Every year, when South by Southwest Interactive releases its first big round of panels for the March festival, skimming the 500+ list of panels, workshops, mentoring sessions and more can sometimes feel like this: “OK, got it, name, name, topic, name, topic, theme… Wait, WHAT!?”
It’s often the thrill of seeing a name of a celebrity, national politician or other person that you wouldn’t expect to find at the festival that makes wading through such a long list (close to 30 pages if you print it out) worthwhile.
Maybe I’m just a comedy nerd, but the two “Whoah!” moments for me in Monday’s big panel-info dump was that comedians Keegan-Michael and Jordan Peele, the sketch comedy duo known as “Key & Peele” will appear on a panel with “SNL” performer Vanessa Bayer on “The Art of the Improvised Pitch.” There’s also a venture capitalist on that panel, which, I’m not gonna lie, could ruin everything.
If that weren’t enough, the brilliant ladies of “Broad City,” Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson join new TV star and native Texan Cristela Alonzo on a panel with comic Nikki Glazer about the challenges of self-producing.
Of course, these panels should not be too surprising; in recent years, celebrities, whether from TV, film, the world of sports or online fame, have increasingly crowded SXSW Interactive, riding the mainstreaming of tech.
You’ll find these panels amid the usual suspects at the fest: futurists, authors, social media experts, engineers, social do-gooders and many, many other types of people.
You can find the complete list of today’s announced content here, in addition to the previously announced first keynote speaker and featured and convergence speakers that were already confirmed.
Some other stuff that stood out to me on the list after a long skim:The voice of “Where’s Waldo?” on a panel about mascots.A panel about the social media angles of covering the Oscar Pistorius trial.Not one, but two panels about “Game of Thrones.”American-Statesman’s Addie Broyles on a panel about the future of buying food.No panels about a very hot topic right now, the Internet furor over “#GamerGate.” But there is a panel called “Why does the Internet hates women?” which may cover some of that ground.Three U.S. Representatives on this panel about the future of privacy and two on this one about how the government impacts startups.
What are the themes this year? You can tell a lot by the panel categories. They are:Art, Science and InspirationBranding and MarketingContent and DistributionConvergent and Immersive EntertainmentDesign and DevelopmentFashion and Wearable TechFood and Experiential DiningGamingGlobal Impact and PolicyHealth and MedtechIntelligent FutureSocial and PrivacySXsportsStartup VillageWork and CareerFuture 15
… in addition to workshops, meet-ups, mentor sessions and book readings.