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Aug. 2 2010 — 10:19 am | 178 views | 1 recommendations | 3 comments

Signing Off and Good Bye True/Slant

It’s no fresh news that True/Slant was bought by Forbes Media a few months ago. That purchase, though unclear at the beginning, pretty much intuitively meant the end of True/Slant. It meant the end of a great idea in independent journalism and the end of a community, which truly felt like a community of professional writers who had been invited to gather in one place to write about what they liked to write about most. It was a rare thing in today’s journalism world, total editorial freedom. And I think this freedom, when granted, births some of the best writing out there. The writers of True/Slant were able to use their minds, to investigate, to invest creativity into the blog posts we put up on our sites. It all worked, and under the thoughtful guidance of those running the start-up, we did pretty well, each month increasing our visits and garnering more and more comments from readers.

The best part for us writers of course is that True/Slant also paid us each month to write what we wanted to write. Financial responsibility in today’s writing world is virtually unheard of, but we were paid and paid on time. Though the amount was nothing  to write home about, and nothing to buy a home with for that matter, it did help. It was enough of a boost each month to remind me that writing as a craft, journalism as a craft, can be rewarded in the current marketplace. And it was a reminder that when writers are paid to do their work, the quality of the work survives as well.

But that seems like history now. It was an idea, a great one that worked for a time. As True/Slant transition/expires, I will not be one of the writers headed to Forbes. Forbes, alas, does not have much of a need to hire an arts and culture writer and, as an arts and culture writer, I am not sure Forbes would be the right kind of place for me either.  In signing off from The Culture Spoke I want to thank everyone who read this blog, those who stumbled upon it while Googling something they heard about, and those who read it with any kind of regularity.  All readers are welcome readers in this day and age. I am not sure where my digital writing career goes from here, but I will continue to pursue writing essays as a freelance journalist, and I will continue to write fiction. Thanks again, and thanks to everyone at True/Slant who made this happen. It was great while it lasted.

Jul. 28 2010 — 12:21 pm | 32 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Bear Takes Stuffed Likeness from NH Home

I love the wild animal enters home and wreaks manageable havoc then leaves type of story as much as the next guy, but this one has a great twist.

In New Hampshire a bear entered a house through an open door then proceeded to eat two pears, a bunch of grapes, sipped some fine agua from the fish bowl and then on his or her way out grabbed a stuffed bear. That’s an adult grown bear that could tear you limb from limb grabbing a toy stuffed bear before exiting the house. It must get lonely in those woods.

via Bear Eats Fruit, Takes Stuffed Bear From NH House – NYTimes.com.

Jul. 26 2010 — 3:02 pm | 113 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Basil Marceaux, Tennessee’s Next Govenor

Basil Marceaux is the Republican candidate for governor of Tennessee for 2010. Enough said.

Jul. 21 2010 — 5:14 pm | 249 views | 1 recommendations | 1 comment

A Field of Dreams in Brooklyn

The tag line “if you build it, they will come” has been recycled countless times in countless situations, but that is exactly what Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Andres Levin and the artist collective the Bruce High Quality Foundation aim to do this weekend in Brooklyn with Field of Dreams. The one-day festival will characterize the essence of DIY culture, building from the ground up a temporary and vibrant community of visual artists, performers, musicians, and everything in between. The event is being ambitiously billed as the “World Fair ‘39 meets Summer of ‘69 in the recession of ‘09.” The recession of ‘09 part we can all understand. The reenactment of the other two historical events will have realize their potential day of.

The activities start at 4 pm on Saturday and will take over the bandshell in Prospect Park, an area usually reserved for single concert shows. Field of Dreams is also part of Celebrate Brooklyn!, which this summer is itself celebrating its 32 year of concerts and organized events. What can the wandering Brooklyner or DIY junkie expect to see at Field of Dreams? The musical line-up features a bevy of talent, including Cucu Diamantes, Andres Levin, Pablo Picasso, Les Nubians, Monsta X, Groove Collective, Mista Sinista from The Executioners, Keziah Jones, Los Hankey Pankey’s, Shantell Martin, Trixie Whitley, and more. Actor Luis Guzman will also perform. Artists will be sprinkled across the grounds and will cover the gamut of approaches and mediums. There will be Elliot Arkin, who will be manning his mobile art lab, Mister ArtSee. Arkin is currently building Mister ArtSee in Gowanus, Brooklyn but upon completion, he plans to tour the country with it, bringing contemporary art exhibitions wherever he goes. Artist Glenda Reed will recreate her living room and host anyone who wants to stop by for a conversation and some pretzels and iced tea. Kate Pane and Valerie Suter invite attendees to revisit their childhood and explore the past as they ask visitors to recreate the forts and enclosures we all made as youngsters. Ari Richter will perform a Art Marathon lecture during which he will give 30 minute lectures on 12 separate topics complete with slide show and dry erase board illustration as teaching aids. These are just a few examples of the more than three dozen artists who are currently signed up, but as Field of Dreams explicitly states, attendees are more than welcome to bring their own art as well, whatever form that takes.

In the end, Levin and the Bruce High Quality Foundation’s collaborative event promises to lay an eclectic foundation for the DIY movement’s evolution. The event is open to the public with a $3 suggested donation. The mix of people who will attend and who are presenting art and music will enact the ideal of Bruce High Quality, who sought to interpret the potential of public spaces as sculpture. And for Levin, the musical line-up for Field of Dreams is a heady progression of Latin and hip-hop influenced artists befitting of a man called “the master chef of Urban fusion” by the Los Angeles Times.

via Music Has No Enemies.

Jul. 20 2010 — 11:00 am | 72 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Kafka’s Unpublished Manuscripts Uncovered

Manuscripts and drawings of the writer Franz Kafka have just been released from a safe deposit box in Zurich, according the BBC News. The question now becomes, should these manuscripts be published? Kafka had ordered his friend and fellow writer Max Brod to burn his manuscripts after his death, but Brod ultimately ignored Kafka’s request. Many of Kafka’s works were in fact published posthumously after Brod had not burned the manuscripts.

The story is a reminder of the drama that ensued when Nabokov instructed his family to burn his final incomplete novel, The Original of Laura, written on 183 separate index cards. The novel was never burned and was held in a safe deposit box in Switzerland for 30 years until it was published by Knopf in 2009.

via BBC News – Newsnight – Should newly uncovered Kafka manuscripts be published?.

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    About Me

    I am a Brooklyn-based writer and editor covering arts and culture. I was an editor at Art & Antiques magazine, an editor at Picador USA, and an editor for a magazine about coffee and tea. On the best of days, I get to write about art, or work on fiction. My writing can be found on the Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and in Art & Antiques, Art in America, Tin House, Willamette Week, San Francisco magazine, Food Network Magazine, and Fresh Cup magazine. I also write about and promote the arts for Columbia University in New York.

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    Contributor Since: May 2009

    What I'm Up To

    An essay on the painter Robert Vickrey for The Rumpus.