Iconic Rocker Kim Gordon, Former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé Lead SXSW 2020 Lineup

Fixer Upper power couple Chip & Joanna Gaines also join fest

Kim Gordon playing with her band Body/Head, Beerland 2018 (photo by David Brendan Hall)

Cross-creative industry conference South by Southwest, which holds its 34th gathering March 13-22 next year, has just announced iconic Sonic Youth bassist and visual artist Kim Gordon and former Nintendo of America COO and President Reggie Fils-Aimé as the first keynote speakers.

As the bassist for Sonic Youth, Gordon's driving lines and silk-lined rumble-growl vocals helped define indie rock for three decades. However, she is also a filmmaker, memoirist, visual artist, and actor (as well as keeping up a solo musical career and performing with drummer Ikue Mori as Body/Head).

While he may not have the cultural cachet of Gordon, gamers and game developers may recognize the name Fils-Aimé. Most former brand managers for Procter & Gamble and Pizza Hut aren’t exactly household names, but in 2003 he joined Nintendo of America, when the firm was at its lowest ebb, and helped create the revolution that made them competition to Sony and Microsoft again, carving out a distinct market for the Wii and Switch that remains resilient against both XBox and Playstation. And next time you tweet “My body is ready,” thank Fils-Aimé, who coined the phrase when he risked his dignity at the (ultimately successful) 2007 launch of the Wii Balance Board. Fils-Aimé left Nintendo earlier this year, and will be attending SXSW in his new role as Managing Partner at Brentwood Growth Partners and a Leader in Residence at Cornell University.

They're just the headliners in today's very, very early announcement list of speakers, which includes major figures from culture, business, music, film, tech and (get ready, Fixer Upper fans) home improvement. Other newly announced additions to the lineup include:

SXSW 2020 Keynotes

Reggie Fils-Aime at the Game Developers Conference in 2011 (via Official GDC - Flickr: GDC 2011 / CC BY 2.0)

• Managing Partner at Brentwood Growth Partners and former President and COO of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé (Convergence)

• Musician, singer, songwriter, visual artist, and actress Kim Gordon (Music)

Featured Speakers

• Founder and Chief Trend Curator of the Non-Obvious Company Rohit Bhargava
• Producer, songwriter, artist Benny Blanco 
• Cannabis rights activist Steve DeAngelo 
• Starburst Accelerator co-founder & Managing Partner Van Espahbodi
• Graphika Chief Innovation Officer Camille François

• Entrepreneurs and Magnolia founders Chip and Joanna Gaines 

• Entrepreneur and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in conversation with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine 

• Author and co-founder and CEO of Affectiva Dr. Rana el Kaliouby
• Cirque du Soleil, One Drop Foundation and Lune Rouge founder Guy Laliberté 

• Designer, author and technologist John Maeda 

• Actor and comedian Cheech Marin in conversation with Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez 

• IMDb Founder and CEO Col Needham 

• James Beard Award-winning chef and author Kwame Onwuachi

• Executive Director of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation Cat Packer 

• C3 Presents concert and festival promoter Huston Powell 

• Musician, producer and songwriter Nile Rodgers in conversation with music industry executive and entrepreneur Merck Mercuriadis 

• Quantitative futurist, author and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute Amy Webb 

• Author and scholar Shoshana Zuboff

Featured Sessions

Roxane Gay (photo by Photo by Jay Grabiec)

Activating Change with a Cello and a Shovel: an exploration of how to use culture to transform social problems that create division and uncertainty into moments that confirm community and activate change, featuring musician Yo-Yo Ma and artist Pedro Reyes. Moderated by NPR’s Peter Sagal.
Changing the Immersive Storytelling Wild West: a conversation about how to collaborate to create sustainable, transformative and inclusive work in immersive storytelling, between Royal Shakespeare Company Director of Digital Development Sarah Ellis; anthropologist, technologist, professor and Intel senior fellow Genevieve Bell; and Guild of Future Architects Executive Director Kamal Sinclair. Moderated by Watershed CEO Clare Reddington.

Hear to Slay: a live podcast recording offering compelling conversations and uncommonly incisive reads of the politics and pop culture that shape the world we live in, featuring writer, editor and podcaster Roxane Gay; award-winning professor and author Tressie McMillan Cottom; and Special Guest.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

<i>Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over</i> Finds the Anti-Punk in Full Fury
Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over Finds the Anti-Punk in Full Fury
Beth B blows it all up in new documentary

Tim Stegall, Sept. 10, 2021

Austin-Made Romantic Horror <i>The Carnivores</i> Questions What It Is to Lose Control
Austin-Made Romantic Horror The Carnivores Questions What It Is to Lose Control
Love bites in Caleb Johnson's strange examination of relationships

Richard Whittaker, April 9, 2021

More by Richard Whittaker
That's One Pricey Burrito: Chuy's Sells for $605 Million
That's One Pricey Burrito: Chuy's Sells for $605 Million
Austin original acquired by Darden Restaurants, Inc.

July 18, 2024

Pale imitation of what made the original such an unexpected smash of a disaster movie

July 19, 2024


SXSW 2020

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle