Here’s a handful of good reads for perusing by the fireplace this cold January…


  1. I liked seeing where music is centred (via popularity/critical love), even with flawed measurements like the Billboard 100 and the Pitchfork Top 100. Music is weirdly focused only on a handful of places even in our ‘global’ world. Interesting note for Canadians: by these US-centric measurements, Toronto is the centre of popular music, while Montreal is the same for critically-beloved music.
  2. Mo Ryan digs into an issue close to my heart here, as she explores whether the network that was launched onto the map with smart, brilliant drama actually wants to be known for that. It’s become clear in recent years that AMC is either unable or unwilling to continue the hot streak of critically-beloved drama started with Mad Men and Breaking Bad, two shows practically no other network could have launched as part of their brand. Mad Men is smart and thoughtful, even too much so for premium HBO, while FX might be a perfect fit for a Breaking Bad that didn’t live so much in the space between the big dramatic moments. AMC launched as the place where smart, thoughtful and engaging shows could go because there was no other home for them. Since then, they’ve proven they can’t always keep such shows alive (with brilliant-but-cancelled Rubicon), and that their taste in showrunners isn’t always impeccable (with critically maligned The Killing and much-ignored Hell on Wheels), and they’ve been pretty consistent about being ready to ditch a creative head if, well, any bump in the road arises. Now that their marquee hit is The Walking Dead, a show best known for its wrenching character deaths, could the home for this type of show be moving on? I’m hopeful that’s not the case, with the pickup of the promising Low Winter Sun, but the answer will probably come over the course of 2013-2015. By the way, I’ve been paying attention to the development of networks like Starz and Reelzchannel and streaming service Netflix into scripted series hubs in the wake of AMC, and I’m definitely interested in their growing brands too. Maybe someday soon I’ll write a post looking at the scripted track records of these newcomers into the field.
  3. This is one of dozens of articles in the past few years noting the growth of crowdfunding. a movement I’ve been passionate about since Amanda Palmer started exploring the idea of micropatronage years ago. While most note how Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are working as gateway projects for those outside the system, this article explores what happens when someone in the system gives it a shot.
  4. A good companion to Richard Florida‘s theories about the creative class, reframing it not as the source of mass employment but the guiding hand of where the work will grow. It asks a question I’ve been hearing for years, which is why trades can’t fill their ranks with high unemployment.
  5. A good guide to people and how they relate to you. I know I personally use his suggestion for dealing with crappy people, and when I don’t, I always suffer for it.
  6. I’m not a regular theatregoer, but Isaac Butler makes a pretty compelling case for why ‘Tweet Seats’ in theatres is both patently ridiculous and a misguided bandaid on a bullet wound. I know that myself, the only time I livetweeted a film in theatres was when I was bored out of my mind, and even then I stopped when things got interesting. I expect that to be the same for live performances. So using livetweeting as a way of showing off how much your audience is invested in what they’re watching is, well, silly. Personally, my impediment to live theatre has nothing to do with my ability to tweet during the performance.

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