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 “disruptive creativity” 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

Headout Picks


[MUSIC] Hot Chip has gotten better and better at moving people—physically as well as emotionally. With this year’s In Our Heads, the group continues to question how much dance music can mean, while keeping listeners bobbing their heads to the inquiry. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 9 pm. $35.


[STRIPPERS] Pub crawls are fun and all, but have you ever found yourself wondering, “Where are all the naked women?” Well, Redhook Brewing has just what you’re looking for: a strip-club crawl on the Brewvana bus. The tour stops at Sassy’s, Acropolis and Club Rouge. Spirit of 77, 500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 8 pm. $35. 21+.
[MOVIES] The NW Film Center’s two-week retrospective of rare 35 mm film noirs kicks off with 1951’s The Prowler, the story of a crooked cop’s twisted obsession with a lonely housewife, written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm. $6-$9.


[MOVIES] Wild-man director Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 pop-art noir confused Japanese studio Nikkatsu so much it ended up firing him. The movie still seems exceptionally crazy today. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., 493-1128. 9:30 pm. $5-$7.


[PERFORMANCE] Anderson returns to the Time-Based Art Festival for Dirtday!, the third installment in a trilogy of solo storytelling. Don’t expect the kind of electrifying multimedia concert that vaulted the New York violinist-composer-artist beyond the artsy niche in the 1980s and ’90s. Anderson instead offers low-key, trenchant to ironic to wry musings on life, politics, history, Darwin and even her late canine. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm. $15-$75.


[MUSIC] Austin quintet the Gourds is more than a novelty act that did a bluegrass cover of “Gin and Juice”; the damn fine alt-country band remains one of the most overlooked of its rootin’, tootin’ brethren. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 8 pm. $18 advance, $20 day of show. 21+.