The Recommender: Matt Haber, Who Isn’t Ignoring Your Friend Request (Honest)

The three best things Fast Company‘s acting homepage editor (who clearly likes old crap) found on the Internet this week.

The Recommender: Matt Haber, Who Isn’t Ignoring Your Friend Request (Honest)

Name: Matt Haber
Role at Fast Company: Acting homepage editor while Editorial Director Tyler Gray is working on his book (coming soon to your favorite bookseller!)
Twitter: @matthaber
Titillating Fact: Despite writing regularly about media and technology for outlets like The New York Times, The New York Observer, Capital New York, and Fast Company, Matt has never been on Facebook. “I liked Friendster, but by the time Facebook hit, I’d more or less decided I had no use for it.” (Of course, he uses Twitter and even felt so sucked into it that he needed to take a gadget-free break earlier this summer.)


Things he’s loving:

1. My Favo(u)rite Magazine
Bob Newman, the beloved former art director for Reader’s Digest, New York, The Village Voice, and others, as well as the proprietor of the amazing Newmanology Tumblr, had a serious accident back in March that landed him in a coma. Bob’s gotten a lot better thanks in part to the support of his friends and colleagues who set up a donation site to help him with his medical bills. Two of those friends, Andrew Losowsky and Jeremy Leslie, created My Favo(u)rite Magazine, a one-off print or PDF publication that showcases the best print graphic design from the last half century. This is a beautiful tribute to Bob (whom I had the privilege of getting to know a few years ago at the Columbia Publishing Course) and Bob’s passion for magazine art and design. To a magazine nerd like me, this is basically a catalog for future eBay purchases. Art directors from the U.S. and Europe (including Fast Company‘s own Florian Bachleda) each get a chance to tout their favorite layouts from Ramparts, The Face, Avant Garde, Ray Gun, and other publications old and new. Proceeds to go to Bob, so buy a copy now.

2. Anything Karen Black, But Specifically Trilogy of Terror
When Karen Black died two weeks ago, I was reminded of what a great actress she was. Best known for Five Easy Pieces (for which she was nominated for an Oscar), Nashville, and Airport, she never stopped working. Even in a terrible movie (and she made a lot of them, having acted in 194 films), her talent, intelligence, and beauty managed to shine through. Which brings me to Trilogy of Terror, a schlocky made-for-TV horror film from 1975. Inspiration for The Simpsons‘ yearly “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, Trilogy features Black in three discrete (and, admittedly super cheesy) tales of the macabre. Sure, this is the sort of thing The Ben Stiller Show mocked as “Low Budget Tales of Clichéd Horror,” but somehow Black pulled it off and looked like she was having a ball doing it. Especially fun is the last segment, in which Black goes head-to-head against an evil “Zuni fetish doll” (whatever that is). The look of disbelief followed by visceral terror on Black’s face when she sees the growling little monster doll zoom around her apartment stalking her with a knife proves that even if the material is utter crap, a professional always brings her A Game. (This segment was parodied in the “Treehouse of Horror III” segment with the Krusty the Clown doll set to “Evil” attacking Homer.) Did I mention the entire Trilogy of Terror is on YouTube? Watch it with the lights on.

3. 80 Photos of Old New York (1970-1989)
This is a great photo set of New York City during the bad old days of 1970s when crime was rampant (“As soon as you land at the airport, people steal everything you’ve got,” as Albert Brooks said in Lost in America), subways were covered in graffiti, and every other building seemed to be on fire. As the Bloomberg administration comes to an end and writers like Ken Auletta and Choire Sicha grapple with how the city became a playground for the ultra-rich under Mayor Mike, it’s worth remembering that there was a time before living in Manhattan was about cronuts, Citi Bikes, and pressing our noses against the glass of pricy real estate. (That said, looking at this pre-war “handyman’s special” on West Broadway and other buildings, my only thought was, Buy everything! Why aren’t you fools scraping together the $45,000 to buy every building you see?) Two must-read books come to mind: James Wolcott’s memoir Lucking Out and Jonathan Mahler’s excellent historical overview Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning. Only an idiot would want to go back to that time, but there’s a lot of beauty to be found in the grittiness of that era. And, yes, a lot of relief that the city isn’t like that anymore. Looking at these photos, you can almost hear the clinking of bottles and the taunt of “Warriors, come out to pla-a-aay!”

[Image: Flickr user Phillip Capper]