Three Cool Things from this Summer

I took a much needed month vacation from social media, blogging and pretty much all emails through August, and am just back, feeling refreshed and ready to share things again. Ok, I actually left Twitter and LinkedIn for two months and won’t be back, they just don’t do it for me, and I left Facebook and other social media (including reading any blogs) for August, and might leave Facebook for good as well. But I didn’t leave Instagram, it was the one thing I enjoyed using while on vacation, and frankly, I wish it was the only social media anymore (though the new ads suck bad).

Anyway, here’s a few things I enjoyed towards the end of my vacation and/or am enjoying now:

hope Hope for Film by Ted Hope

This is no big discovery, as Ted has quite a following and there’s been a fair bit of press, but given that his new book was launched during the doldrums of August when no one pays attention to anything, I thought it might be worth plugging Ted’s new book for anyone who missed its launch. Ted has been a leader in the indie film sector for decades, and has been writing prolifically about indie film for the last few years. Given his numerous, insightful posts about the industry, I was skeptical I would learn anything new, but Ted did a great job of speaking less to the future of film (his usual posts), and more about his time in the industry from his first days to his hopes for the future. This look back at what he loved, what kept him involved and what he learned while producing some of the best indie films out there is truly a must-read for anyone interested in the industry, especially up and coming producers, of which we need many more who can fill Ted’s shoes (and those of his contemporaries like Christine Vachon, et al) and help make sure masterful films are made and seen today. Full disclosure: I am friends with Ted and we have been business partners on a couple of things, but I can honestly say, I loved reading this on my vacation and would recommend it regardless.

USOpenSessions-IBM-James_MurphyUS Open SessionsOne of the more interesting uses of data right now has to be the James Murphy US Open Sessions – Murphy, the LCD SoundSystem frontman, has worked with IBM and the US Open to develop an ongoing music site that utilizes data from the US Open tennis matches to make interesting music. The system has an algorithm – that I can’t begin to understand in spite of listening to it while watching several matches – that combines weather, fan sentiment, the actual playing going on, and more to make music. But it’s not all data, as the Guardian explains, Murphy had a lot of artistic input into the sound:  “Murphy is collaborating with a developer called Patrick Gunderson, creative director at Tool, who devised an algorithm to turn tennis plays into sound. With this software in place, Gunderson built a synthesiser-like interface – something Murphy could use to design and tweak each component of the music.” Definitely worth listening to as the US Open plays out for the next week.

 Art Everywhere

IMG_1099 This technically ran through August and is over now, but luckily, in NYC at least, the MTA is pretty slow to remove subway and bus ads and artwork, so I am still running into art daily. Art Everywhere was a project modeled on a similar initiative in the UK where five museums picked samples of historic/important American art, and then allowed the public to vote on their favorites online. The 58 “winners” were shown online, on billboards, in subways, and various places around the US. While some of the selections were a bit populist, these were much better billboards to see than the norm. Check the (horrendous to use) map on their site, or just look in any station. Some are simply billboards, but a few were cleverly placed in locations such as along stairwells, etc.


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