Ah, street food. You can’t walk past a major city square without the wafting aromas from a mini United Nations of food trucks offering cuisine from around the world. Sure, the food can sometimes be hit or miss, but for a gourmet on a budget, there’s nothing quite like discovering an exciting new street vendor who’s sure to get lots of repeat business.
And that’s where VendrTV comes in. Created two years ago by host Daniel Delaney and his friends, VendrTV is a webseries highlighting the best of street food. Starting in New York, and making their way across the country, the episodes feature different street vendors in different cities, profiling everything from the more traditional street fare, such as hot dogs and falafels, to more exotic food you’d never expect to see on a food truck, like sushi and pie.
But possibly the most impressive thing about VendrTV is that it’s still produced entirely by Delaney and friends. The high production values make it seem like something you’d see on Food Network, yet it’s funded by donations from fans, as well as a small online store. And not only does the series offer great tips on where to eat, it also gives some much-needed exposure to the local businesses. My old stomping ground of Austin, Texas is featured quite prominently, and as a city that prides itself in supporting local business, creative street vendors have become ingrained in the city’s culture.
In addition to the videos (which are also available as a podcast), the site also features other things like recipes from some of the vendors, and a blog. One recurring aspect of the blog I found particularly interesting is $10 a Day, in which different contributors take the challenge to find the best street food they can for breakfast, lunch and dinner—all for $10 or under. And yes, it is possible. And it’s something I want to try myself.
Posted in Pulse
(above comic strip by Evan Dorkin)
Happy Hanukkah! And what better week to celebrate Jewish New Yorkers by showcasing Heeb Magazine? Started in Brooklyn (where else?) in 2001, it continues a long line of cheeky, self-deprecating Jewish comedy for a young, urban Generation Y audience.
And seriously, I mean it when I say self-deprecating. For example, for people who want to get involved in the publication, there’s a section titled “Join the Conspiracy.” The magazine covers arts, music, politics and culture, though the subjects don’t necessarily have to be Jewish themselves. You can find an article about Kanye West’s new album right next to one about an expensive, “swanky” menorah.
It’s not all silliness though. One informative article, titled “Jews Aren’t Actually Racists: Who Knew?” discusses the little-known interactions between Jewish Americans and Native Americans in the Old West. They also include sections called “Chosen Books,” “Chosen Music” and “Chosen Video,” where they feature a profile on various musicians, books or videos.
There’s also the “Heeb 100,” which features short articles on “Jews (and half-Jews) who are making a difference” in fields such as art, music, comedy, activism and entrepreneurship. Another semi-regular installment is “Gratuitous Jewess.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: photos and a profile of a rather beautiful young Jewish woman, though more than just a pretty face. The current honoree, Leyla Leidecker, is a boxer, filmmaker and model.
And it’s really not just a magazine. Heeb also organizes plenty of events: On December 21, RADAR contributors Molly Crabapple, Dean Haspiel, and Jeff Newelt will be among the performers at Heeb Storytelling: The Live Comics Edition at Joe’s Pub, where the creators will project live, graphic novel style comics on a big screen. EVENT INFO And on Christmas Eve, Heebonism, at Fontana’s, promises to bring “Jews and gentiles together in celebration of that nice Jewish boy’s 2010th birthday.” EVENT INFO
That last event probably sums up Heeb Magazine the best: you don’t have to be Jewish to get a kick out of it, but it helps to be in on “the conspiracy.”
Posted in Pulse comic event music news storytelling
On April 6, 2009, New York-based artist David Horvitz, known for his quirky DIY projects, posted a picture of himself with his head in a freezer on his Flickr account. Under the photo read:
That same day, a friend of Horvitz posted another photo using the same freezer. Two weeks later, 241543903.com was created, with the intention of “Experiencing a MEME in the Making.”
For those of you who don’t know, a meme is essentially a unit of culture (weird way of putting it, I know, but think along the lines of a video, an idea, or a catchphrase) that spreads, in this case via the Internet, and essentially goes viral. With 241543903.com, Horvitz and friends attempted to document this idea as it evolved into a meme.
And, oh, did it ever. By January 2010, there were over 100 photos with the caption “241543903” on Flickr alone. In today’s world, with Lady Gaga videos getting millions of views on YouTube within mere minutes, 100 photos may not seem like a lot. But this project, remember, is not just Internet-based. These 100+ people found out about the project, left their computers, physically stuck their heads into their freezers, took photos, and posted them online. When looked at from that perspective, 100 is quite a lot of people.
And that was just in January. Since then, the project has expanded from Flickr to other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Tumblr. And if you do a Google image search of 241543903 right this second, over 5,000 photos show up, all of different people, all around the world, sticking their heads in various freezers.
My favorite part about the project, aside from its undeniable success at achieving what it set out to achieve, is the variety of photos that people took. I love that the project is very straight-forward (“take a picture with your head in the freezer”) and yet open to endless interpretations. Here are a few of my favorite 241543903 pictures (I’d love to see the customers’ reaction to the person who stuck his head in a freezer at the supermarket), but, as you know, you can do a Google search and find which ones you like best.
241543903.com was created a year a half ago, but it’s still very active. The blog is filled with video documentation of the project, video responses from participants, and updates from the creators. Also check out knowyourmeme.com, a site that documents various memes around the globe, including the Heads in Freezers (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/241543903). Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire you to create your own meme, and maybe one day it’ll catch on and Radar will do a Pulse feature on it. One can only dream.
And don’t forget to stick your head in the freezer!
Posted in Pulse photography
In August of 2003, Shelley Jackson began a new project, simply dubbed “Skin”. This project in particular took what we consider to be “literature” to its most abstract. What Jackson calls a “mortal work of art” began with her putting out a open call for volunteers to be a part of this living experiment in literature. She was searching for people who would tattoo a single word, anywhere they please on their bodies, with the only restriction being that it must be in black ink, in a “classic book font”.
First, people from around the world reached out to her online, (grossing a total of over 21,000 emails worldwide), and then they would receive a release form. After signing off on the project, the individuals would receive their word, sometimes just a letter, (a, I, etc.) and now it was up to them to get the tattoo. Upon documenting the tattoo, and submitting that documentation, the individual would receive a full copy of the full text. This work would never be published to the public. So far, 553 words have been tattooed, with 1445 more volunteers who have already been released, awaiting their day in the tattoo chair.
Shelley needs 646 more volunteers to complete the story. The literature world has never seen a project of this scale, nor this level of user-based interactivity. Not only will this story only exist on the bodies of the volunteers, acting as their pages, but it can only last as long as they do. In this writer’s opinion, Shelley Jackson has created an entirely new concept, and therefore changed the face of what we know as “print” forever. As a matter of fact, I am considering joining this group of volunteers, becoming a page, and forever being a part of this human literature experiment.
Shelley is now teaching at the New School in the Graduate Writing Program.
If you are interested if becoming part of the project visit http://ineradicablestain.com/.
Posted in Pulse event news storytelling
Jason Polan is truly, the new wave of Renaissance Man. Michigan born, Jason moved to New York City and quickly made himself an institution. It began, with a New Yorker Cartoon that ran March 6th of 2006. By the next year, Jason had begun a multitude of projects. First, there was the Taco Bell Drawing club. This is where at first – Jason and a few friends would simply meet up and do some drawing at a Taco Bell restaurant. Now, this has spread all across the country. They even have tote bags. At the same time he started The Hand Project, a series in which he photocopied his hand in different positions which he then sold for 20 dollars a piece. However for a considerably larger sum Jason will come to your house, shake your hand, write up a certificate of authenticity for the encounter, and take a photo of the two of you with the certificate.
Now Jason has taken it upon himself to draw every single person in New York. A daunting task to most so Jason made it easier for all of us. Using a regular email account anyone can send a message directly to Jason listing what street corner they’ll be on, what you’ll be wearing, and a 2 minute window for him to arrive. In case he can’t make it there in time he doesn’t want you to wait. He has recently past 8300 portraits and threw himself a party . It was called the “One Tenth of One Percent Event” (as there are 8,363,710 New Yorkers awaiting him). The drawings are black ink on paper, and simple.
To the trained eye they resemble the work of long time New Yorker Magazine Cartoonist Roz Chast. Jason has also had a published New Yorker cartoon, bringing him to one of the highest planes of notoriety a New York artist can achieve.
Currently, Jason has 6 web sites operating covering all of his work. He also maintains a personal site. Not only is his work versatile, but also it is accessible. One day Jason walked through the Museum of Modern Art in January of 2005, and drew each and every piece in the building. This book is now sold through his website. The deluxe edition you ask? For $100 dollars, Jason will meet you at the museum, give you a personal tour, and buy you a hot dog or a pretzel afterwards. This is the new approach to art. Instead of cloaking himself in anonymity, Jason is readily available. Email him. He’ll write back.
His work can be found at JasonPolan.com
Posted in Pulse comic storytelling street art