Monday, June 27, 2011

war in dance

I love this piece of storytelling through dance. Napoleon Buddy D'umo and Tabitha A. D'umo, choreographers for TV's 'So You Think You Can Dance,' have captured the story of lovers split by war across two pieces. In the 4th season, the team (also known as NappyTabs) choreographed a piece in which the couple dancing learns that the man is heading to war. And in the 8th season, a second piece concluded the story when the soldier returns home. It's such a beautiful portrayal of one of the pains of war. Ironically, the most recent episode began late, as President Obama was announcing his plan to withdraw troops by September 2012.

Soldier is drafted, season 4:

Soldier comes home, season 8:

killer combo: advertising + detective work

The FBI used a clever ad strategy to discover a famous mobsters whereabouts.

Recognizing that the mobster’s girlfriend was a salon fiend, the FBI placed PSAs directed at women on daytime/soap TV. Their hunch that someone might recognize her from their last blow out at the beauty parlor was spot on.

My childhood dream of being a detective, meets my adult reality of working in advertising.

Check out the scoop:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

online dating idea

Had an idea for an online dating site - you create a mix tape to serve as your profile. We have niche dating sites, why not connect through music? Anyone know if this already exists?
I was inspired by the “Rapperina Mix,” a mix created for a ballerina who didn’t appreciate rap by a guy she’d gone on one date with. I once went on a date with a guy from OkCupid because we had both referenced the same old New Pornographers song in our profiles. We didn’t really jive, but he had a narly taste in music.

Here's that lovely choon:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

trend: mental health focus

This is the best time of year to reflect, read the trend reports and forecast your own. There are a few trends that I’m thinking about, will post more eventually. One that just occured to me is health related. There are always a few major health-oriented things that people talk about every year. A couple years ago it was vitamin D, we’ve had high fructose corn syrup in the spotlight too.
I’ve noticed that as a result of the Arizona shooting, mental illness is getting thrown into the spotlight. 
Lawyer, Victoria Toensing of diGenova and Toensing LLP provides some background:
Cloaked with the aura of enlightenment in the 1960s, lawyers successfully brought suit after suit to release the mentally ill from institutions and to raise the barrier for future admissions. In the main, those released and those who should have been admitted became the homeless. Some who should have been institutionalized became dangerous. Worse, the national psyche became “live and let live.”
Check these out:
It’s interesting because the more we start to talk about mental illness, the more we realize that we know so little about these illnesses. We sweep them under the rug because we don’t understand them. It’s about time we put the broom down. 
Not fully baked on the implications of this one yet. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

soundtrack to your life

RjDj app creates a sound track for your life based on the sounds it picks up from your phone's microphone. Playing with it now, can't wait to try it out on the subway! One writer wrote that it reminds them of 'Inception.' I can totally see how it might make you feel like you are removed from your surroundings, experiencing it on a different level. I dig it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

reform school

Redu held an event called Reform School in Soho. They got artists like Shepard Fairey, Swoon and Chris Johanson. They took over a four-story school and covered each classroom with thought-provoking art that questioned the current education system. Very cool stuff.

We got to participate. They asked us to decorate cards with what invention, change or one other thing (can't remember) meant to us). Was kind of cute seeing a bunch of adults in the little school desks.

They had a cello player seated next to two shallow pools of water. As he played the water reverberated and jumped. Really neat experience.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

a hit and a major miss

I've been feeling more and more fed up with the dropped calls on AT&T and the sluggish speed of my 3G iPhone. I popped into a RadioShack to check out the HTC EVO 4G phone. Found it on a display, picked it up to play with it and guess what... the display was just a static sticker. You could not actually EXPERIENCE the device.

RadioShack, friends, that is a miss. A major miss. Perhaps the Shack doesn't have the dough for the electric juices to power every phone in the store. Ok, understandable. But it's frustrating for me, as a consumer and a fan of technology, to see products that I think have huge potential be treated in-store like the same old crap on every other shelf. If you haven't seen the ex-Best Buy employee video about why EVO is better than the 4th generation iPhone, check it out.

If you're going to launch a new product that huge, you have to let people experience it. When you are shopping for a phone it's like you are shopping for an external organ. You are shopping for a critical piece of machinery that connects you to your world. The commercials can list off the devices' capabilities until robots take over the world. What it comes down to is the phsycial interaction for the user and the ease with which they can use those marvelous capabilities. 

Come on RadioShack and HTC. Put your heads together on this one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

skip the new new

Why is it that all social networks all trying to become more robust versions of each other? Facebook and Google are like dogs chasing one another’s tails. Google bought Aardvark which allows users to ask questions and gain answers from the communities’ self-proclaimed experts. Now Facebook has Facebook questions. Where are the true originals?

Sam Altman, founder of Loopt, was interviewed by BusinessWeek about his competitor, Facebook Places:

“How will Facebook change the market?

This is going to be the best thing ever to happen in the history of Loopt. Facebook is going to educate lots and lots of people who have never heard of these services before. Given that Facebook takes the approach that it’s going to be the platform for the entire Web, we now have access to 100 times more data than we did before. If we could show you where 11 of your friends were before, now we can show you where 110 of your friends are. So Loopt will offer unique services on top of what Facebook is offering. It would be suicidal for anyone in this space not to integrate with Facebook, and I expect them all to do it. Then the question becomes which of us can build the most differentiated user value experience on top of this very basic data layer.”

I like how he sees the goliath of a competitor as the greatest opportunity for his company yet. Very smart sense of optimism.

So is it that these companies will make enough money riding one another’s coat tails? Is chasing the newest new thing not really worth the long struggle? Should they all just wait until enough consumers have adopted the new idea and follow by introducing their own souped up version?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

asking questions

The ability to ask provocative questions is a gift. Just discovered this tumblr via @kthread. Guess it’s a part of an ITP class. Full of great questions that really make you think.

Check it out:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

mystery of possibility

Something that has been spinning through my head recently is the realization that I am more interested in what isn't possible than what currently is. This came to me in part as I shifted through my favorite TV shows and movies (e.g. True Blood, Lost, Avatar). And maybe that makes me a fantasy/sci fi geek, I'll have to hit up next year's Comic Con to know.

I was watching this old TED talk featuring JJ Abrams and I feel like he really hits on why using our imaginations and considering what could seem ridiculous is so exciting. He says that the thing that he realized is that perhaps there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge.

Mystery allows the creative side of the brain to fill in the gaps where the knowledge is absent. That small exercise of gap-filling one could argue helps the brain grow more so than the knowledge that was possibly a given and memorized fact. Time recently wrote an article about great schools and in it they talk about schools who assign projects which require both convergent and divergent thinking. Solving a mystery is when the brain takes the hard evidence, convergent thinking, and uses conjecture, divergent thinking, to figure out who done it. Considering what could be within reason is where the brain really gets to explore and grow. It breathes possibility and allows us to create and invent.

Check out the TED talk: J.J. Abrams' mystery box | Video on

Saturday, August 7, 2010

#filmthis 1

New series. Likely to be as spontaneous and unpredictable as any series I've ever started. I begin with that as a warning so that I won't feel the need to apologize for my erratic publishing schedule in the future. This one will be called #filmthis.

We all imagine film story ideas or even just clips we'd like to see in a film. Maybe a favorite actor in a certain tone of film, filmed in a specific place you've found. Or a type of character that matches that interesting friend of yours in a situation that you imagine. So that's what #filmthis is. It's my random filmatic moments. It's the blips of imagination that I hunger to produce to a full story and feed on through a movie screen.

1. Film directed by Christopher Guest about a married couple, both psychiatrists.

2. Take the bizarre and dark structure from Greenwood cemetary and use it in a dark, brainy, twisted film. The structure would be the home of a dark character, acted out by Johnny Depp. The inspiration of the story-line would be a dark version of 'Le Petit Prince.'

Monday, July 19, 2010

only the scruffy and swift will survive

We live in a paradox. On the one hand we have the practice of branding. Of creating a perfectly sculpted piece of culture and business that we will protect. On the other, is the practice in society of acting upon our creative energy immediately. We quickly create cultural pieces that live to be spread, remixed and respread. These published rough drafts are left to be polished by remixers, or not at all.  Taking the time to perfectly polish something like Mike Relm's remix of the @OldSpice campaign would have meant rounds of approval from numerous sources and weeks of revisions. By the time the thing broke it would have felt like old news arriving to the scene.

Luckily, people get that every creative bit that hits YouTube won't be perfect. I'll never forget the advice that my art teacher gave me as a kid. She said "art is never finished." You could continue tweaking and obsessing over a piece of art for weeks or even years. But this is branding, it isn't art. Brands need to stop being overly precious and start getting swift and scruffy with their creative to be culturally relevant.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

magic dust don't last forever

Ahh antibiotics. They're like magic. They make you go from feeling completely wiped out to shiny and new in 2.5 days. But, when you head out for your 6.6 mile training run, the magic starts to fade. By the last mile this morning I realized that no matter how fabulous Ticker Bell's dust may be, once you've worn out the glow you stop flying and gravity has it's way with you.

What I'm saying is. I'm tried of having allergies that make me sick. And maybe I should have only gone for the 5 mile run today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

weekend trip tool

I get one Friday off a month this summer and want to take quick, relaxing, cheap trips. Wish there was a site that showed you a map with circles surrounding your immediate area telling you what was within a 1, 2 or 3 hour plane, train, or bus ride of you. It would be matched up with Foursquare's API or FB or Loopt or something that would tell you which of your friends were within those circles.

So let's say that I was using it (like my terrible drawing?), I could see that Philly is only a 1.5 hour train ride away and that my friend Erica lives there. Then I would be able to drop Erica a line to see if she would mind me visiting for the weekend.

Alright. So who can build this?

Monday, May 31, 2010

chugging along slowly

An hour and 45 minutes after we were supposed to depart, we have now loaded the train. Conductor just announced that we will be waiting here until they fix the track, or something similar to that. No one on the train could really hear the announcement so it's that's our best guess. Great.

How is it that the oldest form of mass ground transportation still hasn't figured out how to get people from A to B on time and without headache? Makes me think of the old Einstein quote: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." Maybe it's time for Amtrak to think outside of it's own antiqued level of consciousness and typical methods of problem solving. We may be able to find a new way to fix trains or track issues, a new way to construct the equipment entirely or perhaps even just a way to make the wait worth a traveler's while.