Whatever Your Preferred Social Network, It's a Choose-Your-Own Personality World

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Youtube.com
Oh, how I miss scene queens, and the weird social networking world of the Myspace of yore.
If I could pick only one social network to be a part of, it would be Myspace. Not Myspace now, the revamped site for "entertainment" types with its trying-too-hard layout and useless content. No, I'm talking about the Myspace circa 2006, when it was a place where I could find out about my friend's band's shows, stalk current and ex-boyfriends and their current and ex-girlfriends and, of course, post my vague, immature bulletins (this was before we were all acquainted with the concept of the newsfeed) in the hopes that the right pair of eyes would see my stabby words. Oh, and let's not forget the site's blogs, the feature of Myspace I used to become F-List celebrity famous for writing horrible things about people.

Any time a new social network appears or a change is made to an existing one, I immediately start daydreaming about old Myspace again. When Ello appeared on everyone's radar last week, I began my mental trip back in Internet time. Though I don't think Ello will be exactly the replacement I'm looking for, its very existence brings up a great couple of questions: What and who are we presenting on each social network and why are we there in the first place?

See also: Jeffree Star dishes on celebrities, tattoos and perfection

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Meet Ello, the Social Network Created Right Here in Colorado

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ello.co
If you have been anywhere near the Internet in the past week, you've probably heard about Ello, a new social networking site that's still in the Beta stage. But it's picked up a lot of steam as Facebook users started jumping ship after Facebook announced its "real name" policy -- which drag performers and other members and allies of the GLTBQ community charge is dangerous and discriminatory.

Ello's Denver-based programming team is is spearheaded by Paul Budnitz -- the guy behind vinyl toy maker Kidrobot, which moved its headquarters to Boulder in 2010 -- along with Mode Set and fellow Colorado designers Berger & Föhr. We recently chatted with Mode Set's Justin Gitlin (also known around town as music and multimedia artist Cacheflowe) to find out what, exactly, Ello is all about -- and how it's been affected by the recent Facebook move.

See also: CacheFlowe Releases Open-Source Robot Vocal Software to Welcome Our Digital Overlords

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Filmmaker Guy Maddin on cinematic séances and the Brakhage Symposium

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Guy Maddin
Filmmaker Guy Maddin resurrects the ghosts of silent cinema in his 2000 film The Heart of the World.
Filmmaker Guy Maddin says that watching a movie has more in common with a paranormal séance than meets the eye; he remembers the first time he realized that the French word for a movie screening is "séance," which translates into "a sitting." Both activities take place in the dark; both are enchanting; both evoke spirits from the past who have been separated from their physical bodies. Attempting to resurrect lost movies -- films improperly stored and turned to vinegar, destroyed to make room for new stock or abandoned in closets (in 1981, the original cut of Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc was found in a janitor's closet in a mental hospital in Oslo Maddin says) -- the filmmaker holds public séances where he puts actors into a trance and shoots his own adaptations of missing films. He sees himself as a spirit guide summoning the sad souls of lost movies. "I've been shooting one film in public per day. I did three weeks in Paris, two in Montreal, and I'm always looking to shoot more. I wanted to shoot a hundred films for one hundred days, but it looks like it's going to be more like seventy," says Maddin, who will be performing a séance and participating in the Brakhage Symposium at the University of Colorado Boulder this weekend.

See also: The Weirdest Movie in the World: Nobody does nostalgic melodrama like Guy Maddin

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Digital artist Conor McGarrigle on BitTorrent, Vine and the ubiquity of data mining

Categories: Art, The Internetz

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The Internet, as ubiquitous as it is, has yet to make much of an impact on the art world. Two works by digital artist Conor McGarrigle explore the art inherent to the 'net in unique and intriguing ways. The first, the BitTorrent Trilogy, consists of three incomplete downloads of popular TV shows -- Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones -- that utilizes the technology and culture of file sharing to produce a glitchy, surreal vision of pop culture. The second, 24h Social, splices together 86,400 Vine videos -- six-second clips shareable on Twitter -- into a 24-hour look at the world of social media that critiques the ubiquity of data mining on the web. Before his exhibit opens at Counterpath tonight, we caught up with McGarrigle to talk about the pieces, the impact of the Internet on art, and what drew him to work in a digital medium.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver in February

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Mac Lethal on turning his Texts from Bennett Tumblr into a novel

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When indie rapper Mac Lethal launched a Tumblr blog to share the profanity laced, English-challenged, semi-delusional text messages that his cousin Bennett sent him, he had no idea it would become such a phenomenon. Now, three years and several million pageviews later, the site has evolved into Texts from Bennett, a semi-autobiographical novel that chronicles the year his dysfunctional extended family moved in with him and changed his life forever. The book uses the grammatically nightmarish and hilariously off the wall texts as a launching point and framing device to tell a down to earth story about family, friendship and falling in love. And like Bennett and the texts that launched it all, he insists it's all drawn from real life.

Before Mac Lethal's appearance at the Tattered Cover LoDo Tuesday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. to read from and sign the book (he's also playing a show that night at the Marquis Theater), we caught up with the Internet phenomenon and Midwest rapper to talk about the road from website to novel, how much of the story is true and what comes next.

See also: The Source Family is a true story of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll religion

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DateCamp teaches you how to date -- and kiss and dress -- the Denver way

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A scene from a DateCamp online video tutorial on touching.
The Denver-based DateCamp.tv is not a dating website in the traditional sense. Rather, it's a hub for learning the ins and outs of dating itself. DateCamp is designed as a three-pronged entity: a dating resource center, a place offering interactive retreats and camps and, once it gets going, the owners plan to create a full-fledged reality TV series about, well, dating.

"We like to say that we're not an online dating site -- our goal is not to hook up people," explains Doug Hanes, DateCamp's executive producer.

See also:
- Non-traditional dating site Grouper launches in Denver today
- Five jaded tips for online dating -- don't get Te'od!
- Online dating for straight people: We're all just chasing the popcorn


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Non-traditional dating site Grouper launches in Denver today

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Grouper, which launches in Denver today, is the latest social networking site that aims to connect people with similar interests in a possibly romantic way. But Grouper founder and CEO Michael Waxman insists it's not a traditional dating site; this "social club" tries to keep the Internet part of the scenario to a minimum, by eliminating tedious questionaires and focusing on bringing together groups of friends for a night out known as a "Grouper."

Waxman spoke with Westword about the site's launch in the Denver market, and why having your friends along for a first date can make all the difference when getting to know a potential new partner.

See also:
- Date explores the world of online match-ups
- Five jaded tips for online dating -- don't get Te'od!
- Online dating for straight people: We're all just chasing the popcorn


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Five jaded tips for online dating -- don't get Te'od!

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The entire world is embarrassed for Manti Te'o right now. The Notre Dame linebacker thought he had a girlfriend, then thought she died of leukemia, and anyone who heard his sad story really bad for Te'o -- until word got out that his beloved girlfriend was actually an emotionally disturbed 22-year-old man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who boosted a woman's pictures and created "Lennay Kekua," a fictional online person who met Te'o on Facebook, virtually dated him off and on, then staged Lennay's death to get out of this elaborate hoax. Now the entire world feels sorry for Te'o, but for a different reason.

Manti Te'o isn't the first person who's been hoodwinked in the course of an online relationship and he won't be the last. There are lessons to be learned here about being safe and sane with Internet dating -- and also how not to be a dumbass. Here are five jaded pieces of advice for online dating. Don't get Te'od!

See also:
- Online dating for straight people: We're all just chasing the popcorn
- Online dating: Your friends' comments on your love life can actually help your profile
- Online dating: What your intentionally candid profile photo says about you

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#WebAwards: Follow Allen Klosowski, the owner of Denver's Best Instagram Account

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All photos by Allen Klosowksi.
When you open your Instagram feed, do you see hundreds of brunch photos and duck faces? If so, you're doing it wrong. Every year, Westword adapts its Denver Web Awards to incorporate rising digital trends, and our most exciting addition this year was the category of Best Instagram Account -- which Klosowski (TheBigKlosowski) won for his striking (and expertly filtered) scenes from Denver and a variety of trips across the country. Allen Klosowski may have fancy credentials as a professional photographer and a social-media expert at the Denver Post, but street cred oozes from his Instagram account.

If you enjoy otherworldly photos, be sure to follow him, and continue reading for more of our favorite photos from his award-winning acount.

See also:
- Slide show: Denver's Best Instagram Account
- Slide show: Denver Web Awards 2012
- Meet the 2012 Denver #WebAwards winners
- Meet the 2012 Denver #WebAwards finalists
- Twenty best Instagram photos from the 2012 Denver #WebAwards


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Twenty best Instagram photos from the 2012 Denver #WebAwards

Categories: The Internetz

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Every year, Westword honors the best and brightest minds in the city's digital culture with the Denver Web Awards -- and every year, we add categories to those awards as the digital landscape changes. This year, our biggest new addition had to be Best Instagram Account, for which the competition was both tough and stunning. And true to form, our readers took to Instagram at the ceremony itself, shooting and uploading all angles of the awards and their setting, RedLine gallery, throughout the night using the hashtag #webawards. Keep reading for our favorite shots from last night's party.

See also:
- Denver's Best Instagram Account 2012
- Meet your 2012 Denver #WebAwards winners
- Meet the 2012 Denver #WebAwards finalists
- 2011 Denver #WebAwards winners announced!
- Westword #WebAwards winners 2010
- Fifteen best tweets about the 2012 Denver #WebAwards

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