Hipster Puppies

Meet the man behind the dog-loving blog and book.

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  • Photograph: K Escamilla

    Hipster Puppies

    Rufio
    "At some point, Rufio got 'irony' confused with 'being a total fucking asshole.'"

    "People really go out of their way to hipsterize these dogs. They'll put them in glasses and a scarf with a Don DeLillo book under one arm, and a Criterion DVD under the other paw. [But] Rufio here has a preppy shirt on, [and] he doesn't need a lot of props to get his point across---and his point is, I'm disgusted with you. The look of abject smugness from this chihuahua makes me angry. If a human being looked at me that way, it would make me furious! Rufio is definitely looking down on you and he's a chihuahua! He pisses on the lawn and eats from the trash, and he thinks you are not worthy of his time. That's ridiculous. I really doubt I would ever punch a chihuahua, but I gotta say, seeing Rufio left me kinda tempted. Look at him! If you tried to buy a record from this dude, or a cup of coffee from him, that would fuck up your day irreparably!"

  • Photograph: Elizabeth A. O'Brien

    Hipster Puppies

    Maggie
    "Magoo is going to ask his fiance if they can walk down the aisle to Hsker D."

    "Magoo's real name is Maggie, but I changed her name because it seemed funnier to me to have the hopeless boyfriend trying to push his music taste on everyone all the time. That definitely reminds me of some people I know. She's even got that look of desperation of wanting to have things [her] way. It's like when aging punks get old [and] get married, and they wanna try to keep a little bit of their coolness. But when you start having wives and kids, you start to realize how stupid that all was. And this is the poor guy's last effort to impress all his friends and recapture his youth. That being said, I'd be pretty psyched to hear 'New Day Rising' at my own wedding, but that's neither here nor there."

  • Photograph: Tim Carlson

    Hipster Puppies

    Perry
    "Perry could have easily informed the waiter that his order was wrong, but has decided to just write a bad Yelp review instead."

    "The first thing I do whenever I have a great meal is go home and read bad Yelp reviews about [the restaurant] to read the digs about really good places. It is a window into one of the most entitled, coddled generations that has ever existed on the face of the planet. It brings me such joy to know that these assholes walk the Earth. We're so quick to pass judgment on everything [and] we forget how good we have it. To see people [who] are like, 'The waiter made a crack about it not really being my birthday; it was totally my birthday.' Fuck you! They don't have to do a fucking thing for you!"

  • Photograph: Hanna Carroll

    Hipster Puppies

    Max
    "Max refuses to eat at that restaurant because he doesn't like their font."

    "This actually happened. I was visiting my mom in Florida. I found this restaurant and we pull up, and the font [of] the logo is in Papyrus, which is the cheesiest, corniest font you could possibly use, next to writing your restaurant's name in little hot dogs. I immediately had this twinge of, 'I can't eat here---this place is corny as hell!' And then a minute later, I'm [thinking], What type of asshole thing is that to say? Honestly, get over yourself. I had that real twinge of hipsteritis that I've absorbed after eight years of living in Brooklyn."

  • Photograph: (Java) Soocool Picturehaus; (Vidna) RCS

    (L-R): Java
    "Java didn't want to tell Vidna that she only read three pages before "nrrd grrl book club" so she plans to just nod and concur."

    Vidna
    "Vidna didn't want to tell Java that she only read three pages before "nrrd grrl book club" so she plans to just nod and concur."

    "We're all very concerned about looking and seeming smart. And it's always embarrassing when someone calls you on your shit. Everyone wants to appear smarter than they are, and that goes way deeper than hipsters. I thought it was so funny that I got two really good photos with dogs holding Infinite Jest. [The book] is such a hipster thing to fire at people, and I got two separate photos that had Infinite Jest in them."

Photograph: K Escamilla

Hipster Puppies

Rufio
"At some point, Rufio got 'irony' confused with 'being a total fucking asshole.'"

"People really go out of their way to hipsterize these dogs. They'll put them in glasses and a scarf with a Don DeLillo book under one arm, and a Criterion DVD under the other paw. [But] Rufio here has a preppy shirt on, [and] he doesn't need a lot of props to get his point across---and his point is, I'm disgusted with you. The look of abject smugness from this chihuahua makes me angry. If a human being looked at me that way, it would make me furious! Rufio is definitely looking down on you and he's a chihuahua! He pisses on the lawn and eats from the trash, and he thinks you are not worthy of his time. That's ridiculous. I really doubt I would ever punch a chihuahua, but I gotta say, seeing Rufio left me kinda tempted. Look at him! If you tried to buy a record from this dude, or a cup of coffee from him, that would fuck up your day irreparably!"

How do you redeem the hipster? With photos of adorable dogs, of course. Music critic Christopher R. Weingarten started the Tumblr blog Hipster Puppies in 2010 to riff on the trend of websites mocking skinny-jeans--wearing youth such as Unhappy Hipsters; Fuck Yeah, Hipsters; and Look at This Fucking Hipster. Weingarten's idea took off, thanks to his commentary on emblems of the subculture ("Dude, you haven't really chased your tail until you've done it on a fixed-gear bicycle") and some truly cute pooches. The book Hipster Puppies was released in July, and Weingarten will celebrate its publication at the Hipster Puppies Pageant on Thursday 25 (The powerHouse arena, 37 Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-666-3049, powerhousearena.com; Thu 25 7--9pm; free). Weingarten will sign copies of the book, and attendees are invited to bring their canine companions along for a hipster costume contest. (PBR will be available.) Despite his often biting comments in the book, Weingarten is quick to point out that he's not so different from that which he mocks. "This isn't some jock-bully out to take down the hipsters," he explains. "This is coming from someone who lives in Brooklyn, plays in noise bands, goes to Film Forum and Smorgasburg, and buys artisanal ketchup from Sir Kensington." We asked Weingarten about the book and for the stories behind some of our favorite photos.

Why did you start the blog?
There were a lot of people forwarding these comedic Tumblrs about hipsters. I would see the same ones over and over again, and I didn't think they were especially funny [or] had an especially astute grasp of what a hipster even was. So I said to some acquaintances, "Look, will you forward anything if it has the word hipster in it?" And I put up three photos on a lazy afternoon as a parody of hipster Tumblrs. These animals that lack the cognitive capability to understand fashion, they're hipsters! But the choice to make it dogs was not too far from where my mind is usually.

Which is on puppies?
Which is on cute animals. I am a crank, a curmudgeon and a tireless pessimist, but show me a cute dog and my heart melts.

Do you have a formula or criteria that you use to judge the photos you receive?
Cuteness is priority No. 1. The joke could [go] either way, but you know, we have to remember that we're here to look at cute dogs. I think it's a very primal thing to look at a cute animal, you know? It's safe-for-work pornography; it taps into something very primal in your brain.

So people just started sending you photos of their dogs in goofy outfits?
Yeah, I would get hundreds and hundreds of photos of people attempting to hipsterize their dogs. The saddest ones are the people who wanted to get on the site so bad that you can see them struggling to keep the sunglasses on some poor Pekingese. Like, "Sit still, you fucking asshole. Goddammit!"

Were there any submissions that were too ridiculous for you?
Someone sent me a photo of a dead dog once. That wasn't very nice. Suffice it to say, even if it were wearing sunglasses, it wouldn't have made it [onto] the site.

Do you think dogs are the ultimate hipster pet?
Given the amount of Boston terrier pictures I've gotten [in the] course of this whole thing, I think they are the quintessential hipster pet. But with the recession and all, maybe we'll start doing lizards again. It was really cool to have a gross animal in the '90s, [but] with the advent of the cuddly world of indie rock, I think hipsters are more into furrier, fluffier animals.

What can you tell us about the Hipster Puppies mixtape that you made to accompany the book?
The mixtapes are a value add for the book. They are not for sale, but there are certain places you can get a copy of it when you buy a book [ed note: the mixtape will be available at the Hipster Puppies Pageant, as well as Sound Fix and Cake Shop]. It's basically a thank-you note to everyone who submitted a photo that made it into the book. I really wanted to do something from the heart, and [these are] 20 of my absolute favorite New York bands. I do a column for The Village Voice called "Yes In My Backyard" on their [Sound of the City] blog; I interview two local bands every week. It's a real passion of mine to live in such a teeming mass of creative, amazing people making music all the time, so this is my little love letter to the city.

What can people expect at the pageant at powerHouse?
We are going to have a contest where people bring their hipster dogs, and me being the world's foremost expert as dogs dressed as hipsters [Laughs], I will be there to judge. There will be prizes. It's so funny—my publicist [asked], "We should have some alcohol there, do you want wine or PBR?" And I was like, How is this a question? [Laughs]

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