Monday, October 5, 2009

Fader Roundup

Fader has been my favorite music mag for years now. It has great variety and scope in genre and style. I always find something that's brand new to me. I found a couple of tunes/videos on the music blog that caught my attention. If you don't have time to check them all out, make sure you watch the pianists duel it out on "Gonzales vs. Andrew WK" and the kids dancing on the "Block Parties" video.

FYI: Little Dragon is my favorite band out right now.
Disclaimer: The Ray Rich video is very PG-13. Not for the kiddies.

Video: Gonzales vs Andrew WK

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Little Dragon, “Blinking Pigs” MP3

Click here for audio clip.

Ray Rich, “Know She Cold” MP3

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Video Premiere: Vitalic, “Poison Lips”

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Video: Slyde, “Block Parties”

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Lawrence Weschler on Engaging Non-Fiction Writing

Interview with New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler on "literary journalism," . Or, as Weschler puts it, "non-fiction in which the writing matters."

My favorite quotes from the interview:

On engaging writing: "How does narrative arrive out of reportage?"

Of a writer: "She never uses the word 'I' once, but she has a voice."

Of an editor: "He didn't hire reporters, he hired voices. He said that you could always teach a voice to report. It's more difficult to teach a reporter to have a voice."

On blogs: "Often, all that they're offering is opinion. Here we're talking about reportage. You actually go out in the world. This is expensive and you're not going to get it for free."

On the dying art of long-form reportage: "The hope is that [the next generation of writers] will take over and remind the world why it's so important."

On myth of absolute objectivity: "They are designed to fetishize the idea that they are the Voice of God, and they are not. One of the things that's wonderful about a voice is that it addresses you personally in the awkwardness of your personal life."

Jay Smooth Speaks

I came across Jay Smooth's video-blog site, Ill Doctrine, while doing some research for an article. It is now another one of my new favorite sites. The following clips cover news that's a little dated, but the messages are timeless.

On Michael Steele At Howard University

Perez Hilton and Ms. California

Mike Jones and Gold Chains

Operation Ignore Charles Hamilton

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Spot a Hipster

Bill Wasik of Harper's discusses how globalization and the web's speedy distribution of novelty niches and ideas makes cultural groups all the more ubiquitous.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Esquire's Sexiest Question Mark Alive

Esquire's sexiest woman alive is Kate Beckinsale. Who? Should I be ashamed that I'm only vaguely familiar with who she is?

Click here for link to video.
Click here for photos and full article

Esquire UK and The Men's Lifestyle Service Model

Men's Health became the leading men's magazine in the United States a few years ago, eclipsing the likes of GQ and Playboy in circulation, for one reason. It maintained a service-based model as it's editorial strategy, providing readers with actionable information they could go out in the world and use to their benefit.

It seems that other men's publications have caught on. Esquire in particular has bought into the notion that if a magazine provide information readers can immediately apply to their everyday lives, that those readers may eventually consider that information a necessity. And that makes for more loyal and engaged readers.

More than in the past, the US version increasingly features articles that give men step-by-step instructions on how to shave, kiss, speak, take vacations, etc.; essentially a style version of Men's Health. The October 2009 issue of Esquire's UK edition took it one step further, filling the entire issue with articles on how to live a more stylish life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Paradis Magazine and Reggae Legend Lee "Scratch" Perry

The internet has generally made porn a commodity. That has arguably done wonders for journalism, as established mags like Playboy and Penthouse have been forced to focus (or in the case of Playboy, refocus) on quality content. Jacques and Paradis, two erotic men's magazine upstarts, lead a trend towards "high-end smut" that emphasizes art and editorial, replacing a shock factor that has hardly shocked much of anyone for some years now.

The final product is visually stunning. The quality of the editorial for both magazines varies. Jacques sells itself as providing a "contemporary audience... [of] grown-ups with an alternative to the vapid men's magazines of today." The magazine's subject lives up to that promise, but often appears youthful and largely unexamined in it's approach. Still, it's truly alternative content and potential alone makes the magazine worth skimming through.

Paradis, published twice a year in Paris (in French and English), is a more upmarket publication than its American counterpart. The latest issue is more than 400 pages long, with intricate photo shoots, high-end editorial concepts, and advertisements from the biggest names in luxury goods. The articles really do cater to an older, educated, artsy, and culturally aware audience in a way that can sometimes come across as snooty. In as much, some of the one page commentaries articles read like dramatic attempts to make something out of nothing through amorphous themes like love and death. But the articles that focus on more tangible people, places, things, and themes are made of solid stuff. Those feature articles and interviews explore subjects from all angles in away that make authentic and interesting pieces out of what might otherwise come across as mundane or pretentious.

The most interesting article, for me, was a profile of Lee "Scratch" Perry, a Jamaican reggae artist who was big in the Bob Marley's heyday and has continued to make contributions to the genre up until today. It's amazing how much the author captures in six pages until you realize that he spent an entire year with Perry before he wrote the story.

Now that's dedication to your craft.

Big Think On Media

Big Think might be my new favorite website. It catalogues video clips of practiced experts giving their opinions on topics they are well versed in. Meaning credible insight from people who know what they are talking about, providing the audience with truly insightful and actionable information.

As a lover of all things media and the written word I, of course, gravitated towards videos featuring journalists, web entrepreneurs, novelists, media industry tycoons, and the like. Three, in particular, stood out.

Investigative Journalism In The New Media Landscape

Jeffrey Toobin On Writing For The New Yorker

How The Tape Recorder Killed Journalism