Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

The mystery within

Friday, August 8th, 2014
The mystery within

I’m staring at a mug I bought at a craft show in 2008. The potter has glazed the outside in muted blues and greens and let the speckled brown surface show in faint rows. It is a serviceable piece.

Inside, the colors burst from the sides, washing over circles like watercolor, changing hue and depth as they flow.

I have a bowl like that. We use it to hold fruit. On the outside it looks utilitarian. On the inside, the colors explode. We see the outside daily. We notice the inside only when we clean the bowl.

Why do potters hide their best work? Comments are open.

The World According to Ringo

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
The World According to Ringo

Every year or so Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band hit the road to bring cheer and nostalgia to boomers and their kids. After 17 studio recordings under his own name and a career spanning more than 50 years, the former Beatle has amassed a large catalog of songs that reveal a philosopher as well as a lovable mug. Finger bling and peace signs aside, the guy delivers some sobering wisdom for those who look beneath the mirth. It may sound simple, ordinary, even natural, but practicing his philosophy is more complex than it sounds.

Here’s what I’ve learned since I saw him sitting there, a generation ago on the Ed Sullivan Show:

  • Have a heart. “Maybe I haven’t always been there just for you,” he sings on “Weight of the World.” “Maybe I try but then I got my own life, too.” Ah, remorse and regret, the terrible twins who visit the conscientious all too often. Ringo chose career over companions when he went on tour, as many corporate road warriors do today. While acknowledging that you have to pay your dues, Ringo counsels compassion. Give yourself, and others, a break. “But no matter what you choose, choose love.”
  • Give peace a chance. “Last night I had a peace dream,” he sings in “Peace Dream.” “No need for war no more/Better things we’re fighting for.” Like efforts to minimize hunger and pain. And while he often advocates for global harmony, he also emphasizes the need for inner peace. “I’ve got to remember some days when I feel sad/Nothing lasts forever, and everything must pass,” he sings on “Y Not.”
  • Let go. So things don’t work out. “Ev’ry time I see your face/It reminds me of the places we used to go,” he sings on one of his signature songs, “Photograph.” “But all I got is a photograph/And I realize you’re not coming back anymore.” Time to leave the twins behind, along with all of the other baggage. Forgiveness helps. “It all comes down to who you crucify,” he sings in “Weight of the World.” “You either kiss the future or the past goodbye.”

Good advice for people of good will. All you have to do is act naturally.


Culture as an engine of commerce

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Culture as an engine of commerce

U.S. politicians who want to cut federal funding for NPR might read a study by the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich. Researchers there found a direct link between spending on culture and regional economic health.

The authors studied the economic growth of regions with and without opera houses. Their conclusion: regions with these cultural centers attracted residents with more training and education, leading to greater economic growth for the region as a whole.

Or in the arcane language of the study: “Proximity to a Baroque opera house is a strong predictor of the district’s share of employees with a tertiary degree.” The study is quoted in the Economix blog by the New York Times.

Now you might dismiss the parallel with public broadcasting by saying that no one moves to a new location solely to be near a radio or television station and that’s a valid point. But for affluent and well-educated citizens, proximity to sources of knowledge and culture factor almost as heavily as health care in the decision to relocate. (In a recent survey by  homebuilder Del Webb 61% said one of the top reasons for deciding where to move involves cultural and recreational amenities — a percentage point more than a favorable climate.)

Since these consumers have the wherewithal to support politicians as well as newscasters, lawmakers might reconsider using fiscal policy to drive social change.

Bavarian State Opera, Munich

Bavarian State Opera, Munich

The new Face(book) of marketing

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
The new Face(book) of marketing

If you’re a creative who wants to market your work, comScore knows where to find your audience. They’re on Facebook.

Social media continues to attract more viewers and advertisers, according to comScore’s report “The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review.” Nine out of every 10 U.S. Internet users visits a social networking site every month, accounting for 12% of all time spent online in 2010, the digital measurement firm reports in the whitepaper. Facebook leads the pack of sites that receive that traffic with nearly 154 million unique visitors last year.

Advertisers have followed, serving up 4.9 trillion display ads, an increase of 23% over 2009. Social networking publishers delivered 34% of those ads, up 11% over the previous year.

Creatives interested in marketing their work on a shoestring might want to follow the trend. As they say on Wall Street, don’t fight the tape.

comScore SM usage graph TBB