Tina Fey and Steve Martin Share Wisdom and Wit at Nokia Theatre

Tina Fey and steve Martin
Tina Fey and Steve Martin yuck it up at a “Live Talks Los Angeles” conversation at Nokia Theatre Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Nokia Theatre was packed Tuesday night for a one-off chat and Q&A at which Steve Martin and Tina Fey expanded on highlights from her new book “Bossypants.” What was billed as a summit of two comic writers with recently released books was more of a casual three-way love fest between Martin, Fey and the audience, which laughed and applauded with near-absurd frequency.

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SXSW 2011 Highlights

In an eleventh-hour decision, I cashed in some American AAdvantage miles and caught a flight to Austin for spring break — or more specifically, the 25th annual South by Southwest Conference. With all of the networking opportunities, free food, drink, music and friends – some of whom i only see once a year or so – i’m glad i took advantage and visited the great city of Austin. It was a whirlwind four days but the photos and video below provide some flavor.


See my photos from past years at SXSW

The trip began with an amazing takeoff directly into the fading sun over the Pacific. This would be the last time the sun set before Daylight Savings time kicked in. Got in to Austin and met up with Jory, provider of a fine crash pad for the duration of my stay. Then began a serious of meetups, events, and parties: All Hat III, which was a priceless opportunity to visit with many of the folks I most admire in the interactive space who happen to share a passion and commitment to do-gooding.

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BP Oil Spill: When Crisis Management is Compounded by Social Media

I had the privilege of guest lecturing in Bill Imada’s graduate class at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (my alma mater). The title of the class — JOUR 568– is Critical Thinking and Crisis Management and I was asked to demonstrate the importance of social media in crisis communications and to present a case study. Well it turned out not being so much of a lecture — or even a case study for that matter — as it was a critical review of BP’s [lack of] response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster of April 2010 and the ensuing oil spill that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly 3 months unchecked.

[slideshare id=7111493&doc=bpoilspill-final-110302000814-phpapp02]

Click through to the videos in the presentation. Especially BP Spills Coffee. Riotous, no? But there’s truth to every bit of the parody. While BP was too focused on its record-breaking earnings and deflecting blame, it needed to address the reality of what was — and is — a very human tragedy in the eyes and on the active social networks of the public. And BP was way too late to that game.

The U.S. government just approved the first permit for deep-water drilling in the gulf since the disaster and there remains no known fix should history repeat itself. But our consumer culture didn’t get to where it is today out of an abundance of caution. This is where crisis management runs counter to traditional public relations. Organizations cannot wait to get involved on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, they must be proactively engaging and listening to their audiences. Sometimes communication is the only viable regulation.

The Goings On

arcade fire backstage at the grammys - the suburbs won album of the year

Just a brief update for friends and family trying to keep up with my personal and professional pursuits and adventures. First I’ll address why my personal blogging has been lagging of late: I’ve begun blogging more regularly at LAist under a new title — Associate Editor. This is my first paid position at LAist and it really is thrilling to be compensated to work harder for a blog that I’ve been more than happy to write for as a volunteer for more than 3 years now. Last night I live-blogged the Grammy Awards from the tv/radio media room backstage. Read that post here. You can access an index of my posts at LAist here or by clicking the tab in the top nav bar of this blog. I’ve often reposted articles written for LAist on this blog but as my posting becomes more frequent at LAist I will continue this only on a very limited basis. Please follow LAist on twitter and join our Facebook page.

I continue working as an independent consultant and as an advisor to boutique marketing and communication agencies with a focus on social media for social good, events, and online marketing and social media in the music space. I am currently working on projects with Zoetica Media and the Force Agency. I still manage and maintain Live Earth’s online presence and am taking the lead on BarCamp LA’s web stuff for the upcoming BarCamp Los Angeles 8, set for April 30 – May 1. I have a couple other ventures and interests that I’ve signed onto in principle but have yet to be fully fleshed out. For the most part I am trying to keep my professional profile up-to-date on my about page and at my LinkedIn profile. The latest version of my resume is always available at andysternberg.com/cv.pdf.

I hope to travel quite a bit this year both for personal and professional growth. I look forward to visiting with friends and potential clients / collaborators later this month in New York City.

Please reach out to me at any time, text / phone / IM / email and as always, keep in touch!

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Inspiring Street Sweeper Speeches (Audio)

One recurring theme in many of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speeches that always inspires involves the job of street sweeper as a parable for self-fulfillment. I’ve always admired Dr. King’s ability to affect not just churchgoers or civil rights activists but humans of all kinds, secular and otherwise, and the “street sweeper” element and its metaphorical allusions to the arts is my favorite example of this.

…[E]ven if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry…

This sentiment is reminiscent of the anonymously-penned poems, “Be the Best of Whatever You Are,” (often attributed to Douglas Malloch) which Dr. King cites in the sermon. In my searches tonight reflecting on Dr. King, I really appreciated how he introduced the street sweeper at the 50th anniversary of Alpha Phi Alpha in Buffalo, 1957 – “The Birth of a New Age.” A great blueprint for any commencement speech.

“We need more people who are competent in all areas and always remember that the important thing is to do a good job. No matter what it is. Whatever you are doing consider it as something having cosmic significance, as it is a part of the uplifting of humanity. No matter what it is, no matter how small you think it is, do it right. As someone said, do it so well that the living, dead, or the unborn could do it no better.

More and more multimedia from Dr. King’s sermons and speeches in the ’50s and 60s continues to crop up and it’s sometimes stunning how much more impact the words have when spoken by the reverend himself as opposed to reads on the written page or website.

I could not find the Buffalo ’57 audio, however I came across audio of a King speech that includes the street sweeper riff in the King Institute archives at Stanford. This 3.5-minute clip was taken from the full “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life” sermon delivered at New Covenant Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, on 9 April 1967. Another recently web-published sermon of note is this one from Temple Israel, a Jewish synagogue in Hollywood from 1965 which popped up a few years ago.

In addition to the King Institute archives, find more audio of Dr. King’s speeches here, here, and here.