5CT January 2015

O ne fine writer says a pen might change the world. The Guardian celebrates the birthday of a fine jazz label.  An English filmmaker films an America that’s a little off — and a little other. In tech, there is a nice clean way to write on your iPhone or Mac and sync your work to everywhere. And still another publisher is kicking out stories in a gorgeous mode. Happy 2015, I wish you wisdom and prosperity. “Do not read,” said Gustave Flaubert, “as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” Make sure to scroll down to the end. A small treat awaits.

The world’s most famous jazz label – celebrated for its striking use of design as much as for its groundbreaking recordings – is 75 this year. John Fordham tells the story of Blue Note through a selection of its famous album covers. - The Guardian

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5CT December 2014

5 Cool Things for 12.14. A documentary film about silence. Two new online homes for storytelling. Modern Creole jazz. A long, riveting chat between two giants of American literature. “In love there are two things, bodies and words.” – Joyce Carol Oates. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, all. 5CT is best shared with friends.

Image courtesy Sarah Weinman.

Image courtesy Sarah Weinman

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5 Cool Things 4 August, 2013

Happy People ~ A Year in the Taiga

Happy People ~ A Year in the Taiga

Lovely to be back with you. I’ve missed you. We open with flag ads. Then, Gerhard Steidl is an art book lover like no other. Happy People do exist and they live in Siberia. Imagine what a hut and a curious soldier and a good magazine can do together. James Fallows goes a wandering with his wife and some ideas about America and some cool mapping technology. Bonus: 12 writers write about home….

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5 Cool Things for 9.30.2012

Place — emotional, spiritual, physical, creative — such a rich vein, no? In the arts and especially literature, place has given us so much pulpy goodness. Updike, Roth and many others in the East, Wallace Stegner in the West, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty in the South. With place as a theme, we tour Paris via the work of Toulouse-Lautrec and Eugene Atget. Then a flyover to Detroit and South Africa with Sixto Rodriguez. Richard Ford talks writing in New Jersey, Vermont, Montana and Jamestown. We wrap with a killer list of place-based apps. “I know you can dream your way through an otherwise fine life, and never wake up, which is what I almost did,” said Frank Bascombe in Richard Ford’s, The Sportswriter. Me, I haven’t the foggiest idea what he’s on about. You?


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1. Painter, Printmaker, Haymaker | H.T.L.

Paris was his place. A wicked alcoholic, there’s a cocktail to his name, the aptly titled Earthquake. (Three parts absinthe to three cognac.) He had a love/hate relationship with his mother and was an incorrigible womanizer. For these maladies and others, art was his salvation. He wooed the avant-garde and the masses, too. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born in 1864 and died in 1901 at only 36 years old. In that time period he stayed busy — 737 canvasses, 275 watercolors, 369 prints, 4784 drawings, 300 0f which are erotic / pornographic. Paris seems to have been good to him. Someone said that without Toulouse-Lautrec, no Warhol. Get the full story here >>

1893. Lithograph, composition: 31 15/16 x 23 3/4″ (81.2 x 60.3 cm); sheet: 31 15/16 x 24 1/2″ (81.2 x 62.2 cm). Publisher: Édouard Fournier, Paris. Printer: Edward Ancourt, Paris. Edition: Unknown. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund

1893. Lithograph, composition: 48 13/16 x 34 15/16″ (124 x 88.8 cm), sheet: 49 5/8 x 36 1/8″ (126 x 91.8 cm). Gift of A. Conger Goodyear

Aristide Bruant in his Cabaret (Aristide Bruant dans son cabaret)

Going to Paris?

A complete set of Toulouse-Lautrec prints and posters is in the Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.


 2. For the Love of Paris | The Photographs of Atget

Without the City of Light, there would be no Eugene Atget, one of the most beautiful photographers who ever ducked under a dark cloth. Gary Winogrand said of Atget, “He knew where to place the camera.” And he placed his camera tens of thousands of times in many of the loveliest, most architecturally significant corners of a beautiful city that was changing before his eyes. The expat Man Ray claimed to have discovered him for the Surrealists. But it was Berenice Abbott, Man Ray’s assistant, and Julien Levy, who rescued his work and brought it to us. One of the giants of photography and among the most modest of men. I love this man. The National Gallery of Art has a beautiful set of web pages on Atget. You should absolutely look at this >>

Eugene Atget

Eugène Atget, Interior of a Photographer, Atget’s Apartment, 17 bis rue Campagne-Première, 1910–1911, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris


Song for Sunday :: La Vie En Rose :: Edith Piaf, Live

“La Vie en rose” was released on a 10″ single in 1947 by Columbia Records, a division of EMI, with “Un refrain courait dans la rue” making the B-side. It met with a warm reception and sold a million copies in the USA.[7] It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949.[8]Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of Piaf’s albums to include “La Vie en rose” was the 10″ Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950.


3. Lost, Then Found | Searching for Sugar man

Rodriguez is Sugar Man

This documentary of fame, music, place, humility and greed begins in Detroit, but has its apogee in South Africa. The story of Sixto Rodriguez is one for the ages, but “story” doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s a fable, an American mythology. Riveting and amazing on every level. It’s hard to imagine you could see a better documentary this year or next. Do not miss. Catch a bit of Sixto Rodriguez here >>

Note: The less you know about this story, the better your movie experience will be.


4. The Places of Fear and Creativity | Richard Ford

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Richard Ford

“I wrote The Sportswriter in a period of sustained panic in the middle 1980s—most of the novel written while I was living in New Jersey, Vermont, and Montana—and at a time when my writing vocation was threatening to dematerialize in front of me, literally frightening me into a bolder effort than I ever supposed myself capable. Independence Day—begun in 1992, in a rented, seaside house in Jamestown, Rhode Island—I first imagined as a novel with no relation to any other book I’d written. It was to be a story about a beleaguered, well-intentioned divorced father who takes his “difficult,” estranged teenage son on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York—and in so doing draws himself and his son emotionally closer to each other. All seemed to go well through the planning stages (a year). But over that time I began to notice that all the father’s projected calculations about life and events seemed, in my notes, to “sound” like those of Frank Bascombe—the character who’d narrated The Sportswriter. I made dogged efforts to scuttle all thought of a “linked” book. I was fearful of helplessly writing that first novel over again; fearful of having more ambition than skill or sense; fearful of gloomy failure. And yet these fears finally succumbed to the recognition that to be given a “voice” and with it an already-plausible character who can transact the complex world in reasonably intelligent, truthful, even mirthful ways was just too much of a gift from the writing gods to decline. And so Independence Day, after some considerable prewriting adjustments to my original plan, came into existence.” Visit Richard Ford’s place on the web >>


5. Where are You? | Mobile Device Apps 

Place has become big business. Location Based Services are mobile device apps that pinpoint your own location, or the location of nearby persons and/or the nearby BEST MOST AWESOME PHO in SEATTLE, (in the International District), or the super hip French Cafe up the hill, or the best walking route to Macrina. Here, courtesy of Glen Farrelly’s, Webslinger, is an astonishing list of geo based apps.  Behold the world we now live in. Thank you Glen!

Coordination, Communication, and Safety

  • Crowdmap – open-source hosted solution to present location-specific crowdsourced info whether for activism, crises, or community projects
  • Glympse – share your location with your contacts and specify the duration of visit
  • Groundcrew – “coordinates on-the-ground action with your people. Use location, availability, and skills to mobilize in realtime.”
  • Guardly – “When an emergency occurs, your personal safety network will always know where you’re located….we can pin-point your exact GPS location and provide you with valuable information about what’s located around you, and how it can aid your situation.”
  • Moby – family member tracking and coordination
  • Swim Guide – find nearby beaches, their safety status, and historical info
  • YWCA Safety Siren – sends geolocation to emergency contacts, maps and directions to women’s health clinics & resources, etc.

Commerce and Marketing

  • MapDing– hyperlocal classifieds
  • Placecast – service provider for brands to create geolocative mobile apps
  • Priority Moments – proximity-based promotions & deals (only in London, UK)
  • Realtor.ca – allows a user to
    search and receive info and pix on properties for sale in their vicinity
    or across Canada. Also offers proximity-based new listings and open
    houses (Rightmove has this for London, UK)
  • Shopkick – “gives you rewards and offers simply for walking into stores, for scanning products, and for signing up friends”
  • Shopcatch – location-based deals (Canadian company)
  • Sociallight – service provider of geolocative apps
  • Where – proximity-based promotions and deals
  • YellowPages – detects your location or enter one to retrieve nearby businesses or people


  • Flickr – upload & search for georeferenced photos (also the ZoneTag tool from Yahoo appears to facilitate this)
  • Geoloqi – “securely shar[e] location data, with features such as Geonotes, proximal notification, and sharing real-time GPS maps with friends.”
  • Historypin – enables users to add old photographs and text narratives to locations
  • Instagram – popular photo-sharing app that allows georeferencing & sharing with foursquare
  • Murmur – recorded oral histories of place, uses old cellphone tech as users see plaque and call specific number to hear targetted message
  • Tagwhat – a “mobile encyclopedia of where you are… learn all about the world around you through interactive stories, videos, and photos”
  • urbantag – tag and share lists of places with friends

Geosocial Networking

  • Banjo – geosocial discovery – helps you find friends and people with similar interests near you
  • BuzzE – proxmity friend finding and networking
  • CheckIn+ – “all-in-one check-in app with augmented reality”
  • Citysense – “real-time nightlife discovery and social navigation”
  • Find My Friends – Apple-based friend finder
  • Glassmap – friend tracking
  • Google Latitude – “see where your friends are right now”
  • Grindr and Blendr gay and straight friend and dating finder
  • GyPsii – claims to be the world’s largest geosocial network
  • Highlight – “if your friends are nearby, it will notify you. If someone interesting crosses your path, it will tell you more about them”
  • Hurricane Party – “helps friends find, share, and create spontaneous parties”
  • Locle – geo-based friend finder
  • Plazes – proxmity friend finding
  • Skout -“find interesting singles close-by, strike up a conversation, maybe grab a drink or share a cup of coffee”

Local Discovery and Hyperlocal Information

  • Around Me – find business near your location by biz type (similar for gas is GasBuddy)
  • EveryTrail – “find and follow trips from other travelers”
  • Geopedia – geotargetted Wikipedia entries – as also offered by WikiMe
  • Google+ Local – combines Google’s old Places listings with Zagat content and their Google+ social network features
  • Junaio – AR-based vicinity info search, including business and attractions
  • Layar – augmented reality browser
  • Local Books by Library Thing “It shows you local bookstores, libraries and bookish events wherever you are or plan to be.”
  • Nearest Wiki – “AR view, with a synopsis against points of interest near you. Tapping on the place you wish to learn more about will give you more in-depth information on the location with images” content from Wikipedia
  • Poynt – local search with proximity based reviews and mapping
  • Star Chart– not exactly local, but uses your position and AR view to offer info on the heavens (Google offers similar functionality with their Google Sky Map service)
  • Trover – “log remarkable places and things by snapping a photo and adding a quick note. When your friends and others pass by in the future they, too, can experience your discovery. Track the paths of friends and other interesting folks using our “follow” mode”
  • Twitter Places – search for tweets within a specified area or tag places in your tweets
  • Zeitag – historical photographs

Location-based Games

  • Booyah – variety of games, including MyTown and Nightclub City
  • My Town – “built around your local shops, restaurants, and hangouts. Level-up, unlock items, and earn cash to buy your favorite real-life locations.”
  • SCVNGR – “share where you are & what you’re up to with your friends. Do challenges to earn points and unlock badges & real-world rewards.”
  • TapCity – “play with friends as you build and defend your very own city made up of your favorite places in the real world.”

Navigation and Transportation

  • BlackBerry Traffic by RIM uses GPS and customized maps to “establish your estimated time of arrival, find out if a road is closed, or decide to take a faster, alternate route”
  • MyCar Park – “capture your parking location on a map, add a photo, and comments… Then built in maps direct you to your car from your current location.”
  • Nearest Subway – locates nearest subway station for New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, etc.
  • Red Rocket – Toronto transit maps, routes, schedules, and nearest stop
  • SitOrSquat – find nearby bathrooms with user reviews of their cleanliness by Charmin (genius marketing effort and I must say the most useful LBS to come along in ages!)
  • Waze – “free, community-based traffic & navigation app”

Personal Efficiency and Organization

    • Siri‘s Location Services – directions, recommendations, and personal efficiency services based on your location
    • Task Ave – “location-aware reminders. Magically get alerts when you’re nearby a task.”
    • Voxora – “voicemail for places”, integrates with foursquare

Social Recommendation and Navigation

  • DeHood – tap into neighbourhood buzz to find local businesses
  • DontEat.at – foursquare-based and
    only in NYC it sends “a text message when you check into a NYC
    restaurant that is at risk of being closed for health code violations”
  • Goby – suggests “fun things to do” based on your location or category (US only)
  • Localmind – get answers about a specific place & real-time events by people who are there
  • Urbanspoon – location and shaking based restaurant recommendations
  • Urbantag – customize a list of favourite places and share with friends
  • Wikitude – offers A.R., map, or list view of various types of proximal content (reviews, deals, and Wikipedia entries)
  • Yelp and Citysearch – user-generated local reviews combined with local search engine

Travel and Place Guides

  • Ask a Nomad – answered on your travel questions from fellow travellers
  • Compass by Lonely Planet – “plot itineraries on dynamic, GPS-enabled map. Grab practical information and useful tips using our augmented reality camera view”
  • Gogobot – travel tips from friends & other users
  • MobilyTrip – social networking travel diary app
  • mTrip – “automatically customizes your trip itinerary…guides you to each tourist attraction with directions, uses augmented reality to display tourist attractions in your area, and allows you to share your trip with personalized e-postcards”
  • Ski & Snow Report – detailed ski info snow amounts, traffic volume, weather, lift times, etc)
  • Ski Tracks – a GPS-enabled ski log of your routes, velocity, etc. with ability to geotag your pix
  • TimeOut – travel guide apps for various tourist hot-spots
  • TripAdvisor – get TripAdvisor’s content on your mobile with proximity search option
  • Tripbirds – travel tips from friends
  • Trippy – get trip advice from your social network



Thank You.