Filed under: COOL SHT, Feature | Tags: Adam Driver, Architecture, Augmented Reality, Bravo, Carrie, Culver City, Facebook, Girls, Google, Hannah, HBO, hipsters, Instagram, Jimmy Choos, Lena Dunham, Los Angeles, Marnie, Monolo Blahnik, NYC, Project Glass, Reality Series, Samantha, Samitaur Tower, Sex and the City, Silicon Valley, Star Trek, SXSW, Williamsburg
THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK
Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls
© Jojo Whilden/HBO. All rights reserved.
The new series, Girls, comes to HBO this Sunday and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I watched the first two episodes in Austin at SXSW spawning my lady crush on its writer/creator, Lena Dunham. The show follows a group of NYC Williamsburg hipsters through their daily machinations focusing on the somewhat unglamorous side of their romantic transgressions. I spent my 20’s living in NYC, the latter half in which I was working at HBO, and hence, was especially excited to see this story unfold.
I’ve been watching the critical reviews come across the internet wires and they all boil down to one thing: sex. The sex in Sex & the City was glamorous Jimmy Choo-laced fantasy, thick with witty Samantha-isms and adorable recaps from Carrie. The sex in Girls is uncomfortable to watch and ‘real’ in a way I’ve never seen on screen before. Slate Magazine describes this realness as the “chronicling of bad sex” whereas New York Magazine raves that the sex “isn’t a reward, it’s a revelation.” So which is it? Lena Dunham writes, stars, and partially directs this series. She plays Hannah, a post-collegiate brutally torn from the parental financial purse strings to go out on her own for the first time. The first sex on screen carries out between Hannah and her sex buddy Adam, and while not ruining anything, I’ll just say, that I would never tell a friend about sex that bad.
That said, it wasn’t only the sex that I found so intriguing. It was the comfort level by which these girls interact with each other and by which Dunham herself is comfortable exposing the world to. There is one scene in particular that I have obsessed over, obsessed because I think it indicates some lack of cool on my part and therefore has been a conversation piece for weeks. Dunham’s character, Hannah, takes a bath with her towel-clad roommate Marnie chatting about their lives, a pastime which in most respects would be done over breakfast or perhaps, any other place with clothes on. I’ve obsessed because I’ve wanted to know if this happens in real life. Do women get together naked and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives? I don’t even like to look people in the eye in the women’s locker room, let alone sit naked in a bathtub and talk about my sex life. Does this make me uncool?
Lena Dunham, as Hannah, with actor Adam Driver.
(Photo: Jojo Whilden/HBO)
Back to the sex. The attempt to categorize this show at the ‘everygirl’ story would be dangerous. In the same way that Sex & the City did not translate to the lives of most American women at the time it debuted, I don’t think Girls has the intention of direct translation. How many women buy Jimmy Choos on a Monday and Monolo Blahniks on a Tuesday? In the same respect, how many women catch up on their day with their best friend sitting naked in a bathtub and then have discussions about how maybe they really do want AIDS at the doctor’s office? Here’s where I had to reel myself in. Being that you, the viewer, are presented with a woman (Dunham) who looks more real than the skinny plastic surgery-disfigured faces of so many Hollywood actresses, the viewer immediately thinks that what happens on screen will look more similar to their own world. In my case, even though I spent some time living in Williamsburg, the attempt at direct correlation was lost in translation. Frankly, that’s not the point. I think Dunham’s intention is to entertain with her own story and hope that each viewer draws inspiration in whichever way makes sense. Whether that’s making one person feel less embarrassed about their own bad sex moment or more comfortable in simply sharing something with a friend, so be it. So, I’ll attempt to stop thinking about how uncool I am for my lack of bathtub friend time…but seriously, does this make me uncool?! Maybe not, but quotes like this one, make Lena Dunham fresh to death.
In other news, Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 Billion (scaring the sh-t out of this Instagram user right here and this one over there), Google busts out some augmented reality glasses which sadly bring on the Star Trek jokes, and Bravo announces plans to bring a Silicon Valley reality series to screen.
Some more Cool Sh-t:
Photo Credit: Designboom
Filed under: COOL SHT, Feature | Tags: 2012, Apple, Austin, Davos, Driskill Hotel, Foursquare, Google, Lady Gaga, Lowline, Naveen Selvadurai, Newspaper, NYC, park, Pinterest, Smartphone, Steve Jobs, SXSW, Twitter, underground, Yelp
THIS WEEK: THE DESCENT OF SXSW
This week, SXSW descends over Austin. If you’re unfamiliar, SXSW is a three-in-one conference encompassing interactive, film, and music. SXSW has launched a few innovative companies in its midst including Foursquare and the now-acquired Gowalla. In my opinion, it’s a nerd fest reunion with some music folks on the back end. Once a year, all of my digital nerd friends from all across the US get together to drink, party and possibly hit a panel or two. This week, I had a conversation with an ad agency executive in NYC about the merits of SXSW.
While this particular person had never attended SXSW, he felt that the information which returned was never of value. The thought was that SXSW was simply a drunken booze fest without value.
I thought about this argument and sat down to read an article in the New Yorker about Davos. Davos, as contrasted to SXSW, rounds up the top world leaders with the hope of igniting inspiration at the highest levels. I’m sure cocktails are shared but I’m guessing no one ends up at the Driskill Hotel at 2 in the morning passed out in a hotel lobby arm chair. That said, my argument in defense of SXSW centered on the simple physical aggregation of start-up folk, programmers, product people and marketing experts alike. Primarily, in the past four years that I have been attending SXSW, this has included an audience under the age of 35. We are young, we are innovators, and yes, we like to drink. Let’s face it, a cocktail or two lowers our fears and in many cases, allows creativity to flow. Steve Jobs referenced LSD as “one of the two or three most important things [he had] done in [his] life” as he considered the experience principally one which opened his eyes to creativity in ways he did not think possible.
Now, I’m not condoning alcoholism or drug use. I’m simply pointing out that discounting SXSW because this particular audience parties or drinks heavily,is simply disregarding it based on unfair terms. It may be Spring Break for digital folks but don’t we all need a vacation from reality every once in a while? If you’ll be at SXSW, I’ll be speaking on a panel entitled, “Are We Killing Social with Social?” Stop by and share some thoughts, cocktail or no cocktail.
In other news, Pinterest is surging while Google + is puttering, Lady Gaga becomes the first person to hit 20MM followers on Twitter, newspaper revenue tanks shocking no one, smartphone owners now outnumber other mobile users in the US, Yelp shares surge on their first day of trading, and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai is leaving Foursquare.
Some more Cool Sh-t:
Filed under: BROADCAST/CABLE, Feature, ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: Apple, Austin, Austin Texas, Digital Hollywood, iPhone, Jeff Zucker, Laughing Squid, NBC, Philippe Dauman, South by Southwest, SXSW, Twitter, Viacom
SXSW VS. DIGITAL HOLLYWOOD NYC
Photo Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
Being that I’ve just come from SXSW in Austin, it’s a bit of a culture shock arriving at Digital Hollywood this morning in NYC. Before I give you the highlights from today, how about I start with a top ten list on the major differences between SXSW and Digi Hollywood? I tried to make it a mix of pros and cons for both but by and large, my mission here is simple humor. I’m good for that.
The Top Ten List: SXSW vs. Digital Hollywood
1) Digital Hollywood attendees think ‘monetization’ whereas SXSW attendees think ‘audience size’…by and large.
2) DH peeps rock a suit. SXSW…more like whatever they rolled out of bed in after a night of binge drinking at Pure Volume.
3) DH: Wine. SXSW: Beer and the more the better.
4) DH: Dell SXSW: Apple
5) DH: More coat check. Less filler. SXSW: More stickers. More graffiti. More idea generation. Less shampoo.
6) DH: No Wi-Fi (except in the conference center using some convoluted means to log on) SXSW: Wi-Fi convention-wide (with small exceptions) AT&T…not so much.
7) DH: Overheard in the bathroom: Nothing. SXSW: Overheard in the bathroom… Friend1: I just joined twitter this morning. Friend 2: JUST this morning?!? Friend1: Yah. (obvious embarrassment)
8) DH: What’s twitter? SXSW: Holy sh#t! Did you see that last guy’s tweet?! Someone just won SXSW Bingo.
9) DH: Keynote: Jeff Zucker (CEO NBC) SXSW: Keynote: James Powderly (Co-founder Graffiti Research Lab)
10) DH: The entire traditional media universe peppered with some digi distribution folks. SXSW: The entire web development community with little to no content creators.
In case you need another visual to drive this one home, have at it…
Filed under: Feature, TECHNOLOGY | Tags: Austin, Evan Roth, Graffiti, Graffiti Research Lab, GRL, James Powderly, Keynote, Laser Tag, LED Throwie, MC Yan, Open source, South by Southwest, Subcultures, SXSW, Theo Watson
SXSW KEYNOTE: JAMES POWDERLY GETS DOWN WITH LED’S
LED Throwie: a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together.
Today James Powderly spoke to the geek-fabulous crowd at SXSW in Austin. Powderly is an artist and technology maven who co-founded the Graffiti Research Lab in coordination with Evan Roth. The mission of the Graffiti Research Lab is to empower artists with open source technology to allow them to communicate in urban settings to the degree that advertisers are enabled.
Powderly’s first request of the crowd at SXSW: he wanted the crowd to flick him off and took a picture from on-stage. Talk about crowd sourcing… This one act set the stage for the interview to follow and the Graffiti Research Lab’s body of work.
The LED Throwie above represents one of the Graffiti Research Lab’s earliest works. The packaged lights can be thrown on surfaces creating an illuminated night-time vision. Click here or on the image above to see video of the LED throwies in action. For another example, click the LED Bombing image below.
The GRL’s latest technology L.A.S.E.R tag utilizes digital projection to enable graffiti artists’ a much larger canvas to create on. The image below was created on a recent trip to Tokyo.
Here’s how it works. A projector hooked to a computer with custom built software by Theo Watson reads the green light of the laser point via an attached camera. Wherever that camera detects the green laser pointer, it updates the projector with a white pixel stylizing the final effect to look like dripping paint. The software is open source allowing for other artists to build on these effects adding their own signature features.
Most amazing to me is the project they pulled off in Hong Kong. I used to think that New York City rocked the most amazing night-time city view worldwide… until I visited Hong Kong a few years ago.
Photo Credit: remz-zero
This shot above was taken from Kowloon overlooking Hong Kong Island. The building at the far left consisting of ascending lit triangles is the Bank of China designed by I.M. Pei.
For this remarkable project pulled off by the GRL in coordination with MC Yan, laser tag technology was used from 1,200 meters away on Hong Kong Island. MC Yan projected an image onto the Hong Kong Cultural Museum in Kowloon. This is the farthest distance the technology has ever successfully been used. Click here or on the image below to check out video of the project.
Powderly describes himself as a magician teaching other artists his tricks. Back in the day, graffiti artists would tag NYC subway trains as a way of spreading their message from the Bronx to Brooklyn. Now, the Graffiti Research Lab allows a whole new level of trickery to engage artists ways previously unimaginable.
As a laser tag parting gift, I leave you with the GRL’s latest collaboration: the music video The Hardest from AZ (featuring Styles P & Large Professor).