ay 3 started out with an announcement that Elon Musk was being interviewed by WestWorld creator Jonathan Nolan in the early afternoon. A mad rush for tickets at the Austin Convention Center commenced. Unfortunately, this was the morning following the daylight savings time change, so most of the Domination Team missed getting tickets. Most. Not only did a few make it, but others caught special simulcasts of the Elon’s Q&A session while waiting for other sessions to start.
During the Q&A, Elon was guided through questions giving him a chance to paint his vision of the future, featuring a world of self-driving cars, hyper-fast travel via underground tunnels, and of course, bases in space, the Moon, and even Mars.
A few other highlights:
-AI should maximize freedom for human action.
-If the size of a law exceeds the word count of Lord of the Rings, something suspicious is happening.
A few moments of SXSW Day 3 were spent at the SXSW Trade Show, where upwards of a hundred different companies, cities, states, and even countries showcase their organization and why you should buy their products, or in the place of governments, why you should move there! Japan, Argentina, El Paso, Australia, Quebec all just to name a few. Virtual Reality (VR) was a heavy theme for many exhibitors, giving you tours of towns, cities, and even a VR walkthrough of Chernobyl by a Polish company created using drone footage.
Next up was an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger by Politico’s Edward-Issac Dovere for Off Message. This was an entertaining, humorous but still intellectual conversation about solving problems regionally, nationally, and even globally. Arnold spoke only a little about the new Terminator movie he was shooting, joking that the plot was the Terminator going back to 2019 to break Donald Trump out of jail; well placed and well received!
-For every dollar spent on after-school programs, society earns or saves 3 dollars in return.
-Blaming violent video games and movies for mass shootings and asking for a ban or rating system means we should ban the bible as well since it’s a very violent book.
-The problem in politics is that everyone wants a 10 out of 10 out of every deal, getting everything they want. Groups need to be OK with a 7.
The final session of the day caught by the Domination Team was a panel discussion hosted by Catie Couric to promote her upcoming National Geographic series, America Inside Out, with a focus on an episode called “The Muslim Next Door”. Co-host Brian Goldsmith helped lead a discussion with guests poet/rapper Mona Haydar and producer/writer at New York Times Wajahat Ali.
Wajahat stole this show, with such well articulated, organized answers constantly laced with humor, I immediately began following him on Twitter after the session. Mona Hayder recounting herself setting up an “Ask a Muslim” booth in New York City and how the vulnerability of such an activity helped her connect with a range of people courageous/curious enough to ask a question. When asked about what the traditional Arab headwrap for women, a hijab, meant to her, she said it is a sign of liberation, forcing people to not see women’s bodies as objects and instead forcing them to engage with their mind first.
On the day party side, the Domination Team zero’ed in again on Vox Media’s popup at The Belmont. Others were at Amplify Philly with Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks or at WeDC, enjoying a breakfast spread, some of the nicest swag at SXSW, and panels highlighting companies in DC from Politico news to tech. Heavy gusts all day foreshadowed a cold front hitting town. Windy, cold weather, while insufferable for many, is actually a boon for Domination Team who are obviously prepped and prepared to stand outside in lines and at show outdoor shows. Of course, a large quantity of free alcohol also helps. The Domination Team settled in for the afternoon at Vevo popup located at Pelons, where free drinks, nacho bar, and music it a solid home base for the day.
Gusty cold front in full effect at this point, the temperature had dropped over 30 degrees since noon hitting the mid-40s by sundown. Most of the Domination Team managed to stay at Vevo even after they emptied out for a VIP only nighttime event, and still with a dangerous open bar to help everyone ignore the cold. With Ludacris performing at Vevo, however, alcohol wouldn’t have changed anyone’s minds not to stay!
Meanwhile, at WeDC the Domination Team was also staying warm with free-flowing drinks and grooving to their own lineup of Kelela, SHAED, and others. Amplify Philly turned up again this year with Philly native DJ Jazzy Jeff. Finally, Tumblr had a high energy, career-launching performance from Duckwrth, a rapping/singing blend of Rick James and Andre 3000.
Duckwrth even brought R&B singing violinist Sudan Archives, who performed earlier, to shred her violin while simultaneously dance the stage with Duckwrth’s groovy energy. Duckwrth is an immediate nominee for best SXSW buzz even without his great Wakanda Salute on stage alone; he’s on several bills later throughout SXSW and I imagine the buzz will hit a high crescendo of demand by Friday and Saturday.