The We Are Local project is an experiment in collaborative ethnography about social media and social media practices. Unlike other blogs written by multiple authors, We Are Local’s contributors are documenting how social media impacts their day-to-day lives by documenting in as much detail as possible how they use or do not use social media in their social lives. There are no experts of social media at We Are Local. Our claim is simply this: the best way to make claims about the larger implications of social media and culture is to document and understand the relationship between the two on a micro-level and extrapolate from there.
Chicago has an incredible underground avant-garde jazz scene with an unbelievably incomplete online presence. The best, and often only, way to learn about a lot of the great shows going on around town is to hit up the magical Now Is Chicago Music Calendar. Even their listings, however, are incomplete and often just wrong. I went to see Chicago experimental rock staples Zelienople last night based on a Now Is listing and the band was scheduled to come on half an hour later than had been listed, with different supporting acts.
The way things turn out, a tuned-in Chicagoan usually ends up hearing about the best gigs and coolest venues by word of mouth. It was by word of mouth that I ended up seeing the David Boykin Expanse at the Hyde Park Quaker House last night. I mentioned I had found the Zelienople event on Now Is to my good friend Andy, and he suggested that if I was in Hyde Park anyway we should go to see David Boykin on 57th Street later in the night. Andy had heard about David Boykin but never seen him live.
When we got to the Quaker House we were greeted warmly by Iccha Devi Ra, a.k.a. The Reluctant Vegetarian (Facebook & Web). I had never even heard of her before, but she has been hosting concerts and invite-only dinner parties at the Quaker House and Backstory Cafe for the better part of the last year. She has an amazing presence and made me feel right at home in a very small crowd of strangers. The show was totally casual and friendly–when David Boykin announced some of his sillier song titles we all laughed together, and occasional shouts of “Oh My!” and “Oww!” accompanied the rocking solos.
The actual band was something else. Alex Wing on electric bass and guitar, Jayve Montgomery sat in the back messing with a projector that displayed warped video of the band on the ceiling, scratching on a turntable and beat boxing; two drummers, a pianist and a double bassist whose names I have already forgotten (sorry!) rounded out the ensemble while David Boykin stood up front shouting out time signatures and keys in between KILLING solos on the tenor sax and rapping. Everybody was great, and Boykin absolutely brought the house down with his playing and his rhymes.
David Boykin plays in several different ensembles, and all of his releases come out under the name “Sonic Healing Ministries.” SHM is a sort of spiritual project. Ensembles ranging in size from 3 to 10 meet and play over an hour of ambient soundscape using every instrument available. The inset of the recording I bought (SHM 001) lists floor, maple syrup tins, kitchen bowls, and bumble ball alongside bible harp and sousaphone. Here’s the mission statement:
SALVATION IS FREE… MUSIC
Everything in existence on the physical plane, all energy/matter, vibrates at a particular frequency that defines it.
Love is the force that harmonizes this myriad of frequencies and binds everything together into a functioning whole.
Creative music, spiritual jazz, avant garde jazz, experimental music, improvised music, etc., is a sonic representation of this love. It is a unified expression and celebration of each individuated experience of creation simultaneously. It is a reverberation of the macrocosmic sound.
Check out the videos below to feel the love! In the first see DB’s rap and hear some killer solos; in the second see the joy of the Sonic Healing Ministries (check out the little girl loving it around 24:00). If you see his name anywhere in Chicago, walk in and experience it for yourself!
This post originally appeared on my personal blog, Amasa Delano.
Almost every week I turn to Yelp to research restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. After trying to find a reliable food blog to guide me, I resorted to Yelp to give me reviews from normal restaurant goers such as myself. Last weekend, my boyfriend found a promising Japanese restaurant called “Minako Organic Japanese” in the Mission district. Since we have tried countless places in Japan-town, we decided to branch out and drive to a shoe box that sits between a Hispanic dollar store and a graffitied alley. The website gave us photos of the interior, along with a wide range of reviews. Raters praised the restaurant for its intimate atmosphere, exquisite vegan rolls, and fresh udon. We entered the restaurant hungry, and were seated promptly while Julian Casablancas’ howled in the background. The restaurant is owned by a mother-daughter team, and we were served by the mother who kindly explained dishes. The menu is overwhelming, but I tried an aged tofu and vegetable salad with miso dressing and thin soba noodles as decoration. I also had a California roll with fresh crab legs and veggies, along with a small bowl of purple rice. We also tried the udon, which was by far the best udon I have ever had. You could taste every element of the broth: ginger, salt, and hints of soy. Not to mention the noodles were perfectly chewy. The only draw back to this place is the cost. The udon was over twice the price of what we spent elsewhere ($18) and rolls were upwards of $6.00. Minako also has its share of bad reviews, and has been characterized as ”a conceptual art project curated by wanker-artists.” Yelp has served as a hit or miss tool used to scope out possible good times in SF, or anywhere across the globe. Reading each entry, you begin to analyze the writer and question whether or not they are credible. The writers aren’t reliable food critics, and you have to trust that the food is ten times better than the amateur pictures would have you believe. Yelp can sometimes be too hard to analyze that it makes me want to just explore the city myself and stumble upon things. But in a place as expansive as San Francisco, it can serve as a compass for finding hidden gems like Minako Organic.
* Best photo, taken from Yelp
By Emma Rogers
Having a friend who works as a wholesale rep I usually get the scoop about sample sales around the city. On Wednesday night I was eating a pork belly taco at Big Star (to be reviewed soon, trust) and ran into one of my friend’s colleagues who told me about two simultaneous sales at Grand and Leavitt happening the next day. Fighting a bad cold with pork and whiskey, an old Irish remedy learned from my grandmother, I only half listened to his pitch to get me to check out the sales. The next day my friend posted the addresses of the sales on Twitter and I decided that having the details on screen in front of me was the tipping point.
Lines represented included: Tulle, Alternative Apparel, Erica Weiner, Toppin, Mikko, Gentle Fawn, and a lot of others that I didn’t spend very much time digging through. After making two rounds each at both showrooms I was able to find a celery and white striped Mikko scarf for $10 and a plaid Tulle jacket for $34, see link below.
Tulle Plaid Scalloped Yoke Jacket, snagged for $34, original price $108
by Meredith Adams-Smart
Three big releases from three of the more popular indie groups (Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, and Animal Collective) have taken up a lot of space in |unintentionally| squeezing out some of the more catchy, chord driven, jump on your bed tunes that have seen releases in 2009. Seattle’s BOAT falls under that such category - their lyrics relate simple tales of hurling down Interstate 5, struggling to find coffee on We Want It! We Want It!, and generally dealing the rainy climate on God Save The Man, Who Isn’t All That Super. BOAT hint at Pavement influences with their slacker ‘tudes, yet a more appropriate comparison aligns them with the likes of The Unicorns. Indeed, BOAT’s (Do The) Magic Centipede comes off as a striking companion to I Was Born (A Unicorn), parenthesis included although, sadly, the drinks to help coax you into singing along are not.
I’m a kind of data junkie but I wasn’t always one. In undergrad and graduate school I studied the least ‘data’ friendly of academic disciplines: religion. My life was spent reading and writing papers and analyzing the cultural production of texts. Blah blah *insert euphemism for overly intellectualized b.s. here* In my post-grad school life, I have worked and currently work as some kind of Excel chart making, data analyst and I love it. The beauty of number crunching is its simplicity: the margin of error for Foucault quoting and critical theory infused analysis is practically non-existent. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Michael Foucault but sometimes the b.s. levels are little too high.
More important than data analysis is data representation. Data representation is key: What is the best way to visually represent x to an audience of y? I love great data visualizations but more importantly, I love it when data junkies use their skills to have a little fun with pop culture like the example above. Randall Munroe, a data junkie, has created “some interesting (and humorous) graphics describing the paths that characters in movies (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Primer) intertwine.” Dude, basically plotted out what happens to characters in movies. The Lord of the Rings diagram is quite impressive, even if it’s totally nerdy.
The 12 Angry Men diagram is my favorite. I feel sort of inspired to something similar with this blog and my social media behaviors. On second thought, maybe that’s a super lame idea.
-Posted by Christina D.
The Design Observer Group has become one of my favorite blogs. Period. Authored by some truly intelligent and talented people, the posts of the DOG blog are always as insightful as they are visually stunning. While doing my daily industry reading via my Google reader, I read John Gall’s (art director for Vintage and Anchor Books) post about redesigning the book covers of Vladimir Nabokov. Nothing makes Christina happier than a combination of graphic design and dead Russian writers!
“Every so often, a dream project lands on your desk. Here’s one: redesign Vladimir Nabokov’s book covers. All twenty-one of them. Let me rephrase. Every so often the most daunting project of your entire life arrives on your desk.”
The following are two of my favorite covers from the complete series:
How I found Gall’s post or more aptly, how I was introduced to the DOG blog:
The Short of It: Me-> Daily Industry Reading Via Google Reader-> RSS Feed from D.O.G. Blog-> Gall’s Post.
The Long of It: Joy Olivia Miller, a former of colleague of mine at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , posted an article by the D.O.G. on her tumble blog which showed up in my Facebook Newsfeed. After reading the article in the notes section of her profile, I then spent some time on the D.O.G. website. I fell in love, added the RSS feed to my Google reader and now read the writers’ brilliant posts from the comfort of my RSS reader via my iPhone.
And this, my friends, is the art of citing your sources.
-Posted by Christina D.
Paul’s work is interesting and visually striking. His work has a kind of nostalgic, almost timeless feel to it. It reminds of events and people I can’t quite place but who are familiar nevertheless.
Anyway, I am a sucker for travel photography like that of Octavious’ “The Things I Saw From JFK to SFO” series. Each time I am on an airplane I attempt to photograph my views but my photos never come out as bold or striking as Paul’s. Depressing, really. All that time spent pressed up against the plastic interior of the plane and not a damn photo to show for it. On the local level, Paul’s series, Montrose Harbor, is a great take on the harbor that is a 15 minute walk from my apartment in Uptown.
How I found Paul’s work:
Tumbler JeSuisPerdu blogged about Paul’s “Montrose Harbor” series from someplace in NYC. I read Paul’s posts in my Tumblr dashboard. After clicking on Winslow’s (Jesuisperdu) post, I spent some time on Paul’s site where I discovered his “JFK to SFO” series. It took a 2O year old tumbler in NYC to connect me, in Chicago, with Paul, who is also based in Chicago.
Breakdown: JeSuisPerdu (NYC) -> Me (Chicago) via Tumblr -> Paul (Chicago).
-Posted by Christina D.