HYPOCRITE IDLER 3Q2017
September 28, 2017
To idle is to work on meaningful and varied projects — and also to take it easy. (Like Nas, “I used to hustle/Now all I do is relax and strive.”) If you’re interested in my 3Q2017 projects, please keep reading; otherwise, don’t. The title of this series of posts refers to this self-proclaimed idler’s hypocritical inability to take it easy.
TAKING IT EASY
During 3Q2017, Rob Walker and I published 25 new nonfiction narratives — the theme, this time, was ILLICIT OBJECTS — in our ongoing PROJECT:OBJECT series here at HILOBROW.
Check it out: stolen objects; things connected to sex, drugs, or general malfeasance; weapons; hard evidence of unlawful behavior; the gloriously shameful; the exquisitely offensive. What’s more, with the aid of HILOBROW friend Benjamen Walker, ILLICIT OBJECTS includes our first-ever set of audio stories: Listen to ILLICIT OBJECTS audio stories — plus a Q&A with Rob — via Ben’s THEORY OF EVERYTHING podcast!
Here’s the ILLICIT OBJECTS lineup:
Kio Stark on PEEPSHOW TOKEN | Sari Wilson on TOMBSTONE PARTS | Annalee Newitz on CAR-BOMB REMNANT | Tito Bottitta on MOONINITE DEVICE | Eric Bennett on DIRTY MAGAZINE | Natalie Kestecher on EROTIC RECORDING (audio) | Wayne Chambliss on RADIOACTIVE TRINITITE | Julian Hoeber on PIG HAMMER | Catherine Newman on HOARDED VICODIN | Josh Glenn on JAY-PEE SLUGGER | Nicole Pasulka on SHROOMS (audio) | Paul Lukas on STOLEN CORKSCREW | Shelby El Otmani on OCCULT CANDLE (audio) | Sam Dingman on HACK DOCUMENTS (audio) | Andrew Leland on GUIDE CANE (audio) | Douglas Rushkoff on LEARY’S STASH BOX | Kalila Holt on BURNT UNDERWEAR (audio) | William Gibson on RACIST BOOK | Alison Fensterstock on FUNERAL FLOWER | Julia Barton on PREGNANCY TEST (audio) | Miranda Mellis on GOLD TEETH | Katie Notopoulos on COPULATING PIGS | Ramona Martinez on STOLEN REMNANT (audio) | Wesley Stace on TOM WAITS NOTE | Mike Montiero on BO DEREK CARDS.
I’m co-founder of the semiotics-driven branding and strategy agency SEMIOVOX, based in Boston and New York. During 3Q2017, our team conducted a number of local and global projects — identifying and mapping the visual and verbal cues of, e.g., “Puerto Rican-ness,” “Health & Wellness Lifestyle,” and “Women’s Empowerment” — in order to help brands in such categories as Rum, Vitamins/Supplements, and Energy Bars strategize around package design, communications, positioning, and innovation.
In order to ensure that our audits’ insights are actionable for brand positioning, packaging, innovation, and communications, we’ve also directed qualitative research, from groups to shop-alongs — in US and global markets — and led strategic and tactical workshops with clients and agencies. SEMIOVOX co-founder Ron Rentel traveled the world; I just traveled to New Jersey.
In July, I was a speaker at SEMIOFEST TORONTO. It was a treat to rub elbows with commercial and academic semioticians from: Mexico, India, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, Bulgaria, Spain, France, Poland, Brazil, Portugal, India, Belgium, Singapore, and Argentina!
I’m the editor and publisher, here at HILOBROW. To see what we’ve been up to recently — Adam McGovern’s weekly THIS: series, Lynn Peril’s monthly PLANET OF PERIL series, Tom Nealon’s monthly STUFFED series, Brian Berger’s INTO THE GROVE series, James Parker’s KALEVALA series, curated reprints by our friends, and much more — please check out the HILOBROW 3Q2017 post.
In addition to the ILLICIT OBJECTS series (see above), in this post I’ll just mention two other 3Q2017 series I edited for HILOBROW.
During August, HILOBROW published 25 posts, by 25 contributors, in the series KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM, which analyzes and celebrates a few of our favorite neo-noir movies from the Sixties (1964–1973). Here’s the lineup:
Kio Stark on THE KILLERS | Alix Lambert on BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS) | Judith Zissman on ALPHAVILLE | Mark Kingwell on HARPER | Lynn Peril on BLOW-UP | Devin McKinney on SECONDS | Drew Daniel on BRANDED TO KILL | Luc Sante on POINT BLANK | Gordon Dahlquist on LE SAMOURAÏ | Alice Boone on LE CERCLE ROUGE | Brian Berger on COTTON COMES TO HARLEM | Adrienne Crewe on PERFORMANCE | David Levine on THE FRENCH CONNECTION | Dan Fox on GET CARTER | Melissa Gira Grant on KLUTE | Brandi Brown on SHAFT | Kaleb Horton on FAT CITY | Peter Doyle on THE GETAWAY | Sarah Weinman on HICKEY & BOGGS | Annie Nocenti on BADLANDS | Josh Glenn on CHARLEY VARRICK | Gary Groth on THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE | Lisa Jane Persky on THE LONG GOODBYE | Mimi Lipson on MEAN STREETS | Sherri Wasserman on SOYLENT GREEN.
Throughout 3Q2017, we also published weekly intallments in the series #SQUADGOALS. Here’s the lineup:
Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Judith Zissman on THE FUTURIANS | Mimi Zeiger on ARCHIGRAM | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Anindita Basu Sempere on MEG MURRY’S FAMILY | Libi Rose on THE ENIAC TEAM
I am very grateful to HILOBROW’s talented and generous contributors — many of whom have donated their fees to the ACLU.
During 3Q2017, I wrote the following HILOBROW posts.
- INTRODUCTION to the KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM series. Excerpt: “In comparison with what came before and after, neo-noir’s first wave can seem clumsy, awkward, neither here nor there; but ever since the Seventies, neo-noir’s first wave has grown ever more appealing — precisely because it is neither entirely innocent nor entirely experienced.”
- An installment, in the KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM series, on Don Siegel’s 1973 caper movie CHARLEY VARRICK. Excerpt: “[Walter Matthau’s Varrick] is stubbornly independent, of any and all “combines” — whether corporate or criminal. He’s smart enough to be scared, canny enough to outfox his foes, and takes no pleasure in pain. He’s a true maverick — he makes us proud to be American.”
- JAY-PEE SLUGGER. I contributed a post to PROJECT:OBJECT’s new volume of nonfiction stories about illicit objects. Excerpt: “Whenever I’ve handled it, over the past three decades, I’ve enjoyed imagining that I’m prepared for violence. I’ve handled it often.”
- 10 BEST ADVENTURES OF 1952: From The Killer Inside Me to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Limbo.
- 10 BEST ADVENTURES OF 1957: from The Guns of Navarone and On the Beach to For the Love of Imabelle.
- 10 BEST ADVENTURES OF 1962: from The Rose of Tibet and A Clockwork Orange to The Man in the High Castle.
Also: Three installments in my ongoing lit-whit series BEST ADVENTURES.
THE HERMENAUTIC CIRCLE is a secret(ive) society that I’ve superintended for over ten years now. I’m not at liberty to discuss the HC, but you can read what may or may not be a parodic version of our history here.
In the taking it easy department…
In July, I struggled to keep up with Max and the rest of the DOOFPASTE crew on a bicycling and swimming tour of New Hampshire’s seacoast.
In August, Susan and I spent a week at the beach — in Truro, Mass. Shown here: The ILLICIT OBJECTS beach towel designed by Joe Alterio. Also in August: Sam headed off to sophomore year at Bates.
In early September, Max and the DOOFPASTE crew unveiled their skateboard design — exclusively available via the Boston skate shop ONE GIG. Max started his junior year of high school, too.
In mid-September, I celebrated my 50th birthday (early) with a few friends and family members in Truro. And right now, as mentioned above, Susan and I are in New Orleans to attend “The Thing Is…”, a storytelling event that PROJECT:OBJECT is co-hosting. It’s going to be awesome.
On to 4Q2017!