Entries tagged "geek"

RIP social space of indie bookstores – Toronto's Pages closes

photo by Matthew Kim

I just got back from Toronto. It was my first summer visit there since the summers when I came out there..at 19 and 20. It’s been a long time.  A lot has changed. There are lots of new museums and buildings and lofts but as I strolled down Queen Street West, where I used to hang out back when it was far grittier, I noticed that Pages bookstore is just about to close.

Pages was a beautiful indie bookstore with lots of large coffee table books in the window and a mix of academic, indie and arty stuff. There were more magazines than I’d ever seen and more gay, lesbian and generally sexy material than I’d ever seen outside of the porn section of the family corner store where I sometimes worked. There was nothing about those magazines that was for me.

It was a clean, well lit place for cruising. I was terrified coming out back then. It was 1986 and there was nothing generally acceptable about being attracted romantically or physically to someone of the same-sex.

There was one lesbian bar and a feminist book store that carried ear cuffs, women symbol earrings and cassette tapes full of songs about spilling up and over like a waterfall. I tried all of these. I admit it. But how else were you supposed to meet women or more specifically womyn? How would you know thy were gay?  How did you even know what it was that you felt inside? Until our feelings are mirrored, we aren’t sure it’s ok to have them.

I didn’t like to drink and I wasn’t going to the Michigan Womyns Music Festival (one woman I met gushed about how people there braided their armpit hair). Pages was much more my speed. Dorky and thinky, it was a place where stylish, chunky glasses and footwear prevailed. It had gay stuff but it wasn’t only gay. It was maybe the first space I was even in that had room to be gay and not gay together. I could try it out without having to give myself entirely over to it. At Pages I could stand somewhere and be excited about ideas and cute women.

Richard Nash is right that books are social objects, social glue (as are all artists and our work…especially performances..more on that to come). But bookstores are social spaces. And Pages was a great one. I never did meet anyone in its aisles. But I could have. Just being in there meant a lot to me. There was some place that felt right. Some place I belonged.

Goodbye Pages. Many thanks.

Posted via email from heathergold’s posterous

[vid] tHGS@SXSW07: Continuous Partial Attention


with /Micki Krimmel, Derek Powazek, Tantek

This year’s tHGS@SXSW is March 16th: Something From Nothing feat. Derek Sivers (CDBaby), Andy Baio
(Upcoming, waxy) + Janice Fraser (Emmet Labs, Adaptive Path). Please come. Participate from anywhere
and help make it happen and support great crowdsourced convo. http://heathergold.com/show

My piece on vlogging airs on CBC's Spark today

I spend a lot of time going between coasts and between the online and offline “real” world. In order to bridging the geek/non-geek divide, I went to Port Jefferson Long Island to explain vlogging.

Listen 20 minutes in.

This is a short, This American Life-ish piece. And I stand by my assertion that within 5 years, so vlogging will be so commonplace, we probably won’t use that term for it anymore.

Vote today: Everything I Need to Know About the Web I Learned From Feminism

I proposed this as a panel at SXSW 09. I’m really looking forward to digging into this conversation with some really interesting feminist scholars and web / network thinkers. Voting for the panel happened here. To my surprise the room was packed. It outdrew Larry Lessig’s conversation. I didn’t imagine there would be so much interest and passion about feminism. We had a great conversation with Microsoft researcher/Harvard scholar danah boyd, Wall St Journal reporter and author of a book about MySpace Julia Angwin and Joseph Campbell collaborator and professor Betty Sue Flowers.

There is a really lovely compatibility about the notion of transcendence in both feminism and the Net….both of which give protection and community to those who have been invisible / “private” before.

The Net is quantifying / making visible the value of the social skills / communal skills that have previously gone unvalued by the market or “public” space.

This is inspired, in part, by something else I’m working on: a talk about how I do the performance I do….how to design for conversation rather than presentation all of which changes notions of where authority comes from. This is because the value is relational rather than one-off.

I think it always was..but that aspect was “hidden” by it being a silent piece of “private” life that women mostly carried out….preparing holidays, gatherings..maintaining relationships..creating  and giving physical and other bits of acknowledgement (gifts , cards ..the Christmas newsletter etc) and of course the “salon” which has been a big piece of the basis of how I’ve mashed up a new kind of performance.

There are quite a few ideas embedded in here and for the mag piece..perhaps best to focus on the social networking piece..but that’s just the latest business surfacing of something much deeper..which is the way the West is turning more relational this way…that’s my instinct.

It’s just too costly to market / force awareness of onesself/business without a network effect and any lasting audience/network  can only happen through what is community and community can only be maintained by this “female” stuff.

I found it very interesting in India where these social roles and conventions are still so deeply a part of peoples’ daily lives. I had an unusually deep experience of it myself because of the Niagara Falls shtetl in which I was raised.

I’m excited to see the value of this feminist stuff (as well as performance stuff) in the business arena…though I’m aware that I’m really out on the front edge of explaining and doing much of it..the social media consulting world and facebook shows this stuff to be shifting.

Note: I’ve further developed some of these ideas into a project called #WITH.

this morning: Michelle Obama and my possible GTD conversion

Even though it is sad and a tad ridiculous to me that Michelle Obama had to give the “Look, I don’t have horns” presentation to the nation, nothing in this video is meant to belittle the fact that it is moving to feel:

  • we could have an emotionally functional first family
  • the joy of a possible first lady whose peace comes from within and not over the counter
  • an African-American family take its place on our national stage of power and hold its ground. Finally.
  • America begin to realize how much of its bountiful human resource it has been ignoring.

Daily Epigram: trust

There’s no hack for building trust.

at&t and my iPhone robbed me of $1300

What follows is a story of one chick whose been on the receiving end of some bad bad customer “service.” I wish I hadn’t called. If you can help me pay the insane bill (paypal nosh [at]subvert[dot]com) I shouldn’t have to pay (since I didn’t knowingly order or use these services)  or have the email of a Sr VP of  customer service at Apple or at&t, that would be great. (If I can get the credit from at&t I deserve,  I will return every paypall-ed dollar to you).

I went to visit my family for Passover last month in Toronto. I called at&t while still in the U.S. to ask if there was a way to use my iPhone as a PDA/camera only in Canada. I should place my iPhone on airplane mode so as not to incur charges. He said no.

Let me warn you now, iPhone travelers, that the correct answer is yes.

Continue reading…

Gossip @ SXSW08

Join me and chief Valleywag Owen Thomas, TMZ.com General Manager Alan Citron, NY Times reporter Shaila Dewan, twitter co-founder Ev Williams and surprise guest and Star on-air personality Julia Allison as we discuss Gossip at SXSW08.

This carousing panel featured so many great moments- Julia sitting on my lap, Shaila bursting Julia’s bubble about fact checking and “respectable” main stream media, and the genuine community response to the Mark Zuckerberg / Sarah Lacy keynote disaster.

(2021 update) Sadly the recordings of this event, one my my favourites of my career, appear to have been lost to the various risks of Internet time. Here are some links to the coverage, which included some early live-blogging. I do believe this was the first time people went to a physical location in response to a lot of people tweeting about it. Of course, a whole lot of the people on twitter at that point, were probably at SXSW.

“The audience is now actually liveblogging our live-blogging. – Melissa Gira Grant, Gawker

Gossip panel deemed ‘best SXSW panel ever’ – Tony Pierce, LA Times

“Notions of authority are generationally changing, Heather noted¦ If we are the media we are now reporting on ourselves.” More quotes and live-blogging of the event in this blog post. – Deirdre Molloy, Innovation Cloud

Given that there is no longer video of it and that this was one of the events that most successfully captured the scaled conversation I worked on for years, I’m also going to include the lovely review Deirdre gave me. I’m proud of it:

“Heather Gold did a tremendous job of chairing. A professional stand-up comic and longtime geek who’s been running her Heather Gold Show in the evening fringe scene at SXSW for a few years, she was the doyen of conversation, getting everyone involved. Like the referee of your dreams, she allowed volleys of audience questions right through the session while still giving each panellist their say. Question Time was never like this.

I like to organise conversations around things that people really care about¦ this will run like a collective inquiry as you all have as much expertise on who you are and on the world as we have on our points of view so you’re all welcome to join in.

Heather, I salute you!”

My infamous Gossip panel @ SXSW08 (video 60 min.)

During my SXSW panel, Gossip,tech scene gossip-ee Julia Allison booed Chief Valleywag and gossiper Owen Thomas, then ended up joining our panel, sitting on my lap and became part of a carousing, unpredictable conversation that was twittered, liveblogged on Valleywag twice while it went on. Lane Becker called it “The best panel I’ve ever been to at SXSW.”

As the conversation went on the room filled up to capacity. It was the first time people packed a location because people tweeted out that they should come check it out.

2021 Update: Sadly blip.tv is no more and I’ve not yet found another copy of the video of the panel. If I do, I’ll re-post it. There are links to coverage and live-blogging of this event–one of my favourites of my career so far–here.

My Needs / Your Needs – Podcast Available

Join web designer Jeff Veen, Intersex activist Thea Hillman and microfinance expert April Rinne as the Heather Gold Show explores the concept of Service and balancing one’s own needs with the needs of others.

Download the full podcast (94 minutes)

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