Posted by: Liz Massey | September 11, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for September 11, 2008

Political support of the arts, YouTube videos to feed your head, and a wiki with tools to strengthen your creative problem-solving muscles, plus a neat film festival and contest site, are today’s picks from the creative blog-o-sphere. Let’s jump right in to the free-for-all!

1. Now that the Democratic and Republican conventions are done, the U.S. presidential candidates are getting down to campaigning in earnest, and several intrepid bloggers have made it easier for creative artists to see how the candidates stand on issues close to their heart.

Listening Post, Wired Magazine’s music blog, has an interesting comparison of the candidates’ stands on music issues. The post is mostly tongue in cheek (though more even-handed than I expected), but it does provide a little bit of information on Joe Biden’s support of the Perform and RAVE acts, as well as what’s playing in Obama’s iPod and McCain’s fondness for ABBA. (Which is one of the few things the Senator from Arizona and I see eye-to-eye on…)

Meanwhile, Tammy Vitale over at Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together blog posted recently about the arts platforms of both parties. Or, um, Barack Obama’s arts platform. She had not been able to locate McCain’s statement on the arts. Has anyone found it?

2. Open Culture, that bastion of intelligence relating to new media, posted a great link to a list on the United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian’s Web site listing the 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube.

OC notes that the Guardian list includes footage ranging from vintage performances by John Coltrane and Billie Holiday, readings by Jack Kerouac, an interview with Eugène Ionesco, clips of Nirvana rehearsing in a garage, Vladimir Nabokov talking about “Lolita,”  to Jackson Pollock dripping paint outside his home, and Marlon Brando doing a screen test for “Rebel Without a Cause.”

If you like what you see on that list, you may also want to check out Open Culture’s list of 70 Signs of Intelligent Life on YouTube for even more brain-extending sources of entertainment and education.

3. If you’ve got a thorny problem and simple brainstorming isn’t cutting it as far as devising a creative solution, you may want to surf on over to a wiki maintained by MyCotEd, a British company specializing in creativity and innovation. They have a great section with an A to Z listing of creativity techniques.

Dozens of techniques are represented, from constrained brain-writing and dream diaries to morphological forced connections and concept fans–plenty of tools to dig you out of an innovation bog. The wiki also features lateral-thinking puzzles, creativity quotations and reviews of classic creativity-related books, so dig in!

Several extra-special links I couldn’t pass up:

Almost Famous Film Festival: Based in Arizona, but expanding its influence through out the Southwest, the parent organization sponsors well-received 48-hour and 72-hour filmmaking challenges, as well as its regular festival.

The Book Deal: Alan Rinzler calls his blog “A Publishing Blog for Writers and Book People.” It’s chock full of interesting interviews with published authors, notes from Rinzler’s editing work, and more.

National Travel Writing Month: And you thought month-long writing challenges were just for novelists! NaTraWriMo, which just finished on Aug. 31, challenges travel writers to write 31 article pitches in 31 days! Lots of inspiration and hope here. What a great time to mark your calendar for the 2009 challenge!


  1. Thanks for the shout out!

  2. pushed the button too fast – what I great collection of links here! I’ll have to come back and browse…

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