Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...
The Moogfest schedule this year is, frankly, a little overwhelming. Of course, if you're trying to go, your goal will be to hit as much as possible until you just collapse. But even that feels like quite a task when you take a look at the world-class program. Well, Asheville Grit is here to help.
We've worked through the list to offer six things that might be at the edge of your awareness, but that we're totally going to pitch as essential to your ultimate Moogfest experience. From Asheville's homegrown talent to international icons of queer hip hop, from encounters with virtual reality to encounters with your transcendent self, we guarantee that these six acts will be central to your weekend.
Saturday, 5/21 @ the Pinhook, 4-5 pm
RBTS WIN is Cliff B. Worsham, Javier Francisco Bolea, and Josh Chassner. If you haven't seen them in Asheville, you should make it a priority at Moogfest. If you have seen them in Asheville, you've already got them on your schedule. Their last album, Palm Sunday, is a lush record that mixes tropical beats with mountain magic. Their distinctive blend of rock, electronic, soul, hip hop, and R&B mean they're always innovating. They employ Moog's technologies to create dark, dreamy waves of sound, deep beats, experimental riffs, and catchy melodies that make their music completely addictive. They're working on a new album now, which means their set will be full of the freshest new music out there.
Sunday, 5/22 @ Motorco, 12:30-1:30 am
Mykki Blanco is an amazing rapper + poet, a committed social activist, and a bad-ass bitch. The multi-gendered artist has been dropping brilliant beats that cut deep into our cultural assumptions and programming. His mixtape Gay Dog Food, released in late 2014, includes a spoken word track with feminist activist (and member of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and the Julie Ruin) Kathleen Hanna. Blanco is a gender non-binary punk rock explosion of fierce freshness that is a force to be reckoned with. Whatever you do, don't miss this show.
Saturday, 5/21 @ The Armory, 5-6 pm (Cognitive DJ Battle)
Saturday, 5/21 @ Motorco, 10:15-11:15 pm (YACHT)
Seeing YACHT was one of the highlights of Moogfest back in 2014. This group has exuberant energy in spades. Frontwoman Claire L. Evans is a science fiction geek and a force to be reckoned with musically. Jona Bechtolt is equally charismatic and talented. Together they make funny, catchy, critical, fantastic music filled with the present moment's dreams of future visions. YACHT performs Saturday at 10:15 at the Motorco, and they're also a part of the Cognitive DJ Battle on Saturday afternoon at the Armory. During this earlier performance, they'll work alongside IBM Watson, the first cognitive computing capability available for the commercial market. IBM Watson will interpret YACHT's music and create new compositions based on that interpretation.
The Future of Our Species
Friday, 5/20 @ The Carolina Theatre, 10 am-12 pm
This panel brings together four pre-eminent thinkers whose work on the subject of transhumanism, the animal, and the anthropocene are shaping current thought on definitions of humanity and the place of the human in a time of mass extinction and global shifts. Self-made synesthete and cyborg Neil Harbisson leads the discussion alongside transhumanist Rich Lee (who implanted headphones in his ears), zoologist Daniel Lock, and futurist and techno-philosopher B.J. Murphy (editor of Serious Wonder and affiliate scholar of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies). It's getting heady, y'all.
I Speak Machine
Friday, 5/20 @ The Carolina Theatre, 3:30-5:30 pm
Vocalist Tara Busch and filmmaker Maf Lewis are basically a dream team, making and scoring their own SF and horror films. They are aficionados of both genres and amazingly talented musicians who are helping to push the boundaries of film and music through their combined efforts. Besides creating their own short films and their soundtracks, they are currently working on a graphic novel and feature film, titled STRATA. They'll screen and perform the live scores for their short films "Gagglebox," "The Silence," and "Zombies 1985" at the festival. If you aren't sold yet, you never will be. And that's your loss.
Design Your Reality: Virtual Reality Prototyping
Saturday, 5/21 @ Smashing Boxes, 12-2 pm
Everything you ever wanted to know about virtual reality in the contemporary moment, plus a hands-on workshop that takes you through the steps of world building with the Oculus Rift. Led by Derek Ham and Helen Armstrong (both from the prestigious NCSU College of Design).
Moogfest tickets are on sale now. The full schedule is online here.