Inevitably, SXSW brings the big names to the area, whether as performers or party hosts. But to get to the real meat & bones of a person, a brief glance of them on the street or at a function won’t tell you what you want to know. It won’t give you the juiciest bits, which is what you really want to know. To get the “skinny” on one of the visiting heavy hitters, you’ve got to see them at a SXSW session. Luckily, some of the biggest names you know and don’t know will be at official SXSW sessions, giving presentations and interviews that will give you all that you can handle of these heavyweights of popularity and industry.
First, and most applicable, the CMO of everyone’s favorite home of listicles and quizzes, BuzzFeed, will take the stage to talk about the future of Media companies. Frank Cooper speaks on Saturday, March 12 at 12:30pm in the Austin Convention Center. While his presentation will not likely be organized into 10 or 20 “top things,” he’ll have plenty to offer on what it means to get and keep popularity in the competition-rich industry of modern interactive media.
If film is your favorite media expression, then you know the name, Ken Burns. Having spent his entire career chronicling aspects of our history, whether they are music, war or compelling stories about sports (we personally LOVE “Baseball”), he has made significant contributions to the national conversation and the national intellect by the way of his filmmaking and his visual storytelling. As a part of a politically VERY relevant presentation, Ken Burns and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
(Gates is a pioneer of storytelling, having produced no less than three critically-acclaimed offerings on PBS) will be speaking candidly about how race and race relations are a part of our national DNA.
Documentaries are good, but they might not bring your attention like a good SCANDAL. And, bearing that in mind, SXSW is happy to invite your adoration of one Olivia Pope as Austin welcomes Kerry Washington to the SXSW conference. In a live interview with the Editorial Director of InStyle Magazine, Washington will be talking about all things “social stardom,” addressing how her portrayal of Olivia Pope has vaulted not only the character, but the star herself, to become an activist and a catalyst for social change.
And, here, we have our prize of SXSW’s Official Sessions. We don’t hide our adoration for Anthony Bourdain in the slightest. The razor-sharp persona, the acerbic wit and the easy-to-connect-with television, literary and cultural force that is Anthony Bourdain will present on the concept of authenticity in the modern social media and pop cultural world. Having produced any number of travel-based forays into the world, Bourdain will be looking into the societal fatigue (as well as the producer’s fatigue) that comes with showcasing the world in alarmingly filtered focus, as opposed to how the world really is. It is a “can’t miss” event amid a host of can’t miss events.