Archive for November 2009

It Takes a Village to Raise a Schmooru…

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

To give you all a clear understanding that Schmoonews is about the Creative Process and holds nothing back–I’m about to peel away the curtin into some of the questions you all have been asking me about how we’ve gotten this thing together and what’s the deal with BECKMANN and his seemingly illustrious life of travel and mystery. More than anything this post documents our PRE HISTORY in creating SCHMOO.

Exactly one year ago today, Barack Obama was elected president–and that’s a critical moment in the history not just for the world, but for us. You see, I started my self-imposed exile from my place in San Francisco at the end of July 2008 to move to Chicago and join the New Media part of that campaign. When we won–and then a week later, Current TV laid off the division I had been working for, I decided in those cold dark days of November, to start something SCHMOO–although not even the name had surfaced yet.

All I knew was that so many of you who had done work for us and so many of the talented people I’d worked with were now all of sudden out in the cold–whilst I felt like I had won the lottery. Finding myself in the midst of a historic and winning presidential campaign.

Fast forwarding to now–we will get to the parts in between at another point–I never went back home. I continued to go about the country and put together the pieces that at first became our parent company, IB5k and then later our subset for the creative types, Schmooru.com.

How did I do this? As you can recall–after Obama got elected, the sky was literally falling. The economy was in shambles and people thought the banks were going to fail. Schmooru, I’m proud to say has received no investment in these early stages which means there are no strings attached while firmly developing our foundation. We control our own house and from there we can dream unbeholden.

It did cost money–and I’m happy to report, my savings are mostly intact. The first thing that’s been mysterious to me and I hope no one from the MGM Mirage corporation is reading this–but every time I’ve needed the money for something, I’ve gotten it in a casino. In a sense MGM and a few other names are investors in this company. Same way FEDEX started.

I don’t believe in gambling–but I’ve only lost one time this year. I’ve never gotten more than I needed to get me past the next post. Before Obama called in July of 2008, I had won a HUGE take in Detroit which made me feel comfortable taking the drastic pay cut to sign up–because it was so mysteriously large, I thought it meant something larger than me.

Picture 4

There are your curators who worked on a HOPE and a DREAM who basically did this stuff for future pay, but beyond that they deeply care in what we’re all trying to do there. Primarily, to have a lawyer, a webmaster, a business builder, a powerful DC power broker, an impeccably capable renaissance video man–but also, the girl I called one week after the election and said “I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to go out there and do something’–the most networked girl in video production–cause this thing always was conceived and lives within community–without these people–there would be no SCHMOO.

Picture 5

But that’s not all. It took a village. A global one–in order to build this thing. And primarily–its not having paid rent for an entire year that has really gotten this thing off the ground. By my count I’ve stayed in over 47 different spots this year, and never slept in the street unless it was on purpose(There was the one night in Chicago when I wanted to go home and my hosts were partying all night but that was good for me;). I would say a word to the wisest is you have to keep on moving every three days in order to not overstay a welcome–but below, I’ve chronicled every place I’ve stayed in the last year–and many of them were repeats.

These people all contributed to the possibility, that creative people like all of you could band together–do projects bigger than oneself–and in doing so, help to preserve a creative lifestyle and profession that’s necessary to ensure our happy futures.

CHI
Caitlin Dorsey
Mike Debonis
The New Media Mansion people

STL
The Rev. Ben Schartman

NYC
Katie Beckmann

LA
Lauren Cerre & Tyler Manson-

SF
John Reed & Sarah McKinney

Omaha
Paul Tulipana & Megan Malone

Louisville
Tom Green

Birmingham
Mark Nugent & Jessica Kerley

Miami
Mark Steiner

St. Louis
Harrahs;)

Toledo
David & Esther Beckmann

Washington, DC Inauguration
Allison Archaubault

NYC
Holly Ecker and Christopher Smith

Washington DC/Manassas, VA
Mathew Taylor
David Bychkov & Nadia Madjid

SF
Richie Zevin

Bozeman, MT
Michael J. “mini” Noogent
Michael and Naomi Nugent

LA
Sarah Evershed & Julian Robinson
Dylan Ris

SF
Danny Debonis

Chicago,
Zac Witte & Goeff Domeracki

SF
Tori Taylor & Dave McMillan

LA
Saskia Wilson Brown

Wyoming
The Eversheds

NYC
John F. Brunner
Jory Cunningham
Sam Reiff-Pasarew

DC
Max Harper

Amsterdam
Dennis DeLange
Mike Glennon

NYC
Clare Sullivan & Thomas Hallaran

Great Barrington, MA
Nathanial Kerksick

CHI
Caitlin Dorsey
Mike Debonis
The New Media Mansion people

STL
The Rev. Ben Schartman

NYC
Katie Beckmann

LA
Lauren Cerre & Tyler Manson-

SF
John Reed & Sarah McKinney

Omaha
Paul Tulipana & Megan Malone

Louisville
Tom Green

Birmingham
Mark Nugent & Jessica Kerley

Miami
Mark Steiner

St. Louis
Harrahs;)

Toledo
David & Esther Beckmann

Washington, DC Inauguration
Allison Archaubault

NYC
Holly Ecker and Christopher Smith

Washington DC/Manassas, VA
Mathew Taylor
David Bychkov & Nadia Madjid

SF
Richie Zevin

Bozeman, MT
Michael J. “mini” Noogent
Michael and Naomi Nugent

LA
Sarah Evershed & Julian Robinson
Dylan Ris

SF
Danny Debonis

Chicago,
Zac Witte & Goeff Domeracki

SF
Tori Taylor & Dave McMillan

LA
Saskia Wilson Brown

Wyoming
The Eversheds

NYC
John F. Brunner
Jory Cunningham
Sam Reiff-Pasarew

DC
Max Harper

Amsterdam
Dennis DeLange
Mike Glennon

NYC
Clare Sullivan & Thomas Hallaran

Great Barrington, MA
Nathanial Kerksick

Don’t Stop Songs of CHANGE

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

n503425502_4758897_3336As we experience the one year mark of Barack Obama’s election this week, I decided it was time to bring out, this yet unpublished work(eeeww ahh). It was conceived in the basement of my parent’s house in Toledo, OH during last year’s Presidential Transition period, after I’d had the pleasure of working on his New Media team that in many respects was historic in methods they used to get the man elected. We all waited in anticipation of the inaugural events of a president of historic nature. You may recall as well, people were predicting total economic collapse and nothing symbolized economic failure better my return to Joe the Plumber’s hometown during our winter of discontent, fear and HOPE. While many people have been coming up to ask me about what I think on this encroaching anniversary day, having drastically altered my life’s course to help get Obama elected–I respond by saying Barack is still my guy(in fact, during the hardest moments I had on the campaign and it wasn’t all that easy for me to work there–he was often all I had then too)–I also offer this period piece. ENJOY!-D.P.B, San Francisco 11.3.09.

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There’s been something that I’ve been wanting to write about since finishing up on the Obama campaign last month. While working there you never wanted to write a tell-all such as this, as it may distract from the LIFE OR DEATH choice in the 2008 election—between competence and all out bullshit.

It was just yesterday I caught myself watching “Definitely Maybe”—without realizing the shocking parallels between that awful universe and my own—the trials and tribulations of dropping everything to work on a democratic campaign of CHANGE. The “not knowing what you were doing when you first got there—the drinking out with the campaign workers at night in the exposed brick bar with the white and red checkered table and the inevitable co-opting of your life for mass market movies akin to the sports memorabilia you find in local neighborhood Applebees(R).

n503425502_4760080_8232
This got me thinking about the cliches to come out of my campaign experience when some jergoff real soon attempts to make a mass-market romantic comedy about our NO drama Obama. Our campaign was hella different than Bill’s, I mean heck, for a while we ran against a CLINTON! These differences can be found on many levels, but today I’d like to pick out one glaring variation between these movements for CHANGE.

In 1992—the last time we had CHANGE, we were told to “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”. Growing up in a Republican enclave of socialist labour-driven Toledo, OH, I was fed lines at the time by my friend’s conservative parents when Bill Clinton adopted this theme at the 1992 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Gardens in New York—that “Fleetwood Mac actually didn’t approve of Bill’s politics” and using their song was “unauthorized”– They weren’t seen much out on the campaign trail–in fact, Fleetwood Mac, like many Baby boomers had long divorced–until they saw the opportunity in it all and later performed at the Inaugural ball. It was like coming together for the good of the kids, as well as their stock portfolios (and it sounds accordingly):

(Anyone else notice Rahm Emmanuel’s name?) With another inaugural ball coming up and people writing me ever so often to help get their act into it—even though I admittedly have nothing to do with the inauguration—I felt it worth noting the difference in rally cry for this campaign embodied by BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S “The Rising.” There was no song played more in this campaign beyond Stevie Wonders “signed sealed delivered I’m yours!”–to mail you way as you leave a rockus event.

There’s a lot of Sneeze to be achoo’d in these differing conceptions of CHANGE music.. So lets STOP thinking about tomorrow for a second here and see what we can inaugurate by looking at these LITE hits of YESTERDAY and TODAY.

Generational Economics Through Music

Let me first start out by saying there is a generational issue at stake here—one between the baby boomer’s “Don’t stop excesses” that got us into this mess and the Millennials soon to be perennial problem of their “dogmatic HOPE” brought to us by a combination of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign and the unrealistic capitalism brought about by “Don’t Stop”.


One party not at the table is Tom Brokaw’s GREATEST GENERATION—they were obviously so cold, weird, twisted and fucked up they were no longer a credible influence in teaching us how to save if that meant we had to take all the rest of their bullshit, we’d all rather burn it all to brimstone if you know what I mean.

Yes—whether its FOREST GUMP, BACK TO THE FUTURE or your 7th Grade American government text book—history is a time continuum and everything falls in order like dominos after one another–and in this case, so do economies.

The baby boomers don’t want to think about today because that’s when they put it on the credit card for tomorrow—they certainly don’t want you to think about yesterday because that’s when they put it on the credit card for today.

“Don’t Stop”…Maybe we should have?

This isn’t an anti-Clintonian treatise—this is just someone who used to be a balanced journalist reporting the facts on why FLEETWOOD embodies so many of the issues we had with the last CHANGE wagoon as we attempt to keep this one on the road. Its not Clinton’s fault we’re in the credit crisis– Fleetwood Mac, the baby boomers and the excesses of the entire LITE ROCK years, 70s, 80s, 90s, and most importantly TODAY got us to the shit we’re in. “Don’t Stop” was just a symptom of a larger problem.


“Ewww don’t ya look back… Ewww Don’t ya look back”—the rallying cry with the streamers falling all around—They’re just going through the MANTRA MOTIONS at the height of mass-market consumer culture.

But that’s not all…FLEETWOOD, a mainstream boomers staple—told you you could GO YOUR OWN WAY, GO YOUR OWN WAAAAY. If we would have thought more about where we could all carpool together over the years would we have needed all of those homes increasingly farther apart? Sometimes its ok to go similar ways…


REF: Carpenters.. she in many ways started this fire with her wedding song. Through the “We’ve only just begun…” programme she did more to expand the surburbs than FANNY or FREDDIE. If Karen started this sandwich, George W. Bush certainly finished it for her—if only she were around to ask the question so many are wondering., Why do birds suddenly appear where our retirements used to be?

The misinformation, scare tactics and tomfoolery continued as FLEETWOOD taunted poor Rhiannon in her DREAMS—a woman taken by the wind, they spoke of LANDSLIDES forcing you back into their clutches –and threatened you if you ever broke the chain. The biggest crime of all may just be their claim that THUNDER only happens when its RAINING? Not true. Don’t we all wish she kept these inaccurate visions to herself?

Heck they had a woman lead singer with two man first names—Stevie Nicks. This GYPSIE Band’s misdirected “call to actions” were a sign of the times—now they have to live with the results they contributed to. In all of these joints, did they ever come up with a “Solutions based” narrative? One in which we sat down and thought about how to tackle these serious issues of denial, imprisonment, lack of self discipline, inaccurate weather predictions and interpretation of dreams?


Again, this is not a personal indictment of FLEETWOOD MAC, BERNIE MAC, the BIG MAC, or Bill Clinton–it’s a reflection of the times in which all those fast food creatures lived and fed off each other—and now the paaty’s ova Riktor—someone’s gotta come in and clean up the damage—but who you gonna call?

Substance-based CHANGE.

A lot can be said about our generation—the WHY Generation. I’ve said a few things myself. WHY did it take so long for us to get organized? Why did we watch so much TV? WHY do we WHINE so much? Will we ever get up to the plate and start leading on something?


The answers to many of these questions stem from, indeed the parents who raised us—but largely, something I’ve noticed as being a part of this movement—is the WHY Generation grew up in a very protected environment. Many of us had activities scheduled up until the moment we graduated college—with promises of growth to be fulfilled if we merely took the tests, stood in line and waited.

This is indeed the crux of our problem—why we WHINE. Part of why its impossible to keep our attentions on one thing or another in the workplace. Its all the promises made by those who told us to Don’t Stop thinking about tomorrow which got us to this place.

So far, nothing has really come.


For my entire 20s this economy has felt fake—and we all know now that it was. We don’t buy houses when we’re just graduating from college—we look for jobs. And for my entire 20s, there really hasn’t been to many of those. I have never felt secure in my employment—this BUSH economy, the ultimate in “Don’t Stop” Greenspanian economic theory has always felt like we were driving around with the parking brake on.


We’ve been waiting for something to come—something credible. Something that defines our generation—calls us to action in one sense, but fulfills the promises we’ve been fed by an MTV culture that told us to have our own opinion and that was our opinion and our parents who gave us money to buy things while they both worked jobs outside of the home in order to give us more money to buy things.

At the end of our decade in our 20s, when we’re almost running out of time before the smarter kids take over—we are tying our HOPES to OBAMA that he may CHANGE something. But what’s different this time, is we’re doing it like we’ve always done it—we’ve done all of our homework—we’ve nerded the fucker out—and none of the boomers really know what the fuck we’re doing—they’re just cutting checks for it and hoping we’re not getting into too much trouble.

Our campaign’s song of CHANGE is the RISING:

Notice how he takes 4:51 to get to the actual song. The guy actually showed up—he shovels it on thick until he gets to the price of admission. In a sense we feel like this is the beginning of something substantive and real—but also emotional.

It was certainly a theme of the CLINTON administration that when things got bad, we were encouraged to start thinking about tomorrow. I think you’ll notice a difference has already started to take shape—over the next four years we’re going to start thinking about today.

What’s the problem with THE RISING?—well, yes there are some SECOND COMING connotations embedded within—but I think Bruce’s point in writing this in the wake of Sept. 11th, in a non-partisan window was to try to bring people together today to watch some sort of warming spectacle—that being his song. Come on out for the RISING today–not tomorrow.

We live in different times now and its ok to get a little RISE out of them every now and then. I’m happy I’m permitted to think about the potential they bring. We haven’t had anything like that in my adult life.

-D. P. B., Toledo, OH–12.16.08