Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Jeff Bezos's Washington D.C. Home

Town & Country – "Jeff Bezos Is Renovating the Biggest House in Washington, D.C."
Washingtonian – "Here Are the Floor Plans for Jeff Bezos’s $23 Million DC Home"

"In 2016, the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner paid $23 million in cash for the former Textile Museum in Kalorama (yes, his neighbors are the Obamas and Kushner-Trumps). At 27,000 square feet, the mansion was already the biggest home in Washington before he began a $12 million renovation and expansion last year."

"Overseen by the Barnes Vanze architecture firm, the reno project covers 191 doors (many either custom mahogany or bronze), 25 bathrooms, 11 bedrooms, five living rooms/lounges, five staircases, three kitchens, two libraries/studies, two workout rooms, two elevators—and a huge ballroom."

"The mansion actually comprises two homes, the Pope and the Wood, which date back to the early 1900s and are joined by a connecting walkway."

Sunday, April 22, 2018

New York City, 1981 - 1983: 36 Months That Changed the Culture

T Magazine – "New York City, 1981 - 1983: 36 Months That Changed the Culture"

"Of course, inhabitants of other great metropolises experience similar sensations, but the feeling is more intense in New York, in part because the city is both younger than and smaller than many other places that have at one point of another determined the global cultural agenda. How is it, then, that a town with millions fewer people than Tokyo, Mexico City, Beijing, Sao Paulo or Mumbai has been responsible for such a disproportionate amount of the aesthetic language and iconography of the modern age? Perhaps the answer is that this city – like this country – is composed significantly of migrants, and New York has always been the place to prove your mettle. Our fierce, collective ambition – our determination to be the "best," however you define the word – contributes not only to the city's thrum (and everyday brutalities), but is also responsible for the excessiveness of our output. Anyone who comes here knows that time is merciless and life is brief; one is always aware (sometimes consumingly so) of one's place in the race."

- T Magazine Editor Hanya Yanagihara

Wild Wild Country

Sorry to Bother You

July 6, 2018
Written & Directed by Boots Riley
Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer

Gizmodo – "Sorry to Bother You Is the Most Surreal, Important Scifi Movie in Years"

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Drake's Cultural Influence

The Ringer – "Drake Is Too Big to Fail"

"Drake, née Aubrey Graham, was once a semi-famous child actor who could sort of rap and—get this—also sort of sing. He was not invented in a dorm room but he soundtracked countless nights in them. As Drake acquired listeners and sales, though, his reach extended far beyond indie sample flips and Cash Money posse cuts (what a time). He grew to dominate rap, R&B, and pop, using his popularity in one genre to capture market share in another. In the last two years he has leveraged his power to enter even more sectors, including grime, dancehall, and most recently bounce, via the preordained hit “Nice for What.”"

"Thanks to streaming and social media, Drake has entered a virtuous cycle of network effects that magnify his influence over time. When a new Drake song premieres, social media users drop any in-progress conversations about literature, global affairs, or Love & Hip-Hop to immediately critique his work, earning him additional exposure via various “trending” lists on social networks. On Spotify, Drake songs immediately receive prime placement on prominent playlists with millions of followers, granting him passive listens from users who may not be actual fans. My colleague Lindsay Zoladz, who we’re also going to say is a legal scholar, recently found that the January single “God’s Plan” appeared on six Spotify playlists, including the trend-setting Rap Caviar. “God’s Plan” is now in its 11th consecutive week atop the Billboard Hot 100, a record for Drake and a worrying streak for people who value a competitive creative marketplace ..."

"... Drake’s chart dominance alone is not grounds for antitrust enforcement. However, the artist also has a chilling tendency to hop on every hot track and claim it as his own. The most recent example is “Look Alive,” a song ostensibly by the young Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB but mostly by Drake (currently no. 5 on the Hot 100). There are plenty of previous cases, including Fetty Wap’s “My Way,” iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” and, if we’re being really real, DRAM’s “Cha Cha.” After a brief stint in the spotlight, these collaborators earn only a modicum of Drake’s popularity, though they do help him maintain his reign even longer. Even on his own label, OVO Sound, where Drake would have a financial interest in his labelmates’ success, artists often find themselves writing songs for the boss rather than themselves. Former Noisey writer Craig Jenkins (also a legal scholar) once mused that OVO was “Drake’s personal hit factory.”"

The Ringer – "‘Atlanta’: S2E7, ‘Champagne Papi’"
"The Recappables team discusses this week’s Drake-focused episode"

The Ringer – "Drake Is Everywhere and Nowhere in Another Surreal ‘Atlanta’ Jaunt"

Where's DC In Superhero Movies?

New York Times – "When Superheroes Battle Evil, Why Does Washington Always Lose?"

"... But the city rarely matters in superhero movies.

“You see New York, and you see L.A.,” said Rick Prelinger, a film archivist and professor of film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Washington isn’t being pitched as the center of the world in the ways that it used to be.”

How is it that the heart of American democracy is often sidelined in the movies that dominate the box office? The reasons range from our perceptions of the city to the nature of comic books."

"A representative for Marvel Entertainment said that no one was available to discuss the question for this article, and DC Comics did not return a request for comment. But some film experts see an identity crisis. Outside of the government and the monuments, it’s hard for Hollywood to imagine what Washington looks like. And worse (at least for D.C. enthusiasts): Whatever it looks like may not be exciting enough for these movies.

“Although it’s a distinct region — not every city has trucks selling half-smokes — I think that Washington isn’t part of what a lot of people’s sense of their country is about,” said Mr. Prelinger, who became familiar with the city’s iconic sausage dish after living in the district for nearly two decades. He has since moved to California. “D.C. is dull.”"


"“Only Washington, D.C.,” she added, “thinks Washington, D.C., is the center of the universe.”"

Slovenia's Next Basketball Talent

ESPN The Magazine – "Luka Doncic Is No Darko Milicic"
By Mina Kimes

The Ringer's #1 prospect in their 2018 NBA Draft Guide:
"A basketball prodigy dominating the ACB and EuroLeague as a teenager who could become a game-changing NBA playmaker.

SHADES OF: James Harden, Jumbo Manu Ginobili, Tyreke Evans"

Ocean's 8 Trailer

June 8, 2018
Written by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch
Directed by Gary Ross
Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Drought Is Over


The Legacy and Future of Sports Illustrated

The Ringer – "“Who Can Explain the Athletic Heart?”"

"But by the late ’90s, spooked by ESPN’s ascendancy, the editors at SI seemed to lose faith in their own formula. News stories in the front became less newsy, more focused on personalities. In short, they became more like feature stories. The magazine’s justification for this change, then and ever since, has been that the sports media landscape was changing, and that SI needed to be more “forward-looking.” As one editor explained it to me at the time, “When people get their issues in the mail now, they already know the score, they’ve already seen the highlights. We need to tell them what’s going to happen next.”

It all sounds very rational, except it overlooks one salient truth: Sports Illustrated readers have always known the score by the time their issue arrives. From the very first issue, dated Aug. 16, 1954, SI’s readers knew all about the result of the magazine’s first lead story, that Dr. Roger Bannister had defeated John Landy in the “Mile of the Century” at the Commonwealth Games, in the first race between two sub-four-minute milers.

SI’s news stories were never about telling you who won, it was about telling you why and how they won, the subtle differences that separated one world-class athlete or team from another, and the endless ways that people revealed their character through competition. Furthermore, what the magazine learned, again and again in the coming decades, was that a sports event being televised only increased interest in those stories. The more people saw of a sport, the more they wanted to read about it. And SI was there, to provide the best story, the deepest understanding, the telling picture, the last word. "

Westworld and Spoilers

The Verge – "Could Westworld’s crazy season 2 spoiler plan have worked?"

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Cloud City (Allianz Field)

Allianz Field for Minnesota United FC
St. Paul, Minnesota
Capacity: 19,400
Scheduled to open March 2019
Designed by Populous (Camden Yards, Coors Field, Nationals Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, Audi Field, and the Northumberland Development Project)

"Due to the stadium's resemblance to the floating city on Bespin in the fictional Star Wars universe, the future Minnesota United FC Stadium has gained the nickname "Cloud City.""

Drake – "Nice For What"

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 World Cup Kits Inspired by Historical Designs

BBC – "World Cup kits: Russia 2018 is going to look pretty retro"
FourFourTwo – "World Cup 2018 kits: Adidas go beautifully retro with 8 countries' tournament shirts"
Dezeen – "Adidas unveils eight World Cup 2018 kits that pay homage to classic football shirts"

FourFourTwo's "Favourite Football Shirts ... Ever"

Adidas' 27% North American Revenue Growth

Washington Post – "Adidas once saw Michael Jordan slip to Nike. Kanye is helping the company make up ground."

"On March 14, Adidas released its 2017 annual report showing that North American revenue grew 27 percent. That’s compared with 3 percent growth for Nike in 2017, and Adidas’s 2013 increase of just 2 percent. Experts said the company’s sudden growth spurt is a story of technology, celebrity and a healthy dose of luck."


"One major contributor to the change came in 2013, when Adidas introduce its Boost midsole technology. Designed in conjunction with the German chemical company BASF, Boost is essentially a squishy foam cushioning that is layered into the shoe to help increase comfort and energy transfer. Boost has since been integrated across Adidas products, from lifestyle to running shoes. John Horan, founder of the Sporting Goods Intelligence analysis firm, calls the technology “comfortable as hell.” But, at first, sales were sluggish.

“Boost checks the boxes from an innovation standpoint,” Gaudio said. “You just need to let [consumers] know it’s out there and why they should care.” To do that, Adidas took out its checkbook and went looking for talent."


"On the basketball court, Adidas’s massive $185 million deal with then-Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was being hampered by injuries to Rose, but that didn’t stop the company from luring Harden, the Rockets superstar, away from Nike in 2015, for $200 million. This season, he’s the front-runner for league MVP."


"... and West, whose 2016 deal could end up being worth more than $1 billion. “I think it was one of the wisest investments in the sneaker world,” Wu said of a West-Adidas relationship that is already paying off. “You can think of Kanye as being somewhat of a Michael Jordan for Adidas.”

West’s first Jordan moment came in 2015. On May 9, he took the stage at the Wango Tango concert wearing all-white Energy Boost sneakers. Before the performance, the shoes weren’t doing particularly well. After the performance — as photos of West in the kicks circulated on the Internet — the product completely sold out. A week later, he did the same thing with the Ultra Boost shoe.

While Adidas’ Kanye era has brought once-unimaginable success for the company, it also highlights the industry’s fickleness. “Absolutely, they had a business plan and marketing strategy. [But it] was a lot of luck as well,” Yu-Ming said. Referring to the success of Kanye’s concerts, he added, “You can’t have a marketing plan for that.”"


"Wu said Nike has been on the upswing recently and has “more money than God” at its disposal. That has allowed them to sign LeBron James to a lifetime deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. About Adidas, Wu said its UltraBoost shoe “is sort of played out” but that the company has amassed a lot of talent, including a few designers who moved over from Nike.

Following up on Boost, Adidas recently released similar bounce technology. And it says it has more drastic technology changes in the works. “We’re not here to finish second,” said Adidas’s head of U.S. sports, Jeff McGillis. He specifically avoided saying Nike, but emphasized that “none of us play to lose.”

While Adidas’s market share has climbed to around 11 percent, it’s still far behind Nike’s roughly 37 percent share. And even King admitted that current growth levels are bound to slow at least somewhat. But the sneaker wars aren’t over — and may just be heating up."