May 11 – 13, 2018FORM is an intimate festival & creative…


May 11 – 13, 2018

FORM is an intimate festival & creative retreat held in the 1970s desert eco-city of Arcosanti, Arizona, just under an hour drive from Phoenix and 7 hours from Los Angeles. I was really lucky that my boss bought tickets for a group of us from work with the awesome lineup (poster, video) of Mitski, Skrillex, Courtney Barnett, Beach House, Charli XCX, Jay Som, Hundred Waters, Fleet Foxes, and much more (some of which I’ll mention below). It’s three days of otherworldly, futuristic architecture and landscapes, live music, experimental art, educational talks and panels.

This year the festival was 21+ and the campgrounds ($389) were moved down into the canyon, which is a long walk from Arcosanti. Our group stayed up in Patron Village, with delicious catered food and plentiful drink tickets, the patron bundles starting at $1749. 

The memories are a blur of hot sun, strong cocktails, beautiful art, MUSIC, WORDS, clouds of dust (note: wear a bandana or dust mask), and not enough sleep. 

Outside of the great company, here are a few memories that are somewhat lucid:

  • The Facebook group (now archived) was a really fun way to get amped + educated about FORM and then also continue the magic after we left the desert.
  • Hearing Serpentwithfeet belt out, “You’re a big strong man but you’re still my baby” still rings through my ears. I love him so much, I even saw him when he came through Portland, after FORM. 
  • Not knowing who she was, I interrupted Aja Monet while she was talking to herself in the mirror of the portable bathroom. She politely watched me rave about the ridiculousness of the laminated floors, me in my pizza sweatshirt and fleece pajama pants, her with bright red hair and in a beautiful, flowing dress. When I saw her minutes later, “opening” for Flying Lotus, my eyes almost fell out of my head. 
  • Replacing Chance The Rapper, Flying Lotus closed out Friday with his 3D show. I was standing behind a rail, holding on for dear life, as I felt the music and visuals reprogramming my mind. He sampled a song he recorded with Anderson .Paak, with snippets of “Wesley’s Theory,” “King Kunta,” and “Never Catch Me.” When I saw him the next day, I had an awkward interaction where it seemed like I was stealing his used joint. Sigh.
  • Dan Deacon’s late-night set had me laughing, dancing, and staring at him in bewilderment. Will never forget the crowd’s interaction with the mostly silly but also rude “Captain” attendee.
  • While I was mostly terrified that someone would step on or kick my head, Jonsi’s Liminal Soundbath was still really cool and it was worth it to lie on the concrete floor. 
  • Initially I was sad that Saul Williams was not going to perform music –Black Stacey!-, but his spoken word was more than impressive. With no introduction or words in his hands, he stepped to the mic and aggressively recited dense + complex poems. I spoke to him the next day and our interaction was basically: “Thank you.” “Thank you.” “Thank you.” “Thank you.” “Thank you.” Argh.
  • The amphitheater was packed for Blood Orange’s solo performance. From piano to keyboard, everyone was hanging on to Dev Hynes’ every word.
  • While on a tour of the venue and also later while watching Soleri windbells being made, no one spoke of Paolo Soleri’s accusations of abuse by his daughter. I wonder if/how that will change in the future, if it’s meant to truly be an inclusive and activist-friendly environment.

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