Blake Hayek

Blake Hayek writes about the arts and political economy. He lives in Mexico City where he enjoys coffee, making music and long walks to the taco truck.

Posts by Blake Hayek

disconnected work for Facebook

Disconnected: Everybody’s Working for Facebook

Is the social network contributing anything meaningful to users in return? Is Facebook connecting people? Or is it doing the opposite: rather than bringing us together, is it leaving us more disconnected? Recent discussions about the echo chamber effect that followed the 2016 U.S. presidential election left a lot of us wondering who exactly Facebook benefits. With most of its earnings (a whopping $18 billion in 2015) made entirely through ad revenue, users are contributing        …read more

April Fools pranks

10 Greatest April Fools’ Pranks

It’d be foolish to forget these legendary April Fools’ pranks. April Fools’ pranks are a tradition around the world, in various forms. The French have Poisson d’Avril (Day of the Fish), when young people will stick a paper fish on the back of the unsuspecting. Brazilians have Dia da mentira (Day of the Lie), which warrants less explanation. And we, of course, have April Fools’ Day. The origins of April Fools’ Day are less certain        …read more


Introducing the Camera-Collar for Pets!

Pet owners review revolutionary PetSnaps Camera-Collar. Ever wish you could ask your kitty where she slopes off to all those weekday afternoons? Or that you could bring your puppy on dinner dates? Ever considered installing a webcam in your living room, just to watch your pet sleep while you’re out? Do you have photos of your pet on your desk, perhaps covering up pics of your vacation with your significant other? Is your pet your        …read more

starving artist

Starving Artist No More: 4 Resources for Your Body and Soul

Make your art and eat too: a survival guide for the starving artist. Who here has eaten lentil soup for two weeks straight? Or worn the same pair of jeans day in, day out for two years (and counting), grateful that at least the trend gods have smiled on you because it’s OK these days to have your holes-to-denim ratio encroaching on public nudity? And how about those Costco sample meals tiding you over until payday, eh?        …read more

international film festival

Berlin International Film Festival: 5 Films We Can’t Wait to See

From the incomparable James Baldwin to two runaway weirdos, the Berlin International Film Festival features must-see films from around the world. The year of 2017 is in motion, which means the Berlin International Film Festival is upon us. Each year, the festival opens the calendar with experiments on-screen and forays into the unknown, bringing together filmmakers and movie buffs from around the globe to get frostbitten in the plazas of East Germany. The “Berlinale” is the first of the        …read more


Voluntourism: The Alternative Vacation

Voluntourism — volunteering abroad — is an increasingly popular phenomenon, but it has its baggage. What organizations are good to work with, and how do you decide if a project is worthwhile? The first episode of the recent Netflix installment of Black Mirror imagines a world in which everything is recorded, uploaded and shared, and everybody is judged according to their out-of-five-star rating. Every moment of the day is reduced to a unit of a        …read more

Oliver Stone’s Snowden Movie Follows ‘Patriot’ and ‘Traitor’

The new Snowden movie tackles the true, politically charged story of a polarizing whistleblower. In his IMDb bio, Oliver Stone is described as, above all, “a master of controversial subjects.” His most recent directorial offering doesn’t back down — in fact, it pushes the claim even further. Snowden, coming out September 16, is set to be a hit, with an all-star cast and one of the biggest stories of the decade. Following the life of Edward “Ed”        …read more

Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival 2016 Features Must-See Movies from around the World

From virtual reality Jesus to a land without sunlight, check out these intriguing cinematic offerings featured at the Venice Film Festival. Situated on a thin strip of land that shelters the main archipelago from the Adriatic Sea, the Venice Film Festival is itself a trusty island in the vast ocean of world cinema. Founded in 1932, it’s the oldest film festival in the world and shares the title of one of the “big three” along        …read more

Burning Man Festival

The Cult of the Burning Man Festival

The new (age) consciousness of the Burning Man festival. Fluffy moon boots — check. Ski-goggle sunglasses — check. Viking helmet — check. A cacophony of voices, drums and howling sandstorms — check. Over 70,000 half-naked people dancing around an arid landscape of scorching 110º heat — check. I know what you’re thinking: we’re in Bosch’s hell, right? Nope, just Nevada… Welcome to Black Rock City, home to the one and only Burning Man festival. The        …read more

intentional meaning story

Is Intentional Meaning a Requirement of Art?

Who assigns meaning to art: the artist or the audience? La Lagunilla is one of the largest and oldest markets in Mexico City and is certainly its most famous. Located just north of the city’s main square, it attracts thousands of tourists each year but remains a market for local people. Principally known for its antiques and counterfeit clothes, La Lagunilla mixes the specialist with the generic. Walking down its hallways of bridal gowns and        …read more


Courage in Defeat: Why Fictional Tragedy Inspires Us

Can tragedy as a genre point the way to peace? “‘Man Killed by Falling Tree’ is not a tragedy,” explains Frank to Rita, in Willy Russel’s appropriately titled play Educating Rita (1980) — probably one of the better stories about mansplaining written in the 20th century. Frank, who is played by Michael Caine in the 1983 film version, alongside Julie Andrews as Rita, is attempting to illuminate the differences between a tragic event and tragedy,        …read more

recycled art

Recycled Art: Popular Films You Didn't Realize Were Adaptations of Old Classics

From Disney favorites to a Marlon Brando tour de force, did you know these modern masterpieces were recycled art pieces from old classics? Each of these films has recycled art from (in an overblown British accent) canonical texts for a contemporary audience, bringing back from the dead those great books you “read” in school — no thank you, SparkNotes. 1. The Lion King (1994) as Hamlet (1603) Walt Disney Pictures These two pieces hardly need        …read more

art online

Like My Page: How Art Online Has Changed the Artist

How does sharing art online transform the artist and art itself? “Man, I’m talkin’ way before hashtags,” reflects Drake on “Know Yourself,” looking back from this current moment of prolific art online to a simpler time, when Kanye still rocked “polos and backpacks.” Things have changed since then; as we covered, the guy’s got his own clothing line now... The internet dates back even further than most of us realize. I remember still using dial-up        …read more

Yeezy Yeezus

How to Make Art and Alienate Everyone: The Life of Kanye

Kanye is both product and critic of our time. Pulling off the I-405 N and dipping down into Westwood where we’re staying for the weekend, I look up through the evening sky at the Hollywood sign and think about our messiah sitting up there, watching over us. Kimye’s home is located in Hidden Hills, a gated community in the San Fernando Valley. Its celebrity residents provide the ideal context for the century’s poster-child celebrity couple,        …read more

Same Old Story: The Seven Basic Plots That Govern Our World (Well, Almost)

Christopher Booker suggests seven basic plots frame all our stories, but where do recent Oscar winners stand? Since the Oscars and Cannes Film Festival, I’ve been thinking a lot about stories: what makes one great, how we tell them and why some are better than others. From Northrop Frye’s “archetypes of literature” to Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, many notable figures have suggested great stories follow general trends. Some go as far as        …read more

Freaks on TV - Walter White

Why We Love the Freaks, the Weirdos and the Outsiders

In popular entertainment, we love the freaks. Here’s why. Scrolling through Emmy winners, or just reflecting on your own favorite TV shows, you’ll notice that pretty much every character that grabs our interest is, well, flawed. The most dynamic and engaging plots revolve around conflict: no one wants to watch a bunch of good Samaritans sit around and jerk each other off. And that doesn’t just apply to TV. Try to name a half-­decent movie or        …read more

Today's TV Better Call Saul

Today’s TV Is Stealing the Hollywood Spotlight

Why is today’s TV overtaking the film industry in budget, viewers and acclaim? Daily routine: hear my alarm, reach for iPhone, hit snooze, check Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, doze... Wake up nine minutes later, repeat above, roll out of bed, shower, eat, brush teeth, leave apartment. By the time I get to the cafe where I write, I’ve already engaged with 25 to 50 people, and that’s without even opening my mouth. Not counting, that is, the grunt        …read more

Craft Beer Brewery

Art or Artisanal: Craft Beer Is Killing It, But What Is ‘It’?

Can we talk about this craft beer trend? In a world overwhelmingly dominated by global corporations and profit-based consumerism, craft goods have been growing in popularity. Craft goods provide an opportunity to move out of the Walmart aisle. But, a bit like art, they’re also a split between something that can help us think differently about the world and something that still abides by the logic of the market: they’re bought and sold and, what’s more,        …read more