How Online Travel Exploded Out of the Tech Boom

Travel agents are one of the professions famously made obsolete by the internet. In this shockingly artistic piece Skift tells the comprehensive story of what took their place: an interconnected but competing network of sites that first focused on flights before eyeing every one of your travel dollars (hotels, cars, attractions, etc.). It’s a true story of the internet’s wild west days and the innovations and efficiencies that made it work.

The Definitive Oral History of Online Travel

Skift.com, 6.1.16

D’Angelo: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

D’Angelo announced himself as a gifted R & B musician with 1995’s Brown Sugar but it was 2000’s Voodoo that put him in the stratosphere. Created at NYC’s Electric Ladyland during a stirring rebirth of that famous studio, Voodoo effortlessly combined funk, soul, hip-hop and more in a Grammy-award winning achievement. He had the music world in the palm of his hand. And then he disappeared. It would take 14 years of rumors and breaks before he delivered 2014’s Black Messiah, which Rolling Stone called an experimental soul masterpiece. Noisey profiles D’Angelo with help from his associates, including Questlove and DJ Premier.

Untitled (An Oral History of D’Angelo)

Noisey.Vice.com, 10.6.14

“Girls”: The Millennial Generation’s Dramatic Arrival on Screen

HBO’s Girls arrived with audacious youthful confidence, and regularly sparked controversy amongst the timid, but ultimately told a time-tested story of young adults’ rocky transition to fully adulthood. Series creator/writer/star Lena Dunham famously proclaimed in the first line of the first episode that she was “the voice of my generation … or at least a voice of a generation,” and that arrogance proved worthy. On the eve of the show’s sixth and final season The Hollywood Reporter gathers the principals to discuss the tumultuous journey.

It’s Goodbye ‘Girls’ as Lena Dunham, Cast, Execs Overshare in Show Oral History

HollywoodReporter.com, 2.1.17

Bryce Harper’s Outrageous Year in Junior College

Instead of returning for his junior year of high school Bryce Harper joined College of Southern Nevada, a junior college, as a 17 year old. This would make him eligible for the MLB draft a year earlier. It hadn’t been done before and it hasn’t been done since. But Bryce Harper was different. Anointed as the next big thing on a Sports Illustrated cover at age 16, Harper was the LeBron James of baseball. At CSN he would be playing on one of the best teams in the country and facing some of the best pitching. How did it go? The school’s single-season home run record was 12 when he arrived. It was 31 when he left. Vice Sports talks with CSN teammates and coaches about the magical year Harper tore shit up.

Man Amongst Boys: The Oral History Of Bryce Harper’s Record-Setting Junior College Season

Sports.Vice.com, 7.12.16

“Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” (1996)

Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? has become pop-culture shorthand for low-budget but over-the-top Lifetime-esque movies. What’s hilarious is that this movie originally aired on NBC before being rerun on Lifetime a billion times. The campy film had the prerequisite young attractive woman in danger (Tori Spelling) and delivered its unintentional humor with a looming urgency. In honor of James Franco’s 20th anniversary “reimagination” of MMISWD Thrillist talks with all the proud people behind one of pop culture’s favorite horrible movies.

The Oral History of the Camp Classic ‘Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?’

Thrillist.com, 6.17.16

“Phat Beach”: The Gold Standard for Hip-Hop Beach Movies

Producer Cleveland O’Neal approached film school student Doug Elfin (Entourage) about a movie Elflin originally thought was called Fat Bitch. Once Elfin figured out what was happening, he revised the script with O’Neal and directed the low-budget independent film about some broke boys at the beach, looking for love, and hilariously winning a beach volleyball competition on a whim. Its playful street vibe won over viewers of a certain age and can still be found in early morning showings on basic cable. Complex looks back.

The Oral History of ‘Phat Beach’

Complex.com, 8.3.16

Costacos Brothers Posters: Sports Stars Writ Large

For many years sports posters were just action shots. That was fine! However, the Costacos Brothers took it to the next level by marrying pop culture symbolism with superhero posturing to create dynamic imagery that soon became plastered all over bedrooms and dorm rooms all over America. Iconic early posters included “Mad Mac” (Jim McMahon), “Big Game Hunter” (Kirk Gibson), and “The Land of Boz” (Brian Bosworth). SBNation goes all out to tell the story of how some college kids selling t-shirts in parking lots turned into a multi-million dollar enterprise. The piece includes a 15-minute documentary and numerous images of the posters.

Poster boys How the Costacos Brothers built a wall art empire

SBNation.com, 2.5.13

 

 

“Spaced”: The UK’s Slacker Cult Fave

Simon Pegg noted there had been a few Friends knockoffs in the UK in the late 90s but they were too uppity and didn’t reflect his crew’s life. So he worked with Jessica Hynes to write and star in a show that would have the appropriate amount of bongs, video games, and drunken clubbing. It ran for just two seasons but reigns as the UK’s Reality Bites, an ode to slacker twenty-somethings living communally on their way to true adulthood.

An Oral History of ‘Spaced’

Vice.com, 11.18.16

The One and Only Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers was a brutally honest but surprisingly loving and humble comedienne who repeatedly revived her career by working harder than everyone else. She burst on the scene in a 1965 Tonight Show appearance where Johnny Carson proclaimed that she would be a star. She made female standup a thing. A million nightclub acts later, a thousand red carpets, and then Rivers would win Celebrity Apprentice at age 76. She kept working until her tragic death at 81, and there will never be anyone else like her. 24 associates gave endearing/funny/interesting anecdotes to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Story of Joan Rivers: 24 Famous Friends From Dick Cavett to Donald Trump Construct Stunning Oral History for THR

HollywoodReporter.com, 9.10.14

New Zealand Leads the Extreme Sports Revolution

extreme sports

New Zealand is at the end of the earth, but its people inhabit a dramatic landscape begging for adventure. And it turns out that many New Zealanders like their adventure to be of the extreme variety. Popular Science details the background of their many wildly dangerous innovations, including how bungee jumping grew out of a Vanuatu ritual using jungle vines. Jet boats were invented by a farmer who just wanted to get upriver. It’s well worth the read.

An Oral History of Extreme Sports

PopSci.com, 2.8.12

“Jawbreaker”: The Darkest Teen Movie?

1999’s Jawbreaker was the spiritual successor to Heathers and other “dark” teen dramedies, but it reveled in its subversiveness to a degree unseen in other films of the genre. Originally rated a NC-17, the film centers around the typical high school girl clique, except they accidentally murder one of their friends with a jawbreaker candy in a prank gone wrong. Things do not get better from there. The movie stars Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz and a young Julie Greer, and the high-style costuming and no-fucks dialogue has earned it cult status among a certain type of nasty girl. Broadly mines the depths.

‘Perverting the Youth of America’: The Oral History of Teen Classic ‘Jawbreaker’

Broadly.com, 8.14.16

George Michael’s Glamorous “Freedom” Video

The “Freedom” video, released in 1990, may mark the high point of the intermingling of the fashion and music worlds. George Michael was a pop star of the highest order, and he recruited the pinnacle of fashion’s supermodels: Crawford, Turlington, Campbell, Evangelista, and Patitz. Remarkably, the production crew would also go onto greatness in their fields, including director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network, Gone Girl). The New York Times reflects on the iconic collaboration of glamorous talent.

George Michael’s Freedom Video: An Oral History

NYTimes.com, 12.30.16

A Year in the Life of AS Roma

AS Roma had endured 11 straight winless games entering January of 2016 and the natives were restless. Coach Rudi Garcia was replaced by the dynamic Luciano Spaletti, and the club brought in stalwart defender Diego Perotti and young striker Stephan El Shaarawy. These changes sparked a remarkable turnaround as the club took 87 points from the first 38 games with Spaletti at the helm, saving their Champions League position. The Cauldron takes an incredible detailed and fascinating look at one of Europe’s premier soccer franchises.

Joy And Pain: An Oral History Of A Year With AS Roma

The-Cauldron.com, 1.2.17

 

“Project Runway”: The Fashion Process Captivates

fashionIn 2004 reality TV was still in its adolescent stage, with shows like Survivor and Fear Factor leading the way. Bravo’s Project Runway was decidedly different, a behind-the-scenes look at fashion design thru the lens of a competition between 10 aspiring designers. Heidi Klum and Michael Kors provided the star power (to be joined later by breakout star Tim Gunn), but it was the tone and maturity of the show that led viewers to believe in the “reality.” The Hollywood Reporter gathers the principals for a 10th-anniversary retrospective of a truly unique show in the history of television.

‘Fashion Is Not for Sissies’: An Oral History of ‘Project Runway’s’ First 10 Years

TheHollywoodReporter.com, 8.16.12

 

 

50 Years of Service: Boston’s Haley House

serviceKathe and John McKenna began taking homeless into their basement apartment in the mid-60’s, thus beginning a tradition that has fundamentally changed Boston. They bought Haley House in 1966 in order to provide more beds to the indigent. Then they started feeding the homeless. Then they provided permanent housing. Then they provided jobs. Today Haley House, in an age of the continually declining social safety net, is a core piece of that net in Boston, and now operates two successful eateries downtown: Bakery Cafe and Dudley Dough. Here is the story of good people doing good.

50 YEARS OF YEAST AND LOVE: AN ORAL HISTORY OF HALEY HOUSE

DigBoston.com, 11.23.16

 

The Political Elite are Reptiles

reptilesLouis C.K. famously grilled former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on whether he was, in fact, a reptile. This exchange grew out of one of the more grand conspiracy theories of our time, one nurtured by YouTube videos, and fanned by tin-hat internet commenters across the globe. Motherboard‘s Derek Read earns internet hugs for traveling into the belly of the beast to transcribe some of the more absurd and entertaining comments in an oral history of the shape-shifting alien invasion.

Our Presidents Are Reptilians: A YouTube Oral History

Motherboard.com, 3.28.14

 

Legendary Rock Doc Series “The Decline of Western Civilization”

punk rock

The Decline of Western Civilization was for many years like catnip to rock nerds everywhere. It had it all: exclusivity (only available on VHS or bootlegs), insight (footage of major bands before they were famous) and cache (punk rock rules!). Iconoclastic filmmaker Penelope Spheeris released the series in three parts over 17 years, although Part I stands out as the most famous. In honor of a full-blown DVD re-release in 2015 Noisey compiled a four-part oral history of the groundbreaking documentary.

Part I “detailed the Los Angeles punk scene as it transformed from a dangerous dayglow playground of drunken mischief into ground zero for the grim, tough-as-nails testosterone driven genesis of American Hardcore Punk.”

Part I: The Complete Oral History of Legendary Rock-Doc Series “The Decline of Western Civilization”

Noisey.com, 6.10.15

Part II covers the metal scene and the logistical difficulties of filming punk/metal shows.

Part II: The Complete Oral History of Legendary Rock Doc Series ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’

Noisey.com, 6.17.15

Part III covers the gutter-punk scene and the clash between new punk and the greying originals.

Part III: The Complete Oral History of Legendary Rock Doc Series ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’

Noisey.com, 6.24.15

Part IV talks about the documentary’s 17-year release process and legacy

Part IV: The Complete and Oral History of Legendary Rock Doc Series ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’

Noisey.com, 7.2.15

The Super Bowl

super bowlIn honor of the 50th Super Bowl The Hollywood Reporter gathered the best anecdotes they could find from the major media members who’ve covered the games. There’s some good stuff! Personal favorite: Keith Olbermann dropping his baby sister on her head when the Jets scored the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl III.

50 Years of the Super Bowl: 17 Major Players Spill on Wardrobe Malfunctions, O.J. Simpson, Deflategate in THR’s Oral History

TheHollywoodReporter.com, 2.4.16

Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year: “1989”

1989 blew up when it was released in the fall 0f 2014, selling 1.2M copies in its first week on the way to winning album of the year. The concept came to Swift in the early morning hours one day as she decided on the album title and that it would be all synth-pop: “a sonically cohesive record.” She gathered a tight and talented crew for what ended up being a fairly efficient and effective production effort. Here is the behind-the-scenes story.

The Oral History Of Taylor Swift’s 1989

Grammy.com, 2.8.16

The Grassroots Populist Campaign of George McGovern in 1972

George McGovern was called “the most decent man in the Senate” by Bobby Kennedy. After his death in 2012 the Obama Administration called him “a hero of war who became a champion of peace.” The distinguished Senator mounted a grassroots presidential campaign against Tricky Dick Nixon in 1972 that resounds today because his progressive message of hope and compassion contrasted with Nixon’s fearful machinations. McGovern ran the only major party campaign against the Vietnam War. Vanity Fair does an outstanding job of retelling the story of the remarkable (if ultimately unsuccessful) campaign through fascinating anecdotes from the leading staffers and McGovern himself.

McGovern ’72: An Oral History

VanityFair.com, 11.6.12