It's easy to make fun of Kickstarter. God knows we do: A project involving vegan cookies delivered by unicycle is a running joke in the WW office. But setting cynicism aside for one page, it's becoming increasingly clear that Kickstarter—the online crowd-funding platform that has bankrolled almost 30,000 projects in its three-year existence—embodies a profound cultural shift taking place in the relationship between creators and commerce.
A utopian idea, perhaps. But these are things happening right now: Hollywood directors and screenwriters are freeing themselves from studios by making fan-funded movies and shows; musicians are bypassing record labels, earning a real living by releasing and promoting their own music through YouTube and Bandcamp; independent video-game developers are shaking up the industry with innovative, boundary-pushing titles that receive rave reviews. Maybe we're on the precipice of something huge or maybe this will just continue to exist on the fringe of late capitalism, but whatever is happening here, it's worth celebrating.
As it happens, the celebration is happening in Portland this weekend. Local bloggerati and former Kickstarter Chief Technology Officer Andy Baio is throwing âdisruptive creativityâ a party, called XOXO Festival. Baio and Belfast-based organizer of the Build festival Andy McMillan funded the party through, you guessed it, Kickstarter, hitting its $125,000 funding goal within two days.
The conference itself—featuring speakers like the CEO of Etsy, the founder of 4chan, Community showrunner Dan Harmon and MythBuster Adam Savage—is already sold out.
But there are also a bunch of other free public events: an indie video-game arcade curated by Kickstarter-funded gaming site Venus Patrol; a music show with independent, Internet-famous bands and artists like the Kleptones and Julia Nunes; screenings of crowd-funded films including Indie Game: The Movie and Star Wars Uncut: The Director's Cut; and a two-day street market with local creators, artists and food. XOXO will also be hooking up with the Mini Maker Faire taking place at OMSI, an offshoot of MAKE magazine's popular festival of art, craft, engineering and science. Even if it doesn't change the world, it should be a lot of fun.
GO: XOXO Festival runs Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 13-16, at various venues. For full schedule, see xoxofest.com/fringe.
THURSDAY SEPT. 13
FRIDAY SEPT. 14
SATURDAY SEPT. 15
SUNDAY SEPT. 16
MONDAY SEPT. 17