Monday, November 17, 1997

Digital City New York (AOL) "Meet Your Makers"

Sock it to me! The partyers at the "Meet Our Makers" sneak preview of the upcoming Digital City New York --due on your screens in January -- were hosted by visiting Virginians Ted Leonsis (president and CEO of AOL Studios) and Paul Benedictis (president and CEO of Digital City) and consumed over 90 liters of Sake, 4 cases of wine, 8 cases of beer, and over 48,000 pieces of sushi. Zounds! Unfolding at a spacious photographer's studio on the grimy far West Side on Monday, Nov. 17, the bash feted an impressive list of content providers who will be partnering with AOL/DC on the upcoming launch, including @NY's own Jason Chervokas and Tom Watson, Talking Heads founder David Byrne, Latin songster Ruben Blades, and playwright Wendy Wasserstein. While I didn't meet Byrne or Wasserstein, I did see some other notable contributors, including John Perry Barlow.

I met Pam McGraw (VP communications, Greenhouse Networks), Bill McIntosh (director of marketing, Digital City), Robert Deigh (director, Communications AOL Studios), and Jim Riesenbach, the new general manager of DCI New York who just moved from the Valley to the Alley. The guys from Social Science ( were helping me out at the Sushi table, giddy with our sake-filled bellies and slick steel martini shaker gifts, as the local Total New York/Digital City crew of Janice Gjertsen, John Borthwick, Guy Garcia, Eric Baudelaire, Benjamin Weil, and Andrea Scott made the rounds.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Friday, November 14, 1997

SonicNet's StreamLand

You can't really call a 10-foot roast beef sandwich "streamlined," but SonicNet's StreamLand music video product is just that, as the Nov. 14 party celebrating its launch proved. Ed Steinberg (president, Rockamerica) stood out in a fabulous floor length coat from Hyper Hyper in London. Business development rep Maria Aivatzidi was out networking and probably met Scott Harmolin (VP, ICon CMT), Dennis Adamo, (ICon CMT), and "Galinsky 1.5" of Pseudo, who seems to have added a number to his single name. Eric Oldsfield of N2K had kinds words for the competition: "I'm really excited to see that somebody's stepping into the high bandwidth arena for the music industry."

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Thursday, November 13, 1997

POV, Sports New York Cybertini party

POV and Sports New York held a Cybertini party for its latest issue featuring the Top 100 Websites on Nov. 13th. Representatives from most of the selected sites were present, including Gabrielle Middaugh (MSNBC), Art Winslow (The Nation) and Robert Tacchino (Instinet) and many more. The band Very Very played some oldies but goodies (and some not so goodies) and I made the rounds. Jayson Goldberg, Randall Lane, and Ben Cramer (all of POV) showed me around their offices. David Birnbaum and W. Vaughan Turner of Flatiron Consulting Chelsea Networks were hanging out in the back, where you could breathe a bit. John L.A. Wilson (CEO,, Jeff Paro (publisher, VP The Outdoor Company), all enjoyed one of the classic beverages, and enjoyed one of the fun Fortune Cookies provided by John Maggio. Peter Levitan (president of New Jersey Online, which produces Sports New York) was distributing phone cards from his other sites (Yuckiest Site) while Joe Cerbo (NJO) was struttin' around in his spats. On my way out Myles Weissleder of i-traffic introduced me to Ruben Perez (NJO) before he chivalrously offered me his SportsNY cap to protect against the increasing heavy rains.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Tuesday, November 11, 1997

Web Writers honoring Steven Johnson's "Interface Culture"

While the banks were closed in honor of America's veterans, plenty of veteran Web writers were out honoring Steven Johnson and the recent publication of his new book, "Interface Culture." Feed Magazine ( sponsored the intimate soiree on Nov. 11th at the Merc Bar's brick walled and softly votive-lit room.

Stefanie Syman, Feed's co-founder, was conversing with Rufus Griscom and Genevieve Field of Nerve Mag ( Genevieve enticed me with news of their upcoming anthology -- "The Best of Nerve" (working title) -- and a new site and community space with Echo (who will manage it).

When I asked Sam Lipsyte, senior editor of Feed, what it's like to work with a big celebrity now, Sam beamed, "Steven's a great celebrity! He's my boss." Steve seems to be taking it well enough. He said after having the proposal in for about a year, he finished a chunk in March and then wrote the rest in about three months. He confessed when people come up to him and tell him they really enjoyed reading his book, over 250+ pages, it creates quite a swell in his heart.

Others who were also among friends were Jamie Levy, CEO Electric Hollywood, Betsey Schmidt, a freelance writer and editor of Open City magazine, and Cherry Arnold of Avalanche Systems. "This is a good party, everybody's here," said Mark Tribe of Rhizome, at which point I turned around and spied Nick Butterworth of SonicNet and was introduced to Mark Amerika of Black Ice Press in Boulder, CO. Of the Allen Ginsberg School of Disembodied Poetics, owner of the website, and a pioneer of Hypertext, and Gamatron, Mark is truly an interesting specimen in our fine world or bytes and bugs. We spoke of how the beauty of the Web often lies in the communities that come out of it, and how essential these social events are to it.

Of course "attitude has worked its way online as commerce has" he noted. This very point was echoed later as I spoke with David Kushner, contributing editor of Spin Magazine and writer for Wired News. We were comparing what's been happening with the Silicon Alley "Scene" versus Silicon Valley. While SV has been around developing soft and hardware for much longer, it seems as if there is a stronger community sense here. He commented, parties like this one are not fringe, or trivial at all, but essential and core to the scene. It is events like this that propel the scene forward and give it validity.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Thursday, November 06, 1997

Image Info's behind-the-scenes - Fashion Week

"You better work!" I'm down with that RuPaul. Okay, enough hipster talk for me, but being amidst the dramatic setting of the 7th On Sixth Fashion shows on Chelsea Piers, I couldn't resist. I was the special guest of Dietmar Petutschnig, technical guru of Image Info Inc. (, who gave me a private behind-the-scenes tour of this glam-machine on Nov. 6. Image Info was there as the exclusive digital imaging source for the entire show. Temporary offices held about 20 computers, high-end and color printers, scanners, boom boxes and pizza for three shifts worth of students all willing to have the opportunity to work and learn from the experience.

Image Info does all the digital image content from these shows for various Websites. With the flip of an ISDN switch, they send the images to a digital printer. They will burn CDroms of the various lines for clients (current and potential), produce "look books" and studio sheets from the runway shots.

The sponsors lounge was open and airy with high counters and metal swivel stools. Thick binders were on the counters filled with pictures (five or six of the same outfit shot from different angles) and handouts with recaps. Reporters could also browse two computers' databases of 20,000 images, request certain photos and send them directly to their picture desk around the world to be filed with their story. This function is cost effective for publications as they might not have to send photographers to these shows as well. Although Kodak had a lounge for traditional photographers, as they sponsored all high end print work.

The dimmer, cooler lounge sponsored by Moet & Chandon, with dark woods, big smoky mirrors, had a beautiful Golden Labrador hanging out with some fashion show coordinators. The runways branched off from here, and the aluminum stanchions lined against the wall betrayed the chaos that would soon ensue around 5 p.m. that day for the next show. Many were off-site -- even as far downtown as 55 Wall Street -- like the Issac Mizrahi show for example.

All the work Dietmar and Image Info have done on this major Fashion (and now digital) industry event is paying off. The first credit for a photo attributed to a Website occurred after last year's show in the L.A. Times. Next time you see a shot of the latest super tall skinny super model, look closer at the photo credit and you may too see "" as the credit.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Wednesday, November 05, 1997

Swedish Breakfast

We all know that New York is the "Capital of the World" (Giuliani), but our dear little Silicon Alley has reached up its new arms and grasped internationalism with a tenacious hold. Everyone knows the Web is boundless and your audience is not just BMT, IRT, or M104 riders, the tri-state area, or even the Continental U.S. anymore. (Indeed, @NY is read in more than 40 countries every week). And Silicon Alley's international strength is just starting to form its bud and burst open.

And on the morning of Nov. 5, I had an engaging breakfast at the Soho Grand Hotel with three top executives from Sweden. Over mushroom omelettes and coffee Lars-Henrik Friis Molin and Boris Nordenstrom, president and VP (respectively) of Universum (, and Jonas Granstrom, president of Jobline (, and I mused over the direction Silicon Alley has taken, is taking, and what will be. I have a feeling we'll be noticing a larger presence of European companies over the next year and they will be viable contributors to Silicon Alley and its success.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)