Wandering Eye: What it's like to drive for Uber, Letterman's 'insouciance,' and more

If you are wondering what it's like to drive for Uber but don't have the time/guts/car to find out for yourself, check out Emily Guendelsberger's definitive report in the Philly City Paper (no relation). In it you will find out how hard it is to make the cut (not hard), how much you really make per hour ($11, more or less), what the customers are like (some douchebags, some not), and what the fellow drivers are like (mostly not douchebags). Mostly, though, the story is all about how you, the driver, relate to Uber, the corporate behemoth. There is also stuff about how the insurance works—very wonky but totally necessary to know, if you're considering the gig. Read through to the end. It is absolutely worth it. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Art prizes and grants, such as the Baker Artist Awards (whose 2015 winners were just announced) and the Sondheim Artscape Prize (which will be announced this summer), are important because they help artists go bigger and do more with their art than their day job allows. Jen Graves' complex and fascinating story in The Stranger unpacks a conceptual art piece called 'Deed of Gift' by Matthew Offenbacher and Jennifer Nemhauser, in which the artists used a $25,000 grant (which Offenbacher had received for his paintings from the Cornish College of the Arts) to fund acquisitions for the Seattle Art Museum. But the artists focused specifically on fleshing out the museum's collection of local feminist and queer art, Offenbacher says, in order to "start conversations and have symbolic value in the community around how artists and artworks are valued, how museums make value." And of course, in the process, they have bolstered and diversified the museum's collection—which was lacking art made by women, and contemporary work in general—and promoting local artists. "What SAM owns in some senses the city owns," Graves writes. "If SAM supports women artists, then this particular city is a comparatively good place for women artists." (Rebekah Kirkman)

 

Plenty of scribes are penning farewell pieces for David Letterman, the late-night host who is calling it a career on Wednesday. One that caught our eye was an essay by Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever. Charting Letterman's career all the way back to his days on local TV in Indiana, Stuever pinpoints the host's Midwestern "insouciance" and how, disappointingly, this indifference to celebrity and hype is leaving late night with kiss-asses like Jimmy Fallon on the airwaves (though Letterman himself has softened in recent years, Stuever notes). "Have you noticed how, on these shows, that it's not at all about subverting the celebrity culture from within, but just rolling around in it like pigs in A-list mud? Have you noticed how it's become a competition (literally) to see how well celebrities and a host can hang together and pay each other endless compliments?" All the more reason Dave will be missed. (Brandon Weigel)

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