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!]