Sunday, March 22, 2009

My friends, Part 2

A few months ago, it seemed as though my friends were making headlines right and left for their mad style. Nowadays, it's their professional accomplishments that are making an impact on our fair city. I've been particularly grateful for my friends lately, as I've been going through some difficult personal stuff (hence the dearth of articles), and I thought now was a good time to share the love.

Some shoutouts:


Andrew Phelps moved here last year to work for WBUR, our local NPR affiliate. An accomplished journalist from San Diego (and a very funny guy), he has taken on the immense responsibility of re-inventing the station's Web site and bringing it into the new millenium.

His colleague, Ken George (@kengeorge), is the one behind Public Radio Kitchen, which has been making a stir in the Boston food writing world. I am hoping Andrew's other projects will continue to build upon this admirable move toward building and maintaining a community of WBUR readers and listeners around a common interest.

Based on the work he's done for his own snazzy website, I'm expecting big things. Because what he really needs right now is more pressure. If you'd like to give Andrew some feedback on what you'd like to see on the new WBUR site, you can send him a tweet at @andrewphelps.

Christine Liu, my dear friend and the new editor of Boston Citysearch, has been toiling away to make sure that the local site is updated with the most recent restaurant and boutique openings, that their high-profile relaunch (recently covered in the New York Times) continues to go swimmingly, and that Citysearch's new hipster spinoff "lookbooks" (Mopshots, LuckyToes, and Three Buck Bites, among others) gain traction. Since most of us have at least a passing interest in hair, shoes, food, or all of the above, I'm betting you'll dig these -- and perhaps even become a contributor. If you're interested in writing about food specifically, you can apply here.


Lissa Harris, my fellow feminista and former Dig editor, has started a blog called WomenDO! Its goal: to catalogue and roundly mock silly, sexist-slanting fluff pieces in the mainstream media. I am grateful to her for giving me an outlet for the anger I feel when I read yet another piece about women bowlers or women soccer players where the reporter is surprised to find that the fairer sex is capable of, well, anything.

Harris goes by the alias Samuel Johnson on her blog in honor of the 18th century author, who famously told his friend (who had just seen a woman preacher speak at a Quaker meeting): "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

Harris uses this phrase often in her analysis, as this is a common angle for lazy writers to take when writing a "Women Do" story: the news is not that the woman in question is a particularly notable firefighter or tattoo artist, but that she is a firefighter in the first place. Shocking!

Harris and I believe that in this day and age, there are more important things for our remaining paid journalists to write about -- like, oh, say, the deficit, or the two wars we're fighting, or the fact that a bakery in Brooklyn is serving fried Cadbury eggs for Easter. Important, useful things like that.
However, our country's paid journalists insist on writing about the dangers of "sexting" instead, so I am both pleased and sorry to report that Harris has been able to find plenty of material to critique on the blog so far. So my hope is that one day, with the help of The Onion, Jezebel, and Sarah Haskins, we will be able to mock bad trend reporting (and its evil twin, sexist advertising) into submission.

To read about what makes a WomenDo story different from a regular news story, click here. To send Harris a hot tip, email womendoblank [at] gmail [dot] com.


Tyler Balliet and Morgan First, who were profiled on Beyond Boston Chic in my last friends roundup, are more than just a hipster power couple. Together, they run The Second Glass, an online wine publication for people who like their vino without the obligatory splash of pretentiousness. Tyler conceived the idea a few years back, when he was working part-time at a liquor store on Newbury Street and constantly found himself answering basic questions about wine (i.e. "What does Burgundy mean?") and recommending bottles for under $10.

"There was no publication for these people, nothing below Wine Spectator," he told me recently.

So Balliet, who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and designers, seized his opening and quit his day job. His girlfriend Morgan, herself an entrepreneur (her business, MAP Boston, is now up for sale), now manages the PR and community for The Second Glass.

This unstoppable team is now working on one of the most ambitious wine events Boston's ever seen: the Wine Riot, scheduled to hit the Cyclorama later this April. The weekend-long event will include a VIP tasting, a panel on sustainable and biodynamic wines, and a "Global Twitter Tasting" on Friday (500 tickets available), and two mass tastings on Saturday (1,000 tickets available per session). There'll be music, food (from Savant Project and Sel de la Terre, mmm), and lots of exhibitors. They're hoping to use the money and awareness raised by the event to expand the business to other cities.

I'll likely be blogging the entire event for Bostonist, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you're interested in volunteering for Wine Riot and getting in free (versus paying $45-65), click here. If you'd rather roll VIP and avoid slaving away in the wine trenches, hit for tickets. (Photos from


Eko has been working hard in the office and at home to keep us sane and thoroughly snuggled. He deserves the biggest shoutout -- and some biscuits.


Blogger Samuel Johnson said...

Well, bless your heart. Thanks for the shoutout!

One day we shall inherit the earth.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Marce said...

Thank goodness for good friends, huh?? It really does seem that they pull us through the nitty gritty challenges life seems to endlessly deal us.

I have loved your last few comments on my blog, by the way. Especially about your breathing tactics...I laughed out loud thinking of you doing it in public and resembling Thomas the Train. In fact, I'm giggling again :)

And also...I think the bangs will be a perfect remedy to my nerdy-girl-who-gets-asked-to-dance-by-15-year -olds stage. Thanks for the article! I love how culturally literate you are!!!! Thanks for always being willing to share. xoxo

3:46 PM  

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