American Samizdat

Tuesday, August 07, 2007. *

Trevor Blake and I will be appearing this weekend at Portland's first annual esoZone, a "designer reality expo." I will be moderating a panel called "Mutant Meatspace Networks" that Trevor will be on. Trevor will be moderating a panel on sorcery, providing a skeptical inquiry into the strange practices of modern magicians. For more information, check the the schedule.

Here is the write-up from the local queer paper, Just Out:

Design Your Own Reality

"There’s never been an event like it before," Nick Pell asserts confidently, speaking of esoZone, a three-day underground arts and culture festival coming to Portland from Aug. 10 to 12. Pell—an occultist, writer, editor of the Web site and self-described "local queer bon vivant"—says the best way to describe the event is as a "designer reality expo," and he hopes that all who attend will be permanently changed by the things they witness and take part in.

To that end, the expo will feature futurist rituals, nonhierarchical and interactive panels, occult art, a dance floor and performances by syndicated television host Freeman, alternative Internet radio personalities Viking Youth, acclaimed local performance artist Red King and London theater troupe Foolish People. Of this last act, Pell says, "I have the sincere conviction that everyone who witnesses the Foolish People’s magical play will be transformed by it."

The entire event will culminate in an epic meditation by utopian visionary artist Paul Laffoley. This curious man, who has been called crazy and likened to an alien more than once, underwent shock therapy treatments as a child and suffers from Asperberger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism). Yet for the past four decades he has single-mindedly developed an utterly unique style of painting that has been exhibited at more than 200 shows worldwide. Pell obviously holds him in high regard and considers it a major coup to have netted him for the esoZone expo.

"Laffoley is the biggest name we have," he says. "There’s a certain notoriety about him now, but his stuff is more accessible, perhaps, than some of our other artists."

esoZone is being coordinated by people from online communities all over the world and locally supported by Portland Occulture, a loose affiliation of people with an interest in esoteric subjects. There seems to be an overriding upbeat, optimistic sentiment to the event, looking toward the future and away from the apocalyptic mindset that pervades much of modern culture, from religious doomsday predictors to nihilistic punk rockers.

"What’s cooler than interacting with a bunch of other weirdoes to talk about shit that only you can talk about?" Pell asks. "We are programming our own new reality."

The festival will take place at Someday Lounge, 125 N.W. Fifth Ave. For a complete schedule of events, visit

—Tony LeTigre

(Photo by Gothic Image)
posted by Klintron at 12:22 PM
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