A Tunnel…And then Light.

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When I was completing my last degree at Columbia, I was fortunate to spend precious class time with one of the school’s most decorated (and hard-assed) professors. While discussing what it would take to make it in this business, he offered a simple conclusion: “You just have to feel like you couldn’t do anything else.” Because I can’t…

I’m excited to announce I’ve joined Beacon, a new service for freelancers like myself to gain added traction on the “tear-you-down-I’ll-give-you-a-penny-per-word” internet. Beacon was launched this year to connect readers with their favorite (and new) writers. The beauty of the service is that, even if you just want to read my work (#flattering), you’ll gain access to a wide stable of journalists on the front lines worldwide. I said yes to Beacon, because we all need to find some way to financially support reporters who devote their time and energy to keep this industry alive.

On Beacon, I’ve attempted to narrow my focus, and will be reporting/writing/opining and complaining about security issues in West and Central Africa. The end goal: to justify the time and energy needed for a large, non-fiction project —that secret is still mine.

So how do you help? Through my profile page, you will be able to subscribe ($5/month) to me directly. That contribution will provide the much needed income so I can keep doing what I’m doing. For you, it will open up the world of Beacon —a pastiche of national and international reporting presented aesthetically for you each and every day.

On Beacon, I’ll be posting regularly, whether real-time updates from the field, articles (featuring original and compiled reporting) or comments on current events (as they relate to the broader topic). Over time, the goal is to create a persuasive and compelling account of an international security space that is still largely misunderstood.

The first post on Beacon will tackle the issue of piracy (A topic I’ve written about in the past). As security topics go, piracy can be exceedingly nebulous, the recent Hollywood release of Captain Phillips, a film that dramatizes the real-life kidnapping of an American captain off the Somali coast in 2009, has brought the topic back into (temporary) vogue. The movie, which fails to tackle the myriad actors that effect, or are affected by, piracy or the context in which it persists. One benefit of greater awareness, however, might be a slight bump in interest, and a desire for new and balanced coverage. My first post on Beacon is a short brief of what the movie missed, and what reporters (like myself) might add.

My decision to cover West and Central Africa, and for a service like Beacon, is certainly strategic. I believe that any discussion of this region, specifically in so far as it relates to security, speaks to a growing concern among scholars, policymakers and anyone curious about the future of American foreign policy. If I had to wager, something I often avoid, I would risk a considerable sum on the claim that sub-saharan Africa —both its land and territorial waters— will be the landscape for “future wars” against organized crime and terrorism, and as a region of concern for lingering conflicts. The fact that the United States will play a leading role in this space whether it wants to, is capable of if, or likely to benefit from it, is incontrovertible.

So for those eager to see “what’s next” before that future arrives, I invite you to join me on the new platform. If you know someone who is interested in this space, might be interested in this topic, and wants to support the type of journalism that fuels many of us to keep working for little pay, I would appreciate your help in sharing the page: http://www.beaconreader.com/adam-mccauley.

If those people need further prodding, send them back here —which I’ll be updating regularly— to pique their interest.

Finally. For those who took the time to read, and who might now take a moment to contribute, I can’t thank you enough. Without you, I simply can’t do this.

Postmortem: PTSD and Conflict Photographers

Reflecting on Overexposed: A Photographer’s War with PTSD.

Publishing an article is a little like pushing send on a really important email —to millions of people. You hope the spelling is correct and the grammar passable, and that each and every carefully crafted anecdote or event is factually sound. Like an email, the material included is turned over to others for scrutiny, from all corners of the globe.

Last Thursday at 7:17 in the morning, my 16-month project came to an end with the publication (and that dreaded sent-email feeling) of Overexposed: A Photographer’s War with PTSD. For nearly a year an a half, I’d been harassing photographers, editors, leaders in the field, and families of those affected, about the realities of mental illness in the world of conflict photography.

Overexposed: A Photographer’s War Against PTSD from Adam McCauley on Vimeo.

This spring, Gilbertson will release his latest book, Bedrooms of the Fallen, published by Chicago University Press. Information about this project can be found at his website, here.

Throughout this period, I often felt like the proverbial ghost of forgotten (or long-to-be-forgotten) pasts: I would present myself as a professional, curious and fascinated by one’s experience of trauma, only to force the subject to recount some of the most traumatic and haunting moments of their life.

This is exactly how I met the man, Ashley Gilbertson, who would play a most important role in this story.

The first time I saw Ash, he was sipping an espresso in Third Rail Coffee in Manhattan’s West Village. With wild hair, untamed, sporting his customary white shirt with black pants, Ashley kept one eye on me and the other on his young son, playing with a pair of toy cars in the small, busy coffee shop.

I was hesitant to ask the first question —the first of thousands that, at that time, neither of use knew would follow— but found his answers intelligent, considered… almost too perfect —Like a man who’d prided himself on knowing what to say, and to whom to say it.

His aptitude didn’t strike me as fake. In fact, it felt exceedingly honest. However clean the answers had become, the edges had been softened through repetition. The routine response illustrated the problem: mental illness wasn’t just a topic of interest or curiosity for Ashley, it was his way of life.

One of my favorite quotes from this encounter never made it into the article. When I asked about the long-term consequences of covering conflict, he said: “While conflict has a clear start and end point, war lives with families for generation.”

It would take months to recognize just how apt that comment was.

By mid-fall 2011, I had offered to help Ashley as an unofficial photography intern. There wasn’t any money in the post (and whatever remains of modern journalistic ethics would certainly not permit any payment for these purposes), but the position allowed me to learn more about Ashley, his work, and his family.

In the weeks and months that followed, I asked about everything, from the harsh “What did L. Cpl. Miller look like when he was carried down the stairs? to the intimate: “When does Ashley feel safe?” (asked of Joanna, in the final interview for the article).

There was no telling if the questions asked would yield an important (or includable) response, but as I grew to understand both Joanna and Ashley better (a privilege for which I have only the article as return payment) I grew more confident that the story I would eventually tell would be more representative of their own specific struggle than any trend piece on the subject, the ones often written from 50,000 feet with conclusions too neat and tidy.

Heeding advice of a former instructor —something I loath to admit given her penchant, also, to condemn cliché— the the specifics of this story made the piece more universal. Buried in these small details, wider lessons are hidden, and in a world where PTSD is still stigmatized, the most personal anecdotes might inspire others to share their experiences: personal, embarrassing, or otherwise alienating.

This isn’t to say there weren’t hiccups. Crises on both sides (issues too sensitive to speak about, concerns over the veracity of some facts and how they were remembered, the consideration of professional integrity) did give me pause a number of times, but it was the Gilbertson’s unrelenting acceptance, of me and this project, that kept this project alive. The result, at least as far as I could have hoped and have humbly been told, was a story both readable and engaging, that forces the reader to reflect on the facts of the world of mental illness.

Last Thursday, hours after the piece was live, I sent Gilbertson an email to thank him and Joanna (again) for being so patient and supportive during the writing and editing process. I told them that the story was online, and I’d love to hear if they get any response.  That afternoon, I received an email from Ash, who was out of the country on vacation but monitoring the story on Facebook and Twitter. After a brief introduction, and a kind thank you for the piece, he added the following line:

“I always joke about hating being the PTSD guy but today it seems as though I was the hash tag for the condition. How embarrassing!” (*He would later tweet: “I’m so embarrassed” in response to The Atlantic’s tweet about the story)

But this response, alone, says more about who Ashley is than anything else. While few people would choose to be the poster child, or “hash tag,” for a condition, Ash’s willingness to share the story belays an important personal grand incentive: to raise awareness.

“PTSD is still not a recognized wound of war,” Ashley often told me throughout the reporting process.

As proof, he often cited a particular example: While working on Bedrooms of the FallenAsh met the mother of an American military veteran. Distraught by her own family experience with the condition, she talked about the realities of PTSD: If a soldier comes back without an arm or leg, he is praised for his sacrifice and treated like a hero, she told him. “But when her son returned home suffering with mental illness, “people would cross the street to avoid him.”

For those asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, ignorance of, or uncaring silence regarding, the costs and consequences of PTSD is no longer an option. While it affects soldiers predominantly, trauma exerts a toll across a wide array of actors, and the sooner we understand this breadth of impact, the better (or more likely) we’ll be —as a community, country, society— at addressing it.

For being a small part this story, I’m eternally thankful. For everyone that took the time to comment, share, Tweet, or email me about the piece, I am honored you shared those moments with me.

For those who missed the short documentary, published with the article on The Atlantic, I’ve embedded the clip below.

 

Occupied

While many photographers covered the #OccupyWallStreet movement last fall, Ashley Gilbertson captured the cause in stark, grainy, black and white frames. In December, Gilbertson, Scott Thode and I sat down to produce a multimedia piece that would speak —in part— to the Occupy experience. This was the result. (Published, VII Magazine, Dec. 12, 2011)

Hidden Malcontents: New York’s Christmas Tree Industry

Once their signs are up and tree stands built, these yuletide vendors must carefully schedule their daily or weekly tree deliveries and conscript enough bodies to peddle the merchandise around the clock: snow or shine. For some, this can be an international operation, attracting workers from as far away as Canada and Australia. But while they all put on a merry face, the treemen have a history of bad blood and cutthroat business maneuvers.

Scott Lechter, known as "Willie the Hat," operates Soho Trees at 6th Avenue and Spring Street in Manhattan, New York. Renting this land for more than $26,000 for the month, Scott and crew sleep in an RV parked adjacent the site. Soho Trees has been serving New York city for the last 22 years.
Wearing his signature hat, part-Indiana Jones, part-bowler, Scott Lechner had one cell phone squeezed between his ear and shoulder. In his right hand, a second phone rang as he tightly gripped a wad of dollar bills with his left.

Sitting at his temporary kitchen table, now covered with the day’s Christmas tree receipts, the owner of Soho Trees, one of New York’s largest Christmas tree suppliers, snuffed out his cigarette in a near-full ashtray. Lechner and two workers live in a rented R.V. parked adjacent to the Soho Trees’ lot on 6th Avenue and Spring Street, which also serves as headquarters, checkout and bank for their seasonal company.

“I’m in the thick of it right now,” Lechner said, between phone calls and issuing directions for the next tree delivery. “There’s never a down minute.”

While most New Yorkers are drawn to the glitter and nostalgia of the Christmas tree business, few see it for what it is: an exacting, complex and bitterly competitive industry. Vendors wage bidding wars each year over plots of land in city-owned parks and ink deals with local shopkeepers or property owners to construct their tree stands on the busiest sidewalks.

Once their signs are up and tree stands built, these yuletide vendors must carefully schedule their daily or weekly tree deliveries and conscript enough bodies to peddle the merchandise around the clock: snow or shine. For some, this can be an international operation, attracting workers from as far away as Canada and Australia. But while they all put on a merry face, the treemen have a history of bad blood and cutthroat business maneuvers.

Most of the city’s tree stands grace the sidewalks outside private shops and storefronts. Because New York City by-laws do not require Christmas tree vendors to register, their sites are secured through agreements with storeowners and property managers, according to those familiar with the process.

Vendors can also lease official city property through a silent bidding auction with the Department of Parks and Recreation. These locations, whether in large parking lots in residential areas, outside neighborhood playgrounds or on segments of Central Park’s walking paths, can cater to the family of four or to single New Yorkers. They also provide the Parks Department with nearly $194,000 in revenue, according to Philip Abramson, the Parks Department’s deputy director of public affairs.

Greg Walsh, a Christmas tree vendor since 1983, rented a spot in Cunningham Park in Queens four years ago because, at $795, it’s the cheapest of the city’s 21 rental sites.

“No one wanted it because it’s in a Jewish neighborhood,” said Walsh, surveying the parking lot, now home to more than 200 carefully arranged Christmas trees. “It’s finally starting to show a little profit.”

Walsh credits having a clean site, high-grade trees and a cheerful staff each year with creating revenue. But the park is only one of Walsh’s six locations, as he competes with prominent Christmas tree vendors throughout the city.

Scott Lechner, with 35 years experience selling Christmas trees, operates 11 stands in the city — three Parks Department properties and eight sidewalk locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

His prized site is Soho Square, the department’s most expensive location, which costs him nearly $27,000 for the five-week season. Some competitors feel Lechner overbid on the Soho site but Lechner said he’s not willing to risk losing the spot or his strong relationship with the community. After all, this connection means more profits each year, even if the operating expenses seem high to other vendors, he said.

“Some people can’t conceive of the costs,” said Lechner, who is known for offering Christmas shots, usually scotch, to his customers. “They won’t pay that much for city locations.”

That’s because gambling on a site with high rent increases the vendor’s risk of losing money. Just organizing the tree shipments from farm to market involves creating relationships with different tree farms throughout the U.S. and Canada, vendors said. Some trees, such as the Frazer fir are native to the east coast, while international favorite, the Canadian Balsam, many people’s “traditional” Christmas tree, is imported from Nova Scotia, Canada. The Douglas and Noble firs have to be shipped from the West Coast of the U.S., making them pricier.

“It’s not just a one month business,” said Lechner. “I spend seven months exploring different terrain looking for suppliers.”

However, the fickle economy of Christmas tree vending can create hostility between sellers, particularly as there are few guarantees of revenue.

“Some vendors will walk away from the season with 10 grand in profits,” said Lechner, whose Christmas trees range from $39 to more than $1,200. “Then again, you could easily lose 50 percent of your investment in a slow year.”

And the work needed to make a business a success comes at the cost of long shifts, the lift, lug and load of Christmas trees and an unstoppable schedule: most of this work is carried out by temporary workers.

Tree vendors employ workers from Kansas, Vermont, Milwaukee, Ohio, Texas or even Australia. Employers describe some members of the motley crew as drifters, free spirits, adventure seekers or moonlighters, brought together by the promise of a quick buck.

“At first I thought, what did I sign up for,” said Sherry Vogrig, originally from Australia, who was hired by Walsh in Cunningham Park and now lives in a trailer on site with two others workers.

One Christmas tree seller specifically even invites French Canadians to operate his many street-side stands because of some historic tradition of Canadian tree cutters bringing trees to market in 19th century New York, according to workers on site. However, all workers balance long hours with physically demanding responsibilities, often sleeping or napping in temporary booths, trailers or R.V.s near the tree lots.

“This is a hard business,” said George Smith, who started selling Christmas trees in Queens at age 10 to make enough money to replace his stolen bike, “We work 10-, 12-, 14- even 15-hour days.”

But behind the merry faces and cheerful greetings of New York’s Christmas tree workers lies a combative environment with significant distrust between the major tree vendors.

In 2007, Lechner claims an aggrieved ex-employee stole his Tribeca vendor site. Because this employee knew how much profit Lechner made, as well as the rent he’d paid to the city, the former employee was able to outbid him in the Parks Department’s silent auction. This “business backstab” as Lechner called it, forced Soho Trees out of a neighborhood that had welcomed it for years and created tension amongst the vendors in the city.

“Is it fair that in the fifth year, when you’re finally turning a profit, someone can outbid you?” said Walsh, who believes the Tribeca site was stolen from Lechner.

Many vendors are quick to caveat their concerns with comments about the merry Christmas spirit and the pleasure they get from making a family’s holiday wish come true. But the bitterness between competitors remains high.

“We shed blood on the Tribeca location,” said Lechner, the now-tattered delivery tags littering his R.V.’s floor. “In another generation, there would have been revenge. But I’m too old for that now.”

 

Note: Hidden Malcontents was originally published at www.citybeats.info.

Nearly complete: A war photographer’s Libyan “Revolution.”

Ten years ago when Denton stood on New York University’s campus as a new student at Tisch School for the Arts’ department of photography and imaging, he was thinking about pursuing a career in fashion photography when the planes hit the Twin Towers.

Woman looks at photographs of Libya's "Arab Spring" at Revolution, a gallery featuring the work of freelance photojournalist Bryan Denton on October 20, 2011. (Photo: Adam McCauley | Columbia Journalist)
As images of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s murdered body were shared around the world, they were noticeably absent from the collections of framed photographs on opening night of the photo exhibit called “Revolution” in Manhattan.

This was the first significant moment in the last six months of the Libyan uprising upon which Bryan Denton wasn’t able to frame in his lens.

“Part of me wishes I was there,” said Denton, when asked how it felt to miss the dictator’s death at the hands of rebel forces.

As a freelance photojournalist, Denton’s work has been featured in a range of publications, from Time magazine to the New Republic. But his photographs from Libya – shot in part for the New York Times – have garnered attention from many of his colleagues for their quality and story-telling capacity.

“Bryan’s work from a string of contested Libyan towns and cities has repeatedly brought readers inside the war in ways few on the beat have matched,” wrote C.J. Chivers, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, in an article for the New York Times Lens blog in May. Chivers worked with Denton in Libya this spring.

Denton photographs illustrate his willingness to be on the ground at the center of crisis – capturing the streets of Libya’s besieged capital Tripoli, or conflict-ridden Misrata, the site of innumerable battles between rebel forces and the government. His demeanor, knowledge of the region, and ability to speak Arabic allowed him to gain the access and trust of the Libyans he photographed.

His proximity to the conflict comes through in the gallery’s first frame: a dark-haired rebel perched atop a wind-blown sandy mound, wearing sunglasses, jeans and coat, holds an AK-47 trained over the horizon. Denton appears to be no further than 15 feet from the rebel when he took the shot.

Other photographs feature rebels sitting, smoking, firing their weapons down debris-filled streets and or watching intensely from the windows of passing cars. The gallery, which shows empty towns, broken homes and neighborhoods in Libya, is interspersed with moments of celebration, as rebel forces took over Gadhafi’s compound at the end of August, for instance.

Ten years ago when Denton stood on New York University’s campus as a new student at Tisch School for the Arts’ department of photography and imaging, he was thinking about pursuing a career in fashion photography when the planes hit the Twin Towers.

“The world got infinitely bigger that day,” said Denton. “I wanted to explore.”

This exploration started with a change in academic focus, and led him to engage in a world that was foreign, politically complicated and constantly in flux.

Denton went on to study Arabic and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and spent a semester in Amman, Jordan, before graduating in 2005. He then relocated to Middle East, and began accepting freelance jobs covering conflict in Afghanistan, Georgia, Lebanon, Iraq and finally Libya. He now lives in Beirut.

“We are watching a shifting paradigm,” said Denton, of the Middle East today. “There is a lot of hope and a lot of fear.”

For family members, Denton’s success in capturing and cataloguing events like the Libyan revolution seemed inevitable.

“When I look back, I can’t imagine him doing anything else,” Margi Denton, 57, said of her son’s choice of profession, given his studies on the Middle East, knowledge of the language, and love of photography.

Bryan Denton’s stay in New York is only temporary – he’ll be here a week before heading back to Lebanon. While he doesn’t know the location yet, Denton expects to be back on the ground, camera in hand, soon.

Even with Gadhafi’s death, thought by many to be the end of the revolution, Denton hasn’t crossed Libya off his list of conflict areas.

“The hard part will be fighting for the peace,” Denton said, while glancing around the room at his prints.

Before being whisked away for another round of introductions, or reintroductions, Denton pointed to the two images in the gallery he thought most relevant to understanding the chances for peace in post-Gadhafi Libya.

The first is a photograph taken of words, scribbled in Arabic, on a wall inside a small home. The text describes a group of armed fighters thought loyal to Gadhafi. The text also includes instructions for the liberating rebels to identify and eliminate the forces friendly to the government.

The second image is a wide-angle shot of the main street in Tawarga, Libya, a town thought to be pro-Gadhafi. While some inhabitants abandoned their homes, rebel forces had driven others out. Whoever resisted was killed.

“It’s fitting that it ended in cold blood,” said Denton about Gadhafi’s death. “I wouldn’t have expected anything more from the rebels.”

— 30 —

Revolution will be on display at the Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, from October 20, 2011 to November 19, 2011. The gallery is free and open to the public.

Note: Nearly Complete was originally published at http://www.columbiajournalist.org.

A Night Talking Terrorists

The book traces the development of United States policy in the fight against terrorism, taking the reader from the first confused moments of that Tuesday morning, to the orchestrated strike against Osama bin Laden’s fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan which took the Al Qaeda leader’s life.

Eric Schmitt’s signature graces the inside cover of Counterstrike, a 2011 publication with New York Times colleague Thom Shanker.

“We need to be lucky and good everyday,” said Thom Shanker, a reporter for the New York Times. Even though the United States hasn’t had a terrorist attack in 10 years, doesn’t mean we’ll be safe forever.

Mr. Shanker and co-author Eric Schmitt, also from the New York Times’ Washington bureau, discussed their book, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Midtown Manhattan on Monday September 12, 2011 – one day removed from the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony of the Sept. 11 attack.

The book traces the development of United States policy in the fight against terrorism, taking the reader from the first confused moments of that Tuesday morning, to the orchestrated strike against Osama bin Laden’s fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan which took the Al Qaeda leader’s life.

While the book contains insider notes on the workings and workers of the American intelligence and security community, it also paints a stark picture of U.S. preparedness on September 11.

“There were people in the Pentagon who were asking ‘al Who’?” said Mr. Shanker, who was shocked that state officials were unaware of  Al Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9-11 attack. This fact is made worse given that Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Mr. Schmitt and Mr. Shanker also discussed the propensity for President George Bush’s “capture of kill” anti-terrorism strategy to feed Al Qaeda recruiting networks, citing concerns expressed by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the US approach was increasing, not reducing, the ranks in terrorist organizations.

In response, the authors argued that a new deterrence strategy took form in 2003-2004 which focused on attacking what terrorists hold dear – issues of reputation, financial restitution and the security of terrorist networks.

To deter terrorists Shanker and Schmitt said that the new strategy demanded spreading responsibility across the government more broadly, while simultaneously stressing inter-operabililty between intelligence (and I.T.) frameworks, transparency amongst government branches and cooperation between sectors of the national security apparatus – most noticeably the CIA and the FBI.

The night’s more animated conversation and debate surrounded warrantless wire-tapping which prompted questions on liberty and security. However, this line of questioning led the Timesmen to recite persuasive evasions, instead of measured answers.

However, Mr. Schmitt and Mr. Shanker did highlight technology as both a progenitor and salve of modern terrorism.

“The Internet is the ultimate safe haven for terrorism,” said Mr. Schmitt, as websites or forums provide the space for extremists to indoctrinate others, while the Internet’s online gaming communities, replete with its anonymous and atomized user experience,  are penetrated by terrorists transmitting coded information without detection.

The Internet also provides an opportunity for law enforcement to lay in wait for extremists to expose themselves, leading to identification and potential capture.

In writing this book, Mr. Shanker and Mr. Schmitt said they intended bring the challenges of anti-terrorism policy and practice into relief. It isn’t easy to quell the fires of extremism, but Mr. Schmitt admits that it is possible over time.

One method is attacking the narrative used by terrorist organizations.

As terrorism derives its strength from others sympathetic to their cause, this support is a function of controlling the narrative, (i.e. the way actors’ roles are understood in the world),

“The United States struggles with the ‘say-do’ gap,” said Mr. Shanker. By this, Mr. Shanker means that regardless of national security concerns which necessitate the presence of American troops abroad, their deployment – almost exclusively – in regions like Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Libya makes them vulnerable to Al Qaeda’s argument: the West has waged war against Islam.

“The American narrative is hard to defend,” said Mr. Shanker.

Finally, as the discussion opened up to audience questions, Mr. Shanker’s expertise on the Washingston/Pentagon beat was put to use in the discussion of new Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta.

Mr. Shanker reminded the audience that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was selected to deal with Iraq, and stayed on to handle Afghanistan. Mr. Panetta, however, will have to wage war with the budget, said Mr. Shanker.

As economic trends have the potential to erode U.S. capacity fight terrorism, the question becomes, “how much security do you want to pay for?” said Mr. Shanker

In the night’s final response, the Times’ reporters took delicate jabs at the state of  U.S. politics.

“Washington can’t take two big ideas at the same time,” said Mr. Schmitt.

Unfortunately, and as Counterstrike demonstrates, the ‘big ideas’ do not have simple solutions. Particularly when national security is the subject of debate.

Audio: Learning my ABCs

On Sunday night, our second audio assignment in Columbia University’s J-School bootcamp, offered me the opportunity to profile one of the most musically rich events in NYC.

16 of the best beatboxers in the nation had descended upon Le Poisson Rouge in New York’s Greenwich Village to battle for the nation’s top prize at the American Beatboxing Championships.

While this 2 minute and 24 second audio clip paints (I hope) a fairly compelling picture of what transpired that night, I’m currently re-editing/mixing the sample over the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Until then. Enjoy!