A Somewhat Rueful Live Report From Twestival, As In "Twitter Festival," Which Went About As Well As You'd Suspect It Would
Pic by Puja Patel
It was a great pairing, actually: One of CI's main goals is to help introduce inner-city youth to the digital world. In association with Flavorpill, the night primarily involved a celebrity bowling tournament, live music, and, naturally, somewhat overbearing social media: A huge screen looming near the stage (along with smaller hubs hanging over each bowling lane) broadcast a live feed of #nyctwestival Tweets.
Now, pretty much anything that involves celebrities and sports is bound to be entertaining, especially when the rumored stars tonight included Matisyahu and folks from Gossip Girl. (Who doesn't want to see Chuck Bass bowl?) I didn't see either. Instead, we got Jake and Amir (the guys from College Humor), the Winklevoss Twins (i.e. those guys that sued Facebook), TV host Shira Lazar, Howard Stern's ex-sidekick Jackie Martling, and British singer-songwriter Nick Howard. The "celebs" were so intermixed with the even-more-unfamous civilian bowlers that, quite literally, no one knew they were even there.
Yes, there was live music for the duration of the event, but few noticed, or cared, save an occasional drunk girl who'd wander in front of the stage. Howard strummed and crooned to vast indifference (think Jason Mraz but less interesting). Pop-rock Brooklynites the XYZ Affair had the biggest audience, with close to 20 fans (mostly girls) swaying along. A run-of-the-mill mashup DJ covered the gaps between acts, bottoming out with the worst "Paper Planes" remix I've ever heard.
Unfortunately, video-DJ Eclectic Method did the longest set of the night, commanding everyone's attention if only thanks to the blaring soundsystem. His songs were awkwardly shoved together, the beats off, the phrasing uncomfortable, the selection based on screen-display synchronicity instead of musical flow, all backed by an unpleasantly ADD approach to rival Girl Talk's. To top it off, the DJ's booth crew refused to turn down the awful, deafening mess, despite frequent requests from ticketholders and waitresses alike.
Our ears were still ringing when Twestival's Toby Daniels took the stage for closing remarks. Jake Blair, founder of Camp Interactive, won the bowling tournament (and a mountain-climbing trip, all expenses paid); Flavorpill's team came in as runners-up, scoring a bottle of Remy Martin. Daniels went on to tell us that $15,000 had been raised through the event's sponsors, several local-business fundraising campaigns, and tonight's event itself. So in the end it was all worth it. Mostly.
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