Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Very First Hipsters Part Deux

Here is part 2 of berlinhipsterfestival2012's blog post on the original hipsters.

As we saw in the first part of this blog post the very first group of people to be called ‘hipsters’ were from the 1940s. And often they were identified by (perhaps identified with, rather) with an affinity to the jazz and bebop greats of the time and their lifestyle. The term hipster, itself, came from the word hepcat, which in turn is arguably of African descent, inspired by the Wolof language of Senegal (West Africa being the origin of most slaves to cross “The Middle passage” into the Americas).

“In Wolof, the verb "hipi" means "to open one's eyes." The American slang cat means a person, as in hep-cat or cool cat, and is similar to the Wolof kai used as a suffix following the verb.”

In a sense these roots only further strengthen the claim of the likes of Norman Mailer accusing these hipsters of, effectively, selling their race out. Perhaps selling their race out is a bit too strong a sentiment. It is, after all, generally understood that when Bing Crosby was called the first hip white person born in America it was supposed to be a compliment showing how cool he is. And all this during a time when black people were officially considered inferior (segregation, anyone?) and openly denigrated.

The attraction to the black music and dance is not hard to imagine as today we have the example of hip-hop. It is simply another case of history repeating itself, as history is wont to do. It also doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to understand that the new philosophies of racial diversity, exploratory sexual nature and drug habits hailing from the 40s would lead to the next era of hipsterdom that I want to touch on: HIPPIES!
PS On a somewhat unrelated-yet-related note we now have the perfect nickname for my partner in crime over here at the berlinhipsterfestival2012: Cool Cat!! Tell me Cat have people yet used it as a nickname for you?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hipster after being cool?

I’ve got another joke!
Have you met the hipster-ice??

[I was water before it got cool]

Jokes apart, I’ve been thinking a lot about mainstream and cool things today… We all know hipsters are early adopters, some way too early. So early the group wasn’t even created or they happened to hear an album from then years before it was actually released but that is not my point today.

An important part of the Berlinhipsterfestival2012 will be the bands on top of the stage but as we still don’t have a date for the festival I was a little bit concern about the bands becoming super famous, and then what? Do we still want them in our hipster festival? Will the people attending to the festival cheer for them as much as they will cheer to first-time-on-stage ones?  I guess that the ice-cube joke and river one from the previous post made me wonder the taste of the hipsters… Do hipsters like (secretly) cool things? I mean, if you talk with them about X,Y or Z band, they will probably tell you: “Oh yes, I heard them before they were cool” but then what? Because you heard one of their songs on the radio you deleted from your iPod? Another question… Do hipsters listen to the radio at all? or only via podcast?

I’m sorry, I’m the one supposed to be answering questions and not puzzling you with more but today I’m quite “philosophical” so here is little story with a final question… A friend of mine is a great singer. She used to give shows (concerts are way too commercial) on a tiny bar with about 50 people as audience and used to burn her own cd’s. I loved her “first” songs and even shared them with my friends but one her destiny changed (or maybe just unfold in front of her) she had the opportunity of working with a very famous producer and their song became a number-one hit for many weeks. So know she is super famous. People love her and my teenager cousin and her friends go crazy about her as if she was Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. So the question is simple: By liking her before she was cool, I am her hipster-fan? And if I were a true hipster… am I aloud to still like her as she is now a very popular singer?

By the way, her name is Electric Nana and here is her MySpace with songs of her before-mainstream period.

The Hipster Basic and must accessory: The Oversized Glasses!

As I mentioned on the previous post, during the trip to Rumania I had the opportunity to spot out many hipster aspects all over the place. Bags, clubs and really nice bikes where the prove that the hipsters know no borders and while Abba wants to share some historical background about the hipster culture, I prefer to approach the topic on a more trivial and “shallow” way so if you expect to ready “serious” stuff, thanks for stopping by but this is not your post. BY THE WAY… I got a joke: -------Why do Hipsters hate rivers?

[They’re too mainstream]

Back to the glasses… while we were visiting the Peles Castle we took a tour to visit the interior. Actually if you want to see the castle from inside, the only way in is with the tour. So we were waiting for our guide when the perfect stereotype “tourist” approaches the group: guide in hand, backpack (not too big) in the back, nice camera hanging from the neck and while I was checking the typical kaki short (not very practical for Rumania’s weather at the time) my boyfriend whispers me… have you seen his glasses? He doesn’t have glasses! What an odd affirmation, how can you have glasses without glasses… well silly me, this was not a regular tourist I was looking at. It was a hipster dress-up as a tourist!

[How did you know that?]

He had an oversized plastic frame but no glass on it! I had never seen such an evolution on the most famous accessory of the hipster culture. I always thought that if you are making the effort of wearing “fake” glasses at least wear them as you should but of course… the no-glass part make it much ironic and therefore way more hipster ;)

[This is my sister trying to be a hipster, with Instagram and everything!]

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hipster are taking over!

Almost everyone knows that Berlin is the hipster capital of the world and probably that is the reason why we decided to have the hipster festival in the city. But watch out BerlinHipsterfestival2012 the hipster are growing and taking over other cities so maybe the venue for the 2013 edition might be somewhere else!

This week, in the States was Memorial Weekend and although in Berlin we don’t have many bank holidays we also had a long weekend. It is amazing taking into consideration that the previous Thursday was also off! Nevertheless, the excitement can’t last for too long if you keep in mind that is the last holiday one until October. So I had to take advantage of the opportunity and travel for a while.

I went to Bucharest with a layover in Vienna where I tried the very famous Sachertorte, a delicious combination of chocolate cake with apricot jam filling and chocolate coverture; HEAVEN!

 [I might not be a Hipster with Instagram but I know how to make nice pictures]

Once we arrived in Bucharest we took a stroll in the city center (beautiful) and to my surprised I soon noticed that the hipster had already been there! Not that I saw any graffiti such as “I the hipster was here” but I did spot out some obvious details from the hipster culture in the streets of the Romanian capital. Take a look and judge for yourself:

[Last trend for the hipster bags]

[Very cool hipster club]

[and of course, the hipster mode of transportation. The hipster-bike!]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Very First Hipsters

This is the first art of my two-part blog entry on the first hipsters

When reading about the word hipster I was struck with how old the term was. Considering that today’s version of the term is used to describe people who effectively try a little too hard to be ahead of their time it is surprising that the first “hipsters” hail from the 1940s! You know when Hitler was such a threat that no one would imagine such a thing as Hipster Hitler!

Back then the word hipster, or hepcat, was used to define lovers of jazz music and the wider lifestyle associated with bebop legends of the time. Ultimately it comes from the slang word ‘hip’, which means to be ‘in the know’ or ‘fashionably current’. In other words being hip is heavily tied to awareness, which happens to be one of my favorite words. One look at the dictionary and it is easy to see why. What is not to revere from having knowledge, being conscious, cognizant, informed, alert, knowledgeable and sophisticated?

The hipsters from the 40s were known to adopt slang and dress styles of the aforementioned jazz players. They also possessed a more open mind with regards to race and sexual attitudes, in particular towards interracial lovemaking and homosexuality. In fact so much was this identity tied to black culture that Norman Mailer released a pamphlet in 1957 called “The White Negro”.

Tune in tomorrow for part two of my blog post on the original hipsters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I see hipster people!

I think that most of us know (or have heard at least once) that we are exposed daily to thousands of advertisements and we only “see” a very small percentage of them, right? That is because we have selective attention. That means that our brain has the ability to isolate and pay attention only to the “impulses” or messages that it finds relevant.  

Whit this been said, I am very glad that Abba talked about the long weekend on our previous post because (as I already shared with you) I used to consider myself a very “ignorant” person on the hipster-issue. I used to think that I didn’t have any hipster friends and that I wasn’t surrounded by any. Well, surprise! the minute we started this blog my mindset changed and my brain has decided to start scanning every single aspect of my life looking for hipster references.

Now, I have a growing theory that our boss is a lite-version of a hipster and on Saturday on our way to the club I magically realized the amount of hipsters that live in this city! They are everywhere and of every kind! Not to mention that inside of the club I felt so “alone” I was like a penguin on a beach party. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time but I felt so strange being - literally - surrounded.

Since the blog started I have been doing some (not much) research about the hipster culture, how they dress; what kind of music they like and of course how a true hipster festival should be in order to make the berlinhipsterfestival2012 a reality. So Saturday, while dancing in the club and feeling so “not normal” I was able to spot a couple of genuine hipster stereotypes and couldn’t help but thinking how would I be if I was “one of them”. Promise to write those thoughts down in the next entry ;)

In the meanwhile, keep the festival spirit alive and if you are in Berlin enjoy the beautiful weather!!! For the “anti-hipster” ones, here is a great blog you should def. check out: http://antiberlinhipsterfestival2012.tumblr.com/

They dont know it, but they are true hipsters as they follow the Hipster Rule #2:

 [Hipster Rule #2: Only like things ironically]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And We're Back!

Dear rabies and mentalmen.

As some of you may have noticed we took a week's hiatus. Part of the reason was that we were simply enjoying all Berlin had to offer now that summer is in the air and that festival vibe has descended upon us as we approach the half way point of 2012. We also had a public holiday which facilitated this break somewhat giving us ample time to observe Berlin hipsters up close as we conceptualize a festival to see out 2012 (because as most of you know the world is going to be over in a few months :p)!

On a more serious note we also had some qualms with Google as it appeared they were not indexing our blog and several friends had issues searching us. But now that we are officially, unofficially, categorically, metaphorically, physically, and metaphysically back in business i'd like to take the time to announce that we are working on bringing you an interview of the Hipster Death Squad. They make really great music and if you don't believe me you can check them out on:


Twitter: @HpstrDthSqd

And also don't forget that you can follow us on twitter too @berlinhipster12 as well as on www.facebook.com/2012berlinhipsterfestival

If you also have any questions that you would like me to ask Hipster Death Squad don't hesitate to contact me whichever way you see fit! Also i'd like to know which are your favorite songs. Other than that thank you for your patience and to reiterate: The berlinhipsterfestival2012 is back in business!!

Peace out