I FIGURED OUT THE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

FormulaforsuccessI GOT it. FINALLY. It’s so SIMPLE.

All of my problems are solved.

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Just Like Sister Ray Said

That's Lou Reed, jerks.

That’s Lou Reed, jerks.

As news of Lou Reed’s death made the rounds today, I saw countless appreciations of Reed’s work, of the impact his music had had on people’s lives, on his regal position as an artist and innovator. It’s difficult to summarize Lou Reed and what his work meant in social media, because his work defies summarization. He was a fantastic songwriter when he felt like it, but sometimes it didn’t really sound like he felt like it. He was an exemplar of two-chord bashing, and of (seemingly) zero-chord white noise. He was one of the guiding creative forces in a scattered non-movement that articulated how rock’n’roll could be considered high art, and he was prone to confounding aesthetic decisions. As he aged, he settled into a position of being an almost lovable (if still prickly) elder statesman in rock, though, by many accounts, he spent years and years behaving in a perfectly awful fashion to almost everyone who tried to come close to him.

But for me, when I think about Lou Reed, it always comes down to “Sister Ray.” Continue reading

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Actually, Arcade Fire Could’ve Saved CMJ This Year

I'm looking for the clause that says you need to avoid "indie" festivals once you've won a Grammy.

I’m looking for the clause that says you need to avoid “indie” festivals once you’ve won a Grammy.

So last weekend, during the CMJ Music Marathon, Arcade Fire played a couple of “secret” shows down the street from my house. I wasn’t there, because I didn’t have a ticket, it wasn’t a show I could get into with my performer’s badge, and I didn’t feel like it. But by most accounts, the concerts were… let’s say “sub-ideal” for the average audience member, and right now, a lot of people are mad at Arcade Fire.

Increasingly, people are upset about Arcade Fire not because of how the shows went down, but because of what it meant to stage them at the same time as CMJ, one of the two biggest independent music festivals of any given year in the U.S. They’re upset because of preconceived ideas about CMJ that are probably overly romanticized, outdated and impractical. I’ll explain in a second. Continue reading

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Economic Indicators on the L

l-trainThere’s this one guy who panhandles on the L train (and sometimes the 6), and if you ride the L at all, there’s a pretty good chance you’d recognize him and his pitch. He’s a younger guy, usually with shaggy hair and scruffy proto-beard. Before you see him, you’ll hear his voice, a shrill, Northeastern U.S. working class drawl:

“EXCUSE ME, LADIES N’ GENTLEMEN. I DON’T MEAN TO BE A BOTHER. MY NAME IS MIKE, AN’ I’M GOING THROUGH A ROUGH TIME. I’M TRYNA FIND A JOB, AN’ I DON’T HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE. IT’S EMBARRASSING, ASKING ON THE SUBWAY, BUT I BEEN OUT ALL DAY, LOOKIN’ FOR WORK, AN’ I’M HUNGRY. IF YOU COULD SPARE A DOLLAR, A FEW CENTS, A PIECE OF FRUIT… I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT.” Continue reading

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Social Media Types That Emerge While We’re All Paying Attention to The Same Thing

ImageIn the 21st century, we’ve observed the dissolution of whatever was left of monoculture, or the perceived monoculture. We consume media whenever is convenient for us, in whatever channel we’re feeling at the moment. And as such, we don’t experience cultural events en masse, as a society, on a synched schedule, the way we did during the golden age of broadcast media.

Except when there’s breaking news of a national tragedy, or an event that millions and millions of people perceive as a tragedy. That’s when our media consumption schedules all lock together, and suddenly we’re all reacting to the same stimuli. And naturally, we immediately turn to Facebook and Twitter, where we can work through our thoughts and emotions in real time before an audience of several hundred of our closest friends and acquaintances.

And no matter what’s brought us together on social media in these particularly loaded moments, patterns emerge in the ways we react, and over time, we can predict how certain people we know will react. Some basic types:
Continue reading

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Journalists, Not Bloggers: Journalism Is Not a Solitary Act

imagesFrom time to time, usually while hamfistedly trying to finish off one home repair or another, I think, Look at me, a writer. I shoulda learned a trade. But recently, I realized… I actually did. There’s this idea that journalism is just a job, but in reality, it’s a trade, even though journalists think of it only too rarely as such, and it’s less common for The Management to share that viewpoint. Unfortunately, when The Management thinks of journalism as just a job, rather than a trade, it risks producing a weaker and more amateurish finished product, and heading up a staff that never reaches its full potential.

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This Summer’s Contest of Hipness: The 2013 Bushwick Games

VDtall

The Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NY, has been producing quality VD since at least 18_8.

Who says Brooklyn hipsters are lazy? Why, they engage in feats of strength and endurance as a matter of course. Finally the hardiest, quickest and most adroit among them will be recognized for their years of training this summer, competing in the contests of their lives at the inaugural 2013 Bushwick Games.

Participants will engage in competitive events including but not limited to:

The Amp-Roll. Each contestant rolls an amp, mounted on casters or a dolly, along a four-block route. Winners will be determined by a combination of speed and their ability to avoid damaging their equipment (demerits will be issued for nicks, lost wheels, etc.). Categories include: the 1×12, the 4×10, the half stack, and the refrigerator-sized bass rig.

The Gear Climb. Contestants ascend four flights of stairs in a warehouse, laden with amps, guitars, keyboards, drums, and drum hardware. In a word, it’s basically a pack mule-style competition. Whoever makes it all the way to the top with the heaviest load, without stopping, wins. Continue reading

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