Lady Gaga & Tiffany's: Legendary Style

For the past week or so we've all be talking about the Super Bowl. The surprising comeback by the Patriots being secondary in my circle. We talked at length about the variety of immigration spots by Anheuser-Busch & Lumber84, and the poignant equal pay pledge from Audi. We argued about whether the live spot from Snickers was really live and whether the Avocados from Mexico bit was funnier than last year (it wasn't). Surprisingly, the one ad that we didn't talk about was the seemingly out of place :60 spot for Tiffany & Co. staring none other than our mother monster and half-time goddess, Lady Gaga. Immediately after the spot aired, my dad and I were texting furiously. I'll admit, at first I was on the fence about it. My general reaction was the spot was boastful and inauthentic, but perhaps that was only because we had just seen her kill it in a solo halftime show. And I mean, really kill it. It's dead. The halftime show is dead. Beyonce put it on life support last year (Coldplay kinda ruined everything), and Gaga finished the job. But I digress.

The point is, the more I talked about the Tiffany's spot with people and with myself (mostly with myself), the more I realized that it is kind of perfect. If you haven't seen it, or need a refresher, here it is. Okay so the harmonica opening was a little forced, but just hear me out.

First, let's squash the idea that a Tiffany's spot at the Super Bowl doesn't really make a lot of sense. Tiffany & Co. has designed and crafted the Vince Lombardi Trophy (given to the winning team) since the inception of the game itself. So, yeah. Also, they haven't aired a TV commercial in 20 years, so doing it on the biggest ad day of the year? Bold. Bold and badass. They're not fuckin around.

Next, choosing Lady Gaga as the new face of their Legendary Style campaign is absolutely brilliant. She wore a dress made out of meat for Christ's sake! If that's not legendary style, then I have no idea what is. Combine with that the fact that Tiffany & Co. is an avid supporter (albeit quiet supporter) or marriage equality, (Don't believe me? Here you go.) having Lady Gaga, the woman who openly and proudly sang Trans-positive lyrics to a national audience, is a huge statement for the brand and will only further their equality agenda. Smart.

Now, the script. Let us address the arrogance of the script. Aside from the fact that if this were a guy, say Mick Jagger talking about his thoughts on creativity and his process, it would feel raw and honest, but since it's a woman speaking it's seen as pretentious and arrogant. I could talk about that angle for years. So aside from that: The script is in fact not a script at all. It's a beautifully edited thought stream straight from the Gaga.

It's pretentious to talk about how creative you are. I don't feel that way at all, I think it's empowering and important. And I'm coming for you.

Yas. Yas Kween. It's important to be bold, to be powerful, to be unapologetic about our creativity, our talent, our drive, our rebellion. Not only as women, but as people. It's important to feel that we are valuable, that we can talk about our assets without being seen as arrogant. It's important to be bold and brave and relentless. Especially now. And Tiffany is making this statement beautifully. Not only with Gaga's words, but the execution of the spot and the jewelry itself.

What Tiffany & Co. did was inject the resistance, the rebellion, the bold youth, back into their brand. They were always something more, something special, something luxurious. But now, more than ever, it feels that they have a more acute purpose. They stand for something. Which is all I ever want from a brand.

Peace, Love & Breakfast (at Tiffany's. Get it? eh? Whatever...)

 

 

 

 

True Life: I Was a Copywriting Intern

Happy belated New Year, party people! In the spirit of reflecting, recapping and re-anything honestly, because it's January and all I can think of is change, I'd like to share the teeny, tiny bits of wisdom I acquired working at a real, live creative agency. But first, there are a few things you need to know about said agency:

  • Blue Sky is an itsy-bitsy boutique agency in Atlanta specializing in regional work.
  • I worked as a copywriting intern for 8 months.
  • I never once had to get coffee. Though I did bring coffee from the kitchen to one of the account ladies once, cause I was getting myself some.

Now here's the good stuff:

agency life is way easier than school

At The Creative Circus, we're basically living in an idea incubator. It can get really hot, uncomfortable and sometimes sticky. There's a lot of pressure on us freaks to constantly churn out new ideas. Not only new ideas, but never-before-seen, un-student-y, fully formed, book-worthy campaigns. In an agency, a lot of the hard work is done for you. For the most part, your job (especially as an intern or junior) is to come in on a client they already own and continue working on a campaign they've already sold. Literally your only requirement is to not totally screw it up. Look at the work that's come before you, and make more of it. Kind of like that assignment in English class where you had to write a poem in the style of someone else, (I always chose Sylvia Plath, but that's irrelevant) it requires little to no creative ingenuity. Which brings me to my next point...

agency life is way harder than school

Working day in and day out on the same 4 clients can be exhausting. It can feel suffocating, monotonous, and just plain boring. It can interfere with other creative projects you're working on because it takes a lot of energy. It is not, I repeat, not, as glamorous as all our circus teachers would have us believe. But...

money is awesome

I mean, do I need to explain that? Getting a paycheck, even a small, intern-sized paycheck, is totally worth it. It allows you to stress less about how you're going to pay rent and focus your energy on that novel you're working on, or planning that trip to Iceland. But it's not just money that keeps you coming back everyday. It's the thrill of the elusive new client, because in any agency...

you live for the pitch

Amidst the daily grind, there is always something to look forward to, the inevitable new client pitch. I was fortunate enough to be included on a few new client briefs, and that, my friends, is when the big dogs come out to play. It was a beautiful thing to watch my fellow creatives, the ones who only the day before had been helping me make the latest Christmas HoneyBaked Ham email not suck, come alive. Even more beautiful was sharing my own ideas and being included as an equal. I was part of something bigger than the cogs in the agency machine. I was part of a reinvention, a discovery. Not gonna lie, it's a rush. And the best part of it is sharing it with your co-workers. It's a bonding experience, which is very important, especially in a small shop. After all...

agency is family

You succeed together and you fail together. You get lunch together and you get accidentally drunk at happy hour together. Through the ups and downs, the monotony and the new pitch madness, your agency peeps are your everything. Be nice to them, get to know them, try to like them. It really helps if you can do all three, but two will work. And I'm not just talking about fellow creatives here. Contrary to popular belief...

account people are not idiots

Yes, they can be infuriating because they have to speak for the client, but ultimately, if they are doing their job well, they are looking to produce work that is both creatively stimulating and client approved. Who cares if your work is groundbreaking if the client ain't gonna buy it? Maybe I was #blessed to have amazing women to work with on the account team, and maybe in some agencies the account folks are stupid, but I think they are just smart in a different way. As long as there is a mutual respect between account and creative, you will do great work. Until the client gets involved and ruins everything. Let's be real, you can...

always blame the client

The client is a good scapegoat because you don't have to see them everyday, they'll 99.9% of the time never hear what you say about them and a common enemy brings people together. To be clear, you shouldn't make it a habit to shit talk about anyone, but if you're up against a crazy deadline, its much better to vent about an ambiguous entity than the lovely account manager sitting directly below you. Especially when the second floor is a loft.

Well there you have it, folks. For those students wondering if you should get an internship, I say "ya! go for it!" For those of you who don't really want an internship I say "focus on school, smart move!" It's really a personal choice. For me, I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity kinda fall into my lap and I'm really glad it did. Invaluable experience that I am super-duper grateful for.

Peace, Love & Client-blaming

 

 

 

That's a Wrap

2016 has indeed been a strange year. We've all changed in ways we never thought we would. I've always been an opinionated feminist, but I went dark there for a while. So dark in fact that I stopped writing. Just sealed it up like it was some kind of limited resource; a BREAK PEN CAP IN CASE OF EMERGENCY kinda thing.

Well that's enough of that.

In keeping with the holiday tradition of reminiscing and inadvertently purging everything from the pervious year, I took mental inventory. And it was way better than Facebook's dismal display. I definitely did more than like things and take selfies. Not much more, but still. I learned things. Things about me, about the world, about life. And even though you didn't ask me to, I'm going to share them with you now:

  1. Long Distance Relationships Suck Balls. But if it's the right person, then it's totally worth it. I could write 1,000 words on this subject alone, but I think that sums it up pretty nicely. Maybe later.
  2. Good Bosses are like Good Parents. They don't coddle you or sugar coat anything. They're always around when you need them. They only want you to succeed and they take pleasure in helping you grow as a person. They genuinely care about your wellbeing. Blue Sky Agency is full of good bosses and I am beyond grateful for my experience there this year.
  3. Real Friends Never Falter. Friendships change and grow and multiply and dimmish with hardly any warning at all. But the real ones, the strong ones, the ones with roots, well those surpass all obstacles. They blossom without light, they stay green through the winter, they still call you and text you even if you haven't seen them in years. It's hard to remember that sometimes, especially as we get older. The needless and frivolous fall away, and you feel like you're loosing people. But the real ones, the good ones, they linger. And though they may be few, they are mighty.
  4. I am not an extrovert. Joke's on you! I like being alone way more than I, or anyone else, realized. Sure, I love telling stories at parties and being on stage, but small talk with strangers? Making friends with anyone I meet? Large parties where I don't know anyone? Please, spare me. I can turn it on if I have to, but most often I would rather be curled up, alone, writing, reading or binging Netflix. Really had everyone going there for a while though, huh? I guess my "Most Days I Wish I Was a Cat" mug is more accurate than I thought.
  5. We Are Always in Transition. I keep waiting for the day when the earth will feel solid and still under my feet and I am beginning to realize... it's never gonna happen. That's the beauty of being human though, we are always in motion. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Okay, maybe not always physically, but you get the idea. Maybe it's not so much about finding a static position as it is about embracing the momentum.
  6. Never Talk Politics Drunk. Just don't do it. It's not a good idea. In fact, it's a very, very bad idea. You are never as articulate as you think you are.

So ya, only 6 things. But hey, it was only one year.

Peace, Love and 2017.

 

don't sponsor me. promote me.

Perusing the 3% Conference Blog, as I am wont to do, I read this:

Find one shining, talented woman. Put her on a pedestal. Be there to help her knock down the obstacles that will undoubtedly arise. Perhaps more accurately, help her dismantle the ones that have always been there. Be her sponsor.

It was written by manbassador Trent Thompson, Group Creative Director at Cossette Toronto in a guest post titled "You in or What?" which is definitely worth a read.

Before we all get our panties in a bunch, I need to address a couple things:

First: I know his intentions are good, I am not out to villainize, he's probably a lovely guy Second: Good for him for getting involved with the 3% conference, we need manbassadors

Now, it's time to get gritty. For the most part, it's the word sponsor that just makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Female creatives are not malnourished Ethiopian toddlers. We do not need your charity. We are capable, we are intelligent, and while I agree that we need the support of men in the industry to gain visibility, we do not need to be put on a fucking pedestal like some sort of human prize that you found on a Twilight Zone treasure hunt and are now proudly showing off to your buddies in some weird "no, support women more" pissing contest.

We are badass forces of nature that demand your attention

What we actually need is to be respected in the workplace. We need to be listened to, we need to be allowed to present, we need to be in on important briefs and client meetings, we need to have a healthy work-life balance that allows us to have children (or not) without sacrificing job opportunities. We need men, especially in positions of power, to set a positive example and squash sexist thinking and behavior (in creatives and clients) before it is allowed to become detrimental to the creative process. We need a space where we are allowed to try and fail or succeed in whatever pattern necessary because we are treated as equals. Our failure should not be sugar coated because we are women nor should our successes be magnified. We should earn our place just like any other creative. And if we are totally killin it, we shouldn't get a sponsorship we should get a fucking promotion or at the very least, a raise.

I can only assume that this is what Thompson was trying to say. I don't know the guy, but he seems aiight. It's just this language. The language of male privilege, even with the best intentions. So before y'all go sponsoring creative women like they're in AA, maybe we should focus on the culture of the industry as a whole. Let's create an agency environment in which women are allowed to succeed on their own because they are seen as fierce contenders and valued as crucial assets, not because they are damsels in need of a swift rescuing.

Peace, Love & More Money PLZ

 

Kate Mckinnon. Kate Mckinnon. Kate Mckinnon.

I've taken the liberty of listing the top 5 reasons Kate Mckinnon is the best thing to happen to women in comedy since Carol Burnett. And no, I don't mean Matt Damon's character on 30 Rock.

  1. She is openly gay. No, I'm not saying you have to be gay to be funny as a woman. In fact, her gayness doesn't define her comedy at all. It's what being open about her sexuality means about her as a person that allows her to be the comedian she is. Her confidence and willingness to put it all on the line, no matter what people think, makes her a force to be reckoned with.
  2. She does't apologize. Her comedy is blatant and straightforward. Her unique characters are not meek, gentle or dumb. They say what they mean and do whatever the fuck they want. And it's not under the guise of "being one of the boys" either. She's just a badass.
  3. She doesn't capitalize on her femininity. She doesn't make fun of her body, or any other woman's body. She doesn't "get away with jokes" because she's cute and small and feminine. She gets away with jokes because she is actually hilarious and doesn't mask her intelligence or humor with sex. Her characters don't find themselves in sticky situations because of their female blunders. And they don't need rescuing, they rescue themselves.
  4. She doesn't make rape jokes. Because a) they're not funny, b) they're not funny, and c) she has enough self-respect and respect for women to know that even when they come out of a woman's mouth, jokes about rape and sexual assault are never funny. (Lookin' at you Amy Schumer. Cut it out.)
  5. Her face. Next time you watch her, really look at her face. Even when she's not speaking. The amount of facial expressions this woman has is unreal. Delivering lines with impeccable comedic timing is one thing, but this woman can crack me up without a single word.

So yeah, I think she's pretty great. And if you're reading this, Kate, maybe we could like... hang out some time? I'm like really cool so... Alright well, have your people call my people.

Kate-McKinnon-as-Jillian-Holtzmann-in-Ghostbusters-kate-mckinnon-39375610-200-200

Happiness is boring.

Growing up the eldest daughter of a novelist stuck in a Creative Director's body, I learned about cynicism at a very young age. To my father's credit, I also spent many nights watching Hitchcock and Wes Anderson films (a surprisingly delightful combination) and as many of my friends know, read Little Women twice before I even knew who Harry Potter was. The quintessential image of me as a child: I am about 7, reading a book (either Where The Wild Things Are or Oh, the Places You'll Go) sitting cross-legged on a tree stump in the middle of the woods. Oh, and I'm wearing a bright red batting helmet, because safety. I loved my childhood. Wouldn't change it for the world. But I wouldn't say it was happy. It was fun and weird and scary and devastating and vibrant, but happy? Nah. That's not a word I would use. And that's okay. I'm okay with that. I'm sure I had Kodak childhood moments, and I know I laughed a lot, and still do, but there was always something inside of me that held total happiness just out of reach. According to my father, that thing inside me was, and is, intelligence. No joke. I distinctly remember a conversation we had about the nature of happiness when I was about 12 or 13 (I read David Mamet plays at a very young age) and these were his fatherly words of wisdom:

"Casey, you're too smart to be happy."

And he was right. Look at the brilliant writers throughout history, they were all sad, suicidal bastards. Hemingway? Shotgun to the face. Plath? Head in the oven.Woolf? Pocket full of rocks in the river. David Foster Wallace, Hunter S. Thompson, Anne Sexton; Hanged, shot, left the car running. What can I say? Literature loves a tragic hero.

Now, that's not to say the only way to be a brilliant writer is to be suicidal, that's just crazy talk. But I do believe that your level of intelligence and your level of happiness are inversely correlated. To quote South Park: "Simpsons did it."

Yus0zHlZRp6rcw03UIRB6REvo1_400.jpg

Thanks, Lisa.

My creative process has always been about finding that sweet spot. The perfect blend of intelligence and happiness that allows me to create something meaningful. If I try to create when I am too anxious or feeling depressed, my product is garbage, if I can even muster the energy to produce anything at all. Likewise, if I am feeling too excited of joyful. No one wants to read poems about unicorns and glitter and true love. Unless it's a Lisa Frank graphic novel.

As intelligent creative people, we must find our own kind of happiness. We must accept that we are never going to be satisfied and learn to love our neurotic, anxious, deeply emotional, constantly questioning, existential, borderline personality disorder selves. It may not be happiness, but it's happyishness. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather be happyish and deeply creative, than happy and well, boring.

Peace, love & Happyishness

 

Creative Paralysis: Releasing the Beast

Not to be confused with Creative Constipation, Creative Paralysis is the condition in which a creative person has so much to say, they simply freeze up. Closed for business. Too many little ideas are ideating around in the noggin and it gets clogged. They start over compensating, trying to get it all out at once, and end up sounding like the Swedish Chef. All energy, no substance. giphy

Articulation of ideas is just as important as the ideas themselves. When you're creatively paralyzed, it's the hardest thing to do. So much to say and not enough words to say it. Too many different ideas that don't match with each other and you know it is going to be a hot mess when it all comes pouring out. I guess what I'm saying is, release. Release early and release often.

This is starting to sound like a masturbation metaphor. "Ya gotta cum regularly, or you'll get all backed up!" I think I heard that somewhere once. But I'm a lady, and I don't think it works that way for us. To be fair, I don't think it works that way for guys either, it's just a way for them to not feel guilty about touching themselves since there's this backwards sexual stigma in America. It's everywhere, but "shhhhhh! we don't talk about that!"

Anyway, release. What I am doing right now as you read this. You're welcome.

Grow up. I mean writing and you know it. Plus, how would I even know when you're reading this to time my - it doesn't matter. Moving on.

As you may or may not have noticed through this blog, (unless this is your first time, then please read chronologically. I'll wait.) I have a lot of feelings and opinions. And I think I'm pretty intelligent and occasionally funny, so I like to share those feelings and opinions via the written word in hopes that people will be entertained. Are you? Do you love it? Do you love me? Love me. Love me!

The problem is, as of late, so much crazy shit has been happening that I just don't know where to start. Every time I sat down to write about something, it would spiral out of control and make zero sense, like I was speaking gibberish. Now you understand the Swedish Chef simile? Full circle, baby. Full circle.

So what I'm gonna do now is let it all out systematically. If you don't care about my thoughts/opinions/feelings/love of cats, you may stop reading now. (Cats are not a part of this, just wanted to mention how much I love them.)

1. Prince I know it's been a while, but I'm still not over it. It's not that I think his death is any more important than any other death that has ever happened, it's just that his absence from the planet matters more in our social climate. Never before has there been such a strong, talented, independent, sexy AF, ambiguous AF, creative, transcendent, loved, beautiful, giving, open, black man on this planet. And maybe there never will be again. All we can do is revel in the fact that we were alive in the time of Prince. What a small section of history in the expanse of the world and we got to share it with him. If anyone wants to start Princeology with me, I'm open to it.

2. Trump Fucking just stop. Just stop it. There is no way this is real. South Park couldn't write a better story. I'm just waiting for the day he gets elected (because as much as we say it'll never happen, we said he wouldn't get the nomination either so...), stands up at the inauguration, and one of two things happens: He unzips his human suit to show he is, in fact, the Lizard King and we are now his humble servants or Ashton Kutcher in attempt to salvage his waning career jumps out and tells us all we've been Punk'd. Because please. I can't even talk about the issues because the biggest issue is who he fucking is as a person. So let's just all cut it out, okay? I mean, I guess he would be the first blond & tan president but you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

3. The Creative Circus Because this blog is about my journey through portfolio school, I feel I should speak to the school and what my experience has been like. Amazing and fantastic.

4. Guns All this violence and hate in the world and especially the gun violence in America is fucked up. Bottom line. I don't care what you believe or where you come from it is never okay to kill another human being. Never. Not once. Not ever. Their life is not yours to take. It's just not. Present to me all the hypothetical situations you want I will always respond the same way: No, I would not kill Hitler if I could go back in time, No, I would not kill a man who was going to murder my family, No, I would not kill my mother so 1,000 people could live. Not that I think Hitler was cool or I don't love my family, or I want 1,000 people to die, but taking someone's life is wrong. End of story. So yes, gun control. Ammunition control. Ban hand guns and assault weapons, lets do all of those things. But even if we do all of that we still need to learn to live together in harmony which brings me to my last point, and it's a doozy...

5. Equality and Social Media It's not about agreeing with everyone. It's not about having the same ideas or experiences. It's about treating everyone everyone like a human being. I'm not religious, but that Jesus dude was on to something with the Golden Rule. Allow people their opinions because you want to be allowed yours. Allow people to speak their mind because you want to speak yours. Allow people to practice whatever religion they chose because you want to be able to practice yours. You see where I'm going with this?

Equality in humanity does not mean that everyone is the same. Equality means that everyone is different and that's okay. In fact, it's great. It makes our lives more interesting. It allows us to have unique experiences all over the world and discuss them and learn from each other. It allows perspectives to be broadened and hearts to be opened. All we have to do is listen to each other. Which includes social media, people. When terrible, awful, heartbreaking things happen in the world (most recently Orlando) it is not our job to jump on social media and tell other people how to feel. All we can do is express our thoughts, but we cannot speak for others.

What I mean is this: After any tragic or iconic, or sometimes both, event happened, I would see posts on FB and Twitter claiming "you don't understand [insert event here] if you are a [insert race, gender, sexual orientation here]" How do you know? No, really. How do you know that there isn't someone else out there that understands what you are feeling even though their experiences aren't the same as yours? I was especially put off when those events were Beyonce's Lemonade or Orlando, and the race/gender/sexual orientation was "white person" or "cisgender straight person," of which I am both.

Um... first of all, isn't much of Lemonade about Beyonce's struggle with Jay-Z's infidelity and finding her identity/place in American society as a black woman? I think I get that. Okay, not the black part, but for sure the woman part and definitely the relationship aspect. And as far as being a cisgender straight woman, all of that is bullshit anyway. Gender and sexuality are fluid. People are people. Just because I happen to like my lady parts and, for the most part, am attracted to men does not mean I don't have the capacity to understand what it means when a group of individuals are senselessly murdered because they love a certain way or present themselves a certain way. I am an intelligent, educated, cultured, opinionated, informed woman. Please do not tell me where my capacity for empathy begins and ends.

On a larger note, when you belong to a minority group, and you are preaching a platform of equality, isn't it a little backwards to straight up tell people they cannot be a part of the movement? Don't we (I say we because I am a woman, and do believe that is still a minority group and if you want to fight me about it I will verbally assault the shit out of you) actually need the empathy of the majority? Doesn't our advancement in society rest solely on the hope that the rich white men of America will see our plight and say, "wait a minute, that's not okay, let's do something about it?" Not in a patronizing way, but more of a "I have power to change something and I will use it for good" way. The fact that we even need anyone else to help us gain equality in the first place is disgusting, but that's exactly what we are working to correct. It's not just going to change over night. We have to be willing to put in the work and make sacrifices for future generations.

Think about it this way, if you had an amazing idea that would make the world a better place but no money to create it, you'd need an investor, correct? Sure, the investor might take all the credit and your name would get lost until years later when liberal colleges would create whole curriculums about you, but your idea would become real and ultimately make the world a better place. Greater good, people. Greater good. I don't know if I'm sounding insensitive or sheltered or especially white right now but basically what I'm trying to say is this: We can't shut those out that might be willing to help us even if they are from the group of people that is oppressing us. We must be open to empathetic support because the human capacity for empathy is the key to true equality.

Wow. Went into an opinion blackout for a moment there. I'm sure I didn't express anything quite the way I wanted to, but it's out there now. Do with it what you will.

Peace, Love & Love peace

Instagram Killed the Radio Star

Before Facebook and Vine and SnapChat and Instagram, before Periscope and YouTube and the iPhone, it was the 90's. If you wanted to make a video, you had to borrow Dad's camcorder, which probably still recorded on VHS. If you wanted to publish an article or short story, you had to send it away to actual magazines, or worse, submit it to the school paper. Before this goes any further, this is not what it looks like. This is not a millennial's self-hating rant on technology. I love my Instagram as much as the next girl. My issue is with what technology is doing to creativity. "You're so creative" has become equal to "dude, you're a genius." There is no value in it. It means nothing. Why?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmSO2cz2ozQ]

Because when everyone's creative. No one is.

I'm not trying to go all "Hero's Journey" on everyone here. We're creatives, we're not saving lives, but this new technology, the rise of social media and exhibitionism has made it so everyone has a platform to publish their work. Everyone. Celebrity Bloggers are called writers, Instagram stars are called photographers, the Kardashians are called Talented. (Okay I made that last one up, but you get the idea.) Anyone who has an idea is allowed to create it, to put labels on themselves and others, to adjust and filter and auto-tune the world around them and is that not creativity which in turn stifles creativity? To make something mediocre in a way and on a platform that forces people to praise you for it just because you were brave enough to "put it out there" it's just-

Okay, this is starting to sound a bit ranterrific, even for me. So let me just say this: This influx of so-called creativity, this generation of DIY filmmakers and Pintrest Decorators, has produced a wide and endless sea of, I'll say it, creativity. This is essentially a good thing. Self-expression and whatnot. The problem becomes finding your way through the chaos without drowning. When everyone is screaming "Look how creative I am!" sometimes it's best to remain silent. Maybe the best way to get noticed as a creative is to be well, not. Take up work at a sawmill. Learn to be a butcher. Make your own candles (but only for functional purposes).

Then again, we could also just try to be more honest with each other. Just because someone posts a sunset on Instagram doesn't mean we have to praise their point and click skills. And just because someone writes a few words on a blog doesn't mean we have to tell her she's skilled in prose. But I mean... you could? Just like, if you really meant it.

Peace, Love & the Rise of Mediocrity. <- Okay, that was self-hating millennial speak.

Don't Live and Breathe Advertising

I once overheard (yes, I've been known to eavesdrop) that the greatest creatives in the industry are the ones that live and breathe advertising. They are all advertising. All the time. And their friends probably want to murder them in their sleep. I don't know about you, but the idea of being about nothing but advertising makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

Gasp!

"But how can you say that as a copywriting infant hoping to make her mark on the world through the very industry she is shunning?" I ask myself.

Good question, self.

First of all, I am not shunning the industry. I am beyond thrilled to be starting my career in such a vast industry that is on the verge of groundbreaking change and development. I am stoked to be able to think creatively to solve real world problems, challenge social norms, and break down stereotypes. Advertising is one of many outlets for me to release my tenacious energy. But if I stopped there? If I only focused on landing a hilarious Super Bowl spot, or making a montage-tear-jerker better than that P&G Olympics one? I would be so concentrated on the end result, I would forget the purpose all together. My messages would lack any vibrance. They would be forgettable, and I would fail.

Living and breathing advertising is not the problem.

The problem is thinking that's enough.

We must live and breathe creativity in all it's forms. We must make art: movement, sculpture, melodies, brush strokes, prose. We must venture to articulate our philosophies in as many different ways as possible. It is only through our richness of endeavor and experience that we will find the insights that make great advertising.

In my opinion, anyway.

 

Let's Talk About Old Navy

More specifically, Chandelier Creative, who has quite successfully rebranded the affordable apparel giant over the last few years. Finally nailing the voice they have been trying to create for years. #SorryNotSorry Crispin, the SuperModelquins pale in comparison. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but it struck me today. Why has The Circus not been a-buzz with Chandelier praise? In their latest Facebook promo for BOGO tees and tanks, Actor/Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (among notable others, Cecily Strong, Jay Pharoah, and Nasim Pedrad) answers the question, "What do I look for in a T-Shirt?"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4lJ5dRE6p8?list=PLh3LFxf8c47oI7sOc3OgM3qA0nQfy7N2i]

Gold.

Granted, a lot of the glory of this campaign is due to terrific casting. But isn't that the point? Chandelier Creative had the insight to cast the right people and the bravery to let them run wild with their precious idea. Poking fun at the "rebel without a cause" image of brands like Levi's in a way that says, "Dude, it's just a T shirt, you're not changing the world." Spot on. Old Navy is a bargain brand. They are "fashionable enough," so why make it more than it is? Chandelier is addressing the tensions of the company in a way that is relatable and refreshing.

I could gush for days about how much I love this campaign. But honestly, I gotta run. Tees and Tanks are BOGO at Old Navy. (send my endorsement check to P.O. Box 45627, thanks.)

 

Unbreakable.

Females are strong as hell. Truer words have never been spoken.We bleed for 5 days in a row and don't die. We push small humans out of our bodies, sometimes more than once. We wear heels.

giphy

But Kimmy isn't the only survivor. Titus escaped Mississippi. Jacqueline, a loveless marriage and the oppressive pressures of having to "keep up appearances." I know, it feels like a stretch, but everyone has their own unique struggle and every unique struggle is valid in its own way.

Sure, a bunker may seem like a real tangible prison, but being a gay black man in a southern town, or a "poor" divorcé in a world of wealthy couples is its own kind of hell, each with its own set of challenges. What unites them all, is their coping mechanism: present to the world the face you want them to see and save the tears for the dark. Which is what women have been doing for ages anyway, right?

Every woman on this planet is part Kimmy, part Titus and part Jacqueline. All at once. Every. Damn. Day.

We are Kimmy when we put other's needs before our own. When we find joy in the mundane. When we accept everyone as they are and love them for it. When we laugh because if we don't, we'll cry. When we struggle between being nice and being a doormat.

We are Titus when we follow our dreams. When we say "fuck Broadway" and make our own musicals. When we say yes to a love that might tear us apart. When we are scared because life is amazing and we are just waiting for everything to fall to pieces like it always does.

We are Jacqueline when we try to fit in. When we do everything in our power to get ahead and put our needs before anyone else's. When we fall victim to cruelty and depend too much on other's validation. When we are lonely. When try desperately to stop caring what everyone thinks but find it near impossible. When we are insecure and terrified and not sure where we belong.

Those parts fight with each other inside of us. We are always caring but selfish. Kind but cruel. Lonely but in love. There's a war zone inside all of us all the time. And we need all of those parts to survive. Kimmy to keep us positive. Titus to keep us dreaming. And Jaqueline to keep us from getting walked all over.

And sometimes, as much as we try to avoid it, we are all Mimi Kanasis and we just hide in a closet and wait for the storm to pass.

Peace, love and survival.

Megyn Kelly is the Worst.

If you didn't see Megyn Kelly's interview with Stephen Colbert, here's an article. Read it. Now that you're up to speed, here's how I feel about it:

If you think you can be a strong female and place yourself on an equal playing field with men without using the term feminism and attacking the stereotypes head on, you are kidding yourself.

"Well, I don’t like that word: feminist, I think it’s alienating ... The best answer and the best way forward to young women out there who want to get ahead is work your tail off. Work harder than everybody. Be better than everybody else. Do better. Try harder." - Megyn Kelly.

Oh she makes it sound so easy, doesn't she? What planet does she live on and how can I become a resident?

What Kelly fails to address is that working harder means so much more when you are a woman. Men are competing with men. End of story. Women are competing with women, and men, who are already seen as more qualified just by virtue of having untidy, protruding, in-your-face genitalia. (Penises are gross, we all know it, lets just keep it real, aight?) Why do you think there are rules in co-ed rec leagues about how many women have to be on the field? How many women have to touch the ball for a TD to count? Because men don't see women as a viable threat to their game of life.

Kelly clearly doesn't understand that the word feminism should be alienating. It should threaten the status quo, it should shock the system, and it should be a slap in the face to anyone who doesn't think vaginas deserve equal playing time. That's the fucking point of the movement.

She goes on to say the word "connotes a harshness and almost a shrillness that I find unattractive." I'm sorry... what? Unattractive? Political movements are not pretty. Shrillness? Standing up for what you believe in, speaking your mind, taking on the system and abolishing antiquated gender roles is not a high-pitched squeal. It is a ferocious roar. Deep and visceral. Meant to shake the earth.

So, Ms. Kelly, to say that you can just keep your head down and do the best work you can do, and not use the word 'feminist' because it's alienating, is to say that every woman is on her own in this world. It might work for you, but what are you doing for the rest of womankind? You've got a microphone and a captive audience and you're really going to tell me to just buckle down and be the best I can be? To just tell myself "well, this is the way the world is so I better make the most of it." To tell myself that if I didn't get the promotion, or the credit for the work I did, or pay equal to my worth, that I just need to be better? With all due respect, Ms. Kelly, Fuck. That.

To strip, or not to strip. That is (rarely) the question.

As second quarter commences at The Creative Circus I am reflecting on the lovely break I had with my family back home in Chicago. Specifically the heated debate we had over Christmas dinner about stripping. Yes. My family is that family.

The discussion argument we had was sparked by an offhand comment I made about living in Atlanta, "there are, like, a lot of strip clubs." What? There are. I'm not offended by this, I just find it funny. Funny strange, not funny haha. Mostly in the way that they are not designated to a specific area but mixed in with all the other taco joints, bike shops, portfolio schools, burger bars, and adult gift stores. Okay, I guess that last one makes sense.

The opinion breakdown went like this:

Dad: Mostly listened, made a few comments, against stripping as a career for his children, his opinion about stripping in general is still unclear. Though he is cool with the burlesque option. Cause you know, it's classy.

Stepmom & Sister: Anti-stripping. Don't think it's a respectable career, would not support anyone they know stripping, believe it is degrading and demeaning.

Brother: Would date a stripper if she agreed to stop stripping. (So, wouldn't date a stripper.)

Other Brother: Down with the cause. Wouldn't want his daughter to be a stripper, but if she came to him and told her that was the only thing that would make her happy he would support her. But he wouldn't go watch her perform because - gross.

Stepbrother: Also quiet, taking it all in. I do know he also wouldn't watch his daughter strip.

Now, all of these points are valid. To some extent, the stripping industry does reaffirm some of the horribly misogynistic behavior that men in America (and the rest of the world) are wont to display. But, doesn't the affirmation of men's behavior say more about the clientele than the stripper? There's talk of the exploitation of strippers because they are "owned" buy the club owners, who are mostly men, and used by the clientele who are also mostly men. But a) unlike prostitution they can (for the most part) leave whenever they want and b) a stripper is never made (for the most part) to do anything she doesn't want to do. Ever hear about the "no touching" rule? Also who is really exploiting who? Strippers are using their bodies to extract the baser instincts in men to get them to open their wallets. Yeah yeah, the club owners are getting rich while the strippers are making much less, but you can say that about any industry. I know, I know, "but those people aren't taking off their clothes to make money!" You forget, of course, all the models, or actresses, or Selena-Gomez-on-her-new-album-covers of the world who also get paid to take their clothes off. Sure, it's "art." But lets be real, sex sells. We all know and accept this. At least strippers are honest about it. Cause really, pretend you're an actress who takes her top of in a movie. You think men aren't thinking about you while they whack it because they are more focused on your art? Bitch, please.

Okay, that was a bit of a rant. All I'm saying is that making broad sweeping statements, nay, judgements, about an industry that you know nothing about isn't right. Especially when those statements are about an individual's personal choice or character. For the negative or positive. It's not cool to say that all strippers are empowered women because some of them aren't. Nor is it cool to say that all strippers are victims because some of them aren't. Of course there are women forced into the industry because of a lack of options, but I've listened to enough Savage Love Cast to know that there are strippers and sex workers who really enjoy their work. They don't identify themselves solely by their career (yes, it's a career). They feel they have self worth and they see past the negative attitudes surrounding the industry. They make good money and even though they may be judged about how that money is made, they have a comfortable life because of it. You know, like a lawyer.

Most of us have never even considered becoming a stripper (yes, a lot because of social stigma), and until you are completely aware, involved, engaged and submersed in the industry, you are not allowed to pass judgement. Period.

That's all I have to say about that.

Peace, love & panties.

August: Osage County

I know I'm late to the party so I will not give a synopsis. I will not beg you to see it. I will simply say: Meryl. Fucking. Streep. And the Oklahoma plains. And the heat. And tortured souls galore. And Benedict Cumberbatch. And Julia goddamned Roberts! Just... the most honest family movie maybe ever made. Though "This is Where I Leave You" is pretty spot on as well. Tracy Letts, good GOD man. To be a nerve in your brain... just watching everything connect to create raw genius. And now a poem.

November: Fulton County | August: Osage County

I want to live on the oklahoma plains Wide open and hot as hell A head full of holes.

Beat up jeans A soul made of dust.

I’ll get by.

Messy hair And an iron heart covered in dents and scratches Welded so recklessly Aint one single thing getting inside

But the most beautiful pair of cowboy boots

Sewn together All of us Don’t apologize for nothing

I’ll get by

Good, kind and decent.

Bubble gum tastes like cigarettes and Xanax And green bean casserole

When everything’s gone; Disappeared.

I’ll get by.

Fields full of lavender Stretched out for miles And no place to go.