Thursday, June 29, 2006

ShopWiki's Silicon Alley Luau

Being greeted at the door by a tall, sexy, slender blond is a great fantasy for many men (and some women)! When she's in a coconut bra and grass skirt and is handing you a blue martini, it's even better. Such was the real-life vision for me and the other guests who arrived, dripping wet from the torrential rainstorms on Thursday, June 29th, at ShopWiki's Silicon Alley Luau! What was even better than the drink for me was the fact that said blond loaned me her "regular" wrap skirt so I could let mine dry in one of the conference rooms!

In true Doubleclick extravaganza-fashion, Kevin Ryan (a president and CEO of Doubleclick) made a major splash with this event. No detail was spared for ShopWiki's launch. There were bamboo trees, plentiful tropical fruits served on sugar cane sticks, other delicious Hawaiian-themed foods all surrounding a real roasted pig (head, ears, feet, tail and all). Vegetarians need not apply to this luau!

Lantern lights strung across palm-frond and bamboo "huts" for the food. Staff was serving up those above-mentioned blue martinis like the waves keep comin' atcha on the beach.

While watching the Hawaiian Express dancers(, I enjoyed the sumptuous fare (except the pig). Afterwards, Tacoda's Ryan Mayward and I marvelled at the fluidity of their movements and Avenue A/Razorfish's Todd Portnoff tried to convince me he was a Jehovah's Witness. Hey, if it's good enough for Mickey Spillane, why not him?

Meanwhile, ShopWiki's managing editor Michelle Paolillo and Carlos Prio Odio (public relations) were making sure everyone was happy. I got a tour of the site from CTO and founder Eliot Horowitz. What makes Shopwiki so great are the customer reviews but also features like video and "sort by color" (my personal favorite).

The rain was coming down in droves, but that didn't drive away revelers. It was turning into a true Silicon Alley reunion--especially when I saw NYU's Center for Management director Howard Greenstein, and the former editors/publishers of @NY Tom Watson and Jason Chervokas. We're all looking a little older but it's great to see the ol' gang out again!

So Close and Yet Six Apart

The future of blogging was demoed on a rainy Thursday, June 29th. At the gorgeous Hotel on Rivington, this hot new service was showcased to techies that trekked down to the Lower East Side. Six Apart also make typepad, moveabletype and livejournal--products you may be familiar with!

Check out the whole NYC Vox neighborhood!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Good things come in 3s

"Startups are in a constant state of evolution, and often the milestones just go rolling by almost unnoticed and certainly undeclared. But some changes by their very nature are both notable and require broadcast," wrote's VP Affiliate Marketing Stephanie Agresta. I know Stephanie from the early days of iVillage and Barnes &, and what a delight to hear this exciting news.

In the grueling heat I made my way over to the swanky (and very cool--literally and figuratively) One Manhattan at 1 Little West 12th Street. There, while sipping refreshments, Stephanie brought me up to speed. They changed their name from Pre-Commerce Group, have a great new office near Philadelphia and a new CEO, Lucinda Holt, who hails from several successful technology companies, adding major mojo. And if that wasn't enough they closed on their first round of financing, added nine more employees and continue to grow their client list. All this--and looking fabulous too! How do they do it?!

As Stephanie and Lucinda worked the room, I chatted with Endai Worldwide's affable Michael Paschon and's adorable Saul Guttman, who coincidentally worked with Stephanie while they were at ThinAirApps. Witty repartee flew about as the perspiration beads evaporated...the energy in the room was charged despite everyone's slightly wilted arrival. The hors d'oeuvres were far from wilted, which we all sampled and enjoyed thoroughly as the party progressed towards its apex. And then, I dashed out to enjoy a quiet tete-a-tete over dinner!

HOT Summer Cyber Scene: Mark Cuban interview and free podcasts!

Gabcast! The Cyber Scene #8

HOT Summer Cyber Scene: Mark Cuban interview and free podcasts!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We are getting updates from Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboys in a frenzy, so we have TWO podcasts here for your listening pleasure. You can always check the June archives for any shows you missed along the way.

In this latest podcast, Rob calls us in the morning and serenades us from Austin, Texas. He doesn't like his singing in the morning -- though he does know his voice is deeper (and we think sexier) then. But what do you think? Post your comments here!

Check this out -- we (and Rob!) are mentioned by the uber-hip Entertainment Editor of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, Dave Lavender:
If it's happening in the Ohio Valley, Dave Lavender knows about it first.

Just in case you missed the last podcast, just click below!

Gabcast! The Cyber Scene #7

Cowboy Troubadour Rob McNurlin is in Arizona now as part of his Far OutWest Tour with his band, the Beatnik Cowboys. In this podcast, you'll hear:

* How is Rob feelin' at this point in the tour?
* Is anybody in the band about to kill each other?
* Rob's heads up to musicians: you are always auditioning for him, even when you aren't playing.
* What's up with the van? Can Rob fix it in time for the next gig?
* Cheap gas: Rob's found it and now you can get it!

For free MP3's, tour dates near you, merchandise, check out

Interview with Mark Cuban by Tamar Alexia Fleishman

Billionaire Mark Cuban says, "Don’t do what I do. I’m a terrible employee."

Mark Cuban has been innovating businesses since the age of 12. A product of a working class family, he sold garbage bags door-to-door, powdered milk and even newspapers during a Pittsburgh newspaper strike.

After graduating from Indiana University, Cuban moved to Dallas. There, he started a computer consulting business, MicroSolutions, which he sold to CompuServe in 1990.

In 1994, Cuban wanted to listen to his alma mater’s Indiana Hoosiers basketball game broadcasts, but couldn’t from Dallas. He figured that broadcasting could be done over the Internet at a great profit. So, he and a friend invested $3,000 to create AudioNet. In the late 1990s, it was renamed In 1999, bought for $6 billion worth of stock and Cuban became a billionaire.

In 2000, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, which was just in the NBA finals.

In 2004, during the height of the reality show craze, Cuban had his own show on ABC, the "The Benefactor," which gave away a million dollars to a well-deserving contestant. Cuban, who was once a "Cosmo Bachelor of the Month," is now married with one daughter.

What are your latest projects?
Mark Cuban: Besides the Mavs, there is HDNet and HDNet Movies (,,,, for theentertainment biz. Then in the internet space,,,, with more to come.

In the 1990's there was a tech stock boom, then bust. Now, with the IPO of Google and other major developments, are we in the midst of a second tech boom?

Mark Cuban: No question about it, but its completely different than the ‘90s. Today, anyone with 500 dollars can buy an incredibly powerful PC and get a fast net connection and startup an Internet business. Back in the ‘90s, startups worried about raising money first, then having a workable idea second. Today, most startups don't want or need money. They can hit the groundrunning and have an impact. Once they can determine the scale of the opportunity, they look to raise funds.

What do you foresee as a big tech innovation ten years from now?

Mark Cuban: I have no idea, and I don't even pretend to know.

With your ownership of the Mavericks, do you consider owning a sports team a good investment, or something you do for love of the sport?

Mark Cuban: It could be a good investment if I didn't care about winning. But winning a title is more important than making some more money.

A while back, your gift to your then fiancée was highly publicized. What is your philosophy as to gifts? Are you under any special pressures?

Mark Cuban: I don't have a policy. I just do what I think is the right thing to do.

With your private business, you have to pay employees the fair market value. With the NBA, there are salary caps. Do you find that frustrating?

Mark Cuban: No. Not at all. The NBA has to take into consideration the health of the league as a whole. So the caps work. In all other businesses, your competition is trying to put you out of business. Things wouldn't work too well in pro sports if I were trying to put the Spurs or Lakers out of business. Instead, I just want to kick their ass on the scoreboard.

What do you consider a splurge?

Mark Cuban: Eating a quart of ice cream in one sitting.

What do you consider a complete waste of money?

Mark Cuban: Trying to be fancy. I don't get into the place settings or chandeliers or paintings for the sake of having things because I can. I just like the things I like and go from there.

Are you involved with any charities?

Mark Cuban: Yes, but the only one I disclose is the Fallen Patriot Fund ( I try to do things because I think it's the right thing for me to do, not because I get recognition.

Do you feel you enjoy your money more than such people as Warren Buffet, who refuses to drive new cars or to throw out used soap?

Mark Cuban: No. I’m sure he has his splurges and things he loves to do. Renting out a baseball field and putting together a game isn't something you can do with money you save from soap conservation.

Other than your tech business and the Mavericks, do you have other investments?

Mark Cuban: I love the Internet and how it impacts the delivery of content and information. What people are calling, Web 2.0, AJAX interfaces, software written using practical approaches like Ruby on Rails. Anything that can be run with fewer than 5 people and can be nimble, aggressive and impactful are the types of technology businesses I love. The kind I hate are the "I’m the smartest guy on the planet" type applications. DRM, video compression and the like . There is always someone smarter and I’m not good enough to know which person I’m talking to. The also ran, or the best .

You are very "hands-on". How do you know when it's time to delegate?

Mark Cuban: When I trust someone and feel that I can learn something from them.With your tech business, you are the boss. With the NBA, you have to work within a consortium.

What advice do you have for people who have to "work with the system"?

Mark Cuban: Don't do what I do. I’m a terrible employee. I don't do well "in a system". I guess my real advice is to do your homework and understand what your goals are. It’s easy to speak up, it’s hard to figure out how to pay for the kids’ stuff when you are fired.

You have taken a very visible role in the media, as evidenced by your sitting in the stands and not in a box. How do you achieve the privacy you need in your life?

Mark Cuban: I know where and when I will have private time, either alone or with family. I have places I can go where people have known me and are used to seeing me. Then there is everywhere else, where I have to realize that there is a very good chance that someone is going to take a picture. I just look at it as a good problem to have. I would rather be in this position, than where I have been in the past, wondering how I’m going to pay the bills.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Cyber Scene #6

Gabcast! The Cyber Scene #6

Welcome to the latest podcast featuring Rob McNurlin on the road with his Beatnik Cowboys! Listen to the latest of the good, bad and the ugly on the road... in this episode, find out:

* Who's been gambling in Vegas and do they have enough cash to come home?
* What did Rob have to do to get cheap gas?
* He says he can "sleep in just about any bed." Don't you want to find out more? Well, you have to listen!

Rob has been checking email periodically on the road, so if you have any burning questions you want answered, song requests, check out what he looks like, or what-have-you, here's your chance. Go to his web site, or pass along stuff through me at

The Cyber Scene #5

Gabcast! The Cyber Scene #5

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Cyber Scene #3

Gabcast! The Cyber Scene #3

This is the inaugural podcast for the The Cyber Scene! Click on the button to hear the latest road stories from cowboy troubadour Rob McNurlin. He is on the Far Out West tour and he gives great insight as to the life of the traveling musician. If you want to download free MP3's, see tour dates, buy CD's, etc., check out

Also, we'd love to hear your feedback on the podcasts!
- Tamar Alexia Fleishman

Monday, June 12, 2006

10th Annual Webby Awards

Most people know this reporter to be fairly positive in her reviews. However, I was bitterly disappointed by the 10th Annual Webby Awards this year. So, gentle readers, be forewarned--there's some strong language below!

The canyons of finance are alleys and digital pathways were traversed on Monday, June 12, 2006 for the new titans of the world at the 10th Annual Webby Awards. Held at the posh former New York Merchants Exchange, Cipriani Wall Street's Greek revival architecture and grandeur spoke to the new level of grandness that (as some call it) Web 2.0 is reaching. And yet, this awards show was bitterly disappointing.

The areas of my complaints are as follows: branding, speeches, event agenda and honorees.

If the NYTimes called the Webby's "the Oscars of the Internet" and Time Magazine "the online Oscars," they lived up to their reputation because, like the Oscars, the Webby's were booooring this year!

What is the Webby brand? Is it truly the San Francisco-born award encapsulating the irreverence, spontaneity, fun and wackiness of the Web. Or is it trying to be (like the Web in many ways) grown-up and serious business? Either way--I felt this event was a flop. Perhaps it was because of creative constraints by the sponsors, perhaps because of financial constraints of keeping the event "in the black," in which case, I'd say--reevaluating might've brought it back closer to the Webby's original identity.

If they were trying to be sophisticated because they're in glamorous New York City, then make it glamorous, not like a business-luncheon awards show! Apparently the choice for Cipriani's Wall Street was due to its ability to accommodate the thousands of people they invited (perhaps to get some profitability out of it?) and thus were forced to find a venue that could handle the size.

But why force us through an awards show that was halted for each course? Or why interrupt our dining experience with the speeches? It would be fine if the three-course meal was presented first and then we could sit back and relax for the show. Or, if they were afraid we'd all leave after having our famed Cipriani Bellinis and risotto, have us sit through the awards first and then bring on the risotto. But either way--interrupting both for the other was just annoying.

And the speeches?!!! Please people! Let's lighten up! This is the Webby awards--not the Clio, or ANDYS's or the One Show, or E&Y's Entrepreneur of the Year, or the....well, I guess they're all getting boring. The five-word acceptance speeches were just plain ol' lame! Everyone was so serious! Come on people! Lamest of all was's. Nerve is supposed to be the "online literary smut magazine." They are supposed to speak to hipsters and challenge us with urban sex lit for a new generation. And yet their 5-word acceptance speech was in reference to their upcoming new magazine, focusing on parenting and babies. Come on! Use a press release for that. This is a chance to make a statement and, especially in Nerve's case, scintillate.

I even suggested a GREAT one to Nerve co-founder Rufus Griscom and editorial director Michael Martin as they were trying to come up with one at the reception before the show. It was so simple, and yet so brilliant and perfect for who they are! Okay? Ready? Think of Meg Ryan in the famous scene from "When Harry Met Sally" in Katz's Deli... It's just "oh. Oh! OH! OH! OHHhHHHHHhhhhhh!" Get it? Isn't that the best? And can you believe they rejected that for the very boring and cryptic "Sex Begets Babies September 2006." Can you say "booohring!"

Anyway, despite all my gripes, I had a lovely time at my table with fellow diners Stellah Deville, Michael Grossman, Michael Kaminer, Sherman''s CEO & Publisher James H. Sherman, Mr. and Mrs. Shlain and's founder and president Damon Giglio.

Yeah, Prince came. Big deal. I really want to see the webby's honoring not just "big media" "big name" (get the sponsors) but the people who are truly down-in-the trenches changing the web and thus the world. The "real" people. The way the Webby's kinda used to be. Maybe I should just create my own awards show and call it the Pulitzer Prizens or The Courtneys!

Anyway, this IADAS judge gives the whole thing a thumbs down. Maybe the Afterparty was what they felt would be the hip-redeeming factor. Yet-- why save it for the After-party? Again--I suspect money and sponsor controls.

Okay, so if you're not in "wacky ess eff" but are in "sophisticated NYC," then make it sophisticated. Which brings up my next point, this is the 2nd year the Webby's were in NYC. I complained about this last year and I'll say it again--if it's so important to be in NYC and they recognize how important NYC is to the Web world, then why is it so difficult to honor some NYC web-trenpreners?! I mean REALLY!?!!!! I know plenty and I'm sure many of you reading this (especially if you've stuck with me this far) are just as qualified for a Webby as Craig Newmark. That was the biggest insult of all--the first year the Webby's come to NYC they honor a San Francisco-based person. I mean, I love Craig as much as the next person, I really do. But when will they REALLY get it about what it means to be in NYC? It's very frustrating because I know Tiffany and David-Michel are intelligent people. I just really wonder who they're consulting for these things? Perhaps next year they will get back to their roots, to the glory and fun of what the web and the Webby's can be and consult with and honor some real New Yorkers.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Connie Connors Cocktails ~ Pre-Webbys!

Blond, brilliant and bubbly as every, the beautiful Connie Connors opened up her gorgeous Tribeca loft on Saturday, June 10 to friends from the East (Coast) and West. And what a soiree it was! Part Silicon Alley reunion and part-pre-Webby celebration, there was a festivity in the air I hadn't felt in a long while.

It was a veritable Who's Who of digerati's own bold-faced names of old and new who swung by to catch up on the latest. Among some of the notables were Esther Dyson, Webby founder Tiffany Shlain and her husband and incredible artist Ken Goldberg.

The glamour-puss in me gravitated toward the polished lipstick designer Poppy King, devine designer Stellah deVille and renowned artist/creative director Michael Grossman.

It was all babytalk between's Rufus Griscom, his wife and Nicholas Butterworth (whose wife was at home in bed-rest). Stay tuned for delivery of their latest bundles of joy (personal and professional)!

Media Surveyor Sam Whitmore and I cut the rug while the groovy DJ spun totally rad tunes. Meanwhile, in the sprawling living room people were lounging, sipping wines and snacking on the sumptuous (and plentiful) hors d'oeuvres. Reprise Media's Peter Hershberg was holding court on one sofa while Guidewire Group's Cathy Brooks showed off her amazingly compact audio recorder for her podcasts to some dashing dudes from PriceWaterhouseCoopers SF and TMGI's Angelica Jao. Before bowing out, I caught up with Dawn Productions Cris Popenoe, who was in a lovely summer dress, as were most of the ladies of the evening.

The energy from this event set the tone for an event-packed weekend for Webby revelers. It certainly had me jazzed about what's to come!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cocktails with Courtney ~ Pre-Webbys

It was one of those wonderful-webby kinds of weeks. All sorts of whimsical and wonderful things were working their way into my world and the weekend before the 10th Annual Webby Awards was such a weekend--like the "Cocktails with Courtney" on June 9th. My guests and I had a lovely time at MyBefana at 116 West Houston Street, sipping some refreshing juice seltzers and noshing on delicious, sumptuous hors d'oeuvres especially prepared by chef Daniele Baliani.

Testing his nifty new pedometer, Craig Newmark stopped by. No, he didn't walk from S.F., he was in town for Craiglist Foundations's first New York Bootcamp for Nonprofits on Saturday, June 10th. We discussed the advancements of these handy (or feety) little gadgets. Also in town from San Francisco were good friends Carter and Bill Ryan, who hosted the first "Cocktails with Courtney" ever in San Fran. And visiting us from beautiful Boca Raton was the dashing Marc Bell (founder of Globix), for the Tony Awards! Among his many technology and real estate deals, he is a producer of successful Broadway shows, including the award-winning Jersey Boys. My, my!

It wasn't all tourists though! Some of the locals who breezed in were The Women's Mosaic founder & excecutive director Kristina M. Leonardi, recruiter and actor Matthew Cummings, WellGood LLC's Robert Tolmach and's COO Igor Shoifot. I had a chance to catch up with Linda Gras, who was NYC's deputy commissioner for International Business. She, Bill and I regaled each other with our stories of our various trips to the Far East.

NYC TV sent a small crew to check out these "Cocktails" including NYC Media Group business development Associate Limei Wang, director of corporate affairs & strategic planning Timi Lewis and director of finance, budget & procurement Nripendra Singh. Some of my local neighbors and friends (outside new media--gasp! I know--It's hard to believe!) who came to say "hello" were Miriam Keith, Kristie Bogel, Rockefeller & Co's Josefina O'Farrill and fellow PREPARE classmate (and NYU law graduate!) Susan Shin.

In these slower summer days, this "Cocktails with Courtney" was the perfect crossroads for people from different coasts and areas in my life to gather and get to know each other. As the evening drew to a close, we each headed out to our busy respective weekends, and Craig was counting every step of the way!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

~ Special Welcome to Summer Edition, 2006! ~

Interview with Publisher Michael Buffalo Smith - Tamar Alexia Fleishman

South Carolina's Michael Buffalo Smith first started meeting rock stars while bagging groceries as a kid. Smith earned his degree in theater from the University of South Carolina. Then, he spent time working at newspapers and radio stations in Atlanta, Charlotte and NYC. He was a partner in Edge magazine, which combined celebrity interviews with humor columns. Now, he is the heart and soul of Gritz magazine.

What are your latest projects?
Ha, ha! A long list. Since I've taken Gritz electronic, there's more in it. I'm also looking to put out some paperback books, "The Best of Gritz". I'm writing books, like "Carolina Dreams". I'm also writing my memoirs, called "Prisoner of Southern Rock".

How did you decide to start Gritz magazine?
1998, I was in the hospital and I nearly died. I decided to start a newsletter on the Internet. It was called, "Hot Grits". In 2001, I was in print. I had columns by The Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels. But the print editions became expensive.

So, you used to be in print, now you are strictly online.
What was your circulation then and now? When I was in print, I had 6,000 subscribers. Now, I have over a million unique visitors to the site every month. It's free. I have archived features and as time permits, I'm pulling out even more stuff from the print editions. I have interviews with people like Peter Frampton.

How has being online changed the nature of the publication?

Sending the print version overseas was costing a fortune! Now that I'm online, Sony Records is advertising. Also, I have varied interests and I'm able to put those online. Now we have articles about Bluegrass, Country, Blues, 60's and San Francisco rock. We had an interview with Buddy Miles, who played with Jimmy Hendrix. We have CD reviews, movies, thousands of pages.

We live in an ipod world and yet, radio stations are getting more formulaic. What gives?
I think they're gonna go under. I listen to Sirius on their Outlaw Country station. I've been talking to them about setting up a radio station. I have a weekly program at .

What new developments do you see for your magazine in the future?
It'll be bigger and better, multimedia. There will be Gritz downloads, where you can buy individual songs. I have a CD for sale there, called "Home Grown, Hand Picked".

Being a Colonel at the Kentucky Derby - Tamar Alexia Fleishman
A couple of years ago, I was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky. However, this was my first year attending the "Running of the Roses," as Derby was traditionally called. To sit with the Colonels at Derby, you have to participate in the Colonels' Good Works Program throughout the year -- and then, you are invited to buy tickets to the event. I was honored when the Colonels' Ambassador Glen Bastin invited me and I made up my mind to go.

As reported earlier, I had a hat custom made for me at Fleur de Paris in New Orleans, where many belles of the past have ordered their chapeaux. I got out my string of pearls and Robbie had his gold-enamel cuff links to match my ensemble. With garment bags and hat boxes, we made the 10 hour road trip from Baltimore to Louisville, stopping overnight in Lexington.

Lexington is about an hour and a half east of Louisville; if we had come any closer that first night, we would have been dealing with "special Derby rate" hotel prices and mandatory 3-day stays.Parking is available either at the Cardinals' Stadium or the Fairgrounds, with a $10 round-trip shuttle bus. The stadium is the better place to park, because you can either walk or take the bus there, while the Fairgrounds is too far to walk. After the Derby, there were thousands of people lined up to take the shuttle bus, so it's nice to have the option. (Or, don't be like we were, betting the last of your singles away, so you can take a cab to your car afterwards!)So, you arrive at Churchill Downs, which has recently experienced a $130 million renovation. It is beautiful! And certainly, you couldn't be any safer; police of all stripes, from Kentucky State Police to US Mint Police are out in full force. While I didn't have any beauty emergencies (and I'm pretty grateful for that), I understand that Target was hosting a Beauty Aid tent.

The Colonels' luncheon is held in the Derby Museum, all tented off for the day. Once you step in, it's like your own private world. Although I couldn't ask for more beautiful weather, it was nice to have some shade and fans to keep cool and fresh, like a sugared tea cake. I saw so many gorgeous hats and outfits. Even the most wild ladies' hats took on an elegance in these surroundings. The gentlemen all had on either luxurious jackets or pastel suits. We had our own betting window, so it was not necessary to stand in line. Also, there were televisions placed at every angle, so everyone sitting at the round tables could keep tabs on things. Our table included a very friendly couple from Lexington who used to work with Hendricks Motor Sports.

The menu was pretty tasty Southern fare, including salad with bacon, pecans and blue cheese; pork bbq, poached salmon, broccoli casserole and potatoes au gratin. Certainly, one of the highlights was the Derby pie. If you've never had it, think of pecan pie, but with chocolate chunks. They almost ran out very early, but my very kind wait person hunted a slice up for me. Also, lunch would not be complete without a couple of mint juleps, right? Right! So, for those of you who've never had one, a julep is basically made with Kentucky bourbon, simple syrup, fresh mint and crushed ice. There are all kinds of variations on this theme, but you've got the idea.

After an awards presentation honoring among others, the oldest living Derby jockey (who was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel right there and then), I entered a ladies' hat contest. There was some very stiff competition and alas, I did not win. It was just like beauty pageant days; you had to introduce yourself and where you were from, speak a little as to the origins of your hat and do a turnabout.

We also had grandstand seats, so after buying a load of souvenirs (including a racing cookbook) from the Derby Museum, we headed out into the sunshine. Of course, everyone is all moved when it's time to stand for the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home". My betting strategy is usually based on horse names that appeal to me, which sometimes works, but not this day. A school teacher sitting right in front of me turned a $1 bet into $6,500 with her winning trifecta ticket.

Interview with Web Designer to the Stars, Bruce Wall - Tamar Alexia Fleishman
Bruce Wall is both a musician and a techy. Since he was a kid, he was a guitarist in bands and he was involved with computers professionally since the pre-Windows days. As a fan, he used to prowl around Lynyrd Skynyrd's web site, checking out the latest news and ordering tickets. But the site had so many problems, he posted a comment on their chat board. That comment changed his life.Within a day, he got "over 100" e-mails from other fans, urging him to start his own site. Then, he got e-mails from members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and also, the Marshall Tucker Band. Wall decided to create a site that would be a community, like a small town. So, he started His small town has succeeded: "It is a community now. For a lot of homebound people, we're like their family. We have gatherings all over the country."

He is also partner in an online radio station, The radio station allows him to integrate live interviews and unreleased CD's into his entertainment format. He is also in charge of

Soon, he was contacted to create or revamp the sites for The Renegades, Jimmy Van Zant, John Corbett and many others. He also helps with music and video for web broadcasts.Wall is very clear about what he and the stars like to see in a web site. "I like it very easy to navigate. The current trend is to be very flashy and have a lot of Flash, but it looks too busy. I interact with a LOT of the people. There is still a large percentage of the population using dial-up. With lots of Flash, most people don't care for it. It's frustrating and takes too long to load. With all these effects, it's like a movie with no plot." Also, he notes, that the extra effects mean extra dollars. Celebrities appreciate a bargain just like anyone else.With the increased interaction on web sites, it's become tough to monitor the chat rooms. That's why Wall will either enlist fans to moderate the forums or not have them at all. "Most artists and entertainers don't want it anyway," Wall points out. "I get out of the baby-sitting as fast as I can!" Wall laughs.

Wall travels to music festivals and concerts around the country. Recently, he was on guitar tuning duty for George McCorkle and The Renegades. The Marshall Tucker Band, even though he had practically sliced off his thumb that week in an accident. This road warrior's favorite fast food on the go? Sonic and also, Cracker Barrel's fried okra.

Coming soon to The Cyber Scene: Podcasts of Rob McNurlin and The Beatnik Cowboys' road tour! Rob McNurlin, cowboy troubadour extraordinaire, is taking his crazy Beatnik Cowboys on the old U.S. Route 66, for The Far Out West tour. For the ultimate in reality shows, Rob promises to let us hear "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" straight from the road. What happens when you put four musicians in a van for three weeks? Tune in and find out! If you are going to be in the Southwest this month, check out Rob's website for show dates.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Media Art

Since the days Albrecht Durer was using the printing press to Nam June Paik's experiments with video, artists have been adopting new technologies for their artistic expression. And in 1994, things were no different when artists began experimenting with the Internet as part of their palette. A global art movement began exploring cultural, social and aesthetic possibilities using the Web, video surveillance cameras, wireless phones, hand-held computers and GPS devices. And these were all on view--flattened and bound--in a paperback book, published by on June 2nd at the New Museum of Contemporary Art on West 22nd Street. founder (and co-author) Mark Tribe was greeting guests at the door and critic and editor (and co-author) Reena Jana was surrounded by admiring fans as I arrived on yet another rainy June evening. One of the many reasons why this book is so exciting is that it helps continue to spotlight new media art as a specific movement. The book and the artists contained therein focus on emerging technologies as well as thematic content and conceptual strategies. As Rhizome's website states, "New Media art often involves appropriation, collaboration, and the free sharing of ideas and expressions, and frequently addresses the political ramifications of technology around issues of identity, commercialization, privacy, and the public domain. Many New Media artists are profoundly aware of their art historical antecedents, making reference to Dada, Pop Art, Conceptual art, Performance art, and Fluxus."

The influx of guests was steady, like the rain, and after exchanging hellos and pleasantries with Mark and his daughter and wife, they continued back to where the intoxicatingly sweet (and just plain intoxicating) drinks were being served. Centered around the book-median in the main area of the museum's bookstore were Frette, Inc.'s web & e-commerce director Cecilia Pagkalinawan, Court TV's ad sales/marketing director Courtney Brown and Jumpcut's Marc Scarpa (’s CEO Rufus Griscom was chatting it up with another small group of East Village-grunge-art-types. (Oh, excuse me, new media folk.)

As I flipped flipped through the book—my eye caught three of my favorite new media artists: RTMark, Ken Goldberg and Hi-D. After this flash of inspiration I went outside to chat with a seasoned and grizzly artist and waited for my friend Kristie Bogle, an artist in her own right, to arrive before we headed out for a vivacious and lively dinner in the old Le Gamin 9th Avenue space.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Graffiti Art / Girls From Japan!

June 1st was the start of two exciting exhibits in New York. Shipped in from Japan, the "Girl Power! Girls' Comics From Japan" exhibit at the Pratt Institute Media Arts Gallery in Brooklyn featured historic Japanese manga, with a special emphasis on shojo manga--comic books for girls. The exhibit featured 23 renowed creators and more than 200 works ranging from World War II to the present.

Meanwhile, back in Chelsea, the Chelsea Art Museum hosted a symposium on June 1st at their museum on Freight Train Graffiti. Moderated by Wooster Collective founder Mark Shiller, Dalek, Mr. Smith, Sacha Jenkins, Darin Rowland, Roger Gastman and Ian Sattler all contributed to this lively evening followed by a reception and book signing.