am liking the new arcade fire album. I was a bit disappointed by the last one even though it got great reviews. It just sounded too much of the same but then again I also didn’t give it much of a chance so there is a strong likelyhood I’ll be eating these words one day. Anyways, this new one is good. Same same but different.
Oh MAN I’m dropping the ball big time on music mondays. Even if I don’t get one in on a monday, I hereby vow NEVER to let one week pass without uploading something. Even if I have to ______________ by ________________ and ______________ bananas.
A couple weeks ago my friend sofie and I casually stumbled upon this community printmaking shop sponsored by Levi’s Strauss and Co. in the mission, Now, I know what your thinking. Corporate sponsorship? pffft.. how could anything sponsored by a big name company be worthwhile? But after walking in and checking out the set-up I was instantly sold. The 2-month temporary pop-up shop is operating in an expansive retail space on Valencia street that had been sitting empty since 2002. For 2 months they’ll have special events 3 times a week with Sundays open to public for free use of their printing equipment (supplies included). That includes letterpress, silkscreening and typesetting. No experience necessary, you just have to submit an informal proposal for the kind of project you’d like to undertake. Suffice to stay I’ve been stewing on my proposal for the last 2 weeks now.
My analysis: So normally I’d have a fair amount of skepticism for such a display of big-company-throwing-money-at-coolness, but there’s many ways that this is distinct from your average marketing exercise from the likes of Nike.
Levi’s is a San Francisco company; their original plant was operating at 14th and Valencia until 2002. Plus of course, jeans were worker’s attire before becoming the greatest American sartorial export, making both the location/community and the “work” theme are not just genuine but resonant.
The overall feel is much more public, conversational, accessible, educational and positive than it is branded-marketing-pushy. Which I hope is a sign of changing attitudes towards marketing in general.
In an era of “new media” being everyone’s buzzword, it’s heartening to see this embrace of old media, of “getting one’s hands dirty.” Though no doubt twitter, facebook, blogs (not to mention jumbotrons) will amplify the message, the media in question isn’t apps and Mafia Wars but real ink, screens and presses — newspapers, broadsheets, posters, books, public propaganda. Both letterpress and arts education are under constant threat of disappearance and this public celebration is welcome. It’s easy to see how this will translate into other workshops: photography and music have both gone digital as surely as printing, and a space for darkrooms with, say Jonathan Kozol or for 8-track masters with Jack White is a beautiful idea.
I have no reservations saying that this workshop is a fantastic thing, and I’m hoping that it becomes the textbook example of corporate social responsibility, (cultural edition). I am excited about the next two months and only sad that it won’t become a permanent fixture of the Valencia corridor. After August, they’ll close back down, some version of the Slanted Door will move back in, and a new Levi’s workshop centered around photography will open in New York for two months.
As an aside, I cannot believe I didn’t know about stefan sagmeister speaking. Which took place ONLY 4 days ago!!! of course, i am always slow on the draw when it comes to stuff like this. How many times have I missed out because I just wasn’t paying close enough attention.? :(