Monday, February 9, 2009

Reboot Angle #1 > The Curator

This is part of my blog reboot process. For the origin of the thought of the motivation of the why and the why now, please click back here.

What to do?

This is one of the major questions in anyone's life, but I believe I've found an answer and I've been working on it for quite some time now.


This leads inevitably to another big question:

How to do it?

In blog terms, one possible way to write and reach an audience is to be a Curator. The way I see it, a Curator devises an ingenious concept, begins contributions of his own, and then often asks his audience to contribute to whatever the theme is that's been selected. The blog then serves as a growing themed museum filled with the creator's contributions and/or editorial choices of what's been sent in to him.

An example of this theme is PostSecret. In the words of it's creator Frank Warren, it's "an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard." I was first turned on to PostSecret in book form, and it's compulsive reading- you really get the sense that these are actual weighty secrets that people have unburdened themselves of (in strikingly artistic-yet-simple ways) because of the anonymity provided.

Not a bad thing to have your blog published in book form either, I imagine. Some other examples of this format are 1000 Journals and Lost (no not that LOST, the book of lost and found pet flyers from around the world).

So, what are some possible angles in the Curator vein that would match up well with my skill- and interest-set? I first thought about this direction a few weeks ago when I was filling out one of those "25 Random Things" deals on Facebook. I wasn't that interested in listing a bunch of random stuff about me a la "I've been a loyal Crest user my whole life because I used to really believe that Cavity Creeps lived on my teeth" so I decided to create a "25 Random Things: Starf*ker Edition" and list some of my Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind.

Would they remember meeting me? Maybe not.

Here's the list:

1. I’ve talked on the phone with Jack Nicholson and Sean Connery.
2. I helped Liam Neeson prepare his “Best Picture” introduction for IL POSTINO in the weeks before the 1996 Oscars.
3. I’ve driven Alfonso Cuaron in a golf cart.
4. I’ve seen Harry Dean Stanton’s band play live.
5. Robert De Niro smiled and nodded his head at me when I walked past him wearing my “What’s up cuz?” baseball cap on the set of THE FAN.
6. I’ve taken a whiz next to Richard Farnsworth.
7. I’ve ridden an elevator with Maureen McCormick.
8. I’ve stood in line for drinks behind Brian Grazer- his hair looks even more ridiculous in person and he was unnecessarily rude to the bartender.
9. I’ve been on a conference call with George Romero.
10. I’ve introduced myself to Chevy Chase.
11. I’ve had James Marshall autograph my TWIN PEAKS memorabilia.
12. Christopher Walken drunkenly tried to pick up my then-girlfriend while at the same table I talked FIRE WALK WITH ME with... Harry Dean Stanton (different night from #4).
13. I’ve had lunch with George Lazenby.
14. Jennifer Beals stopped my friend and I on the street and asked us what time it was.
15. I saw Andre Agassi puke.
16. I’ve taken a meeting with Dave Thomas and discussed the possibility of STRANGE BREW 2.
17. I’ve been screamed at by Wendy Finerman.
18. Richard D. James has ridden right by me on a bicycle.
19. I’ve had lunch one table over from William Shatner. (can you feel me straining to reach 25?!?)
20. I talked about Lee Marvin with Donald E. Westlake.
21. I helped arrange a date between Michael Radford and Winona Ryder.
22. I’ve shaken hands with Tony Curtis.
23. I drank beers with Mark Borchardt and talked music with Mike Schank.
24. I’ve had my picture taken with Mike Brito.
25. I’ve gone to a nightclub with Mike Tyson.

Soon after I posted my list, a couple other friends wrote up their 25 starf*ker moments and I thought, "Hey, what if I created a site where people around the country could submit their lists of celebrity encounters?" For an hour or so, I was really excited about this idea. Then two distinct feelings set in and I abandoned ship. The first was "Imagine the lies people will submit and the lawsuits that will follow." The second was "Do I really want to contribute my time and effort to the already sickening* celebrity culture?"

* yes, I know I am complicit!

Still, it got me thinking. I've already way overshot my allotted hour here, but I want to do some actual productive brainstorming to see if there something lurking in the Curator vein for me.

Something about mixtapes and mixtape covers? I have a sneaking suspicion that's already been covered, but I would love to scan all the mixtapes I've made (and that have been made for me) and post them, and ask others to do the same. I don't know about you, but I used to spend quite a bit of time with scissors and glossy magazines to create something fun for the cover.

I've also toyed with collecting cliches, a la "All limo drivers smoke cigarettes."

How about a list of experiences that people have of that weird sensation of learning a new word and then suddenly seeing it everywhere? No wait, this is supposed to GROW the site, not shrink it....

How about short-form experiences of truisms that have proven not to be true, a la "The family that prays together stays together" or "Defense wins championships"?

Hmm, this is hard.

How about a list of the greatest excuses ever uttered and the fallout from uttering them?

Help me out- what could/should a fellow like me curate here at The Word Player?

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