People walking through an activation at SXSW 2022. In the upper right corner there is the Daily Dot newsletter logo.

Grace Stanley

Newsletter: Googly eyes and good vibes at SXSW

In today's special edition of the 'Internet Insider' newsletter, we report from the ground at SXSW.


Andrew Wyrich


Ramon Ramirez


Posted on Mar 12, 2022   Updated on Mar 28, 2022, 3:03 pm CDT

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Hey readers! Andrew here. Welcome to a special edition of Internet Insider.

Today we’re continuing our coverage of South by Southwest (SXSW). Down below Ramon Ramirez, our news director, talks about how there have been discussions about making blockchains more mainstream.  

After that, our team of reporters on the ground are sharing the interesting, cool, and weird things they are seeing at the conference. 


In Body Image

Two chairs on a stage. Behind that, a sign says 'SXSW 2022'

Austin, Texas-area event space the Coppertank is historically prime real estate for South by Southwest. It’s rich with foot traffic and a short stroll from the convention center. In prior years, for instance, it became an opulent installation for YouTube’s streaming music service to host private performances that featured pop stars like Future. But in 2022, SXSW’s headliners are salt-and-pepper men with AirPods who look like Jurgen Klopp. And they’re here to talk crypto.

Saturday morning at the Blockchain Creative Labs NFT art gallery, futurists in puffy vests enjoyed empanadas and fireside chats about choosing a community to invest in. The Fox entertainment-sponsored installation was here to codify buzzy new tech as it becomes mainstream. Attendees received two drink tickets.

But let me backup the Penske a bit. I do not know what a blockchain is. To find out, I asked our newsletter editor and former deputy technology editor Andrew Wyrich in our newsroom Slack if he knew what a blockchain was.

lol not really,” he replied.

According to Investopedia’s otherwise helpful explainer—which is the first Google result when you search for “What is a blockchain?”—a blockchain is: “a distributed database that is shared among the nodes of a computer network.” I don’t know what this means and that’s a big chunk of why these new spaces are being controlled by very online rebels who are stirring real chaos on the internet. In the future, money will be for the few who understand it.

Having read further into the Investopedia blog post, a blockchain is a storage space where data is filed in linear order. That way, early adopters have a more valuable place in line. 

On the ground at the NFT art gallery, Collab.Land CCO Anjali Young said that people who want to find blockchain-based art communities to invest in should basically check out the open public forums for them such as Discord and Telegram. (I do know what an NFT is: A traceable JPEG).

“You get a taste of what’s important to that community,” she said of visiting one of these online spaces’ public-facing channels. “If everyone’s talking about money all the time that may or may not be important to you.”

But for Hollywood, the challenges are significant. As Kinetic Energy CEO Diana Williams noted, right now studio forays into “Web 3” (the version of the internet less dependent on centralized giants like Google) or the “Metaverse” (the future where we exist alongside our avatars unbound from phones and tablets) or even NFTs are basically “just marketing.”

That’s because of licensing issues: NFTs can function sort of like Groupons where you pay for experiential ownership like an episode of a webseries. As Williams noted, what happens when the webseries goes viral and Fox wants to buy the episodes if you’re the poor sucker who paid several-thousand dollars for an exclusive NFT of something that is now free? Future conundrums like this are why the word “scam” came up among panelists.

But as Decentralized Pictures CEO Leo Matchett argued, the real value is basically leveraging fandom into both creative direction (remember how a bunch of people hated The Last Jedi and raged against its decision-making?) so that fans can help shape, say, plots of TV shows… and also finding digital ways for fans to get merch that can accumulate value over time the way a ticket stub from the original Star Wars would.

So, marketing.

Ramon Ramirez


Four images of Denzel Washington in movies

Celebrating greatness in the film industry

While the highly anticipated SXSW 2022 Film Festival highlights the emerging talent from behind and in front of the camera, we want to take you back to one of the best to do both: Mr. Denzel Washington.

As a tribute to the most nominated Black actor ever in the history of the Oscars, we ranked our favorite Denzel Washington movies that remind us why he is the epitome of Black excellence in cinema. 


Our team of reporters are on the ground at SXSW in Austin, TX. Here are some of the notable, interesting, and weird things they are seeing.  

🗺️ A young woman approached a bearded man on the corner of 6th and Congress. “Where is South by Southwest?” she asked. He spread his arms wide, palms upturned. “It’s all around you, man.” — Mariam Sharia

👀 At Friday night’s after-party for the world premiere of A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, a worker at the door handed all attendees a pack of googly eyes, which play a part in the film. There were also larger googly eyes stuck on various parts of the walls and décor, and several people wore an eye on their forehead. Now I only want to go to parties that involve googly eyes. (You can check out the Daily Dot’s review of the film here). — Tiffany Kelly

👻 There are quite a few films about influencers at SXSW 2022, and a handful of them are, naturally, horrorDeadstream, which debuted on Friday night and was picked up by Shudder earlier this week, follows a disgraced influencer as he spends a night in a haunted house. It asks a big question: Can you put a copyright strike on a demon? — Audra Schroeder

🚇 Amazon Prime Video’s activation, “Superheroes and Superstars,” was a lot. First, I entered a ride that was meant to simulate a subway, complete with noises and vibrations. And it was all a tie-in to A-Train, one of the main superheroes in The Boys—a series that offers a cynical take on what would happen if superpowered people worked for a giant corporation that made them do speaking engagements and brand campaigns. It was ironic and fitting, then, that Prime Video put on an activation that tied in the main superheroes on the show to different experiences, from the subway ride to a carousel to an American-themed bar. Amazon was promoting the series because season 3 premieres in June.

The activation was two-part. One side was The Boys-themed, while the other side promoted a new series releasing on March 25: Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.

The unscripted series follows the singer as she recruits women to join her on tour. That activation had only good vibes: A beauty bar that offered 10-minute services, a food truck offering healthy lunch options, and, naturally, a giant “100% That Bitch” sign to take photos next to. I was complimented nonstop by the people working the Lizzo side of the activation, and I left feeling good. So, good vibes vs. cynical vibes; this activation had something for everyone. — Tiffany Kelly

Three images from SXSW 2022
Tiffany Kelly

🍆 “Lots of dick.” “Dick-tickling.” “A little sprinkle of penis.” Each of these were used to describe the third season of Amazon Prime’s The Boys by the cast and creator in their featured panel. Writer Eric Kripke even said that he begged Sony and Amazon to put out The Boys-themed dildos for each character as merchandise. They said no.  — Laiken Neumann

💰 Are NFTs an enticing incentive for potential candidates? Perhaps, as Unstoppable Domain Senior Vice President Sandy Carter said in her intro Web3 talk, she received an NFT as a sign-on bonus when joining the company. — Daysia Tolentino

📺 I went to a Blockchain Creative Labs NFT activation today. There were walls playing WWE gifs that were for sale on the blockchain and areas where you could download songs as NFTs. It was an immersive artistic representation of the blockchain, but it definitely felt a bit dystopian. Grace Stanley

People at SXSW looking at large video boards.
Grace Stanley

Now Playing: 🎶Carbon Prevails” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross🎶

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*First Published: Mar 12, 2022, 6:00 pm CST