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Freeloading: A Chat With Greenpoint Author Chris Ruen

You may think that internet piracy is so 90s, but Greenpoint author Chris Ruen’s new book Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Hunger For Free Content Starves Creativity makes you think twice before you steal music online. I said it – stealing. As such, the book is a great conversation (and argument) starter, as it aims to establish the relationship between consumers and artists in an age of internet disconnect.

Tonight 12/5 at 7pm, Chris Ruen will participate in a discussion with David Byrne called Music and Copyright in the Digital Era at New York Public Library or as the Village Voice puts it the two will Explain Exactly, Specifically, and Definitively Why Illegally Downloading Music Makes You A Huge Asshole.”

Before David Byrne got an interview, Chris chatted with Greenpointers at the Triple Decker. While the waitress gave Chris a hard time for not finishing his coffee, he explained that the foundation of the book is based on first hand accounts by many now famous musicians, like Frankie Rose, JB Townsend (Crystal Stilts) and Aaron Harris (Islands), whom he met while working at the Greenpoint Coffee House in 2006, the kind of place with a “customers can be wrong attitude.”

Rationalize it all you want, Chris has heard all the arguments, “bands don’t make money anyway; greedy record labels do,” “starving artists are better artists,” “bands make money on touring and merchandise.” The excuses go on and on but in the end “freeloading,” as he sugar coats it, is stealing and at some point he believes you do have to confront people and ask, “do you think you are entitled to this stuff?” Continue reading

Category: Art/Music, Culture, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pick A Card: Goodfoot

On my daily business card trolling I was attracted to this bright pink card that said “Goodfoot” on the front with a pirate on the back and a bunch of words – usually a turnoff. Upon further inspection, Goodfoot is an editorial copywriting service, so all them words make sense.

Logging onto the website, I was greeted with that pink peg legged pirate. I am no web designer, but there was awfully a lot of white empty space next to the web pirate before I can get down to “the skinny,” as one of her cute roll over web buttons reads.

On her “who the heck” page she writes: “My passion for language inspires me to think big thoughts, like why certain foods are synonymous with insanity (bananas, nuts, crackers), and which punctuation is best for e-mailing happy faces.” I like this lady. Among her copy editing service tasks she can fix flawed logic and do fact checking.

I guess it isn’t safe to assume she is a girl, but all that pink?  Further stalking proves me right, but I have to go to linked in to find out; she doesn’t reveal her identity on her website and the contact page has one of those email forms, which make me grumble. Just tell me who you are! If you are going to be editing all my perverted love letters, we should establish trust from the start.

I think this is a great service. Nowadays, with this whole interweb thing, we rush through writing and depend on autocorrect, which does strange yet beautiful things to words, like when my phone was correcting photo to porno. “Sorry boss, I can’t make that meeting because I will be on a porno shoot.”

Maybe I should find out what her hourly rates are since I depend on faithful readers to correct some of my more idiotic mistakes. Like my post calling for contributors, I explained that as editor I would be correcting grammer. It’s spelled grammar. Thanks Sherry!

As she explains, “to write or even speak English is not a science but an art.” Agreed. And I have seen some crappy art, so if you need to write something important, something life changing, this service is invaluable. You can’t tweet your way into a new job or a publishing company, or can you?

Category: Services | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Michael Ian Black & Meghan McCain at Word

This week I’ve spent my morning commute time on the B62 reading Michael Ian Black’s new memoir You’re Not Doing It Right and laughing out loud with impunity. You see, Black’s new book inspires this kind of public behavior. Thoughtful, incredibly honest, and hilarious all at the same time, you will most likely see yourself in many of the chapters with titles like “I Love You Two” (about taking the dive into your first big time committed relationship)  and “F*** You, Alan Alda” (about questionable 1970s parenting practices). This sketch comedy artist, actorpop culture commentator, and writer known for his deadpan delivery actually does have emotions, conflicting ones he explores with great humor.

I stopped in at Word Brooklyn this past Wednesday night where Black sat down with conservative blogger/Twitterer Meghan McCain  (not a typo) to talk about this book and the one they are currently writing together, America, You Sexy Bitch. I asked Black a few questions before the event.

HWF: This is the kickoff for your book tour, right?
MIB: Essentially, yes. I did a small thing last night in New Jersey, but I’m not counting it.

HWF: Why choose Word?
MIB: My publicist picked it, I had nothing to do with it [Note to self: Writers with publicists don't organize their own book tours]. But I wish I could take credit for it, it’s a lovely bookstore. I think she picked it because it’s just a good, indie bookstore.

HWF: Do you have a connection to Brooklyn?
MIB: I’ve shot a lot in Greenpoint. I shot my series Stella here so I’ve spent a fair amount of time here.

Heidi: You’ve pulled off so many different things in your career — sketch comedy, acting, you’ve written books. Why title your newest book You’re Not Doing It Right?
MIB: The book is less about my career, it has nothing to do with my career, and everything to do with my marriage, and being a father and feeling somewhat incompetent in those pursuits, and I don’t often recognize the person who is living the suburban life that I am living. I sort of envisioned myself living in some place like Greenpoint, and you know, having sex with hipster girls well into middle age, possibly until I’m elderly. In which case I would have sex with my caregiver. I did not imagine that I would be married now thirteen years, two kids, living in the suburbs, driving a BMW, and moreover, loving it. Loving that sort of yuppie
lifestyle that I despised so when I was growing up.

Heidi: So in writing your book, what did you learn about how you ended up there?
MIB: I learned that all the steps I’ve taken in my life in the personal realm have belied the image I had for myself as this bohemian nomad. I never was that even though I desperately wanted to be that. I envisioned myself as something other than what I really am, which is a kind of monogamous homebody. This process brought this to the fore, that I am the most conventional conservative domesticated person that I know. And it’s sort of nice to embrace that.

Heidi: There’s a chapter of your book called “I Hate My Baby”. Can you tell me about it?
MIB: So yeah I hated my baby because he was colicky, and miserable, and consequently I was colicky and miserable as a result of his existence. I don’t know that I was emotionally prepared for fatherhood. I don’t know that anybody is emotionally prepared for parenthood. Particularly when it is so unpleasant right out of the gate. There are people who talk about their angelic babies and we didn’t have one of those. We had a nightmarish hellion. So for months it was just sleepless night after sleepless night, as he would just wail and bemoan his fate, and there was nothing we could do to alleviate that, and that thought “I hate my baby” was in my head ninety percent of the time.

Heidi: You reveal a lot in this book. Do you think it will change people’s perceptions of you going forward?
MIB: I don’t know how other people will see me. It certainly will and has affected the work I’m interested in producing. At least right now.  I find that mining my own shit is helpful creatively and it’s interesting to me not so much because I’m interested  in myself, but because I think the lessons that are applicable to me are applicable to everybody. I think I can be illustrative of how to do that. Who knows. I still feel like most of the time, I’m not doing it right.

If you want to laugh during the work day follow Michael Ian Black on Twitter.
Read more about him here.

Category: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 0 Comments