Filed under: COOL SHT, Feature | Tags: Adam Driver, Architecture, Augmented Reality, Bravo, Carrie, Culver City, Facebook, Girls, Google, Hannah, HBO, hipsters, Instagram, Jimmy Choos, Lena Dunham, Los Angeles, Marnie, Monolo Blahnik, NYC, Project Glass, Reality Series, Samantha, Samitaur Tower, Sex and the City, Silicon Valley, Star Trek, SXSW, Williamsburg
THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK
Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls
© Jojo Whilden/HBO. All rights reserved.
The new series, Girls, comes to HBO this Sunday and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I watched the first two episodes in Austin at SXSW spawning my lady crush on its writer/creator, Lena Dunham. The show follows a group of NYC Williamsburg hipsters through their daily machinations focusing on the somewhat unglamorous side of their romantic transgressions. I spent my 20’s living in NYC, the latter half in which I was working at HBO, and hence, was especially excited to see this story unfold.
I’ve been watching the critical reviews come across the internet wires and they all boil down to one thing: sex. The sex in Sex & the City was glamorous Jimmy Choo-laced fantasy, thick with witty Samantha-isms and adorable recaps from Carrie. The sex in Girls is uncomfortable to watch and ‘real’ in a way I’ve never seen on screen before. Slate Magazine describes this realness as the “chronicling of bad sex” whereas New York Magazine raves that the sex “isn’t a reward, it’s a revelation.” So which is it? Lena Dunham writes, stars, and partially directs this series. She plays Hannah, a post-collegiate brutally torn from the parental financial purse strings to go out on her own for the first time. The first sex on screen carries out between Hannah and her sex buddy Adam, and while not ruining anything, I’ll just say, that I would never tell a friend about sex that bad.
That said, it wasn’t only the sex that I found so intriguing. It was the comfort level by which these girls interact with each other and by which Dunham herself is comfortable exposing the world to. There is one scene in particular that I have obsessed over, obsessed because I think it indicates some lack of cool on my part and therefore has been a conversation piece for weeks. Dunham’s character, Hannah, takes a bath with her towel-clad roommate Marnie chatting about their lives, a pastime which in most respects would be done over breakfast or perhaps, any other place with clothes on. I’ve obsessed because I’ve wanted to know if this happens in real life. Do women get together naked and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives? I don’t even like to look people in the eye in the women’s locker room, let alone sit naked in a bathtub and talk about my sex life. Does this make me uncool?
Lena Dunham, as Hannah, with actor Adam Driver.
(Photo: Jojo Whilden/HBO)
Back to the sex. The attempt to categorize this show at the ‘everygirl’ story would be dangerous. In the same way that Sex & the City did not translate to the lives of most American women at the time it debuted, I don’t think Girls has the intention of direct translation. How many women buy Jimmy Choos on a Monday and Monolo Blahniks on a Tuesday? In the same respect, how many women catch up on their day with their best friend sitting naked in a bathtub and then have discussions about how maybe they really do want AIDS at the doctor’s office? Here’s where I had to reel myself in. Being that you, the viewer, are presented with a woman (Dunham) who looks more real than the skinny plastic surgery-disfigured faces of so many Hollywood actresses, the viewer immediately thinks that what happens on screen will look more similar to their own world. In my case, even though I spent some time living in Williamsburg, the attempt at direct correlation was lost in translation. Frankly, that’s not the point. I think Dunham’s intention is to entertain with her own story and hope that each viewer draws inspiration in whichever way makes sense. Whether that’s making one person feel less embarrassed about their own bad sex moment or more comfortable in simply sharing something with a friend, so be it. So, I’ll attempt to stop thinking about how uncool I am for my lack of bathtub friend time…but seriously, does this make me uncool?! Maybe not, but quotes like this one, make Lena Dunham fresh to death.
In other news, Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 Billion (scaring the sh-t out of this Instagram user right here and this one over there), Google busts out some augmented reality glasses which sadly bring on the Star Trek jokes, and Bravo announces plans to bring a Silicon Valley reality series to screen.
Some more Cool Sh-t:
Photo Credit: Designboom
Filed under: ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: AOL, Google, Jim Cramer, Jon Stewart, News Corporation, Star Trek, Tim Armstrong, Time Warner
Comedy Central‘s digital properties benefited greatly this week from Jon Stewart‘s 8+ minute rant against CNBC after network reporter Rick Santelli “bailed out” on his scheduled appearance on The Daily Show. (Jon took issue with some of Jim Cramer‘s infamous stock misses, among other things.) Traffic to TheDailyShow.com had its best week ever with a 65% spike in weekly uniques, total video streams for comedy central video were 18% higher than average and embedded video views increased more than 3 times from the first week of March. (Cynopsis 3/12)
Movie trailers continue to drive huge web traffic. The new trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, featured on Heroes on Monday night, had more than 1.8 million downloads during its first 24 hours as an exclusive on Apple.com. It has gone on to be the most popular HD download ever on the site with more than five million downloads in its first five days. (Cynopsis 3/12)
Major media companies may no longer need to operate separate digital divisions. Digital revenues at Disney, Viacom, NBC, and News Corp. are now spread across many different businesses. Digital operations are said to be “transitioning to the business-building mode.” (Iwantmedia 3/12, http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/11/the-digital-divisions-are-dead-at-big-media 3/11)
CBS Corp. said it expects a 30% increase in revenue from online advertising for March Madness On Demand this year, per Bloomberg. Online ad revenue will be about $30 million, up from $23 million a year ago, as internet ad inventory is almost sold out according to Jason Kint, SVP/GM for CBSSports.com. GM, AT&T and Coca-Cola are among the sponsors. (Cynopsis 3/12)
Time Warner is replacing AOL CEO Randy Falco with Google senior VP Tim Armstrong, who will move the Internet company “into the next phase,” says CEO Jeff Bewkes. Falco had joined AOL in 2006 with the mandate of transforming the company into an online advertising business. (Iwantmedia 3/12, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/12/AR2009031203090.html 3/13)
Google is eyeing telephony with its introduction of Google Voice, a free IP-based management tool that routes home, office and mobile calls through a single number, retrieves voice mail and allows users to make free domestic calls, according to published reports. Google will roll Voice out today to users of its GrandCentral service and in the coming weeks to the rest of the market. The New York Times (3/12) , Reuters (3/12)
Much is being written today about the value of a large following on Twitter. Jason Calacanis wants to pay $125,000 a year to have Twitter recommend him to other users, for example. He thinks that over time accounts with massive followings will somehow be able to pull in $1 million a year or more in incremental revenue, assuming they then have millions of followers. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/12/the-amount-and-value-of-twitter-traffic 3/12)
Today Facebook is rolling out the update to user homepages that brings a new look, enhanced filter system, and most importantly, realtime updating. Real-time updates are Facebook’s response to Twitter, which has been able to thrive on offering users immediate updates from their friends and favorite celebrities (Facebook’s original News Feed took hours to update). (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/11/facebooks-real-time-homepage-goes-live-today 3/11)
Over the last few weeks MySpace Music has quietly rolled out a number of new features that should make the service significantly more appealing to consumers. While MySpace Music kicked off to an fairly impressive start when it launched last September, seeing a huge amount of traffic and streamed songs, even its President Courtney Holt has conceded that it wasn’t very user-friendly and didn’t bring many new features to the table. The initial launch of MySpace Music was mostly about laying the groundwork to build a sustainable business. Now, the site is shifting focus to deliver what its consumers want. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/11/a-look-at-the-improved-myspace-music 3/11)
Widgets integrated into Verizon’s FiOS service in the U.S. will allow viewers to update their Facebook status to reflect what they’re watching and check out Twitter feeds keyed to programming as well as popular Twitter topics. Also on tap are the ability to use a DVR to record clips from YouTube and other video sites, and the inclusion of this Web content on Verizon’s on-screen guide. ReadWriteWeb (3/11)
VERY impressed with this. Would love to see it in action. Any live event should take Twitter/Facebook very seriously if they intend to keep appointment viewing appointment viewing.
At least one of eBay‘s big acquisitions is making money. At its annual investors conference the online auction house says its PayPal online payment business continues to grow at an impressive clip and that the division will eventually become bigger than its core auction product. PayPal currently handles about 5% of online payments globally, and its share will more than double by 2011 according to eBay. (Cynopsis 3/12)
CBS Interactive’s TheInsider.com launched Celebrity Agent, a social fantasy game app on Facebook allowing fans to play the role of a celebrity agent by managing and recruiting celebrities. Invite friends to play along so you can chat or steal their talent. (Cynopsis 3/12)
Video entertainment site Metacafe launched a cool mashing app powered by Kaltura – The Last House on the Left Horror Remixer. It features video clips, audio tracks and special effects that enable Metacafe viewers to create their own trailer for the Rogue Pictures’ redux of the Wes Craven horror classic. (Cynopsis 3/12)
Internet users are entering longer search terms, Hitwise data show. Terms of at least four words are up 3% to 20% compared with the year before. Said the CEO of search agency Didit: “Longer queries are a sign of the searchers becoming more educated and savvy and essentially being trained by the fact that results for shorter queries tend to return less relevant results than longer searches.” DMNews (3/10)
The global IPTV subscriber base grew 3.2 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008, to 23 million, according to a report by The Dell’Oro Group. The top regions for IPTV set-top boxes continued to be Europe, the Middle East and Africa while Motorola and Cisco remained the top vendors. Cable360 (3/11)
Filed under: ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: CBS, Facebook, Google, Joost, Myspace, Star Trek, Television program, YouTube
Without much fanfare, Joost has finally turned on the browser version of its Web video service, as we noted it would last month. The new site is all based on Flash, and lets you watch old Bruce Lee flicks, Sci-Fi movies like The Fifth Element, and clips from Barely Political and Comedy Central. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/13/joost-turns-on-its-all-flash-website-is-anybody-watching 10/13)
MySpace launches their self serve ad platform, called My Ads, tonight, which was first talked about a year ago. Like Facebook’s similar product, it allows anyone to quickly create a targeted ad and serve it on MySpace. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/12/myspace-launches-my-ads-self-serve-ad-platform 10/12)
CBS made a pact with Google-owned YouTube to have many of its TV programs available on the video-sharing site in full-length form. YouTube is streaming classic CBS shows such as Star Trek and the original Beverly Hills 90210 as well as new season premieres of Showtime Networks’ Dexter and Californication. CBS and YouTube are selling commercials around the streamed episodes with both sharing the ad revenues. To date, this is the first deal YouTube has made to offer long-form content. (Cynopsis 10/13)
Half of all Internet users watch at least one online video per week and a particularly voracious 10% watch one per day, according to this analysis. Older surfers aren’t immune either: 35% of men and 25% of women in the 55-to-64 age group watch at least one online video each week. Advertising Age (10/13)