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Are you a Lizzo or a Starlight? Find out at Amazon's Superheroes and Superstars activation

Eric Webb
Austin 360

Are you a superhero or a superstar?

No, you have to pick. 

Among South by Southwest’s numerous activations and installations, one of the shiniest is Amazon Prime Video’s Superheroes and Superstars pop-up at the corner of Red River and Driskill streets. A playland of Bezos-backed fun, it has descended upon the Rainey Street District to promote two of the streaming service’s shows: Season 3 of dark superhero series “The Boys” and reality dance show “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” The "Truth Hurts" singer and rapper is the Sunday keynote at this year's conference, and there was a session about "The Boys" on Saturday.

We stopped by Superheroes and Superstars on Saturday morning to check out the scene. Here are a few things you’ll see at the activation, open to SXSW badge-holders. It opened Friday, and visitors can stop by from noon to 6 p.m. through Monday.

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Amazon Prime Video's Superheroes and Superstars activation is open in the Rainey Street District for South by Southwest Saturday March 12, 2022.

Before you stand two tunnels … 

There are two entrances: one for “The Boys” into Voughtland (named after the show’s shadowy corporation) and one that's a shiny giant star into Lizzo’s palace of positivity. You can guess that we went through the Lizzo tunnel, because we have taste. Positive messages lined the multicolored walls on the way in. Don’t worry, though. Either entrance gets you into the whole activation.

Pick your poison

What with this being SXSW and all, free food and drink are the name of the game here. Your wristband received upon entry snags you a sip from either the Red White & Booze bar (themed after “The Boys’” baddie Homelander) or from Lizzo’s Juicebox, which is a giant pink juice box. 

Not to be repetitive, but you can imagine which one we stepped up to, because we have taste.

Amazon Prime Video's Superheroes and Superstars activation is open in the Rainey Street District for South by Southwest Saturday March 12, 2022.

Lizzo’s Juicebox also has a “Big Grrrl Mantra” written on the side: “I’ve got nothing but love for myself,” etc. 

Two observations here: One, isn’t a giant pink juice box a perfectly SXSW thing? And two, isn’t juxtaposing the patriotic aesthetics of a neo-fascist superhuman with those of a boundary-breaking beacon of body positivity, all in the service of free drinks and brand synergy, a perfectly SXSW thing?

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I do my hair toss, check my nails …

“Tell me how you’re feeling,” an attendant at a Lizzo-themed nail salon told us. “Good as hell,” we replied dutifully. One of the more original parts of this Amazon Prime Video activation is this oasis of care, where guests can receive a hand massage, some colorful press-on nails or a little hairstyling. We, having short hair and needing to type easily while covering SXSW, opted for the “Queen Charity” option, which was a scalp massage, moisturizing treatment and a trim. (Though no trim for us.) There are plenty to choose from, like the Kiki Kick Back, which is a high pony with curls.

Amazon Prime Video's Superheroes and Superstars activation is open in the Rainey Street District for South by Southwest Saturday March 12, 2022.

So close to a Texas treat

One of the free food spots on the side for “The Boys”: a burger stand called Vought a Burger. It’s not orange and white, but you can pretend while you’re biting into your bun. Vegan option available!

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Amazon Prime Video's Superheroes and Superstars activation is open in the Rainey Street District for South by Southwest Saturday March 12, 2022.

Take a spin

Finally, we can now say that we’ve taken a carousel ride on Rainey Street all by ourselves. The benefit, or hazard, or showing up early. Starlight’s Carousel of Dreams is exactly what it sounds like, a pony-powered attraction that will unlock your inner child and remind you to stream “The Boys” Season 3, a show about a controversial corporate super power airing on a platform run by a controversial corporate super power.