With Further Ado #343: SXSW Part 3- Mrs. Davis, Tetris & Motion Comics (kind of)

Let’s take one more bite out of the SXSW apple. I’ve been writing about this business + music festival. There was a lot going on, and here’s three more pop culture efforts to focus on:

Who’s That Nun?

AI’s been such a big topic, a scary topic, It makes sense that an action hero will rise to fight it. I hadn’t quite expected this particular action hero.

In the spirit of the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra that is woven into the background fabric of the SXSW festival, it was kind of fun to see a couple of nuns whoosh by in a pedicab. But then when I saw “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS NUN?” posters plastered around downtown Austin, it was apparent something was up.

It was all a promotion for the upcoming Peacock show, Mrs. Davis. The Hollywood Reporter described the show like this:

Mrs. Davis is a perfectly timed warning about AI Madness

It’s a Catholic nun vs. AI in a wild new drama for the creators Damon Lindelof (The Watchmen) and Tara Hernandez (Big Bang Theory) that pits faith against technology run amok: “The most exciting thing about ‘Mrs. Davis’ is that there’s nothing like ‘Mrs. Davis.’”

That’s the premise of Mrs. Davis, an ultra-ambitious series from Big Bang Theory veteran Tara Hernandez and Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof , Mrs. Davis, premiering at SXSW before its April 20 streaming debut on Peacock, tells the story of a heroic, street-savvy nun (three-time GLOW Emmy nominee Betty Gilpin) battling an omnipresent AI and its legion of obsessed fans who will do anything to please their tech deity (called Mrs. Davis), which is supposedly striving to make the world a better place. Oh, and there’s also a quest for the Holy Grail, possible Nazis with butterfly nets, nefarious magicians and a teary make-out session with Jesus — and that’s just in the first two episodes. As Gilpin’s character, Simone, says at one point: “It’s a lot.”


Check out the Mrs. Davis Trailer here..

Retro Video Game or Entrepreneurial Origin?

I think we can all agree that Tetris was one of the most addictive timewasters of all time. At SXSW, as I was getting locked out of a movie premiere, I saw men in poorly fitting brown suits, complete with Tetris-y heads and logo-ed briefcases. I assumed it was all part of a kids focused Angry Birds style movie promotion.

(Whatever happened to Angry Birds, btw?)

But it turns out it was a promotion for a streamer that combines entrepreneurism + action thriller. It just debuted at the end of March. Here’s the official write-up:

Tetris tells the unbelievable story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to avid players around the globe. Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovers TETRIS in 1988, and then risks everything by traveling to the Soviet Union, where he joins forces with inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game to the masses. Based on a true story, Tetris is a Cold War–era thriller on steroids, with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes and a nail-biting race to the finish.

And you can see the the Tetris trailer here..

Motion Comics: Round 2…?

Photo by Olivia Knapp

When I saw people handing out hardcover books at SXSW, I assumed it was some sort of L. Ron Hubbard thing. I mean, who gives out hardcover books? They wouldn’t even do it at Book Expo anymore, if Book Expo itself hadn’t evaporated.

It turns out, TooFar Media a multimedia effort of author Rich Shapero. TooFar Media publishes provocative stories for the eyes, ears, and imagination. They call themselves a multimedia storytelling experience. So, for the online/digital versions of the books, fans can open up a “seam” in the narrative for additional content: songs, interviews, backstory, etc.

To learn more about this unique idea, check out the video for one of his books, Dreams of Delphine here. Or you can install the app and you’ll get the digital version of this book for free.

It reminded me of some of the ideas that Marvel had tried with comics a few years back. We would all point our phones at a panel, and get additional information about some story element. It all seems like it went away quickly. Did anyone even really miss it once it was gone? Still, we can’t fault creative entrepreneurs for trying new things, can we?