Save the Harding Theater Petition Hoax

I’ve written about the Harding Theater here before and pointed you toward the Save the Harding Theater blog and the Friends of 1800 — two San Francisco groups dedicated to preserving a historic landmark. A hearing is scheduled at San Francisco City Hall for November 13 to try and hold back developers’ plans to demolish most of the Harding Theater and erect condos (past plans, in tune with the neighborhood, have tempered the demolition and encouraged design that would keep most of the Harding Theater intact and become a space that the neighborhood — and the city — could use as community or performance space). The scary thing: apparently the developer has hired people to go around with petitions, pretending to be friends of the Harding Theater, but really they’re enemies. The petition you might sign, thinking you are saving the Harding Theater, could in fact be endorsing its demolition. If you live in San Francisco and want to save the Harding Theater (for real), please go to Save the Harding Theater and take action today.

Protect Your Personal Brand

With free social media tools like Facebook, we can all create our own instant personal brand. All it takes is an email account and a password and you’re good to go. While superstars like U2’s Bono spend years (and millions of dollars) developing their personal brand — which has transcended, in his case, from rock stardom to the nickname “St. Bono” for his humanitarian works — others are busily clicking about on free social media tools developing theirs. Witness the story about young 19-year-old Andrea Feick, an American fashion student currently studying in Paris who took a little vacation to St. Tropez. And while she and her friend Hannah were there, they bumped into St. Bono — first in what looks like a dry hottub, and later on a private yacht. Mobile phones came out, photos were snapped, and what 48-year-old family man St. Bono might have thought was some harmless goofing around with his 19-year-old “friends” became a score for Andrea’s little personal brand on Facebook — talk about impressing your friends with these photos — but what a nightmare on St. Bono Street for the U2 frontman.

Brian Solis on his blog PR 2.0 covers the Bono escapade with thoughtful analysis; but for the whole sordid story, go to London’s Daily Mail (of course).

Venture Capitalist Kisses CEO

The digital photography arm of my business grew out of the marketing and PR work I do for my clients. Need photos of your event but already on a tight budget? No problem, KazzaDrask takes photos, too! It has turned into one of my favorite parts of my job — this year alone I’ve gotten to take professional photos of A-listers like Halle Berry and D-listers like Kathy Griffin. Pro athletes like Australian footballer James Hird and Nob Hill socialites. I’ve taken photos of artists, musicians, Obama supporters and people with the next greatest innovation that can make a difference in our lives. The spontaneity is what makes this part of the job so much fun. Like when a well-known venture capitalist breaks ranks and kisses the CEO of ANZA Technology Network for a job well done at last week’s ANZA Gateway to the US Summit. Visit the ANZA TechNet blog to see more!

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.

A New Spin on a New Media Career for Corporates

From this morning’s New York Times, there’s a guy out there named Joel Moss Levinson and he’s doing for corporations what they can’t do for themselves — no matter how hard they try. The quickest new media way to a consumer’s heart these days is user-generated content: blogs, photos, podcasts, Twitters and video. We want to know what a regular person thinks about Oreos, Nike, Red Bull, Southwest Airlines and Maserati — not what an ad agency hired by a corporation and millions of dollars of market research tell us we should think.

Some corporations have caught on quicker than others. And, rather than just pouring said millions into ad campaigns they also now pour a couple of grand into sponsoring contests that encourage regular people to sing, dance and dress up as candy bars or fruit smoothies and capture their enthusiasm with a DIY video device.

Remember the “Tell us why you use Ivory Soap in 25 words or less” contests? The user-generated video showing us a product’s awesomeness is its grandchild. And, Joel Levinson is making a career out of it. The only question for Joel, and the countless others he will no doubt inspire by his new-found fame, is how long can this career last? How long before Joel’s recognized as the big banana, cell phone user and ice cream eater in one homemade video too many and gets tagged a user-generated pro? Or, are there no limits to this kind of thing?

Divisadero Art Walk

KazzaDrask Media was on the scene last night for the first ever Divisadero Art Walk on the Divisadero Corridor in San Francisco, one of the city’s most eclectic neighborhoods. It’s a strip that runs from Haight to Eddy Sts., with small boutiques, start-up art galleries, great little restaurants (and one big one, NOPA) and a variety of places to get a drink, like our new favorite — Mini Bar. You can see all the photos here.

Out4Immigration Applauds Connecticut’s Okay to Same-Sex Marriage

October 13, 2008 — San Francisco, CA — Connecticut’s Supreme Court has leveled the playing field. The first state to approve civil unions through its legislature now says that the civil unions are a “separate and unequal” alternative to marriage. Citing the state’s equal protection clause, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled (4-3) that “gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice…. To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”

Connecticut now joins California and Massachusetts as the third state in the nation to grant same-sex couples full and equal marriage rights. However, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), these state laws do not entitle same-sex couples to the 1,138 federal rights that accompany opposite-sex marriages. Included among these laws is the right of an American citizen or permanent resident to sponsor a foreign spouse for immigration purposes. Out4Immigration, citing a 2006 Human Rights Watch Report, estimates there are some 36,000 same-sex binational couples in the United States who are locked out of federal immigration protections.

“We at Out4Immigration sincerely hope that the decision in Connecticut to grant equal marriage rights to all of its citizens, one that the state’s governor has agreed to uphold, will not be met with the same ugly anti-marriage and discriminatory campaign to take this right away from the people as we are seeing in California with Proposition 8. Out4Immigration urges Californians to say “no” to discrimination and Vote No on Proposition 8 on November 4,” said Mickey Lim, Vice President of Out4Immigration. (Read more)

Miles Ahead West

What I love about living in San Francisco is that sometimes you can just walk down the street and walk into something that’s been going on for 13 years that you never knew about. Miles Ahead West is a freestyle jazz and funk ensemble that plays every Sunday, 4 pm to 9 pm at the International Cafe at 508 Haight Street. These cats and a coupla chicks describe themselves as “Miles Meets Mingus and Goes to the Cosmos”. Check ’em out — and check out the photos they graciously let me take when I wandered in toward the end of their Sunday night set here.

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.

Kath and Kim’s American Debut

Kath and Kim is the funniest show on Australian TV — four channels and FoxTel that provide a mix of sappy soaps, reality shows, sport and American faves like ‘Lost’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Ugly Betty’. The show’s creators, Jane Turner and Gina Riley, are long-time comedy writers/performers (a la French and Saunders), who along with sidekick Magda Szubanski spun out a silly skit from a ‘Saturday Night Live’-esque show about a dysfunctional mother, daughter and the daughter’s “second best friend” into a prime-time hit.

After four successful series (“seasons”, in the States) on Aussie TV, the show has been “Americanized” and makes its debut in the US on Thursday night, at 8:30 pm on NBC. In a testament to our strong international ties with Australia, though, the show got a first look in Australia over the weekend. As expected, the critics are harsh, but give the Americans high marks for the cheesy opening credits, celebrity name drops (way more per minute than in the Aussie version) and tacky clothing and home decor — all of which make Kath & Kim over the top Down Under.

Meanwhile, another source reports that the Aussie creators of the show are happy with the US results — and urge Americans to hang in there until episode 4, when Kath & Kim truly finds its American accent and proves it’s worthy of the lead-in slot to NBC’s other Americanized hit, The Office.

Bonus Round: Can’t wait for Thursday night? The first episode of the US Kath & Kim is available for free download on iTunes.

Melbourne Street Art

A Lonely Planet poll has named Melbourne’s street art scene Australia’s Number One tourist attraction — ahead of the National Gallery, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and all those beautiful beaches. What’s the state of Victoria (where Melbourne is located) to do? Well, yesterday, Premier John Brumby slammed Tourism Victoria for including graffitied lanes in a re-created cityscape of Melbourne at Florida’s Disney World, insisting the government did not want a display that “promoted graffiti”.

The graffitied lanes in the Disney display got in the way of showing off what was intended, Melbourne’s “European-type” style.

“It’s the openness, it’s the little restaurants, it’s the flower pots, window pots, all of those things. I don’t think graffiti is what we want to be displaying overseas. We’ve put through very tough laws to discourage graffiti — it’s a blight on the city,” said Brumby.

Maybe so, but then I guess it depends on the style of travel you’re looking for — Lonely Planet or Disney, who will be withdrawing the Melbourne display. (Read more)

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.