Basically, the interweb has enabled creative people to put their stuff out into the universe for public consumption really easily. I'm constantly discovering new purveyors of awesomeness I didn't know existed through things like Kickstarter, TeeFury (as well as shirt.woot and other community designed shirt printers), Etsy, etc., and like most people, my natural inclination is to take the rad things I discover and share them with other people who may enjoy them. So here you go.
I discovered the magic that is Kickstarter earlier this year through a link on Twitter, and it has steadily become my new favorite thing ever. The site gives all sorts of people - artists, musicians, filmmakers, and various other entrepreneurs - the opportunity to reach out to the online community in order to obtain funding for their projects, often with the option of receiving different exclusive thank you gifts based on the amount of the contribution. A fundraising goal is given for each project, along with a set amount of time for that goal to be reached. Backers don't get charged until the end date, and only if the fundraising goal is met.
Part of what makes this such a cool thing is the opportunity to connect in a pretty intimate way with people and/or projects that mean something to you. The first project I backed is a documentary that Colin Hanks is making about the rise and fall of Tower Records. Tower Records stores played a huge part in my youth - I discovered a lot of new music there, got my first Buffy The Vampire Slayer VHS boxed set there (highlights from season 1 - that's how they did it in the days before full seasons on DVD, kids), killed all sorts of time while my mom shopped at other far less interesting stores...basically, Tower - and physical record stores in general, which are becoming more and more scarce - means a lot to me. So I became a financial backer, the project got funded, and I started making it a habit to check out what's going on over at Kickstarter on a regular basis, which brings me to my first couple of picks.
Teagueduino is an open source electronic board and interface created by Seattle-based Teague that allows the user to create various electronic apparatuses without having to solder or know how to write electronic code. Light-controlled alarm clocks? Magnetic field meters? Robots? Teaguedino can help you make them all, regardless of skill level, while helping you get in touch with your inner tech-nerd and learn the basics of programming and embedded development.
As someone who loves tech and has fun building things but could never even hope to understand how to code, I liked the whole idea behind Teagueduino, as well as its potential as a tool to teach and maybe help some creative but technophobic people step outside of their comfort zones.
For more info., check out the Teague and Teagueduino sites.
2) Lust for Love
Lust for Love is an independent film written and (hopefully) directed by Anton King. It came to my attention through the Whedonverse - Dollhouse alums Fran Kranz, Dichen Lachman, and Maurissa Tancharoen (who has also written for and performed in other Whedon projects, such as Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the current run of Dollhouse comics) are among the cast members.
It's kind of impossible to say that a movie is going to be really awesome before it fully exists and can be seen, but I'm a fan of a lot of the people involved in this project and a supporter of independent film in general. I mean, in a world where seven Saw movies exist, surely we can scrape together $70,000 so that these guys can make their movie too. One you can watch without having to worry about anybody getting thrown into a pit of hypodermic needles, thus making you ill and giving you waking nightmares every time you think about it. Not that I'm talking about me.
Lust for Love hasn't hit its fundraising goal yet, but there are still 22 days left. Check out their Kickstarter page here and consider making a contribution. There are a lot of cool donation rewards still available.
Also, another cool thing about Kickstarter (I know, if I love Kickstarter so much, why don't I marry it?) is that even if a fundraising goal is reached, backers can continue to contribute to the total until the deadline. Overflow often gets used to improve the project, help it expand, cover miscellaneous costs. Whatever. As a backer, you usually get regular updates on the things you've funded, and most creators explain where the extra cash goes.
NOW, to the realm of Etsy, where crafty folks open online shops just for you!
My friend Niki, with whom I attended both high school and college, just opened up her shop on Etsy and has filled it with her lyrical illustrations - really awesome and creative designs that have song lyrics incorporated, beautifully melding her love of both music and art.
Many of her designs are customizable. She's got stationary, art pieces, and more. Check out her shop and be sure to leave feedback!
That's all I've got for you this time, folks. Thanks for reading and, hopefully, learning. Feel free to share some of the Stuff You Like in the comments and link to it.