Gather ye crafters, quilters, knitters and artisans and other artsy types (Decoupage? Whittlers?). Etsy's homemade stuff-selling dominance may be over. Amazon has announced it’s starting a new marketplace. Called Handmade at Amazon, the just launched seller (as reported by New York Times) already features 80,000 items from about 5,000 sellers in 60 countries. To participate, sellers must prove that their goods are handmade, unlike Etsy, who recently expanded to allow outsourcing. Currently Amazon features six categories: “home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby” with more expected to be rolled out later.
Does something smell funny? That’s Andy Kaufman’s new perfume. The late comedian is being immortalized by Los Angeles perfumery Xyrena, who is releasing a sent called “Andy Kaufman Milk & Cookies” in honor of the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live. As suggested by the name, the perfume smells like chocolate chip cookies and milk—a pairing inspired by Kaufman’s Carnegie Hall performance in 1979 which cumulated with him taking all 2,800 audience members out for, yup, milk and cookies. It's probably the new scent of romance. Stay tuned, the it will be officially debuted at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater during the Andy Kaufman Awards on Oct 11. Discuss
The vinyl comeback is still going strong. According to the recently-released mid-year report from the RIAA, sales of vinyl records are up by more than 52 percent when compared to the same time last year. The report—which only looked at new record sales, not used vinyls—showed that sales of actual records were almost half of the total of that of CD revenue, bringing in $229 million in the six month period. That’s a pretty large number, considering the technology has been basically obsolete for decades. Unsurprisingly, though, physical music sales as a whole (including CDs and tapes) continue to fall as more people turn to streaming to listen to music. If hipsters can revive one old antiquated, cultural trend by making vinyl cool again, there’s no reason the same can’t be done for those sweet old bikes with the giant front wheel. Lets all rally together and make a pennyfarthing revival a reality. Discuss
Beach House may have just released their new album Depression Cherry, but that’s not going to stop the band from dropping another this Friday. Just don’t call Thank Your Lucky Stars a surprise release. Despite falling in line with Beyonce, Radiohead and David Bowie, the Baltimore duo insists this is no spur of the moment decision. “We are very excited, it's an album being released the way we want,” says the band via Twitter. “It's not a companion to depression cherry or a surprise or b-sides.” The band hasn’t shared any Thank Your Lucky Stars music yet, but we do have this awesome highlight from Depression Cheery, “Sparks.”
A public school’s annual Christmas Spectacular play is now at the center of a controversy about the freedom of religion and separation of church and state. For more than 30 years, Concord Community Schools in New Hampshire have produced a large-scale production that includes a live nativity and a reading from Scripture, but this year, it has come under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU. The two organizations have filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the celebration “is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”
The school’s superintendent isn’t backing down, however, and has argued “If a student or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment." The suit was filed on behalf of a student who is involved in the music department, which helps put on the production, but says he is now faced with “direct and unwelcome contact with the objectionable portion of the Christmas Spectacular.” Nothing helps ring in the Christmas season in modern America like a high-profile, federal lawsuit. Discuss
Moments before officials in Texas executed convicted murderer Juan Martin Garcia, the family of the man he killed forgave him. The victims’ widow said “It’s about God. It’s about Jesus.” They had previously tried to stop the execution from happening. The family of Hugo Solano—the man Garcia murdered in 1998 while robbing him of $8—told Garcia they forgave him and that they loved him. In Spanish, Garcia told those gathered, “The harm that I did to your dad and husband–I hope this brings you closure. I never wanted to hurt any of you all.” Despite Ms. Solano pleading with sentencing officials not to pursue the death penalty, the state went through with execution earlier this week. It’s the 11th inmate they’ve killed this year alone. Discuss