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SXSW wrap: Sunday's highlights

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Christine Nall paints a tattoo like Mike Tyson's on Louis Aleman of Austin during the promotion for the 'Mike Tyson's Main Event' video game on Sunday. Tyson was on hand at the Screenburn Arcade at the Austin Convention Center.

INTERACTIVE

Downtown gets face-lift

Downtown Austin seemed transformed by South by Southwest Interactive. Displays and promotions for big tech-related entities like H-P, Sony, CNN.com and PepsiCo, once confined to the inside of the Convention Center, took over restaurants and buildings. Some areas, such as Third and San Jacinto streets, were unrecognizable.

It was one more sign, along with Apple's pop-up store at Sixth Street and Congress Avenue, that Interactive is maturing and that many companies are spending a lot of money to get themselves in front of the growing audience.

At the festival, large crowds continued, and some panels turned away attendees. Even arriving a half-hour early was no guarantee of a spot at some sessions.

INTERACTIVE

Times editor cancels

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller canceled his trip to SXSW to focus on coverage of the disaster in Japan. His panel slot was remade into a session on Japan relief. Appearing via Skype, Keller discussed both the Times' Japan coverage and the original session topic, the paper's evolution.

"I think the (Japan) coverage, in some respects, is very traditional coverage of a major story," Keller said. "We have about 50 people working on this story with about 20 of them being reporters. In some ways, it's representative of how the mainstream media works these days."

Addressing his March 10 op-ed piece in the Times on news aggregators, Keller said: "I applaud (Arianna Huffington) for supplementing the aggregated stuff that got the Huffington Post started with real journalism, some written by journalists she took from us. I am not anti-aggregation. That's absurd. My two complaints about aggregation are that it's not a substitute, and there is a thin line in the aggregation world in sharing your expertise and sharing your judgment about what's happening in the world."

INTERACTIVE

More panel notes

  • TED, a nonprofit that organizes idea-sharing conferences, announced at SXSW Interactive that it would give developers access to its talks and associated data in hopes they'll create ways for more people to access the talks.
  • Christopher "moot" Poole, founder of influential message board 4chan, delivered a short keynote that didn't seem to connect with the audience. More than half the audience noisily exited when he ended his presentation early and started taking questions.

JAPAN

Festival to aide victims

  • SXSW creative director Brent Grulke said Sunday that the music festival is turning the annual Japan Nite, which is Friday, into a benefit for victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
  • Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike was slated to present his latest film, "13 Assassins," at the Paramount on Sunday, but the earthquake prevented him from traveling to the festival.
  • Cameron Sinclair, the "Chief Eternal Optimist" of Architecture for Humanity, announced his group's plan for helping with rebuilding in Japan, which will focus on community structures.

CELEBRITIES

Big names invade

Jason Ritter, Brittany Snow, Soleil Moon Frye, Dane Cook and Mike Tyson all shot appearances for the "Facebook Live" online telecast. Tyson also took photos with fans as he promoted the game "Mike Tyson's Main Event" at Screenburn Arcade. Patricia Arquette talked up her Haiti charity Give Love at Ranch 616. Chris Cornell played the Nokia Party at the Belmont. Lenny Kravitz asked his Twitter followers to join him for daughter Zoe's film "Yelling to the Sky" at Alamo South. And Jake Gyllenhaal confirmed to EW.com that he got into a "rather heated scuffle" after a fan tried to snap his picture in a restroom at the Paramount Theatre before Friday's "Source Code" screening.

— Compiled by Sarah Beckham from staff reports