Recently indie band Pomplamoose posted a financial breakdown of their last tour. That post has been characterized as a sob story and a cynical marketing stunt. Those characterizations miss the point (and probably reflect the attitudes of their authors more than they reflect their subject Pomplamoose, but that’s for another time.)

Pomplamoose started out on Youtube employing a format that Jack Conte called the VideoSong and defined by two rules:

1. What you see is what you hear. (No lip-syncing for instruments or voice)
2. If you hear it, at some point you see it. (No hidden sounds)

This format served two ends. First, it served to prove that this music being made on the other side of the internet was “real”, that it was being made by a real person without the benefit of “studio magic”. Second, it showed how the music made so that other musicians could replicate it. The message was “Here’s how I did it, and you can, too!”

That ethic has been present in all of Conte’s endeavors. Whether it’s writing out all a whole album in sheet music or creating a whole ‘nother Youtube channel to give his fans how-to advice, Conte has always been about helping other people be musicians. Posting Pomplamoose’s tour finances online was no different.

In the post Conte emphasized that Pomplamoose had not “made it” and instead that they were “making it”. But he wasn’t just telling. He was showing. He was showing fans how to tour so that they could try themselves. With Conte it’s as it always has been – “Here’s how I did it, and you can, too!”

Thots on this video of a woman walking thru NYC for 10 hours and getting over 100 catcalls:

– Most guys, at least most strait guys, have no idea girls get approached this much. Most guys can count on their hands the number of times women have made sexual advances on them. Guys are so starved for physical attention that the idea that you can have too much of it is so foreign as to be incomprehensible. Of course, women get far too much physical attention, and it’s overwhelming.

– She’s hot. I kinda want to see a video of an overweit, frumpy, plain-faced woman walking around NYC for 10 hours and see how it compares. Like how that clothing company made a video of (coincidentally hot) strangers kissing, and then the Guardian made a video of average looking strangers kissing each other, and it was exactly as awkward as you’d expect.

– Unless they didn’t show it, no one actually threatened her or touched her. One guy called the logo on her butt “sexy”, but other than that nothing sexually explicit happened. It’s really the fear of the unknown, of what somebody might do, that’s doing the damage.

– Any time I walk into a club I live with the fear that some bigger dude is going to beat me up just to show he can. Obviously not the same, but related.

– Now I know there are white dudes who catcall because I’ve seen it, but all the catcallers in this video are black and latino. Maybe it’s the area. I suspect catcalling has more to do with economic class than race and the poor people in Manhattan just happen to be “people of color”.

– There’s no cost to catcalling. These guys don’t have shame and apparently have time on their hands, so they don’t have anything to lose by catcalling over and over again.

– Just keep walking seems to be a pretty effective deterrent to any kind of danger for this lady. Really the catcalling is just annoying, like buzzing flies that you can’t escape from. It doesn’t seem that different in nature from being approached by panhandlers who want your money or missionaries who want your soul, just much more overwhelming because of how often it happens.
UPDATE: someone made a video of a white man walking thru NYC. There are times while talking to angry women that it seems like this is what they think being a white guy is actually like. Kind of makes me wish someone would do a real video of a white man walking in NYC for 10 hours. I can see it now: over a hundred approaches by panhandlers and Mormon missionaries.
UPDATE: I’ve come to the conclusion that none of what is shown in the original video is sexual harassment, but I can understand why once you’ve seen a wolf in sheep’s clothing you’d jump at every sheep.

cracked 3d printingFrom Cracked.com

People keep hailing this 3D printing revolution. Internet sociologist Clay Shirky said in is book Here Comes Everybody: ‚ÄúCommunications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” I don’t think 3D printers will take off until everyone has one in their home and has on-demand access to materials to print things out of.

cracked phones waterFrom Cracked.com

If toilets were sold on a subscription model instead of a one time installation, would businesses be better motivated to provide them?

As I watch the back and forth about Renee Zellweger on social media, I recall a bit from a Monty Python documentary. It was John Cleese talking about Graham Chapman coming out as gay to his fellow Pythons. Cleese said something to the effect of “He mistook our surprise for disapproval.” There are certainly people talking about plastic surgery and pressures on aging actresses and all that. Then there is just honest surprise.

When You’re the Noob in the Improv Crowd

In response to my friend and fellow improvised theater actor Karen’s post about cliques in improv.

When I started out in improv there were a lot of people I wanted to be like and wanted to like me. I thought “What can I do to make them want to talk to me? What can I do to make them invite me to play with them?” I didn’t realize I was basically saying “How can I change myself to make them like me?”

I was starting with the assumption that I wasn’t good enough. It makes sense that I did because in a lot of ways I sucked. But the secret to not sucking is not to look at other people and desperately try please them.

You have to give yourself permission to feel apprehensive and then try anyway. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and feel ashamed knowing that you’re not defeated. Give yourself permission to accept the encouragement others offer even when it’s not as much or exactly what you were looking for. Trust that when you care about other people and care about the art and care about yourself that all those puzzle pieces will swirl around in your unconscious mind until they fall into place to form a better you.

That only happened for me a few months ago, three years into doing improv. Some of the people who I wanted to like me still don’t invite me to be in their shows, but I’ve made other connections that have been invaluable.

So my advice to noobs is to trust that you have good things to offer, and trust that the universe will send fitting opportunities your way. I can’t say it’s a recipe for success, but I know that doubting yourself and doubting all the opportunities is a recipe for failure.

Also, in more practical advice, remember one cool thing from a person’s set and when you say hey to them tell them you liked it. Sometimes it’s just a compliment and you go on your way. Other times it starts a whole conversation. As a seasoned improviser I can say firsthand that even when you don’t know how to react to an enthusiastic noob complimenting you, you’re still glad it happened.

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