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robertogreco : mcsweeneys   15

Eli Horowitz Wants To Teach You How To Read - BuzzFeed News
"This might all sound very precious, or very insufferable. But Horowitz is used to people feeling that way: It’s the same sort of criticism that’s long been levied at McSweeney’s, the indie publishing organization that Horowitz ran for the better part of a decade. The cabins expand upon the aggressively twee style that made McSweeney’s publications into bookshelf fixtures in Brooklyn studios and dorm rooms across the land, but the work Horowitz does in those cabins is anything but stale. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true: He’s radically rethinking the boundaries of narrative and our expectations for the technology that surrounds us.

At the moment, Horowitz is commissioned to figure out a new form of audio tour for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and putting together the narrative puzzle pieces as a contributing editor of Starlee Kine’s Mystery Show podcast. He’s editing a narrative project called bcc that plays out in the form of a series of back-and-forth emails between two characters — on which the reader is bcc’ed. But most urgently, there’s The Pickle Index, his collaboration with developer Russell Quinn, which aims to effectively reconceptualize the book — in its digital and printed forms alike.

Horowitz helped change the book world once. Can he do it again?

Horowitz’s name is on five books; as an editor, he’s worked closely with dozens of authors, including those of Dave Eggers, indie filmmaker and artist Miranda July, essayist Wells Tower, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, and Denis Johnson. Every book he’s written has been optioned for film or television: The New World, published in May, was optioned by Olivia Wilde; The Silent History, a digital app turned paperback from 2012, is slated to become AMC’s new prestige drama. “Everyone who knows him thinks of him as their secret weapon,” July told me.

But to understand how Horowitz arrived at this position of would-be digital visionary, you need to understand a few things about McSweeney’s, and the attitudes at its core. Much of it can be traced, at least originally, to the ethos of Dave Eggers — who, in the early ‘90s, moved to San Francisco and launched satirical magazine Might and slightly less satirical lit magazine Timothy McSweeney’s Literary Tendency. In 2000, Eggers, then 30, published his unconventional memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which became a best-seller and a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.
With Heartbreaking Work, what had been a largely San Francisco-based literary phenomenon went national, and the Eggers name — and McSweeney’s along with it — came to stand in for a particular mix of playfulness and sincerity, doubling down on the intrinsic value of the printed object as the specter of a digital, bookless future started to haunt publishing. McSweeney’s can thus be understood as an attitude (optimism), a tone (oscillating, dynamically, between sincerity and satire, but never irony), and a posture (open).

Enter Horowitz. “The mythic version of how I came to McSweeney’s is pretty much true,” he told me, settling into a couch at the cabin. “826 Valencia (a writing tutoring program launched by Eggers) was getting ready to start. They needed help building the place, and I had this mild carpentry background — I’d taught myself from a book — so I helped build the Pirate Supply Store,” the storefront attached to the tutoring center that sells McSweeney’s publications and, uh, pirating supplies.

“They needed someone to sit at the register,” Horowitz tells me. “So I did that, and I would read books, and Dave saw that. He was busy trying to finish his first novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and he was like, ‘Wanna read this and tell me what you think?’”
Three months later, Horowitz found himself the managing editor of McSweeney’s. “There wasn’t anyone else around to manage,” he admits. “Which was good, because I didn’t know anything. None of us had ever worked in publishing before.”

Horowitz says this, like he says everything, with a tone of slight bemusement. His work has a sense of humor that oscillates between wry and farcical. He loves digressions and declaring new sections of conversation: “Now that’s a topic.” He’s around 5’10”, and feels coiled, like you might get an electric shock when you shake his hand. Chris Ying, editor-in-chief of the food magazine Lucky Peach, which launched under McSweeney’s, describes his mind as “endlessly churning.” In his demeanor, like his cabins and his projects, there’s a sense of “the new sincerity” — a term from music and film criticism often affixed to McSweeney’s. He might joke about the shitty construction of the dumbwaiter he made to bring up his book to one of his sleeping lofts. But he deeply, unmistakably loves it.

Horowitz winds through the story of how McSweeney’s gradually became more and more of a thing. In 2003, there was the launch of The Believer, a sister publication for interviews and nonfiction, the second 826 outpost in Park Slope, Brooklyn; then, a slew of books with the McSweeney’s imprint, all solicited and edited by Horowitz. And the predictable backlash: In its inaugural issue, the literary journal n+1, largely composed of East Coast intelligentsia, railed against it, calling Eggers and his followers “a regressive avant garde.”

Through all of this, Horowitz was holding the place together. He didn’t have Eggers’ visibility or celebrity, but behind the scenes, he was refining the voice and sensibility of the organization. He was editing and fixing the printer and figuring out how to make the postage work when the new issue took the form of a mass of old-timey letters and pamphlets in a box. “He came up with some of the best and strangest concepts for the journal and for our books,” Eggers told me. “He embodies a rare dichotomy of being very organized and very calm, but also has the soul of an artist.”

McSweeney’s, I’m told by others who’ve lived through it, was like any other close-knit organization, literature-based or otherwise, in that it functioned somewhat like a cult. And when you were in, you were in deep: Everyone was breaking laws and cutting corners and fucking around and each other.

So when I ask Horowitz, who left in 2012, if he’s nostalgic for those years, he looks at his lap and makes a laugh that sounds like a sigh. He pauses, gathers himself, half-smiles.

“No. That’s not what I feel.”"



"Horowitz applied the same philosophy to his newest work, The Pickle Index, which tells the story of a delightfully unskilled circus troupe against the backdrop of a fascist dystopia, united by a forced devotion to fermented items. “There are all these different ways that you can read that are valid, so I wanted to fully imagine all of those formats. So: the book-iest book I could do, and the app-iest app. Even the paperback, and the Kindle version. They’ll have their own sort of thing, with different reaches and different audiences.” For the hardback version of The Pickle Index, you go back and forth, chapter to chapter, between two beautifully illustrated volumes, each around 100 pages. For the paperback, those chapters are integrated, this time with accompanying woodcut illustrations. And then there’s the app, which releases sections of the narrative over the course of 10 days.

Horowitz paid for the 5000-copy hardcover run himself; whatever profits it and the app makes will be his and Quinn’s. When I ask how he’ll know if the project is a failure, he pauses. “I don’t see how this project could fail,” he says. “It just is! It might turn out well, people might like it, I might think back on it more fondly or less fondly. But it can’t be a failure. Failure is when you’re trying to be the No. 1 photo sharing platform, and then you either are or you aren’t.

Which is something Horowitz is uniquely capable of saying, of course, from the cushion of one of the Airbnbs that effectively bankroll his experimentation.

It’s pitch-black along the River Road back to Eli’s other cabin. He points out a roadside establishment, TJ’s Grill at Angie’s George’s Hideaway, whose name pleases him greatly. He’s pleased so easily, really: by a good garage sale, or teaching himself how to fix something, however poorly, so long as he learns something in the process, or by the artist who creates simply for the process, the doing, of it. “I really believe in people who make things just because they want to make things. Like a guy who dies, and you look in his backyard and find 700 little sculptures of little dudes. Like that.”

That ethos, however, is alien to the structures of the mainstream publishing industry, which ask for pitches with concrete promises of a final product, a certain audience: concrete markers of success. The sort of things that are hard to think about when you really just want to fiddle your way through a process, living the platonic ideal of the artistic experience, unencumbered by monetary concerns. Which is why Russell Quinn described the unifying quality of Horowitz’s projects as “low risk.”

“A lot of Eli’s projects appear to be big and monumental,” says Quinn, who lives in a geodesic dome, a five minute drive from Horowitz. “But even his cabins come from a place where he would rather buy a cheap thing and do it his way than buy a suburban house and do it up. Same for projects: We like thinking about how we can do them just the two of us. Because Eli has to get past the point where he doesn’t hate what he’s working on, and he doesn’t want to do that publicly, or with backers, or selling the concept of a book before it’s written. It’s a low-key humbleness: not figuring things out until the end.”

That night, I sleep the sleep of the well-cabined, and the sunrise wakes me instead of an alarm. We have plans to explore the app for The Pickle Index, but once we open it, I’m … [more]
elihorowitz  suddenoak  thepickleindex  annehelenpetersen  2015  books  publishing  mcsweeneys  apps  applications  ebooks  epublishing  srg  826valencia  daveeggers  bookfuturism  russianriver  tumblr  twitter  digital 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Quinn — The World's Most Wired Storyteller | Wired Design | Wired.com
"Now after a string of behind-the-scenes successes, Quinn may be about to transform the art of storytelling itself. This summer he will launch The Silent History, a sprawling electronic novel that plays with the mechanics of how stories are told, taking full advantage of the tablet’s GPS and touchscreen, along with platform features like in-app purchasing.

It will be the first release from Ying Horowitz & Quinn, the San Francisco publishing house Quinn co-founded in January. Judging by samples shared with Wired, The Silent History is part book, part multiplayer game, part Google map, and entirely revolutionary.

“I love the printed book,” Quinn says. “But I’m not romantic about the book, either.”

…One key difference in how this e-book works is that the narrative is serialized… The serial is broken into six parts, each one spanning several years in fictional time…

Then there are Field Reports."
children  books  serialfiction  serial  mapping  maps  gaming  games  2012  elihorowitz  chrisying  yinghorowitz&quinn  ebooks  reading  location  gps  literature  fiction  interactivefiction  ipad  ios  application  iphone  mcsweeneys  russellquinn  thesilenthistory  if  suddenoak 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Ying Horowitz & Quinn
"We develop projects that organically integrate storytelling, design, and technology. Our projects are a mix of self-initiated experimentation and progressive client-based proposals that bridge the gap between old and new media. We see new digital formats not as an end in themselves, but rather as an opportunity to explore new possibilities in narrative."

[Via: http://www.wired.com/design/2012/07/russell-quinn-the-worlds-most-wired-storyteller ]

[Now see Sudden Oak too: http://www.suddenoak.com/ ]
digitalstorytelling  digital  applications  iphone  ios  ivanramen  thesilenthistory  mcsweeneys  luckypeach  elihorowitz  russellquinn  chrisying  narrative  storytelling  suddenoak 
july 2012 by robertogreco
McSweeney’s: Lucky Peach
"Lucky Peach is a new journal of food writing, published on a quarterly basis by McSweeney’s.

It is a creation of David Chang, the James Beard Award–winning chef behind the Momofuku restaurants in New York, writer Peter Meehan, and Zero Point Zero Production—producers of the Emmy Award–winning Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

Each issue will explore a single topic through a mélange of travelogue, essays, art, photography, interviews, rants, and, of course, recipes. The journal will be full color and perfect bound, with an eye toward exploring new recipe designs. The aim of Lucky Peach is to create a publication that appeals to diehard foodies as well as fans of good writing and art in general.

The journal will be released shortly after the launch of its sister project—an iPad app produced by Zero Point Zero that will feature more than two hours of videos, plus recipes, art, and essays."
culture  food  ipad  cooking  recipes  davidchang  momofuku  mcsweeneys  magazines  quarterly 
june 2011 by robertogreco
DavidByrne.com - Tree Drawings / Arboretum
"Drawing/diagrams in the form of trees, which both elucidate & obsfucate roots of contemporary phenomena & terminology. Sort of like borrowing evolutionary tree format & applying it to other, often incompatible, things. In doing so a kind of humorous disjointed scientism of mind heaves into view.

Published by McSweeney's...Straight from sketchbook, smudges & all, plus a 4-foot foldout guide. It’s an eclectic blend of faux science, automatic writing, satire, & an attempt to find connections where none were thought to exist—a sort of self-therapy, allowing the hand to say what the voice cannot. Irrational logic, it’s sometimes called. The application of logical scientific rigor * form to basically irrational premises. To proceed, carefully & deliberately, from nonsense, with a straight face, often arriving at a new kind of sense. The world keeps opening up, unfolding, & just when we expect it to be closed—to be a sealed, sensible box—it shows us something completely surprising."

[via: http://bobulate.com/post/849400482/blood-sweat-and-felt-markers ]
davidbyrne  information  design  visualization  infographics  culture  books  diagrams  art  maps  mcsweeneys  sensemaking  logic  diagramming  order  ordering  terminology  scientismofmind  fauxscience  automaticwriting  satire  connections  forcedconnections  irrationallogic  drawings 
july 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Standardized Test Learning Objectives.
"1. English Language Arts
How to read English
How to bubble answers

2. Math
How to read English
How to count
How to bubble answers
How to operate a calculator

3. Science
How to read English
How to bubble answers
How to operate a calculator
Wear goggles when handling deadly chemicals
Clean up after yourself in the lab

4. Social Studies
How to read English
How to bubble answers
How to regurgitate previously unfamiliar information from a table or map
Jamestown was founded in 1607
Jamestown was founded in 1607
Jamestown was founded in 1607"
via:lukeneff  humor  education  standardizedtesting  testing  mcsweeneys  schools  teaching  tcsnmy  science  math  history  languagearts 
may 2010 by robertogreco
16 iPhone Apps for "On The Road" Creatives - Walk in the park, look at the sky.
"Like many my iPhone is hardly ever used as "a phone". It's a magical little box that can be transformed into a million different uses. Here's some of my selections that I find essential when out and about. Evernote... PicPosterous... Dropbox... JotNot... Photoshop.com Mobile... Mill Colour... addLib... Brushes... WhatTheFont... Doc2... Ftp on the go... Elena... Creative Review Annual 2010... McSweeney's... Instapaper... This American Life
iphone  applications  mobile  creativity  onlinetoolkit  productivity  utility  thenewutilitybelt  instapaper  millcolour  addLib  bushes  thisamericanlife  photoshop  evernote  picposterous  posterous  dropbox  jotnot  whatthefont  doc2  ftponthego  ftp  elena  mcsweeneys  ios 
may 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: The Only Thing That Can Stop This Asteroid is Your Liberal Arts Degree. FAQ
"I need someone with four years of broad-but-humanities-focused studies, three subsequent years in temp jobs, and the ability to reason across multiple areas of study. ... Sure, you've never even flown a plane before, but with only ten days until the asteroid hits, there's no one better to nuke an asteroid.
mcsweeneys  liberalarts  humor  education  humanities  satire  academia  parody  science  writing 
may 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: The Real Timothy McSweeney.
"I was intrigued by the letters so much that I kept them in a drawer in my room, wondering if Timothy was actually related to us...When a new letter would arrive, she would hand it to me, usually without reading it. I would pore over it for clues, then would add it to the stack...So many years later, when I was conceiving a name for this literary journal, the name Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern occurred to me...made sense on many levels...honor my Irish side of the family & also allude to this mysterious man & the sense of possibility and even wonder he'd brought to our suburban home...Knowing that the journal bore the name of a real person who had endured years of struggle threw melancholy shadows over the enterprise. But the McSweeneys insisted that the use of the name was acceptable, even appropriate, given Timothy's background as an artist & search for connection & meaning through the written word. Since 2000 we've implicitly dedicated all issues to the real Timothy."
daveeggers  history  writing  fun  journalism  celebrity  obituary  mystery  mentalillness  glvo  names  naming  letters  correspondence  mcsweeneys  weird  mentalhealth 
february 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's iPhone
"It’s true. We hereby announce the debut of the Small Chair, a weekly selection from all branches of the McSweeney’s family. One week you might receive a story from the upcoming Quarterly, the next week an interview from the Believer, the next a short film from a future Wholphin. Occasionally, it might be a song, an art portfolio, who knows. Early contributors will include Spike Jonze, Wells Tower, Chris Ware, and Jonathan Ames. This material will not be available online and is pretty sure to be good stuff."
iphone  applications  mcsweeneys  literature  ios 
september 2009 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview.
"Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers. ... Literary works, including the online table of contents of the Huffington Post's Complete Guide to Blogging, will serve as models to be skimmed for thorough analysis. Also, Perez Hilton's Twitter feed. ... Attendance: Unnecessary, but students should be signed onto IM and/or have their phones turned on. ... Evaluation: Students will be graded on the RBBEAW (Raised by Boomers, Everyone's a Winner) system, developed to assess and score students based on their own relative merit.

A+ = 100–90
A = 89–80
A- = 79–70
A-- = 69–60
A--- = 59–50
A---- = 49–0"
facebook  twitter  postprint  online  humor  mcsweeneys  literature  writing  reading  geny  microblogging  satire  internet  blogging  attention  blogs  culture  education  teaching 
april 2009 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis.
""I heard the thugs in Washington were trying to take your Rearden metal at the point of a gun," she said. "Don't let them, Hank. With your advanced alloy and my high-tech railroad, we'll revitalize our country's failing infrastructure and make big, virtuous profits."
politics  economics  bailout  crisis  2008  aynrand  libertarianism  objectivism  atlasshrugged  mcsweeneys  humor  finance  capitalism  satire 
november 2008 by robertogreco
TED | Talks | Dave Eggers: 2008 TED Prize wish: Once Upon a School (video)
"With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open their own volunteer-driven, wildly creative writing labs"
826  826valencia  daveeggers  mcsweeneys  ted  education  writing  tutoring  learning  lcproject  schools  teaching  nonprofit  activism  community  nonprofits 
march 2008 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Letter of Recommendation for Rick Stoeckel, Who Was Homeschooled.
"I recommend Rick Stoeckel for admission to your university due to his strong academic caliber. As his mother, I am proud to say that, out of his homeschool class, Ricky finished as valedictorian."
homeschool  humor  colleges  universities  parenting  mcsweeneys 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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