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Catcalling Is Just the Worst Right Now, Says Viral-Video Subject

The email signature for New York actress Shoshana Roberts reminds you that she’s the “star of the viral street harassment video with 40+ million views.”

Roberts could definitely complete “Ten Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” again and get identical results: men following, shouting at, and generally harassing her on the street. While the powerful video made street harassment a global topic of conversation for a few weeks last fall, after a long New York winter, people are right back to being terrible:

“I feel like when the summer dresses come out it’s the worst,” says Roberts, 25.

It’s now been six months since the video went viral, a span in which Roberts has acted in a video on what not to do at an office holiday party and a Bud Light Web ad; perhaps more fittingly, she says she’ll soon be the face of a pepper spray purveyor.

And while she could make a street harassment sequel, neither she nor the original video’s organizers are too keen on the idea.

“There’s a lot of stories to be told and a lot of different ways to tell them when it comes to street harassment,” says Emily May, the co-founder and executive director of Hollaback, a Brooklyn-based organization that combats street harrassment

“Shoshana was one story, but the reality is that everybody experiences street harassment really differently,” May says.

For her part, Roberts says she’s “ready to keep moving,” citing her interests in martial arts (she’s a black belt), dance (swing and other varieties), writing theater reviews, starring in an upcoming Web series, and other causes with which she wants to align herself. There was also the matter of money, or the lack thereof, and the backlash from people who didn’t like the video, or her, or probably just women in general.

“It’s frustrating when the nonprofit gets donations, and the director gets ad revenue, and I get people wanting to slit my throat,” Roberts says of the additional harassment she faced — that is, the online venom in the wake of her appearance in the YouTube video.

“I’ve auditioned for ‘let’s make a viral video’ [projects] before,” Roberts says, noting she got about $200 a month after “Ten Hours” exploded. “I didn’t think it was going to go viral.”

Meanwhile, Hollaback has expanded on its mission, recently raising enough money through Kickstarter to fund HeartMob, a website that should launch this September and that aims to combat online harassment.

“Maybe this person is getting mobbed — maybe it’s 500 comments that have come in on Twitter over the past couple days,” May explains. “In that case, one of the best practices is to screenshot your harassment so you do have a document. Or [volunteers will] go in and screenshot your harassment for you, and save it to the database so you have a record of it. You don’t have to be the one to do all that work, or be traumatized by seeing all that hate coming your way.”

Hollaback is also exploring a new way to educate people about street harassment through a ten-part video series called With Love and Revolution, hosted by May and Hollaback deputy director Debjani Roy. The educational videos, recorded in the roomy Hollaback office sans mic and with a light, loose, sometimes funny, and very DIY feel, are meant for an audience for whom street harassment is raw:

“The biggest audience watching video blogs is…seventeen-year-old girls, and we were like, ‘We wanna talk to seventeen-year-old girls about street harassment,’?” May says. “We wanted to provide something that was really accessible and that wasn’t like a boring lecture on harassment. We wanted to really talk to people where they’re at.”

May says it’s not the fault of the harassed for being the target of catcalling, and it’s not their responsibility to fire back at their harassers: “You don’t want to do what I used to do and be a one-woman street harassment education machine, because you don’t necessarily know when it’s going to escalate.”

Roberts says that just before an interview with the Voice she had a “businessman lick his lips at me in the most disgusting way.” And recently near the Flatiron Building, “someone told me they wanted to eat my asshole.” She agrees with May that you can never know how a situation will escalate if you engage with a nasty, possibly unstable, possibly angry — maybe all three — catcaller.

While street harassment happens year-round — “It doesn’t happen as often in January,” Roberts says, “but I’ve been in a winter coat and sweatpants and been called a slut” — May offers this advice this summer: “If you are harassed and you feel comfortable in that moment, you can tell the person, ‘That’s not OK, that’s not acceptable,’ firmly, and then keep it moving. At the end of the day we want to keep you safe and taken care of.”

And while another video reminder that street harassment is still happening isn’t likely, “a lot of females have let me know that they are very grateful to me, so it’s been really, really satisfying,” says Roberts, who in addition to her email signature now owns catcallgirl.com and clawsareout.com.

The video “doesn’t get me in the door to audition rooms, but at least someone’s buzzing me into the lobby,” she says.

 

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NYC FC Says Its Supporters Group Is Handing Out Those Much-Maligned Song Lists

The much-hyped New York City FC are struggling on the field, winning just once thus far in their inaugural season. It’s nothing to sing about, but a song list being circulated at games encourages fans to do just that. Except everybody hates the songs.

But don’t blame the team for that.

“We’re not writing songs and handing them to supporters, I just want to be clear about that,” Marty von Wuthenau, vice president of communications for NYC FC, tells the Voice. “It’s the Third Rail, our supporters club.”

Von Wuthenau adds that the operations manager at Yankee Stadium might have given the supporters permission to distribute the lists, but that is the extent of the club’s official involvement.

NYC FC fans during the team's lone win, on March 15 against the New England Revolution. (<a href="https://vvstaging.villagevoice.com/slideshow/faces-in-the-crowd-at-nyc-fcs-first-ever-home-game-42134179">See more photos.</A>)
NYC FC fans during the team’s lone win, on March 15 against the New England Revolution.

The bit of Astroturfing isn’t going over very well, as one man’s critical tweet began to go viral this morning, with more than 1,400 retweets in about six hours. “These song sheets are given out at New York City FC matches, making them pretty much the worst club in the world,” he wrote before sharing a photo of the song list.

Yet von Wuthenau points to attendance this year as a sign of the new team’s support: “We had 27,545 [on March 28] for Kansas City, which is a sellout, and we had 43,507 for the opening game [March 15] when we opened up the upper levels,” he says.

“The atmosphere here at Yankee Stadium for our games has been tremendous,” von Wuthenau adds. “We think our fans have been outstanding. They really got behind the team whether we are winning or losing.”

That doesn’t matter to memorably named soccer blog Who Ate All the Pies, which calls the act of handing out song lyrics “cringe-worthy”: “We know that it’s easy to point and laugh at the daft Yanks getting it a little bit wrong all the time, but…well, that’s that thought finished really.”

There’s also the English media, maybe looking for news after the notoriously “boring” Chelsea FC coasted to the Premier League title over the weekend:

“It seems that the Americans don’t quite take to banter in the same way as the English,” condescends the Daily Star. Metro calls it “horrendous.” The Daily Telegraph hilariously wonders if NYC FC will have the same success as other New York teams, but in football — “Or, as they so foppishly refer to it over there, soccer?” Foppishly!

“It’s interesting this is all of a sudden a controversy,” von Wuthenau says. “The Third Rail is a great supporters club,” he says of the group that formed before the team had played a game.

It’s always better when songs grow organically, but that’s not going to happen after nine games. So let’s judge these songs on their own merit, shall we? Below are a few samples. (Excluded from the pool is “Oh City Said I,” which one fan rightly points out is a “plagiarized” version of the song for Swansea City, the Welsh club that plays in the Premier League.)

“Some History”
You might have some history,
But we don’t give a crud,
Your team will always be a joke until they have a cup
(Shout the Opposing team’s name)!!!!!

So that one leaves a little to be desired.

“Diskerud”
I, wanna Diskerud all night,
And party everyday!

Sung in the tune of “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, this one about midfielder Mix Diskerud could catch on? Maybe?

Finally, if you’re not really into the idea of memorizing lyrics, you can’t go wrong with “NYC Clap”:

N…
Y…
C…
***Clap!***

We’ve reached out to the Third Rail for comment and will update you when we hear back.

See also: The Third Rail: How It Feels to Support New York City FC, the Team That Doesn’t Yet Exist

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The Guy Who Made the Brilliant ‘Hypnotize’-Dinosaurs Video Wants to Go Full-Time

Update, March 26
ACTUALLY, NEVERMIND. Roberts canceled this campaign this morning. When asked about it, he writes to the Voice: “Decided that it wasn’t the right move, and that I would be better off continuing to create work in my spare time.” He’s going to stay at his day job, after all. The original story is below.


Benjamin Roberts wants to keep hypnotizing people.

The 33-year-old Toronto man created a moderate internet hit recently with his YouTube video that cleverly combines Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” and Dinosaurs, the Nineties ABC comedy. Now he wants to quit his “pretty awesome day job” and make similar videos full-time.

“I’m putting together a Kickstarter campaign to basically fund a salary for myself so I can do this full-time for a year,” Roberts tells the Voice. “I’m trying to raise the average Canadian salary, which I’m going to use to make one mash-up per month for the next year.”

]

Roberts is a creative director at a start-up during the day, and assuming he raises $49,000 — the average Canadian salary — he will quit his job and parlay the positive reviews of his video mash-up into a dozen more videos.

“Nothing about this will be half-hearted,” he writes in his Kickstarter campaign description. “I’ll pour everything I’ve got into making each one of these as awesome as possible, and try my best with each video to top the previous one.”

He estimates each video will take about 100 hours to complete — making it look like puppets and cartoon characters are rhyming along to radio rap classics is tedious work, as he recently discussed during a Reddit AMA session. But mostly it involves “embracing the randomness as much as possible” and to “just kind of, like, luck into those moments where it works together.”

Roberts says he won’t stray from the formula if his campaign gets funded: “It’ll be some combination of awesome hip-hop music and really great television from the past twenty years.”

For as much success as he had with the first video (it’s now at 5.8 million views) he made $0 from it because of YouTube’s Terms of Service involving media rights, despite the argument that his project could fall under fair use limitations: “The reason it’s important to do this on Kickstarter is that on YouTube, you’re not allowed to monetize videos that use third-party content. Warner Music Group basically made all the revenue off of the Biggie-Dinosaurs mash-up.”

Roberts says he wants to function like PBS, where people can fund his work directly.

“This is a way for the internet to hire me to make content that’s not going to make money on its own, but is still really interesting and people will want to watch.”

Roberts says he had a feeling the “Hypnotize”-Dinosaurs video would do well.

“I thought it was pretty hilarious, and when I started putting it together I was laughing to myself,” he says. “By the time I finished the video, I probably watched it about 200 times so it had really lost all meaning to me. I showed it to one friend before I launched it and he went crazy and that’s when I knew it could go viral.”

The video gave “Hypnotize” a bounce on the Billboard streaming charts, too, as the eighteen-year-old song received more than 4 million plays for the week ending March 15.

“It’s really interesting, ‘Hypnotize’ and Dinosaurs actually trended exactly in parallel,” Roberts says of Google searches:

Roberts, who’s been to Brooklyn once on vacation (“The most amazing pizza I had in my life was in Brooklyn. It was called Roberta’s”), says his only worry was that B.I.G. fans might get offended at the unlikely pairing of the song and sitcom.

“I don’t know if they would see it as a tribute or if they would see it like as something that was making fun in some way,” he says. “Of course I wanted it to be a tribute, because the music is really brilliant, but I wasn’t sure if people would read it that way.”

The video did cause some controversy, though: Massive hip-hop and culture site WorldStarHipHop ripped the video and re-uploaded it.

Among other things, that spurred the active Reddit user (“I would love to just spend my time making stuff for that community because it’s lots of fun”) to launch his Kickstarter campaign.

“WorldStar didn’t even attempt attribution, they didn’t really attempt anything other than stealing the content and the eyeballs,” he says. “Probably sites like WorldStar, BuzzFeed, all these guys, they earned a whole bunch of revenue off of it just because people would click on the ads on those pages. But as the original content creator, I didn’t earn any revenue from the video.”

Roberts, who is married, said his wife is OK with his decision to quit his job and make mash-up videos full-time — assuming he reaches his goal.

“My employer is the internet and I’m going to make these videos,” he says. “I’ll take a salary hit, but I think it’ll be super fun.”

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Mac DeMarco Is Auctioning Off His Stinky Vans for Charity and Bids Have Topped $11,000

Retail value for a pair of Vans Authentic sneakers is $55. Canadian rocker Mac DeMarco’s tattered, road-worn set are worth roughly 200 times that amount. The singer is auctioning his self-described “sexy shoes” on eBay for charity. In less than 24 hours, over 140 bids had sent the price skyrocketing well past $11,000.

The kicks — which DeMarco sported at a slew of other gigs while touring his latest album, Salad Days — are a beaten-up (but signed) pair of red Vans low-tops, his signature shoe.

“Will anyone buy an old stinky pair of shoes? I don’t know. lets wait and see,” DeMarco writes on the eBay posting. The answer — a resounding yes — echoed across the internet almost immediately after the listing went up Sunday.

DeMarco, 24, said over the phone Monday evening that he came up with the idea because he was bored and thought it was funny. “I was getting a little stir-crazy over the holidays, being home while everyone’s out of town,” he says.

DeMarco’s been selling weird stuff on the internet for years, though. “There was another band on my label [Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks] called DIIV,” he says, speaking of the now famous (and infamous) New York group. The band came through Montreal while DeMarco, who grew up in Edmonton, was living there some years back. Singer Zachary Cole Smith left a sleep mask on the couch when he crashed with DeMarco.

“I said I thought this will be funny,” DeMarco recalls. “I’ll put Cole’s sleep mask on the internet. Some kid in Japan bought it for like fifty bucks.” DeMarco was expecting a similar result this time around (in the ballpark of one hundred dollars), which he would have been happy with. “This is just completely insane,” he says. “The person who is buying these has either stolen their mom’s credit card or is really into the cause as well. Someone is buying essentially garbage.”

DeMarco's shoes
DeMarco’s shoes

DeMarco’s garbage is being recycled into cold card cash for a decent cause: All of the proceeds from the shoes will go to the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. “I didn’t want to keep the money for myself,” DeMarco says. “I thought that would be kind of greasy.”

DeMarco says that he didn’t know too much about Willie Mae before he posted the shoes online, but that he had several friends volunteer in analogous organizations when he lived in Vancouver. “They would teach young kids how to rock,” he says. “There was a similar place in Brooklyn — seemed cool to me.”

The Willie Mae Camp, which was named after 1950s blues singer and proto-girl-rocker Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, was not aware DeMarco had picked them as beneficiaries until after the news broke Monday morning. “It was a complete surprise,” says executive director Karla Schickele. “The kind of surprise we love.”

Schickele says the camp hopes to reach out to DeMarco directly to see what he has in mind for the funds. A sum as substantial as $10,000 will have a significant impact at the Brooklyn-based nonprofit. The organization, which runs music-centered programs for girls aged eight to eighteen and has a cosign from Joan Jett, says that amount could fund an after-school program for an entire middle school.

Here's the band Black Shadows on Stage during the 2014 Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. (<a href="https://vvstaging.villagevoice.com/slideshow/willie-maes-rock-camp-for-girls-41746870/">See more photos</A>.)
Here’s the band Black Shadows on Stage during the 2014 Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. (See more photos.)

It could also fund full scholarships for at least ten girls to come to Willie Mae’s week-long summer camp program, which is what the money will most likely go toward. “This gift will really make it possible for a whole lot of girls to make a whole lot of noise in the world,” says Schickele.

“That’s a lot of basses and drum sets right there,” says DeMarco.

Willie Mae runs one-week intensive summer camps at the cost of $1,000 per camper. The girls get instrument instruction in drums, bass guitar, guitar, or keyboards, are workshopped and mentored by band coaches, and, finally, are encouraged to perform songs they’ve written to an audience of more than four hundred people. They also get to create their own band name. Past favorites: Girlz Like Boyz, Fairy Sandwich, and Explosive Diamonds.

Willie Mae showcases have been held at Music Hall, where DeMarco has also performed. “For most of the girls, it’s their first gig,” says Schickele. “It’s not a bad first gig.”

While he’s not known as the most hygienic man in music — he does have songs dedicated to cigarette brands, after all — DeMarco want to stress that the shoes don’t smell that bad. “I mean, they smell like shoes, but they don’t smell…I mean, the shoes I was wearing before that were bad. You know when you walk behind a restaurant in the summer and there’s a dumpster full of vegetable scraps? That’s what those shoes smelled like.”

The Village Voice‘s 4Knots Festival was actually the last show DeMarco played in those Vans before changing into the internet-famous pair. Had he known how much they were potentially worth, he might not have thrown them into their final resting place: a dumpster in Bushwick.

As for the saleable pair? DeMarco’s girlfriend, Kiera McNally, gave the shoes an “official” smell test. They passed.

The auction ends on Sunday, January 4. For the lucky winner, DeMarco says, “I’ll probably throw some other crap in the box before shipping it. I dunno what.”

DeMarco also used the opportunity for an impromptu question-and-answer session on eBay with his fans. We’ve excerpted the choicest bits of weirdness below.

Q: will you except human seamen [all sic]?
A: Really don’t think rock camp for girls 8 – 18 need any semen

Q: will you miss them?
A: If you love something, you let it go

Q: do you take empty beer cans as payment? you can always trade in the aluminum.
A: Can you send cans through paypal?

Q: Ever kick a hippie with these bad boys on?
A: Don’t really kick hippies that much. definitely kicked it with some hippies in these

Q: will you ever follow me back on twitter babe?
A: I drink horse pee

Q: how do i sell out
A: Start doing things you don’t wanna do, bud.

Q: Cheese. thoughts?
A: Sexy butthole man

See also: Watch Marnie Stern and Marnie the Dog Talk Sex Stuff With Mac DeMarco


 

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Power Rankings: The Worst Catcall Parody Videos

With more than 35 million views, the video of Shoshana Roberts walking through Manhattan and being subjected to dozens and dozens of catcalls from men about her appearance and figure pulled back the curtain on an uglier part of our culture. It also spawned several cringe-inducing parodies by enterprising dudes (mostly dudes, anyway) who wanna hop on the pageview train by offering comparisons between getting catcalled as as a woman alone in New York to, oh, trash-talk you might hear as an unshaven Jets bro walking through Union Square on a Sunday. Here are the worst, from worst to least-worst.

First, the Original:

Published On: Oct 28, 2014
Duration: 1:56
Views (as of 11/9/14): 35,031,931

Opening titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Manhattan, wearing jeans and a crewneck t-shirt.”

Highlights:
“What’s up, beautiful? Have a good day!”

“Someone’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more!”

“Damn.”

“Damn!”

“Too ugly for you?”

Alongside Companion: “Hello, good morning. God bless you. Have a good day, all right?” [Walks silently beside her for five minutes.]

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds. This doesn’t include the countless winks, whistles, etc.

“If you want to help, please donate to Hollaback! a non-profit dedicated to ending street harassment.”

Video Credits:
Hollaback!
Creator/Owner/Director: Rob Bliss Creative
Talent: Shoshana B. Roberts

15. “Man Gets Harassed Over 30 Times in 3 Hours Walking in NYC”

Published On: Nov 1, 2014
Duration: 1:58
Views (as of 11/9/14): 76,653

Opening Titles: [Spoken by a man sporting hair of an improbably moussed altitude, standing in what may be his mother’s living room in Queens] “I’m sure all of you have seen the video of a good-looking lady walking around New York City for 10 hours getting [cue scare quotes] ‘harassed.’ We wanted to see if this ‘harassment’ happens to guys as well…”

[The model is buff, and wears a white V-neck and skinny jeans.]

Highlights:
“Oh, my God.”

“Damn.”

Closing Titles: “In less then [sic] 3 hours of Walking he was ‘verbally harassed’ over 30 times.”

[And if you watch carefully, you might see what appears to be an instance of the model checking out a woman he passes.]

Video Credits:
Model Pranksters


14. “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Jew”

Published On: Nov 2, 2014
Duration: 1:50
Views (as of 11/9/14): 232,824

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Manhattan wearing jeans and a crewneck t-shirt (and a windbreaker because it was really cold).”

Highlights:
“Hey, are you Jewish?” [Asked by Chabad impersonator(s)]

[Repeat]

Alongside Companion: “(Same guy has been praying silently alongside him for the past two minutes)”

“(four minutes)”

“(five minutes)”

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of one background. This doesn’t include the countless Shemas, lulav shakes, etc.

“If you want to help, please share this video and visit runninglateshow.com for more idiocy.”

Video Credits:
Written and edited by Scott Rogowsky


13. “10 Hours of Walking in Hollywood as a Latina”

Published On: Nov 3, 2014
Duration: 2:14
Views (as of 11/9/14): 14,129

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of walking through Hollywood wearing stretch turquoise jeans (Ross $7.99) and a black blouse.”

[It’s a man. Carrying a small dog.]

Highlights: None

Alongside Companion: A man on crutches.

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of a sassy Latina owning the block occurred within a span of 10 hours.

“If you want to help, stop cat calling. You’re just adding fire to the spice.”

Video Credits:
Video & Editing by Robb Boardman


12. “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Fat Man”

Published On: Nov 3, 2014
Duration: 3:19
Views (as of 11/9/14): 15,799

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Manhattan, wearing ill-fitting jeans and a tight crewneck t-shirt.”

Highlights:
“Damn, bro, you look hungry.”

“Your father and I are worried about you.”

[It’s long because he’s ostensibly out of shape. And hungry. And fat. He’s actually only moderately overweight. Really. Not that fat.]

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of verbal street fat-calling took place over 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds, although most occurred while our subject was napping on a bench.

“This doesn’t include the consumption of 2 large pizzas, a funnel cake drizzled in chocolate, 3 empanadas, and a large popcorn with extra butter from the AMC theater on 34th street. (He did not see a movie).

“If you want to help, stop making food so damn delicious.”

Video Credits:
TwoMan Tango
Created by Elon Altman, Izzy Wolfson, and Mike Sause

11. “10 Hours of Walking in Hollywood as a Man”

Published On: Oct 30, 2014
Duration: 1:31
Views (as of 11/9/14): 76,889

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Hollywood, wearing what I wear every single day”

By “what I wear every single day,” he means: Cowboy hat, sunglasses, cheetah-print banana hammock, and red Converse sneakers.

Highlights: None

Alongside Companion: Pitches a screenplay

Closing Titles: “69 instances took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds. This doesn’t include the ass grabs, dick flicks, and nipple twists.

“If you want to help, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Vine to help end the dick flicks.”

Video Credits:
Stevie Emerson
Nicky Reynolds

10. “10 Hours of Walking in Berlin as a Man”

Published On: Oct 31, 2014
Duration: 1:53
Views (as of 11/9/14): 70,671

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through some areas of Berlin, rocking a mildly wrinkled baller suit.

“My iron broke and my Partner is a strong independent woman…My outfit is ‘Ralph level though’!”

[He’s also rocking black dress gloves and shades. Women, clearly plants, hit on him. At the end he admonishes one of his would-be paramours.]

Highlights:
“Hey, did you sit on sugar? ‘Cause you have a sweet ass!”

Closing Titles: “I was a victim in 69 instances of greetings, consisting of ‘Hello, have a great day!’ not including the 17 ‘Hello! How are you!’ greetings, none of which I’ve given consent to.

“A non-consensual ‘Hello’ is a verbal rape. #allrapeisrape

“If you want to help, I wanna take my girl to Rio for New Year’s and am $2,666 short. My Paypal is the_anton@live.com Thanks Papi !!!”

Video Credits:
Tall Creepy Handsome


9. “10 hours walking in Seattle as an Asian”

Published On: Nov 3, 2014
Duration: 2:09
Views (as of 11/9/14): 28,923

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of walking through the streets of Seattle, looking hella Asian.”

Highlights:
“Hey, David! Hey, David!”
“I’m not David.”
“You look just like David. You Asian.”

“Hey, man, you’re late for work.” [Camera cuts to P.F. Chang’s sign above.]

Alongside Companion: “Is that Jackie Chan? Jackie Chan! Jackie, Jackie, Jackie, ah, huh, big fan, Jackie Chan!”

Closing Titles: “During the 10 hours there were over 100 instances of being mistaken for another asian guy, and Lucy Liu for some reason. This doesn’t even include what happened during Narin’s impromptu shift at P.F. Chang’s, and the dry cleaner that he apparently owns.

“If you want to help, no need. Narin just found out that he can add everything to David, Kwan, or Peter’s bar tab.”

Video Credits:
Written By: Narin Vann
Directed By: Joey Cruz and Nolan Culver

8. “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Man”

Published On: Oct 29, 2014
Duration: 1:55
Views (as of 11/9/14): ?? [YouTube embed disabled]

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Manhattan, wearing jeans and a crewneck t-shirt.”

[…starring a white hipster-looking guy, wearing horn-rims and carrying a backpack.]

Highlights:
“Hey, powerful!”

“Hey, you look really desirable, but I’m going to respect your privacy.”

“Hey, man! Take this Chipotle!” [Burrito handed off by a man much fatter than the one in the fat-man parody video.]

Alongside Companion: High-five guy

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of verbal street privilege took place within 10 hours.

“This doesn’t include the countless Bud Light Limes, fist bumps, and small business loans that were offered.

“If you want to help, please do nothing. Leave the patriarchy in place.”

Video Credits:
FunnyOrDie [duh]


7. “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as Batman”

Published On: Nov 5, 2014
Duration: 2:10
Views (as of 11/9/14): 64,718

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of walking through New York City, as a silent guardian, a watchful protector, wearing a kevlar bodysuit and utility belt.”

[Rips codpiece.]

“Damn, I’m on duty to please that booty!”

“I smell guano.”

Alongside Companion: Joker impersonator

Closing Titles: “100+ Instances of Bat Abuse took place within 10 hours, involving people of all criminal backgrounds. This doesn’t include countless gunshots, knife attacks, and other attempts on his life.

“If you want to help, please stop cave spelunking and free bats from all of the zoos. They have feelings and dreams too.”

Video Credits:
The Super Zeros

6. “10 Hours of Walking in Dublin City as a Woman”

Published On: Nov 3, 2014
Duration: 2:03
Views (as of 11/9/14): 183,906

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of walking through all areas of Dublin, wearing a furry jacket and a pink shirt”

[Substitute Irish dude in drag for Latino dude in drag. Add spontaneity and production values, and serve.]

Highlights:
“Ooh, it’s a big umbrella! Want to put me under it? No? Fuck ya, then.”

“Anything for me, Mr. Postman?”

“Perverts!”

Alongside Companion: An innocent-looking fellow she accosts, walks next to, and harasses, then calls a pervert.

Closing Titles: “100 + instances of verbal harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds. This doesn’t include the countless winks, whistles etc”

Video Credits:
@YouthNation


5. “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman in Hijab”

Published On: Nov 6, 2014
Duration: 3:59
Views (as of 11/9/14): 666,715

Opening Titles: [spoken] “…In this version we’re gonna have my friend walk for five hours in casual clothing and walk another five hours in hijab, which is the Muslim garb.”

“5 hours of silent walking through areas of Manhattan, wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan”

[Those familiar with the original won’t be surprised by the first half. At one point, after a man walks next to her for several blocks, the filmmakers say, they intervened.]

“5 hours of silent walking through areas of Manhattan, with full covering Hijab (Burka)”

[Crickets]

[Same woman appears to be invisible while wearing the burka.]

Closing Titles: “What do you think?

“You be the judge.”

Video Credits:
Are We Famous Now
Vanessa Bontea
Adam Saleh
Magid

4. “3 Hours of Harassment as a Tiny Man”

Published On: Nov 6, 2014
Duration: 2:15
Views (as of 11/9/14): 36,563

Opening Titles: None. The intro is spoken by the videographer, a “prank video” specialist who introduces his friend, three-foot-tall actor and comedian Andre H. Arruda, who explains, “I always get the weirdest reactions from people, and I’ve always wanted to…show my friends what the hell happens to me when I just do everyday things.”

Highlights:
“Leprechaun.”

“Mini-Me.”

“Can you tie my shoes, man?”

Alongside Companion: None

Closing Titles: “Just 3 hours of filming…over 100 verbal street harassment’s [sic] and 100’s of uncomfortable stares”

Video Credits:
KeyForkTV
Andre H. Arruda
@antigiant


3. “10 hours walking in Skyrim as a woman in skimpy armor”

Published On: Oct 30, 2014
Duration: 1:20
Views (as of 11/9/14): 2,011,931

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Skyrim, wearing skimpy armor and HDT bouncing breast.”

[HDT stands for Halo Dream Team.]

Highlights:
“Trouble?”

“Can I help you?”

“Well met, traveler!”

“You should see me when you get bored, stranger.”

Closing Titles: “In 10 hours walking 100+ instances of phisical [sic] abuse by totally stranger NPCs and creatures of all sizes, races and levels. This does not include the dragon shouting.”

[An NPC is a non-player character.]

Video Credits:
@Skyrim_watch


2. “10 Hours of Walking in Dublin as a Woman”

Published On: Nov 5, 2014
Duration: 1:23
Views (as of 11/9/14): 54,292

Opening Titles: “Ten hours of silent walking through some areas of Dublin City, with no intention of buying anything”

[Substitute woman in coat for Irish dude in drag. Have her walk through produce market where people are hawking stuff.]

Highlights:

“Seedless grapes now a euro.”

“All the bananas there for one euro.”

“Magic balls are only three euros.”

Alongside Companion: “(Same guy has been standing silently beside her for the last 2 minutes) (4 minutes) (5 minutes)”

[With a sandwich board advertising a bar. You get the feeling he really has been standing there.]

Closing Titles: “100+ instances of verbal fruit and vegetable mongering took place within 10 hours, mainly involving older women. This doesn’t include the multi-packs, loom bands, bags of tayto, cherries, toy dogs, etc.

“If you want to help, don’t worry about it and enjoy the authentic sound of these people advertising their wares.”

Video Credits:
Produced by Creative Nation


1. “5 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Jets Fan”

Published On: Nov 7, 2014
Duration: 1:12
Views (as of 11/9/14): 197,591

Opening Titles: “Five hours of silent walking through one area of Manhattan, wearing a NY Jets t-shirt and hat.”

Highlights:
“Butt fumble.”

“Root for a real New York team.”

“You should be ashamed.”

Closing Titles: None

Video Credits:
Jets Fan: Jay Nog
Written by Jay Nog and Nick Stevens
Camera Man: Jeff Cerulli

See also:
Hidden-Camera Actress Who Was the Subject of Catcalls Is a Sexual-Assault Survivor

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In the Battle for .NYC Domains, Money Talks

The race for the first round of .nyc domain names was a pretty feisty one.

More than 1,000 proposed domain extensions ending in .nyc received multiple applications, according to information from Web analytics company Neustar, which handles tech and registration issues for the city’s domain.

It’s probably no surprise there are so many names facing stiff competition — .nyc is the ninth most popular new top-level domain, or website suffix like .com, .org, or .net.

Now, potential .nyc owners vying for the most hotly contested domain names are slugging it out using the most fitting weapon here in the global nexus of financial capital: money.

See Also: Lost Out on Sex.com? Sex.nyc Will Soon Be Available at a Domain Auction Near You

It’s been a battle-in-waiting since the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, which controls all domain names and IP addresses on the Web, decided in the mid 2000s to open up the internet’s set of top-level domains and add to the boring old extensions like .com and .net.

So starting in February of this year and through to 2015, about 700 of these new, exciting top-level domains are being released to the public “to give customers more choice,” said Nick Fuller, a spokesperson for domain name company GoDaddy, which, in October, launched a massive campaign for the .nyc sweepstakes via a massive floating barge in the Hudson River.

And in New York, the hustle for this new segment of geo-specific domain names has essentially taken place in three phases. First, trademark holders and government-related entities were invited to stake out sites for themselves. Then there was a process called the “landrush,” which allowed those who desperately wanted a domain name for which they thought there might be stiff competition to pre-register, but with a catch. “If there was only one application for the name, then yes, you got it,” says Neustar spokesperson Jeff Neuman. “If there were multiple applicants, it proceeded to the auction phase,” which is the final stage of the process.

The landrush ended on October 4. Those names are currently being auctioned off, in alphabetically organized batches, between the applicants who vied for the names. The first batch of auctions began on October 23. The last batch will end on November 6.

The online auction process isn’t too different from what we’ve come to experience on eBay. Bids start at $10. If someone makes a bid five minutes before the auction closes, then the auction is extended for five more minutes, so no bidders can play dirty and try to swipe the site at the last minute.

“The auction helps determine who the name’s more viable for,” Fuller says.

A total of 1,093 domains had multiple applications, and some sparked big cash battles. CarService.NYC was sold for more than $11,000, reported Michael Berkens of internet trade blog TheDomains.com. MedicalMarijuana.NYC was sold for $5,000; Cannabis.NYC went for around $4,000, Berkens reported.

And Bitcoin.NYC sparked a bidding war, too, according to Berkens:

Bitcoin.NYC was the 2nd highest domain sale we had reported to us with a winning big [sic] of $11k. I have no idea how Bitcoin has any special value in a .NYC extension but obviously more than 1 person did.

The other 90 percent of domain names picked out during the landrush had only single applicants, which meant they went straight to the people who wanted to buy them.

See Also: .NYC to NJ: Get Your Own Damn Dot!

But if you didn’t pony up the cash, or you were just too late to the game to get the .NYC domain you were hoping for, don’t fret. There are still plenty out there to choose from on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Let’s Try to Guess These Internet Meme Costumes From the 2014 HallowMeme Party

Is your meme game slipping? It’s OK, because unless you’re just skating by at work or school, you likely aren’t all spending your free time on the internet, chortling at viral videos and photos, your eyeballs filled with snark spelled out in 48-point Impact font over some photo. So, together, let’s try to guess some of these costumes and their accompanying memes from the annual HallowMeme party, which went down on Thursday night at the Bell House in Brooklyn. We’ll go first. (If you can name one, leave a comment.)

*The Winners*

Third place: Gem Stone as Lipton tea-sipping Kermit the Frog.

Second Place: Ryan Broderick, who went as Every Man on the Internet, scrapes all of the scum of YouTube commenters and Gamergate dudes into a tidy costume (nice Doritos & Mountain Dew belt).

Winner: Lauren Thompson as Renée Zellweger.

Tinder Guys with Tigers.

This guy went as Pharrell’s hat.

No It’s Becky shirt-wearing Taylor Swift.

A reference to the #1 viral video of every Halloween: KXVO Pumpkin Dance.

The Wasco clown, we think, but could be any creepy clown, really.

The dancer from Sia’s “Chandelier” music video, maybe? The hair is wrong, and she wears a leotard, not a dress, but it’s evocative!

The Sign Bunny.

Another Sign Bunny.

Another Sign Bunny.

The nude leak scandal wins for probably the most tasteless costume, and Shia LaBeouf is just …Shia LaBeouf.

This guy went as his future Instagram account on Throwback Thursday.

Foul Bachelor Frog and Keyboard Cat.

This is @SubtweetCat.

The gang from Homestar Runner.

Just a real @ChillSitch 😉

Old-school meme: Nyan Cat.

A Poo.

Another Poo emoji.

A meme inspired by Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.”

Ellen taking a selfie at the Oscars

…And the selfie she took! (Couples costume?)

You may have heard about the little scare we had a couple of weeks ago in Brooklyn….Ebola on the L train: a truly terrifying costume.

The elderly woman who botched a “restoration” of the Spanish fresco Ecce Homo, and SNL’s Stefon.

We take it back — the nightmare known as #gamergate is actually the most terrifying costume.

Taylor Swifts of “Shake it Off.”

Does he look like a bitch?

Just Jay-Z and Beyonce at the Louvre, casually posing in front of the Mona Lisa.

Office Space‘s Bill Lumbergh, and/or the That Would Be Great meme.

Who could forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Doge.

See all the photos in our slideshow: Internet Memes Come Off the Screen at HallowMeme

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Why Everyone’s Streaming Music and Everybody’s Happy

Remember the first time you listened to music using a computer? This is a moot question for people under the age of 20.

I was at a friend’s house sometime in the mid ’90s. He loaded a program called Winamp on his computer, and played one of a dozen or so MP3 files he had. It was the 1985 Falco synthpop masterwork “Rock Me Amadeus.” Did I chastise him for daring to listen to compressed audio through computer speakers? Was I pissed that he didn’t have to special-order a CD single and drive miles to drop $14 on it? I was absolutely not whispering, “This is the end” under my breath.

It was one of the most incredible days of my life.

It would be a few years before I had a Gateway 2000 desktop, a CD burner, a university-powered internet connection, and Napster, and several more before I owned an iPod Photo. But on that fateful afternoon, the idea of being able to listen to whatever music I pleased whenever and wherever — without carrying around a big Case Logic full of discs — started to become more real. At no time did it send me into convulsions at the thought that this would signal the end of access-based snobbery. (Now it’s just finding out when you get an invite to Ello.co.)

Montana-based Dan Brooks recently wrote a piece for the New York Times called “Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift.” The good news, he writes, is: “Now that nearly every piece of recorded sound is as easy to find as any other, everyone can finally listen to what we snobs wanted them to hear all along.”

More like: Nearly every piece of recorded sound is crowding an ever-growing shitstorm of a cloud, and people who know what they’re looking for can usually find it with only a mild risk of accidentally downloading spyware. Regardless, his statement, untouched, is truer than it ever was before.

What could possibly be the bad news?

Well, Brooks — or his internet-trolling persona — is convinced that “what was once a robust system for identifying kindred spirits” is donezo. A series of paragraphs follow describing him experiencing coolness — “New York City squat-punk band Choking Victim,” for example — and the fact that he was invited to a party at his college professor’s house. Also, there’s a lot about how access to digital music somehow screwed up his dating game. Uh-huh. (How will we ever meet people if we can’t walk up to the section of the record/book/video store and remark, “Isn’t it insane how many [insert media type] there are about _____?“)

Go ahead and read the thing if you have some time, but also save some for critic Ned Raggett’s detailed deconstruction of the piece. Within, a lot of smarter people than myself say why the only real choking victim in the piece is unswallowable-rhetoric-creator Brooks himself.

Among many, the main problem I had with his point of view was recalling actual access to anything useful — let alone signifiers of cool — before Spotify, Amazon, and BitTorrent. Especially when you live in the sticks, as I once did.

It’s not said if Brooks ever lived in an isolated part of Montana, but he — or, again, this persona — writes as if he was born surrounded by fanzines, college radio, intelligent record clerks, and the ability to taste a properly prepared cappuccino.

“The members of the resistance don’t recognize one another anymore,” he laments, referring to people rejecting whatever the mainstream was selling. For myself, a Minnesota small-town “resistance” was filtering information from 120 Minutes, Yo! MTV Raps, mass-marketed music magazines, a few friends’ cool older siblings’ recommendations, and alt-rock radio. Take that knowledge and hope that whatever the fuck was in stock in the Kmart music section would be worth owning for the long term. (Yay for lots of bad ska and “eclectic” movie soundtracks!)

Aside from all of the entry-level music journalism jargon like “Dave Mustaine and co.” I eventually learned reading Columbia House newsletters, I don’t miss any of that old exercise of throwing my money against the wall to find out what sticks.

To Brooks, the power of an internet search box diminishes “commitment”: “You didn’t have to support local businesses or hang with freaky beatniks to hear Choking Victim anymore, so liking them became no better (or worse) than liking Pearl Jam.”

What’s wrong with that?

Two brief things:

First, supporting local businesses holds up assuming your town ever had a local business selling music other than a big-box chain. (Mine did, but only briefly.)

Second, having sat through an inordinate number of directionless conversations essentially boiling down to “obscure = always much better,” some of those freaky beatniks out there have horrible taste.

(Not to mention that going after a mainstream act like Pearl Jam — what with a fiercely active fanbase and a far-from-awful live experience — is essentially smearing poop on a garbage heap to attract more swarms of internet flies.)

Today, it’s theoretically possible for anyone who feels like it to evaluate Choking Victim or the Slits or Kraftwerk or White Boyfriend or whomever, and this seems to bother Brooks immeasurably. Buh-bye, cultural elite. Or maybe it’s just a chance for anyone older than 19 and holding down a full-time job getting exposed to something better than what’s lurking in a Starbucks endcap. A whole lot less time spent searching and then lugging around physical media means more time actually listening to songs that will make your heart want to explode into a million pieces.

So congratulations, Dan Brooks. You got the internet talking about how “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” when it comes to even semi-cool consumers realizing they have options beyond the Fray’s “How to Save a Life” to assuage teenage frustration. Well, I am happy, mostly. You also got me to stream some Choking Victim today. I hoped I would dislike it as much as I did your article, but I didn’t.


 

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The Insanely Strange Lion King Knockoff and Other ‘Mockbusters’ You Must See

Last week, Disney’s The Lion King musical announced it has made $6.2 billion worldwide, meaning the Broadway favorite now has the most successful box office of anything in any medium in entertainment history. But while this lavish production has managed to capture the heart of every generation it comes into contact with, the internet has found a new “King” in a far-less-budgeted animation studio.

Meet Dingo Pictures.

See also: The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever

At some point in our lives, we’ve all encountered knockoffs in some form. From bakeries whose cakes feature the images of princesses that look a little too familiar to the shoddily painted toys of Chinatown to well-meaning relatives surprising us with “Pubu” clothes, many a blind eye has been turned to those being fairly liberal with copyrights in hopes of making a little money. Nowhere was this more prevalent than the heyday of video stores where cheap direct-to-video releases, clearly taking cues from Hollywood’s biggest hits, attempted to penetrate the market and make some look-alike money.

Known as “Mockbusters,” these films tend to time their release with that of a more successful mainstream counterpart. Whether aimed to piggyback off the success of a famous film or to cash in on a trend or perhaps make money off of confusion in the marketplace, these movies, like The Terminators or Transmorphers, don’t just resemble the biggest silver-screen hits by sheer coincidence.

But unlike other studios that have entered the look-alike game, there’s something peculiar, unsettling, and ultimately fascinating about Dingo Pictures’ journey to internet royalty, which screams of low-budget deception every step of the way. They aren’t the off-brand, they’re the off-off-off-brand.

Dingo Pictures was founded in Germany sometime in the late ’90s. (Tracing its exact origins and personnel has proven impossible, and attempts to reach the studio were unsuccessful.) Making animated films with recycled poorly synced animated loops, they kept the total number of voice actors in each project to just two or three and then translated (also poorly) these cartoons into several languages for worldwide distribution. Their most distributed release, Aladin (the company’s take on Disney’s Aladdin), visibly and shamelessly takes its cues from the more popular film, from the blue genie to the title character (who looks traced outright). Yet a glimpse of any scene is sure to remove any confusion with the Disney property, as the poorly acted, poorly synced, and even poorly recorded dialogue is sheerly baffling.

But while a glance at YouTube comments shows Aladin found an audience in the states through dollar store and bargain bin purchases, Dingo Pictures’ biggest successes in Europe came through an even less likely pipeline. Teaming up in the early 2000s with Phoenix Games, a video game developer famous for bragging about its short production turnaround time for titles, Dingo Pictures found its films releases as “games” for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 platforms. What these discs consisted of were the cartoon as the main feature, and then additional “games” of coloring the scenes or putting together puzzle pieces of the images.

It’s these releases, on Phoenix Games, that found their way into forever haunting the deepest recesses of reviewers’ minds and eventually being captured on YouTube to delight those of us utterly fascinated by the incomprehensible. Releases like Dalmatians 3 (boasting a character who resembles 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil on the cover even though this character doesn’t make an appearance in the film itself) capture all the hallmarks of Dingo Pictures’ mockbusters. Along with the revolving set of recycled animations (the bird narrator and several pups make appearances in a number of Dingo’s releases) there’s the limited number of voice actors, endlessly looped stock music, and a script that in English makes little sense. It’s a children’s movie where a puppy and kitty both say “Damn!” The quality control of appropriate dialogue for children’s entertainment is always pretty off in these films — and in the strangest of ways, too. Mickey Mouse knockoff Mouse Police concludes with (SPOILER ALERT) the two mice children winning a free trip to Italy after finding the stolen cheese and screaming, “Cool! Us two against the Mafia!”

The Dingo Pictures release that’s made the most noise online has been Dinosaurs Adventure. Imagine if The Land Before Time was re-imagined by someone whose entire knowledge of dinosaurs came from looking at The Land Before Time‘s theatrical poster. It tells the tale of Tio, a cute baby dinosaur (who also says “Damn!”) who, along with his friends, goes on a mission to find his parents after a volcano erupts. For the new fans who’ve discovered the cartoon online this past summer, the ridiculous English version wasn’t enough, leading them to watching it in other languages, giving birth to the internet’s hottest meme: “Yee,” in which a poorly drawn dinosaur interrupts a singing dinosaur by saying “Yee,” and subsequently disappointing him. The brief clip has taken on a life of its own.

For all the money that The Lion King musical on Broadway has taken in, surely Disney wouldn’t be concerned with taking legal action against Dingo Pictures’ potential copyright infringement, right? Dingo’s lion film, cleverly titled Son of the Lion King, does seem to draw characters the closest to what could be their Disney counterparts, with the Mufasa and Simba characters (renamed “The King of the Lions” and “Robin,” respectively) looking as if they were outright traced. But if that still weren’t enough, there’s the case of Dingo Pictures’ absurd masterpiece, Animal Soccer World.

The “story” boils down to a panther and a dog getting into a scuffle; the King of the Lions declares the only way to settle the score is for the two to have a soccer match featuring all the animals of the jungle. Along with several of the animals looking like their character design were lifted from Disney’s The Lion King, Robin Hood, Bambi, The Aristocats, and The Jungle Book, the voice acting is so amateur that the flipping of script pages can actually be heard during the dialogue. Couple this with the entirely nonsensical plot and one musical loop that literally continues nonstop throughout the entire film, and you have what has to be considered The Room of animated movies.

This sheer disregard for quality is probably why the internet has fallen so much in love with Dingo Pictures. While these non-video games and bargain bin standards have seemingly had small cult followings for years, largely among masochists who seek out bad games, the past year has seen fanaticism for these cartoons result in views in the hundreds of thousands. With such recurring trademarks as poorly synced laughing, recycled animations from other cartoons, and the inexplicable frequent use of the word “rubbish” (fans leave a “rubbish counter” in the comments of each of the videos, keeping track of the times it gets said), Dingo Pictures has inadvertently created an addicting mini-universe that fans can’t help but share.

While Disney’s The Lion King and Aladdin may continue to dominate Broadway, Dingo Pictures has found that the internet has its own circle of life. Yee.


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.NYC to NJ: Get Your Own Damn Dot!

Look out the window right now and you’ll see a giant barge floating up the Hudson River from Red Hook to Riverside. And not just any barge — this one’s been outfitted with a giant banner, draped over a stack of freight containers, that reads: “.NYC Domains at GoDaddy. SHHH — Don’t Tell Jersey.”

It’s promoting the new .nyc internet domain suffix, which is accessible only to residents of the five boroughs. The idea is that dot-nyc domains will bring in revenue and entice local small businesses to build an internet presence.

And apparently, the campaign is aimed at encouraging New York City residents to gloat at our neighbors a mere bridge-and-tunnel away.

Our first thought: What a bargeload of crap! Plus, New Jersey deserves its own domain suffix!

So we set about brainstorming some options. A little research informed us, however, that .cologne, .pizza, .cheap, .sexy, and .fail already exist.

Kidding! (Not about the suffixes — they really are available.)

Then it seemed nothing could quite match the cachet of .nyc, but we kept at it….

.nj – Straightforward (if a little plain).

.newjersey – Accurate — but unpoetic?

.timeforsometrafficproblems – Sometimes the truth can set you free!

.heywhathappenedtothatsandyfunding – A niche suffix, to be sure.

.gardenstate – A no-brainer!

.oilandpetrochemicalrefinerystate – Again, the applications aren’t limitless…but could work for some.

.burbs – Nab this one. A definite yes.

.GTL – Gym, Tan, Laundry — exudes class.

.heyO – We’d go with this. Just sayin’.

.jersey – Can’t go wrong.

.stench or .smell or .scent – OK, that’s mean.

.jerz – You have to admit it has a ring to it.

.shutup – We would totally click on any New Jersey business with this suffix

.boss – FTW!