SF shows this weekend

I'll be out in SF doing shows this weekend in case you/someone ya know wants to come out:

Sat, December 21 - 8:00pm - Cynic Cave @ Lost Weekend Video
Sat, December 21 - 9:30pm - San Francisco Punchline (with Ali Wong) - Tickets
Sun, December 22 - 8:00pm - San Francisco Punchline


Merlin Mann: “People like you because of this, but you’re mad because it’s not this other thing.”

Merlin Mann (speaker, podcaster, tech guy) interview. Interesting thought on what to focus on...

It can be very frustrating to keep sucking at something without realizing that it’s not the thing you should be trying to get better at. It’s like when our parents used to tell us as kids, “There is something that you don’t even realize you’re good at,” or, “People like you because of this, but you’re mad because it’s not this other thing.” Part of successfully growing up is letting go of unrealistic ideas that stop us from recognizing something else we’re good at and might enjoy more than what we’re doing now. There could be something 10 times greater than what you’re doing, but you don’t realize it because you’re fixated on the thing you feel like you should be doing.

Fixation is good. Until it blocks out your vision of the bigger picture and alternate paths.


Last HOT SOUP show of the year

Last HOT SOUP show of the year is Tuesday (Dec 17). We're off for the holidays and then return on Jan 7. The lineup:

Reese Waters (Letterman)
Dan St Germain (Comedy Central)
Nate Fridson (Rooftop)
Chris Laker (JFL)
Taylor Ketchum (Rooftop)
Matt Ruby (MTV)
...and more!


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The intersection of art/commerce/PR and making money off what ya do

Smart piece, by the founder of a denim label, on the intersection of art/commerce/PR and making money off what ya do: Ten Lessons from a Maker [via JF].

I) No one knows you exist.

You make a great product. But the world isn’t holding its breath waiting for you. It doesn’t know who you are. It doesn’t know you even exist. Currently, in the pecking order, you are at the bottom. It’s nothing personal. Everyone starts here.

You will have to make your reputation. You have will have to gain peoples attention. You will have to be as good at selling your product as you are making it. It is your job to get people to know you are on the planet.

II) You are not an artist.

You make things. You make things in order to sell them. The difference between you and an artist is you can’t wait years to be discovered.

You have to make what people want to buy. This is commerce. This is not art.

Selling is good. Employing people is good. Having apprentices is good.

Makers are here to make. Makers are here to sell - Van Gogh had to wait till he died before he sold his first painting. You can’t.

Sales after you die don’t count.

III) Make something that people want to buy.

Time is your most valuable resource. Spending your time making something that no one wants is one of the best ways I know to waste your life, and also to kill your business. So before you start, work out what people want. Work out why they will buy your product over your rivals. Work out what sets you apart.

One good way to make sure people want what you have to make is to do it better than anybody else. Another good way is to design it more beautifully than your rival. But the best way, is to do something that no else is doing. And do it so well, they don’t even try to copy you.

I know, I know...you're an artist and you shouldn't have to deal with this stuff. But maybe this is just part of being an artist now?

And speaking of makers, this is a beautiful short about a master woodworker in Eureka, CA. It goes deep. [via JK]


Wings or a gourmet meal?

Mike Birbiglia interview. He's asked, "How does it feel different to you, performing in that more personal style and with a purpose with more at stake?"

I wanted to pick my favorite things about one-person shows and my favorite things about standup comedy and merge them into a thing that is personal and, hopefully, knock on wood, as funny as a regular comedy album, but then also leads up to a point and has like an emotional weight to it in that, in some ways, I’m kind of giving something to the audience...

I always think of it as I like serving a full meal for the audience, as opposed to, like, chicken wings. That’s what I think of jokes — they’re chicken wings or pizza or ice cream or something. I love those things; I’d be the first to line up for all of those foods, but if a chef can deliver you a full meal, that to me is sort of euphoric. And that’s how I want people to feel about it. I want people to feel satiated from it. And I want it to kind of simmer in them. For them to be thinking about it the next day, like, “Oh, remember when we watched that thing?” [Laughs.] That’s really the hope.

I like the wings vs. a full meal analogy. Do you want to give 'em something fast and greasy? Or do you want to give 'em a gourmet meal they'll remember down the road? Both have their pros and cons. Also, it'd be weird if chefs had to prove they could cook wings first before they're allowed to do a gourmet meal. 'Cuz that's what it feels like with standup.


Johnny Cash and how people admire vulnerability

Interesting bit from this review of new book about Johnny Cash's life. It talks about Cash's late career comeback.

“Part of [Rick] Rubin’s genius,” Mr. Hilburn says, “was that he didn’t simply portray Cash as a rebel. He wanted to break through the public image of Cash as a superhero by capturing his human side — the struggle and the pain and the grit. Says Rubin, ‘When I asked artists what they admired about him, that’s what they often mentioned — that vulnerable, hurt aspect, the man who wouldn’t give up.’ ”

Cash persevered through heart surgery, neurological problems, a damaged jaw and failing eyesight and even continued to record music after the death of his beloved June in May 2003. He died four months later; by then, according to one estimate, doctors had him on some 30 medications.

His son, John Carter, later said: “I believe the thing about Dad that people find so easy to relate to is that he was willing to expose his most cumbersome burdens, his most consuming darknesses. He wasn’t afraid to go through the fire and say: ‘I fell down. I’ve made mistakes. I’m weak. I hurt.’ But in doing so, he gained some sort of defining strength. Every moment of darkness enabled him to better see the light.”

Interesting way to look at it: Admitting weakness is displaying strength. People admire that level of honesty – and your ability to overcome struggles.


Slut-shaming, gender essentialism, misandry, normative, gaslighting, etc.

I've figured out what slut-shaming means. But I'm still rather cloudy on a lot of the other terms used at "men are bad" posts I see online. Terms like gender essentialism, misandry, normative, gaslighting, etc.

Part of the goal here is to reach men and change their behavior, right? Because relying so heavily on terms that can only be understood if you took a Women's Studies class at a liberal arts college can't be the most effective way to do that. When a regular dude sees language like this, it's easy for him to think, "I've never even seen that word. This ain't for me. I'm outta here."

Femijargon builds a wall. It creates a we-agree-with-each-other cocoon for women. But it significantly reduces the chance of a teachable moment for men.

The real challenge is to explain gender issues while using simple, clear language that everyone can understand. Do that and guys might actually pay attention and examine their own behavior. And that'd be a healthy thing.




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