April 13, 2010

Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor

Kurt has been collaborating with Wendy and Tim McHale on numerous creative projects for over 20 years. He is the cultural conscience of the MadAve Journal.

He spent 30 years on Madison Avenue as a writer and creative supervisor at Grey Advertising, Cunningham & Walsh, Benton & Bowles, and McCann-Erickson. His accounts included P&G, General Foods, Drackett, Texaco, American Home Products, The U.S. Navy, Heublein, Gordon's Gin, Van Heusen, Buick, MGM, and RCA Records.

He also organized and staffed RCA's first in-house agency as creative director of advertising/sales promotion for all of the label's artists, working with David Bowie, Lou Reed, Elvis Presley, Jefferson Airplane, The Guess Who, John Denver, Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Townes Van Zandt and Chet Atkins. On the agency side he wrote the Texaco campaign with Jack Benny in all media for four years, and created ads for other show business legends including George Burns and Harry Blackstone, Jr.

Since 1986 Kurt has taught "All About Advertising" to undergrads, grad students and working professionals at New School University in New York City. His classes welcome guest specialists like media entrepreneurs Wendy McHale and Tim McHale as well as Stephanie Blackwood, co-founder of the leading gay/lesbian agency, Double Platinum. Kurt also teaches "The Big Idea," a new three-credit copy design course that partners New School and Lang students who want to try writing advertising with Parsons' students who want to try designing ads. Non-credit working professionals can also take the course and partner each other. "The Big Idea" meets 15 Monday evenings from 8:00 to 10:00 starting September 10.

Additionally at The New School, Kurt taught in the Humanities Division for 10 years, alternating "Pulp Fiction" (a history of pulp magazines and their major authors from 1890 to 1950) and "Killer Writers" (a study of crime noir writers and novels from Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson, to Chester Himes, Patricia Highsmith and Donald E. Westlake).

Kurt also teaches a continuing film series at the 92nd Street Y, "Killer Movies: Lost Films Noirs" (the fifth annual installment begins February 5, 2008), focusing on the best and most obscure crime dramas of the 1940s. Kurt is also launching a new film series, "Lost Weekends: Alcoholism At The Movies," focusing on classic drinking films of the 20th century. This ten week series begins October 2 and runs for ten Tuesday evenings (7:00 to 9:30 p.m.) at The New York Society for Ethical Culture, 64th Street and Central Park West. Info at nysec.org, hit Table of Contents, hit Other Events.

Kurt holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Journalism, both with advertising majors, from the University of Wisconsin, writing the first thesis there on television commercials. He also taught advertising at the University of Illinois, sharing a faculty office with the legendary direct mail specialist James Webb Young. He is married with four children.

Kurt's son, Chris, is a rock musician with three solo CDs in international distribution, plus 20 years' experience as lead guitarist recording and touring with Come, Consonant, Steve Wynn, and Evan Dando; Chris also played drums in the seminal slo-core band Codeine, and plays drums currently with The New Year. Kurt can be reached at brokawk@newschool.edu.

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