Mermaids poised for their mainstream splash [SF Chronicle] – Here’s an emergent trend that we’ll all want to get in front of, whether it’s cultural literacy or presents for friends and children, or perhaps cashing in before it the bubble bursts.
Mermaids are about to swamp vampires and zombies as supernatural rainmakers in popular culture. Photographer Mark Anderson is releasing a book called “M: Mermaids of Hollywood,” that features Anna Faris, the Kardashians, Kristen Bell and others in tails. Carolyn Turgeon, author of “Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale,” has agreed to run a new magazine, Mermaids & Mythology. The true beneficiaries of the mermaid bull market are small-business owners who cornered the mermaid market before there actually was one. Eric Ducharme, who lives near Tampa, makes about seven latex tails a month for $500 to $700 and since December has created 25 silicone ones for $1,600 to $5,000, including one for Lady Gaga. The Weeki Wachee Springs Underwater Theater, also near Tampa, started its mermaid shows in 1947. In danger of closing just a few years ago, it’s now hosting sold-out camps for adults who want to swim with tails.
Masked Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Bottom Line [NYTimes.com] – The mask wearers have been seen here in the Bay Area recently, in protests against the BART transit system preemptively disconnecting cell service in advance of a protest. There’s clearly a market for knockoff masks, which may lead to some corrective corporate actions, which may in turn lead to more protests and indeed an entire economic turnaround.
When members [of Anonymous] appear in public to protest censorship and what they view as corruption, they don a plastic mask of Guy Fawkes, the 17th-century Englishman who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Stark white, with blushed pink cheeks, a wide grin and a thin black mustache and goatee, the mask resonates with the hackers because it was worn by a rogue anarchist challenging an authoritarian government in “V for Vendetta,” the movie produced in 2006 by Warner Brothers. What few people seem to know, though, is that Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world and parent of Warner Brothers, owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask.
Come On, Feel the Mud [NYTimes.com] – This interactive feature has some lovely, if muddy pictures, but mostly I was struck to learn that there’s a Polish Woodstock. If nothing else, we are clearly a decades past the dawn of political correctness where that phrase could only be the punchline to an offensive joke.
The original Woodstock festival was known for both its music and its mud. Although it is no relation to the American festivals, the Woodstock Festival in Kostrzyn nad Odra, Poland, does its best to recreate the experience by building giant mud pits in which thousands of young Poles writhe and wrestle to a hard-driving beat. Now in its 17th year, the Polish Woodstock mixes older Western rock bands like Prodigy and Helloween with popular Polish acts like Laki Lan and Enej. Despite the aggressive music, the vibe in the mud pit is much more summer of love. “We are moshing, we are throwing sand and dirt, but it’s really friendly,” said Michal Knapinski, 16. “When someone falls, there are hundreds of hands pulling him up.”