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NFT

Meet “For The TL,” A Collective of Diverse NFT Artists

“For The TL” is a crypto-art collective of over 75 artists in the Web3 space, ranging from emerging to established names.

Artist, curator and founder Max Kulchinsky, along with founding member Elijah Kuhaupt, originally formed this group to create opportunities for people who they felt weren’t being represented in the NFT art world.

What started off as a group chat of indie artists and has now quickly become a well-known collective of unique and talented powerhouses with stories to tell.

“‘For the TL’ means for the timeline,” Kulchinsky said, referring to the stream of tweets that users see when they log into the Twitter accounts.

The collective is diverse in race and gender and features artists of different mediums, including animators, 3D artists, illustrators, painters and more. Some notable members include Vinnie Hager, Gisel Florez, and Yosnier.

The group’s inaugural exhibition was in DCentral Miami, which featured over 60 artists. The show was called “For The TL.”

Max Kulchinsky

“That’s when it went from half joke to a serious thing,” Kulchinsky said.

Since then, the collective has presented physical and digital works at SXSW, NFT NYC, and more.

Not only has the group been a way for artists to collaborate together, “For The TL” has also acted as a community of friends who support each other.

“Having friends like those in ‘For The TL,” is the best part of being in web3,” Sophie Sturdevant said. “I’ve never been quite as inspired, challenged, and championed as an artist.”

“For The TL” launched its genesis collection, curated by Max Kulchinsky, on June 23rd through Nifty Gateway.

Here are the seven pieces involved in the drop. You can purchase them individually or as a pack here.

“Walking Juxtaposition” By Sophie Sturdevant
Sophie Sturdevant

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiesaidso

Her Art Style: “I work in both physical and digital spaces, but regardless of media, my work and process play on a “museum and mayhem” juxtaposition. Often, I like to stack dynamic + opposing narratives on top of another, intending to lead the viewer into emotional confusion or curiosity (or maybe even clarity, state of mind depending).”

“Curse of the Drifter” By Sean Williams
Sean Williams

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iArtSometimes

His Art Style: “If I had to use one word, I’d probably say my art style is ‘multidimensional’. I call my style GLÖSS and I consider it almost like looking at an object or idea from multiple perspectives, (whether they’re physical or conceptual depends on my mood at the moment) But that’s really just a fancy way of trying to say: I’m generally throwing shit at a wall (or accidentally kicking holes in one) and hoping it sticks. Visual ADHD. I make a lot of things, in a LOT of different directions, using a lot of different mediums, and I’m still trying to find the most succinct way to put it all together. It’s probably a lifelong process.”

“Transplant” By Squibs
Squibs

Twitter: https://twitter.com/squibs

About the piece: “It’s completely inspired by move to New York. Spending late nights on my fire escape. After all I’m just a ‘transplant’ to the city.”

“Pieces of She” By Myriad of?
Myriad of?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myriadinart

About the piece:

“Dark winds swirl, enveloping the legs of She
Gasps of air slip out tenderly brushing his lips as he breathes in
Living off each others’ lungs, slowly melting into one heart, finger tips graze along her spine, reaching in and tying her pretty little insides into bows
Suffocating on butterflies”

“According to Prophecy” By Bobbi Cai
Bobbi Cai

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bawbicai

About the piece: “In the beginning when the heavens and the earth was created everything was perfect and the serpent taught knowledge and evil to Eve after she ate his forbidden fruit. We took it literally but something’s aren’t exactly what they seem to mean. This is another genesis for me.”

“New Form of Luxury” By Dimithry Victor
Dimithry Victor
New Form of Luxury by Dimithry Victor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dimithryv

About the piece: “For many years I’ve been obsessed with the concept of luxury, and as I get older I started to realize the real luxuries in life are the experiences I’ve had and shared with others. One of my fav luxuries in life is visiting parks.”

“WATCH OUT” By Max Kulchinsky
Max Kulchinsky

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxkulchinsky

About the piece: “I’ve been drawing the ‘Watcher’ symbol for about a year now — it’s meant to be a reminder of safety and understanding to everyone who needs it.”

Categories
NFT

What is the Blockchain: A 101 Breakdown of An Emerging Technology

Blockchain has become a mainstream buzzword across the developed world. It’s uniquely a hot topic in pop culture and various industries utilizing its technology.

With so many opinions and perspectives buzzing around the world about blockchain, it may be hard to understand what blockchain is and isn’t.

So, what is blockchain technology, how does it work, and what are some use cases? This article will dive into blockchain basics and evaluate the emerging technology’s pros and cons.

What is the Blockchain?

Blockchain is a fundamental concept in understanding the way cryptocurrency works. But it’s not only limited to its application in crypto.

The blockchain is a database that stores information from transactional records in a universal ledger. Assets are traded and tracked on the blockchain, reducing risk and cutting costs for everyone involved. 

Blockchain allows you to send money to a friend in seconds without worrying about banking fees and other charges. You can also store cash in an online wallet and don’t need anyone’s permission to move it or transfer ownership.

Every block on the blockchain has a specific number of transactions. When a new block generates on-chain, it’s added to each network node’s ledger and uses distributed ledger technology (DLT).

A key concept of blockchain is that it’s decentralized, which allows for transparency and real-time access to assets. Being decentralized also enables the network participants to be collectively responsible for the security, as opposed to having a centralized entity like a bank or governing body.

Other fundamentals of blockchain technology include being immutable and distributed. Since the ledger is immutable, you can always trust that the information is accurate because no one can alter it.

Since the blockchain is also distributed, it potentially protects users from network attacks and other instances of fraud and cybersecurity threats.

How Does The Blockchain Work?

What is the purpose of the blockchain?

  • To store and distribute digital information without the ability for anyone to alter it.

Here is a typical scenario of how to use blockchain technology to record cryptocurrency transactions:

  1. A consumer buys cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
  2. The transaction is sent to the decentralized network, and the nodes validate the transaction.
  3. After the transaction is approved, it is grouped with similar transactions to form the block, adding to a growing chain of other transactions.
  4. Miners on the network select transactions from these pools and form them into a ‘block.’ A block is a collection of transactions and every miner constructs its own block of transactions. The block is encrypted once complete, and the record becomes permanent.
Blockgeeks

Since Bitcoin’s blockchain is a public database, anyone owning it can view that same transaction record, although it’s difficult to trace the identity behind a single account.

But not all blockchains are public. Some blockchains are designed as private ledgers, allowing the owner to decide who can make changes to the blockchain.

Aside from the cryptocurrency industry, many other sectors are interested in developing blockchain technology. Blockchain can also be helpful for cybersecurity, data storage, record-keeping, and data ownership.

Blockgeeks

Miners 

Miners aren’t people with shovels and pickaxes. They’re owners of complex computing equipment meant for mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain.

Miners are responsible for creating new blocks on the chain and attempt to be the first to verify cryptocurrency transactions to collect rewards. 

These people compete to solve “hashes” that enable them to process the transactions and get the rewards of solving the complex mathematical equations on the blockchain.

Nodes

Understanding what nodes are is another crucial concept of blockchain. Nodes are computers connected to a cryptocurrency network that execute functions like sending, creating, or receiving information. 

Since every transaction on the blockchain is recorded and distributed, it’s essential to know that nodes are the devices that facilitate communication within the network and transfer information about new blocks. Nodes also help to maintain the integrity and security of the network.

Why is The Blockchain Important?

Blockchain technology is fundamental in today’s world because of the security and transparency that it provides users. The information on the blockchain can be accessed immediately on a shared ledger that network members can only access.

Let’s look at a common banking scenario: you transfer money to your family from your bank account by logging into the banking portal and transferring the funds using their account number. 

Once the transaction is complete, the bank updates its records for you to see that the money went through. However, there are some potential issues with this process.

Someone can easily alter and tamper with this type of transaction, which is why the market demanded blockchain solutions to fix the manipulation problem. In addition to security, blockchain avoids this long process and allows for faster movement of transactions, saving users time and money.

Blockchain is essential for several other reasons, including:

  • Decentralization
  • Transparency
  • Immutable records
  • Distributed ledger technology
  • Smart contracts
  • Improving efficiency

Decentralization

Since blockchain doesn’t store its data in a central location, the information is copied once and then spread across a vast network of computers, making it very difficult to alter. A decentralized public blockchain ensures your data is protected on a secure database.

Blockchain users don’t need to rely on any other institution or government to complete the transactions. The decentralized nature of blockchain allows users to conduct transactions quickly and securely in ways that a centralized system cannot.

Transparency

The openness of data on the blockchain also doesn’t exist within the financial system. 

But how is blockchain data made transparent?

It’s through network participants accessing holdings and transactions of public addresses that are used to search through blocks of the blockchain and their details. The data is on a decentralized network, meaning anyone on the public blockchain can view it.

Immutable records

No one can change or alter any blockchain transactions after they are distributed to the shared ledger. A new transaction must replace previous transactions that contain errors, and both transactions will be visible.

Distributed ledger technology

All users in the network can access the ledger and the records it contains. The shared ledger only records transactions once, which eliminates the unnecessary effort that traditional networks require.

Smart contracts

Smart contracts are sets of rules stored on the blockchain and executed automatically. They work by allowing all participants to be immediately sure about the transaction’s outcome without any third-party involvement.

Improving Efficiency

Smart contracts are stored on the blockchain and executed automatically, improving efficiency for everyone on the blockchain. Network members share the distributed ledger, which helps eliminate time-wasting activities like record reconciliation. Blockchain is also operating 24/7, so you’ll see your transactions completed usually in 10 minutes or less. 

What Type of Transactions Happen on The Blockchain?

Blockchain transactions function in several different ways, but the most significant transaction is with cryptocurrency.

Authentication

While the original blockchain functions without a centralized authority, transactions still need to be authenticated by the nodes in the network before they become part of the blockchain.

Authentication uses data strings (known as cryptographic keys) to identify users and grant access to their wallets on the system.

Each user has a private and public key that all users in the network can see. Using these together creates a digital identity that authenticates users and unlocks the transaction they are trying to perform.

Authorization

Once the transaction authenticates, it needs to authorize the transaction before adding to the blockchain. Public blockchain decisions are made by consensus, meaning that most nodes must agree that they’re processing a valid transaction.

The people that own the nodes verify transactions to receive rewards in a process called “proof of work.”

Proof of work

Proof of work (PoW) is a way to add new blocks of transactions onto a cryptocurrency’s blockchain. To understand proof of work, here’s a quick example:

As Bitcoin transactions are made, they pass through verification and are grouped into blocks that can be mined. The PoW algorithm generates a hash for the block, and miners race to be the first ones to add the new block of transactions to the blockchain.

The winning miners are the ones that get to add the block of transactions onto Bitcoin’s blockchain and receive rewards of newly minted Bitcoin as well as transaction fees for their work.

The proof of work algorithm of Bitcoin adds a new block about every 10 minutes and adjusts the difficulty for miners depending on how quickly they add blocks. As mining happens faster, the mathematical problems become harder to solve and vice versa when mining is slower.

Blockgeeks

What Are The Pros of The Blockchain?

Now that you understand blockchain and its workings, it’s time to talk about why there’s so much hype around it. 

Traceability

Along with having enhanced transparency, blockchain also creates a trail that documents the path of an asset every step of the way. Blockchain provides proof of the legitimacy of transactions in industries prone to fraud and malicious activity by sharing data directly with members on the blockchain.

Speed and efficiency

Blockchain solves the problem of extensive paperwork and processes prone to human error. It also automates these processes and provides a single place to store digital transactions. 

The decentralized ledger where information is stored in the blockchain also ensures trust for cryptocurrency transactions, and the process for authentication enhances reliability in the network.

Cost reduction

Blockchain eliminates third-party centralized services and intermediaries that charge transaction and processing fees, reducing the costs for organizations of all sizes. You’ll also save on the cost of documentation since everyone can view the immutable version on the network.

Other pros of using blockchain include:

  • Better protection with a high level of security
  • Faster transactions for small and large organizations
  • Transactions are transparent and easy to track
  • Hacking threats are reduced dramatically
What Are The Challenges of The Blockchain?

With all the benefits of using blockchain, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of before using this emerging technology for transactions.

Privacy concerns

While the data on a public blockchain is anonymous, it’s still in the hands of all nodes in the network. This means that everyone in the network has access to the data and creates the possibility of tracking the identity of users through transactional data.

Scalability

While the blockchain market application for Bitcoin is popular due to its robust nature, it can only handle about seven transactions each second. In contrast, other blockchains can handle 10,000 transactions or more. In addition, each node’s authentication process can take a long time to accomplish and may be hard to scale.

Regulation

The regulatory nature of the financial industry has yet to catch up with much of the cryptocurrency world and poses a significant threat to the blockchain. In fraud cases, blockchain applications must pinpoint the source, which can be a challenge for a decentralized network.

Storage

Storage issues become a concern for the blockchain because databases are stored on all nodes throughout the network. As the number of transactions increases, the database will expand and eventually reach its maximum storage capacity. One example is the Ethereum blockchain which is increasing to 55 GB per year.

Energy consumption

Miners use a lot of energy to solve the complex mathematical problems on the blockchain, which isn’t ideal for its real-world applications. While permissioned networks are efficient, the problem lies with public networks that consume a lot of energy to remain operational.

Immaturity

Lastly, blockchain technology is still in its infancy, and we have no idea where it will take us in the future. Since it’s not mainstream, people have their doubts about adopting the technology and don’t have much confidence in it. This leads to stagnation in the complete utilization of blockchain technology.

Getty Images

Final Thoughts

Blockchain will be the future of how humans transact on many different fronts. Its application in the supply chain, transportation industry, and many other sectors shows that this promising technology is helpful for more than just cryptocurrency transactions.

At this point, blockchain is misunderstood and underutilized by the general public. It’s up to us as users to spread knowledge about blockchain’s capabilities and why people worldwide should widely adopt it.

Categories
NFT

VeeFriends x MaryRuth Gummies – Partnership Announced with MaryRuth Organics

VeeFriends has announced their partnership with MaryRuth Organics to launch MaryRuth’s Accountable Anteater Multivitamins Gummies.

MaryRuth Organics announced last week that Gary Vaynerchuk had joined the company as a member of its board of directors. As a board member, Gary will advise on digital marketing, brand building, and Web3 as the company continues its robust growth trajectory. You can find more about this announcement here

VeeFriends x MaryRuth

VeeFriends and Gary Vaynerchuk continue to focus on value creation by developing real-life value for VeeFriends IP and the VeeFriends NFT holders; through exciting brand collaborations, access experiences, and innovative mini-drops.

The Accountable Anteater Multivitamin Gummies will be priced at $29.95, available only in the U.S., and there will be a limited supply of 100,000 bottles:

  • To commemorate the launch of the multivitamin gummies, purchasing 10+ bottles grants access to MaryRuth and GaryVee Fireside Chat that will take place virtually later this year.
  • Buyers should also keep an eye out as there will be ten special “founders signed” bottles signed by both MaryRuth & Gary that will be distributed randomly from the warehouse. 
  • Win a VeeFriends Series 2 Accountable Anteater NFT: each bottle holds ten entries into the VeeFriends Series 2 Accountable Anteater Giveaway. Those who purchase will automatically enter into the giveaway.
VeeFriends x MaryRuth

You can find more details on the above on MaryRuth’s purchase site starting today.

Advantages to VeeFriends Holders of Accountable Anteater character: 

  • Holders of Series 1 will get six bottles of Accountable Anteater Gummies free of charge.
  • Holders of Series 2 will get one bottle of Accountable Anteater Gummies for free.
Categories
Popular Culture

12 TV Shows and Movies to Watch in July

The beach is overrated.

I’m kidding, it’s not. Well, actually it depends on the beach: Point Pleasant, Long Branch, Manasquan, Spring Lake, and Belmar—not overrated. Seaside and Wildwood? Definitely overrated.

Anyway, my point here is that there’s a whole lot more to do this summer than just roast on the sand. We’ve rounded up 12 of the best TV shows and movies to catch this July when you’re not flapping around in the ocean, dripping ice cream on your shoelaces, or burning your thighs on an extremely hot bench.

1. ‘Stranger Things’: Season 4, Volume 2 (July 1)

…and we’re back! It’s only been five weeks since Season 4, Volume 1 of Stranger Things was released, but given how things ended, it’s been a tough five weeks to wait. With quite a bit up in the air following the end of Volume 1, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover with the two episodes coming our way.

Who’s in It: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Joseph Quinn, Priah Ferguson, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Matthew Modine

Where to Watch: Netflix

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80057281
2. ‘The Terminal List’ (July 1)

In The Terminal List, Chris Pratt plays James Reece, a Navy SEAL who returns home after his platoon is attacked, questioning how responsible he was for the ambush to occur. When more evidence from the attack is revealed, it leads Reece down an extreme mental journey within himself.

Who’s in It: Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, Constance Wu, Patrick Schwarzenegger

Where to Watch: Prime Video

watch here
https://www.amazon.com/The-Terminal-List-Season-1/dp/B09HYNH8TK
3. ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (July 8)

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Thor: Love and Thunder is finally making its way to theaters, and some are already saying that it’s better than Thor: Ragnarok. Impossible, right? This Thor film is all about the namesake character’s quest for tranquility, though he ends up having to balance that when Gorr the God Butcher (Bale) comes out of the woodwork.

Who’s in It: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/thor-love-and-thunder-2022-226754/movie-overview
4. ‘Black Bird’ (July 8)

AppleTV+’s newest series, Black Bird, is based on the book, In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption. Egerton plays Jimmy Keene, a police officer’s son who is given a major choice: serve 10 years in a minimum-security prison with no parole or serve his 10 years in a maximum-security prison for criminally insane people.

Who’s in It: Taron Egerton, Ray Liotta, Paul Walter Hauser, Greg Kinnear, Sepideh Moafi

Where to Watch: AppleTV+

watch here
https://tv.apple.com/us/show/black-bird/umc.cmc.30gx1y8nwthydkrvhqu156p3
5. ‘Better Call Saul’: Season 6, Part 2 (July 11)

Better Call Saul is finally (and sadly) coming to a close this July, with the second part of Season 6 airing in just a few weeks, serving as a final wrap-up for the extraordinary run it’s had since its premiere in 2015.

Who’s in It: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Giancarlo Esposito, Michael Mando, Patrick Fabian, Tony Dalton

Where to Watch: AMC and AMC+

6. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ (July 15)

Based on the insanely best-selling book of the same name by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing is getting its Hollywood treatment in mid-July with a film rendition of the novel. Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Catherine “Kya” Clark, a young girl who lives in the marshes of North Carolina and later finds herself at the center of a murder trial.

Who’s in It: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, David Strathairn, Harris Dickinson

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/where-the-crawdads-sing-2022-227252/movie-overview
7. ‘The Gray Man’ (July 15)

A Netflix original movie, The Gray Man is being brought to us by Anthony and John Russo, the two brothers responsible for directing quite a few Marvel films, including Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. With that kind of resume, there are definitely high expectations for this film, which follows a mercenary who—after exposing a slew of classified information—is being tracked by his old colleague.

Who’s in It: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Dhanush, Regé-Jean Page, Ana de Armas

Where to Watch: Netflix

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81160697
8. ‘The Rehearsal’ (July 15)

This new series was announced with practically no hint whatsoever to its arrival, starring cult-favorite, Nathan Fielder, of the series, Nathan for You. There’s not a ton known about this show just yet, except for a short synopsis that was released by HBO: “a new series that explores the lengths one man will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life.”

Who’s in It: Nathan Fielder

Where to Watch: HBO Max

watch here
https://www.hbo.com/the-rehearsal#:~:text=With%20a%20construction%20crew%2C%20a,why%20leave%20life%20to%20chance%3F
9. ‘American Horror Stories: Season 2’ (July 21)

With Season 1 of the American Horror Story spinoff under its belt, Ryan Murphy is back with the second season of American Horror Stories. We’ve got a (mostly) new cast this season with both new and old faces, though it’s not completely clear what the story this time around will be (is it ever clear, though?). From the looks of it, it has something to do with multiple rooms in a house and dolls (as if that helps at all).

Who’s in It: Dominique Jackson, Judith Light, Bella Thorne

Where to Watch: FX/Hulu

watch here
https://www.hulu.com/series/american-horror-stories-04d07a40-2e27-4141-aa47-cef856aeee60
10. ‘Nope’ (July 22)

Jordan Peele’s newest horror flick is dropping this month, as Nope follows two siblings who own a ranch and start to notice odd things occurring in their fairly remote town. Horror combines with science fiction in this genre-defying film, as unidentified flying objects are incorporated, along with a mysterious force that seemingly rips through the air and lifts people up.

Who’s in It: Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yuen, Barbie Ferreira

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/nope-2022-227045/movie-overview
11. ‘Harley Quinn”: Season 3 (July 28)

Two years in the making, we’re finally getting Season 3 of Harley Quinn, which turned out to be a major hit on HBO Max both before and especially during the pandemic. Kaley Cuoco stars as the voice of the eponymous character with a majorly stacked cast who keep the laughs going in this dark animated comedy.

Who’s in It: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Alan Tudyk, Jason Alexander, J.B. Smoove

Where to Watch: HBO Max

watch here
https://play.hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series:GXxis0w4EP8N_vAEAAACO
12. ‘Vengeance’ (July 29)

In his debut as a feature director, B.J. Novak brings us Vengeance, a dark comedy about Ben Manalowitz (Novak), who heads down to Texas to investigate the murder of a woman he was casually dating. Oh, and he’s also looking to turn the story into a true-crime podcast.

Who’s in It: B.J. Novak, Issa Rae, Ashton Kutcher, Dove Cameron, Isabella Amara, J. Smith-Cameron, Lio Tipton, John Mayer

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/vengeance-2022-228044/movie-overview
Categories
Sports

ONE37pm’s Sports Vertical Previews The 2022 NBA Free Agency

*This article was written prior to the news of Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets early Wednesday afternoon.

As much action is filled on the court every NBA season, the same is said for off of it. Through the growing nature of free agency and trade talks, it’s become common for NBA fans and media to speculate about the future of players and teams. And that development will play out again as the 2022 NBA Free Agency begins at 6 PM EST tonight.

While this year’s free agency isn’t defined by its star power, it includes impactful contributors (Jalen Brunson, Zach LaVine, and Deandre Ayton) who have enticed teams that are determined to improve. Before the start of free agency, ONE37pm’s Sports Vertical came together and shared their expectations for this time of year.

Will there be any surprises? Is there a certain signing each team should make? Continue reading to find out more!

What is your biggest expectation for free agency this summer?

Justin Cohen: I think there will be a lot of player movement. I don’t expect a lot of blockbuster trades, but I expect teams to buff out their rosters and add depth with impactful role players. The CBA is set to expire at the end of this season, so I’m intrigued about how that may affect teams signing players to longer-term contracts. 

Martino Puccio: My biggest expectation is a team like the Lakers to make some sort of move that doesn’t waste time on the partnership of LeBron and AD. Whether it’s getting rid of Westbrook or adding great role players. They have the most pressure to figure it out

Which teams do you expect to be the most and least active?

Jack Tien-Dana: Considering the Knicks have already made three trades and loosened up $30 million in cap room, it’s hard to imagine a team being more active than them. To a degree, this activity is necessary—the Knicks have 22 draft picks over the next seven years and can’t possibly add that many guys to a roster that already has a critical mass of developing young players.

Continuing their decades-long trend, the Knicks will be confusing at best and smooth-brained at worst. Whereas the Knicks chronically do too much, Oklahoma City is devoted to never doing anything. With mega-prospect Victory Wembanyama looming as the prize of next year’s lottery, the Thunder are in no rush to try to be an actual team for the foreseeable future.

Justin Cohen: A team like the Miami Heat will be extremely active this free agency. Miami Heat president Pat Riley is never satisfied, and a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals surely left a fire burning in his seat.

I expect them to try and target another superstar to pair with Butler and Adebayo. I don’t think the Warriors will be active in acquiring new players but instead will focus on resigning players. 

Jael Rucker: I expect Brooklyn to be very active {laughs}.

If there’s a signing that makes TOO much sense, what would it be?

Bo Templin: You know what signing makes a lot of sense? The MASSIVE 5-year deal for the St. Louis product, Bradley Beal. Go get that bag.

The other fit that seems nice is PJ Tucker going to the Sixers. He’s played with Harden and would be an outstanding voice for that team.

Jack Tien-Dana: Mo Bamba to the Lakers. Despite having two of the very best players alive, the Lakers are a sclerotic team without many avenues to improve. Accordingly, Mo Bamba (of “Mo Bamba”  fame) is the sole realistic option who could make a meaningful difference.

An expert shot-blocker and budding marksman, Bamba was one of only four players to average more than 1.5 threes and 1.5 blocks per game. And he’s somehow rumored to be available for just the $6.5 million mid-level exception. Still only 23, Bamba offers an enticing package of immediate production and future promise.

Justin Cohen: Blake Griffin to the Clippers. Yes, this wouldn’t be the most impactful or even the best fit, but to see Blake Griffin in a Clippers jersey one more time would be beautiful.

It would also be quite poetic to see Griffin win a championship with the franchise he brought back from the dead. 

Martino Puccio: A signing that would make too much sense to me is Brunson to NYK. For the Knicks to move all these mountains and for him to get insane money for just four years is something that should be a no-brainer, IMO.

Speaking of Jalen Brunson, do you believe he’s worth a max contract?

Bo Templin: While I think Jalen Brunson is a very solid player, I’m not sold on him being a max contract player on a championship-contending team. He would help the Knicks, sure. But what would really change? A first-round exit maybe?

Jael Rucker: Yes! Give Jalen Brunson what he deserves!

Justin Cohen: When dissecting who ‘deserves’ a max contract, the context of player availability is crucial. I don’t think there are many great point guards slated to be free agents this summer and Brunson has proved he can put up wins in the postseason.

I’ve personally gotten the opportunity to watch Jalen grow since his freshman year of high school and the progression he continues to show is worth a max in my mind. 

Given the likelihood of James Harden and Bradley Beal resigning with their teams, do player options carry as much weight as they use to?

Bo Templin: This is a really interesting question. I think the player options only hold weight if the dominoes fall in your favor. Every off-season, it feels like there is a 1-2 domino falling process that really kickstarts everything else.

People with options have the luxury of waiting. So I think they still hold weight with the timing of the offseason.

Jack Tien-Dana: Player options are the most basic, effective way that players can control when and what they’re paid. Since Bradley Beal is opting out of his deal, the Wizards have no choice but to lavish him with a quarter-billion dollars to stick around—by turning down his $36.4 million option for next year, he’s now positioned to make $50 million for the next five.

Conversely, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving all exercised their options because it guarantees them a payday they wouldn’t receive otherwise. What teams are lining up to throw a max deal at two guys who are probably bad now and another guy who’s a terminally flighty weirdo? More than Brechtian trade demands or sub-tweet melodrama or podcasting, player options are how players are empowered.

Jael Rucker: Yes and no. I think it depends on the player, the team, and the situation. I will say that I think owners are kind of starting to take control back of situations.

Justin Cohen: They do because it’s just another way to give the players more freedom. I really like James Harden taking a page out of Tom Brady’s book and taking a pay cut to allow the 76ers flexibility with their cap space.

With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of next season, we could see a change in how player and team options work. 

Martino Puccio: I think these player options don’t hold as much weight depending on the situation, but the money for these superstars after the tv deals are so great that they have so much flexibility.

Seeing what an Evan Fournier can grab via FA these guys know the leverage they have so they probably don’t stress the options.

Categories
Music

The Best Music Merch for Fashionable Fans

Music and other forms of art mesh at many intersections. One of the most notable crossovers is music merch: this is where recording artists and fashion designers connect to make memorable pieces of clothes for fans.

One of the most intriguing aspects of music merchandise is the fact that it’s a useful form of marketing that artists get paid for. In addition to that, it’s a great way for fans to directly connect with their favorite artists, beyond just listening to their music.

Without further ado, here’s a look at some of our favorite examples of music merch (in no particular order):

1. Spider Worldwide (Young Thug)

Spider Worldwide made a huge entrance in the past year. It’s become pretty likely to come across someone rocking Young Thug‘s clothing brand, especially its signature matching sweatsuit in various colors. Though that sweatsuit has become their staple, Spider Worldwide has a variety of other innovative and stylish pieces.

2. Griselda Records (Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine)
Griselda Records / Grailed

As seen in the Westside Gunn piece featured above (which translates to “Almighty”), Griselda Records has become renowned for their merchandise. The cryptic nature of their merch (and any type of external art for that matter – like cover art) is akin to some of the most impactful artists that came before them. Not only is the clothing fire, but so is the quality of the records and other miscellaneous products they put out.

3. Rap Tees (DJ Ross One)

In addition to the traditional idea of artists selling their own merch, the thrift/re-sale model is also thriving. One perfect example of this is DJ Ross One and his Rap Tees online store. It’s a blend of vintage tees from some of rap’s most notable acts, curated by a world class DJ who’s well-versed on the music side of things as well. Ross One is signed to Roc Nation, and is touring the globe playing some of the best curated sets of any DJ.

4. Yeezy (Kanye West)

Kanye West can do it all; everybody knows by now. He emerged from Chicago as one of the city’s top producers, signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, became one of the most prolific artists of all time, and all the while, dipped his toe into fashion and tech in pure Kanye fashion.

When it comes to merchandise, not only are his clothes and Yeezy shoes iconic (every edition thus far), but so is his approach with the STEMPLAYER and his Donda 2 release. Every affiliation with his name when it comes to merch is backed up with quality, and his designs feel like a glance into the future.

5. Travis Scott

Just as impressive as his ability to pack out stadiums on his latest tour is Travis Scott‘s ability to sell merchandise. It sells for good reason, too. Trav’s merchandise tends to coincide with his memorable albums and live performances, and he stays close to some of the best designers in the game.

As a result, he grossed over $250k in merch sales in just one week after dropping ASTROWORLD. As if that’s not business savvy enough, he bundled merch with copies of his album, which ended up contributing to his album sales in a big way. Behind every merch drop from Travis Scott is quality, and that’s a large reason why fans come flocking back for more each time he drops.

6. A$AP Rocky

It’d be a crime to not mention A$AP Rocky in an article about the crossover of music and fashion. He’s been a maverick in this particular space, and has stamped style as a permanent aspect of his brand.

Not only has Rocky fathered the implementation of unique pieces like the babushka (as made evident in his record “Babushka Boi“), he’s introduced some of the East Coast’s most memorable Hip-Hop fashion brands, like Vlone (A$AP Bari), LYBB (A$AP Twelvyy), Marino Infantry (A$AP Ant), and more. In addition, he’s done some crazy collabs with PacSun, Mercedes-Benz, and other notable brands in the clothing space. This has made the A$AP Mob‘s journey become all the more memorable over time, and has largely contributed to the evolution of streetwear fashion in Hip-Hop and beyond.

7. Pi’erre Bourne

Next up on our list is New York-based producer and recording virtuoso, Pi’erre Bourne.

Not only is his “Yo! Pi’erre” merch tasteful, so is the merch for his label, Soss House (which he sports on the cover of his latest project, The Life of Pi’erre Vol. 5). Pi’erre is a jack-of-all-trades, and merchandise is no exception. Some of his most notable pieces include a “Yo! Pi’erre” pillow and vinyl copies of his TLOP5 album.

8. BrainFace (Hass Irv)

Recently mentioned on volume 7 of our ‘Curiously Curated’ series, Hass Irv is a NY rapper who’s proving to be more than just that.

One of the most interesting aspects of his career is his involvement in the fashion world with his brand BrainFace. As the balaclava or “shiesty” (as the internet loves to call it) has grown drastically in popularity this year, Hass Irv’s BrainFace brand found itself in the right place at the right time. Their take on this ever-relevant piece is refreshing; you never know what the next edition is going to look like.

Conclusion

Though we introduced plenty of examples of top-notch music merch and the artists who’ve brought it into existence, there’s plenty of ground we haven’t covered.

As music is evolving, it’s becoming more entrepreneurial than ever. As a result, even up-and-comers are bringing some serious heat to the table when it comes to merch.

Take a deeper look at these 8 artists who are innovating in the realm of merchandise, and keep an eye out for more artists who are bringing a fresh approach to music fashion.

Categories
Sports

Can John Wall Reinvent Himself With the Clippers?

It’s easy to forget that John Wall is only 31 years old. He headlined an era that ended three eras ago. Back in 2009, he was John Calipari’s first major recruit at Kentucky, kicking off the wave of one-and-done moral panic. In 2010, an entire Reebok ad campaign was anchored by his signature shoe deal. Later that same year, he taught everybody how to Dougie and then tried to make the John Wall catch on too. To anybody older than, like, 17, this is probably all acutely incomprehensible; Wall’s cultural importance is like a scarab scavenged from ancient ruins—sure, you know it was once important, but it belongs to a culture that doesn’t exist.

On the court, he justified all the hype. When healthy, Wall was among the best point guards in the league, a proto-Ja Morant who breathed momentum into one of the NBA’s most stagnant franchises. He existed in the half-space between stardom and superstardom, making an All-Defense team in 2015 and an All-NBA one in 2017. With Wall at the helm, the Wizards were hugely successful by their standards, coming within a game of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017. 

Then Wall functionally disappeared, his prime robbed by a ruptured Achilles tendon and the Houston Rockets. Since December 2018, he hasn’t played a single truly meaningful NBA game—his sole appearances on an NBA court took place in 40 memory-holed games during the surreal pandemic season. Last year, he was paid $41 million to not play basketball; the Rockets put him on mandatory paid leave so they could lose as much as possible. During his should-be prime, Wall barely played—and when he did he was blah. From ages 29 to 31, Wall appeared in roughly a half-season of games and played the worst since he was a rookie. He—and, most of all, his situation at large—stunk. 

But now, with Wall slated to join the Clippers once free agency begins on July 1, he’s back, literally if not figuratively. The fit is fairly obvious—the Clippers have no guards and Wall is the best guard they could conceivably acquire. If the Clippers are awash with highly-coveted mid-sized wings, they’ve long lacked a steadying backcourt presence; their infamous collapse against the Nuggets in the bubble can largely be chalked up to the fact that nobody could mellow out their fraying nerves. While Reggie Jackson spent last year manifesting his destiny as a “SGP,” he over-dipped his chip, belching forth the lowest effective field goal percentage of any guard in the NBA.  

For the first time, Wall will not be the best player on his team the next time he suits up. With the Wizards, Wall was their animating force, making an All-Defense team in 2015 and an All-NBA one in 2017. With the Rockets, he was their star by default—he was the best player because that other 11 guys were all worse. Accordingly, he now finds himself in the same situation that late-stage point guards often find themselves in, grappling with the fact that he can no longer do what he’s always done. This rupture between the past and present is what abruptly harpooned Allen Iverson’s career and has turned Russell Westbrook into a tragic figure, but Wall’s game has always mostly resisted their kind of mega-usage. 

In this sense, Wall is a necessary addition because he provides an additive skillset. Even when he was at his absolute apex, Wall was something more interesting and opaque, an ace playmaker and defender who was pressed into lead duties by necessity; Wall’s greatest achievement isn’t his individual awards so much as the fact that he single-handedly paid for Martell Webster’s and Marcin Gortat’s great-great-grandchildren’s college tuition. Ultimately, success in Los Angeles will be determined by whether John Wall embraces the idea of reinvention or if he clings to the hope of resurrection.

Categories
Style

19 Summer Essentials To Prepare You for the Season Ahead

Okay, Okay. You guys have been in the DMs asking us for a summer product roundup for a while, so we thought now would be an excellent time to drop our first round of summer essentials that we think are absolutely necessary for the season. Fourth of July is on Monday (which means we get an actual holiday weekend folks), and July is always a fun summer month, so in the words of Uncle Jesse from Full House “bada bing, bada boom.” There’s nineteen of these bad boys, so let’s take a look at what we’ve got on the summer docket.

White Tees

Oh I think they like me, in my white tee. White tees are essential for the summer. Here are a few you should check out:

1. Zig-Zag Qualite Superieure T-Shirt
Zig-Zag

Zig-Zag just dropped their first high-end fashion capsule, which features limited-edition apparel and accessories and highly-coveted pieces that will never be produced again. Y’all hear that? It will never be produced again, which means it will be a collectors item (or you’ll have bragging rights for owning something that there’s literally only a few of).

BUY NOW, $34.99
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fzigzag.com%2Fcollections%2F1879-collection%2Fproducts%2Fqualite-superieure-white%3Fvariant%3D39662674149475
2. Nike White T-Shirt
Nike

As always, Nike has their signature Sportswear Club Men’s T-Shirt that you can purchase for just $25. While we listed Nike, every major sports/athletic brand has some variation of the basic white tee, so if you wanted to rock with adidas, Reebok, etc., you could also do that as well.

BUY NOW, $20.97
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nike.com%2Ft%2Fdri-fit-mens-training-t-shirt-nhgSHx%2FAR6029-100%3Fnikemt%3Dtrue%26amp%3Bcp%3D34492719349_search_%257CPRODUCT_GROUP%257CGOOGLE%257C71700000088292143%257CAll_X_X_X_X-Device_X_Nike-Clearance_X_SSC%257C%257Cc%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds%26amp%3B%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLNbWtzSgXMnyb-qMopJ432UlUTJm_HQ7GO22eiBLZmVRpCVkSVZqFcaAox-EALw_wcB%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds
Summer Hats

Whether it’s a regular shmegular ball cap, floppy hat, or a bucket hat. You need something casual to help block the sometimes annoying summer sun. A quality hat is a summer essential if we’ve ever seen one.

3. Free People Shady Character Packable Wide Brim Hat
Free People

Free People has long been one of our favorite brands for both the quality and longevity that they offer. The Wide Brim Hat is both super stylish, perfect for the beach, and highly rated. A great investment for the closet for sure.

BUY NOW, $68
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.freepeople.com%2Fshop%2Fshady-character-packable-wide-brim-hat2%2F%3Fcolor%3D020%26amp%253BcountryCode%3DUS%26amp%253Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLO3vI38-8ujEC9XjRqudRijxu8uKRqCMq7f8kj_91zgb9SuMCCnIzMaAiGuEALw_wcB%26amp%253Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds%26amp%253BinventoryCountry%3DUS%26amp%253Bsize%3DOne%2520Size%26amp%253Butm_kxconfid%3Dvx6ro62gj%26amp%253Btype%3DREGULAR%26amp%253Bquantity%3D1
4. FOCO Denim Bucket Hat
FOCO

FOCO has a wide selection of denim bucket hats that feature your favorite college teams. Whether you are a fan of Kentucky, Clemson, or Alabama, FOCO has you covered.

BUY NOW, $35
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foco.com%2Fproducts%2Fkentucky-wildcats-denim-bucket-hat
5. New Era Snapback
Lids

The good thing about New Era is that there are loads of different snapbacks to choose from. You could get a hat for your favorite basketball team, or football if that’s more your preference. You could even go with baseball since we’re in-season. The options are limitless.

BUY NOW, $32.99
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lids.com%2Fmens_new_era_black_blank_59fifty_fitted_hat%2Ft-43260287%2Bo-76149395%2Bd-7849282%2Bf-1302244%2Bz-9-3452425296%3Futm_medium%3Dcse%26amp%3B_s%3DGPA-ak19kv30-Lids%26amp%3Bsku%3D13106617%26amp%3Btargetid%3Dpla-301443522643%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLNwcumlWhg5Y1xaJMPzWZ8LsNGqf-qJabIuwPMgHguldthSuftwHeEaArrbEALw_wcB
Beachwear

The perfect coverup can be hard to find; we’ve got a selection for the ladies and then one for the fellas.

6. California Cowboy La Sirena Robe Vintage Navy
California Cowboys

California Cowboy has some very nice options that you could wear to the beach and even as a cover-up. Make sure you check out all of their robes because they are extremely nice.

BUY NOW, $148
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.californiacowboy.com%2Fcollections%2Fwomen-s-clothing
7. Lululemon Swim Trunks
Lululemon

No it is not okay to wear the same swim trunks over and over again fellas. Yes you have to replace them every so often, the same way us women do. Here’s a suggestion for you.

BUY NOW, $49
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.lululemon.com%2Fp%2Fmens-swim%2FPool-Short-7-MD%2F_%2Fprod11000022%3Fcolor%3D30297%26amp%3Bsz%3DM%26amp%3Blocale%3Den_US%26amp%3Bsl%3DUS%26amp%3BCID%3DGoogle_WMTM_Shopping_US_ag%3DWMTM%2B-%2BNo%2BMargin%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLMVJU1rEke_BDdxwl1lGNG0QiZxMTITfwvhdxr9yZq8pyuM3d2jzLEaAv-lEALw_wcB%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds
Socks

We all like fun clothing that represents our favorite television show, movies, etc. We’ve got some cool stuff for you in this department as well.

8. HUF x Marvel Socks
HUF

These socks are a part of a bigger collection that is being released today actually. Marvel fans make sure you check out the entire HUF x Marvel collection. Real talk.

BUY NOW, $TBA
https://hufworldwide.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLN6P5Aii5icSAFSnmbdC7w7xWD2ce2JVoVfK6sWyA8MGCTu6LtifGgaAr4fEALw_wcB
Watches

You know summertime means you have to get blinged out right? Here’s a couple of pieces to help you tell the time.

9. Adidas Original Timepieces
adidas Originals

Ladies and gentlemen, adidas has not one, not two, not three, but four new timepieces that they just added to their collection. Eco-friendly and designed with an 80s retro digital vibe, they are available to snag now.

BUY NOW, $99
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Fproject-one-bio-resin-strap-watch-39mm%2F6850745%3Forigin%3Dkeywordsearch-personalizedsort%26amp%3Bbreadcrumb%3DHome%252FAll%2520Results%26amp%3Bcolor%3D400
10. Fossil Leather Watch
Fossil

Nothing more to really say about this other than it’s a classic. Fossil’s a classic, and they are tried and true. You can’t go wrong with tried and true.

BUY NOW, $112
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fossil.com%2Fen-us%2Fproducts%2Ffenmore-midsize-multifunction-brown-leather-watch%2FBQ2363.html%3Futm_source%3Dgoogle%26amp%3Butm_medium%3Dcpc%26amp%3Butm_campaign%3DG_US_Fossil_PLA_Watches_High%26amp%3Butm_content%3DG_US_Fossil_PLA_Watches_High_Mens%26amp%3Butm_term%3DPRODUCT_GROUP%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLO8tXmvZO0xYOf07TA8fgD1O8IBhHJT5BTqv03P2H0qTZq84bjIIssaAvaMEALw_wcB%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds

For some more affordable watch options, check out this list of timepieces under $200.

Joggers

Joggers, Joggers, Joggers. Where would you be without them? Here’s a few more to pick up for the summertime.

11. Brady Run Pants
BRADY

Tom Brady is pretty good at this apparel thing huh? Well he recently introduced a new collection called BRADY Run. Run is made for the athletes who are always moving forward and committed to greatness, and the collection has been wear-tested on the track and streets by elite and novice runners alike. We’ve personally tried the Run Pants and they are very comfortable and mobile.

BUY NOW, $110
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bradybrand.com%2Fproducts%2Frun-pant-ink
12. GymShark Crest Joggers
Gymshark

Perfect for commuting, resting, or even a light workout. The slim fit is also a nice bonus as that is one of our favorite features on joggers.

BUY NOW, $34
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gymshark.com%2Fproducts%2Fgymshark-crest-joggers-black-ss22
13. California Cowboys PCH Joggers
California Cowboys

These are specifically designed for nature folks. If you are planning on camping, road trips, or beach bonfires, pick these up.

BUY NOW, $148
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.californiacowboy.com%2Fcollections%2Fbottoms%2Fproducts%2Fmens-pch-jogger-navy%3Fvariant%3D39521877786712
Sneakers

Do you have your summer kicks yet? If not, here you are. Thank us later.

14. Curry Flow 9 ‘2974’
Under Armour

Look at these, look at these, look at these! The Curry ‘2974’ honors Stephen’s legacy as the NBA’s all-time best three-point shooter, and the Curry Brand is celebrating the Finals MVP by offering 2,974 pairs globally. Act Quick.

BUY NOW, $TBA
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.underarmour.com%2Fen-us%2F%3Fcid%3DPS_DG_US_11237_XT9JWBIO7A_under%2Barmour_p51784477676%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLOm8zofS6vdt4Fc3Ml55wcK1XbVSjp8ONiv4PuyelnDK0AdPLbhhOUaAtx9EALw_wcB%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds
15. ATMOS X New Balance “Beachside”
atmos

It’s giving California vibes. atmos and New Balance team up to bring the beach to you, and quite frankly, their beach is better.

BUY NOW, $109.99
https://www.atmosusa.com/collections/atmos/products/atmos-x-nb-57-40-beach
16. Crocs
Crocs

Little shameless self-promotion on our end for sure, but we wrote a pretty cool article a couple of weeks ago about some of the best crocs that you can find right now. You can find it here, there’s tons of them.

BUY NOW, $20-$60
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.crocs.com%2F
Everything Else

Whether you need a pair of shades, or some products for around the home, we’ve got a few more summer essentials for you.

17. Ray-Ban Sunglasses
Ray-Ban

Okay, it doesn’t have to be this specific pair, but Ray-Ban is among the best of the best when it comes to sunglasses. There’s option people, you have options.

BUY NOW, $163
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ray-ban.com%2Fusa%2Fsunglasses%2FRB3548N%2520UNISEX%2520hexagonal%2520flat%2520lenses-gold%2F8053672611649%3Fcid%3DPM-FGS_000000-5.US-RayBan-EN-SmartShoppingSunglasses%26amp%3Bgclid%3DCj0KCQjw8O-VBhCpARIsACMvVLPR1cvUzo8I9crEJPJbxaHNOcuaRpHTKFmEUw4RiYE3ylUQMzc9YkwaAqlvEALw_wcB%26amp%3Bgclsrc%3Daw.ds
18. Buddha Board
Buddhaboard

Don’t judge us, but we are heavily into relaxation techniques now. Being creative is always a good way to relax, and the Buddha Board is a good way to meditate, and get your mind off a tough day.

BUY NOW, $17.95
https://buddhaboard.com/
19. Mad Ritual’s Relief Rub
Mad Ritual

And speaking of relaxation, this Mad Ritual Relief Rub is a hemp-derived CBD oil to fight inflammation, discomfort, and pain.

BUY NOW, $12
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmadritual.com%2F%3Fgoal%3D0_354467585a-14559b824d-441026451%26amp%3Bmc_cid%3D14559b824d%26amp%3Bmc_eid%3Dc461e890f4

So there you go! Nineteen summer essential items for you to cop this season. Enjoy.

Bonus: Here’s one more summer drop for you guys.

Eastpak

The world’s most iconic backpack brand meets surely the most iconic rock band ever to light up the stage. Literally. The first in a new series of capsule collections “Inspired by the world of rock” and produced in collaboration with Epic rights. A fitting tribute to the legendary band that changed the music world forever. 

Featuring four legendary Eastpak bags designed in the same era and now transformed into “make-overs” referencing the iconic face paint and pyrotechnic antics of arguably the most influential band in history. For those who like to make a statement and prefer to make it loud.

ONE37pm may earn affiliate revenue from some of the links in this article.

Categories
Gaming

‘DNF Duel’ Review

One of the longest-running multiplayer games is Neople’s beat ’em up/action RPG, Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO). Since its birth in Korea circa 2005, fans far and wide have made it a daily mission of theirs to log in and hand out some severe beatdowns with their chosen class of warriors. Anyone who’s poured countless hours into the game or simply sat down to watch an extensive combo video knows every character available has access to the coolest powers imaginable. A fighting game based around those same combatants seems like a no-brainer, right? Arc System Works must have had the same thought and sought to make that dream project an actual thing. I’m happy to say that the Japanese developer’s fighting game prowess was put to great use here once again. Here is my DNF Duel review.

‘DNF Duel’ Review
Nexon

To the surprise of no one, DNF Duel looks dazzling in motion. Arc System Works has mastered the art of making playable anime and that strong suit is definitely accounted for here. Everything from the menus to the characters themselves does an amazing job of presenting one of the most visually striking fighting games released in recent memory. The game’s impressive art style really pops off the screen during each character’s cinematic ultimate “Awakening Skill.” Watching my latest victim get blown to bits by a supersized mine or smashed into boulders repeatedly satisfied me every time I watched it happen.

Even the Story Mode visual novel sequences offer some nice bits of eye candy – the main characters get the finest treatment thanks to their outstanding moving models, plus there are beautiful cutscenes littered throughout each playthrough. DNF Duel’s visuals are simply arresting. I also have to commend DNF Duel’s soundtrack, which mainly consists of the usual rock & roll fare that Arc System Works’ fighters stick close to. The tracks that are featured here are about as catchy as I expected them to be – the themes for the “Moonlight Tavern,” “Saint Horn,” and “Zelva” arenas stick out as my chosen faves. Another strong point on the game’s audio front is its reliance on Korean voice acting, which is fitting based on DFO’s origins. All in all, everything looks and sounds great in this game.

Nexon

Like Granblue Fantasy: Versus, DNF Duel lowers the barrier of entry for casual outsiders by incorporating easy inputs for special moves. One button is dedicated to the regular version of those moves, while another button produces the souped-up version of those same abilities. All you’re required to do is hold a direction at the same time as one of those buttons in order to pull off some of the flashiest special moves I’ve ever laid eyes on in an anime fighter. For those who consider themselves true connoisseurs of the genre, there’s no need to worry about this game “dumbing itself down” too much to appeal to non-consumers of fighting games.

The combo potential for expert players is extra high – most of my fun with this game was derived from figuring out my own combos and trying out the ones contained with each character’s combo trials. The use of an MP gauge keeps the repeated usage of those special moves in check, so you can’t just spam the same moves over and over without any sort of punishment coming from that sort of behavior. Proper meter usage and combo setups are present here, which is a necessity for fighting games to prosper these days. The game’s complexity deepens even more as you’re able to rely on a mechanic that extends combos by sacrificing a portion of your HP (think of it like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s “Baroque Combo”). Casual and hardcore fighting game players alike will find a deep well of fun to engage in here.

Nexon

DNF Duel provides a decent suite of modes to stay busy with. The online component works like a dream – the implementation of rollback netcode works to near perfection as it provides a smooth experience throughout the majority of players’ ranked/casual sessions. The offline offerings come in the form of Free Battle, Survival Mode, Arcade Mode, and Story Mode. I have to hand out some props to this game for adding an extra wrinkle to the Survival and Arcade portions – Survival offers post-match stat-boosting items that you can buy with the points you’ve accumulated after a win, while Arcade challenges players to make their way through an entire ladder of foes without dying in order to amass a high accumulative score.

Story Mode is pretty decent in its own right – I actually cared about the conversations going down between each battle and was so thankful that there were actual fights to enjoy (unlike Guilty Gear Strive, which offers nothing more than a full anime you have 0 active interaction with). I am a bit disappointed by the lack of an RPG adventure mode that’s similar to the one featured in Granblue Fantasy: VersusDNF Duel’s source material is tailor-made for such an addition, but it’s sadly missing here. Choosing to omit that additional mode is a clear oversight by Arc System Works, in my opinion.

Nexon

Even with that missing dream mode of mine not being an actual thing, I was left more than satisfied with everything DNF Duel has to offer. It’s easy to learn, hard to master mechanics will definitely keep me enthralled for years to come. Plus its gorgeous visual presentation, rocking OST, and flawless online are extra strong points that make it an addictive fighter I have a hard time putting down. I’m super excited about the widened potential of this game as it receives further updates and new characters over time. And that my friends is my stirring DNF Duel review.

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Popular Culture

‘Black Bird’ Review: A Dark Trip to the Depths of Human Depravity

Few, if any, of us know what it’s like to stare into the eyes of a killer. The cold, dead gaze of someone with no regard for another human’s life and, in the case of serial killer Larry DeWayne Hall, enjoys taking that life. On AppleTV+’s upcoming limited series Black Bird, we dive into Hall’s life and view it through the eyes of James Keene, another convict who has been sent to elicit a confession from Hall.

Similar to shows like MindhunterBlack Bird focuses on what makes serial killers do what they do and why they are compelled to do so. Even though it’s a dramatized retelling of actual events, Black Bird is a compelling look into the mind of an absolute monster and how doing something as simple as talking to him can nearly destroy someone in the process.

Per AppleTV+, “Inspired by actual events, when high school football hero and decorated policeman’s son Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison, he is given the choice of a lifetime — enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), or stay where he is and serve his full sentence with no possibility of parole. Keene quickly realizes his only way out is to elicit a confession and find out where the bodies of several young girls are buried before Hall’s appeal goes through. But is this suspected killer telling the truth? Or is it just another tale from a serial liar?”

For anyone familiar with a Dennis Lehane story—Mystic River, Gone Baby Goneand Shutter Island are among the most notable—you know that he has a talent for creating stories that keep you guessing until the end. Lehane, who developed Black Bird, does the same thing here. Serving as the writer and one of the executive producers, Lehane took this story and molded it into what is one of the best real-life adaptations in recent years.

It’s no secret that prison, especially a maximum security prison, is somewhere no one wants to be. In this story, Lehane paints a picture of what the day-to-day is like in this facility and how someone like Taron Egerton’s character is forced to adapt to a place where he doesn’t belong.

AppleTV+

The story is told through two lenses: One in the prison where Jimmy Keene tries to buddy up to Hall, and the other that follows two detectives (Greg Kinnear and Sepideh Moafi) as they also attempt to garner evidence that will keep Hall in prison. Moafi’s character, FBI Agent Lauren McCauley, also serves as Keene’s handler while he’s in jail.

It can be a bit of a clunky narrative device, especially at the show’s beginning when there are two timelines, but once things settle in, the two stories are almost perfectly in sync. Their investigation helps provide some clarity and backstory to Hall’s murders, and, in essence, we live part of the story through the eyes of his victims.

These scenes can be tough, as most of Hall’s victims were teenage girls, and even though he was only convicted on two of the murders, he was suspected of up to 20. It’s a heartbreaking story, especially considering that it’s all perpetrated by another human being.

What makes someone do this? Why do they seem to hate the world?

Rather than sympathize with someone like Hall, we try to learn what makes him tick. As mentioned above, it’s remarkably similar to Mindhunter, which didn’t make us care about the serial killers or empathize but got to the heart of the psychopathy that lies beneath the surface.

AppleTV+

The real highlight of Black Bird is the acting, most notably a powerhouse performance from Paul Walter Hauser. He is a terrifying villain, one who, in the beginning, you feel a shred of sympathy for due to his upbringing. He speaks with a high-pitched and soft voice, where he doesn’t seem threatening at first.

As you listen to him talk and describe his life and crimes, that’s when you see the man for what he is: a beast beyond redemption. Hauser’s performance is perfect for the role, as you rarely see his true persona bubble to the surface, but you feel a sense of genuine fear when it does. His facial expressions can change on a dime, further hammering how chaotic his personality is.

As he talked about when he was a grave robber in his youth, he said a line that stuck with me throughout the show: “The dead are pleasant; looking into their faces gives me hope that the next world is the good one.” Hearing him saying it is different than reading it, and Hauser nails it.

AppleTV+

Opposite Paul Walter Hauser is Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene, and he is also fantastic as the co-lead. Keene is the polar opposite of Hall: Charismatic, handsome, well-spoken, and well-liked. You can tell that while he is buddying up to Hall and conversing with him, he struggles to identify with his life.

Even talking with someone like Hall affects Keene’s mental health and well-being, and it’s easy to sympathize with him here. Egerton’s confident swagger mixed with the inner torment of interacting with a psychopath is a true test of his talents as an actor, and he pulls it off incredibly well.

Sadly, the world lost Ray Liotta earlier this year. In his final television performance, he portrays Jimmy’s father “Big Jim” Keene in Black Bird. Part of the reason Jimmy takes the job investigating Hall is that his father suffers a stroke, and he’s unsure if he will live beyond Jimmy’s prison sentence.

Liotta is incredible as his father, and his tragic performance is only made all the more somber given his passing. Big Jim is remarkably similar to his character in Blow, in which he also plays the father of a drug dealer. Both love their sons and try to accept the fallout of their actions and still help them through it all.

AppleTV+

Shows like Black Bird are not for everyone. They are heavy watches that require you to examine a side of humanity that we’d all prefer didn’t exist. And even though they are fictionalized accounts, they are stories that must be told. Not to glamorize the killers but to give their victims the remembrance they deserve.

Black Bird premieres on AppleTV+ on July 8th.