If you thought things were going to quiet down in Silicon Alley over the summer while Ed Bennett, Connie Connors and the rest of the Prodigy crew hosted pool parties in the Hamptons, think again. My e-mail was working overtime dealing with the fallout from what I'd written about the Stim controversy in the summer issue. All of the comments were in line with my take that Stim, the Prodigy-backed Web site, is the Alley's first Waterworld, though Peter Suchiu at Connors Communications reminded me that "Waterworld was a big success overseas," to which I replied, "I hope Stim does well in the third world." CyberSurfer's inside track: Stim will be rebooted within six months.
This column wouldn't be called "Sillycon Alley" if there wasn't a fiasco to report, and this month's disaster breaks my heart. I'm speaking, of course, about the devastation of the Alley's most high-profile event, the Macintosh New York Music Festival. Last year, the festival hit just as Webmania was sweeping the city. Apple had just released QuickTime VR for the Web, the Apple QuickTake camera was all the rage and no one had really tapped the idea of "cybercasting." The combination of technology and music made for the perfect press release. The only problem logged during the event was that a large percentage of the loaned Macs walked away (a small price for Apple to pay for the publicity).
Andrew Rasiej of Irving Plaza and Michael Dorff of the Knitting Factory are the co-executive producers of the event. This year they decided to tap into the popularity of streaming video and audio over the Net to create the ultimate online party at The Gig.com. The plan was to wire 17 venues for streaming. Sounds even better than last year, right? Well, it should have been, except that the majority of the clubs were never wired (and thus very few streams made it to the public). The inside track says that the organizers decided to call Nynex and ask them to wire the 15 clubs. (Irving Plaza and the Knitting Factory are already wired. Coincidence?) Nynex answered them with a major "Hell-lo?" Last time I checked the unfinished site, the message on the page read, "The site is down for retooling. It will be back up shortly. Stay tuned," to which I responded, "As if?"
Sonicnet did the site last year, and I was told by someone who built part of it that they knew it was going to be nightmare this year and wouldn't touch it with a 10-pixel pole. Who can blame them when all work done for the festival is simply for the exposure (read: no cash). Remember the mantra of Silicon Alley: F.Y.P.M. (fuck you, pay me).
Dennis Adam o, the producer who gave the Pseudo brand such a buzz, was fired from his new gig at Prodigy for routing all of his pitches around his immediate boss, Josh Gropstein, to CEO Ed Bennett. Pseudo has spent most of the momentum from its infamous parties last year -- don't be surprised if Adamo resurfaces in Pseudo jumpsuit.
Jamie Levy has the honor of being the first face from the Alley to make it to MSNBC (and to be in this column three months in row). She was being profiled for her totally slamming new Palace environment -- the first to contain 'bots called The Malace Palace (www.malacepalace.com). If the new network had half a CPU, they would have hired her to reinvent their stale-on-arrival site. Right on! Check out the next issue of PAPER for CyberSurfer's Sillycon Alley Awards. Nominations for Worst Career Moves, Largest Disaster on the Web and the coveted Lifetime Smoke-and-Mirrors Award can be sent to email@example.com