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Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
By Ryan Pearson
November 13, 2007 (LOS ANGELES) - Marvel is putting some of its older comics online Tuesday, hoping to reintroduce young people to the X-Men and Fantastic Four by showcasing the original issues in which such characters appeared.
It represents perhaps the comics industry's most aggressive Web push yet. Even as their creations -- from Iron Man to Wonder Woman -- become increasingly visible in pop culture through new movies and video games, old-school comics publishers rely primarily on specialized, out-of-the-way comic shops for distribution of their bread-and-butter product.
"You don't have that spinner rack of comic books sitting in the local five-and-dime any more," said Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Publishing. "We don't have our product intersecting kids in their lifestyle space as much as we used to."
Translate "kids' lifestyle space" into plain English and you get "the Internet." Marvel's two most prominent competitors currently offer online teasers designed to drive the sales of comics or book collections.
Dark Horse Comics now puts its monthly anthologies "Dark Horse Presents" up for free viewing on its MySpace site. The images are vibrant and large.
DC Comics has also put issues up on MySpace, and recently launched the competition-based Zuda Comics, which encourages users to rank each other's work, as a way to tap into the expanding Web comic scene.
For its mature Vertigo imprint, DC offers weekly sneak peeks at the first five or six pages of upcoming issues. The publisher also gives out downloadable PDF files of the first issues in certain series, timed to publication of the series in book or graphic novel format.
For Marvel, the general public has often already gotten its initial taste through movies like "Spider-Man" or the "Fantastic Four" franchises.
The publisher is hoping fans will be intrigued enough about the origins of those characters to shell out $9.99 a month, or $4.99 monthly with a year-long commitment. For that price, they'll be able to poke through, say, the first 100 issues of Stan Lee's 1963 creation "Amazing Spider-Man" at their leisure, along with more recent titles like "House of M" and "Young Avengers." Comics can be viewed in several different formats, including frame-by-frame navigation.
About 2,500 issues will be available at launch of Marvel Digital Comics, with 20 more being released each week.
A link to the complete article
The debate has raged for decades: is he Jewish, Methodist, Kryptonian Raoist? But finally, it's been settled: Superman is definitely... a non-Aryan Protestant. The complex origins of many a comic book character are deconstructed at the engaging and erudite exhibit, "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" — through Jan. 27 at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris — which explores the impact of the Jewish experience on the evolution of the comic strip and graphic novel.
Comics are serious culture in France, where they were named "the Ninth Art" in 1964 by historian Claude Beylie. Today, the country hosts the preeminent annual international comic book festival in the town of Angoulême. And it is in that committed comic-book aficionado spirit that "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" presents some 230 American and European works dating back to 1890, including the 1940 strip How Superman Would End the War. "I'd like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw," grumbles the Man of Steel as he drags Adolf Hitler off to be tried for crimes against humanity. For the late comic-book artist Will Eisner, the Jewish people, faced with the rise of fascism, "needed a hero who could protect us against an almost invincible force." Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman in 1938 was only the first and — like Bob Kane's Batman in 1939, Jack Kirby's Captain America in 1940 and many more that followed — he was created by sons of Jewish immigrants living in New York.
Like their characters, many of these artists took on dual identities, says author and comic book historian Didier Pasamonik, a consultant on the exhibit: "There was a kind of diffused anti-Semitism at the time, and it was better to use a good American commercial name to reach the wider public." Even as Robert Kahn had become Bob Kane and Jacob Kurtzberg worked as Jack Kirby, their superheroes reflected some of the identity they were masking, evoking Jewish concepts such as tikkun olam (repairing the world through social action) and legends such as the Golem of Prague, the medieval superhero of Jewish folklore who was conjured from clay by a rabbi to defend his community when it was under threat.
Years later, some comic superheroes would actually be identified as Jews, like Auschwitz survivor Magneto and — the Golem myth incarnate — Ben Grimm (The Thing) of the Fantastic Four. But despite the rumors, the Man of Steel is no Supermensch, says Pasamonik. "Superman is not Jewish," he says. "When Superman gets married it's not at the synagogue!" Pasamonik has not missed the heavy dose of Jewish culture Siegel and Shuster instilled in their character: baby Superman's passage through space in a cradle-like vessel and subsequent adoption "is the story of Moses," he says, adding that El of Superman's given name Kal-El is a Hebrew word for God. But with a Methodist upbringing and extra-terrestrial origins, Superman, says Pasamonik, is best described simply as a "non-Aryan" hero.
And why not? Non-Aryan describes most of the southern and eastern European and Asian immigrants that crossed the oceans with the Siegels, Shusters, Kahns and Kurtzbergs in the late 19th and early 20th century. For the Pulitzer-prize- winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, World War II-era superheroes embodied the American dream shared by the countless foreigners. "It wasn't Krypton that Superman came from; it was the planet Minsk or Lodz or Vilna or Warsaw," wrote Feiffer in his essay The Minsk Theory of Krypton. "Superman was the ultimate assimilationist fantasy."
After World War II, the comic book genre became an unlikely vehicle for civic protest and consolidation of memory. "The hour of immigrant assimilation gave way to the fight for minorities and civil rights," explains Pasamonik. Harvey Kurtzman used the medium to tackle racial segregation, the Cold War and McCarthyism in his satirical MAD magazine. In 1955, when popular awareness of the Holocaust was scant, Bernard Krigstein and Al Feldstein caused a shock by revisiting the concentration camps with the seminal graphic story Master Race. During the '60s and '70s the genre opened up to the banal and biographical, with Pekar and Crumb's darkly humorous American Splendor and Eisner's landmark graphic novel, A Contract with God.
"Eisner brought an absolutely revolutionary dimension to the graphic novel, which was to make it an instrument of memory," says Pasamonik. Finally, with a nod toward Edmond-Francois Calvo's 1944 La Bete est Morte (The Beast is Dead) — which uses animals to tell the story of World War II — Art Spiegelman brought the graphic novel worldwide recognition by winning a Pulitzer prize in 1992 for his Holocaust saga, Maus. Eisner and Spiegelman's heirs now litter the globe, from Frenchman Joann Sfar (The Rabbi's Cat) to Iranian Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis). "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" pays homage to these artists, inviting the viewer to consider the subtexts at work even in comic books about men in tights.
A link to the article
Thursday, November 15, 2007
1. What was the first album that you ever owned?
I think it was the Jackson 5's Greatest Hits.
2. What song or album represents Junior High for you?
Cat Scratch Fever - Ted Nugent
3. What song or album represents High School for you?
Outlandos d'Amour - The Police
4. What song or album represents College for you?
Violent Femmes debut album
5. What's your favorite album of the last year?
Oh yeah, like I, a 44 year old, know what albums came out this year.
6. What's probably your favorite album of all time?
Probably Violent Femmes' debut album.
7. What was your favorite soundtrack?
Probably The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,
8. Who's your favorite Jazz composer?
9. Who's your favorite Classical composer?
Phillip Glass i guess
10. What was the first concert you saw?
Kiss with John Cougar opening to promote his debut album
11. What was the most recent concert you saw?
About a year ago, I finally saw The Violent Femmes live - Yay!!!!
12. What are your top three greatest concert experiences?
1. Seeing The Violent Femmes last year - just cus I waited over 20 years to see them :) - plus they were still really good!
2. Glastonbury Festival in England in 1985, possibly 1984 - with The Pogues, Billie Bragg and lots of great bands
3. Lollapalooza in 1995? - with The Ramones, Rancid and Cornershop. Plus Soundgarden and Metallica ended the show so I could leave early without missing much. :)
13. What are your top three favorite Beatles albums?
Abbey Road, Sgt Pepper and um, i dont know, Rubber Soul
14. What are your top three favorite Beatles songs?
It's All Too Much is #1 for sure. And off the top of my head, I guess Helter Skelter and the Abbey Road medley
15. John, Paul, George, or Ringo?
John is the most interesting, but I'm probably more like Paul.
16. What's your favorite John Lennon composition?
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
17. What's your favorite Paul McCartney composition?
18. What's your favorite George Harrison composition?
Here Comes the Sun
19. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 50's?
Chuck Berry I guess
20. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 60's?
Beatles I suppose
21. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 70's?
The Sex Pistols
22. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 80's?
23. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 90's?
Presidents of the United States of America
24. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the new millenium?
Flogging Molly - the best new band to come out in 20 years!
25. What's currently spinning on your cd player or turntable?
don't own a cd player
26. Rock 'n Roll or Pop?
rock n rooooooooooooooooooll!!!!!!!!!!!!!
27. Heavy Metal or Hair Metal?
28. Madonna or Cyndi Lauper?
29. Kenny Loggins or Huey Lewis?
Huey Lewis if I have to choose
30. Blur or Oasis?
Why don't you just kill me now? But I guess I'll have to go with Blur, cus almost anything is better than Oasis!!
31. Britney Spears or Christina Aguilara?
Christina is definitely hotter!
32. The Clash or the Sex Pistols?
33. Led Zeppelin or the Doors?
34. The Dark Side of the Moon or Freak Out!
35. Tommy or Sign 'o' the Times?
Tommy - the Who rule!
36. Blonde on Blonde or Astral Weeks?
Who or who?!
37. Sgt. Pepper or Pet Sounds?
38. What band really needs to reunite?
uh.....The Pogues maybe
39. What band needs to call it quits?
40. What's your favorite album to listen to when you're getting ready to go out?
Have to admit, I mostly listen to shuffle on my 30 gig mp3 player.
41. What's your favorite album to listen to when you just want to chill out and be alone?
My Floyd and Floyd cover playlist
42. Favorite Saturday night party album?
All my music put on shuffle on the computer.
43. Favorite Sunday morning album?
44. Favortie road trip album?
45. C'mon, admit it.....Who is your all-time, favorite guilty pleasure musical artist?
46. At this point in time, what musical artist is your absolute favorite?
Violent Femmes - but I love Flogging Molly!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Some comments from Youtube by the guy who made it, Griffith84, and people who watched it.
I made this video as a going away present for my buddy to college. Hope you enjoy. Also check out my myspace for pics of my costumes. www.myspace.com/funnyguyderek
Another amusing Batman video.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Well, I'm still doing experimental poetry! But instead of subject lines from emails of pornographers, I just used the regular spam.
Have you popped the bullet?
when does your modeling affect but develop
have no blemish skin that evening
A Secret Lover is Trying to Get in Touch With You
You've got to see Maureen's Bonuses!
healthy looking skin but what is the reason today
slim down to a new pretty built
where is your balance and there is a change surely
Redhead Gets Stuffed eaten
fashion your torso this month
i'd never get through the gates
retain that baggage
Mom, did you get my last email?
grab me one of these too
Are you ready to rock?
Watch out for huge waves tomorrow
You won't believe this new yacht
We do it everyday
Your Friends Will EnvyYou
Introducing the all-new de-duper
I played with this for hours
If there's anyone left who I didn't piss off, send me an opinion and I'll be happy to point out where you're wrong. (all in fun).
So here's my opinion - punk rock, especially the Sex Pistols and the Clash, saved rock and roll!
Did R&R need saving? Is it better to burn out than to be forgotten? Is this an email of Johny Rotten? hey hey, my, my...
Thursday, October 25, 2007
No offence, but when I made up a fantasy yarn for my daughter, I had a homosexual warrior couple who were married and very much openly in love. But then again, I wasn't trying to sell the story to anyone except my daughter. - OlderMusicGeek
Put Dumbledore Back in the Closet
Monday, Oct. 22, 2007 By JOHN CLOUD
When J.K. Rowling announced at Carnegie Hall that Albus Dumbdledore—her Aslan, her Gandalf, her Yoda—was gay, the crowd apparently sat in silence for a few seconds and then burst into wild applause. I'm still sitting in silence. Dumbledore himself never saw fit to come out of the closet before dying in book six. And I feel a bit like I did when we learned too much about Mark Foley and Larry Craig: You are not quite the role model I'd hoped for as a gay man.
So along comes Rowling with Dumbledore—a human being, a wizard even, an indisputable hero and one of the most beloved figures in children's literature. Shouldn't I be happy to learn he's gay?
Yes, except: Why couldn't he tell us himself? The Potter books add up to more than 800,000 words before Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and yet Rowling couldn't spare two of those words—"I'm gay"—to help define a central character's emotional identity? We can only conclude that Dumbledore saw his homosexuality as shameful and inappropriate to mention among his colleagues and students. His silence suggests a lack of personal integrity that is completely out of character.
I had always given the Potter books a pass on the lack of gay characters because, especially at first, they were intended for little kids. But particularly with the appearance of the long, violent later books, Rowling allowed her witches and wizards to grow up, to get zits and begin romances, to kill and die. It seemed odd that not even a minor student character at Hogwarts was gay, especially since Rowling was so p.c. about making her magical creatures of different races and species, incomes, national origins, and developmental abilities. In a typical passage, the briefly mentioned Blaise Zabini is described as "a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes." Would it have been so difficult to write in a line in which Zabini takes the exquisitely named Justin Finch-Fletchley to the Yule Ball?
But here is a gay man as de-sexed as any priest—and, to uncomfortably extend the analogy, whose greatest emotional bond is with an adolescent boy: scarred, orphaned, needy Harry. Rowling said at Carnegie Hall that in her conception of his character, Dumbledore had fallen in love long ago with Gellert Grindelwald when the two were just teenagers. But Grindelwald turned out to be evil, which apparently broke Dumbledore's heart. (Quite evil: Grindelwald is Rowling's Hitler figure, opening a camp called "Nurmengard" for political enemies in the 1940s. Dumbledore/Churchill eventually defeats Grindelwald/Hitler in a 1945 duel.)
But as far as we know, Dumbledore had not a single fully realized romance in 115 years of life. That's pathetic, and a little creepy. It's also a throwback to an era of pop culture when the only gay characters were those who committed suicide or were murdered. As Vito Russo's The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (1981) points out, in film after film of the mid-century—Rebel Without a Cause; Rebecca; Suddenly, Last Summer—the gay characters must pay for their existence with death. Like a lisping weakling, Dumbledore is a painfully selfless, celibate, dead gay man, so forgive me if I don't see Rowling's revelation as great progress.
Am I making too much of this? Undoubtedly. But it would have been better if she had just left the old girl to rest in peace.
A link to the complete article
Monday, October 22, 2007
The Clash team up with Sex Pistols
Band members back efforts to get 'God Save The Queen' to Number One
The Clash's Paul Simonon has backed efforts to send his punk rivals the Sex Pistols to Number One this week (October 9).
The bassist, who now plays with The Good, The Bad & The Queen, says he thinks a good idea to try to get 'God Save The Queen' to the top of the charts.
NME.COM is backing a campaign to send the record back to Number One next week after it was cheated out of the top spot 30 years ago.
'God Save The Queen' was denied its rightful place at Number One because the authorities feared the punk anthem would spoil the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977.
We want to right that wrong and are encouraging everyone to buy the record this week (from October 8) as the track is reissued on vinyl.
Either head down the record shop now or you can buy it from 7digital.com or other downloaders like iTunes.
"Should we get 'God Save The Queen' To Number One? I can't see why not!" declared Simonon. "Phone John [Lydon, Sex Pistols' singer] up and see what he says!"
His former bandmate, The Clash's Mick Jones also thought the effort was a good idea, but joked he didn't need to buy the single as "I've already got a copy!"
Join the campaign to send Sex Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' to Number One. Let us know what you think of the track by sending your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org with Pistols as the subject and we'll print the best.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Fans across the world are mourning the South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who has been shot dead.
He was dropping his teenage son and daughter off in a Johannesburg suburb when he was attacked by car thieves.
Local radio stations have been flooded with tearful callers expressing outrage at the murder and renewing demands that the authorities act to curtail crime.
South Africa's leader paid tribute to him and called on people to "confront this terrible scourge of crime".
Alongside Bob Marley, Lucky Dube was thought of as one of the great reggae artists - singing about social problems.
He was also one of the apartheid regime's most outspoken critics.
Callers to radio stations have urged South Africa's rugby team to show some form of respect when they take to the field in Saturday's World Cup final against England in Paris.
President Thabo Mbeki is attending the final and took time to pay tribute to the dreadlocked reggae star before he jetted off to France.
"It's indeed very very sad that this happens to an outstanding South African, an outstanding musician - world renowned," he said.
The BBC has been inundated with thousands of text and email messages paying tribute to the singer.
"I am a 27-year-old black South African girl. I have dreadlocks and I love reggae music so much and I am proud to be who I am, being black and African. I will miss Lucky Dube, you are an inspiration to many of us," Sbongile Diko in Durban wrote.
But the tributes have been worldwide - especially from Africa.
A link to the complete BBC article
NPR remembrance of Lucky Dube
BBC Network Africa on Lucky Dube
BBC readers' reaction to Lucky Dube's death
BBC report on Lucky Dube as a singing peacemaker
Friday, October 19, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Jammie Thomas, the unlikely saboteur, had an eclectic set of songs collected. Maybe there's a message in her playlist.
By Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 6, 2007
Thomas' list has hipsters groaning. It includes some of the most banal Top 40 songs of recent memory: songs by 1980s balladeers Richard Marx and Bryan Adams, quiet-storm beauty queen Vanessa Williams, and the feathered-hair kings in Journey. Teen tastes may be represented by the presence of Green Day and Linkin Park tracks. "In her defense," one respondent posted on the pop-music blog Idolator, "I wouldn't pay for any of these songs either."
But look at the list beyond the prejudices of taste, and another quality surfaces: it's eclectic. A Reba McEntire track represents classic country. There's some Gloria Estefan for that Latin freestyle flavor. It's easy to imagine Thomas chilling out to Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" after her kids were in bed, or getting out her aggressions after a hard day at the office -- she works for her own tribe, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa, in the natural resources department -- by turning up "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses.
This is a playlist for a family party, wide-ranging enough for everybody to be satisfied. It has a lived-in feel, with songs spanning four decades, probably marking highlights in the life of Thomas and those she loves. What it isn't, though, is something you'd hear on the radio, or be able to buy on any compilation that's in print.
True, Thomas could have burned a CD of these tracks, from the vast record collection she claims to own. She could have purchased the songs again from iTunes. But what she probably really wanted to do was just hear them occasionally, the way you hear songs on the radio. She wanted a wide array of music, easily available. Radio, split into niche markets and limited by tiny, repetitive playlists, wasn't giving her that.
Pop hits saturate the airwaves, television and the speakers at the mall for a brief time, until they reach obsolescence. Occasionally they'll pop up in a television show or on a film soundtrack. But a pop fan who wants a little country, a little metal and some hip-hop in her life won't easily find it in one environment. Her fingers could get blisters twisting the radio dial.
Popular music has always been a leaky commodity, but the major labels have increasingly narrowed their scope to focus on a few superstars and one-hit wonders. The Internet has made eclectic listening easy again. Thomas' crime (if we must label it that) was in not paying for the tracks she allegedly shared. But in a way, it was an act committed in self-defense, against the numbing effects of an increasingly narrowcast mainstream.
Link to the complete article
Comments from The L.A. Times:
Tell me this, when the U.S. crawls its way up the broadband ladder to where Finland, Hong Kong, or S. Korea are with net speeds of 100Mbps (compared to the U.S.' average 3Mbps), what chance do these media companies have of slowing their inevitable extinction? Other than crippling future technological innovation and lobbying for some Orwellian state with our tax dollars paying law enforcement to defend the 21st century equivalent of the buggy-whip industry.
Submitted by: Plautus
7:28 PM PDT, October 5, 2007
How absurd is it to call what she did piracy. Piracy is an act committed by one who plunders at sea, killing or maiming the victim. To call this piracy is an insult to pirates. This definition was created She shared music with strangers. Sharing, what society teaches kids to do starting in pre-school. Call it what it is, she's guilty of sharing.
Submitted by: blackbeard
7:26 PM PDT, October 5, 2007
Please follow up after the judgment is paid to find out how much of it the labels have paid out in royalties to the artists -- then we'll find out how much it is really about compensating them.
Submitted by: AB
3:25 PM PDT, October 5, 2007
Those who can't innovate and adapt to a changing marketplace call their lawyers. Digital music has made the market more efficient and more porous-- deal with it, or perish. I think it's time to short-sell recording industry stock.
Submitted by: Chris
7:37 PM PDT, October 4, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Sure, Radiohead is on a sustained run as the most interesting and innovative band in rock, but what makes In Rainbows important — easily the most important release in the recent history of the music business — are its record label and its retail price: there is none, and there is none.
In Rainbows will be released as a digital download available only via the band's web site, Radiohead.com. There's no label or distribution partner to cut into the band's profits — but then there may not be any profits. Drop In Rainbows' 15 songs into the online checkout basket and a question mark pops up where the price would normally be. Click it, and the prompt "It's Up To You" appears. Click again and it refreshes with the words "It's Really Up To You" — and really, it is. It's the first major album whose price is determined by what individual consumers want to pay for it. And it's perfectly acceptable to pay nothing at all.
Labels can still be influential and profitable by focusing on younger acts that need their muscle to get radio play and placement in record stores — but only if the music itself remains a saleable commodity. "That's the interesting part of all this," says a producer who works primarily with American rap artists. "Radiohead is the best band in the world; if you can pay whatever you want for music by the best band in the world, why would you pay $13 dollars or $.99 cents for music by somebody less talented? Once you open that door and start giving music away legally, I'm not sure there's any going back."
The ramifications of Radiohead's pay-what-you-want experiment will take time to sort out, but for established artists at least, turning what was once their highest-value asset — a much-buzzed-about new album — into a loss leader may be the wave of the future. Even under the most lucrative record deals, the ones reserved for repeat, multi-platinum superstars, the artists can end up with less than 30% of overall sales revenue (which often is then split among several band members). Meanwhile, as record sales decline, the concert business is booming. In July, Prince gave away his album Planet Earth for free in the U.K. through the downmarket Mail on Sunday newspaper. At first he was ridiculed. Then he announced 21 consecutive London concert dates — and sold out every one of them.
Link to the complete article
Allah, Amps and Anarchy
On the road with the first-ever Muslim punk-rock tour
Evan SerpickPosted Oct 01, 2007 2:00 PM
In late august, a creaking green school bus with red camels stenciled on its side rolled up to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. Seventeen exhausted, beer-reeking punks, with mohawks and dyed hair, walked up to the mosque looking for a place to rest. "I was surprised -- they totally let us hang out there," says Kourosh Poursalehi, 19, frontman for San Antonio's Vote Hezbollah. "They even wanted CDs and stuff."
Vote Hezbollah (the band's name is intended as a joke) is one of five Muslim punk bands that recently wrapped up a ten-date tour that took them from Boston to Chicago during August and September. The bands, which hail from Chicago, San Antonio, Boston and Washington, D.C., share left-of-center politics and an antipathy toward the president. And all have used punk as a means to express the anger, confusion and pride in being young and Muslim in post-9/11 America.
Twenty-four hours after leaving the Toledo mosque, Boston's Kominas -- Punjabi for "the Bastards" -- are playing in a packed basement in a rundown corner of Chicago's Logan Square. Local punks mix with curious young Muslims -- including a few girls wearing head scarves -- as Kominas frontman Shahjehan Khan launches into the opening lines of "Sharia Law in the U.S.A.": "I am an Islamist!/And I am an anti-Christ!" Nearby, mohawked bassist Basim Usmani -- whose T-shirt reads frisk me i'm muslim -- slaps out the song's bass line while viciously slam-dancing with a dude in a woman's burqa.
"This has been the best time of my life," says Khan, 23, who grew up in Boston, the son of Pakistani immigrants. He's retreated to an alley out back, where the bus is parked, to smoke a cigarette. The bands on tour made contact online, and most met for the first time at their first tour date three weeks earlier. Although they are all children of immigrants from countries like Pakistan, Iran and Syria, they came together in part through the efforts of an American convert, Mike Muhammad Knight. Knight -- who bought the bus for $2,000 on eBay and does most of the driving -- is the author of The Taqwacores, a novel about a scene of progressive Muslim punks. The book, news of which spread online and by word of mouth, inspired both Vote Hez-bollah -- named after a fictional band in the novel -- and the tour's name: Taqwatour. ("Taqwa," which is spray-painted on the front of the bus, means "consciousness of God" in Arabic.)
There are more than a million Muslims living in the U.S., and the youngest generation is still struggling to find its place in America. "Shit changed for all of us Muslim people after 9/11," says Khan. "The best way for me to deal with it was music." The Kominas are one of the more established groups, having toured and released records. Their songs mix punk speed and attitude with Middle Eastern sounds. Their lyrics, often confrontational, are also deeply personal. In "Par Desi," Usmani, who spent part of his childhood in Pakistan, describes getting beaten up by punk skinheads in America: "In Lahore it's raining water/In Boston it rains boots."
Everyone on tour has stories about being harassed for being Muslim. "There's that stigma, 'Oh, he's from Pakistan, he's a fuckin' terrorist,' " says Omar Waqar of D.C. band Diacritical. He was working at an Islamic bookstore after September 11th when vandals threw bricks through the windows. And many band members have also faced criticism from their parents or others in the Muslim community. "All the way from 'music is wrong, forbidden' to 'you shouldn't be singing verses of the Koran in your songs,' " says Khan.
The day after the Chicago basement show, the tour was invited to play at a conference of the Islamic Society of North America. The young audience it drew, segregated into male and female sections, roared with rock-star adoration. But when the female group Secret Trial Five took the stage, organizers had the police shut down the show, because it is forbidden for Muslim women to sing in public. "It was completely insane," says Knight. "The show was positive up to that point, with girls in hijabs singing along."
Friday, September 28, 2007
We were in the car. My daughter and I have negotiated a deal on the music. She gets to listen to her station when we are going to somewhere, and I get to pick the music when are coming from somewhere. And if we are going to a number of places, we switch back and forth between places.
Well, we were on a way to McDonald's and actually turned down the radio.
"That song is boring," was her response when I looked at her surprised.
"I have to admit, Jen, I find most of the songs on this station boring." - Jen isn't her real name, just an alias I'm using to hide our identities on the web. :) -
To which Jen replied in a huffy manner, "That's because it's not one of your stations playing old people's music!"
"Old people's music?! My stations are ran by high schools and colleges! It's not old people's music!"
"It may not be popular young people's music," I continued, "but it is young people's music."
I, of course, ignored the fact that the people running the stations were high school and college staff members that were probably closer to my age than Jen's.
"And you know who runs your young people's station?" I asked.
Her station was originally an alternative rock station that failed and got bought out by the corporation, Clear Channel.
"No," Jen said. "Who?"
"People my age in business suits!"
And my daughter, taking after her father, showed great reserve and dignity, and yelled, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
God, I love when irony is in my favor!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
You see, with my tax returns, I got myself a treat. I've been working hard and putting in a lot of hours, working 50-hour weeks, and decided to get myself something fun with part of the money. I got a 30 gig mp3 player. It's great and I can hold over 5000 of my songs on it.
So I had a whole bunch of music downloaded onto it. About a half to a third of it being along the lines of alternative, punk or electronic, but also some big band and swing, oldies, soul, r&b, classic rock as well as a bunch of world music including a some stuff I had from South Africa and its neighbors - music I picked up while I lived 6 1/2 years next door to South Africa and stuff I picked up since - plus some Celtic music, bluegrass and Americana and stuff from and influenced by southwest Asia (India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh).
So what song should come up first from the huge expanse of music? This collection of songs from various time periods and various places? This smörgåsbord of melodies, rhythms and harmonies?
Only, of course, the most guilty of all my musical guilty pleasures! It's not necessarily that this song is worse than some of my other musical guilty pleasures. It's just that when it came out, I was old enough to know better than to enjoy this song - but I still liked it and put it on my mp3 player!
And what song would it be? (big sigh) Mmmbop by Hansen! Yes, Mmmbop by Hansen was the first song to be played on The OlderMusicGeek's mp3 player!
Well, all I can say is at least it wasn't one of my John Denver songs! Not that I listen to a bunch of John Denver. I only have 4 songs of his I listen to!
I mean they're not nearly as numerous as the number of Neil Diamond songs I listen to!!!
Okay, I shutting up now before I mention the Glen Campbell song I have downloaded!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Employees share their favorite books
A great book is the most faithful of companions. After you've read it, it'll never leave you. Today, nine employees share books that have made memorable impressions on them....
The Odyssey by Homer. Epic poem. “I have read it about eight times, have listened to it on audio books twice, and I have it on my MP3 player, so little bits and pieces of it come up randomly with my alternative, punk, swing, bluegrass, reggae and whatnot."
(Actually this is a pretty big deal for me, because Oedipus the King is the only other book I've read more than 3 times. - Some day, I need to explain why Oedipus should be looked up to instead looked at in horror. Thanks Sigmund Freud for making Oedipus look so bad. I will let you know that Oedipus did NOT know that she was his mother and was horrified when he found out! -
But back to The Odyssey and reading. In fact, I rarely read - or listen to - a book twice, because I feel that's taking time away from reading or listening to a new book. So that I read The Odyssey eight times and listened to it twice should give some idea what it means to me!)
"I’m not exactly sure why this books speaks to me, but part of it is because of Odyseus’s dedication. In the 20 years he was gone, no matter what happened, what stood in his way, he was determined to return to his wife and son."
"And Odysseus got out of all of his troubles by using his head. He didn’t just use his sword to get out. In fact, he realized his sword would sometimes get him in bigger trouble. He is a thinking man’s action hero."
"Finally, Odysseus wasn’t perfect. He lost all his men, and he lost a number of them because of wrong decisions he made. And he admitted to himself that he made those mistakes.”— (I do NOT put my name of the internet!), quality assurance review analyst, Iowa Medicaid (no directory photo available)
Friday, July 20, 2007
From SaveNetRadio - OlderMusicGeek
Congress and SoundExchange have heard loud and clear the amazing outpouring of support for Internet radio from webcasters, listeners and the thousands of artists they support. A commitment has been made to negotiate reasonable royalties, recognizing the industry’s long-term value and its still-developing revenue potential.
During negotiations SoundExchange committed temporarily not to enforce the new royalty rates so webcasters can stay online as new rates are agreed upon.
This development is due in great part to the millions of people who have let their Congressional representatives know about their support of Internet radio. Over 125 representatives have cosponsored the bill to this point.
We urge listeners to continue calling their Senators and Representative to ask them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act. Thank you.SAVE INTERNET RADIO!!!!!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Sunday, March 04, 2007
p.s. sorry for not blogging for so long - my life's been hectic!
The US Copyright Office has released their new set of rates for the payment of royalties by Internet Radio, and they ignored all of the facts presented by webcasters (including RP) and gave the record industry exactly what they asked for: royalty rates so high that they will put RP and every other independent webcaster out of business. See Kurt Hanson's newsletter for 3/2/07 for the details on how the rates work and what they will mean to stations like RP. You can participate in the discussion about this issue in our Listener Forum.
For some time, we've suffered with a system where we pay a large chunk (10%-12%) of our income to the Big 5 record companies - while FM stations and radio conglomerates like Clear Channel pay nothing. Now they want even more. In our case, an amount equal to 125% of our income. Our only hope is to create as much public awareness and outrage about this staggeringly unfair situation as possible. Neither the record industry nor Congress are ready to listen to us at this point. But members of the media may well be, and we need to get their attention.
If you have a blog, write about it. Feel free to quote anything I've written in the Listener Forum. If you find a good blog post about the subject, Digg it or Slashdot it. If you work for a media outlet, look over the facts of the situation and see if you don't feel the same sense of outrage that we do. Write a letter to the editor of your favorite magazine or newspaper. Let everyone you can know what a loss it would be to you personally if your favorite Internet radio stations, including RP, were no longer available.
The RIAA can, at any time, agree to strike a deal with independent webcasters to allow us to pay a more realistic royalty, one based on a percentage of our income. We're hoping that if all of you make enough noise they'll be more inclined to do so. We'd also like to hope that at least one member of Congress will take a look at this situation and become willing to propose ammendments to the deeply flawed 1990s pieces of legislation that are responsible for the unfair treatment of Internet radio.
Thanks a lot for reading this, and for considering the idea of taking some action on it. We'll be posting new information and links here as they become available.
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