Less Is More? Sometimes It’s Less!

I have been a fan and reader of The Objective since it’s launch in 2020 and enjoy their coverage, interviews, and critiques of the journalism and media industry. Unsurprisingly, I leaped (metaphorically speaking!) at the opportunity to contribute to their organization when it arose.

That opportunity came late last year and is now available for everyone to enjoy/hate on/be ambivalent about!

My article for The Objective is a critique on the old adage of “less is more,” the warning of the dangers of superflous writing a la Marcel Proust but more “meaningless, uncomfortable meandering” than “poetic pretentiousness.”

My critique stems from a book review of “Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More With Less” published last year by the creative trio that founded Politico and Axios. The latter media company prides itself on carrying the “less is more” trope into the digital age.

From my piece:

Smart Brevity is the name the trio gave their company’s version of “less is more.” It’s also the title of their 2022 book, subtitled The Power of Saying More With Less. The trio spends a little over 200 pages explaining what smart brevity is, how it came to be and, more importantly for the purposes of growing their brand, how everyone can utilize it in multiple settings. Apparently, every TED talk, boardroom, classroom, email newsletter, and presentation can benefit from speaking and writing with as few words as possible!

The unexamined problem with brevity in this case is who suffers, and how, when important information is oversimplified. The act of curating information for an audience is also the act of gatekeeping information. The more information is simplified, the more an audience should ask itself what information has been sacrificed for their convenience and why.

Though Marshall McLuhan I am not, there are much juicier quotes in there (I promise!) concerning the oversimplification and gatekeeping of information based on perceived audience expectations and the medium through which it receives that information.

Read my critique/commentary in its entirety here: Smart Brevity: Who suffers when information is oversimplified?

50 Years of Coras USA

My latest article for KCET is available to read and enjoy. It’s a deep dive into Coras USA, aka Coras de Los Angeles, a local soccer team that existed for 50 years in southern California. The team was a cultural umbilical cord for Mexicans in Mexico and the US and later became a gateway for young players hoping to become professionals.

What began as a fun ritual for the weekend grew into a family legacy of community-building that lasted half a century. During its existence, Coras USA united working-class, immigrant families from Nayarit and other regions of Mexico in Los Angeles and provided youth players a pathway towards a professional career during its final years in the city of Riverside.

“Its original name is Deportivo Coras USA,” explained Lopez of the team founded by his father and uncles. “The first name that it had was Coras de Los Angeles. Along the years, it had a couple of name changes like Deportivo Nayarit [and] Deportivo Coras Nayarit. It’s always been Coras but it’s been known for Coras de Los Angeles because it branched out of Coras de Tepic.”

Read the story in full here: https://www.kcet.org/arts-culture/50-years-of-coras-usa-how-two-generations-built-community-with-soccer

Sad Boy Anthems in a Cemetery

Another October/November brought another Día de Muertos festival at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year’s edition was my first time attending since 2017. The event was packed with people, but not as dense since it was split in half:a daytime festival focused on cultural, family events and a nighttime festival focused on live music.

As in years past, the altars were amazing, the food was delicious and the music was incredible. It was great to finally watch Ed Maverick perform live in concert after years of being a fan of his work. Here is an excerpt I wrote about Maverick and the festival:

Maverick didn’t have too much to say between songs and let his music do most of the talking. However, when he did speak to the crowd, he had to pause with a smile and wait for the lull between screaming and cheering fans to be heard. He ended the night with a lengthy guitar solo that cemented his newfound status as a rock star and new king of the sad boys.

Read the story in full + enjoy photos of the event here: https://showbams.com/2022/11/04/dia-y-noche-de-los-muertos-returns-to-hollywood-forever-creating-a-cathartic-experience-with-ed-maverick-hermanos-gutierrez-more/

La Chilanga Banda En Los Ángeles

Café Tacvba arrived to town this past weekend and it was one of the best concert performances I’ve seen in my entire life. I wrote a short recap of the night for LA Taco.

Here’s an excerpt:

After eight songs, all classics re-envisioned for acoustic performance, Jerzaín Vargas (trumpet) and a brass band joined them on stage for a trio of songs, starting with “La Muerte Chiquita.” Gustavo Santaolalla also made an appearance to play a charango during “Olita de Altamar.” The gasps and applause that emanated from the audience when the stage lights revealed his face would have one believe that royalty had mysteriously coagulated from mist.

Read it in full here: https://www.lataco.com/cafe-tacvba-la-phil/