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Epic Coffee Battle

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in digital media marketing on 13 October 2010

So what does this video have to do with publishing or virtual offices? Well, nothing, really, unless you consider what a staple coffee is in the publishing industry as well as offices (I know, it’s a stretch, but I am taking it). In addition, it’s hard to think about the pleasures of reading or writing without also considering coffee.

I think you can also draw a parallel between the coffee industry and the book publishing/book selling industry. There are the giants, and then there are the small, fiercely independent outfits. To say that coffee is important here in Portland, Oregon, would be a gross understatement. There are dozens of microroasters and nanoroasters with their single-origin, medium-roast coffees. Sometimes, as with small publishing houses and booksellers, it can start to feel a bit . . . precious. That is why I appreciated this Coffee Wars video. I love coffee, and I love books, but I also think it’s important to maintain a sense of humor and not take things so seriously.

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French Pop Song of the Week: In Arabic, from Souad Massi

Posted by Thomas Riggs in music on 6 October 2010


France, as a center of wealth and culture, has for many years been a destination for immigrants, allowing it to absorb outside influences and, as a result, continually reinvent itself. Although some immigrants, especially those of North African origin, have had difficulty integrating into French life, there is a more hopeful side to this story. As in the United States, many people in France are committed to their country’s tradition of human rights and being a safe haven for foreigners. And France benefits economically and culturally from the energy and talent of its foreign-born citizens, as well as those who, despite being born in France and thus being French, are sometimes seen as other because of their family origins.

Such is the theme of this week’s featured pop star, Souad Massi. Born in Algeria in 1972, Massi had an eclectic musical background. Her parents loved traditional Algerian, French pop, and American soul music. Several of her family members played jazz. She learned guitar at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Alger and soon became known as a modern, passionate singer—a politically dangerous image at the time in Algeria. After an artistic director of Universal Music discovered her in 1999 at a French festival of Algerian women, she moved to France. Her music—usually in Arabic, sometimes in French, and occasionally in English—has been described as a blending of Algerian, French, and “Anglo-Saxon” musical traditions.

Below is a video of Massi singing “Talit El Bir.” It’s a longer, more developed version of a song that appears on her third Album, Mesk Elil (“Honeysuckle,” 2006). The lyrics are in Arabic, and she begins by saying in French, “Vous nous aidez un peu si vous avez envie. Je force pas.” (“Help us a little if you feel like it. I’m not forcing anyone.”)

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A New Twist on Public Poetry

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in marketing poetry on 14 September 2010

Flux Film 001 | Morse from Proper Medium on Vimeo.

Artist John Morse has come up with a clever way of spreading haiku around Atlanta. His project, dubbed “Roadside Haiku,” uses bandit signs, those not very attractive, cheap white plastic corrugated advertisement signs that are ubiquitous in metropolitan areas. In keeping with the general aesthetic of bandit signs, Morse uses large black lettering, and the poems begin with catch phrases commonly found on bandit signs.

Morse has written 10 haiku, each printed on 50 signs for a total of 500 scattered across Atlanta. Here are some examples:

In the comfort of your home!
Read to your children.

Feel Happier! Healthier!
Dump your bigotry.

You can also check out the signs on Morse’s Facebook page.

For more information on the project, visit Flux Projects or see this article from the Guardian.

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New Bookstore Fills Unique Niche

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books trends on 3 September 2010

It’s supposed to be a bad economic climate for brick-and-mortar bookstores, and it seems booksellers are closing their doors left and right. It might come as a surprise, then, to hear about the opening of a new bookstore, one funded by the federal government. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), responsible for all sorts of government publications since 1861, recently opened a retail bookstore in Washington, D.C. The store is actually a reopening of sorts, since a GPO bookstore has been in existence since 1895. The new store was redesigned to mimic more closely contemporary booksellers. The redesign and renovation were handled in-house by GPO employees.

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French Pop Song of the Week: The Jealousy of Mademoiselle K

Posted by Thomas Riggs in music translation world literature on 2 September 2010

mademoiselle k

Once upon a time, back in the ‘80s, Katerine Gierak was just a young girl in Paris. At five years old she enrolled in her first music class. Soon she started playing the flute and studying music theory. Then she took up the classical guitar, followed by the electric guitar. From 1999 to 2005 she studied music at the Sorbonne, hoping to become a music teacher. But she failed the CAPES, a French exam for teachers, and instead of accepting the failure as a temporary setback, she changed careers. She became a rock star.

Now heading the band Mademoiselle K, Katerine Gierak is a popular and distinctive voice in contemporary French rock. Here is a clip of her 2006 song “Jalouse” (”Jealous”) from the album Ça Me Vexe (”That Upsets Me”). Below is a translation of the lyrics.

Clip : “Jalouse”, Mademoiselle K. Roy Music
envoyé par roymusic. – Regardez plus de clips, en HD !
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