Archive for March, 2007

Personal Media, Calling Out the Pros

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

With a hat-tip to Radar Magazine’s Fresh Intelligence blog, which I’ve recently found myself obsessed with, an interesting story about how personal media can be used not just to post videos of yourself doing the Numa Numa dance, but as a reaction to people who, you know, actually get paid for doing this sort of thing.

Seems, according to Radar, that horrifically bad “comic” Carlos Mencia has got a little derogatory nickname for himself — “Menstealia” — for blatantly ripping off the work of legendary comics who’ve come before. So Radar posted this video that someone put together and threw up on YouTube, of Mencia lifting a Bill Cosby joke:

Now, I thought that was good, but wasn’t really planning on posting it until I saw that this kind of thing is practically a YouTube phenomenon. After the jump, someone else gets in on the act. (Ironic, don’t you think?)


Care For a Ficlet?

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Microfiction has a new brand name: Ficlets. “A ficlet,” according to the new and beautifully designed Ficlets website, “is a short story that enables you to collaborate with the world.”
gum.jpg Ficlets is part of the AOL’s AIM network (since when has AIM had its own network? Does nobody tell me anything?), and you can sign in with your AIM screen name to pen a short-short story to which other users can then add sequels or prequels, in addition to regular ol’ comments. The lentgh of a ficlet is capped at 1,024 characters, which looks to be just under a couple hundred words. is curated by John Scalzi, who writes of the site at his own blog, Whatever:

This site will fly depending on the quality of the contributors, which is why I hope that you folks who come here, who I know are damn creative, will come over to Ficlets to play, and will add your own ficlets as well as post quality sequels and prequels to the ficlets that are already there. I also hope you’ll tell folks about it; the more folks we have contributing to and playing in the site, the better it will be.

So get on over there and lend a talented hand, already.

Ira Glass, Personal Media Acolyte, Has His Boob Tube Debut

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

picture-1.pngIra Glass ranks right up there with Woody Guthrie and Studs Turkel among the chroniclers of American lives. The very name of his Chicago public radio show, “This American Life,” conveys his simple belief that interesting human stories, told well, are the best entertainment.

Glass is having a huge moment right now. He’s taking This American Life and his passion for interesting stories to television with a new program and weekly slot on Showtime. (tagline: “Funny. Dramatic. Surprising. True.”) With the effort it seems possible he could bring a revolution to TV voice-over and personality of the sort he visited on radio (read: understated to a fault), and could perhaps even return a small degree of artfulness to the reality meme, trashed long ago and in successively greater measures by Real World, Survivor, My Super Sweet 16 and The Real Housewives of Orange County.

His embrace of the boob tube has inspired some and angered others (One fan shouted “Judas!” when Glass recently discussed the project in front of a live audience). (more…)

Random DIY Fun… And a Penguin!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

So I was recently watching (shaddup, I know) an episode of “Gordon Ramsay’s F Word,” a random, totally ADD-infotainment-age, show featuring the many talents of British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. As part of the show, they send a food critic off to do random things, and in this latest episode he did something fairly SMITH-related.

In our Toolbox, we have a section on DIY sites, where users can show off their projects and give others instructions on how to make their own. The restaurant critic, Giles Coren, showed off a distinctly British version of this phenomenon, Pimp That Snack, which takes classic British junk food and makes it big. Like, really big. Us Americans won’t be able to relate to some of the stuff, but it’s a fun site to check out anyway. (If you’re interested, here’s the project Coren worked on.)

After the jump, because it made me smile, a video sent to me by a friend at the day job — it’s not a personal media thing, but it is on YouTube, so it sort of counts. Also, it’s a penguin. A penguin who goes shopping. So rules be damned, I say.


The Patron Saint of Spring

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

A warm welcome from this season’s patron saint, Mr. Goldhuber, courtesy of artist Josh Gosfield, creator of the Saint of the Month Club, the small diversion you didn’t know you needed.

YouTubbies—Last Call

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Maybe the site blogged below will win a YouTubbie (it’s in the Most Creative category). Notes YouTube: “The No.1 videos on each list will get bragging rights and a fancy trophy to feature prominently in a future video.” And continue to aid and abet YouTube to make money off your work.

We’re All Photographers Now

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

A New York Times story looks at the self-portrait phenomenon, spurred on by technology and now showcased at the Musée de l’Elysée’s exhibit, We Are All Photographers Now: The Rapid Mutation of Amateur Photography in the Digital Age. Among the artists featured is Noah Kalina, whose video “everyday” is the sum total of the 2,356 self-portraits he took from January 11, 2000 to July 31, 2006. “Noah’s video represents a phenomenal amplification not just in what he produced and how he did it, but how many people the piece touched in such a short period of time,” William A. Ewing, the director of the museum, tells the Times. “There is nothing comparable in the history of photography.” More than 5 million people have watched it on YouTube–if you’re not among them, click below. It’s amazing.

MySpace is jumping on the political bandwagon

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

During the last presidential election, it was Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign… this time, it’s MySpace’s The Impact Channel, which it just launched in hopes of getting young Americans to the polls in 2008.

That 18-34 demo is really a pot of gold—if you can get us to care.

Says Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace: “By empowering our users with easy-to-find information, offered in a way they can relate to it, Impact will ignite their involvement in the political process.”

When users click on a candidate’s pic (you know who they are: Hillary, Barack, John M., Rudy, John E., Mitt, and a few others), they’re directed to the person’s MySpace profile. Impact users can also watch videos on the channel, donate cash, find a job, and register to vote.

Knowledge is power, baby. Be sure to check it out.

Life During Wartime—Iraqi P.O.V.

Monday, March 19th, 2007

ausamapic.jpgFor the chicken’s eye view of the war in Iraq, we strongly recommend Hometown Baghdad,a documentary series launching on a dedicated site as well as Salon, which follows of lives of three young Iraqis trying to deal with life during wartime. The series was shot entirely by Iraqi filmmakers (get the back-story of the twentysomething cast here; that’s Ausama, a 20-year-old med student pictured here). Via a forwarded email, one of the creators Mike DiBenedetto says, “The Iraqi subjects and crew risked their lives every time they turned a camera on to make this series … to share their lives with us. Please send this to anyone who might be interested in hearing about normal Iraqis–the real untold story of the Iraq war.”

Drinks & Vets on 4th Anniv. of the War

Monday, March 19th, 2007

46325643_6c9a1bcd35.jpgShooting War’s Anthony Lappé hosts his monthly political variety show, “The War Room,” on Tuesday, March 20 at Mo Pitkin’s—and this time it’s a benefit for NYC’s chapter of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), the nation’s leading antiwar Iraq veterans organization. Come hang with Lappé and comedian Seth Herzog (Vh1) for a night of humor and pathos some four years after we invaded Iraq—and hear what it’s like to be over there from vets. There’s a free reception and book signing with Nina Berman (Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq) and Lori Grinker (Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict) at 8pm, followed by the show at 9. Lappé knows how to throw a party, it’s for a good cause on an important day, and Mo Pitkins is number one.

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