This month, Portland transforms into a city of festivals, with MusicfestNW, PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival, and the new culinary spectacle Feast. Add one more to the mix: XOXO (“eks-oh-eks-oh”): a four-day arts and technology confab at YU Contemporary (Sept 13-16) that aims to foster “disruptive creativity” by cramming national-caliber thinkers from many fields into one room.
The speakers’ roster for XOXO reads like a fantasy team of tech thinkers, hackers, grassroots entrepreneurs, and hyper-connected artists and musicians. Founders of Etsy, Kickstarter, Metafilter, and several other Internet sites that harness independent creativity and commerce will expound. Fittingly, festival cofounder Andy Baio funded the whole affair via Kickstarter, raising $175,000 in 50 hours.
XOXO will present a sprawling bazaar on the bottom floor of YU, featuring workshops and booths hosted by local designers, tech whizzes, and chefs. Across the street at Holocene, XOXO Music (Sept 14) will host shows by local bands. A pub crawl (Sept 14-15) will give faces to the names behind our thriving brewing scene. And influential video-game blogger Brandon Boyer will curate XOXO Arcade, a showcase of stunning indie work.
Sight unseen, the effort has attracted notice from Wired, the New York Times, and BoingBoing. If it lives up to its “disruptive” intentions, XOXO could launch a thousand brainy projects.