Sunday, January 31, 2010


Vote in support of all-ages music!

So many great causes in the world, it's no wonder our generation appears less into activism than the previous.

actual mapping

[Diagram has changed, will post updated one]

Realizations while doing this:
- Definitely staying away from the "underground"
- I actually don't know the legal status of a lot of places, nor have I really cared to.

power of community

Another example:

Defining the Underground

Definitions are helpful, but mine are for now, a work in progress, a list of characteristics which may or may not be exclusive for all that function within under/above ground spaces...

Lack of mainstream appeal
Lack of visibility
Lack of commercialization
Subversive values


Another analogy

Taking the assumptions that the 21+ drinking restriction is the a part of the problem, is there a space that a music venue is similar to, but differs in regards to drinking?

A music venue is like a sports stadium.
Both are spaces in which live performances take place. Spectators are people of all ages, including youth of all ages. Alcohol is present and flowing (almost) freely.

Innings = baseball
Quarters =football
Sets = music

People can (usually) come and go from their seats during game and move around the stadium, just like people can come and go from the showroom and venue during a show.

Perhaps an in-depth study can indicate there the differences are in practice between these two and how we can learn from stadiums to change policy on music.

About the teen dance ordinate of Seattle.


From class:

Youth in the music scene is like the kid who can't get onto a rollar coaster because s/he's too short.
Age, like height, is something outside one's control, and used as a measure of determining what is and what is not allowable. So what happens to kids who are defined as too short? There are kiddy coasters! This only serves to separate this population from everybody else-- they can either not go on a rollar coaster, or go on this kid version, either way they are denied access to a real rollar coaster. Similarly, for those under 21, there are occasional 18+ or all ages events. However, since most people are not under 21, this other-ized crowd is shut out from access to music.

Height is a safety issue because rollar coasters were not designed to accomedate people of all sizes. Why not? Because it is expensive; higher costs = less profits. Similarly, why arn't there more not-exclusive to 21+ shows? It's expensive and less profits. Most profits come from the bar, and since those under 21 are not allowed to purchase alcohol in this country, the more under-21-ers allowed in, the less you make in alcohol profit. Also, with the laws surrounding "all=ages events," at least in Seattle, it requires additional measures, like large insurance policy and extra security. These extra expenses decrease profits.

Summary: It is economically disincentive for all-ages music.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A visual understanding, week 4

From an earlier post:
- plot examples onto spaces in this map (ACTION ITEM FOR MONDAY)

One of the things I hope to do with my capstone, regardless of what I research is to inform some opportunity for change. I believe one of the best ways of change is through the actions of individuals. So most of my thoughts and diagrams will include the role of the self in hopes of identifying problem spaces I can address with my capstone that will produce value immediately due to its accessibility and actionability.

So I want to examine and map out the role of the self, or any individual:
- by "social space" I mean physical space

Continuing with the dichotomy of self vs. other (not self), I attempted to illustrate how things (messages, actions, paths of engagement) are interpreted through reputation, one's view of other's and other's view of one's. I need to think a bit more about this, but I think this could help examine the question of how things stay legit, especially in terms of movement from under--> above-ground.

I found this chart, which is interesting in terms of particpation & scenes/communities:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

bits of interest

Stumbled across this, which I think is quite interesting in itself...
Click here to visit their site and figure out what it is.

an example

From an email I received earlier today...

Visqueen are shooting a music video for their new album, Message to Garcia, and they need excited extras! If you haven't heard Visqueen before, think power-pop along the lines of the Breeders - http://www.myspace. com/visqueen. They're super great people and have played Vera many times in the past, and the ladies directing/producing are friends of mine who do awesome work.

The shoot is SATURDAY JANUARY 30th at 4PM on Capitol Hill (hint: it's at an all-ages venue), with food and drinks for everyone (no alcohol!).

If you can commit to being there from 4pm to around 9pm, please email hellovisqueen@ by noon on Saturday for directions and up-to-date information on the shoot. You're also welcome to bring friends, or forward this to someone who would love to be in it!
Did you see the hint?

This is the sort of thing I mentioned in an earlier post on ethics. So there.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Sunday, January 24, 2010

attempt one

Dominic, I'm still not getting (and need help with) these what/how/why things...

Attempting to illustrate the intersections of society and music in relation to above and underground:

One of the intersting "whys" was "sense of belonging" so I figured I'd examine that as a question of "insider"/"outsider"...

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Finally got my hands on the proof of In Every Town: an all-ages music manualfesto, which is still waiting for grant money to get printed (I got my fingers crossed for the Pepsi grant.) I can't leave Vera with it, so I'll skim through as much as I can...

Interesting notes from the skimming...

"Youth Involvement by default and by design" is the subheading of page 63

Chapter 4: "Democratize It Yourself: Organizational Structures" discusses various organizational and decision-making structures, as well as legal status and their pros & cons.

In the section about 924 Gilman on page 108 "The sun backlit people walking in and moving around me as if I were an inanimate object rather than a curious and semi-lost-looking person standing in the middle of the room. This is how it has been walking into most volunteer-run spaces--it's no one's job to greet you and help you feel like you fit in. No one is tasked with the jon of encouraging you to participate. You have to do it yourself."
& Brian Edge put together a documentation/book 924 Gilman: The Story so Far documenting 78 stories of people + Gilman

Subtitled on page 114 "Under the Surface: Conflict resolution and self-governance" tells a story about sexual violence, safety, and the reactive steps of the Gilman community. Similar issue was addressed recently in the Seattle scene too...

Favorite line from page 115 "a longtime volunteer says emphatically, "If anyone has a problem with Gilman, they can get involved and change it."

Page 181, "Local Seattle music became more fashionable and Vera became more well-known but also sort of detached from our underlying ethics of DIY. At the end of the year, the radio station gave $70,000 to Vera and decided to cancel the local show and fire the DJ's - because, no matter how cool it was, local music just wasn't bringing in the dough."

Under Chapter 5, a subheading "The Legitimacy Question." It brings up a couple issues "in figuring out whether to be legit or not." Accessibility, risk, alcohol, local scene, zoning and permitting, flexibility, longevity.

"Social and cultural change are interrelated. Engaging in a cultural practice humanizes people for each other." -Katy Otto

Tomorrow, I'll map out all my thoughts and see where that gets me.


I'm somewhere lost between Antonio Gramsci's theory of cultural hegemony & a self-identity crisis brought on by skimming parts of Research Youth by Andy Bennett, Mark Cieslik, Steven Miles.

Resistance, then, was understood by the CCCS as the obvious reaction of young people to their social positioning. But were these rituals what the young people actually did, or were they representations of what the young people did as seen through the eyes of social scientists? Questions like these were rarely asked, let along answered.
- Ben Malbon, in Clubbing: dancing, ecstasy and vitality
I'm feeling quite off track... what are we suppose to be doing with these capstones again?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This afternoon, I met with my new mentor, Joseph, who is working on business development at TeachStreet. He talked about what he does, I talked about what I'm studying.

"Business and design," I say.
"Oh what concentration?" he asked.
"Marketing," I reply.
He nods.
"What do you study in design?" he asks.

I always dread this question. Most people assume I'm studying fashion, for some reason. Interior design is a close second. Graphics, a third.

Each time I attempt to explain what "design studies" is, I come up with something different. So I plunge into another explanation, throwing around words like "interdisciplinary" and "process." He pokes and prods at my explanation, determined to understand what I was trying to explain.

I pull up thoughts from August's class last quarter: The simple questions, have the most complex answers. The complex questions, have simple answers.

He wonders about it in relation to the UX design, which is what he's encountered at his startup. I struggle to explain how all design should be addressing a problem, in some form or another.

"It's about problem-finding," I explain.

And he gets it. "Never thought about design that way before," he tells me, "but it makes sense."

Finally. It makes sense to me too. Sort of.

This role of manager as designer is hardly mentioned in the literature, and barely acknowledged in business practice. ...Managers practice "silent design"...the many decisions taken by non-designers who enter directly into the design process, no matter how unaware they or others may be of their impact.
— Angela Dumas and Henry Mintzberg, Managing the Form, Function, and Fit of Design, 1991

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ethics of research

I brought up an interesting research question yesterday, "how to go legal yet stay legit?" in the space of underground/above ground music & arts communities.

I think this topic, although interesting, brings up all sorts of problems in terms of scope and ethics. Summer of 2008, I spent a month in Amsterdam doing research on the traces and current subcultural identity of the squatting movement within Amsterdam. Squatting, at it's broadest, is the act of occupying and utilization a space which is otherwise unoccupied, and although not common in the states, was a movement that was especially strong in parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands, during recent history. While some forms of squatting was legalized, and a couple squatted venues were eventually bought and legalized, the squatting movement was active both underground and aboveground. In the 2000s, the Dutch government was slowly putting the pressure on to evict squatters and squash the movement. As both a participant and as a researcher, I was hesitant to expose all that I have uncovered. What was my ethical obligations as a researcher to "do no harm?" Through various discussions with my professors, and the people at UW's Human Subjects Division Office (since all research projects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board), I was approved to conduct research following a set of guidelines.

But then there was this issue of what I was personally comfortable with sharing. Could disclosure of certain knowledge negatively impact the people I've talked within the movement, or could it negatively impact myself and my ability to move through these spaces? These issues were probably the most difficult things to grapple with during my project. And I think similar parallels can be drawn to doing a project about a scene that spans both the underground and the aboveground.

For example, there are several music/art spaces within Seattle that I know do make their location public information. Places such as the Josephine, The Black Lodge, or HTFC, do advertising their existence and events, but not their location. Is it difficult to get a hold of this info? Probably not, but for some reason it's not just out there. So in doing a project that examines the change from legal status from underground and potentially illegal status, which spaces should even be research? By limiting the scope of the project to spaces that are already legal and therefore no problem publishing all about them, it leaves an entire half of the equation unaddress, except from a historial lookback at now-legal spaces. What are the allowable boundaries? the ethical ones? and to what scope am I comfortable with examining some things that are probably best left underground?

On change & legitimacy

I donated $10 to the Red Cross by texting "Haiti" to 90999.

My first reaction when I heard about this (through a friend via facebook) was to question it's legitimacy. With the proliferation of various scams taking advantage of mass disasters and focus on humanitarian aid, such as those following Katrina, I was a bit hesitant to try this at first. Like most people, when I donate money, I want it to be put to good use. I'm the type of person that researches organizations before I put in my own time &/or money, leafing mission/position statements & occasionally annual reports (as I result I no longer donate to the Salvation Army, or Locks of Love.)

I love this system of donating via texting. Especially when the carriers waiver the messaging costs (I have unlimited text messaging so it doesn't matter to me), it makes donating so convenient and cheap to the consumer. Through some new media channels, it can also update your status automatically (or you can do it yourself) to show that you did donate and to help spread the word to your online network.

While this isn't the first use of collecting money through text messaging for either non-profit causes or commercial purposes, this is the first time I've embraced it and participated myself. There's a few other major organizations you can text donations for Haiti humanitarian efforts to, and I think having the big name backing really does help encourage people to try this new method, which is surely a step towards changing people's behaviors and perceptions.

Sometimes, the best catalyst for change is catastrophe.

UPDATE 1/14/2010:
Haiti text donations to Red Cross hit $4m!

Not too surprising?

Problem-space with huge business potential

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thoughts on DS -> IxD

I wasn't able to make the meeting discussing this but I just read Dominic's email, and despite the seemingly endless frustrations with the DS program, I'm sad to see it go.

Yes, combining all the courses into the IxD track will be great for the design program as a whole, will make life easier for everybody, etc.

But considering it from a personal point of view, I don't think I would be in design if I were entering this program a few years down the road. What drew me to DS was the explicit interdiscilpinary nature of it, because the slightly fewer credits allowed for taking on a second major feasible. Not to say that doing a 188 credit design track plus another major is not possible, but I expect it would make it significantly more difficult.

Yes, I understand IxD will be a major in itself and not a "half major" like some people percieve the current DS program to be. Yes, there will be course cirriculum overlaps. But I'm not seeing these changes so much as combining the DS track, as it is getting rid of the DS track. I expect that this IxD track will focus more on IxD topics/issues and I have nothing against IxD. However, my favorite part of the DS track is seeing the interests of my fellow classmates, whether accounting, crafting, guitars, or sustainability. Not to say that IxD can't address these topics, but I suspect that the approaches and the frame of mind that will be indoctrinated will differ than the more free-style whatever-goes of DS.

Although it is frustrating articulating what DS is, that is what makes it so great. It forces each of us to make our own connections from design to the world at large.

Goal for the week

A post a day: today, tomorrow & Thursday, because I'll be gone over the weekend.

For my pecha kucha tomorrow...

1. Music Communities/Scene (I'll be using those terms interchangeably)
INCLUDE: info from AMP's 2006 publication on findings
DO: See if I can get my hands on AMP's "Manualfesto" tonight when I'm at Vera. They have a sneak preview online, but I'm pretty sure Kevin has a copy.

2. Marketing
TOPICS: Subvertising, guerrilla marketing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A collection of thoughts on Advertising

What to do about the overload of advertising and how to stand out amongst them? This seemed to be well received on Wednesday's class, so I'm exploring a bit more into the area of advertising in general, and maybe that will lead me somewhere.

I don't buy band shirts. I generally don't buy shirts (although I do own a few) with the brand name splattered all over it. I don't generally want to look like a walking advertisement. Yet I am fascinated with how advertising works, or doesn't.

The various people working in this realm of advertising seems to include a mess of copy-writers, art directors, concept creators, strategists, account managers, project managers designers, producers, and planers. Design firms do ad work. Ad agencies do design work. Who/what/how knows best or does best? Do it matter? Is there strategic differences between them?

I found this chart in an article. Interesting...
Nyilasy G, Reid L. Agency practitioners' meta-theories of advertising. International Journal of Advertising [serial online]. November 2009;28(4):639-668. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 10, 2010.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thoughts on Leadership

As I dive into my last quarter of AKPsi (by that I mean, my last quarter as President, not my last quarter ever), one of my largest struggles is once again, "leadership" and how to put that into practice. Following our first general business meeting of the new quarter, I had a conversation with one of our oldest and, in my opinion, a wise member, regarding the upcoming officer election for the position of VP of Membership, specifically in regards to a specific member. I felt strongly that the member-in-question was not ready for the position, although her heart was in the right place and the passion was there. Based on what I saw and have heard from the membership at large, this specific member seeking position lacks respect from her peers, and an inability to command respect from her peers. A leader without followers is just a guy on a walk.

We then debated whether this could be remedied. In essence, could leadership be taught? AKPsi, like many other organizations, attempts to facilitate opportunities to come in contact with and to put into practice, all with the goal of teaching those elusive leadership abilities. This member seeking the position was assisting the outgoing VP of Membership, who ideally would have mentored her and trained her to be the next VP of Membership. But talented people are not necessarily the best teachers, and this member is still not ready to lead. Who's role is it to mold those with passion and love for our chapter, into those that will go on to lead the chapter to do great things?

Related to that, how do you harness passion? Make it productive? Foster it, and not let it die? Having just had the largest pledge class in recent history initiated into full membership, how do we turn their passion & excitement into putting our initiatives into action?

Is a leader without followers merely an innovator? Somebody with the ideas, but the inability to get others to stand behind it and make it happen.

How do you change the world? Innovation is not enough. A leader must be realized.

I'll consider that food for thought, as I spend tonight finalizing everything for our retreat this weekend. Sunday, I shall do a bit of research into advertising and document my thoughts on that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First things first...

I would love to figure out wordpress & getting this hosted on my domain, but I'll play around with that this weekend. In the meantime, back to blogger.

So here goes on five ideas/thoughts/potential directions, some of which are vaguer than others...

I did find the distinction of "problem-finding" verus "problem-solving" very useful. In fact, I can't help but wonder if there can be parallels drawn to the realm of management and leadership, something I've studied in B.A. 390, as well as experienced through my involvment with the Foster School of Business. Tentative thought: Management is concerned with problem-solving whereas leadership operates within the space of problem-finding. I sense endless possibilities related to either the concepts themselves or problems within leadership/management models.

This leads to another sort of idea for a project, which relates to The Vera Project, an organization I has been a huge part of my life and pops up in my academic work once in a while. One of Vera's core values is this concept of power-sharing, as a way to teach, learn, and empower youth, especially in a space where essentially the young run a place for themselves. Having just sat through 3 hours of meetings at Vera, I couldn't help but notice that the work we do in a lot of these meetings is exactly what the capstone project should be, as I currently understand it (although please let me know if I'm wrong!), identifying a problem space, researching and understanding this space, and developing a strategy/direction of solution to address said problem. Current problem under discussion: re-examining and defining the responsibilities of the members of the programming committee, (not of the committee itself) especially in regards to partnerships and communicating these effectively in an accessible manner. I find this to be similar to where the Steering Committee was about a year, year-and-a-half, ago. For an existential crisis to hit so many Vera committees suggest some sort of underlying problem, which I don't doubt there is, but would struggle to articulate at this point in time. -> capstone potential!

Another idea would be working with The All-Age Movement Project, which focuses a lot about documenting, sharing knowledge and best practices, and supporting music accessible to all-ages. The knowledge they have is fascinating and useful, but the struggle is in knowledge sharing and putting that knowledge to use. Exploring the ways to aid that mission has potential as a project. And I would love to be able to do something that benefits one of these organizations that I love and support.

On a different note, I'm also studying studying marketing. Here's a problem in marketing, specially advertising: there's too much of it! Too much clutter! The consumer is barely paying attention anymore! I'm also doing an individual research project on some topic to be determined related to advertising, so if there was some way to connect my capstone and this, I think it would be the ultimate interdisciplinary experience of the quarter!

While writing up this post and musing over capstone directions, I sent the following statement to another student... "problem-finding in my own life.... can I just do my capstone on figuring out my life? I'd love some more time to research my own life as it is now and develop potential solutions. I could be my own primary source!" Now THAT would be a useful capstone.

Now to Pecha Kucha all this...