Okay Austin, Texas… you have our undivided attention. Also, you’ll be
seeing hearing us annually, especially after 2am next year, when the bar doors are bolted shut and every out-of-towner with one-to-many event wrist bands is desperately roaming the streets, trying to keep the night alive.
Let’s backtrack to March 11th when I first arrived in Austin from Los Angeles with two sexy carry-ons (Thumpers) during SXSW’s transition from interactive to music. Fellow founder David Preiss flew in from Atlanta and met me with two more Thumpers (that’s 4 Thumpers total, but who’s counting?). My lifelong homie from Hawaii and fellow Manhattan nightlife assassin, Silver Medallion aka Young Unicorn (verified), has an extra pad in Austin, and with our crew from New York joining forces for SXSW there was only one way to go: down the rabbit hole.
March 12th was a red Google calendar day -- PR queen Marni Eth, was planning events for us to disturb the peace, Ginger Riot was on his film game, and David and I were going to meet more people than I’ve made phone calls to in the past month.
First we visited my pal and notable serial entrepreneur Nadeem Kassam, who was speaking at the Sheraton with Kai Huang, founder of Guitar Hero, about entrepreneurship and the future of wearable devices via gaming. After their informative and motivating talk I had to say wdup to Nadeem in the lobby (where he met me with extreme exuberance).
Let’s backtrack again. Nadeem’s been working on a project called BioBeats. BioBeats essentially hacks an iPhone’s camera, transforming it into an algorithmic sensor that detects your heartbeat when you place your index finger on the camera. It uses the heartbeat data to play back music that matches your mood. Yea… check it for yourself.
Now, imagine creating music (based on your mood) using your fingertip through your iPhone’s camera sensor and having the sound wirelessly tickle your eardrum via bluetooth through, ahem… our Thumpers? Well imagine no more, Nadeem and I discussed using the Thumpers at the Feed event for the Tokimonsta & Flying Lotus show where BioBeats was being showcased downstairs. David and I jumped in their ride, dropped off three Thumpers, ingratiated ourselves with their crew, and hopped back to 2nd street to meet the homies for the private Macallan SXSW Yacht party that Silver Medallion was DJn.
We packed over 25 people in the private bus ride and set sail to drink some whiskeys while preparing for Silver Medallion to drop the trap hammer.
After eating more appetizers than total entrée’s available on the Cheesecake Factory menu, David and I jumped on a pedicab and blasted some XNX mixes out the Thumper to the Feed / BioBeats event. This is what we rolled up to.
Marshall Jones, the poetic champion himself, entertained the eager SXSW’ers and demoed the BioBeats application outside with camera crews catching each moment. Here’s a look inside:
The next morning, I met up with the homie Sam Salisbury, advisor to every tech company west of the Mississippi, and friends from the Olive Tree Network. We hit the Rocnation Party with Tribe Called Quest from the Thumper serenading the streets, and every person who passed by bopped their heads with immediate approval.
And of course, how could we not leave our mark on Austin’s wall?
A few hours later, David and I hit 6th street near closing time. The bars were emptying out and the streets were full of unsatisfied, hungry ears. So I turned on the Thumper. The cops tried to shut it down, but that’s like putting a leash on the wind.
On the 15th we hit the W for the Nylon Magazine event and chopped it up with Jabari and crew (good people).
I saved up my appetite for a few whiskeys, met up with Marni & Ginger Riot to hit the Silver Medallion show at the Haven.
A few hours later we galvanized the crew and hit the Electric Blue party where they were handing out free electric Blu cigarettes to destroy every person’s former “I quit smoking” habit. Thanks… Thankfully, the trap hammer was dropped, whiskey was flowing, and the crew had one last toast to SXSW. See ya next year!
What a week! After bouncing around hotels due to Hurricane Sandy forcing thousands of tenants out of their apartments in lower Manhattan, I made an impulse decision to move.
"Where? I'll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called..." L.A. Where substance always meets beauty. *cough*
And what better time for Curious Provisions to get some love than Grammy weekend? The stars were out, the weather was warm, and the suitcases were, (dare I say?), thumping. Fellow founders Javier & David sent me this sexy thumper to wow the ladies and impress the audio nerds.
Will.i.am kicked off the party week at the Avalon in Hollywood ashost / founder for TRANS4M 2013. Originally, I thought I’d be walking into a meet-and-greet / snooty / overdressed cocktail party, since big wigs like Bill Clinton and Emmanuelle Chriqui, my dream woman, (mothereffin Sloan!) were attending, but of course, it was a concert at the Avalon – I should’ve known better. Ludacris, Alicia Keys, ThePeas, and Bobby Brown performed. Bobby murdered it – I was two stepping and sliding like never before (thought I’d say that).View full article →
Props to my good friend Eric for turning me on to Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson of Wired fame. As it stands now, my trusty Kindle tells me I am 30% through the work, but I won't wait until the end to write something about it – as things are fresher in my mind if I report them as I go along. Fellow founders Russ and Javier are also working their way through it.
I have an eerie feeling reading this book; as if we here at CP are a small part of some much bigger movement. And thanks to Mr. Anderson I am convinced that the "Maker" movement truly exists and is not a bunch of overhyped puffery. I humbly submit that we are part of the movement. But I feel ignorant for not realizing that before I read Makers.
This particular excerpt certainly made me feel like a member of a community I had never heard of:
From tailored clothes to fancy restaurants, exclusivity has always commanded a premium.
This is what i.materialize, a design firm, calls "the power of the unique". In a world dominated by one-size-fits-all commodity goods, the way to stand out is to create products that serve individual needs not general ones.
So far, Chris has neglected to explain how challenging it can be to run a single business that offers "one-of-a-kind". But then again, in this passage he is speaking on a macro-level, for it has become easier than ever for willing entrepreneours to prototype and manufacture their own product. And, while he does mention the proliferation of "artisinal" style manufacturing, I would agree with him that one-of-a-kind becomes easier when your ideas are dreamed up in 3D and sent to routing and printing facilities. It seems all too easy to write off Mr. Anderson's zeal for 3D printing machines, since his company does that very thing. But I am convinced that he is right – in that the technology is already very servicable for prototyping and may advance ("sigh", via Moore's Law) to the mainstream consumer becoming as commonplace as its jetstream ancestor. In that sense, companies will offer unique items that don't have to be delivered via UPS, but can just be printed off the web.
Another place where we, as a company, identify with the Maker movement is that two of our founders are also web and software designers (not developers mind you), and have been in that profession for the past 15 years. We agree that we longed for a creative outlet of atoms rather than pixels – wanting very badly to make something "real". Well, we have started our journey in that regard with the Thumper Boombox, but I'm fairly certain that this is not where it will end. We simply cannot control the urge to create more things. According to Mr. Anderson the trend of digital designer switching to atoms is a major part of the Maker phenomena.
Two other small points of note so far:
1) I respect any author who quotes Richard Feynman, one of my personal heroes.
2) However, I assign Mr. Anderson a demerit for referencing Moore's Law, as I strongly feel that despite the merits of the theory , most of us have already heard of it and it has been beaten to death by now.
Anyhow, one of the benefits of writing this post as I sit 30% of the way through the book – is that I can end this discussion here and pick it up again later if necessary. More on this later (provided the book doesn't become repetitious)!
Apparently, blog posts are boring without a picture. We don't do boring around here, so I'm starting off with the above example of non-boring.
Now to the point. We have been horribly delinquent when it comes to writing, drafting, posting and otherwise creating blog posts on this site. I blame myself. In any case, I hereby resolve, albeit belatedly, to post twice a week. I'm not promising that these forthcoming nuggets of content will always be entertaining, but I will at least make a good faith effort.
So there, no more embarrassingly out-of-date blog posts heading up the top of our blog. From now on, freshly baked thoughts, Thumpers and other things of note will regularly roll off our keyboards and into your retinas. (takes bow).
What's going on? Tons and tons of things are going on, believe us. But for now, let's talk about a couple of the big upcoming events we have. In November, the air is getting crisp, but the weather is still going to be beautiful. Especially here in Georgia. SO, please join us at two outdoor events: Chastain Park Arts Festival in Atlanta and THE REVIVAL of Vintage Marketplace in Buford, Georgia.
Check out your favorite vintage suitcase boomboxes on November 3rd and 4th at Chastain. Touch, them hear them, admire them - we'll have around a dozen on hand – so stock up for the holidays. Chastain Park Arts Festival is fantastic, so make sure to like them on Facebook just to keep up with all the great artists that will be featured there.
Oh how we love the Revival of Vintage. All of you who visited us (and purchased from us!) back in July and braved the 106 degree heat are praiseworthy and sincerely thanked. This time however, we can present our lovely boomboxes to you in the cool comfort of a beautiful fall day in Bufurd, GA. Make the drive if you live in the Atlanta area (or anywhere in the Southeast), you won't want to miss it! Also make sure to like them on Facebook.
We had a great time @ the Piedmont Arts Fest - met lots of great folks and got a lot of really good solid feedback on the Thumpers + we sold a bunch of them to some awesome people.
Rather than tell you all of the details of our experience, I figured I would let you know some of the funny/silly things that gave us some pretty good laughs.
"Hey man, that's Rad - Crank it up..... Oh - turn it down, turn it down!" - Random Joe
"Hey guys, would you mind turning it down? People can't hear the band" - Festival Security
"Wow - You plug your iPod in it? how about your iPad... Droid... How about a TV.... How about a CD Player... Record Player?" - Anonymous Girl
"Hey man, can you open the case and put beer in it?" - Random Fella
"If I buy one, can I take it on the plane with me to NY if I put my clothes in it?" - Random Gal
"What happens if I accidentally drop it in the pool?" - Passerby Guy
"Hey guys, would you please-please keep it down? You can hear it across to the other side and its too much" - Festival Security
Good Times... Good Times... - Check out the pictures @ Facebook/CuriousProvisions and come check us out September 15th @ the East Atlanta Strut, Music & Arts Fest (http://eastatlantastrut.com)
Big River - one of our all time favorite vintage suitcase boomboxes, found a loving home with Anna Brayko and her boyfriend. In fact, Anna may well be one of the best girlfriends on the planet, after giving it to her lucky man as a present. Recently, Anna wrote a terrific letter to tell us about her Thumper experience:
I just gave the Thumper as a gift to my boyfriend last night and he loved it. He actually said that this is by far the best gift that he has ever received from anyone. So thank you! If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have gotten such a response.
We tried out the Thumper and it works wonderfully. Once we discovered the little button that turned on the base, life got that much better. Listening to dubstep with the button pushed in in the middle of the night with sleeping neighbours is a highly risky activity, but we were dangerous and tried it out. I loved the sound!
I want to thank you for your amazing customer service. I was pleasantly shocked to see what a great deal of effort you put in into accommodating my preferences. I am glad I got to experience such superb service.
I would also like to add that the hand-written card that you included with the package put a smile on my face. I truly think that with this impersonal mode of communication the card added a hear-warming touch.
I thank the entire Curious Provisions team once again for the lovely product and outstanding service!
– ANNA BRAYKOAnna, thank you and your boyfriend for the kind words. This warmed our little hearts!
Friends, Romans, countrymen, join Curious Provisions of Thumper Boombox fame at the Goat Farm in Atlanta on June 30th and July 1st 2012. For very good reason, we will be offering our wares at The Revival's Vintage Marketplace. Seriously, if you miss this, you will be kicking yourself in the forehead and I don't think that will be very good for your hamstrings.
The market will have all kinds of local vintage sellers and designers. We'll all be combining to form a giant robotic Voltron of curated vintage wares ranging from handmade jewelry to, uh, I don't know – kick ass sounding vintage suitcase boomboxes? Indeed, yes. The Goat Farm's non-traditional rustic auditoriums are going to hold over 100 vintage vendors, seminars, and live music. Oh, and there will be food too! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, YOU CANNOT MISS THIS EVENT! And you can multiply that sentiment times infinity since we'll be there playing tunes and selling Thumper boomboxes to the coolness-starved masses.
The Goat Farm Atlanta
1200 Foster St (in W. Midtown behind Bacchanalia and next to Forsyth Fabrics.).
Tickets are a mere $5 bucks and puppies & parking are Free.