Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011
by PopMatters Staff

There are some pretty massive names atop the lineup this year, with Eminem, Coldplay and Foo Fighters as the top of the bill headliners. We’re happy to see PopMatters faves Cee-Lo Green, Lykke Li and Ryan Bingham on there. Here’s the initial list of booked artists…



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Thursday, Feb 24, 2011
A quick bit of the steady decline of music sales.

The music industry is dying. Heard that one lately? You can debate that endlessly, but one thing is certain: the record industry of the last 100 years is coming apart at the seams. Vinyl sales have been steadily escalating (great news!), but those sales combined with all other current mediums (CDs, digital downloads, and yes, cassette tapes) are not making up the ground of the bloated profits once enjoyed in the 1990s. The folks over at Business Insider released two fairly convincing graphs to document this startling decline. The first graph shows that overall sales are down 45% from their peak. However, after they published this one reader noticed that something was missing: inflation. The second graph represents something closer to reality, when adjusted for inflation. Once that is factored in, things are a lot worse than assumed. Since their peak in the late ‘90s, record sales are down a whopping 64%, further bolstering the reality that musicians today have to look elsewhere for sustainable revenue streams. Consider it this way: Eminem topped last year’s sales with 3.4 million. Rewind to 2000. The number one album that year, ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” sold 9.9 million. The biggest question facing the music industry in 2011 is how to actively build new business models that can counter the steady decline of recorded music purchases.



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Friday, Jul 23, 2010
What happens when a notoriously hateful religious group takes their act to Comic-Con? Dozens of clever counter-protest signs from the Comic-Con crowd.

Fred Phelps’ notorious Westboro Baptist Church, the folks who bring their hateful signs and protests to events like military funerals, decided that they were going to take their act to Comic-Con this year. The result: exactly four Westboro protesters showed up while hundreds of Comic-Con attendees bearing dozens of hilarious signs showed up in counter-protest. See all the pics at Comics Alliance.



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Thursday, Jul 22, 2010

Hole’s Courtney Love has found fashion; she recently authorized a new fashion blog. Titled “What Courtney Wore Today”, the blog includes myriad pictures, cartoons, and brief write-ups by unknown persons, Love’s associates presumably. Representative entry: “Note the perfectly aligned Illamasqua rouges! Lashings of blushes! How fab…. is there really an age where one grows too old to use rouge? We doubt it…Also, couture knickers (we know what they cost so they had better be) by Agent Provacatuer!” 


Love’s fashion blog is most fascinating, dare I say insightful, because it prominently displays the amount of work that is necessary to make or, again, fashion a particular type of image. There may be an immediate contradiction with Love on this topic, though. For the last decade or so, Love has seemingly been inspired by a lack of fashion or artifice; the inclination to be nude or grossly anti-fashion has thus dominated her. A striptease-like routine has been part of her formula for some time.


Tagged as: courtney love
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Thursday, Jun 24, 2010
"Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle" / The Museum of Art and Design / New York / May 13 - August 15, 2010

Casual cyclists and confirmed bike fanatics alike will appreciate (and yes, probably drool over) this spare, beautifully curated exhibition featuring handbuilt bicycles. 


Bike builders include Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles based in Portland, OR, Italian designer Dario Pegoretti, and Peter Weigle of JP Weigle Cycles in Lyme, CT. 


The bicycles shown are gorgeous (luscious powder coats, hand-tooled leather seats) but also represent technical innovation in the shape of ultra-lite frames, unique cargo solutions, and specially designed off-road tires. The exhibition carries a healthy dose of whimsy: a favorite piece is the Delilah Sue tricycle, designed by White for his young daughter. It isn’t difficult to see why Vanilla Bicycles currently has a five-year-long waiting list. 


Bespoke reminds us that bicycles can serve many functions. They’re an extension of personality, a purely practical way to get around town, or a statement about energy consumption. Yet above all, this collection of bikes represents the most appealing aesthetics in two-wheeled design.


[Gallery]


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