We had the privilege to hang out and talk to Xeni Jardin, and I have to admit I was a little nervous. I'd talked to her at industry events and social gatherings, but it's not often that Zadi and I spend time with people who, like us, have such a vast knowledge of the web and its culture going back ten or more years. There is something special about the people who came of age with the first Internet boom and worked online during the transformation of the web from a tech curiosity into a mainstream cultural force. Luckily for us, she is completely charming and down to earth, and considering her efforts over the past two years with Boing Boing video, we had tons of common experiences.
As we walked the Venice boardwalk here in Los Angeles, we touched on many of the things that get us all excited about the web and its future. Xeni has been covering the tech industry for years, including stints with Silicon Alley Reporter and Wired. But it's been her work with Boing Boing, a blog that goes back 20 years to its origins as a print zine, for which she is probably best known. Boing Boing, for anyone unfamiliar, is one of those special web things that was the forebear of the now countless blogs that cover online culture and its endless niches, including EPIC FU.
Xeni has been the primary force behind Boing Boing TV, which is now Boing Boing video. Since it launched, it has found a way to convey the eclectic spirit of the blog into video as a kind of anthology of interviews with people like movie special effects master John Gaeta and Throbbing Gristle, as well as various bits of delicious geekery like Manifestations, an Animated Love Story and a review of the Tricaster, part of a larger exploration into live online video.
Boing Boing (and Xeni, for that matter) is a source of endless hour of fascination, and they are frequently the first to bring the idiosyncratic talents of the people and groups that they cover to the masses.