MCLA to Host The Onion Co-founder Sept. 29

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome Scott Dikkers, author, comedy writer, and founder of humor website The Onion, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

Dikkers will present MCLA’s Hardman Lecture, "Fake News in the Age of Misinformation. The History of The Onion and How the Philosophies and Practices Have Adapted Over Time." The lecture event is free and open to the public at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium. 

A student and faculty question and answer session will be held at 4:15 p.m. in the Freel Library on Thursday, Sept. 29 prior to the evening lecture.  

In the lecture, Dikkers will reflect on the freedom and support he gave his writing team that enabled The Onion to break through the noise in a media-saturated landscape, overcome doubters and legal obstacles, and prove time and again that being outrageous leads to the best possible version of a brand. He will also dive into some of the most basic principles that can help transcend an organization’s marketing limitations, get the best work out of the employees, and attract devoted lifelong customers. 

With The Onion, Dikkers created a small college humor publication and grew it into one of today’s most recognized comedy platforms on TheOnion.com. He’ll share his experiences about how being committed to a unique vision—and standing firm in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and threats—can translate into genuine differentiation and robust brand equity for any organization. 

As co-founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion, Dikkers has a deep appreciation of the improbable. It’s a quality that not only describes how he created a celebrated comedy institution, but also of his escape from dire childhood circumstances.  

A small, shy kid, Dikkers endured an upbringing marked by poverty, divorce, bullying, and even a suicide attempt at the age of eight. He found solace and inspiration from MadMagazine, the satirical publication, which fed his passion for comedy and later helped inspire him to create The Onion. 

Dikkers has written multiple comedy books, including the bestselling How to Write Funny and Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source, which sold over a million copies, debuting as a No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 Amazon bestseller, and Our Dumb World, which also debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. 

The author’s work has won him a Peabody award, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and dozens of Webby Awards. In addition, Dikkers earned the No. 43 spot on Time magazine’s list of the Top 50 "Cyber Elite" alongside such iconic figures as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and George Lucas. 

In his latest book, Outrageous Marketing: The Story of The Onion and How to Build a Powerful Brand with No Marketing Budget, and his many speaking engagements, Dikkers details how he staffed the company with quirky individuals who often had unstable family environments similar to his and shared his dark sense of humor.  

Dikkers performs, writes, and animates a weekly TV show, Scott Dikkers Around, that’s available on podcast streaming platforms.

This series presents in-depth discussions with journalists of our time and is made possible through the Hardman Family Endowment. 

Upcoming fall lecturers at MCLA will include New York Times Bestselling Author and the Chair of Princeton’s Department of African Studies, Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., who will present the 2022 Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture, "Race & Democracy: America is Always Changing, But America Never Changes" on Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.  


Tags: hardman lecture,   MCLA,   

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'Augmented Reality' Works Debut at This Week's First Friday

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — This month's First Friday event will offer a different way to engage with art: through augmented reality. 
 
The Public Arts Commission on Monday approved the installation of signage with QR codes that will give viewers the ability to see artwork overlays by John Craig Freeman and Michael Lewy on local venues. The works will go live Friday night during the Night Market on Eagle Street. 
 
"The art is augmented reality art. It exists in the virtual world, you cannot see it," said Anna Farrington, owner of Installation Space on Eagle Street that is hosting the exhibit. "The signs will communicate to viewers the QR codes that help you access the art and if you do not already have the QR app on your phone to look at the art, it will prompt you to download the Hoverlay app."
 
Farrington, chair of the commission, stepped away from her position on Monday to make the presentation. She said she had already spoken with Mayor Jennifer Macksey and Building Inspector William Meranti, who approved the project. All that was left was an endorsement from the commission for placing the signs on public property. 
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