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Sign ‘o’ the Times 45 I had recently gotten from Rebel, Rebel

Prince was small like me. Introverted like me. And he could dance like no other. He was wholly himself. A shy kid who created a persona and became Prince, the rock star, the odd bird who felt like a woman in a man’s body.

There was always a cool mysteriousness about him. I grew up in Minneapolis, and he was our hometown hero — someone who made us feel that we too could be cool, even in the midwest. He made our mundane city feel monumental.

Our parents didn’t understand him. We did though: we kids loved him on a visceral level, loved his strangeness and energy. He inspired us to bust a weird move, to experiment with our feet, to dress up, to be theatrical.

He stood for artists, and he stood up for himself. He was the human embodiment of true vibrant color.

Hearing about his death after coming home from a walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park: How impossible! How could this be? He’s too important!

I had just gotten a Sign ‘o’ the Times 45 single from 1987 at Rebel, Rebel in the West Village, and for the last few weeks had been listening to it, and thinking about what matters in life, in our world that’s awash in media and distractions. How can artists make money when the expectation is to give everything away for free?

I had recently been home to Minneapolis in February, and I thought about him almost constantly. On the Delta flight, when I was flying over the snow and frozen lakes feeling lost, I thought about him playing a concert in the middle of Lake Minnetonka, on that sheet of ice. …


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Would self-aware birds take selfies? Photo: Jason Riker

NYC is a city of selfies.

But it seems like it’s mostly the tourists taking them. People come here from all over the world and need evidence of being here, hence the selfie with Iron Man in Times Square, the selfie on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with lower Manhattan in the background.

To the tourists, NYC is still a city of dreams. There’s something here that’s romantic and meaningful to them. There’s a movie or TV show — Annie Hall, Sex and the City — that’s spurred a pilgrimage to see the sights. …


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My first selfie on a Palm Treo 650. Dec 27, 2005

It’s 2016, which to my 40-year-old brain sounds impossibly futuristic and almost fictional. Social media has become so pervasive, so ingrained in our culture, that for many of us in New York, we’re waking up on a cold, rainy Monday in April, trudging down the steps of the subway, eating an egg salad sandwich for lunch at Starbucks, buying a $10 cold-press juice at an overpriced Brooklyn juicery, and thinking of ourselves as mini-celebrities.

It’s the YOU show every day, and in the U.S. and especially media-saturated New York, we’re spending a huge amount of time thinking about ourselves from the outside, how we’ll appear to other people online and in our apps. How cute and desirable we look in a selfie. How active a love life it looks we have. …


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Joan Zingarelli studio portrait by Jason Riker

Outside of weddings and the occasional family portrait, many people in business have never worked with a professional photographer, so it can be intimidating and time-consuming to source one and get an estimate for a project — whether it be partner portraits for a law firm, a look book for your new fitness line, or shots of your products.

Working with a skilled professional takes some preparation, so here’s a guide to help you get started in your search and bid process.


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Wearing a Joie silk blouse from my friend Michelle Rotter’s shop juneruby.com

I’m almost always disappointed by the business clothes I pick out for myself.

I have a blind spot when it comes to imagining what would look good on me, so I do one of two things:

  1. I buy the same dull pieces from the same dull stores (basic cardigans, basic t-shirts, basic jeans).
  2. I go completely off the rails and buy something that feels audacious (a one-sleeved blouse in a turquoise bird print! An asymmetrical neoprene shift dress!) but ends up hanging in the back of my closet unworn with the tags still attached.

For me, the best shopping experiences are ones where someone with a great eye can tell me what I need, because hunting for new clothes is not a high priority right now. …


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Sawyer Spielberg looking out over the The Lake in Central Park. “The need to express myself is in me. It’s in my father, and it’s in me too. I don’t want to settle for anything else. I can’t sit behind a desk. I have to act. I have to tell stories. Because I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. I have to fight. That’s what drove me to New York.” Photo: Jason Riker

Words by Ginger Makela Riker and photos by Jason Riker

In New York City your best laid plans often go awry. Especially if you have plans to shoot on location in December.

Any bad weather — rain, sleet, snow — can lead to huge delays in this city. Plans easily get postponed, rescheduled, canceled.

LaGuardia Airport is the best example of all of this, and if you’ve ever been trapped there waiting for a flight to depart, you know exactly what I mean.

When Jason and I woke up and looked out over the Brooklyn Navy Yards the East River was a wall of fog. …


This essay is the most important thing I’ve read in 2015. It’s so important to me that I’ve scanned and OCR’d it because it doesn’t exist anywhere online and that upsets me very much.

It is part of a collection of essays Strength to Your Sword Arm by Brenda Ueland published by HOLY COW! PRESS in 1993.

Initially it was an address given at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis on March 7, 1971, and later at the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin and Augsburg College of Minneapolis.

Robert Graves, the poet and historian, says, “The most important history of all for me is the changing relationship between men and women down the centuries.”

For thousands of years there has been a tragic situation — the domination of men and the degradation of women. We are so used to it we do not even notice it. The situation has begun to change very little, and going back, I will show you why in a minute.

This was not always so. Now there is an underlying feeling that true equality is impossible because men and women are so different. We can never be like each other. But I disagree. …


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One of the miraculous things we take for granted about the internet is that you could always be one mundane Google search away from self-revelation.

You could innocently be searching for “orthotic boot inserts” and you can stumble across some new piece of information that can reframe your story and how you think about yourself in the world.

For example, this week I was dusting our bookshelves and came across my old copy of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace’s collection of essays that I had read for a postmodern fiction seminar when I was in grad school at the University of Iowa in 1998. …


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Photo: Jason Riker

When I stopped working at Twitter ten months ago, my plan was to spend less time on social media.

Being at Twitter for four years took its toll on me. Like the cop who gets addicted to coke after going undercover, I had become professionally and personally dependent on a drug, but felt like I had enough self-awareness and self-control for it not to be a problem.

If you’re a power user of Twitter, you know how hard it is to keep up with the firehose of tweets.

But just imagine what it was like on the inside: keeping up with all the tweets on a cultural and personal level, keeping up with tweets for our advertising clients (I worked in ad sales), and then keeping up with tweets about Twitter and the industry in general. I really wish I could track the number of tweets I’ve seen over the last few years. …

About

Ginger Makela Riker

Formerly @google @twitter @vine @medium.

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