This month we get a meal at the TGI Friday’s in New York’s Union Square. Started as a single restaurant near the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan, TGI Friday’s now has over 900 restaurants in 61 countries. Known for kitchy decor, potato skins, and alchohol – but what makes this restaurant so popular? And what can we learn from it to make better art and activism?

In this episode Pat, Steve, and Steve are joined by guest Maz Ali, School for Creative Activism alumni and writer for Upworthy.

TGI Friday's Sign

The Pop Culture Salvage Expeditions: No. 2 TGI Friday’s

with Stephen Duncombe, Patricia Jerido, Steve Lambert, and guest Maz Ali

Some things we talked about (with links!):

  • Chain restaurants can be diverse spaces – why and how?
  • TGI Friday’s – Wikipedia “an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining… Friday’s currently has over 900 restaurants in around 60 countries (excluding the United States).”
  • Starbucks
  • World travel, fancy restaurants and risk taking. Novel experiences being a place of comfort.
  • McDonald’s around the world – Wikipedia
  • Choice, surprise, and doing one thing well.
  • Shake Shack – Wikipedia “is a fast casual restaurant chain based in New York City. It started out as a food cart inside Madison Square Park in 2000, and its popularity steadily grew. It eventually moved to a stand within the park, expanding its menu from New York-style hamburgers to one with hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and its namesake milkshakes.”
  • Free Jazz – Wikipedia “Though the music of free jazz composers varied widely, a common feature was dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz that had developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Free jazz musicians attempted to alter, extend, or break down jazz convention, often by discarding fixed chord changes or tempos. While usually considered avant-garde, free jazz has also been described as an attempt to return jazz to its primitive, often religious, roots and emphasis on collective improvisation.”
  • John Coltrane and Charlie Parker
  • Rules of basketball
  • Watch Empire Online
  • Black Mirror
  • The Righteous Mind – Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

The CAA at Fridays

Our Picks


Music: The Reigning Sound, “Stick Up for Me” courtesy of the Free Music Archive

More on the Center for Artistic Activism at, Stephen Duncombe at, Patricia Jerido on Twitter, and Steve Lambert at