Thursday, November 6, 2008

What's the New What Finale

Listen to Audio and Read it Here

After 25 weeks, Youth Radio’s weekly series What’s the New What? is ending. These stories explored trends from the perspective of Generation Y: sex without a condom; ombre; over-the-counter stimulants; dissonance music; yoga in juvenile halls; tasers as accessories; ads in Spanglish, and much more. We heard from youth reporters from around the country, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Maine, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. In our final episode, we set out to hear from young people about "Whats" that weren’t covered in our series.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Threading is the New Waxing

Listen to audio Here

By Jennifer Obakhume

What’s the new What? Threading is the new waxing. But threading is actually old. Let me rephrase that, extremely old. It’s an ancient South Asian beauty practice. And thousands of years later, it’s the hippest new thing in LA.

If you've never seen threading, picture a long strand of thread around your hands, crossed in the middle. And then some up and down motion that makes the thread catch and pull hairs. And voila your new eye brows are complete!

(Sounds of Jennifer at WOW! beauty center about to get threaded)

Jennifer: "I feel very nervous."

Salon employee: "Don’t be nervous."

That's me getting my eyebrows threaded at WOW! Beauty Center. And honestly, it’s not painful. On the other hand waxing feels like pulling your bottom lip over your foot, lighting it on fire, and then stepping on it.

Salon employee: "Because when you do it, after three or four times, your hair is going to become thinner, and lighter. So it's better."

South Asian women have opened threading businesses all over Los Angeles. But threaders weren’t always welcomed in established beauty salons. Just ask Indira Karki, originally from Nepal, and one of the co-owners of WOW! Beauty Center.

Indira Karki: "When I didn’t have a job, I went to so many beauty salons like American and they asked me, “Oh we need to have license to do threading.” So many places I don’t have a job because I don’t have license."

But even if she wanted to, she could not get a license – because threading isn’t taught in cosmetology school.

Tony Mendoza: "Ever since I’ve served on city council, there has been issue with surrounding the practice of threading."

That's Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, who represents a district which includes “Little India”. He wrote a California state bill that exempts threading from being licensed. And now it’s the law.

Tony Mendoza: "This bill in particular empowers immigrant women because it allows them to practice their culture and create a business for themselves."

Sumitra Batra: "Threading is such a regular, normal, prevalent part of our society. It’s street art form in India."

Sumitra Batra is the CEO of Ziba Beauty, an international chain of South-Asian themed salons started in LA. She has been credited with putting threading and henna tattoos on the map. She was the one who painted Madonna with henna for her 1998 music video, "Frozen".

Sumitra Batra: "There’s a certain amount of authenticity to us and our salons. We haven’t lost our ethnicity and our Indianness."

But what happens when cultural practices like threading become part of a corporate brand? Batra has recently created controversy by trying to trademark the term “art of threading.” There is now tension brewing between Batra's company and some independent threaders, such as Indira of WOW! Beauty.

(Instead of doing threading...)

But beyond the disputes, one thing is for sure... in Los Angeles, threading is becoming more and more popular, a trend that has helped Indira and the ladies of Wow! Beauty Center get their business off the ground.

Indira Karki:"Every time I think about my beauty salon, WOW! Beauty Salon, I feel like I'm happy. I feel like I'm in the heaven, you know. So I’m really glad."

And... (laughing) you should dig my new eyebrows.

Read and Listen to audio Here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dissonance is the New Harmony

Listen to audio Here

By Orlando Campbell, Youth Radio

What’s the new What? In the underground scene of Athens, Georgia, Dissonance……is the new Harmony.

That’s right…It’s happening here...the birthplace of REM….

(MUSIC: REM, It’s the end of the world…)

They pushed the boundaries of lyricism…Now musicians are pushing the boundaries of sound….…in a growing noise music scene.

(MUSIC: Better People)

Doug Patterson: I dare you to enjoy it b/c it’s anti-music and qualifies as unlistenable.

It might be unlistenable, but it’s got a huge following. Doug Patterson makes noise music under the name “Better People.”

(MUSIC: Better People)

Doug uses tape manipulation, effects petals, and computer software in his creations. 21 year-old Tyler Rosebush is a fan.

Tyler Rosebush: Since its so on the spot, it’s not rerehearsed it’s not prerecorded. The final product reflects the entire process and you’re intimately acquainted with every step of the way this music is created and you know now a days with digital music and iPods and stuff like that it’s easy to get caught up and just lost in this sea of just like stuff that is the end and not the means.

This isn’t about being weird, it’s about going into another state of mind. Pop music doesn’t exactly make you think with lyrics like: “get you drunk off my hump…my lovely little lumps”

(MUSIC: Black Eyed Peas)

Douglas Patterson: That’s what my music is – it’s a rejection of pop, a rejection of rock and roll…b/c it’s harsh and abrasive and it’s not a pretty thing – it’s coming from a pretty angry place.

Noise performers are challenging the notion of what music is and who qualifies as a musician. Rob Peterson is a graduate student in Art at the University of Georgia. He experiments in sound sculpture, and performs at live shows:

(MUSIC: Noise Music Performance)

Robert Peterson: A lot of these shows – there’s no stage. It’s just the floor of a house. A lot of times all you can’t see the artist because they are on the floor – are you can do is hear b/c people are hovering. There is no barrier between audience and the performer. So it is this kind of mutual self expression.

But if you give music by artists like Doug Patterson a chance:

Douglas Patterson: There’s an intention behind it and I’m trying to tell you something. If you take the time to get into it, the rewards will be so much more than listening to something that’s already been laid out for you.

I do want to be challenged…and for me, that’s the main difference between pop music and noise music. Without comfortable lyrics or a predictable grove, your mind works a little harder. And I like it that way.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Liquor Stores are the New Department Stores

Liquor Stores are the New Department Stores

Orlando Campbell , Youth Radio

What’s the new what? I say liquor stores are the new department stores.

“Liqa Sto Song”

These days when you go to your local corner store to buy a 99 cent bag of chips and a soda, you might end up leaving with a whole new wardrobe.

Walk into an inner-city liquor store in the San Francisco Bay Area and you’ll probably witness firsthand how huge this phenomenon has become.

“Liqa Sto Song”

D.Willz, a rapper from the Oakland , even made a song about it.

D.Willz- When you go to the mall….you got the clothes the food and shoes and everything you need is right there one stop shop…

It started with five dollar white tees, and grew into selling almost any type of clothing imaginable right there at your local neighborhood liquor store.

D.Willz- It’s cheaper you know you can go to the mall and get a pair of Jordan ’s for like what 150 you go to the liquor store you can get it for 50 bucks

And I feel much better supporting a family run business in my own community than some huge corporate run department store.

Kia Shine- “So krispy”

While regular people are struggling, rappers like Kia Shine are talking about spending 900 on a pair of jeans on a pair of shoes. Entertainers talking all this slick stuff are giving kids unrealistic goals and misplaced values.

Liquor stores not only make shopping more convenient, but also keep guys Leon Sykes, an Oakland resident and faithful liquor store shopper, fashionable and up to date for a reasonable price.

1:02 Nowadays it seems as if designer clothing no longer matters because the economies going down as far as pricing is rising, were in a recession so people are trying to get whatever they can get for their money.

He’s not lying. There have been countless times when the corner store has come to the rescue, like recently, when I got a call from that gorgeous girl I had been trying to kick it with.

“Let’s go to the movies” she said. As I was about to walk out the door I glanced in the mirror. I had been wearing that same black hoodie, flipped back beanie, and old white-tee for way too long. I needed to step it up, and fast. A quick walk around the corner elevated my clothing game to a new peak, with enough time to pick up my beautiful date, get my popcorn, and find a seat all the way in the back of the pitch black theater.

“Liqa Sto Song” fake or real part

For Youth Radio, I’m Orlando Campbell.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ombre is the New Tie Dye

By Olivia Cueva

What’s the New What? I say Ombre is the New Tie-dye.

Listen to the audio here!

Woahhh dude, Tie-dye is back …But this time high-end designers are in the mix trying to make sure that tie-dye’s trip back to public consciousness isn’t a bad one. They’ve even given it chi chi name, Ombre.

TRACI (on tape)
Really the definition of Ombre means to shade, to dip dye.

That’s Traci Peace, director of a youth fashion program called Visions of La Moda.

TRACI (on tape)
The color graduates from light to dark basically. It could be a sky blue on top and as it goes down, down, down, …

It becomes a darker blue – like a navy. Tracy Peace got wind of the new tie-dye look from the spring and summer collections at New York Fashion Week. It was a bit of a shock.

TRACI (on tape)
Unless you’re going to a Grateful Dead concert, I just would not wear tie-dye of the 1960’s.

Where I grew up…Berkeley, California…you don’t have to be on your way to a Dead show, to show off your old school tie-dye.

AX: Hey can you spare any leftovers for a hungry, drunk, fat kid…Spare a smile…Spare a smile… Please spare a smile…

Here on Telegraph Avenue, the tie-dye epicenter of Berkeley, the sidewalks are lined with vendors selling incense, political T-shirts, jewelry, and of course tie-dye. I asked a tie-dye street vendor Sam Miksell what he thinks about this symbol of 60’s radicalism becoming high fashion…

SAM (on tape)
I‘ve never really heard of it but I imagine it’s just like normal tie-dye. I mean, there’s only so many ways you can dye a shirt multiple colors.

Well that’s not what Ombre designers want you to think. And my friend Ariel Krizack agrees. She bought a green and white Ombre dress at Forever 21.

ARIEL (on tape)
Well this is definitely a cocktail dress that I bought. I don’t think it’s even comparable to something you would wear on Telegraph because you wouldn’t wear it to the same occasion whatsoever.

And if you’re buying Ombre from high end designers like Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs, it’s pricey too. I recently searched the Nordstrom website and most of the Ombre clothes sell for 200 dollars or more – even small items like clutch bags and neck ties. The kind of accessories that wouldn’t be worn by stoners, you dig?

Still, Traci Peace advises all you flower children not to pull out your old tie-dye.

TRACI (on tape)
I would very kindly say, give it away, throw it away. laughs

My friend Ariel Krizack has a kinder recommendation for those ex-hippies: ARIEL: I think it’s hella tight when people make their own tie-dye. Bring tie-dye back.

That’s right…my friends just started inviting me to tie-dying parties. GOOD OLD, DO it yourself tie dye….not three figure designer dip dye. But instead of sitting around with lava lamps and listening to Janis Joplin, we’ll be bumping Zion I and taking tie-dye from far out…to hella tight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gay Fashion is the New Straight Fashion

By Anthony Waters

Listen to this commentary!

What’s the New What? Mark Anthony Waters says, gay fashion is the new straight fashion, in the ‘hood that is, and that’s what makes it new.

Anthony says he’s always had a distinctive sense of fashion…until recently that is. Now, the very same boys who teased him as a kid are jacking his style, shedding their plain blue denim and white T’s for ornamented skinny jeans and patterned shirts in every shade. In this story, Anthony explores the intersection of fashion, youth culture, and identity, reframing what it means to look tough, and reminding us that the best fashion is always dangerous.

What’s the new what? I say, gay fashion is the new straight fashion… in the hood, that is. And that’s what makes it new.

In ghetto neighborhoods in my generation, male fashion has always been about blending in. I know you’ve seen the look before: white T’s, blue jeans, and Nikes. The rapper, Keak Da Sneak, even recorded an anthem dedicated to the boring uniform of the street.

I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the white T look. I’m all about big shiny sunglasses, sparkling necklaces, tight legged jeans…and this cute shirt I spotted at one of my favorite stories: DD’s Discounts.

Look at this! Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking for this shirt forever… (more ambi)

The straight boys who used to whisper about me on the bus haven’t discovered DD’s yet, but they are jacking my style. It all started when artists like Kanye West, Pherrell, and Cam’ron showed up on the TV screen, suited and booted in outfits I would have picked out in middle school. Now my uber-macho nephew, AR, is raiding my closet.

AR (on tape)
Tell you the truth, unc, you got swag.

AR loves that word swag.

AR (on tape)
Swag is how you dress, it’s how you make people compliment you on everything you do, even how you walk, that’s swag.

I’m so proud AR doesn’t look like every other fashion reject in a white t-shirt. But standing outside my closet at home, I ask AR if he thinks my favorite new shirt is “swagalicious” (his word, not mine). It’s got a rainbow pattern and says, “I will not apologize.”

AR (on tape)
(Sigh). I mean… no disrespect to the homos, but that’s not my swag.

No disrespect taken, cause I’ll always dress better than he does. But then I ask AR if he’d at least compliment a gay boy on a nice pair of jeans.

AR (on tape)
If they do got something nice on, I will respect that, and I will let em know that. I like the jeans.


Hearing that comforts me. But Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal, who writes about gender and race, isn’t so optimistic. He says straight boys might push the boundaries in terms of fashion…

PROF NEAL (on tape)
But might not push those boundaries in terms of the cultures and life styles that some of those clothing styles come from. So they can dress gay in their minds, but they might not want to have friendships with gay men.

They don’t have to be friends with me… They just better realize they wanna look like me. And if ghetto fashion has always been about looking tough, there is nothing tougher than being who you are, without apologizing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kayaking Is the New Canoeing

By Molly Adams, Blunt Youth Radio/Youth Radio
Listen here!
Read it here!

What’s the New What? This week, our story comes from Maine, where outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the lingering warm days and going on full moon adventures in the water to wrap up the season. Molly Adams of Blunt Radio reports there’s been a sea change in Maine when it comes to how people are riding the waters.

INTRO: It’s time again to hear what’s in and what’s out from our friends at Youth Radio in the latest installment of their series What’s the New What? This week, our story comes from Maine, where outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the lingering warm days and going on full moon adventures in the water this week (Sept 14-16) to wrap up the season. But as Molly Adams of Blunt Radio reports, there’s been a sea change in Maine when it comes to HOW people are riding the waters…
SCRIPT: What is the new what? Kayaking is the new canoeing.

The open-hulled canoe is classic Americana. Boy Scouts don’t kayak…they canoe. They even get canoe badges. But lately faster, sleeker, lighter kayaks have overshadowed and outsold the heavy lumbering canoe. And who cares? Well, we Mainers do. Canoes are the Maine paddle-craft! They are part of our history.

KELLOGG: A lot of place names here in Maine, Kennebec, Penobscot, Presumpscot, Machias, they’re river names. That’s Zip Kellogg, the author of “The Whole Paddler’s Catalog.”

KELLOGG: They have names like that because the Native Americans were traveling on these rivers in their canoes mostly. My earliest memory of a canoe is falling out of it. Maybe that's why kayaks sell better. They don't tip as easily. Zip doesn’t think so.

KELLOGG: Um…Personally, I don’t think that’s true because I think the canoe does fine on its own. It’s when people get in it that things start to happen.
You can see how the canoe vs kayak debate gets personal.

But preferences aside, Maine’s top paddling retailer Johnson Outdoors says kayaks are outselling canoes almost three to one.

AX: Water sounds
I went to try out a kayak myself, something I haven't done in a couple years. LL BEAN GUIDE, STEVEN CUSTER: Go ahead and get in there and get your butt as far back in the seat as it will go. MOLLY: All right. (fade down here) AX: Water sounds I’m in the Harraseeket Bay in Freeport, Maine on a kayak tour. I meet Ken and Eric Desmitt there, a father-son pair from Ohio.

ERIC: Yeah. I’d rather go kayaking than canoeing.

MOLLY: Is it ‘cause it’s like, faster? ERIC: It’s easier too.

MOLLY: Now have you ever been canoeing before, Ken?

KEN: Uh, many, many years ago in the Boy Scouts. That’s the problem right there. Kids these days… they learn how to paddle in a kayak not a canoe, like the Boy Scouts did and do. Families are buying three or four kayaks a piece if they can afford it; two small or tandem kayaks for the kids, two for the adults. That’s a big shift from buying one canoe per family. And in Freeport, Maine, LL Bean’s Alice Andrenyak has canoes in stock, they’re just out-numbered.

ALICE: Recreational kayaks are significantly up in sales. This is a me boat, so people who have limited time can go out by themselves.

These “me” boats…in personalized colors like “cloud” and “sunrise”…are taking over, even as canoe sales remain steady.

In a sign of the times, an Old Town, Maine fixture “Old Town Canoes” is now called “Old Town Canoes and Kayaks.”

I feel somewhat wistful about the rise of the kayak. I like canoes. They’re kind of dorky in a slow, sweet way and you can meet a friend in the middle to share a sandwich.

Maybe in a few years, canoes will become an object of nostalgic lust and come back on top, but for now, here in Maine, kayaking is the new canoeing.
Host Back Announce: Molly Adams is a reporter with Blunt Radio in Maine. That story was produced by Youth Radio.

©2008 Youth Radio, Oakland, CA

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slacktivism is the New Apathy

Youth Radio’s Nico Savidge examines the trend of “slacktivism” – how internet awareness campaigns and “social” ventures offer political involvement, without offering real pathways to action.

Listen to it Here
Read it Here

Photo By Melanie Burger

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Convention Is The New Nightclub

Listen to it here!

By Ankitha Bharadwaj

Minneapolis-Saint Paul___Now before you get your baffled face on, let me explain.

When Youth Radio was preparing its Republican National Convention reporter team, the first question they asked us was...

Youth Radio: "How old are you?"

Ankitha: "What? I'm 18, why do you ask?"

Youth Radio: "That's good, because only journalists 18 and over are allowed into the RNC."

Seems like a lame rule, doesn't it? The obvious reason might be that only people over 18 are allowed to vote, so if there are die hard political junkie journalists who are on the younger end of the spectrum, they're denied the chance to play a vital role in this year's political process.

Much like this convention, many nightclubs across the country require partygoers to be at least 18 to enter. The resemblances don't stop there. If you've ever been to a club, I'm sure you've had interesting experiences with the huge bouncer, who guards the club doors to make sure only the "worthy" are allowed in. Similarly, the Xcel Center in St. Paul was guarded by security officers, metal detectors, and scanners. Moreover, just as you'd need to have your name on a special list, the convention requires credentials for anyone to enter the Xcel Center, and getting those credentials is tricky business if you're under 18.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it a little weird that the RNC didn't allow journalists under 18 when they're trying so hard to appeal to the youth? And moreover, this just gives the Democrats more power, since the DNC happily welcomed underage reporters.

We spoke with folks from YPress, a media organization similar to Youth Radio headquartered in Indianapolis. They were frustrated when the RNC denied them any credentials, forcing YPress to look elsewhere for RNC coverage. And the worst thing is that they've covered both the DNC and the RNC for years now, so it's a little confusing why they weren't credentialed this time around. But the YPress team got some pretty awesome stories; they interviewed Fred Thomson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other cool cats. So take that RNC.

At the very least, Youth Radio producers reported, Youth Radio was in the “Special Press” category (under college media and weekly newspapers) handled by the GOP directly.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hope is the New Rebellion

Listen Audio
So what’s it like to be a young protester at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week? Complicated. That’s because some young organizers and activists are trying to craft critical messages while trying to harness the positive energy of Obama-supporters. Youth Radio’s Martin Macias reports how that conflict is appearing on the streets of Denver among protesters. Read It

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Inner City is the New "In Crowd"

by Jesse Budlong

ATLANTA_We have a lot of SUVs in my "in-town" neighborhood of Atlantic Station. All the roads were built by the State Department of Transportation and are classified as highways stemming from the Interstate -- implying very high speeds and a lack of pedestrian involvement.

This is the “urban lifestyle” toted by many developers as what it’s truly like in a city. Many new glittering high-rises offer more parking than their predecessors and their ground-level retail contains many chains commonly associated with a mall food court.

To bring people into our cities we have to offer them the comfort reminders of their old suburban lifestyles instead of their new urban one. McMansions catering to those who can’t downsize their square footage and roads must be wider to accommodate their habitual car habits. When you compare old in-town neighborhoods such as Inman Park or Candler Park to their newer counterparts of Atlantic Station and Dupont Commons you notice the loss of community and more pronounced sense of mass production. Anything created on such a scale would be considered "in-organic growth," likely found in the suburbs.

I’ve always been able to spot OTP (Outside the Perimeter) from ITP (Inside the Perimeter) people, and quite frankly I don’t want any OPT’ers in my neighborhood. They would just buy a nice cottage, demolish it, build some monstrosity out of Better Homes and Garden then “attempt” to parallel park their Hummer out front.

My parents are still OTP in a sense. They drive a little more than they should and they aren’t very involved in community affairs. Despite my pleas to petition our neighborhood to listen to the needs of it’s residents and opposed to its customers, which is run like a shopping mall.

Now don’t think I don’t appreciate older, more pro-active suburban neighborhoods that reign in growth and promote more efficient lifestyles. It’s just that there aren’t many in the metro Atlanta region, a region that before 1950 didn’t even exist. It’s all one large, pre-fabricated subdivision.

Jesse Budlong is a native of Atlanta, Georgia currently studying Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thai is the new Latin Flavor

There are TONS of parallels between Thai food and dishes from different Latino cuisines including Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian. Even the spicy, sour and sweet flavor profiles are similar. My aunt started cooking Thai at home—and she didn’t even need to buy new spices!” Youth Radio LA’s Evelyn Martinez says the newest hot spot for Latinos in LA isn’t the taquería, it’s the neighborhood Thai restaurant.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Public is the new Private

Let’s face it, conversations that used to be conducted through private e-mail exchanges are now posted for all to see on Facebook walls. Clothing that used to simply imply “I’m better than you” now actually says “I’m better than you”.

It’s gotten out of hand. For my generation, sharing information is no big deal. I no longer hesitate when I type my phone number and detailed plans for the evening on social networking sites. In fact, sending information through private channels has become unheard of, even out of style. The last time I gota Facebook message (the equivalent to an e-mail), I expected it to be SUPER juicy, since only I would be able to access it. I thought the message would at least include a social security number, or perhaps a dirty comment about a backstabbing friend. Instead, the message was just a simple “what’s up” – this secretive “hello” almost offended me. I mean, who sends a hello message and doesn’t make it public? When wallposts that say things like “I went to this show last night and got so drunk, and then I hooked up with some hot guy named Jake and we spent 14 dollars at the hookah bar on Mission…” what’s left to send as a private message?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Aprons are the New Skirts

So I was in Mars yesterday, a vintage store on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, CA, and went over to their collection of super adorable aprons. I actually had been eyeing them for a while. I don’t cook that often – and when I do I never wear an apron. But these kitchen garments didn’t look like they belonged anywhere near the oil and grease.

A lot of them were flounced and see-through, with delicate colors like light yellows and pinks. Some of them had pockets and flowery designs. Sifting through the clothing racks, my eyes landed on a navy, sheer apron with red and green lining and flowered pattered pockets. It was love at first sight and was way too cute to be hidden by a kitchen counter.

When I told my friend that I planned to wear it outside of the home, she suggested I wrap it around a black skirt. So today I put on a knee length black dress and tied my new apron around my waist. I bought it for 16 dollars, which may be a little pricey for a place like Mars – but there were others in the rack that went for as low as 8 dollars. It was great find and a trendy fashion statement (The compliments from my co-workers let me know).

I know I look like a throw-back. My mother was one of the first girls to wear pants to school back in the 1960’s. So why am I reverting to 1950’s housewife fashion? Honestly, I just like the look. I didn’t wear my apron to set a new trend, but if a Domestic-Goddess style comes out of it, so be it. If my bold fashion statement has inspired you in anyway, go ahead and rock an apron of your own.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bi is the New Straight

- Lauren Silverman

Girls kissing girls has been “hot” for a while – but recently musicians have gotten hip to the trend and started releasing girl-on-girl themed songs. One that stands out in my memory is T Pain’s “My Girl Got a Girlfriend”.

“My girl got a girlfriend, I just found out but it's aight as long as I can be with her too. My girl got a girlfriend it really is not a problem cuz I'ma make it do what it do. Cuz havin two chicks is better than no chicks I'd rather just join in, keep my girl and keep the other one too.”

And more recently Kate Perry’s “I kissed a girl”.

“I kissed a girl and I liked it…It's not what, good girls do, Not how they should behave.”

People seem to either love or hate the new girl-on-girl song trend, and I tend to side with the latter. My frustration has nothing to do with opposition to girls being with girls, but rather, the way in which bi and lesbian women are portrayed in the media. As someone who identifies as bi-sexual, I find it offensive to hear a guy talking about how excited he is that his girl’s got a girlfriend, and how that means he will automatically get to be with two girls. Likewise, it bothers me that Kate Perry, who apparently isn’t bi, and has never actually kissed a girl, repeats over and over that she kissed a girl and misbehaved. Unsurprisingly, I was even more offended by her other biggest hit, “Ur So Gay (and you don’t even like boys)”.

When asked in an interview whether she thought the song might be offensive to her gay listeners, Kate Perry responded “I think when everyone hears it, they’ll laugh. It’s very funny and positive and kitsch…”

Offensive or not, the song has spurred a lot of great dialogue among young people. If you skim comments about the video or lyrics there's responses such as:

"I'm sick of this bisexuality crap, it's all along the same lines as that Tila Tequila's just for guys to beat off to, it is horrible representation for gays and lesbians..."

and even:

"I love this song. Not the best, lyrically. But hey - its different. Its not too often you hear songs about homosexuality/bisexuality on the radio. Our generation is more open and accepting that previous ones, and now the music is starting to reflect that."

Its true, the fact that major recording studios are accepting lyrics about girls kissing girls is progressive, now we just have to wait to see how long it takes them to promote a song featuring two guys getting it on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Orbitz is the New Marlboro

- Lauren Silverman

Young people may not be addicted to cigarettes any more, but they are buying packs of something else daily. Back when I was in high school, it was all about Winterfresh. Today, it’s all about Orbitz and Stride.

Stand near a teenager and smell their breath – don’t be afraid – I guarantee that you’ll get a strong whiff of cinnamint or forever fruit. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll smell nicotine. Today, instead of yellow teeth and tobacco it’s about pearly whites and spearmint. It’s “can I get a stick” instead of “can I get a light”.

Chewing gum consumption, just like tobacco consumption, varies by geography. In the U.S., people chew an average of 182 stick equivalents per person per year. In the U.K., the figure is 125 - it’s 103 in Germany, 84 in Russia, 20 in China, and 4 in India. But studies show that sugar free gum sales are on the rise.

Chewing gum, just like cigarettes, has been extremely popular among young females. The typical gum chewer is female, aged 15-24, lower middle-class, employed, and has a large family. Among the young, more females than males are smokers.

And just as some young females turned to cigarettes to shed pounds back in the day, young girls today may be turning to sugar free chewing gum to lose weight.

While what teenagers are putting in their mouths has changed, what they are taking out of their wallet hasn’t. Gum isn’t all that cheap when you are chewing it nonstop. A pack costs anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00, no doubt cheaper than cigarettes, but still a dent in your paycheck.

There are plenty of good reasons to make the switch from tobacco to sugar free gum. But I have to wonder why so many young boys and girls refuse to just leave their mouths empty and their wallets full.

*image taken from

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Killing is the New Fighting - Bonus Video

Ayesha Walker breaks down the broader picture behind her story about Richmond. Read on for more.

I’ve lived in Richmond, California for almost 21 years. My mom has lived here for 52 years. She and my grandmother would always tell me stories of “ancient” downtown Richmond. Both my grandma and my mom told me stories of when young people actually walked the streets late at night – without caution! They told me that youngsters actually resolved their conflicts with some old school quality fighting, and were still friends the next day.

My generation, on the other hand, is equipped with lots and lots of guns, lots and lots of drugs, and way too much leisure time. Richmond has an average of about 4 murders a month. Last year, 47 people were murdered in my city, and in 2006 it was 42. But now, who’s really responsible for all of this mayhem? Someone growing up in Richmond is going to have a greater chance of losing their life than someone growing up in upper class Piedmont, California. I just wonder why some people can go home and be safe while others cannot.

Anyi Howell, the producer of this piece, said something that really struck home with me. He told me that authentic news can only come from inside the community, and that news reporters distort the truth by looking in from the outside. Often you’ll hear a story on the local news painting a picture of how dangerous a city is without explaining the root of the problem. Young people face these root issues in almost every inner city in America: high schools without windows or enough books but full of underpaid and under-qualified teachers; a lack of confidence that stems from institutional neglect, as far back as elementary school; and the white collar employment that would be easier to access with these resources in place. As long as we have to focus on everyday survival, in place of education, we as young people will continue the legacy of becoming working class individuals, just like our parents. Instead of facing these problems, we take our frustration and depression out on each other, and that sometimes results in violence. But, I guess the news isn't designed to paint that broad a picture.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flickr is the New Photo Album

-Lauren Silverman

Do you remember photo albums? I do. On a shelf in my living room there are 20 photo albums. Each one represents a year of family history. The first red leather album is from 1983, the year my brother was born. As you scan from left to right the albums get progressively thinner, entirely disappearing by the year 2002. No, my family didn’t stop taking pictures. In fact, if anything, we take more pictures now than ever before. The difference is that we, like pretty much everyone else, don’t print them.

Today, printing pictures is an anomaly. It's not just teenagers who are uploading photos of crazy parties and drunken adventures. Your 10 year-old son, grandma and grandpa, and even new moms and dads have put aside the old fashioned photo album and decided to pick up their laptops.

Theoretically, online photo albums mean more opportunities to share those “special” moments with friends and relatives. In reality, it has meant subjecting friends and relatives to pretty much EVERY moment of everyone's lives. You see, photo albums have a limited number of pages. Flicker, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Photobucket, on the other hand, allow you to upload as many pictures as you want. Now that’s a lot of baby photos, or kitties, or sunsets.

The problem with storing photos online, instead of printing them, is that photographers no longer have any incentive to be selective about what they share and what they don’t. Rather than sifting through a collection of that year’s photos and showcasing the top 25, they share all 1,300. Oh, and I do mean 1,300. Sitting on a couch and looking through a photo album with two pictures per page was painful enough – sitting on desk chairs and scrolling through flickr albums with 300 shots per page actually makes my eyes bleed.

It’s not that I miss glossy photo paper or dropping rolls of film off at the grocery store to be developed. What I miss is sitting down with a friend and seeing a few breathtaking views from her most recent trip, instead of being sent a link to a webpage with 500 pictures documenting her every step.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is The Fist Bump The New High Five? [Video Bonus]

This week, the WTNW video squad provides you with a handy dandy guide to international hand gestures. Think of it as a primer on sign language for the hip.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chinese is the New Black [South Africa]

-- Unathi Kondile, South African Correspondent

I’d like to apologize, in advance, to all Chinese people who might read this. It’s not personal. I can just already imagine Chinese folks screaming, “kuai dian! kuai dian! (hurry! hurry! ) make us black too!”

Now ask me what the new what is?! Well, it was on Wednesday – the 18th of June - when I stood, gaping, watching the late night news as the presenter said something along lines of, “The Pretoria high court granted a landmark ruling that Chinese South Africans are to be included in the definition of ‘black people’ in legislation designed to benefit previously disadvantaged groups,” and further said Chinese now “automatically qualify for full benefits in terms of employment equity and broad based black economic empowerment legislation.”

“Come on!” I thought. We’re barely grappling with African immigrants who are already being included in this definition of “black people” and reaping the benefits of our hard fought freedom. How far can you stretch the definition of black people anyway? Doesn’t black refer to a skin colour?

So now, as it stands in South Africa, being black means you are Chinese, you are Indian, you are a white woman who was previously denied jobs in the past; and finally you are also the person who actually has a black skin colour and was subject to abhorrent discrimination in the past. Talk about a rat race - and increasing the competition pool for scarce resources!

We already have enough black locals who are struggling to make ends meet or even secure Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) deals; locals who still haven’t benefited from these empowerment programmes, and now we have more people being conveniently labeled “black”? One must never forget that certain races in South Africa refused to be classified as “black” in the past – all in the name of convenience. See if you were termed black in the past – you were the lowest denomination of God’s creation and you were sidelined into townships and makeshift shacks, whilst the Chinese or let me call them “new blacks” had better privileges than the lowly original blacks. Actually Chinese South Africans were called coloured people (or mixed race) back then, and not black, and not subject to the same discrimination. Now all of a sudden everyone wants to be black? Seems being black is fashionable these days. Everyone wants to be black in South Africa. I can just see everyone dreaming they were black.

As I watched the news I heard an emotional Patric Chong, chairperson of the Chinese Association of South Africa, expressing his joy and how they were overjoyed with being afforded the opportunity to be black and reap the benefits of being black. “A black Chinese!” I thought, “Now that’s definitely new!”

Mccain is the New Flip Flopper, and "McCainisms" will soon be the New "Bushisms"

-Lauren Silverman

Type in the words “flip-flop” and “McCain” into google and you'll probably forget that Kerry was the original “flip-flopper”. Headlines say McCain has flip-flopped on gay marriage, on his “100 years in Iraq” comment, on immigration, on ethanol, and now on offshore drilling. Krugman of the New York Times explains how McCain used to be fairly independent on energy policy, voting in the past against the special-interest-driven 2005 energy bill, but is now nothing more than a big flip-flopper. Last Monday, McCain made the call for more offshore drilling - illiciting a slew of criticism - criticism he rightly deserves.

Like the media, I stopped making fun of Bush a long time ago. Yes, I still think he’s an ignorant human being, but I, like others, am also aware that the Republican who wants to take his place, Senator McCain, is a flip-flopper, ridicuoulsy superstitious, and on the verge of needing a respirator - which provides me and political pundits plenty of fresh joke material. I mean, how hard is to make fun of a guy who at all times keeps on him a lucky compass, a lucky feather, a lucky penny and even assigns his assistant to carry his lucky pen – a Zebra Jimnie Gel Rollerball.

I have a feeling magazines such as Slate will replace their “Bushism of the day” section with “McCainisms” before we know it. Some of my favorite quotes from the flip-flopper are:

"I'm older than dirt, I've got more scars than Frankenstein, but I've learned a few things along the way."
"You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran? Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

For more entertaining McCainisms, check out

* "flip-flop" image taken from

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spanglish is the New Ad Lingo

--Luis Sierra, Youth Radio LA

What’s the new What? Spanglish is the new ad lingo.

Spanglish, code-switching between English and Spanish, is what marketers are using to sell everything from the war in Iraq to Burger King’s fusion food, “Chicken Fries”.

But don’t get it twisted. Spanglish has been around for a long time. And you can hear it everywhere Spanish speakers live and communicate with one another. But, according to Catarino Lopez, Creative Director for Bromley Communications, and maker of the BK Chicken Fries Commercial, the Latino market is always growing, as immigrants come to the U.S. for jobs and better opportunities. And as immigrant populations gain economic mobility, advertisers are trying to sell them more and more expensive products. They’re not just selling products; they’re selling a sense of belonging.

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimates that Latino purchasing power will grow to over a trillion dollars by 2010. But Ilan Stavans, the editor of the Spanglish Dictionary, and Professor at Amherst College, believes the financial impact of Spanglish will be minor when compared to the way it will rewrite culture. He says Spanish will become much more prevalent in media, and ultimately shape the way we use English. “So in other words, even if you don’t speak Spanglish, at some point in the very near future not able to understand even a little bit of Spanglish will become a handicap for you, ” Stavans says.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bikes Better be the New Cars

-Lauren Silverman

Back in the 80s there was talk about electric cars being the new BMWs. Today you hear rumors about hybrids being the next SUVs. I am all for replacing our gas-guzzling behemoths with something more energy efficient, but there is a new alternative that’s gaining ground. Thanks to unaffordable gas and cities taking the lead in creating more bike-friendly neighborhoods, bikes are quickly becoming the new transportation vehicles of choice.

I started riding my bike to school back in 9th grade, and since then, I’ve been hooked. It wasn’t the wind blowing in my face, or the off-roading capabilities of my cheap mountain bike that converted me. It was the ability to avoid traffic, park wherever I desired, not have to ask my dad for a ride, and save money on gas that really tickled my fancy.

More and more people are recognizing the advantages to biking to work and school; it is often faster than driving a car helps save money, the environment, and even keeps you in shape. Just look at the growing popularity of Critical Mass, an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in cities across the globe where bicyclists take to the streets en masse. Last time I rode in the Critical Mass of San Francisco there were hundreds of people, and the police were actually facilitating the event. And it's not only police that are jumping on board, other government officials are catching on to the bike trend too. Mayors, such as Newark, NJ.’s Cory Booker, and Boston’s Thomas M. Menino are making plans to improve their cities and stressing the importance of public transit and bike friendly streets. Portland just started a “Create-a-Commuter program”, which provides low-income adults with commuter bicycles as well as a session on commuter safety. The bikes even come with lights, a lock, a helmet, a pump, tool kits, maps and rainwear. If programs like this existed in more cities, I bet bike lanes would become a lot more common. Other bike-friendly modifications are taking place too. Across the street from where I work is a new free bike parking service, which means I don’t have to lug around a lock for my bike or worry about the wheel getting stolen. On more and more pavements I see the cute little bike sign indicating I actually have a few feet reserved for me and my bike - outta my way Volvos! And ratings for the most “bicycle friendly cities” not only help girls like me plan for future trips, but they make it desireable for cities to become “bike-friendly” tourist locations. Common rating websites gives the city of San Francisco spot number Eight - and I think they may be right, because since I moved here a month ago I have yet to be hit by a car…it was another story in Oakland (a city which isn’t on the list for a good reason.)

Because bikes are the new cars, in cities that haven’t made the necessary accommodations, bike accidents are increasing. I have experience with this first hand. Unfortunately, I have been hit by a car twice - well, once a man actually slammed into me because he didn’t look over his shoulder when he was trying to park, and the other time I was “doored” – someone carelessly opened the car door without checking to see if there were any bikes rolling by. I got quite a few roses and plenty of kind words after the first accident, but getting “doored” is basically an initiation ritual that doesn’t bring forth any sympathy cards from the biker community.

Even though they may be dangerous, bikes are flying off the shelves. Just the other day, as I walked over to pick up my bike and head home, I overheard a co-worker mumble to himself “I gotta get a bike!” I agree. My coworker should get a bike; but first we need to make sure our streets are prepared for bikes to be the new cars.

*image featuring SF's critical mass from Wikipedia.

Spanglish is the new Adspeak

This week's video bonus features examples of Spanglish as used in television ads.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Breakfast is the New Dinner

-Lauren Silverman

Breakfast is the New main course. Ever since health researches began stressing the importance of eating a morning meal, and corporations such as McDonald's found out that getting people to buy breakfast food items would boost revenues, there’s been a major push to get kids to stuff their face while they’re still in their pajamas.

Humans have been eating breakfast since…well…for a long time. Yet only this year has breakfast really made it on the menu (pun intended). Subway, McDonald's, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Starbucks now feature special “breakfast menus”. Most recently, Jamba Juice entered the breakfast war with new breakfast smoothies. I just tried the “chunky strawberry smoothie” and had trouble chugging down the strawberries, bananas, yogurt soymilk and peanut butter mix topped with fresh bananas and organic pumpkin flax seed granola at seven in the morning. It was everything I might normally want to sit down and eat for breakfast, put in a blender (literally).

Adding breakfast to your daily routine is supposedly a good thing. Scientific research shows many health benefits to regularly eating breakfast. So, when on April 9th the Burger King Corp. announced the introduction of the new Cheesy Bacon BK WRAPPER[TM], and the senior vice president of global product marketing said "Our guests will never skip breakfast again..."
We should have been relieved. Right?

I’m not so sure. And neither is the Board of Health in New York. They came up with a plan to help people think before they bite into a 1,280-calorie McDonald's deluxe breakfast.

And those morning breakfast bars that have become so popular? When I was little I definitely didn’t sit down to morning cartoons with a “Coco-Pops bar” or an “Oats Sugar Raisins Coconut Granola bar”. I mean, what ever happened to normal, un-compacted meals. I’m talking about some cereal, some milk, and some fruit – not cereal milk fruit bars that are the size and density of a brick.

Us young folk are getting a pretty confusing message. “EAT BREAKFAST – DON’T EAT BREAKFAST”. Skipping breakfast leads to poor health, yet embracing egg mc muffins and chocolate peanut butter toffee bars daily can’t be good either. I agree with the BBC news that “Cereal bars are no substitute for cornflakes,” and for that matter, “hamlettes”are no substitute for fresh scrambled eggs.

What's on your breakfast menu?

* Images taken from: &

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The 70s are the New Golden Years

-Lauren Silverman

The 70s are the New golden years. People have been living longer lives for a while now, but it’s
only recently that old people have actually been able to enjoy the additional years and not simply spend them dreaming about being young again. Old people are partaking in activities that used to be exclusively for young people; they’re breaking norms and transforming the structure of the very society that we know – mostly because of technology.

Technology has not only made old age tolerable, it’s made it enjoyable. Whether its advanced knee surgeries, fancy hiking skis, or all-terrain wheelchairs, technology is making it possible for the elderly to do things like run marathons and conquer mountains. It’s allowing grandma and grandpa to have children when they would normally be having colonoscopies. Because of technology, women are getting pregnant later, the average age is 29.1 (the country with the oldest average pregnancy age is New Zealand, at 29.9, according to 62 year-old men are taking up marathon racing as their newest hobby.

The senior Olympics may not be as popular as the regular Olympics, but the fact that last year in Louisville there were over 10,000 competitors and 20,000 spectators, with oldest competitors being over 100 years old, is pretty telling. Old age doesn't have to be boring anymore.The demand for new technology to help the elderly stay "young" is creating plenty of new tech jobs, yet the elderly’s newfound independence won’t be good news for nursing homes. High-tech homes, equipped with everything from computerized therapy to help boost memory and robot arms to assist with housework, enable elderly people to stay in their homes and make their golden years truly golden. Old people across the nation are joining wrinkly hands to form "naturally-occurring retirement communities" that feature concierge services and weekly field trips to the natural history museum. Sounds pretty good to me.

Our society has reached a tipping point where it’s no longer unpleasant to be old, in fact, it can be quite refreshing.

*Images taken from: and

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Friends Are The New Lovers [Bonus Video]

This week on NPR's Day To Day, we'll test out the theory that Friends are the New Lovers. Our proven scientific method included wrangling our "What's The New What?" writers and asking what they think about the "Friends With Benefits" lifestyle.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Music is the New Background Noise

- Lauren Silverman

On the train, in the park, at the gym, in English class – these are all places I’ve become accustomed to seeing people listening to music. But when I saw several people climbing up Half Dome, an 8,842 feet high mountain on which over 60 people have died, that’s when I knew music was the new background noise.

Today, men, women and children screw their ear buds in tight, nod their heads rhythmically to a muffled beat, and stare blankly ahead during just about every activity . Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against music, and drowning out street noise and chit chat with my favorite song or Youth Radio podcast is something I am definitely guilty of; however, I have my limits, and you should too. You won’t find me on a hike blasting Maroon Five’s newest hit, or taking in a breathtaking view of Yosemite Valley while drumming my fingers to 50 cent’s latest remix.

I know daily routines can get boring, but I feel like today people have absolutely no tolerance for silence. I mean, I get frustrated if I forget my I-pod on my way to work, and throw a mini tantrum if I have to talk to a friend’s house with no distraction. Heaven forbid I sit quietly on the subway, or stop and say hello to the person sitting next to me on the bus. I-pods may take the edge off the repetitiveness of every day activities, but they also take away people’s ability to be in the moment – even just for one moment.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Organic Clothing is the New Haute Couture

What’s the new what? I say Organic Clothing is the new Haute Couture

If you’re fashionable, but aren’t already an “environmentalist,” you will be soon – whether you want to be or not. The trendy shoes you slip on in the morning, the designer sweatshirt you zip up as you leave the club – its becoming increasingly likely those accessories are made from organic materials.

That's right, major retailers such as Payless and Target have embraced "green" clothing. Payless doesn't only offer silver stilettos, brightly colored plastic flip-flops, and fake leather boots. Now, it features 100% organic sneakers and hemp slides. Target, "where fashion fanatic meets organic-on-a-budget," just launched its first international collection featuring certified organic items.

A trend that began a decade ago with high-end companies such as Patagonia, 100% organic cotton clothing is no longer exclusively for the elite traditional environmentalist. You don’t have to go to stores with names like “The Pure Spirit” or “Children of the Green Earth” to get organic accessories. All you have to do is go to your local Walgreens.

This means people are walking around with their feet snug in organic cotton, bamboo or hemp fiber socks. Guys and girls are buttoning up organic cotton jeans and running on Nike’s recycled tire shoes – but does sustainability actually play in to consumers’ purchase decisions?

I doubt it. I have a feeling that people will purchase environmentally friendly apparel and accessories provided they are fashionable. Unless consumers understand the bigger reasons behind buying organic clothing, eco-chic will just be another short-lived fad, not a truly sustainable fashion statement.

(Image taken from

Psychics are the New Psychologists

-Alyssa Wagner

What’s the new what? For me and lots of my friends, psychics are the new psychologists.

So here’s an example: One of my best friends Leslie and her boyfriend broke up. It was a pretty bad break up, and everyone agreed the boyfriend was a pretty bad guy. Leslie’s parents thought she needed some help coping and sent her to therapy. After being in therapy for three months, Leslie realized that she hadn’t moved on - all she was talking about in therapy was the past. Plus, hearing from her therapist what was wrong with her relationship and herself made her feel like she was crazy. So on her birthday, she decided to go see a psychic. It really made a difference.

Of course she was skeptical at first, but the psychic helped her look to the future, not just dwell on what went wrong in the past. She wanted to know that she could be happy again and that she wouldn’t always be stuck on this guy.

Anyone who has gone through something awful knows that dwelling in the past isn’t any fun if what you want is to be happy and hopeful again. And getting to that point isn’t always quick with a psychologist. Even the psychics I know agree that if you have some serious stuff going on, you might want to take the time to see a psychologist, but time is money, and when you go see a psychic you get a lot more bang for your buck. A lot of my friends are on budgets, so this is a great way for them to get exposed to some of what’s going on for them in one session. In fact, the psychic I see, Rabbit, deters people from coming all the time. I call her a psychic, but she doesn’t really like the word psychic, and prefers to call herself an “intuitive consultant.”

Rabbit is a woman I saw when I was about to go abroad and had some serious reservations about the trip. As soon as I walked in the door, without my saying anything, she understood my fears and so much more. After that, it all made sense. When you have a Tarot Card reading session with Rabbit, she asks you if there is anything in particular that you want to ask about and then you both shuffle the Tarot cards. She sets out the cards in a way that will best answer your questions. She refers to the cards as keys that unlock things that were already on your mind. .

A lot of people thought at first that Rabbit must be a quack, and that I was a weirdo for going to see her, but the more they heard about her and what she said, the more they realized this woman was the real deal, and before I knew it, I had more friends and family members asking me for her number than I could keep up with! Believe it or not, Rabbit actually sees a lot of therapists – just further proof that more and more people are taking the intuitive arts more seriously.

And if licensed mental health professionals, are getting hip to this trend, you know there must be something to psychics becoming the new psychologists. To find out more about Tarot, Astrology and Intuitive Channeling readings, check out Rabbit's website.

Listen to the whole story here:

Check out the Bonus Video.