My Summer Job: Hosting the 20th Annual Air Guitar World Championships

My favorite time of year is always the end of August, when air guitarists from around the globe make a sojourn to Oulu, Finland, to compete in the Air Guitar World Championships.

I’ve been the official Master of Airemonies since 2008, an honor I can’t even imagine how I deserve. Every year gets better, and the people I meet are the biggest-hearted, warmest, most amazing people in the world, who all come to Oulu to bond over their love for rock n’ roll. This year’s title went to the talented and hilarious Russian known as, “Your Daddy.”

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Nouveau Scandinavian

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 10.41.49 AM copyI’ve spent many years traveling to Finland to both compete, and host, the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu. Lately, thanks to the new Swedish friends I’ve made thanks to Airbnb, I’ve been heading to Stockholm before/after my Finnish sojourn.

This is a short piece I wrote for Rhapsody Magazine (United Airlines first class magazine – a magazine I’ll never be able to afford to read) about the new restaurant scene in Stockholm, featuring the restaurants Ekstedt, Green Rabbit Bakery and Matstudio. (PDF Version)

 

On Being a Journalist in 2014

flaunt-logo-bigRegarding the state of journalism today, may I present this email exchange between myself, and an editor from Flaunt Magazine:

—-

Hi Andrew —

Thank you for your kind, albeit short-notice proposal to have me write 600 words for the Art & Technology issue of Flaunt Magazine. What a shame your generosity failed to include paying me.

I’m an adult, and have been working as a professional journalist for over ten years. I’m not seeking an internship. Thus, I shall pass on your offer of a “springboard for future (paying) gigs” with a magazine that feels that the quality of the writing within its pages is worth $0.

May I remind you that you sought me out, noting that you were a “big fan” of my work. Why, then, would you assume that I’d be willing to write anything, particularly something so incredibly last-minute, for PRECISELY ZERO MONEY? What on earth would possibly compel me to spend the bulk of my day researching this artist in order to conduct a phone interview with her at 9am tomorrow morning, and then compose a 600 word story for your magazine—were it not for financial remuneration?

I’m fascinated that you find it such an honor to write for your magazine, simply because it is “internationally distributed” and “award winning;” and yet, you cannot afford to pay the people who write the copy in said magazine. What sorts of awards have you garnered? The coveted, Best Magazine at Duping Poor Writers Into Working for Free award?

How is it that you spend so much money on production that you don’t have money leftover to pay writers, but then magically DO have money (I dare ask how little) once they’re no longer “first time” contributors?

If you needed samples of my work, surely you could have found them on my web site, on the New York Times* web site, or in any of the other numerous publications for which I have written over the past decade.

Best of luck finding some poor writer to exploit, for free.

-Dan Crane

*Internationally distributed and award winning!

—-

On Nov 17, 2014, at 10:37 AM, andrew stark <xxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:
Hi, Dan –

This Jill piece will run about 600 words. This is our Art & Technology Issue, which is one of our biggest and most popular issues of the year, to be featured at this year’s Art Basel Miami.

And Jill, although a reasonably short piece, will be one of our cover features.

Now the unfortunate fine print: FLAUNT is an entirely independent magazine, so most of our budget goes into production. That said, we typically don’t have enough to pay first-time contributors, but see this as a springboard for future (paying) gigs. However, FLAUNT is internationally distributed and award-winning, and widely regarded for its editorial and artwork, and I still hope you consider contributing.

Please let me know your thoughts, and I look forward to hearing back.
Thanks so much!

Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

—-

From: Daniel Crane
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:03:01 -0800
To: Admin <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com>
Subject: Re: FLAUNT/Feature

Hi Andrew,

I could probably swing that, though I suppose it depends on how long of a piece it would be for?

Also, can I ask what your rate is?

Thanks!
D

Sent from my iPhone

—-

On Nov 17, 2014, at 9:48 AM, andrew stark <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hi, Dan –
Any interest in a phone interview with artist Jill Magid tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. PST?

I know it’s short notice, but that’s often the case with magazines.

Please let me know.

Thanks so much!

Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

—-

From: Dan Crane
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:11:10 -0800
To: Admin <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com>
Subject: Re: FLAUNT/Feature

Hey there – Just checking back in on this…any updates?
Thanks!
D
_______________________
http://www.dancrane.com
@dancranehere

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 6:46 PM, andrew stark <xxxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hey!

Will keep you updated as details roll in.

Thanks!
Andrew

Sent from my iPhone

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 6:38 PM, “Dan Crane” wrote:

Hey Andrew –

Good to hear from you. My schedule’s a little tight right now, so it sort of depends on where/when and number of words?

Let me know and hopefully we can work something out!

Thanks,
D
_______________________
http://www.dancrane.com
@dancranehere

—-

On Nov 11, 2014, at 3:25 PM, andrew stark <xxxx@flauntmagazine.com> wrote:

Hey, Dan –

Big fan of your work.

I’m an editor at FLAUNT Magazine, an international award-winning arts and culture publication based in Los Angeles.

Any interest in interviewing designer Brian Lichtenberg for our upcoming issue?

Let me know, and we can hash out the details.

Thanks, man!
Andrew

A N D R E W S T A R K
P: +1 323 836 1046
xxxx@flauntmagazine.com
F L A U N T M A G A Z I N E
P: +1 323 836 1000 | F: +1 323 836 0102
1422 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

OK Go in Nylon Guys + their new video

I got a chance to interview Damian Kulash from OK GO for NYLON Guys just after he finished shooting their new video in Japan. If you can name a great band with a nicer, smarter, more creative lead singer, I’ll eat my shoe.

Here’s the piece I wrote.

And here’s their amazing new video:

 

Carsten Höller’s Cuckoo’s Nest

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The Belgian artist’s home is literally for the birds.

When I was in Sweden I had the opportunity to meet the amazing Carsten Höller, who attempted to convince me he wasn’t a “bird nerd.” I wrote about it for the New York Times’ T Magazine.

“Beautiful, no?” Höller says, pointing to a Siberian rubythroat darting around a large cage in what was once the guest room of his Stockholm apartment. The artist, known for his playful, participatory installations — tube slides that span multiple floors, rooms with giant mushrooms hanging from the ceiling — has spent the past several years filling his personal aviaries with feathered friends acquired from Belgium, Italy, Holland and Germany.

Höller also meticulously photographs his collection, tracking each bird’s development from egg to adult. “They look quite beautiful when they are older,” he says. “But in the beginning, they look like aliens.” In addition to incorporating the birds into his 2011 exhibition at the New Museum in New York, he has been making photogravures of one-of-a-kind canary crossbreeds with the Danish artist Niels Borch Jensen. “I just don’t know where it comes from,” the former agricultural entomologist says of his obsession. Certainly not his mother: “She’s like, ‘What kind is this?’ and I say, ‘I’ve told you like a hundred times, that’s a song thrush! It’s very easy to recognize!’ ”