I’M RAMBLING

I HAVEN’T POSTED IN AGES! I’ve been so busy with music festival season, work at the salon, and my new internship at Om Records that I’ve neglected my web life! I’ve been having a blast, from Coachella to planning for my trip to NYC next month, and balancing it all with some introspection and thoughts toward the future.

I’m in my last semester of college, and I’m enrolled in an internship class where my professor supports us in our job hunt, while also offering a realistic portrait of the dismal life after college. As a journalism student, job prospects look a bit disheartening for those who went into the field hoping for a traditional career. I’m happy to say that was never a part of my plan. At this point, I’m not entirely sure why I decided going to college was necessary at all. I must have really longed for eternal debt and high stress during the best years of my youth.

Last week, we had guest speakers and journalists Carl Hall and Kat Anderson come in to the classroom to tell us all about the horrors we have to face upon graduation. No health care! No steady jobs! They shared their guild for freelance journalists, which would theoretically build a network and yield the power for freelancers to demand these basic needs.

While giving me anxiety, this lecture also reminded me why I should look toward my other talents upon graduation and be creative as hell. All I kept thinking throughout the entire presentation was “WHY DO HUMANS INSIST ON DOING THE SAME THING WITH DECLINING RESULTS?” Medical care wouldn’t be so important if Americans stopped eating jelly donut cheeseburger combos. Do I really want to spend that much energy delaying my eventual demise? Blessed with good general health, couldn’t I prevent most of my concerns with healthy living? Clearly, throughout the lecture my mind zoomed out and took a look at the big picture. I know I’m doing a horrible job relaying any of the useful information that was presented, but none of it really applied to me. 

*Fast forward to me, 80 years old, broke as hell, dying a painful death without any loved ones or medical support*

I did learn this much from the lecture: Green journalists need to do three things to get paid

  1. Refuse to work for free. Your words are worth money. Doing anything for free cheapens the entire field.
  2. Join the guild. Drink the Kool-Aid.
  3. Be happy and kind to everyone you meet and someone’s eventually going to like you enough to pay you to do what you’re supposed to be good at, right?

Ok, I made some of that up. But I think my professor has these different guests come in knowing some people are going to benefit from their presentation more than others (she’s a smart lady). Did I actually get something out of this? Yes. Kat and Carl are doing what they can to protect something that is important to them, and that they believe is important to society. I remembered why I used to write as an enthusiastic and impassioned teen, before it was an assignment. I remembered why I wanted to go to college. I remembered why I wanted to be a journalist. I need to zoom out on my own life, and go back to using my strengths to make a positive change.

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The Tumblr Takeover: Digital Nostalgia in Nightlife and Fashion

 

I lounge on the worn leather couch of a small Tenderloin lighting studio where I’ve come to shoot Parker Day, a San Francisco nightlife photographer, working on her latest studio shoot. Here, among the walls plastered in a montage of punk rock posters and event fliers, I can watch her work intimately with the green screen she lugs into crowded nightclubs throughout the city to create her distinct brand of cyber fashion photos. We are waiting for her model, Lenny Cartwright. “What’s the concept for this shoot,” I ask her. She smiles and turns to her boyfriend Adam LaBay, who rents the space for their artistic use and to store his own lighting equipment. “Lenny is really a concept within himself,” Adam says with a laugh, as his kind brown eyes crinkle at the corners.

A few moments later, Lenny enters the room. His lanky frame is draped in a traditional kilt, unexpectedly paired with a metal headpiece, a cutoff T-shirt and tan stacked Buffalo platforms. If Baby Spice’s signature sneakers had a baby with a pair of Timberland hiking boots, Lenny’s shoes would be that child. Not to mention the fact that they add about six inches to his height, putting him up at almost seven feet. His entrance is a flurry of apologies for being so late, followed by a peace offering of Pabst Blue Ribbon tall cans.

 

Lenny and Parker are a match made in social media heaven. “I can’t wait for my new profile picture!,” Lenny excitedly cries as the two look over the first round of shots. The pair met on Facebook. “She takes all these cool photos and I have a style that works with them,” says Lenny on the subject of his first contact with Parker. “Of course I wanted to be her friend.”

To the untrained eye, many of Parker’s photos may just look like an unfinished round of Photoshop play by someone with a good sense of humor and a love for mid-90s Internet graphics. However, to any Tumblr fashion enthusiast, they would be immediately identified as decidedly seapunk. Seapunk is both a genre of electronic music as well as a style of dress and graphic design, created entirely online by a small group of social media enthusiasts and music producers. The music incorporates elements of 90s and early 2000s R&B, pop and rap music over generally downtempo electronic beats. The fashion aesthetic is a mashup of a variety of street wear and punk styles, with an emphasis on goth staples reworked with bright colors and tropical themes. Tumblr is the site where this aesthetic and the term itself really took off.

“Digital culture is to me about process and transparency. Remix everything. Release early, release often. Always in beta,” says Jay Owens, a United Kingdom-based digital media researcher and blogger on social technology, research, politics, anthropology and urbanism. Owens struggles to explain the trend in his May 16, 2012 article for the popular style blog The Business of Fashion, “Is Fashion Ready for a New Aesthetic?” In this article, he addresses a high-fashion audience, attempting to make logic of the underground fashion trend. “Perhaps this retreat into retro nostalgia is a reaction to economic uncertainty and technological change. Maybe it’s a craving for what we imagine were simpler times or a search for authenticity in a world that is increasingly artificial.”

This look has begun to go beyond the niche of Tumblr geeks and street wear gurus. Most recently, pop superstar Rihanna blatantly mimicked the very distinctive green screen imagery utilized by Parker and pioneered by  artists including Los Angeles-based DJ Jerome Potter, best known for his recordings and videos in the electronic duo LOL Boys. In her November 2012 Saturday Night Life performance, Rihanna wore her usual mashup of street wear paired with high end labels, but this time was in front of a green screen that displayed digitally generated images of tropical scenes and diamonds to millions of viewers. Twitter was ablaze with both anger and excitement. Originators of the fashion aesthetic, including Las Vegas-based model and blogger Bebe Zeva, passionately complained that when mainstream artists steal the look those in the underground have created, it cheapens their brand and it is necessary to start over entirely. Clearly, this is about setting one’s self apart from the mainstream, as alternative branding always has been.

When I ask Lenny how he classifies his look or what he draws inspiration from, he is extremely hesitant to call it seapunk. “Well, people were calling me seapunk a few months ago,” he says with a sigh, “but I got tired of that.” Owens was dead on in his analysis: the constant remixing is an essential element to all aspects of digital culture. From alternative branding to genres of electronic music and fashion trends, the only consistency is reinvention.

Parker and Adam, along with San Francisco DJ Marco de la Vega, are the curators behind a new monthly event, #Y3K, which merges this digital culture with the nightlife. As their first event description on Facebook stated, they are “merging the URL with the IRL,” IRL being a common acronym for “in real life” and URL referring to “uniform resource locator” in computing. Parker’s photos are remnants of the night for the club goers, all of whom understand the aesthetic she’s trying to create. “I’ve been doing club photos for about eight years now, and I used to always slap the club logo on them, which people thought was really cool back then,” Parker explains. “That isn’t cool anymore. Now I’m creating a new way to brand an event that people are really into.”

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Art is Hard

I’VE BEEN SO BORED LATELY. My BFF Lina moved to the dirty south and I’m waiting to start my new full time job and finish my last semester of college so life is kind of hard right now. M33P

I made this mixed-media piece of Lina because I miss her so much :'(

I fill my idle time trying to make cool things other than the standard tweets n playlists. I can’t stand the thought of wasting my entire summer watching Netflix and sleepin with my kitty. So I made this kute TOO DOWN beanie. I’m definitely gonna make some for all my friends with our signature catchphrases. If you like it and wanna talk about getting one made, tweet me.

Internet branded custom-made beanie

I took one of my favorite band tees from high school and cut it up a few months back when I was very into making my own crop tops. I decided to further improve on it and add some studded adornments.

My feelings for LA, and most things, are very complex.

One last installment for this post. U either r down or u aren’t//

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EYE HEART SF// AUDREY NAPOLEAN // WARFIELD // B2B

Eye Heart SF at the Warfield Bay to Breakers 2012 from Holy Mountain on Vimeo.

This is the newest video I’ve made with Demian.

 

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LINA LEAVES IT

My best friend Lina has moved on to bigger and better things :( Mainly, grad school in Paris.

So I made her this video to remember all the good times we’ve had.

If it wasn’t for the internet IDK how I would cope.

#yungkloutgang

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Sex Cult Tour: Designer Drugs, Richie Panic and more

My good friend and renowned EDM photographer Holy Mountain (Demian Becerra) stayed up late last night editing this video with me. He filmed this on tour with Sex Cult artists Designer Drugs, Richie Panic, PLS DNT STP, Monolith and Skitsnygg last month.

Although he’s a ridiculously talented photographer, this video is Demian’s first. I was so impressed with the footage he got. It was hard to choose between all the booty, babes and crazy crowd shots he collected over the course of the tour, but we ended up choosing the best ones. We both love the way it all turned out!

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HOTEL TWERK AT COACHELLA 2012

Basically a commercial for our lifestyle. I love my friends.

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EDM Takeover: A-Trak, Skrillex and Diplo make next week’s Billboard cover

EDM reaches the pinnacle of mainstream. I also like the DDR reference in the headline. Not.

Diplo, A-Trak and Skrillex on the cover of next week’s Billboard issue can mean only one thing: the midwest and North Korea have finally discovered EDM. Artists we’ve been talking about for years are finally “ready for global domination.”

As long as it’s these three specifically leading the worldwide assault, I’m behind it fully.

Honestly all I really want 2 do is talk about how down I am for A-Trak and Diplo. Looking so fine. And all I want 2 know is who made the top executives of EDM list.

You can find it in stores today, wherever Billboard mag is actually sold (Borders who?)

STREETmuse <3 EDM Takeover

 

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My night with Diplo: SWITCH DITCHES MAJOR LAZER?

AS FUNNY IN PERSON AS ON TWITTER.

So I went to HARD X MOUTH TAPED SHUT last night, and obviously went backstage w Diplo… who I call Wes because we “know each other now.” Apparently he is now the one and only DJ of MAJOR LAZER bc he told me “Switch is no longer a part of Major Lazer due to artistic differences.” OMG.

Although Switch is out, he told me that he still credits his producer and also his dancer Pink as an integral part of the collaborative effort, along with his “new guy” MC Walsh FIARRRR (spelling open 2 interpretation) who happened to come out to the SF Warfield show and dagger hard w Pink. *SO SEXXXY* DAT A$$***

On the album Diplo told me we would hear vocals from Vampire Weekend, Beanie Man and Sean Paul, amongst others.

Some transgendered individual *no judging* hopped in the Suburban with us out of nowhere. This lady was twerkin’ it hard, I’ve gotta give it up 2 her. She worked her way into some porn star’s holiday party we were at. This whole time I’m just chillin on a couch with Wes and Lina lovesit, meanwhile this redhaired Rihanna look alike (but the Japanese transgendered version) reaches over me, and grabs Diplo’s dick. Just watch:

She proceded to get into an argument with another desperate groupie who told her “don’t touch my man.” Eventually she was taken out of the condo, wailing arms, kicking and screaming. It was an intense display of groupie love. To make a memorable exit even more unforgettable, she pulled the fire alarm on her way out the door.

STREETmuse <3 groupie crazies

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TALKING WITH JIMI HENDRIX: Former Rolling Stone editor John Burks on his 1970 interview

John Burks worked for many publications during his career in journalism. He retired from his position as a professor this spring, and says he is taking time to relax and work on his memoir.

John Burks, who completed his final semester as a magazine writing professor at San Francisco State University this spring, shares his experience interviewing Jimi Hendrix back in 1970. At the time, he was the managing editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

Burks tells his tale to caution journalism students using audio recording devices. Although he had a wonderful interview with Hendrix, technical problems he had will always haunt him. Unfortunately, these problems were not realized until he was far away from the New York City apartment he’d drank brandy and talked for hours at with the superstar.

Although Burks was eventually able to salvage the tapes, he was never able to get another interview with his musical idol who he’d hit it off with so well. Hendrix died two months after the issue came out.

I was able to sit down with John and record his vivid memory of the experience:

If STREETmuse could go back in time and interview anyone, it would be Jimi. *sigh…*

Tom Morello named “Little Wing” as “the most beautiful song in the Jimi Hendrix canon” in the recent Dec. 8 issue of Rolling Stone, which pays tribute to the guitar virtuoso as the greatest guitarist of all time.

Hendrix spoke to a Swedish journalist about the song in January 1968, saying “Well, that was one song on there we did a lot of sound on, you know. We put the guitar through the Leslie speaker of an organ, and it sounds like jelly bread, you know….It’s based on a very, very simple American Indian style, you know, very simple. I got the idea like, when we was in Monterey, and I just happened to…just looking at everything around. So I figured that I take everything I see around and put it maybe in the form of a girl maybe, something like that, you know, and call it ‘Little Wing’, in other words, just fly away. Everybody really flying and they’s really in a nice mood, like the police and everybody was really great out there. So I just took all these things an put them in one very, very small little matchbox, you know, into a girl and then do it. It was very simple, you know. That’s one of the very few ones I like.”

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