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The Power of a Brand to Transform A City

Meu Rio Members

From my latest article in GOOD:

How can we use the power of branding to strengthen a shared identity and spark positive change in the neighborhoods and cities where we live? An effective visual identity references the culture and history of a place’s people and reflects their hopes and aspirations. Logos, fonts, or color schemes, the most tangible parts of a brand identity, are not magical cure-alls for the financial, social, and cultural ills of a city, but they can be powerful symbols and rallying cries that galvanize people to action. Here are some stories and insights on how you can create a brand identity for change in your community:


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Can’t make it to Austin for SXSW Interactive this weekend?  Come to’s alternative mini festival this Friday at 6:30 pm in downtown NYC.  FREE registration here:

If you are interested in giving a 5-7 minute Ignite/Pecha Kucha-style presentation about your artistic, activist, interactive, or just awesome work, email me at leesean [at] purpose (dot) com.

Art Audio HEPNOVA Music New York

Petrosino Square

Petrosino Square is a new track and first time lyrical collaboration with Joe Gualtieri.   Hepnova co-pilot Nicholas DiBiase and I cut the track over the holidays.  It’s a somber, shifting, and moody track whose title and inspiration come from the mini park at the crossroads of Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo where Joe and I would hang out in during the warmer months. Like every Hepnova track, this one draws from various musical influences, from the strong emotional poetry of Björk, to the melodic lyricism of Radiohead, to the moody atmospherics of Massive Attack to the Automator-esque beats of Gorillaz. In any case, I’m a much better composer than music writer, so just check it out and listen already.

“Petrosino Square”

Romantic recrudescence
Far from the burning iridescence
Safe from the searchlights of the past
Witnesses no more, but outlaws at last

You start to tense, begin to brace
As I press the revolver to your face
I see you aflame in this love so heady
Like a bomb thrown by Sacco and Vanzetti

When I saw you there in Petrosino Square
Is this paradise or my worst nightmare?
When the workers arise
I look into your eyes, your beautiful lies
Oh your beautiful eyes/lies

Your eyes your lies
Beautiful eyes/lies

Haven’t seen you in awhile and
I’m not sure how to start
Whether to thank or to blame you
For the anarchy in my heart
Your eyes your lies
Beautiful eyes/lies

More new Hepnova tracks on Bandcamp. And even more new music coming soon.

Cuisine New York Photography Restaurant Travel


I went on an impromptu trip out to Montauk, Long Island last weekend with Catherine.  Photo essay and travel tips below.

STAY at The Panoramic View – simple luxury, right on the beach

EAT fish and chips at Gurney’s Inn, right next door to The Panoramic View

DRINK at Nick’s, a beach bar right in town with live music

WATCH the sunset at the Montauket

EAT lobsters at Duryea’s.  Rustic and delicious.  My lobster was pregnant! Yum.

ADOPT a sock monkey and shop for other kitsch Americana at a shop on the main street in town (don’t remember the name)

More photos on Flickr.