Thursday, August 21, 2014

Librarian's Corner: Unmarketable
by: Anne Elizabeth Moore
I first heard about Unmarketable on the feminist podcast: Popaganda, produced by Bitch Media. This is the first non-fiction book that I've written about for Librarian's Corner, and I couldn't think of a better book to start with.
Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity is about just that, marketing and how it manages to creep its way into not only our everyday lives, but our underground, DIY and punk communities, that we normally try to keep so carefully anti-consumerist.

The book takes the question of selling-out to a whole new level by showing us that people don't always realize that they've sold out to companies like Nike, LucasFilm, or even Big Pharma. Whole genuinely underground art movements have sprung up (seemingly 'organically') to promote Tylenol or the release of the last (up until then) Star Wars movie. I picked this book up because I was interested in how it was possible for artists to sell-out without even realizing that they were being bought.

Living in the culture that we live in, we are constantly being marketed to. Just driving to work I'm bombarded by ads, on billboards and on the radio (seriously, doesn't anyone play music on the radio anymore?). You can't turn on a TV at home without seeing endless hours of commercials, even YouTube has been over-run by ads. And don't even get me started on corporate sponsorships. "This sunset brought to you by... Taco Bell, live mas!" Ugh. But this is all of stuff that we're aware of, what Unmarketable touches on is some of the marketing we experience on a daily basis that we might not have noticed.

The book is full of stories of marketing in unusual places and in odd campaigns. My favorite (or rather, the one I found most interesting) was the story of how Sony (of PlayStation fame) used graffiti, and yes, you read that correctly, to market its newest gaming console to the public. They took over an underground art form in order to sell a product, and to be honest, that kind of makes my skin crawl.

Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who wants to read more about artistic integrity, and this insidious ways that corporations will try to pay for it. Anyone who's interested in marketing, and the ways in which we are all vulnerable to it. Anyone who wonders how the puck movement, of all things, could be co-opted by Big Pharma. Do you fit any of these descriptions? Than pick up a copy of Unmarketable today! You can't afford NOT to! (See what I did there? Marketing.)

So that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this month's Librarian's Corner. We'll meet here again on September 21st! Pick up a copy of Unmarketable if you'd like, and if you guys do read it, I would love to hear what you thought! Leave a comment here and share your thoughts about the book (or any book for that matter, I'm always looking for recommendations for what to read next!). Stay tuned for more of what I'm doing (there may be a cloths-making post coming in the near future).

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pennsic 43 - Recap

Whew, what a week we've had. Or really, what an intense last 3 weeks it's been! I wanted to throw together a quick post to let you all know what I've been up to all this time, and well, here it is.

Let's start with the last week in July. It was the last week of my first semester of Graduate School, and I was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But with a final due on Wednesday and a final due on Thursday (both reflective papers), it was a busy week indeed. I finally got everything turned in on time, and I was done. Nothing left to do except wait for the grades to come in. Oh, and start packing for the week-long insance camping event that we were leaving for on Sunday. Finals = done, packing, not so much.

I went to a party that Thursday night that one of my co-workers threw at her (beautiful little) house, and we all played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. Let's just say I heard a few things I never thought I would hear coming our of my coworkers mouths! (It's a fun game, for terrible people)

Friday I worked, and then we took the day on Saturday to get ready for our week-long camping trip. I know, packing for a week's vacation in one day is really smart... Anyway, we got everything packed up and ready to go for an early departure on Sunday morning.

Okay so, before we continue, I should take a minute to tell you where we went. Remember like a million years ago, when I posted about going to some crazy event called Pennsic? Yup, we did it again! Actually, my husband's only missed 1 year in the last 10, but this was only my second time going. And we both had an absolute blast!

We got to spend time with old friends and (to me at least) new friends. I got to meet a lot of the people that I've been hearing my husband talk about for years, and they were all exactly as I had imagined them. Wonderful, fun, funny and charming people.

I could go through a day-by-day re-cap of everything that we did at Pennsic, but I don't want to bore you. I've already put my family and friends through that kind of torture, and I don't want you nice folks to have to suffer through it as well. So let me give you the condensed version.

Sunday: Un-packing, setting up the tent (which leaked the whole time, greeting people, then a night of amazing performances.

Monday: Field battle, then our first classes of the week (including one by a teacher who I remembered well from 5 years ago). Then we actually got up to the archery range to shoot our War-Points.

Tuesday: It was a fast day, so we planned ourselves a long schedule of classes, which we more or less stuck to.

Wednesday: We went to a bit of East Kingdom Court (it ended up lasting 4 hours) and then: two words, Midnight Madness! Shopping at all of the merchants! We had a blast wandering around all of the different stalls and buying way more stuff than we needed.

Thursday: More classes, then cooking all the things back in camp (including Creme Brulee on the open fire). We ended up staying up until 2 in the morning learning how to make a bow-string.

Friday: Our last day in camp. We went to a class, then packed up and helped take down the camp site. Drove home, and that was all she wrote.

We had an amazing time, hung out with friends, attended some very interesting classes (Like: Historical Uses of Poisons, for one), and made some cool things.

Not to mention got some cool things. Check it out:

A bunny fur and some beautiful hand-spun yarn

All these leather scraps for only $2!

And some lovely linen to make a few nice projects out of!
Pennsic was a blast (I think I've said that before!), and I honestly can't wait to go back next year. But in the mean time, life moves on. Back to the grind!

I'll be back next week with another Librarian's Corner, so stay tuned!