Why You’re Wearing Feathers Right Now


Jocelyn Marsh wearing headdress by Tiffa Novoa. Image: Brion Topolski, 2005

Right now all across America there is a feather shortage. In April, The Billings Gazette reported:

Jewelry-makers and hairstylists have been snatching up the premium chicken feathers used in standby trout-fly patterns, creating a sudden run on a market that’s ill-prepared for significant fluctuations of demand.

“Supplies are just decimated,” said Jim Cox, co-owner of the Kingfisher fly shop in Missoula, [Montana]. “We just can’t get the premium feathers. Even the (sales) reps for the suppliers can’t get them for themselves.”

What began a couple of years ago as a scattered interest in feather jewelry has erupted into a full-on fad for hair extensions made out of long, slender feathers — the exact same feathers used in the vast majority of traditional dry-fly patterns.

The feathers most valued both by fly-tiers and, lately, fashion mavens come from specific types of roosters that are selectively bred to produce long, slender feathers. Such chickens typically take almost a full year to raise before slaughter. What’s more, they’re rare: Only a few dozen commercial breeders exist in America, and most are small operations.

The situation’s getting so dire, American Public Radio’s Marketplace reports, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association is lobbying lawmakers about conservation. Tom Whiting, owner of Whiting Farms in western Colorado, one of the world’s largest producers of fly tying feathers, a third of whose sales now go to fashion, says, “We have orders far in excess of what we have in our system.” With the demand, the prices are skyrocketing. Last week the Oregonian reported a rooster neck of feathers that would have normally cost $29.95, is now selling for $360. A 300% – 700% jump in rooster saddle feather price is now typical.

In fashion parlance, feathers are in. Steven Tyler has been wearing the avian accessories as he judges American Idol contestants. Pop singer, Kesha, rocks feathers, too, even sticking one in Conan Obrien’s hair during a recent appearance on his show. Between Los Angeles’s mercantile meccas of Melrose Ave. and the Beverly Center you can get feather hair extensions, earrings, necklaces; feathers on boots, shoes, tops, skirts, hats, bras, anything. In the summer of 2011, feathers have become a staple of every sartorial and tonsorial aspect imaginable.

The other day I was asked my opinion as to where this current ubiquity of feathers has come from. But as it turns out, I happen to have something better than an opinion: I have an explanation.

Our story begins almost 12 years ago, in a little town in Oregon, by the name of Ashland, where a group of kids came together to start a circus performance troupe called, El Circo. The group would gain recognition within the Burning Man culture for the extravagant parties they threw at the festival, featuring lavish fire performances, a large, geodesic dome venue, and a top-notch sound system that attracted world-renowned music acts to perform there. In a 2005 San Francisco Bay Guardian article on the effect that the various groups within the Burning Man community have had on San Francisco nightlife — an impact which now extends to the entire west coast’s, and arguably global, dance culture — the writer paid particular attention to the influence of El Circo:

El Circo has fused a musical style and a fashion sense that are major departures from the old rave scene. [They are credited] with creating the postapocalyptic fashions that many now associate with Burning Man. Most of the original El Circo fashions, which convey both tribalism and a sense of whimsy, were designed by member Tiffa Novoa.”

Here are some of the El Circo costumes from their 2005 shows:

That same year, just two years out of college, I stumbled into the role of production manager for a newly-formed, L.A.-based vaudeville cirque troupe called, Lucent Dossier. Through that initial involvement with Lucent I would meet many other circus groups, including El Circo, who were by then based in San Francisco along with The Yard Dogs Road Show and Vau De Vire Society. There was also March Fourth Marching Band in Portland, Clan Destino in Santa Barbara, and Cirque Berzerk, and Mutaytor in L.A. As these acts grew, the I-5 Freeway became a central artery of culture, pumping a distinct combination of art, music, fashion, and performance up and down the west coast. A social scene evolved around these circus troupes the same way the punk subculture sprang up around the bands that defined it. For lack of another term, I’ve referred to this subculture over the years simply as “circus.”

In Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of the Circus, J. Dee Hill delves into the history and sociology underpinning the alternative culture circus resurgence:

Traditional forms of the tribe, like the village, have almost completely disappeared. Fewer and fewer people live in small communities where their daily interactions bring them in contact with the people they are deeply connected to, either spiritually or economically. Workers in modern corporations are replaceable and no longer bound to each other by the experience of a shared interdependence. The modern individual is preoccupied simultaneously by isolating, immediate concerns of personal survival and the larger, often intangible concerns of war, terror and economic change as transmitted by a now-seamless global media network. The intermediate space of community is not easily reached.

Not by accident, many of the newer, emergent forms of culture include a specifically tribal aspect. A return to tattooing, sacrification, fire performance and drumming, as well as a renewed interest in ritual, has occurred side-by-side with the formation of intentional (if temporary) communities such as the Rainbow Family gatherings and Burning Man festival.

It was at these kinds of festivals, in clubs and at underground raves, that alternative circus acts began appearing in the early 90′s. The performers were young, crazy “freaks” without any formal training who used circus costumes, skills or themes as performative means for expressing their own exaggerated personalities. Many went on to gain formal training or to study the history of the genre, but essentially their relationship to conventional circuses resembled that of outsider art to mainstream art circles. They didn’t really relate to the modern-day circus. They took their cues from something much, much older: the caravan-pulling gypsies.

The phenomenon of alternative circus performance can be seen as the theatrical dimension to one generation’s wholesale rediscovery of the concept of tribe.

And the inexorable feather trend is inextricably linked with this trajectory.

Novoa co-founded El Circo along with Marisa Youlden, a jewelry designer whose pieces accompanied Novoa’s costumes from the beginning. Youlden first used feathers in her pieces in 2000 and recalls this was when Novoa began creating elaborate feather headdresses for the performers. “At first, this was all costuming,” The 2005 Bay Guardian article quoted Matty Dowlen, El Circo’s operations manager, and performer, “but now it’s who I am.” The aesthetic Novoa first envisioned for the El Circo performers evolved into the prêt-à-porter of the circus subculture and became its signature style. Feathers, which had come to define El Circo costumes, became an integral component of the subculture’s street fashion:

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Yup, that last one is me. You can’t see the feather in this shot, but trust me, it was there. In the early to mid-aughts (when the photos above were taken) the feather was as de rigueur a cultural signifier within the circus scene as the safety pin was for punks in the late 1970s and early 80s. In fact, back before it was so commonplace as to lose meaning (or induce a national feather shortage), condescending terms for those sporting the look sprang up within the subculture: “Feather mafia,” was one I heard thrown around; “Trustafarian peacock” even made it into UrbanDictionary.com. And then, something else began to happen.

In 2005, Mötley Crüe picked circus as the concept for their comeback tour:

The next year, Panic! At the Disco won an MTV Video Music Award for their circus-themed, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” video:

A theme they then extended into their “Nothing Rhymes With Circus” tour:

And in 2008, the reigning queen of pop herself at the time, Britney Spears, came out with an album titled, Circus, and ensuing tour of the same theme:

Throughout pop culture, traces of circus’s influence would keep surfacing. The same year as Britney’s Circus album, this was the ad for that season’s America’s Next Top Model:

Or take this ad for the launch of Microsoft’s short-lived Kin mobile device from last year:

The proliferation of circus within pop culture has been directly tied to its growth in underground culture, and being in an underground circus troupe during the height of this infiltration offered backstage access to the proceedings. For example: The circus featured in the Kin ad is March Fourth Marching Band. The circus performers in the Panic! At the Disco music video and tour were members of the troupe I managed. The performers who went on tour with Mötley Crüe would become Lucent Dossier members, as well. Last year, Miley Cyrus’s “Can’t be Tamed” music video featured a winged Cyrus alongside a troupe of be-feathered backup dancers inside a giant birdcage:

Which bears a distinct resemblance to the birdcage (not to mention the aesthetic) Lucent Dossier used prominently in aerial performances during their 2008 residency at the Edison nightclub in Downtown LA.

Especially in Los Angeles, where the Downtown underground and the Hollywood pop culture industry coexist within such proximity of one another, their crossover was inevitable.

Which brings us back to fashion. In 2002, designers Cassidy Haley and Evan Sugerman, who’d met at Burning Man the year before, founded a fashion label called, Ernte. Two years later, Novoa joined Ernte Fashion Systems, parlaying the aesthetic vision she’d first developed for the circus stage into high fashion. Tragically, in October, 2007, at 32-years-old, Novoa suffered a fatal drug reaction while working in Bali, Indonesia. By then, Ernte had become a globally-renowned haute couture label, retailing in high-end boutiques like Maxfield in Los Angeles, Collete in Paris, and Loveless in Tokyo. Below are some shots of Novoa’s work:



In 2005, Haley went on to form a new label, Skingraft Designs, with Jonny Cota, and later Katie Kay, who was a partner from 2007 – 2010. All three had circus pedigree. Cota and Haley had performed with El Circo, and Kay was one of the original members in Lucent Dossier, for which Haley and Cota would occasionally moonlight. Some of Skingraft’s early work is pictured below.


Since opening their flagship store in Downtown L.A., in 2009, Skingraft’s “post-apocalyptic couture” has graced the celebrity skins of Adam Lambert and The Black Eyed Peas. Rhianna wore a custom Skingraft headdress in her “Rockstar 101″ music video:

And both Britney Spears’ and Beyoncé’s most recent videos are dripping in Skingraft designs. As Skingraft has evolved into an established name within the vocabulary of Los Angeles fashion, countless other apparel designers with circus origins have sprung up in the wings, as it were.

Over the years since Tiffa first put feathers on the bodies of circus performers, inspiring others to follow suit, hundreds of thousands, if not millions have been exposed to the style at Burning Man, and the E3 gaming convention where El Circo would perform; at Coachella, and the Grammy’s afterparty, where Lucent Dossier performed; at countless night clubs stretching from the depths of Downtown L.A. up the length of the Pacific coast. Hollywood stylists partying on Saturday night woke up on Monday with new inspiration. And circus costumers became famed fashion designers. In the end, this cross-pollination laid the foundation for the exact kind of tipping point Malcolm Gladwell describes in his seminal, 2000 book exploring the social mechanics that lead trends to “tip” into mass, cultural phenomena. The Tipping Point begins with the words:

For Hush Puppies — the classic American brushed-suede shoes with the lightweight crepe sole — the Tipping Point came somewhere between late 1994 and early 1995. The brand had been all but dead until that point. Sales were down to 30,000 pairs a year, mostly to backwoods outlets and small-town family stores. Wolverine, the company that makes Hush Puppies, was thinking of phasing out the shoes that made them famous. But then something strange happened. At a fashion shoot, two Hush Puppies executives — Owen Baxter and Geoffrey Lewis — ran into a stylist from New York who told them that the classic Hush Puppies had suddenly become hip in the clubs and bars of downtown Manhattan. “We were being told,” Baxter recalls, “that there were resale shops in the Village, in Soho, where the shoes were being sold. People were going to the Ma and Pa stores, the little stores that still carried them, and buying them up.” Baxter and Lewis were baffled at first. It made no sense to them that shoes that were so obviously out of fashion could make a comeback. “We were told that Isaac Mizrahi was wearing the shoes himself,” Lewis says. “I think it’s fair to say that at the time we had no idea who Isaac Mizrahi was.”

By the fall of 1995, things began to happen in a rush. First the designer John Bartlett called. He wanted to use Hush Puppies in his spring collection. Then another Manhattan deisgner, Anna Sui called, wanting shoes for her show as well. In Los Angeles, the designer Joel Fitzgerald put a twenty-five-foot inflatable basset hound — the symbol of the Hush Puppies brand — on the roof of his Hollywood store and gutted an adjoining art gallery to turn it into a Hush Puppies boutique. While he was still painting and putting up shelves, the actor Pee-wee Herman walked in and asked for a couple pairs. “It was total word of mouth,” Fitzgerald remembers.

In 1995, the company sold 430,000 pairs of the classic Hush Puppies, and the next year it sold four times that, and the year after that, still more, until Hush Puppies were once again a staple of the wardrobe of the young American male. In 1996, Hush Puppies won the prize for best accessory at the Council of Fashion Designers awards dinner at Lincoln Center, and the president of the firm stood up on the stage with Calvin Klein and Donna Karan and accepted an award for an achievement that — as he would be the first to admit — his company had almost nothing to do with. Hush Puppies had suddenly exploded, and it all started with a handful of kids in the East Village and Soho.

How did this happen? Those first few kids, whoever they were, weren’t deliberately trying to promote Hush Puppies. They were wearing them precisely because no one else would wear them. Then the fad spread to two fashion designers who used to shoes to peddle something else — haute couture. The shoes were an incidental touch. No one was trying to make Hush Puppies a trend. Yet, somehow, that’s exactly what happened. The shoes passed a certain point in popularity and they tipped. How does a thirty-dollar pair of shoes go from a handful of downtown Manhattan hipsters to every mall in America in the space of two years?

Right now, the roosters know, but they’re not telling.

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Special thanks for helping fill in the details and history for this post go to: Arin Ingraham, Siouxzen Kang, Marisa Youlden, and Cassidy Haley.

 

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23 thoughts on “Why You’re Wearing Feathers Right Now

  1. what a spectacular article! I truly enjoy reading your posts, your insight, wisdom, and experiences. I love every single group you posted about, and am so delighted that they are rocking the scene!

    fuck yeah!

  2. wow! what an epic piece of writing! you’re very talented, and even though i was on my way to lunch when i clicked onto this page, expecting just to read a word or two about how our tribe’s penchant for feathers is destroying the ecosystem or something, i hung on every word! and i absolutely love the history you bring in, and the homage you pay to the pioneers of this wicked style. you’re ahhsome! thank you!!!

    love,
    dragonfly
    your newest fan

  3. All I’m seeing is a bunch of hipsters who misappropriated aspects of Indigenous and also Romany and nomadic (“gypsy”) cultures before the mainstream media started doing that again. I’m for the arts, artists, and circus performers. But misappropriation is wrong. It denies identity ownership, non-Native and non-Romany people get credit for things they didn’t create (though that’s not a new trend in history), and it perpetuates stereotypes about Indigenous, nomadic, and tribal cultures while fetishizing and exoticizing them. Indigenous and Romany or other historically nomadic people are struggling for survival and to have their human rights recognized, while usually White and privileged people profit by misappropriating the work and art of these cultures. It’s a way of reaffirming stereotypes about tribal and nomadic cultures while erasing Indigenous and Romany people from the conversation. The steampunk and circus movements need to learn to make room for people of color by actually involving people of color in their work or play instead of stealing from them and erasing their voices. And that doesn’t mean that it’s okay for people of color from non-Native or non-Romany backgrounds to misappropriate Indigenous or Romany culture, either.

    Contemporary circus performers did not invent or even reinvent feather-wearing. The cultural costumes and rituals of Indigenous and Romany people are not trends. They’re deep-rooted, meaningful, and sacred parts of those cultures. Respect.

    1. Hi Riv,

      To clarify — I’m not suggesting that the circus scene INVENTED the use of feathers for adornment. That would be silly, huh!

      We can trace this use of feathers back many, many rounds over, back to the Native Americans, and back even before them, before anyone ever walked over the Bering Strait. But if we’re talking about this very particular, very immediate, inescapable trend of feathers in our current popular culture, it’s a story that doesn’t begin at the beginning of time. In writing this piece I was most interested not in ancient anthropology but in the contemporary social mechanics that have caused the trend to “tip,” as Malcolm Gladwell says. The story I am telling here is about how this aesthetic passed a certain point in popularity and “tipped,” spilling over into a massive cultural trend. The story of how, or by whom, the use of feathers in dress was first invented, is not the one I’m writing here. Primarily because all of culture is a layering of influences that have come before it. The Rolling Stones, a white British band, acknowledge the heavy influenced by Bo Diddley and other African American rhythm and blues musicians had on them. The same musicians who also influenced Elvis, whose other influences include Little Richard, and Fats Domino. Quentin Tarantino’s entire career has been built on creating his own version of the Japanese samurai movie genre. And that’s not even going into the millions of acts worldwide from Paris to Tokyo that have adopted American Hip Hop (itself an amalgamation of influences) and made it into something of their own. All of culture is moved forward by artists drawing creative inspiration from and adopting the ideas of those that came before to put their own creative spin on it and come up with a new take. According to your belief below — “And that doesn’t mean that it’s okay for people of color from non-Native or non-Romany backgrounds to misappropriate Indigenous or Romany culture, either.” — No one should incorporate the influences of any culture that doesn’t share the same skin pigment or nationality or heritage as them in the creation of their art. Not a world view I can get behind at all.

  4. thanks for the great article. it would be interesting to look at the source of feather adornment from various cultures. el circo’s look reminds me of aztec and mayan ceremonial attire. native hawaiian royalty wore whole garments made of colorful feathers in brilliant geometric designs. current fashion is so often derivative of other cultures – the circus/gypsy/neo-tribal/steampunk look is a wonderful melding process pulled from global cultural sources. another topic is fire dancing and poi ball performances sourced from maori culture and polynesia. facial tatooing and moko. it’s all there in plain sight, world’s history, just not from the western/anglo point of view.

    1. Hi Denise,

      Yes, we can trace this use of feathers back many, many rounds over, back to the Native Americans, and back even before them, before anyone ever walked over the Bering Strait. But if we’re talking about this very particular, very immediate, inescapable trend of feathers in our current popular culture, it’s a story that doesn’t begin at the beginning of time. In writing this piece I was most interested not in ancient anthropology but in the contemporary social mechanics that have caused the trend to “tip,” as Malcolm Gladwell says. The story I am telling here is about how this aesthetic passed a certain point in popularity and “tipped,” spilling over into a massive cultural trend. The story of how, or by whom, the use of feathers in dress was first invented, is not the one I’m writing here. Primarily because, as you yourself point out, all of culture is a layering of influences that have come before it.

  5. @jenks – It’s not that cultural exchange doesn’t or shouldn’t happen. However, cultural exchange should occur in an organic way and as the result of two or more people or cultures having mutually beneficial contact. This is not to say that people whose cultures developed because they were marginalized by invading cultures are invalid in any way (like in the case of Mestizo culture). To the contrary, their culture is still very much their own because it becomes partly a culture of survival, of expression despite oppression. But that doesn’t mean that members of the dominant, invading group should misappropriate that culture, either. Sometimes, privileged individuals do have a legitimate cultural exchange with marginalized individuals. But in the mainstream, it’s more typical for marginalized people and people of color to be exploited by misappropriation (as opposed to true cultural exchange). Furthermore, it would be inappropriate for El Circo to misappropriate the culture of Mayan, Aztec, Incan, and other Central and South American peoples regardless of whether they knew any American Indian people. It’s doubtful that they did, but it’s disrespectful for them to have claimed the sacred cultural traditions of people of color either way. They had no business perpetuating stereotypes and exoticizing Indigenous culture for their own gain. (And besides, they didn’t start this trend. We’d have to go back to the 60’s and observe the popularity of feather-wearing and Indigenous cultures as part of the enormous counter-culture movement, which also influenced the mainstream media, just to begin to understand the history of why Indigenous people are viewed as “other” by being thought of as symbols of rebellion, “primal nature”, etc. by White/European and other non-Native people. This is not the way in which Indigenous people see themselves. They and their cultures are not just convenient symbols. They’re real people. In fact, the tradition of viewing Indigenous people in this way goes back further than that, all the way back to the first prejudices and stereotypes that were developed by White/European colonizers, and how their misunderstanding and dehumanization of Indigenous people informed their actions and policies against Indigenous people. If you want to talk about “tipping” in a Malcolm Gladwell sense, we’d necessarily have to flesh out the entire history of Indigenous-European relations.)

    When culture is stolen and the transmission of culture is barbaric, it occurs as the result of the oppression of marginalized people (in this case, mostly Indigenous cultures) by the dominant, invading culture (mostly European-descended/White). In this case, feather-wearing and neo-tribal styles are connected to a larger history of mostly White and more-privileged-than-Indigenous people misappropriating Indigenous cultures and socially or economically benefitting from this misappropriation to the detriment of Indigenous people, who are further misunderstood (mythologized, fetishized, politically marginalized, etc.) and erased by this culture-stealing. You can’t take something out of historical context. As I said, the steampunk, circus, and hipster movements have all misappropriated elements of Indigenous and historically nomadic and tribal culture, thus alienating many people of color and continuing the long tradition of stealing from people of color.

    1. @Riv

      To clarify — I just write about trends. Making value judgments about them is your job. The words you keep using are “misappropriation” or “stealing.” The words I use to refer to the same processes meanwhile are “inspiration” and “adoption.” Noticing that semantic distinction will probably go a long way towards surfacing the difference of perspective you and I have about the process of how culture works.

      Where you say: “They had no business perpetuating stereotypes and exoticizing Indigenous culture for their own gain.”

      I say: “Being inspired by different cultural influences to output new creative artistic expression is anyone’s business.”

      You say: “You can’t take something out of historical context.”

      Sure you can. So can everyone else. And they do. You may have an idealized fantasy about how you believe cultural evolution should work. But then there is the reality of how it HAS worked for the length of history of human creativity.

      Sure. As you say, “Feather-wearing and neo-tribal styles are connected to a larger history of mostly White and more-privileged-than-Indigenous people misappropriating Indigenous cultures and socially or economically benefitting from this misappropriation to the detriment of Indigenous people, who are further misunderstood (mythologized, fetishized, politically marginalized, etc.) and erased by this culture-stealing.” No argument there. That’s all true. But it doesn’t negate the truth of the story that I wrote here. They are both valid stories which can be told. Feel free to start a blog and tell yours. Also, feel free to read the Tipping Point at some point. In writing about the Hush Puppies’ resurgence in 1990’s fashion, Gladwell didn’t go back to the beginning of when the shoes were first launched by Wolverine. Because it was irrelevant to their comeback. He began his story at the point when kids in Manhattan clubs resurrected them as a statement of their own style. This is where my story begins, too. Like I said before: The use of feathers for adornment goes back to prehistory. However, that is not a sequence of events I was around to personally witness, so not the story I had to tell.

  6. Amazing piece, thanks for sharing this. As an anthropologist and journalist I really enjoy these types of research projects. Well done.

    1. @MizCandy, indeed, that’s around when it started, but the intensity of the demand leading to a national feather shortage is very much here and now in 2011.

  7. What a bunch of freaks. I can’t go fly-fishing because some fruity San Francisco hippies have killed it. Jerks!

    1. @ms m – an old friend of hers told me it was actually yesterday. the same day i published this post. i’d had no idea! some intense symmetry.

  8. Great article Jenka! Crazy News about the Fly Fishing Industries! keep it coming yo!

  9. There is an irony in the use of these feathers for a haute fashion that is being called “Tribal”. The supply for fly fishermen is being usurped by a demand in the market which causes a greater hardship in acquiring there bait for hunting and gathering. I would say that a connection with feathers and fish as food is more of a tribal trait than a beautifully adorned person at a gathering of well designed festival goers.

  10. Just so they recognize, We (El Cerito) would leap off stage fully adorned ,rush into the wild river next to the festival and catch a fish with our bare hands and many lures …..then (in a prosession)bring it back to our El Circo tribe to be cooked over our comunal fire….and still smoldering fire tools.

  11. Great piece of writing, but I think you need to go back a bit earlier… pre circo to the mid 90’s ritual theatre/ circus groups in Portland and san fran who were also wearing feathers and inspiring the kiddos… Also treking up and down the I-5 corridor. Just take a look at bands like crash worship and similar groups of the era as well as the west coast neo-pagan fests that were touring/happening around in the mid 90’s,…. I remember a CW show in 1998 where the girls were showing off thier feather costumes, either hand made or from fetish/showgirl designers out of vegas. The ritual performance troupes out of Seattle and Portland were aware of the tribal fashions they were embracing, as were thier Bay area friends…. It was a simple jump from bones , metal and darkness of deathrockers to feathers and glitter and all things light to combining all of the above into somehing new. I’m just saying, while the groups mentioned are all divine, they weren’t the first, just a newer generation of a movement with much deeper roots. As a cultural anthropologist I say dig deeper, as those creative folks of the 90’s pre-date YouTube , smart phones and the technology and documentation we have now…there is so much more to the story.

    1. @Isomorph — And people of the planet Earth ……. Of course, no one INVENTED the use of feathers for adornment in the past 12 years. Of course people were doing this before, all the way back into prehistory. What I wrote here is a take on what has made this practice “tip” into a CURRENT, mainstream trend. If I was writing about Lady Gaga I would not go back to the beginning of time when the first humans invented singing, or even to when they invented recorded music, or the internet, for that matter. I’d begin with the direct influences leading up to the contemporary phenomenon.

  12. I was speaking about direct influences connected to what you wrote about. Again, brilliant writing and some of the folks you mentioned are the same ones from the mid 90’s that I’m talking about. I guess I’m just a little older and bummed out we didn’t have YouTube and the sense to document the 90’s a little better….

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