A monthly guide to stuff we think is cool

A new issue every
Friday morning

Teaching media literacy at Girls Rock Camp Boston / by Kelsey Truman

Amplification is powerful. That is the main lesson I learned the first time I volunteered at a Girls Rock Camp, in Indianapolis in the summer of 2010. I’m not sure that I understood, coming in, the full scope and impact of rock camp. It’s about teaching girls to play music, sure, and to work together in bands, and to write original songs together in the space of five days. That in itself is an . . .

Consuming and analyzing pop music is political and important / by Jes Skolnik

I’ve seen and heard a lot of smug commentary this week. Much of it has been from leftist men in my social circle, about how analysis of Miley Cyrus at this year’s MTV VMAs is “distracting” people from caring about other things going on in the world, like the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington or the intervention of the US military in Syria, as if we don’t have the capacity to think about more than one thing at once.

Certainly I’ve seen a lot of work on That Performance this week that is self-serving, navel-gazing, overthought and/or lazy. It’s a hot topic, and the idea of monetized clicks and pageviews for online publications means that keyword pieces without much thought or integrity behind them often end up on the front pages of publications. But I’ve also seen, heard and participated in a lot of deep, thoughtful reflection and discussion, some of it in published (or self-published) form and much of it backchannel.

We talk and think about Miley not because she herself is all that interesting, but because pop music and pop culture impact . . .


by Sam Cook-Parrott
Summer left your heart behind.

by Cryptophasia
Moving sux.

by Ethan Long
Allston DIY Fest @ Ringer Park [8/24/13].

Live from Gezi Park, an interview with Istanbul Pride Week organizer
Emre Sağlam / by Max Pearl

Three days before we were supposed to get on a plane to Istanbul, I received an email with the subject heading, “Turkey police clash with Istanbul Gezi Park protesters.” I scanned the news piece. “Demonstrators had held a four-day sit-in at Gezi Park, angry at plans to redevelop that part of Taksim Square,” it read. Then I hit Twitter and saw the #occupygezi tags starting to populate my feed. Fuck it, we’re still going.

I had been kettled by cops, jostled by kids with handkerchiefs over their faces, and fed a fairly decent bean soup by anarchists in NYC’s financial district a year and a half earlier. I had been to a dozen-or-so rallies against Israeli apartheid in Boston’s Back Bay, and at the Israeli consulate in midtown. But

I had never witnessed overturned news trucks, or felt the sting of tear gas in my eyes (which I mostly avoided in the weeks that followed). When my friends found out we were headed to Istanbul in the middle of a revolution, they gave us a field recorder and said that if we didn’t report back they’d be pissed.

Erica and I stepped off the plane into a bright Turkish afternoon. By this time, the first episodes of violence had reached their apex and were beginning to dwindle out, as cops prepared to retreat from the park and surrounding neighborhoods. In the early evening we checked into our hostel in Galata, a historic neighborhood centered around a nine-story stone tower built in the 14th century by the Genoese

colonial army. The chunky cobblestones made our already-embarrassing rolling backpacks click loudly, as if everyone didn’t already know we were tourists. The TV in the kitchenette was showing footage from ongoing protests in Ismir and Ankara. The hostel was mostly empty. It was a weird time to be in Istanbul.

Over the next ten days, we tried to wrap our heads around not only the country’s sprawling, incredibly complicated political history, but we ultimately confronted the fact that our vision of a vacation full of clubbing, art openings, and fabulous dinners on the Bosphorus was going to have to wait. Fuck a film biennial or an outdoor techno festival—all of that was on hold. Instead, we got to see a city in revolt.

Our nights mostly consisted of eating small plates of spiced meat and pickled meze dishes, drinking Yeni Raki, and perusing the occupied park, which at times resembled something more like a festival than a rally. The whole thing—complete with sound systems, cheap kebab, beer coolers, lending libraries, and the requisite People’s Kitchen—made poor Zucotti Park look like after-school detention or a meeting of small town bureaucrats. On the night of our arrival we had seen footage of protesters hijacking a tractor and chasing police vehicles through the neighborhoods north of Taksim, but by the second night of our stay, the police had retreated. We came at a special time when the cops had given protestors a weeklong respite from the . . .

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