Saturday, November 19, 2011

Esozone Portland 2011

EsoZone Portland is an annual event for mutants, occultniks and other weirdos. This year it’s taking the form of a hybrid conference/unconference.

What's an unconference, you might ask? Good question, i didn't know, either. The FAQ says it like this, 'An event with an agenda set on the fly by the participants. That isn’t to say there is no agenda and no schedule, only that it is created by the people who show up, when they show up, instead of by the conference organizers months in advance.
Sessions are proposed and scheduled by participants in real time, in real space. Sessions enable participants to find people interested in talking about or doing the things they want at Esozone.'

I became alerted to this eventuality it spacetime from a random and auspicious e-mail, lurking in my inbox this morning, from the editor of The Hermetic Library, to whom i had recently submitted an audio collage for inclusion on an occult themed compilation (more on that, real soon!). Totally stoked and immensely curious, i have never experienced a gathering of magickians, chaosites, psychonites, subgenii, discordians, or conceptual arts, even though i've been wandering around this lunatic fringe for over half my life now. It was even happening not far from where i'm staying, and it was free. Not a chance in Tartarus i would miss this!

I arrived a bit late for the lectures, but just in time for the music. Ran into my contact from The Hermetic Library, had an invigorating conversation about digital media, book fetishism, local resources, cohorts and allies, and such. Sucked a quick butt, eavesdropped on junkies and prostitues (no, i am not making this shit up!), arrived inside to the reverberations of the Duke of Uke.

To be honest, when i see a ukulele performance announced, i groan a little internally. I'm sure they're lovely people, and they have poetic, quaint souls, but its so fucking twee, so utterly saccharine, they make my teeth fall out (ha ha). Imagine my delight to encounter an older gentleman with a shaved head and black clothes, sweetly singing college rock staples of yore. The Duke of Uke shredded a set of classics by the likes of The Velvet Underground, Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alanis Morrissette, Amy Winehouse, Jane's Addiction, sung in a clear, unfaltering voice. He even remained unshaken when missing a chord change or flubbing a lyric. He had such a beatific presence, radiated such holy joy at singing and playing these songs that we knew and loved on a misty Portland Fri. night. This was folk music for kids with dyed hair and pierced ears. I felt like i was in the centre of the universe, and that everything is possible.

Reverend doktor dj princess starbright crystal initiatrix
closed out the evening with a seamless ableton mash up set, smoothly moving from Fantomas to frogs chirping, lounge exotica to sludge metal to disembodied vocals to sneaky flute music. He dropped the beat, and dropped me to my feet. I disengaged from the stodgy gallery atmosphere, and my social anxiety, and quietly did the robot in the back of the room. A lot of the time, i'm not a fan of mash-ups, or Patton-esque ADD genre fuck, but this was super smooth, innovative, and thought-provoking. Truly using pre-recorded sound as a pallette and an orchestra, iniatrix has mad skills. I'm totally going to like him on Facebook.

I got over my nerve, and scheduled an unconference for tomorrow (today) at 2:15 pm, in the library, where we will be discussing Music and Magick. If any of you are out there, are in the hood, come on by and drop yr four cents (seriously, i need 4 cents!). Curious to meet other fringe-dwellers interested in exploring consciousness, the powers available from the ritualistic use of sound, and interested in joining forces and minds and hearts and souls. The cosmic egg has split wide open, for me, since finding community of souls, tuned to a sympathetic harmonic, and that i no longer feel an island, operating in a sea of fog.

Esozone, and the Pacific Northwest in general, has got me slavering bloodthirsty excited thrilled inspired! I'll be lucky to get 90 minutes of sleep, this week! Hope to see you there.

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