Make magazine targets nerds and hipsters..does that make them nerdsters?

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Last night, on the not-so-anonymous urging of a PR company that represents Make magazine, I went to "Handmade Music" at Etsy Labs in downtown Brooklyn.  

It was the second such event hosted by Make (www.makezine.com), Create Digital Music and Etsy, a craft collective with which Make shares a loft-like spaceon Gold Street. On handmade music night, super-nerds, artists, and the edgy, in-the-know, 20-something crowd converge on the Etsy labs, drawn by promises of newly-invented instruments, techno music, and free pizza.

What is "Handmade Music?" Instruments played and displayed at the show included:

- A Monome: an instrument that works with xylophone samples and a Max/MSP patch (note the Macbook to the side).

- Vegavox: a Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge album

- Theremin crutches

- And a host of other wacky, beeping, blurping things, mostly made from household objects and electronics

Live Music!      I think this is what they were calling the Monome     The Sweet Music of 80's Nostalgia      Make cover   Etsy Labs

Although it seemed a bit exclusive (the hipster-to-non ratio was rather high), I thought it was an interesting and entertaining way to spread brand awareness. I had never heard of Make before, but I had to crawl over a table piled high with issues to get to the pizza. I picked one up. It looks great, and it promotes itself as a "mook" - or magazine/ book -- meaning it's satisfyingly thick.

 Teaming up with partners like Etsy and CDM was a smart move, too. Make's Web site admits that its readership consists primarily of middle-aged men, but the Etsy and CDM crowds seemed to skew younger. And, because it's primarily focused on crafts (spools of thread, half-sewn outfits and hand-painted postcards adorned the walls), Etsy probably brings in a more female crowd.

And then there was the music. Sure, I may not rock out to Super Mario Brothers-style sound effects whil cruising down the highway, but the combination of inventiveness, weirdness and purely joyful sound can do a lot to bring people together (and make them want to buy your magazine).

Make magazine is a fat quarterly dedicated to the arts of the do-it-yourself tech nerd. The issue that i picked up last night featured articles on everything enjoyed by geeky dads and NASA staffers on their downtime - from building your own travelling movie projector (it involves an adult tricycle), to air guns that can shoot a pumpkin close to a mile (www.punkinchunkin.com -- it's real!) to giant tesla coil lightning sculptures. And don't worry, before reading, I didn't know what a tesla coil was either.

-- posted by Lauren Bell 

 
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