blog.xoxofest.com

Releasing the XOXO 2013 Videos

October 11th, 2013

In case you don’t follow us on Twitter, we’ve started releasing the talk videos from XOXO on YouTube. 

We’ve published five of this year’s wonderful talks so far, and plan to release two more every weekday:

  • Cards Against Humanity’s Max Temkin opens XOXO with a heartfelt talk and a special musical performance by The Doubleclicks. 
  • Former Wired editor Chris Anderson tells how he went from building the first Lego drone with his kids to running a Tijuana drone factory. 
  • "I never set out to be a full time sex cartoonist." Oh Joy Sex Toy’s Erika Moen shares how she accidentally became a full-time artist.
  • Thoreau 2.0: Pinboard’s Maciej Ceglowski strip-mines Walden for Tim Ferriss-style lifehacks. (Eat the donuts.)
  • What do gypsy jazz and Python have in common? Adrian Holovaty's experience posting his guitar videos on YouTube led to Soundslice, a new tool for sharing guitar tablature and helping indie musicians.

If you like, you can follow us on Twitter to get notified or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see more. Or go outside instead. That’s okay too.

Kickstarter + XOXO at Brooklyn Beta

October 9th, 2013

We’ve noticed a lot of familiar faces around Brooklyn these past few days, so we got together with our friends at Kickstarter, and decided to throw together a little shindig later this week for all our friends at Brooklyn Beta.

Join us for an evening of beer and camaraderie this Thursday at Lavender Lake (383 Carroll St) from 7pm - late. We’ll have an open bar for a little while for Brooklyn Beta badgeholders, and, as is XOXO tradition, you should prepare yourselves for a good amount of hugging.

Get down early for a good spot. See you there!

Food & Drink at XOXO

September 19th, 2013

Like last year, we’re building a cafe in the garage of the YU. We’re building a custom wooden deck extending out of the cafe, with ample seating for food, drink, and conversations.

Two small creators work in that space every day, in the wood-framed office in the garage — Roseline Coffee and Cocanú Chocolate.

In a city known for its coffee, Roseline is something special. Founder Marty Lopes spent years roasting coffee at Extracto and curating coffee at Barista before starting up his own super small-batch roastery. He’ll be serving a variety of freshly-roasted coffee drinks from his newly-built coffee cart at XOXO.

Next door to Roseline, Cocanú is one of only three “bean-to-bar” companies nationwide, taking whole, raw farm-fermented cacao beans, and crafting them into a final product under one roof. Sebastián Cisneros, an Ecuadorian expatriate, has been handcrafting chocolate in Portland since 2009 and will be on-site selling his work over the weekend.

Food Carts

Portland’s street food scene is among the best in the world, with over 400 food carts across the city. Like whales, Portland food carts gather in “pods,” averaging 5-8 but with the largest hosting more than 60 carts. If you’re coming from a city like NYC, LA or SF, you might think food trucks are the same thing, but there are some big differences — while food trucks need to stay on the move, Portland’s food carts are effectively permanent.

For a festival about indie art and technology, food carts are the culinary equivalent. The barrier to entry and costs are low, letting you experiment with new ideas and build a following without falling into deep debt. And several carts in the last year — like Lardo, Salt & Straw, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai — have leveraged their fan base to open brick-and-mortar locations.

About 80% of our attendees come from out of state, many for the first time, so we like to show them the best of Portland by closing down the street in front of XOXO on Friday to Sunday to build our own pod, with our favorite carts from around the city. Two of the carts are even leaving their own pods, towing themselves out to settle in for all three days! Here’s the full lineup:

Nong’s Khao Man GaiTaken from the street food of her native Bangkok, Nong Poonsukwattana only makes one dish: poached chicken & rice, wrapped in butcher paper and served with a spicy sauce. But it’s so insanely good, the lunch lines at her 10th & Alder location often stretch down the street, leading to two new locations to satiate the addicts. (Saturday-Sunday only)

Cheese & Crack — Funded through a successful Kickstarter project, William Steuernagel makes handmade cheese and cracker boxes, along with charcuterie plates and housemade bitter sodas, out of an adorable reclaimed wood food cart. Perfect for snacktime.

PDX 671Named after Guam’s area code, chef Ed Sablan brings the Chamarro cuisine of his native home to Portland, a delicious and unique fusion of Filipino, Spanish, and Malaysian influences. Winner of this year’s Eat Mobile festival, and featured this week on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Koi Fusion — Bo Kwon was 12 years old when he started fusing his South Korean parents’ food with other cuisines, adding kimchi to his grilled cheese sandwiches. 20 years later, he’s doing it for his customers with a food cart empire—three trucks and five stationary locations mixing Korean BBQ and Mexican flavors in tacos, burritos, and Seoul sliders.

Taco PedalerMelanie and Erica ride their three-wheel cargo bike around Portland, spreading their local and organic tacos across the city like modern-day Johnny Appleseeds. But instead of apple seeds, tacos.

Aybla Grill — Syrian-born chef Saied Samaiel was trained on the Greek island of Crete for ten years before coming to Portland, growing his cart business to five locations across the city with a selection of Mediterranean, vegetarian-friendly offerings made with local and organic ingredients. (Friday and Sunday only)

Bunk TruckThe mobile arm of chef Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood’s sandwich empire of Bunk Sandwiches. Avoid gimmicky carts like Big Ass Sandwiches, and stick with the real thing: simple, high-quality ingredients on damn-good bread. (Friday 6pm-Sunday)

The carts will be out all day Friday through Sunday, and open to the public.

And if the lines get bad, there’s no shortage of fantastic food and drink within a short walk of the YU. Check our Guide for all our recommendations.

(P.S. Voodoo Donuts is still mediocre. Go to Blue Star.)

Announcing XOXO Tabletop

September 16th, 2013

Last year at XOXO, we saw attendees hanging out in our cafe, at the tables on the street, and in the bars nearby playing board and card games they love or, in some cases, prototypes of games they’re working on.

This year, we decided to try something new. In the Unmarket, near our registration tables, we’re offering a library of independent board, card, and RPGs to borrow and play throughout the weekend, curated by Playtest’s Matthew Baldwin and Max Temkin.

And on Saturday night, while Film runs upstairs, we’re hosting XOXO Tabletop—a chance to meet and play with several independent game designers, as well as our resident game gurus.

If there’s a game you love, or you’re working on one you’d like to show off, bring it along! We’ll have a bunch of tables set up in the Market downstairs for you to run games, and an open bar with a rotating tap list of incredible local craft beer and wine upstairs on Saturday night.

We’ve already announced the lineups for our MusicFilm, and Arcade events. Here’s who we’re bringing to XOXO for Tabletop.

Like all our other evening events, Tabletop requires an XOXO pass and is open to all passholders.

Burning Wheel / Torchbearer

Indie RPG legend Luke Crane creates fantasy role-playing games that focus on characterization and storytelling instead of loot and 12-sided dice, from Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard, to his most recent, Torchbearer. Each system is about difficult choices, challenging the beliefs of the player-character to advance long, character-driven stories. 

Cards Against Humanity / Werewolf

If you haven’t played the “party game for horrible people,” now’s your chance. Three years ago, Chicago-based designer Max Temkin and seven of his friends from high school launched a Kickstarter project for a game they first created at a New Year’s party in 2008. The result, Cards Against Humanity, has topped Amazon’s bestselling games list for over two years. Not for the easily offended.

If we’re lucky, Max will also bring his new decks for Werewolf, a game of accusations, lying, and mob justice. In 1997, legendary game designer Andrew Plotkin reskinned the parlour game Mafia with a werewolf theme, spawning a party game that’s infected tech and gaming gathering ever since with its disarmingly simple rules and addictive gameplay. (P.S. I’m a villager.)

Dungeon Roll

A quick and casual dice game, Dungeon Roll tasks players to assemble a party and press their luck exploring deep dungeons and defeating monsters for treasure. Each player chooses a Hero, granting them special abilities, and roll seven Party Dice to assemble their party and battle monsters, claim treasure, and heal their party. Can you loot the dungeon and kill the Dragon? St. Louis-based designer Chris Darden joins us at Tabletop to show off his Kickstarter-funded blockbuster.

Emperor’s New Clothes

Jonathan Liu’s new game, currently in production, looks more like avant-garde art more than a board game. In Emperor’s New Clothes, the board, cards, dice, box and manual are all stark white. The rule sheet and downloadable party are all blank. Like the classic fairy tale, it’s a game of bluffing and make-believe. But who’s bluffing who? 

Machine of Death

In the near future, an enigmatic machine can reveal your eventual cause of death. Nobody knows how it works, but it’s always right. “Drowning” could be from falling off a boat or passing out in a bowl of oatmeal, but nobody knows which.

Based on the collection of short stories, Machine of Death is a game of problem solving. Using The Machine’s predictions and the target’s current location, find increasingly bizarre and hilarious ways to kill your target with random tools, liquids, and furniture in David Malki’s card game of creative assassination.

Relic Expedition

In Relic Expedition, players manage their backpack of supplies as they race to collect ancient treasure lost deep in the heart of the jungle. As players explore, the jungle board grows in unpredictable ways, making each game different the last. Last April, brothers Randy Hoyt and Tyler Segel raised the money to manufacture the first print of Relic Expedition on Kickstarter. Tyler, the game’s creative director and artist, joins us to show off the upcoming release.

Story War

In Story War, the only way to win is to control the story—spinning the most entertaining tale inspired by randomly chosen scenario cards. Join creator Brad O’Farrell and artist Vondell Swain at XOXO to use your shared pop culture context to make up elaborate battles and crush the opposing team with your imagination.

Like Apples to Apples, every battle’s moderated by a judge that rotates every turn. Players are also free to make stuff up, as long as they can be convincing, so your characters are able to do anything as long as the judge lets you get away with it! Each battle ultimately evolves into an organic story and a memorable shared experience.

Announcing XOXO Arcade

September 9th, 2013

With only ten days left to XOXO, we’re in the final stretch. Indie games have found a massive resurgence in the last few years, led by new platforms, new fundraising models, and an audience open to adventurous games with a personal voice.

Today, we’re announcing the lineup for XOXO Arcade, an experimental videogame arcade featuring some of the best of the modern indie gaming scene, with a focus on playful multiplayer games.

All but two of the games this year are commercially unavailable, either unreleased or exhibited only at events. And it took a huge amount of effort, but every single designer will be on site, showing off their work.

CastAR

After Valve abandoned its hardware aspirations, self-taught electrical engineer Jeri Ellsworth and game programmer Rick Johnson left to build CastAR, an innovative augmented-reality gaming system. A pair of glasses projects 3D imagery onto a special reflective surface, with built-in head tracking and an interactive wand to control the game. Jeri Ellsworth joins us from Seattle to show off her latest prototype.

Johann Sebastian Joust

Hands down, the breakout hit of XOXO Arcade last year was Johann Sebastian Joust, the cult physical game by Die Gute Fabrik’s Doug Wilson. A mix between dance and combat, JS Joust challenges players to move their opponents’ controllers while protecting their own. Doug is flying out from NYC to help run large-scale Joust matches up to 18 players, with armies and traitors.

Retro Game Crunch

Inspired by Ludum Dare game jams, Shaun Inman set out to make six games in six months with friends Rusty Moyher and Matt Grimm. Funded by a $66k Kickstarter project, the team finished four games so far, involving their backers in the development process. All four games will be playable at XOXO Arcade, with Shaun Inman available to talk about his development process.

Spaceteam

You’re on a spaceship with your crew, and must communicate the urgent tasks on your control panels to save your ship from impending doom. Set the petagrater to 3! Asteroid, everybody shake! Spaceteam is the rare video game best played in public, preferably with alcohol for maximum embarrassment. You can meet Spaceteam’s creator, Montreal developer Henry Smith, and shout commands at him.

SpyParty

Set in a lively cocktail party, SpyParty pits two players against one another—a spy tasked with several important missions, and a sniper trying to find and kill the spy before they carry out their tasks. A game of human behavior and deception, the only way to detect the spy is observing their behavior. The game’s designer, Chris Hecker, brings the latest beta after a stunning appearance at PAX Prime’s Omegathon finale.

Super Pole Riders

Bennett Foddy is best known for his cult games QWOP and GIRP, challenging the player to manipulate the limbs of a hapless runner and rock climber. He’s currently working on Super Pole Riders, an expanded four-player version of his frenetic pole vaulting polo game for the upcoming Sportsfriends compilation.

The Terrible Machine

Instantly remix classic VHS footage into a monstrous audio-visual mashup with The Terrible Machine, the latest project from interactive artist Josh Randall, past XOXO attendee and former Harmonix creative director. Fresh off its debut at Everything Is Festival, this is only the second appearance of the custom-built cabinet.

VIDEOBALL

Inspired by traditional sports and old-fashioned shooters, Action Button’s VIDEOBALL is a minimalist team-based multiplayer game for up to six players. Action Button art director Brent Porter joins us to show off his progress on the unreleased game.

XOXO Arcade is Friday night, starting at 7pm on the top floor of the YU Contemporary, and open to all passholders.

The Full Schedule

September 5th, 2013

Looking for the full schedule and locations of events at XOXO? Today’s your lucky day.

Reminder: Attendees with Conference passes get access to everything. Attendees with Festival passes get access to everything except the XOXO Conference talks on Saturday and Sunday. All events require a pass, except the Unmarket, which is open to the public. 

Thursday, September 19

7pm-1am / Opening Party / Holocene
Kick off XOXO with an open bar and music. Ages 21+, sorry.

Friday, September 20

9:30am-6pm / Unmarket / YU Contemporary
On the ground floor, we’re bringing some of our favorite projects from the Internet into the real world, along with a cafe, game library, and the Kickstarter Lab. Outside, the Unmarket continues with a sample of Portland’s famous food cart scene.

10:30am-11:30am / Welcome & Opening Keynote / XOXO Theater
A welcome to XOXO from Andy & Andy, and an opening keynote from Chris Anderson. 

11:30am-7pm / XOXO Social / Multiple Locations
After the inaugural keynote, a series of social events around town, including an open house at Panic, Metafilter’s freeplay arcade at Ground Kontrol, party at Wieden+Kennedy’s rooftop, and a series of demos and workshops curated by Kickstarter in the YU.

7pm-1am / XOXO Arcade / YU Contemporary 
On the top floor of the YU, play some of the best of the modern indie gaming scene, with a focus on experimental multiplayer games, and meet the designers who made them.

7pm-1am / XOXO Music / Holocene
A genre-bending lineup of musicians at the intersection of art and technology using the Internet to remain completely independent. Age 21+.

Saturday, September 21

9:30am-6pm / Unmarket / YU Contemporary

10:30am-5pm / XOXO Conference / YU Contemporary
Our first full day of talks from independent artists, hackers, and makers using the Internet to do what they love. (See below for a detailed speaker schedule.)

7pm-1am / XOXO Film / YU Contemporary
Screenings from some of our all-time favorite independent movie and documentary projects, complete with director Q&As.

7pm-1am / XOXO Tabletop / YU Contemporary
Gather with fellow attendees and play some of the finest card, board and party games and meet the people who made them.

Sunday, September 22

9:30am-6pm / Unmarket / YU Contemporary

10:30am-5pm / XOXO Conference / YU Contemporary
Day 2 of talks. (See below for a detailed speaker schedule.)

7pm-1am / XOXO Closing Party / White Owl Social Club
Drinks and snacks and hugs and kisses. We miss you already. Age 21+ inside, all ages outside.

Speaker Lineup

Want to know when your favorites are speaking? We can’t blame you. This schedule’s subject to change, but here’s the plan.

Saturday

10:30am Max Temkin
11:00am Erika Moen
11:20am Maciej Ceglowski
11:45am Lunch
2:00pm Adrian Holovaty
2:20pm Vi Hart
2:40pm Jack Cheng
3:00pm Break
3:20pm Molly Crabapple
3:40pm Ev Williams
4:00pm Break
4:15pm Boing Boing

Sunday

10:30am Jack Conte
11:00am Julie Uhrman
11:20am Marco Arment
11:45am Lunch
2:00pm Jay Smooth
2:20pm Christina Xu
2:40pm Mike Rugnetta
3:00pm Break
3:20pm Jonathan Coulton
3:40pm Cabel Sasser
4:00pm Break
4:15pm Tim Schafer

Unofficial Events

In addition to the official XOXO lineup, there are a number of unofficial events and parties happening, several to be announced shortly.

Coming to town early? On Wednesday night, XOXO speaker Glenn Fleishman is organizing the New Disruptors/The Magazine shindig, with a fantastic lineup and live interviews/performances with musician/designer Christa Mrgan, You Like Nice Today’s Scott Simpson, cartoonist Dylan Meconis, and bike advocate Elly Blue.

On Friday morning, Creative Mornings Portland is hosting a talk with game designer Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and The Witness. Several passes are set aside for XOXO attendees, and we’ll announce that info when registration opens.

The grassroots OROR Fest started in reaction to XOXO, promising to feature independent art and tech specifically made in Portland. Their calendar of events continues to grow.

Feast Portland, a massive food festival, and Rose City Comic Con are the same weekend as XOXO, bringing all sorts of interesting creators in food and comics to Portland, with several events open to the public. One of the best we’ve seen so far: NYC staple Shake Shack is teaming up with Stumptown Coffee to offer free vanilla frozen custard affogatos on September 20-22, a quick 15 minute bike ride from XOXO HQ.

More to come!

Announcing XOXO Film

September 5th, 2013

On Saturday night at XOXO, starting at 7pm until 1am, we’re bringing a selection of six uniquely independent feature-length films and short videos to the top floor of the YU Contemporary.

Like with XOXO Music, Tabletop and Arcade, nearly all the creators of these independent works will be at XOXO in person, to screen their work and talk about how it was made.

Incredibly, four out of these six selections are still unreleased and their creators are sharing work-in-progress footage with us at XOXO for the very first time

So grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy!

Arcade: The Last Night at Chinatown Fair

In their upcoming documentary, Brooklyn-based filmmakers Kurt Vincent and Irene Chen follow the final days of Chinatown Fair, the last surviving arcade in New York City. For over five decades, this gritty, dingy building in Chinatown withstood the near-death of the arcade industry by fostering a community of competitive gamers. In the process, they created a safe environment for tolerance and diversity in a very unlikely place. Both filmmakers join us for an exclusive work-in-progress cut of their Kickstarter-funded film.

Percussive Maintenance

SF-based animator Duncan Robson is a past XOXO attendee responsible for some of the best supercuts ever—Let’s Enhance, which pokes fun at the zoom-in-and-enhance trope from TV and film, and Three Point Landing, the cliche landing position for every action star ever. He’s bringing his newest remix, “Percussive Maintenance,” to XOXO before unleashing it on the Internet.

STRIPPED

Webcomic creator Dave Kellett and cinematographer Frederick Schroeder teamed up to make STRIPPED, a love letter to the comic strip that brings together the world’s best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love and how it’s changed as newspapers die. Over 90 interviews were conducted with modern webcomics giants and print comics legends, including the first ever audio interview with Calvin & Hobbes’ Bill Watterson. The film raised over $184,000 from 5,342 backers across two Kickstarter projects, and we’ll get an inside look at their development process as they share early clips from the work-in-progress film.

This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory

Kirby Ferguson’s Everything Is A Remix is essential viewing for any fan of remix culture, an an acclaimed four-part series about creativity and invention in the Internet age. His followup, This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory, is a departure from his past work—a multipart series explaining the ideas and events that shaped the modern political landscape in the United States. Kirby will share the first few minutes from this bold new work with us, and talk about why he’s taken on such a difficult subject.

Twelve Tones

SF-based mathemusician Vi Hart speaks at XOXO on Sunday, but we thought it’d be crazy not to take advantage of her presence in Portland to screen Twelve Tones, her tour-de-force video released on YouTube in June. It’s a mind-expanding look at atonal music, creativity and constraints, over a year in the making. Afterwards, Vi joins us onstage to answer your questions about her process.

Computer Chess

It’s a midnight movie, XOXO-style! Austin-based director Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess is a pseudo-documentary set in the early 1980s, following a group of chess software programmers as they compete in a weekend-long tournament and try to change the future. Shot entirely in black-and-white with vintage Sony AVC 3260 tube-powered videocameras, the film uses heavily-improvised dialogue with several real-life coders, including game designer Wiley Wiggins and University of Chicago CS professor Gordon Kindlmann. The result is a deeply weird film that never could have been made in Hollywood, independently funded with the support of 191 backers through USA Projects.

XOXO Film, like all our evening events, is open to all badgeholders. See you there!

New Speakers: Vi Hart and Erika Moen

August 16th, 2013

Hot on the heels of our XOXO Music announcement, we’re bringing two new speakers for the conference on Saturday and Sunday — mathemusician Vi Hart and cartoonist Erika Moen.

Vi Hart

Professional mathemusician Vi Hart is proving that maths is cool, one video at a time. Using little more than a Sharpie and a sheet of paper, Vi breaks down topics like Fibonacci sequences, binary trees and hexaflexagons, turning doodling in math class into entertaining, thought-provoking videos. As a result, she’s built an audience of over 500,000 subscribers in three years, with more than 41 million views for her YouTube videos. Last year, she joined the faculty of Khan Academy, bringing her unique take on math and music to the world’s most popular free online classroom.

In June, she released Twelve Tones, a tour de force spanning atonal music, constraints and copyright absurdity, over a year in the making.

Erika Moen

Portland-based cartoonist Erika Moen illustrated her personal life for the last decade, with frank and honest vignettes of sex, queer culture, and her own sexual identity. She ran her autobiographical webcomic DAR! for six years, released as two volumes, leading to an appearance on Penny Arcade’s Strip Search, an online reality show for web cartoonists.

Inspired by her Strip Search experience, Erika launched Oh Joy Sex Toy in April, a weekly NSFW comic about sex, sexuality and the sex industry, in collaboration with her husband Matthew.

Announcing XOXO Music

August 14th, 2013

Last year, we brought a lineup of musicians to Portland that spanned genres — indie electronica, rap-rock mashups, singer-songwriter folk and nerdcore hip-hop. Their music was eclectic, but they all used the Internet to build their careers independently, without sacrificing creative or financial control over their work.

Today, we couldn’t be more excited to share this year’s XOXO Music lineup, four indie artists at the intersection of art and tech.

Jim Guthrie

Since the mid-1990s, Toronto singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie became a staple of the Canadian indie rock scene, releasing a dozen solo albums and performing as a member of Islands, Royal City and Human Highway. His recent career led him to the indie game scene, scoring the soundtracks to the Sundance Award-winning Indie Game: The Movie, and the IGF Award-winning Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Earlier this year, Guthrie released Takes Time, his first solo album in a decade, which was met with critical acclaim and longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Jim Guthrie will be performing with his six-member band.

Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton quit his day job as a software developer in 2005 to become a full-time musician, starting with a risky experiment to record a new song every week for a year. The result, Thing A Week, launched his independent career. He’s responsible for some of geek culture’s greatest anthems — “Code Monkey”, “Re: Your Brains”, and the closing themes for Portal and Portal 2. His most recent album, Artificial Heart, reached #1 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Chart followed by an extensive tour with They Might Be Giants.

This year, Coulton was embroiled in controversy when the producers of Glee borrowed his “Baby Got Back” arrangement wholesale for the show without attribution. In April, Coulton collaborated with writer and filmmaker Greg Pak for the enormously successful Code Monkey Save World, a graphic novel based on his song lyrics, which raised $340,000 on Kickstarter in April.

Jonathan Coulton will perform with his band at XOXO Music, in addition to speaking at the conference on Saturday.

Jack Conte

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and filmmaker Jack Conte may be best known as one-half of Pomplamoose, the indie-pop duo that racked up over 80 million views for their “VideoSongs” on YouTube — videos that show every step of the recording process without lip-syncing or dubs.

As a solo artist, Conte’s released five albums that fuse electronic, dance and pop. His most recent EP’s out now on Patreon, the new funding platform he co-founded for independent artists like him, who release material online frequently for free. Conte will perform solo, and speak about his projects at the conference on Sunday.

Anamanaguchi

Anamanaguchi is bringing chiptunes to the mainstream, making emotional punk, pop and dance music using hacked Nintendos and Game Boys alongside a full band. The NYC-based “hacker boy band” built their career releasing songs and remixes online for free, which led to scoring the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World game soundtrack and appearances on the Rock Band and bit.trip.runner soundtracks.

In May, Anamanaguchi started a Kickstarter project to self-release Endless Fantasy, their second album. They blew past their $50,000 goal, raising over $277,000 from 7,253 fans, the third most-funded music project in Kickstarter history. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, leading to an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in June. Prepare to dance your 8-bit asses off.

New Speakers: Evan Williams, Jack Cheng, Adrian Holovaty, Jack Conte

July 25th, 2013

Today, four more ridiculously multi-talented people responsible for some of our favorite projects ever: Evan Williams, Jack Cheng, Adrian Holovaty, and Jack Conte.

Evan Williams

For the last 15 years, Evan Williams has made it easy for non-geeks to find their voice online. He cofounded Blogger in 1999, Odeo in 2004, Twitter in 2006, and last year, Medium. Each of his projects built on the last, democratizing personal publishing for everyone. You can follow him on Twitter, along with 1.68 million of his closest friends.

Jack Cheng

Shanghai-born, Detroit-raised, and Brooklyn-based, Jack Cheng is a designer turned full-time writer. These Days, his self-published first novel, raised $23,000 on Kickstarter. In the weekly updates that followed, he outlined every step of the creative process, giving an inside look into the publishing and editing process to his 961 backers. Released in April, These Days can be ordered on Amazon, or pay-what-you-like as part of the DRM-free Tomely E-Book Bundle.

Adrian Holovaty

As a coder, Adrian Holovaty pioneered the field of computer-assisted journalism, co-creating the Django web development framework and launching Chicago Crime, the influential Google Maps mashup that evolved into the Knight Foundation-funded EveryBlock.

Since 2007, he’s led a double life as one of YouTube’s most popular guitarists, with over 17 million views for his videos. Adrian’s newest project, SoundSlice, is a powerful tool for transcribing and sharing guitar tablature for YouTube videos. Last week, he announced Pitch Perfect, a new way for independent musicians to sell official transcriptions of their work.

Jack Conte

You probably know Jack Conte as one-half of Pomplamoose, the duo that exploded the Internet with their tightly-edited VideoSongs on YouTube. Frustrated by a lack of funding options for musicians like him, the San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist launched Patreon, a subscription service for artists who create a stream of smaller works, like YouTube videos, blog posts, or daily comics. Jack’s currently wrapping up his West Coast tour, and you can download his new EP for free through Patreon.