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DID YOU READ

Where You At?

Where You At? (photo)

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In real estate, it’s the most important variable in the equation; in 2010, it’s become the topic that seems to be everywhere. Everyone seems to be trying to integrate location-based aspects into their applications these days, but hyper-local has been around for nearly a decade. It’s not a new topic; it’s just one that has taken hold more so than ever before, driven by hardware and technology finally catching up to truly make location accurate and useful. The cool kids are Gowalla and Foursquare, contenders of this year’s SXSWi Geowars, but they have some elephants in the room that could squash them like bugs at any moment — namely Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Being bigger, however, doesn’t necessarily give the behemoths of the tech world an advantage. You still need to convince a built-in audience that you’ve got something compelling and useful enough to use on a regular basis. Google’s Latitude failed to attract a loyal, active user base. Twitter is using geolocation to provide more context around the messages being passed around their network. Foursquare is a closed network where only the people you choose to share your location with are alerted of your whereabouts — with Twitter, once you’ve enabled the ability to track your location, every message you post is publicly tagged with your parameters. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the privacy concerns with that social contract.

Facebook has the most potential to level everyone in their path. They’ve got a 400 million-strong user community that has already been programmed to give up every minute detail of their mostly mundane lives. Giving them an automated way to share where to find you at any given time is the equivalent of hooking an overshare IV up to a too-much-information-aholic. It’s the next logical step in the Facebook equation. They’ve already begun doing it in more subtle ways, with community-created geolocation applications, but you just know a Facebook-branded geolocation app of their own is just around the corner.

Yelp, with over 200,000 iPhone application users, dwarfs Foursquare’s 40,000. Originally, they only provided listings and reviews for bars and restaurants, but recently created a check-in system that is so similar in look and feel to Foursquare it’s almost criminal. The only hurdle left is to convince the people who were only looking for reviews to go the extra step and check into the places they actually decided to go to. There is a pretty wide gap between the passive audience Yelp attracted with listings and getting them to participate in the activity of a very different type of user, who obsessively needs to broadcast their location.

So how did the players manage to make their mark at SXSW? Foursquare picked up press from CNN (who declared them winner of the #geowars), Bloomberg and the New York Times. They used guerrilla marketing this year at SXSWi, armed with chalk and rubber balls to create DIY foursquare courts on the sidewalks just outside the Austin Convention Center. Who needs an overpriced booth inside the building when you can attract both badge holders and the many others who simply make the trip to Austin to attend the events based around the actual conference?

Foursquare spent their money where it counted, at a packed party attended by the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Evan Williams of Twitter, and David Carr of the New York Times. Foursquare was indispensable as a means of tracking where the parties all weekend were. The ones that had the most recent check-ins would appear near the top of the check-in screen, tempting the user to head where the most action was. Quite simply, Foursquare was built for SXSW, and in large cities like New York — where it’s the media crowd equivalent of SXSWi every night — it’s an equally essential social tool.

Foursquare was a virtual pied piper and you could physically see the teeming masses on Monday night being pulled in the directions Foursquare’s trending locations were leading them, especially along the popular bars on Sixth Street. People were led to a Foursquare afterparty by co-founder Dennis Crowley, who later drew attendees from that and a College Humor event across the street to the lobby of the Hilton around 2am for the annual Austin Hilton Backstroke Race, with The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston among its participants.

Gowalla had the home field advantage, being an Austin-based business. They threw their party the same night as Foursquare at the Belmont. CNET’s Caroline McCarthy was there and reported it as being well-attended and featuring a DJ set by Diplo. I used both applications while in Austin and didn’t see nearly as much activity taking place on Gowalla — there were far fewer check-ins being pushed to Twitter, if any. It could be the New York media bias in my Twitter feed, but it seemed that Foursquare held on to its already significant lead.

Anthony De Rosa is the co-founder of Neighborhoodr.com. His personal tumblr soupsoup.tumblr.com is, according to Compete, in the top 25 of over 2.3 million tumblogs and among the top 200 blogs in the world listed on Technorati.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.