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On Muppets & Merchandise: How Jim Henson Turned His Art into a Business

longreads:

Elizabeth Hyde Stevens | Make Art Make Money, Kindle Serials | September 2013 | 17 minutes (4,102 words)

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Photo by Eva Rinaldi

In 2011, Longreads highlighted an essay called “Weekend at Kermie’s,” by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens, published by The Awl. Stevens is now back with a new Muppet-inspired Kindle Serial called “Make Art Make Money,” part how-to, part Jim Henson history. Below is the opening chapter. Our thanks to Stevens and Amazon Publishing for sharing this with the Longreads community.

The Artist’s Problem: Art vs. Money

In 1968, Jim Henson performed a skit on The Ed Sullivan Show called “Business, Business,” which he cowrote with Jerry Juhl. In it, there are two kinds of creatures, and they are locked in conflict.

On one side, the creatures make sounds like a cash register and a slot machine. They recite a poem written in business-ese: “Corporate profits, exculpates, mutual fund, interest rates.”

On the other side, the creatures have naïve voices and lightbulb heads. They ask, “Love? Beauty? Joy?”

Ca-ching! The battle is on.

“Brotherhood, hope, peace!” says one side.

“Option, market, possibility, eight-point-one over counter utility,” says the other.

It’s a war of ideologies.

“Friendship!”

“Income!”

“Beauty!”

“Money!”

Business opens fire. The idealists fire back. Business explodes! Then disappears. Silence.

Cautiously, the idealists look around. They have won. “Peace?” says one. “Success!” says the other. Their lightbulbs go off.

“Victory? Opportunity! Comfort … security …” The lightbulbs flash faster. “Benefits, growth, wealth, diversity, dividends, profit, capital, economy, business, business, BUSINESS, BUSINESS!”

Ed Sullivan’s adult audience laughs at Henson’s goofy puppets. One man in a suit turns to his wife and raises an eyebrow.

Read More

Very much what we’re all about at www.makewaymag.com

(Source: longreads)

davidbrandongeeting:

i shot the cover and all chapter titles for the first issue of MAKEWAY, an iPad book which ”looks at the intersection of technology and artisanal creativity through conversations with fashion visionaries, a bookstore overcoming the odds, a fan-funded restaurant, gelato makers living in the future and more.” See more at: http://www.makewaymag.com/the-first-steps#sthash.Q6gNAj0s.dpuf

davidbrandongeeting:

i shot the cover and all chapter titles for the first issue of MAKEWAY, an iPad book which ”looks at the intersection of technology and artisanal creativity through conversations with fashion visionaries, a bookstore overcoming the odds, a fan-funded restaurant, gelato makers living in the future and more.” See more at: http://www.makewaymag.com/the-first-steps#sthash.Q6gNAj0s.dpuf

*5
makewaymag:

"We want to create a global destination for people who care about style AND the origins of items." - @Zady

makewaymag:

"We want to create a global destination for people who care about style AND the origins of items." - @Zady

(Source: makewaypledge, via zadyblog)

MAKEWAY Special Report sample

MAKEWAY Special Report sample

*10

Gary Chou: Seoul + Tokyo

garychou:

I’ve often said that the design of any social system has to start with deciding how you want people to feel.

orlyous:

René Magritte - Evening Falls II (Le soir qui tombe), 1964
via goo22

orlyous:

René Magritte - Evening Falls II (Le soir qui tombe), 1964

via goo22

*2

The Funder’s High

hodgepodgeofstuff:

Funder’s High: 

I describe as a state of elation you get from surpassing your funding goal on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. A high you get because you feel supported and loved by so many. 

Jack's: Let's reconsider our "users"

jacks:

Team,

I was reminded of something today which has always bothered me, which I have since taken for granted.

The entire technology industry uses the word “user” to describe its customers. While it might be convenient, “users” is a rather passive and abstract word. No one wants to be thought of as a “user” (or “consumer” for that matter). I certainly don’t. And I wouldn’t consider my mom a “user” either, she’s my mom. The word “user” abstracts the actual individual. This may seem like a small and insignificant detail that doesn’t matter, but the vernacular and words we use here at Square set a very strong and subtle tone for everything we do. So let’s now part ways with our industry and rethink this.

The word “customer” is a much more active and bolder word. It’s honest and direct. It immediately suggests a relationship we must deliver on. And our customers think of their customers in the same way.