WATCH OF THE WEEK
Woman is the latest to join Viceland, Vice Media’s new television channel of documentary-style shows. The show—a weekly look at violence and oppression against women around the world—is produced and hosted by feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem. Though an unlikely match at first glance, Steinem’s long history of anti-authoritarianism has viewers lauding the partnership. Covering topics from child marriage in Zambia to femicide in El Salvador to sexual attacks in the U.S. military, the show carries on Vice’s mission to cover the raw and important. And as Viceland’s most female-staffed program, Woman is bringing a strong female spirit to a brand that has long had a masculine orientation.
In an effort to offer their fans even more engaging experiences, media company Viacom has created the Viacom Lab. Working with brands like GIPHY, Airbnb, and Citia as well as creators-in-residence like acclaimed neuroscientist Beau Lotto, Flicker lab founders Harold Moss and Tom Vedel, and Indian artist Raghava KK, the lab already has put several initiatives in motion. For instance, they partnered with GIPHY to offer real-time GIF content from fan’s favorite hit shows. They also plan to bring fan’s favorite fictional worlds to life and utilize airbnb to offer them the chance to stay in them. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ lair is already available to rent on the platform and that’s only the beginning.
The premature nostalgia for the early 2000’s continues as MTV re-launches their once-staple show, MTV Cribs, except this time, on Snapchat. The show, which afforded us plebeians a glimpse into the lavish homes of our favorite celebs through a first person tour, fits perfectly with the intimacy and selfie perspective of Snapchat. The reboot is part of a larger tend of Snapchat series coming this year. The weekly “show” is set to premier in June and rumor has it Mac Miller, Austin Mahone and Travis Mills are among the first to welcome us into their cribs. We just hope that the phrase “this is where the magic happens,” continues to be an essential component of the show.
IN OUR CARTS
After a warm winter, it’s been unseasonably cold here in LA, which is why we’re loving Tibetan Socks. Hand-knit by Tibetan and Nepalese women in the Himalayas, these cozy wool socks also serve a social good by allowing the women who make them to work from home where they can be with their children while earning money. Plus, each pair of socks is able to do a whole host of good, by providing thing like school lunches to local children, food and lodging in a monastery school in Tibet in partnership with ROKPA International, books, medical necessities, and a safe house for victims of sexual trafficking in Kathmandu.
There has yet to be a company to get the group video-chat thing right, but we have high hopes for Airtime. The former website has relaunched as an app that lets users create a “room,” invite up to six others to join, and—thanks to integration with other apps like YouTube and Spotify—drop in text, videos, music, and photos to experience as a group in real time. As such, Airtime faces competition from other messaging and video-chat apps like Snapchat, Skype, and Google Hangouts, but stands out with a stronger emphasis on intimate group experiences. Also, thanks to the fact that a room to be monitored by as many as 250 people, Airtime is also bringing in elements from live-streaming apps like Periscope and Facebook Live.
Anyone who lives in a city knows that they are overrun with loneliness, anxiety, and stress. But a project called Urban Confessional is attempting to remedy this one person at a time. Urban Confessional volunteers stand in public places with signs that say “Free Listening” and then listen to whoever wants to talk, about whatever they want to talk about, while offering empathetic responses. Driven by the premise that people want and need to feel heard, the four-year-old Los Angeles project has now spread to Barcelona, Lima, New York, Peru, and Tokyo: a perfect example of our Close Encounters trend. Inspired? Anyone can become a volunteer by reading this basic guide on how to practice openness while out on the streets.