Saturday, October 6, 2012

Caps (not) For Sale

Through what I can only imagine was a mistake in the paper-work of the cosmos, I recently convinced a reputable outlet of information to let me write for them. That's right: I'm a staff blogger for Inside New York. As far as it stacks up against other jobs I have had, I can't complain; the pay is ok (nothing), but the perks are high (invitations to events I would never be allowed in otherwise, like free concerts) and the office space is pretty good as well (I get to write from home). But really, it's a good step for me. Last week, they gave me my first assignment - I went downtown to check out an event called New Era Introducing. It turned out that the cosmos had caught up with me, and knew what I was up to. The subway car I took downtown was plastered with ads for the very same New Era hat company.
A hat for people who identify as under-performers with an identity crisis
I had a great time at the event, so thanks to everyone who helped set it up and run it. Here's the review (actual post here)!
New Era is all about self-expression,” Ben Ewy, the creative director of New Era explained to me.  If you want proof, head to 82 Mercer Street, where New Era is hosting New Era Introducing, showcasing the work of dozens of artists who used New Era’s 59Fifty cap as a canvass. When I arrived at 8:45 Friday night, the spacious venue was comfortably packed with a cool crowd checking out the craziest caps I have ever seen. There was a lively beat from the DJ, and people were wandering around the gallery, helping themselves to tasty hors d’oeuvres  and the open bar (watch out for the New York Mule, a dangerous cocktail that involves vodka, ginger beer and magic, as far as I could tell).
This is the second annual New Era Introducing contest. The artist of the winning cap is awarded $10,000. Marconi Calindas took the honors this year for his cap “A Little Too Late.” An identified LGBT artist from San Francisco, Calindas was inspired by the recent tragedy of Eric James Borges when he came up with the idea for the cap. Don’t let the bright colors fool you – the hat tells a tragic narrative of a victim of bullying driven to suicide. He will be using the prize money to publish a book on the same theme.
Marconi Calindas (left) and "A Little too Late" (right)
I got a chance to speak with Evan Jones, CMO of New Era about New Era Introducing. He loved the and wide range of ideas that had come in, and was obviously enjoying the great vibe at the event. Sporting a plain white New Era cap, he told me, “When you go out, the last thing you put on is your cap. That’s what New Era is all about – finding a way to express yourself, and that’s what these artists have done.”
It’s doubtful that any of these hats will ever get make it onto anyone’s head. I asked around a bunch, and while there were some obvious favorites, there were few people who would think of wearing the pieces of art. I asked fellow hat-appreciator Reggie (sporting an all-black New Era Yankees cap) if he would ever wear one, and he just said, “Nah, man, these hats aren’t for wearing. I’d keep them in my collection.”
 Here are a couple of favorites from the night.

This cap was caught off- I mean made in Bellingham, Washington

This will happen to your cap if you leave it out for too long.

If you travel 88mph while wearing this cap, you travel to a time when people only wore fedoras

This one fell off a pagan god's head

One of the more popular hats, and a favorite of the crowd
I'm pretty sure I saw this guy in an episode of Samurai Jack