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Matthew Newton is a journalist whose writing has appeared in Spin, Good, Next American City, and Swindle, among other publications. He has reported on the decline of sampling in hip-hop; interviewed artists and musicians who survived Cambodia’s killing fields; and investigated the struggles of U.S. military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He has also appeared as a commentator on Austria’s FM4 radio and is editor of the nonfiction anthology Young & Reckless. He lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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In the film Glengarry Glenn Ross, the character of Blake, played by Alec Baldwin, utters an oft-quoted line following the famous ’steak knives’ scene: “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.” In the context of the film, Blake repeats this mantra so as to burn it into the minds of his underperforming sales force, reminding them that their failure to sell condos and time shares will only result in termination. It’s not so much a morale booster as it is a warning to those lacking the killer instinct required in sales. But on a grander scale, Blake is talking about selling — no matter the product, no matter the price.

I was reminded of this scene while watching a new ad campaign for Coke’s energy drink, called Burn (see video after the jump). It’s a dilemma I think about often, the fact that so much of today’s creative output is subsidized by corporate dollars, and the blurry ethical line this infusion of cash can create among those tasked to produce the work — art directors, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, animators, etc.

Read the full essay over at True/Slant

Posted by matthewnewton Categorized: Press The KDU

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The sights, sounds, and smells at a flea market are as much a part of the experience as sifting through the discarded possessions of strangers. Part of the appeal is the bizarre voyeurism it involves, gawking at things people once believed they needed but have since found no use for. And as any flea market veteran will attest, the experience is purest when the people you are buying from have just emptied their attic or garage, packed it into a car, and driven to a parking lot somewhere to sell it all. It’s a cleansing ritual — a hit-and-run way to quickly purge things that have outlived their usefulness.

Read full essay over at Annals of Americus

Posted by matthewnewton Categorized: KDU

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Back in October, Fox News host and habitual shit-stirrer, Sean Hannity took L.A. graffiti artist Saber to task over artwork created as part of Organizing for America’s “Health Care Reform Video Challenge.” In a video titled “Saber Speaks,” the L.A. graffiti writer used the American flag as a visual focal point — painting over it in brief time-lapse footage set to the beat of a hospital heart-rate monitor. (The monitor eventually flatlines, much like the current health care debate.) This, of course, provided Hannity with some much-needed filler for his program. Hannity and conservative cockblocker Michelle Malkin immediately expressed outrage. While Hannity appears to drift off into space (no doubt searching  for patriotic inner strength from the music of Lee Greenwood), Malkin, of course, steals the show…

Read full story over at True/Slant

(via Annals of Americus)

January 2010 / № 008

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This past October, I visited Knoxville, TN on a two-week road trip with my wife Michelle and son Ethan. The trip was a fitting end to a summer/fall that had been challenging and strange. Starting with the loss of my job as an editor in June (read about here and here), we had all weathered a difficult but ultimately fun five months of unemployment. Now, with a new year underway, and my 33rd birthday just passed, I’ve been looking at alot of personal photos the past several days and stumbled across these images I took with my Nikon D40.

Included here is a selection of photos I took one evening at Knoxville’s Sunsphere, a space needle-inspired tower constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair. These visuals were captured from a looped video being played on a flat screen TV hanging in the Sunsphere’s observation deck. For some reason, this video really appealed to me. It was probably the bizarre timewarp factor: Ronald Reagan opening the event; Dinah Shore as the master of ceremonies; and random southern-fried musicians like Rickey Skaggs and Porter Wagoner performing. Namely though, I think it was most interesting to look back 28 years on an event that, at the time, was so focused on looking forward. The theme of the exposition was “Energy turns the world.” And the fair also heavily touted the debut of new inventions, including touch screen displays, boxed milk, and the Cherry Coke flavor by Coca-Cola. Nearly thirty years later, it all seems quaint.

View full gallery here

(via Annals of Americus)

Posted by matthewnewton Categorized: Art Photography Tags: Matthew Newton

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A new series of personal essays about job loss, mental health, and the undying pursuit of art.

When I arrived that morning, the magazine offices were nearly vacant. Nothing but the dull hum of a thousand overhead florescent lights and the distant clicking of a few phantom keyboards registered a sound. A stack of empty boxes had been left on my desk. Looking at them, they seemed to tell the true story of the last 24 hours: We care, we really do. But please take your shit and leave, it’s time for us to move on (Read: ‘Fear & Self-Loathing…’ Part I). I looked at the boxes, then over at the woman from Human Resources who had escorted me from the entrance of the building to my cubicle. “Take all the time you need,” she said. “I’ll check back with you in 10 minutes.”

Read full story

[Illustration via diftype.com]

Posted by matthewnewton Categorized: KDU Tags: Matthew Newton Rust Belt True/Slant

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