Dear Live 105 and Treasure Island: 'Hipster' Is Neither a Music Genre Nor a Term of Praise

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I heard the voice booming through a store in downtown San Francisco on Saturday: Something about "hipster" bands too "hipster" to even mention on the radio. It was an ad on Live 105 advertising a giveaway for Treasure Island Music Festival tickets, and while the "Hipster Immersion Program" page is no longer on the station's website, there are still a few teasers on Facebook. "For two days [the winner] will be fully immersed in hipster culture [at Treasure Island]," one post promises. "Learn phrases like, 'I really only liked their first album.'"

Ha ha ha -- but seriously, Treasure Island and Live 105: This is a poor way to market your station and your festival. For one thing, the bands headlining Treasure Island this year -- bands like Beck and Atoms for Peace and Major Lazer -- are plainly not too hipster to mention on the radio. In fact, Live 105 has been playing Beck and Thom Yorke's other band for 20 years. And do you think the average Live 105 listener has heard of Diplo? Bet they have! They might have even heard of ... Animal Collective! Give your listeners some credit.


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In Which We Solemnly Vow to Never Use the Word "Hipster" Again

Categories: Hipster Watch
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You see yourself in here somewhere, hipster. Via YesButNoButYes.
Chain-smoking. Chronic masturbation. Leaving the toilet seat up. There comes a time in life when we must all break our bad habits, readers, and today, that time has come for use of the word "hipster." Once a slur aimed at the alleged cultural vulturism of urban twentysomethings, today the term has morphed into a catch-all denigration for pretty much any non-AARP-member with a passing interest in music, art, or fashion, and an iPod. It has become meaningless -- not that it ever had much meaning in the first place.

And call us old-fashioned, but we still retain the belief that words -- especially those icky ones we use as social labels -- should mean something. "Punk" still means something. "Goth" still means something. "Mod" even means something. But what's a hipster? The eggheads have argued and they can't agree. Because practically everyone -- especially in San Francisco -- is a hipster, or at least bears some qualities that could potentially brand them a hipster. And yes, this is the part where you whine, "but I'm not a hipster!" and go back to listening to Animal Collective in your overpriced Valencia Street coffee shop, you fucking hipster.

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SF Weekly Gets a Shout-Out on IFC's Hipster-Mocking New Show, Portlandia ('I Loved It!')


The Independent Film Channel has finally followed hipster-mocking to its logical conclusion: a television show based entirely around lampooning the death of Western civilization and a group that "did not yield a great literature, but it made good use of fonts." (Oh, you thought it was all about black frame glasses and skinny pants? You have a lot to learn, my friend!)


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Best Argument for the '90s Nostalgia Invasion of San Francisco

Categories: Hipster Watch
Is it...

A) Hole headlining Live 105's big summer music event, BFD?

B) Tool at the Bill Graham Civic in July?

C) Club nights like Debaser and Club 1994?

D) The new Dr. Martens store on Haight St.? (Which, it should be noted, is next door to that outpost of '80s gear, American Apparel).

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It's Time to Stop Hating Hipsters

Categories: Hipster Watch
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Photo from Look At This Fucking Hipster

It seems everyone on the Internet is currently either ragging on hipsters or arguing they don't exist. Even Joe Mande, the Williamsburg comedian whose hugely popular (and hilarious) Tumblr blog, Look At This Fucking Hipster was recently made into a book, got in on the cool-kid slamming in an interview in Salon.com recently:

Interviewer: "Why do you think there's this widespread hatred for hipsters?"

Mande: There's something about people acting like children and having what seems to be no real serious problems in their life that people find annoying."

The hipster has become just another stereotype based on a set of assumptions. Mande calls them "rich white trash ... college-educated babies" who drink PBR and wear handlebar mustaches. It's almost like hipsterism is some kind of social plague that must be ridiculed into oblivion: Fight the mustached! Outlaw asymmetrical bangs! No more irony!

Fuck that. It's time we stood up for being hipsters. We should begin by refuting idiotic stereotypes like Mande's. Hipsters are all kinds of people, from the brilliant, employed, and broke to the drugged-out, lazy, and rich. I have hipster friends who are studying for Ph.Ds in sciences I'm barely aware of, and I have hipster friends who, um, work at Urban Outfitters. I have hipster friends who lead nonprofits. I do not have any hipster friends with trust funds.

Rather than hating it, as Mande's interviewer assumes, the general public is learning to love hipster culture more. I mean look around: Pitchfork-lauded bands like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, and Spoon are now reaching the mainstream of rock, "indie" prefix or no. American Apparel is the new Gap, as even Gap's new, Helvetica-heavy ads admit. Pabst Blue Ribbon has a goddamn iPhone app. Hollywood's leading men sport Buddy Holly glasses at the Oscars. Phoenix is big enough to sell Cadillacs.

What people like Mande seem to dislike about hipster culture is an incorrect belief that it doesn't stand for anything: It's not explicitly political, it's not vehemently opposed to the mainstream (even if it does wince at it). To them, it's just a fashion.

Actually, hipsterism is an idea of how to live though culture. The hipster ideal is a meta-awareness of cultural knowledge and experience, fueled by Web-oversaturation and hyper-eclectic taste in everything from food to clothing to music. Hipsters are ominvorous cultural scavengers, people willing to sift through $1 record bins and the dusty shelves of thrift stores to try and make something fresh out of something old, and to find the best of what's new. More than skinny jeans and tall boys, hipsterism is about taking the forgotten and under-appreciated and recombining it into something cool and different.

Mande does get one thing right: The goal of all this dustbin trolling, creative remixing, and Web obsession is partly "to stretch out adolescence as far as it'll go." Hipsterism is kinda like adolescence with better style, more access to alcohol, and the right to vote (oh, and rent bills). But hey, it's also more interesting--not to mention fun--than being a crabby, boring adult.

The Best Thing About the Post-Holidays: Star Wars Hoodies Are Now on Sale!

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Do you have a boss who's into Star Wars (Um, we do. His IM icon is the freaking Death Star)? Are you on a budget because you're still waiting for that pay raise? Well, you're in luck! The kids over at Laughing Squid tipped us off to these kick-ass hoodies, and when we clicked we were all, "Oh, snap, they're on sale, too!"

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Pic via Gizmodo
 

Because, you know, it's a recession and that means that we shop for our nerdy regalia on the cheap. Clocking in at under $40, you could totally buy one for yourself and your boss, and then you'd be matchy-matchies. (Not that we recommend that.) For some reason (cough, cough) it's only the hoodies that depict characters from the prequels on sale right now. You still have to pay top dollar if you want to look like Boba Fett.

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Fast & Lovely: Bike Fashion Porn

Categories: Hipster Watch
At this weekend's SF Bike Expo at the Cow Palace, fashion-conscious cyclists rolled out their best gear. Check out more in Joe Schell's "Heavy Pedal: The S.F. Bike Expo @ The Cow Palace."

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A bicycle built for too sexy.
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We're plaid about it!
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Can we hop in your basket?


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Video of the Day: Where the Dirty Hipsters Are


Funny little spoof on Where the Wild Things Are, stupid vests, vegans, being over it, Los Angeles hipster bars, smoking American Spirits, music snobbery, and much more...

Weekend Pick #1: Fela B-Day Celebration

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Afrobeat's Ancestor: Fela Kuti

It's hard to think of a more iconic artist than Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The founder of Afrobeat, who famously proclaimed "music is a weapon," was both a voice of progressive social change--and often uncomfortably-honest socioeconomic critique--and a musical visionary. Fela's fusing of traditional Yoruban music with American jazz, R&B and funk was ahead of its time, as evidenced by the flowering of the Afrobeat genre a decade after his death and the influence Fela's music has had on a generation of artists--including Afrobeat revivalists (including Kuti's sons Femi and Seun), hip-hop and reggae aficionados, and electronic music heads.

This Saturday, Café du Nord turns into a mini-shrine to Fela, as DJ Jeremiah (aka Mr. Afrobeat) presents a Kuti birthday celebration, featuring a live performance by Afro-soul artist Siji, plus DJ Said and Jeremiah himself. If you like endless grooves with thought-provoking messages,this one's for you.

Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle Starts Tomorrow

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Yes, He Can: Estria

The fascinating subcultural (and frequently subterranean) world of graffiti art surfaces this week, as the third annual Estria Invitational Battle, organized by Bay Area spraycan art legend Estria (in conjunction with Marc Bamuthi Joseph's Living Word Festival), gets underway. The festivities begin tomorrow with the Can Film Festival, a free event at the 1:AM SF Gallery featuring screenings of the films "Style Wars" and "Bomb It," and an illustrious panel including moderator Jeff Chang, Estria, Suzie Lundy and Kevin Epps. On Friday, Pecha Kucha Night at East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland presents "Don't Sweat the Technique," an exhibition/discussion featuring 10 graffiti artists showing 20 slides, promoting social change. On Saturday, Oakland's deFremery park becomes ground zero for the culminating event, the Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle, bringing together 16 of the nation's top graffiti artists, as well as workshops and a black book battle.

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