South by Southwest entertainment highlights

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

JIMI: All Is By My Side explores a crucial year in Jimi Hendrix’s rise to stardom.

South by Southwest (SXSW) was in full swing this week with its film, music, and technology extravaganza in Austin, Texas. The festival, which featured a dizzying amount of events, special guests, high-tech products, and performances, ran from March 7 to the 16.

The Eco Light Garden dazzled with futuristic art, like the musical audience-controlled “Fractoid” 2.2 sculpture that’s synced to a beat-machine, the “Intersection” geometric LED sculptures that glow brighter as people approach them, the portal-like musically interactive “Cathedral of Mathgic”, and the “Light Field” of 100 wirelessly controlled LED balloons that create a floating pixel forest.

Coldplay lit up the stage during the iTunes Festival, using new songs from their sixth album, Ghost Stories, after sets from openers London Grammar and Imagine Dragons. Then, NPR Music and the All Songs Considered team put together a mixed blend of sets that featured talented multi-instrumentalist singers like Blur’s alternative rock frontman Damon Albarn and Annie “St. Vincent” Clark’s indie pop music.

From music to films about musicians, Jimi Hendrix fans cheered for the bio film JIMI: All Is By My Side, featuring OutKast’s André Benjamin as the legendary guitarist, and 12 Years a Slave’s John Ridley as writer-director. JIMI: All Is By My Side focuses on Hendrix’s life from 1966-67, when he rose from being a relatively unknown backup guitarist in a New York nightclub to an increasingly popular up-and-coming mega rockstar.

Other hot movies included the time-traveling thriller Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke, the comedic “adults vs. frat partiers” themed flick Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and the much-anticipated crowdfunded movie Veronica Mars. Probably the biggest film splash, however, came from Jon Favreau’s star-studded Chef, where Robert Downey Jr., Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, and Scarlett Johansson play characters helping a famous chef get back on his feet after a nasty Twitter battle with a food critic, by running a food truck.

Featured image courtesy of Coldplay Facebook. Image of JIMI: All Is By My Side courtesy of SXSW and John Ridley.