hipster

Take 5: Caroline Carrico

Meet a millennial mom who’s into urban gardening, museums, and ethnographing Memphis’ past and present.

Canning Caroline

With baby in tow, Caroline can can!

Stage name: Caroline Mitchell Carrico

Starring roles: Pink Palace Museum Project Coordinator; Adjunct Professor; and Mother to Noah

Daily script: Caroline researches, plans, and helps launch exhibits at the Pink Palace. “I have a lot of very different interests and I get to explore all of them at work….be it aquifers, dinosaurs, basket weaving, chocolate, and even beer.”

Behind the Scenes? “I’ve been working on the redesign of the permanent Pink Palace exhibit. People can now walk up the grand staircase.” Visitors can learn about the mansion’s former owner, Clarence Saunders, as well as various accounts dating back to 1926.

Favorite part? “I love the people that I work with. You have anthropologists, historians, scientists, and educators all working together. There’s nowhere like it in the city…it embodies the spirit and history of Memphis.”

Canning? “I started three years ago but I was always intimidated by it – afraid I would blow up my kitchen. Canning is something I can share with the ladies in my life. My grandmother was always canning, it gives us something really great in common like trying out her dill pickle recipe.”

Where do you get your vegetables? “The Shelby Farms community garden. Greg and I have a plot next to my mom’s. We plant different things on them and help each other out. We’ve got so many green tomatoes on them just waiting to turn.”

Hobby or hard work? “I love going out there in the morning at 5:30; it’s invigorating. I’m using my body to do something. It’s very productive and we get a lot of food out of the garden.”

And bartering? “We trade with our neighbors. They have chickens so we never buy eggs in exchange for bread.”

Thanks, Caroline! For more on mommying, slow food, and historical tidbits, peruse her writings at “Ideas and Thinks.”

Take 5: Adam J. Maldonado

Meet an actor turned street poet who’s fascination with people’s stories has secured him a place in the hearts of mothers, scorned lovers, and many others.

Adam the Poet

Adam flawlessly strikes another’s inspiration into his Underwood Champion typewriter.

Stage name: The Poet Adam

Starring roles: Poet Laureate of the People; numerous Mid-South stage productions including Jerre Dye‘s debut of Cicada.

Daily script: Adam takes cues from philosophy, literature, and life as he welcomes each client with, “What’s your story?” He can bee seen around town at events like Tennessee Brewery Untapped,  Broad Ave artsy happenings, and poetry slams. Folks typically approach and hire him on-the-spot for “personalized poetry.”

Behind-the-Scenes: “All the writing done for events is stream of consciousness.” His hands glide across an antique portable typewriter to capture one’s thoughts and feelings onto a crisp page.

Yet, don’t mistake his talent for dictation or caricaturization.  Adam’s empathy guides him toward creating three-minute masterpieces.

How? “The shortest distance between two people is poetry. What separates people is the lack of speaking what is honestly on their heart.” According to Adam, there’s far too much sarcasm and cynicism that hinders relationships. Thus, he bridges sincere communication.

Cool typewriter but what about the web? “For millennials, the power lies within social media. We can have an immediate impact on the culture around us.”

His dream? “For poetry to be pervasive throughout our culture. Turn it into an industry. Something where you can make money, work hard for, and it benefits people.”

e.g., Think personal poet-consultant. Call upon Adam to provide perspective on that difficult life transition or for everyday humor. Only time limits the quantity of muses. So, give him a shout.

(P.S. I purchased my first poem at Overton Square’s Crawfish Festival. My inspiration? Getting lost in crowds. Here’s (part of) poem #981.)

Content, Curation, and Criticism

“The greatest reward for consistently sharing interesting content…is the request for new connections, friends, fans, and followers,” said Brian Solis. As he further outlined in this article, Solis writes that information is currency, and curation done well is an art.

What’s nifty about content curation is that “links are presents that can be given or earned but not bought,” according to Jeff Jarvis. Who doesn’t like sharing free finds?

That’s modern day curation, which includes pretty much everyone that shares deals, ideas, jokes, and news. But if you can figure out a way to cash in by spreading cool content, you’ve reached baller status.

To do this expertly, it’s better if you have a trained eye within your topic. If you’re a fashionista like Elle Perry, I therefore trust the trendy wardrobe recommendations. If you’re “Piled higher. (and) Deeper,” you probably know more about your subject area than me. Mindy McAdams‘ seven curation tips point out that if you’re an authority on a matter, readers trust you more.

Every post in my beat is derived from personal experiences. Whether I went to an event, visited a restaurant, or interviewed someone, I’m relaying first-hand insights or information to others.

Some use curation to dive into the experiences and emotions of others. “For me, I wanted to tell the story of Tunisia at an extraordinary moment in time, and capture as much personal media as possible from people living through it,” said Andy Carvin in an interview with Ethan Zuckerman. Carvin covered several country fallouts from the ground up via Twitter.

Yet, curating, like other forms of journalism, can come at a cost. If one develops a heavy habit of aggregating articles or finds, meaningful content could get sacrificed. And reputations could become diluted. (BuzzFeed comes to mind.)

And then there are the critics. A couple of months ago, I photographed some popular drinking establishments around town. The “Juke Joint” post garnered more than 1,500 uniques. Maybe because it was bars. Maybe because it sounded subversive.

As I had feared, not everyone agreed with my choices. Worse. Some vehemently told me so. This or that selection was “more than a stretch” to be placed on that list.

All picks were homegrown, independent venues that feature local music. And I prefaced the post explaining my broader definition of a juke joint (not the Delta-specific, turn-of-the-century one). Why? Because it’s 2014.

And we live in a metropolis.

Even going down South to Clarksdale’s Ground Zero wouldn’t replicate Harpo’s hidden joint.

Was I perturbed by the discourse? No. But my immediate reaction was along the same vein of Jeff Jarvis’ sentiments…”Those damn hipsters,” I thought. Scout them out some grungy spots where the closing time isn’t posted, and it’s still not edgy enough.

My intent was to start a conversation about freshening up the “juke joint” label because these too were institutions of local culture. Yes, traditional word choice meanings are important, but sometimes it’s the popular sites that’ll be remembered as historic.

Then I realized, it’s all a matter of perspective and maybe everyone doesn’t have the gift to bring soul wherever they go.

My juke joint is a place where I can mingle, drink, and jive. And it just so happens that I’ve curated one hell of a long list.