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SXSW 2018 Highlights: Visit the ‘Westworld’ Theme Park, ‘Shameless’ Bar

This year’s South by Southwest (SXSW®) conference and festival will feature screenings, panels, happy hours, a special pop-up theme park and more. The event runs from March 9 to 18 in Austin, Texas. Variety has created a list of the immersive TV experiences and talks to keep you up to date. We will continue to update the schedule as more information is released about the festival.


HBO’s Barry Screening (6 p.m., Alamo Ritz 1)

SXSW attendees will be among the first to get a look at the premium cabler’s new dark comedy starring Bill Hader as a “depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest” who follows a “mark” into an acting class in Los Angeles, where he ends up finding an accepting community. Barry wants to start a new life as an actor, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away. The series, which was created, executive produced and written by Alec Berg and Hader, will screen its premiere episode at the festival.

Warner Bros. TV and DC Entertainment’s Super Hero Experience and Pop-Up Shop (Noon – 10 p.m. daily, 717 Red River Street)

Superheroes will by taking over SXSW at WBTV and DC’s event, which will be open for the duration of the festival, from March 9 to March 18. The experience will include a display of Batman’s iconic Batmobiles and Bat-cycles, a pop-up shop with exclusive DC merchandise, and signings by comic book writers and artists Jim Lee, Frank Miller and more. The cast of “Black Lightning” is also scheduled to appear, along with coffee and beer tastings and special looks at “Krypton” and “Constantine.”


Westworld: Live Without Limits Weekend (EastSide Tavern)

SXSW attendees can explore a two acre custom-built “Westworld” theme park from March 9 to 11 as part of the “Westworld: Live Without Limits Weekend.” The exhibit includes reproduced sets from the HBO series like the Mariposa Saloon. Guest will have to register for appointment at discoverwestorld.com before checking in at downtown Austin’s EastSide Tavern. They will then be taken to a recreated version of “Westworld” town Sweetwater and receive a black or white hat before exploring the park. Cast members Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden will also join series co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy to share about details from the new season on Saturday, March 10 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center, Room D.

Condor Headquarters (78 Rainey Street)

AT&T Audience Network will launch an interactive experience called “Condor Headquarters” to promote their upcoming thriller, “Condor,” which stars Mira Sorvino. Guests can participate in authentic CIA activities such as skill tests, physical and digital technology tactics, lie detection, and environmental analysis. There will also be opportunities to win prizes and view exclusive “Condor” content.

The Starz Sensory House (88 Rainey Street)

The Starz Sensory House opens at 11 a.m., and attendees can enjoy “Sweetbitter” inspired wine tastings beginning at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m., “Sweetbitter” and “Vida”-inspired cocktails will be served, and on Sunday, a screening of “Vida” and an accompanying panel will take place at the Vimeo Theatre. The Sensory House will also include a Sugarfina candy bar, custom t-shirts inspired by the two shows, music by The Chulita Vinyl Club, an all-female DJ collective, and “Vida”-inspired manicures.


Vida Happy Hour (5 – 7 p.m., 88 Rainey Street)

The Starz Sensory House will host an exclusive happy hour with the executive producer Tanya Saracho and cast of the new Starz series “Vida.” The cast includes Melissa Barrera, Mishel Prada, Ser Anzoategui, Chelsea Rendon, Carlos Miranda, and Maria Elena Laas. The series premieres on May 6. The event includes cocktails, a nail bar, wine tasting and music by the Chulita Vinyl Club.


Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger Watch Party

Freeform’s new series “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” will host a viewing party at SXSW, marking the first time Freeform and Marvel Television will appear at the festival. After the screening, series leads Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as well as executive producer and Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb will hold a discussion about the show.


Back in the Game with Alex Rodriguez (9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Austin Convention Center Ballroom D)

CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman will moderate a discussion with Former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez about the highs and lows of his career. Rodriguez will also share how he mentors a new generation of athletes in his upcoming CNBC special “Back in the Game.”

This Is Us (3 p.m., Paramount Theater)

NBC’s hit family drama is taking a family road trip to the South. The multi-decade, multi-generational story about the Pearson family will screen a special episode at the festival this year.

The Last O.G. Screening and Panel (6 p.m., Paramount Theater)

Tracy Morgan is a man just out of jail in TBS’ new comedy “The Last OG.” He wants to reconnect with the love of his life from 15 years ago when he first got arrested, but he is shocked to see how much her life — and the world he knew in Brooklyn, New York — has changed in the time he’s been away. Shay (Tiffany Haddish) is married to a white man, with whom she’s been raising the twins he never knew existed, and his neighborhood has gentrified. The series was created by Jordan Peele and John Carcieri.


SMILF (Clive Bar)

The Showtime House will feature female-fronted bands across multiple genres to honor Golden Globe-nominated comedy “SMILF.” Headliner Princess Nokia, whose music is featured on the show, will be introduced by the series’ creator, producer, director and star Frankie Shaw. Rocker Snail Mail and violinist and vocalist Sudan Archives will also perform. At each Showtime event, 100 gift cards will be given to the first 100 guests. There will also be digital vending machines on-site featuring show merchandise.


The Chi (Clive Bar)

The Showtime House event for drama “The Chi,” will include food from Chicago, a custom sneaker gallery, hip hop artists and Chicago graffiti art. “The Chi” star Jacob Latimore will introduce a DJ set from Run-DMC’s Darryl DMC McDaniels. Other musicians whose music can be heard on “The Chi” will perform such as Lee Fields & the Expressions. “The Chi” creator and executive producer Lena Waithe as well as executive producer Common and actors Jason Mitchell and Jacob Latimore will participate in a discussion about the series on Monday, March 12 from 2-3 p.m. in Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABCD.


Shameless (Clive Bar)

The Showtime House will be transformed into an “Alibi Bar” pop up where attendees are served drinks by “Shameless” stars Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey. Some of the performers include Low Cut Connie, WAVVES, and Tank and The Bangas.

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