Countdowns, teams of judges with stop watches, and pre-performance massages seemed to have little to do with coffee culture. That was until this weekend and experiencing ESPN-style competition of the Western Regional Barista Competition in Berkeley. I lived to tell despite the excessiveness of slamming three coffees while watching some of the 35 baristas from coffee roasters around California compete for “Most Promising Newcomer” and “Best Signature Drink,” among others. Quite a strange spectacle.
Between lectures on caring for espresso makers and roasting a great blend, baristas were each given 15 minutes to prepare three drinks for a panel of judges. What helps you win: presenting a confident schpeal, delivering on your promise of fruit nodes and who knows what other flavors, selecting a quality milk (local creamery Straus produces a coffee-specific milk, for example), latte art, and, of course, cleaning up after yourself. I expected the crowd to be hipster-filled, and while there were two judges with matching plaid secondhand shirts, the event also drew plenty of families and business owners. I was glad to see some of the Ritual Roasters crew sweep the prizes while being left wondering whether this was ridiculous, intriguing, or the signal of an impending urban trend.
You say “Image Bookmarking.” I say “Yes please.”Excited to come across FFFFound!’s combination of photos, illustrations, and creative inspiration. It seems like a less product-focused version of NOTCOT and receives a constant stream of Flickr, Etsy, and industry images. Not addictive at all.
I was intrigued by a notice about the upcoming Pranks Film Festival at the Roxy in early April (followed by the beloved SF Women’s Film Festival on April 9-13). The month seems apt for a celebration of tricks, and, with $10 all day passes, it might be worth a gander. Local publisher RE/Search is putting the word out about the screenings, which include “St. Stupid’s Day Parade” and “Culture Jam: Hijacking Commercial Culture.” Although I think I’ll pass on Jihad Jerry’s “Army Girls Gone Wild” on moral grounds and “Truth in Advertising” as it hits a bit too close to home. On second thought, the whole thing may be a joke–the festival site leads nowhere.
The “directory of wonderful things” known as BoingBoing drew my attention to a series of colorful diagrams that illustrate the difference between the amount of coverage news outlets play to countries around the world in comparison to their size. Britain looks a bit bloated in The Economist diagram above, but it also provides a good visual for understanding how good the weekly is at covering topics of note around the globe (sorry, Greenland). You can see also how Slate and the New York Times’ international coverage maps out at L’Observatoire de Medias, where the representation of “The Blogosphere” seems a bit disjointed when it comes to featuring Asian stories.
Former Bay Area inventor and artist Jon Brumit has generated attention plenty of attention for his work in organizing the annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race. Lombard Street, widely considered to be the city’s curviest, was formerly home to the helmet-and-costume drawing race until it switched to Vermont Street in Potrero Hill last Sunday. I’m sorry I was away for the festivities but enjoyed video from moniker monet1006 on everyone’s go-to video search engine:
It’s hard to imagine upstaging your own work in planning a non-traditional city-wide event that draws hoards of traditional media attention, but Brumit’s collaboration with Neighborhood Public Radio is threatening to. The independent station works to provide “an alternative media platform for artists, activists, musicians, and community members.” Its’ Alternate Soundtracks City Tours provide artist-led audio tours of the Mission that are worth a listen. The effort also recently got a nod from their namesake when National Public Radio discussed the project in their coverage of the Whitney Biennial.
Lately it’s been challenging to limit my intake of Take-Away Shows from the French site La Blogotheque with its intimate music videos directed by Vincent Moon. As for locations for shooting good looking, great sounding musicians in their 20s and 30s, the back of vans and freight elevators make for an interesting change of pace. It features the likes of Okkervil River, Beirut, and Vampire Weekend (who grace the cover of SPIN this month–if the glossy weren’t so condescendingly hip I may have picked up a copy at the airport this morning).
So says comedian and interactive guru Eugene Merman about Twitter, the easily updatable method for letting friends or, you know, the entire World Wide Web, know what you’re up to. Some say the service makes it too simple for people to share the unmonumentous moments of their everyday lives, but that’s just because they’re grouchy and don’t care that you’re currently flossing.
Common Craft created a quick video explaining the service “in plain English”: