate of Jerry and Rita Alter. It was stolen from University of Arizona Museum of Art in 1985. Led to other investigations about their lives. 

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off: Biography/documentary about skateboarder Tony Hawk. Great skating footage. Briefly touches on personal issues, divorces, Rodney Mullen skating “Zen Master”, and bad boy Duane Peters.

Tuesday March 15

The Return of Tanya Tucker: Documentary. Tanya released her fiirst song, Delta Dawn, at age 13, had a Grammy nomination at at 15, followed by an affair with Glen Campbell and years of depression. Her 2019 album While I’m Livin’ was produced by Brandi Carlisle and Shooter Jennings and won 2 Grammys in 2020. 

The Last Movie Stars: First episode of Ethan Hawke’s series was about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Spaz: Documentary about Steve Williams, who was a computer animator for movies such as The Abyss and Terminator 2, but didn’t get credit.  

Wednesday March 16, 2022

Mid-week, a friend and I explored downtown Austin. We wandered around the streets near the Convention Center and then walked down Rainey Street. Folks were out and about on a beautiful spring day.

Thursday March 17, 2022

Bill and I attended an outdoor concert at Auditorium Shores featuring Heartless Bastards and Golden Dawn Arkestra. Most people were socially-distanced, spread out in small groups across the field. I think this was the first live concert we’d attended in two years.

Friday March 18, 2022

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story: Documentary footage honoring over 50 years of the festival, featuring Earth Wind and Fire, Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffet, Trombone Shorty, gospel choirs, zydeco, jazz, and much more.

Sunday March 20, 2022

Mickey: The Story of a Mouse: Documentary about guess who. Good archival photos and footage. I was not thrilled about the random talking heads.

We Feed People: Documentary by Ron Howard about José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen.


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