Thursday, November 27, 2008
Things are starting to get weird. I’ve been waking up at 8:30 to be at work at 10 am every week day — an oddity since my natural waking time is between the hours of 2 and 4 pm — working all day every Saturday and Sunday nights. Well, OK. I usually wake up at 9:30 and get to my day job at 10:30, but nobody cares… hopefully. AND, I can wear whatever the hell I want (read: NOT corporate attire).
This workforce regularity seems to suggest I am falling away from hipsterdom. If one were to examine this piece of evidence alone, it would be reasonable to predict that, within the month, I will be going to the opera and learning to cook. However, an expert researcher and blogumentary maker such as myself always looks at the larger picture, which is best illustrated by this g-talk conversation between my good friend Howard Duesterberg and myself..
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Although I do not identify with being a full-blown hipster, I openly admit that I have some hipster traits (call me a hipster chimera if you will). One trait that I currently share with the non-trustfunded hipster (which is a much more elusive breed than its well-off counterpart) is the state of being really effing broke (moneyless!). This, coupled with my inability refusal to enter into the corporate jungle or serve others prepared food with a smile on my face (even though I am not happy to be there) presents quite a predicament.
So, with less than two weeks remaining before my sublease squatting arrangement is up, I have been grudgingly doing something that many-a-hipster has been forced to do over the past few years due to the powerful financial forces of yuppienization pushing the hip out of Williamsburg: I have been looking for an apartment in Bushwick.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Click here for the link to download the audio track!
I am live-blogging on-stage at this pageant where the hipsters are in full-force!! They are intently watching me as I type into my blogging machine, though they appear to be baffled by its high-tech interface. I think, looking at this crowd… this is what Union Pool must be like. I have never been there before but if it’s anything like this I will have unlimited blog fodder for life! In fact, there are so many of them here that it reminds me of my first time at McCarren Park.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Every weeknight, clumps of hipsters set off to journey through the streets of Williamsburg. They have two goals and two goals only: find a dance party and get laid. To the untrained observer, such as a tagalong roommate who wants to know where the distant hipster is going all dressed up in the American Apparel dress she can only wear once seven times as an actual dress because it will shrink to 65% of its original size after the first wash, it would naturally follow that the reason for wanting to be in a locaiton where dancing occurs is to participate, as most humans find dancing to be an exhilarating and sometimes cathartic experience that often leads to a release of endorphins and occasionally sexual intercourse (hella endorphins!).
Monday, August 25, 2008
I don’t know if this blogging venture is getting to me or what, but this weekend, I had the most hipster moment of my entire existence.
The afternoon sun deceptively boasted an atmosphere suitable for lounging around, but my best friend had to catch a plane to France and time was of the essence. It was noon when I left for The Lodge, and I knew I would have to hurry and chug those buy-one-get-one bloody Marys so she could leave for the airport by 1:30.
The hipster moment started when we realized it was 1:45 and did not yet have the check.
“Oh shit, I have to go. I haven’t even packed yet. We have to hurry!” my friend recognized. (Note: As you may know, hurrying is not something that hipsters are capable of.)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
It was my best friend’s going away party. She was leaving for France the following morning and her roommate threw her a bash so that hopefully she would still be drunk when she got on the plane. Over the course of the night, I sought the biggest hipsters I could spot and struck up conversations, discretely studying my subjects in the wild. I anticipated encountering some awkward pauses and music elitism galore, but I never expected I would end up shooing coke-head hipster secret society members out of my friend’s bathroom.
There were four of them; three were clad in identical skin-tight black jeans and an assortment of black and white shirts and black leather jackets, and the other one (I can only assume he was the leader) was sporting a plaid button-down. When I commented on one of the jackets, the SS hipster disclosed that he got it at Beacon’s Closet for $20! During introductions, SS Hipster #1 did not hesitate to inform me of his self-importance.
“Yeah, I’m in a secret society,” he said nonchalantly, tossing his bangs.
“That’s cool,” I said. “What’s the point of it?”
“Yeah…” he started, a faraway look in his eyes, “I can’t really talk about it. You know. It’s a secret society.”
“Oh yeah, whatever. It’s fine,” I replied. “I’ll probably be tapped soon anyway.”
Later on that night they invited me to join! “Ah, sorry, I’m already in two others.”
When the party started to wind down, my friend’s roommate left for the bar with his posse, leaving just a few us to proceed with drunken goodbyes. But then all of a sudden, the hipster secret society members were back and snorting coke in my friend’s room!
I don’t know what it is about secret society hipsters that makes them think it’s OK to be the last people at a party where they don’t know anyone where even the host is trying to leave, while they wait for their friend to “use the bathroom” for 15 minutes (I fear for her nasal cavity!) but like, that’s gotta be a party foul on some level. It’s cool though because I had the opportunity to take this photo and blow their cover! In the absence of my photographer, I had to revert to my tried and true hipster-photography method of inserting a plant into the pic.
Photo by Lola Wakefield for Stuff Hipsters Don’t Like ©2008
Expert Photoshopping by Laine Stranahan for Stuff Hipsters Don’t Like ©2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I e-met this hipSTAR after our pet projects were featured 2 posts away from each other on FREEwilliamsburg.com, which I’m sure you all check daily, if not by having the page perpetually open and refreshing the screen every few minutes or so. After robbing a bodega and creating the Mr and Miss Williamsburg Pageant as retribution, Misha became an infamous icon in the hipster realm, attracting a stream of comments with such sentiments as “I hope your eggs fall out Misha,” “i hope you fall onto the L train tracks” and “lousy fucking bitch-cunt,” among others. But shrugging these comments off with skilled nonchalance, her pageant will prevail – and be attended by Gawker.
Mischa reached out to me through email and suggested that I participate in her pageant. I wrote her back, commended her for robbing the bodega (which started this whole escapade), and graciously agreed to participate. After that, we emailed each other back and forth so much that we automatically popped up on each others’ g-talk lists, and so the conversations began.
One day, Misha said, “I’d love to do an interview.” My narcissistic inclinations shining through, I asked when she wanted to interview me. Her narcissistic inclinations trumping mine tenfold, she explained that she was asking me to interview her.
In the midst of awkward confusion, Misha suggested that we “shake up the medium” and interview each other, and so this interview was born. Hopefully, it will satiate everyone’s narcissistic inclinations:
Lola: So Misha, judging from some of the comments on websites that featured your pageant, it appears that hipsters don’t like you. Do you generally find this to be true?
Misha: First of all, thank you for recognizing that I am not a hipster. Although by many accounts, that very denial would make me one.
Lola: This is correct
Sunday, August 17, 2008
As I was closing up shop after a long day’s work sitting around on Bedford Ave at 10pm tonight, I was shocked to see something that I never thought I would ever see: Hipsters assembling! On their own accord – they weren’t even tricked by advertising gimmicks or indie bands!
At first I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. There were hundreds of hipsters in the street walking alongside cop cars with flashing lights. My initial thought was that it was a parade, and the helicopter flying overhead was lighting the way as a good Samaritan effort. Like the fun parades where the cop cars and firetrucks sound their sirens real loud right before the old men in Kiwanis come out driving little cars and beauty pageant queens and the Mayor ride by in convertibles.
Well, if it was one of those parades I would have peaced out. But naturally, because I saw an abundance of hipsters, I followed the commotion right to the center.
After traveling all the way from Union Square, the hipsters had come to a halt at Bedford Avenue. Led by “Panda-monium,” the group who -get this- routinely assembles at “The Change You Want to See” building on Havemeyer, protestors (and hipsters who like costumes, woo!) attempted to relcaim the streets for the purposes of the people who live and play there as opposed to profit-seeking companies encouraging consumption. Dozens of Williamsburgers decked out in Panda masks (one even had a fluffy white belly) were leading protest chants about Pandas and, later on, police brutality.
Aside from the pandas though, there were at least 200 other people assembled around Bedford and N. 6th. I’m not really sure what made them stop there: Was that their destination or did they just get distracted by all the bars and hipster activities? I’ve heard some rumors of a police blockade, but I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure the panda-hipster group decided that if there was going to be a showdown, the Bedford stretch, AKA the Hipster Embassy, was where it must be.
At first there were only a few cops actually standing in the street. They were telling people to get out of the street with the ol’ “we really want to stop you from assembling but can’t legitimately make you until back-up arrives, so for now just stop blocking traffic – also, I’m really a nice guy!” trick. One hipster was really fucking with him, to my amusement, first standing in front of cars trying to pass and then standing directly next to the officer pretending to join in chastising the other hipsters for dancing in the streets. He was pretty tolerant though… or outnumbered and waiting. Either/or.
Then back up arrived and they were really trying to make people get out of the street. Apparently, they didn’t get the Pandamonium flier! Otherwise they would have known that that was the whole point…
Surprisingly, people did get out of the street for the most part. I would have thought the hipsters would have been lunging at the cops in herds trying to get arrested to boost their street cred. But except for a few people trying to cross the street for various reasons (one of those reasons may be just ‘because,’ but whatever), the streets became relatively clear and everyone pooled on the sidewalks. But I guess the cops felt like it would be really lame or something to just stand around in the street and not make a show of anything when they were all dressed up and ready to go. (Note: Cops value street cred wayyy more than hipsters.) Clearly, the youth of Williamsburg was a dangerous force with their panda costumes, excessive standing on the sidewalk and chants that couldn’t even last for more than 5 rounds.
The last straw for the police was when a really good song came on a boom box that this guy was holding on his shoulder a few feet away from me. The cops must have known that something sinister was taking place because there were at least 10 people dancing to the music. Given that hipsters shun all forms of dancing in public, this must have signified that they were about to form some kind of revolt.
Then a cop grabbed the guy with the boom box by the back of his arm and yanked him into the street, pushing him to the ground and making him loose grip of the stereo. Now, I know that dancing is illegal and also a sin, but I think there was excessive force used in this situation. The stereo fell, batteries flying everywhere, and when a few of his friends picked it up, a woman cop angrily lunged for the boom box and tried to further dismantle it!
Seriously, when she did that, all I could think about was that scene in Disturbing Behavior when the creepy yet heroic janitor turns on the stereos and all the robot people freak out and attack them. I guess if music-playing devices to cops are pretty much the equivalent of WMDs, I can see why she tried to attack the boom box. She was unsuccessful though, as the dancing criminal’s friends battled it out of her grip.
I was also standing next to a girl who got tackled and possibly tased for sprinkling water on her friends. She didn’t get it on the cops at all, so I don’t understand what about this behavior provoked them to the point that one of them literally ran from the street to where she was standing up against a storefront, grabbed her by the collar and threw her into the street and pounced on her along with several other burly police officers. I mean, you could tell the people around her on the sidewalk were kind of like “Spraying water is more of a hot concert thing than a riot thing but whatever?” The only thing that cop might be able to plausibly say to justify arresting that girl is that he thought the water was actually lighter fluid and she was attempting to burn down the Pizza Place behind her Do the Right Thing-style. “It’s your turn now, mothafucka!”
One potentially good thing about the people getting arrested and brutalized for absurdity though is that approximately 45 people captured everything on video. The currently sad thing about that is that there is only one YouTube video posted of it as of now.
So what have the hipsters learned tonight?
A) Hipsters will assemble if a raucous street costume party is involved, regardless of if they understand that the motivation behind the assemblage is attacking their habits of consumption.
B) Police officers have ocular implants that compel them to crush musical machines.
and C) Hipsters will (probably) use their tendencies to excessively capture life in digital form instead of experiencing it directly to contribute to the public sphere of information… in a few days, or weeks. Maybe… if they feel like it.
Video by Frooze.
PS: Girl who got arrested, I have your Yankees hat if you want it! A police officer found it on the ground and threw it towards me after they dragged you away. I picked it up, put it on backwards, and gave him the finger.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The other day, I did something awful for which I will surely be shunned throughout Williamsburg:
I got hired.
Oh, it gets worse. I didn’t just get hired at any old dive bar or bodega – I was hired by a corporation in the financial district where I would work 9-5 shifts. At such an institution, the term “disposable income” might cease to be an intangible concept like “the real world” and “success.” (Note: especially for hipsters, these things are eternally intangible.)
I don’t know what made me apply with that temp agency in the first place. Hipsters characteristically abhor employment and having self-generated income, preferring instead to spend their days complaining about their lack of adhesion to the larger world outside their college bubbles. To be a genuine hipster, I should have embraced my inner insecurity and continued spending business hours searching craigslist job postings at the local internet cafe and sleeping in my windowless room. By joining Corporate America, my hipster dilemma would cease to be a dilemma.
But as I would learn going to my job interview, the worst part about being employed by a corporation is that you automatically become excommunicated from hipster social circles. This happens for many reasons, the most prominent of which is that you are forced to do something that is intolerable in a hipster’s mind: You must wear “corporate attire.”
It was on this day I realized that while hipsters will enthusiastically faux-grudgingly wear any combination of seemingly ridiculous or unfunctional clothing and walk down Bedford Avenue with pride (or at least with a “I know I’m hot but if you look at me again I will fucking kill you” ambiance), the one thing a hipster will not wear is a suit. They are also hesitant about anything that falls under the “corporate attire” category.
For example, here is a website that attempts to market corporate attire to hipster females:
As you can see, this company is trying to market it’s clothing to both the hipster and the corporate whore, but I anticipate their plan will fail due to the prominance of the “how to” section on their site. Hipsters would never buy anything from someone who is telling them how to do something, especially if that something is dressing like a yupster.
Walking down Havemeyer at 8:00 am (AM!!! Note: This is a hipster’s deepest REM sleep time), the streets were empty save a few hipsters in suits. If you think that the disposition of a hipster is generally distraught, seeing the agony on the faces of the few hipsters whoring themselves out to Corporate America, onlookers would surely assume they were on their way to a concentration camp.
Beyond being physically uncomfortable in the loose-fitting slacks, non-v-necked button-up shirts and other items of customary corporate garb, hipsters feel the utmost sense of embarassment while walking the streets of Williamsburg in such blasphemous clothing. As researchers have learned through in-depth interviews with corporate hipsters, this feeling can only be compared to what hipsters felt when were forced to walk the halls of their middle schools wearing parentally-purchased items that weren’t at all what the “cool” kids were wearing. As this crippling stage of development is known as the root of all the common hipster’s problems (and is therefore considered the inspiration for their pilgrimige to Williamsburg), the irony that these feelings should be rekindled in their place of solace is too much for the hipster to bear. To compensate, the corporate hipster then spends approximately 85% of his gross income on cocaine and Jack Daniels.
At my interview I was instantly hired and asked to come in for a background test the next morning. I left feeling desolate at the thought I would have to endure the hipster walk of shame every week day. I couldn’t even fathom what the walk home from the JMZ would be like, what with the hipsters awake and in full force. I resigned myself to taking comfort in that I would soon be home and could change into an empire-waisted plaid dress and flip flops.
Good news: By a stroke of luck I slept through my background check! I was deeply humbled by that extreme close call and have since vowed to never work anywhere where “corporate attire” is required. Or anywhere that I have to wake up at 7:30 am every day. Or anywhere with the word “Corporation” in its title.
That same day, I was hired on Bedford Avenue! When I walked in on my first day, my manager (who wears tight jeans and has hella tattoos) was smoking a cigarette outside while the front desk was unattended. Hence, my first official training exercise was “how to smoke cigarettes and stand around.” I go into work at 4pm and the only requirement is that I “try to be nice to people.” I’m making a full $10 and hour less than I would be at the corporation, but I can do whatever the fuck I want (which consists of blogging and drinking coffee)!
Expect great posts to come.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Somewhere, deep in the world of the people whose job it is to publicize concerts, there was once a conversation about how to make hipsters actually smile.
Market Research Dude: We have a problem.
Publicity Chick: We promote Indie bands, we have lots of problems.
Market Research Dude: No. This is something we’re never encountered in all of music history. It’s the hipsters…
Publicity Chick: Haha, of course it is (pours glass of scotch, on the rocks).
Market Research Dude: We give them free performances from the bands they pretend to like, free stuff – towels, keychains, Starbucks™ double shot espresso energy drinks – and we allow them to continue thinking their clothing is fashionable. But no matter what we do, they just won’t smile! Now the bands don’t want to perform in Williamsburg anymore because they say it’s (makes air quotes) “too awkward.”
Publicity Chick: Hmm, yes you’re right, this is critical. We need to find something that will fill their hipster hearts with joy. Perhaps something that reminds them of childhood – you know, before the mockery and ridicule set in; something big and fun and as colorful as all their converse shoes combined…
Market Research Dude: I’ve got it – beach balls. Several over-sized beach balls. Then they can engage in a mass volleyball game while grooving to tunes (in low voice to Publicity Chick) and we all know how much kids these days love to multitask (nudges Publicity Chick with elbow). If that doesn’t put smiles on those pasty white faces nothing will!
Publicity Chick: Brilliant. And did you hear? volleyball is the new kickball.
Initially, the plan appeared to work. When a beach ball is first introduced into a crowd of hipsters, there is sometimes cheering and even an attempt at participation as restless fans lunge for the opportunity to touch the beach ball. This is especially true when the balls are presented to hipsters waiting in line (for example, before the MGMT show at McCarren Park Pool when the doors did not open for approximately 1.5 hours after the advertised time). But after approximately 2 minutes of beach ball circulation during a show, hipsters lose all interest in the beach balls, becoming potential targets for rogue balls, which are heavier than one might think.
So despite music promoters’ efforts to liven the spirits of the forlorn hipsters, the beach ball idea turned out to be nothing but a severe annoyance.
At one McCarren pool party, an angry hipster chick standing next to me even went so far as to catch a beach ball and deflate it, attracting boos from a few surrounding hipsters with higher beach ball tolerance levels. This is profound because for a hipster to risk being ridiculed by her peers, and to disregard it when it occurs, there must be an incredibly strong motivating force, which beach ball anxiety appears to produce.
One explanation for this anomalous behavior is that the hipster may have conducted a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis, placing the cost of being ridiculed for deflating a beach ball at a lower magnitude than the benefits gained from avoiding the embarrassment that would ensue should she be struck on the head by a rogue ball.
Also irritating to hipsters is that whenever one of them purposely hits a beach ball into the press area or photo pit at a show, the oblivious photogs and PR apprentices throw them right back. This is done with patronizing graciousness, as if to say “you couldn’t possibly be enjoying the show like I am from back there, so you will probably want to play with this inflatable plastic ball.”
Photo by Jamie Killien.
Friday, August 1, 2008
McCarren Park Pool, the emptied-out, rotting cement basin that once served as an actual pool and now serves as hipster paradise, is going to be turned into an actual pool once again. With $50 million pledged by Mayor Bloomberg, the plan only has to pass one more stage of approval before McCarren Park Pool reverts back to its original state.
At first, the idea doesn’t seem too terrible. I mean, even hipsters like water on a hot summer day. But considering that the Tuesday night movie showings and the Sunday concert series sponsored by JellyNYC are about the only things that will motivate a hipster to assemble, stand in line for hours at a time in the scorching sun, and even dance shuffle around in pouring rain, the transformation of McCarren’s pool basin into an actual functional pool/ice skating rink will likely extinguish any chance Williamsburg’s hipsters may or may not have to become some kind of functional movement, forcing them to retreat back into their smoke-filled artist lofts.
The New York Times featured an article today discussing the plans.
That McCarren Pool will be filled with water again has pleased many longtime residents and activists. But at several recent concerts the prevailing opinion was: bummer.
The article quoted Phyllis Yampolsky, founder of the McCarren Park Conservancy, as ideologically describing McCarren Pool as some sort of community venue that should serve people other than white hipsters with trust funds.
“The basic need of that pool is as a pool and recreation center for all the peoples of North Brooklyn, which includes a lot of black people and a lot of Latino people,” Ms. Yampolsky said. “Its basic needs are not for the fashionistas of Williamsburg.”
What?! Blacks and Latinos at McCarren? Whatever happened to gentrification?
The article also cited one astute hipster girl who is in cahoots about the matter and plans to take action as soon as cool becomes cool again (note: this is the hipster equivalent of pigs flying):
“It was a good run,” said Emmy Tiderington, a 27-year-old Williamsburger with a tattoo snaking down her right shoulder. “Nothing lasts,” she added.
The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission (which has a title as ironic as hipsters strive unsuccessfully to be) is scheduled to meet to pass the final stage of approval later this month. While the Times article cited Stephanie of the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn as saying that the hipsters have been (surprise!) apathetic about the matter and haven’t shown up for any community board meetings to protest or anything. But who does she think they are? Dirty hippies? Even if a hipster cared enough to stand up for the McCarren pool summer concert series venue, could find out WHEN the meeting was (this website is a fucking enigma), he would likely be too hung over to make it there – let alone suffer through all the boring other topics. Also, hipsters eyes are offended by lack of neon in any given room, and I suspect there would be an abundance of beiges and grays at this meeting.
But the likely truth is, the decision is already made, though not formalized, and the people in charge never wanted the input of the hipsters. If they did, they would serve Bloody Marys at their meetings.
But one keen hipster has an idea: hope everyone else is as lazy as she is.
Elena Gilbert, 22, a Bard College student whose summer plans include five pool shows, looked up briefly from what appeared to be prolific texting to note the one hope for the future of the pool events: bureaucratic delays.“Hopefully it’ll be like the Mermaid Parade,” she said, “where they keep telling you it’s the last summer and it never is.”
I guess this is one big fail for the hipsters. Good luck to JellyNYC for trying to get them all to see concerts in Bushwick. I’ll bet that one will go over as well as any new feature on the Facebook.
I recently came across this website containing a petition circulated – err, stationed – by JellyNYC urging the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to open an alternate concert venue in Bushwick. Judging from the turn-out so far, it looks like the hipsters will have no choice but to revert back to their isolated iPod bubbles come next summer.
JellyNYC, you’ve got quite a task ahead of you. Do you realize that trying to get hipsters to sign a petition is like trying to get neocons to be factual?
Pool image by Gowanus Lounge. Not an actual rendering of the projected plans, just a photoshopped creation. Commentary my own.
Ice sk8ing image is an actual rendering of projected plans. I don’t know why they render lame people in there but I guess that’s their prerogative. Commentary my own.