After getting to bed so late, I decided to sleep in, so I set an alarm for 10:45 am. The last few days have been eventful, and I was started getting sad about it being the last day of XOXO.
I got to Rev Hall short after 11. I got Pip’s for breakfast; I joined Dunja and some of her friends who offered me a scone with a jam made from a local berry; I think it might have been marionberry. In any case, it was really tasty.
I caught Lindsay Ellis’ talk, then went back to the park to hang out with Danielle who makes the app Dialup. It has groups (“lines”) you can join which have usually one call scheduled a week and it connects you with a random person in that group. I’m a huge fan of the app and I was already part of the XOXO line; I had a good call with Liene a few weeks before the festival. I also ran into Dieter (who writes for The Verge) and his wife Lisa at the same time. We had a great conversation; Danielle also gave us one of her cool custom floppy business cards and talked about how she found random old data on them when buying them from eBay, stuff like someone’s old thesis.
I ran into Emory again who was sitting next to Jessica; she organized a really cool pre-xoxo party in 2018. We talked quite a bit about mental health and different medications.
I went to Martha’s to get my daily writing done, then had a really good chat with Jonah about all things infrastructure, trading all kinds of war stories and geeking out over the stuff I don’t usually get to with people.
I went back to watch the last two talks; Jenny Odell’s was okay I guess — it didn’t say anything new if you’ve been following her — and also listened to Rhea Butcher doing standup which fell really flat for me.
The closing address was great as usual.
I went for dinner to a nearby pub with Sarah, Dylan, Tim and someone else, but the place had literally nothing I could eat so I took a Lyft back to Rev Hall. I started saying goodbye to a few people, since I didn’t know if we’d meet again at the closing party or the next day.
I had dinner in the Show Bar, went by the Karaoke place but they were still setting things up. I made the mistake of not getting my name on the list right then.
Back at the bar, I watched a bit of the interactive album debut of Neil Cicierega in which you could post things in a Slack channel and it would show up on the projector. It was pretty cool though I could barely hear any of the music.
The highlight of the day was, of course, the Karaoke by Baby Ketten: there were so many good performances, by Open Mike Eagle, Lindsay Ellis, Demi Adejuyigbe and a lot more people I forget right now. Joel closed up the evening with Ghostbusters. I was on the list, but like a lot of other people, didn’t get to sing, which kind of sucked; I was really set on doing karaoke at XOXO.
Not wanting the evening to end also wanting to do karaoke, a bunch of us went to Baby Ketten’s newly opened bar with Sarah, Jim and someone else; the place slowly filled up with more XOXOers. I got to see Kevin sing Common People; both Jim and Sarah sang Pet Shop Boys songs, while I ended up opting for — after changing my mind several times — Sweet Child of Mine, which was… a bit too ambitious in retrospect, but I did my best.
Let this blurry image be enough. I have a video of my full performance but I can’t bring myself to watch it.
By then it was 1 am or so, and I was getting tired. I said goodbye to Sarah who told me a few more kind words and went back to my Airbnb. I was profoundly sad that XOXO was over; but as learned the next day, it really wasn’t just yet.
(A postscript: a few days after a festival, someone posted on the slack about PSB’s new album, and one thing led to another and now I’m going to a PSB arena concert in London next May with a bunch of XOXO people.)