A devilish good time
Interactive SXSW experience brings the apocalypse to downtown Austin
Armageddon is coming to SXSW as Amazon Prime Video celebrates Good Omens, a six-episode series set at the brink of the apocalypse. March 8 through 11, 604 Driskill St. transforms into the Good Omens Garden of Earthly Delights, an interactive experience promising a devilish good time.
The show, which premieres on May 31, is based on the 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It tells the story of Michael Sheen’s fussy angel, Aziraphale, and David Tennant's loose-living demon, Crowley, who pair up to stop the world from ending. Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Jack Whitehall, Miranda Richardson, Adria Arjona, Michael McKean, Anna Maxwell Martin, and Mireille Enos also star.
Guests enter this small piece of the Good Omens world through a massive winged hourglass and are greeted by angels and demons, representative of the unlikely alliance featured in the series. A 20-foot tree in the garden dispenses Austin Beer Works brews (after all, its motto is “hell-bent on excellence”) and William Chris wines along with prophetic apples, gifts, and locally sourced bites.
Heavenly and hellish cabanas offer relaxing lounges complete with manicures; hand massages; and hairstyling with butterLONDON, Cosmedix, and SexyHair. A pop-up bookshop contain surprises for fans among the leather-bound books. Puppies and other adoptable dogs from Austin Animal Center will be available in the Hellhound Puppy Pen.
Roving entertainers throughout the weekend include magicians, sword swallowers, fire breathers, and tarot card readers, and the Garden’s main stage hosts live performances by dueling pianists playing pre-apocalyptic tunes; a string trio; a special Queen tribute band; and an interactive, life-size chess tournament streamed on Twitch.
The Good Omens Garden of Earthly Delights is free to guests ages 21 and up — with or without SXSW badges — from noon-9 pm on March 8, noon-6 pm on March 9 and March 10, and noon-9 pm on March 11.
Outside the foliage walls, bickering angels, chattering nuns, demons, and Witch Finders roam the streets of Austin warning festivalgoers of the beginning of the end. The penultimate motorcycle ride of the Four Apocalyptic Horsemen and their loyal followers happens at noon on March 8. Every day, more world-ending signs unravel across the city, some perhaps even in the Garden of Earthly Delights.
The event also features a conversation with Gaiman, who, in addition to writing the novel, is an executive producer of the series. Gaiman appears March 9 from 3:30-4:30 pm in Austin Convention Center Ballroom D and at Zach Scott Theater at 6:30 pm. For this session, Gaiman is joined by director Douglas Mackinnon and cast members including Sheen, Tennant, and Hamm for an in-depth look at the series and a first look at exclusive clips.
The end is nigh, so why not relax, have a beer, and pet a puppy?