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Posts Tagged ‘Boise Weekly’

My final two pieces on SXSW were finally published on the Boise Weekly blog.

Read my review of Steven Soderbergh’s new documentary on Spalding Gray here.

“Though his one-man shows may not resonate with the average fan of mall security guard movies, Spalding Gray had a gift for examining universal truths.”

Invincible

The other piece that came out yesterday was my email interview with hip hop emcee and community organizer Invincible. She was busy down in Texas.

“I think women and all non-hetero-male gender’s perspectives are missing from most people’s Hip-Hop collections so it is long overdue to bring a balance.”

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I had too many great sources for my first-ever music feature in Boise Weekly, which came out in newsprint yesterday in Idaho. So I wanted to share a few more things these folks told me on the record. First of all, my title for the piece was “The Future of Music Will No Longer Fit Into the Containers of the Past: Strategies for Working Musicians from Industry Innovators at SXSW.”

Had to cut my opening line: “Sixth street is the cultural center of Austin, Texas, a city whose identity as “live music capital of the world” is now a registered trademark, just like its favorite slogan “keep Austin weird.””

One of my favorite things that Leeor Brown of Terrorbird and Friends of Friends told me about Been Meaning to Tell You, the latest record by Ernest Gonzales is: “It’s only a month later and Ernest’s amazing album is not a brand new record anymore! Four stars in Urb is already old news. I can’t go back to NPR a month later and be like, would you write that up again?”

Page from Ernest Gonzales' book

My friend Casey Rae-Hunter, communications director for Future of Music Coalition said: “When you look at the mobile space you’re going to be seeing people are going to get really used to accessing music in the cloud. They might eventually get used to not even ‘owning’ a digital file. Or maybe they will download it and they’ll have it on their home computer or stored on a server somewhere, but they’ll be able to access it via broadband or wi-fi or cell network on all of their devices.

“Apple bought Lala, and they may introduce a ‘cloud locker’ component to their iTunes service. That would let you play your stuff on any Apple device from wherever you are.”

My friend Eddie Sumlin of A Visual Sound didn’t make it into the piece at all but added: “I think the future of music is gonna be about creating authentic experiences. Radio is dope. I listen to people all around the world because I respect what they program. I go see certain artists because they bring a certain type of thing live. They do something that you could never experience digitally.”

Casey also said: “One reason the major labels are struggling is that they kind of lost the ability to inspire fans. Everyone’s trying to figure out how to compete with free. Well, you have to be able to sell to the hardcore fan. What the industry might need to figure out is how to monetize the behavioral activities the customers are already engaged in. And that’s the expectation of access on-demand. It’s conceivable that consumers will embrace streaming pretty much across the board if the business models allow it and the stuff is licensed and available. There’s an entire new generation that simply wants to be able to get what they want when they want it on whatever gadget they’re using. And it would be an added benefit if they wouldn’t get sued and it compensated artists.”

Finn Riggins rock out in a parking lot

I asked Bryan Calhoun, VP for new media at Sound Exchange, what he was doing ten years ago when Congress created the nonprofit royalty-collection agency. He replied: “Roughly ten years ago, I was doing A&R and marketing for record labels. There are hardly anymore A&R people period. With all the tools available to people, everybody can record, release and market themselves. Barriers to entry were still there ten years ago. The big problem now is getting above the clutter. So how do you stand above the rest, get into a position to make a living from your music? 2200 bands showcasing? What’s the end goal? Getting signed to a major record label? More and more people don’t see that as the holy grail anymore. Many artists and managers are looking forward to their contract expiring so they can do their own thing.”

Of working for Sound Exchange, Bryan told me: “I’ve got probably the coolest job. I contact artists and tell them I’ve got money to give them. Our board of directors is made up half of label people and half of artist people. Those are the people that get paid from Sound Exchange so it is in their interest to do their job efficiently.”

I asked Priya Dewan, US label manager for the mighty Warp Records, about their acquisition of new artists to the label. She said: “We’re constantly looking for new talent and signing new talent. New artists and existing artists putting out great new records… We can’t count on our back catalog. The more new cool and fresh new artists we get the better our chances are. People come to us because we have such a great roster.”

I asked how the Internet’s openness has contributed to Warp finding new musicians.

She said: “We’ve got specific sites that we visit to find out about up-and-coming artists. Talking to other artists, going to shows, reading blogs. A combination of things get us interested in the artists. Anybody who suggests a good music blog to me gets added to my Google Reader. I check that once a day. A lot of times our artists tell us about new artists. We get at least 10 to 15 demos a week on a slow week, physical and digital. When we put out a Grizzly Bear or Battles record, we’ll get a whole lot of demos that sound like them. I can’t think of an unsolicited demo we’ve listened to, where we called them back, and it resulted in signing.”

There was also more I was going to write about Finn Riggins, but Boise Weekly editors felt there had been a lot of coverage of their trip to Austin, so I kept it narrowed down to a partial list of their team and the story of vocalist/guitar player Lisa Simpson seeing some talented buskers. The one other funny thing she told me about sixth street in Austin was about a guy running down the street, pulling up his shirt to reveal a ‘Truffle Shuffle’ and yelling, “MTV Spring Break!” She said she looked at this dude, flashing his chest, and thought, “Is that for real? What is he on?” Ah, sixth street during SXSW. I miss it already.

View of 6th Street from patio stage of The Wave

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If I don’t get a chance to publish here every day these next two weeks, I will point to the work I’m doing for Boise Weekly and Common Frequency. You can bookmark my dedicated blog page on Boise Weekly, but the new Common Frequency site is still in beta mode for now. Austin is warm and humid and I’ve already seen a few of my best friends here. The eating has begun.

Remodeled Wheatsville Co-Op Deli photo by Eric Pils

Late night flight into town was followed up by a trip to Taco Cabana for cheap chain food. On my first full day in town I visited Wheatsville Co-Op for the first time since the remodel. Wow. And for lunch I had all the popcorn tofu I could eat, washed down with Austin’s own Sweet Leaf Tea. Later on I ate tacos al pastor at Polvo’s with no camera. Dangerously good. Best Texas beer so far is Real Ale Phoenixx Double ESB. Also digging the lighter St. Arnold Spring Bock.

One important note, my mixtapes for SXSW are not available to download from the Boise Weekly site. You have to go here to do that.

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Fred Nowak

UN torture expert criticizes Obama for not investigating previous administration

TOP HEADLINES

Why is Barack Obama writing GOP talking points? by John Nichols

Granny D dies at 100: She walked across the USA for campaign finance reform

Why the oppressed must tell their own story from Toward Freedom

Top US home-school texts dismiss evolution

THE TORTURE ARCHITECTS

George W Bush & Dick Cheney pulled the torture strings from The Progressive

Federal judge says Donald Rumsfeld can’t duck trial from Chicago Reader

The reason why torture memos resemble Clarence Thomas’ way of thinking

Reporter: Karl Rove’s book nearly made me choke on a pretzel

WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Rep. Dennis Kucinich forces Congress to debate Afghanistan

Kucinich & 16 other members of Congress start bipartisan War debate

House defeats Kucinich resolution to withdraw from Afghanistan

Sen. Levin to block Blackwater’s $1B Afghanistan contract

THE GAYS

Virginia Attorney General orders colleges to stop protecting gays

Sen. Lieberman, Sen. Levin take lead on measure to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Republican State Sen. with staunch record against gay rights comes out

Glenn Beck apologizes to viewers for interview with Rep. Eric Massa

US NOT POST-RACIAL YET

Study finds median wealth for single black women is $5

Justice roars: Local outrage at New Orleans music mag’s cover

Less stimulus money is going to American minorities

Could immigration split the Tea Party? from The Rachel Maddow Show

HEALTH CARE DEBATE

Obama’s rhetoric against single-payer is reprehensible from The Progressive

Daily Kos founder says Kucinich deserves (impossible) primary challenge

Mitt Romney’s lies, lies & staggering health care hypocrisy by Sahil Kapur

Reconciliation: Obsessed or ignorant, pick one by Jonathan Chait

ECONOMIC OUTRAGE

Rowdy protesters target funding cuts at US campuses from Michael Moore

Goldman Sachs authors a Greek tragedy by Jim Hightower

US lawmakers launch new push to reveal NAFTA

RNC finance director exposed: Manipulating donors with fear, crude caricatures

ODDS & ENDS

‘Carpuccino’ infuriates car lovers, coffee lovers, pun lovers from Gizmodo

Meth war’s money matters raise questions from Boise Weekly

A snitch in your pocket by Michael Isikoff

Medical marijuana’s lost man: Bryan Epis from NORML

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My coverage of Idaho-based broadband stimulus applicants continues.

Federal government gives Idaho hopefuls two thumbs down

Rep. Minnick: Open Internet with reservations

I’m hoping to get an interview with staff from the Rural Utilities Service at the Department of Agriculture very soon. The deadline for Round 2 applications to RUS and the Department of Commerce is March 15th. Valerie Fast-Horse, IT director for the Coeur d’Alene tribe told me on Facebook today that their application has not been rejected as of this afternoon. All notifications regarding first round applications are expected by Monday.

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Today’s leaders are armed with powerful high-tech weaponry and the pervasive influence of government-friendly Hollywood executives and a highly partisan echo chamber. TV News needs to start doing better reporting on the effects of what has actually been done by politicians and other officials and stop spending so much time covering stories that perpetuate the info Americans keep getting wrong.

Ask around. While TV News continues to act, for example, as a Dick Cheney bullhorn, a mass of Americans are in the palm of his hand. Too many citizens are ravenous for an unnecessary war with Iran, defensive about waterboarding in secret prisons, callous toward the widespread killing of innocent civilians, and oblivious to endless global military occupations. As so many millions of impressions are made with selective storytelling and repeated with carefully constructed talking points, these subjects can hardly be brought up in public without preparation for tough conversations!

TV News rarely ever connects the dots. The outcome of their cursed desire for more and more exclusive access is harm inflicted on so many thousands of American youths by the US military, as well as Congress. The ex-CEO of Halliburton influenced the very same government contracts now creating minor, yet palpable public outrage whenever abuses and fraud are revealed. The apparent shortage of public disapproval for war profiteering is enabled by the willingness of TV News to omit the very real, very human stories of young Americans (and innocent civilians) destroyed by US occupations.

So get to work, TV News, reveal the rest of the story. Fabulous ratings await. Tell the stories of veterans fighting to overcome lost limbs. Explore the research on birth defects from chemical weapons. Shed light on the psychological damage of PTSD and the flow of veterans toward homelessness. Check out the differences between repressive regimes and their civilian populations. Americans deserve to know all that tax and national debt is being spent on.

Or else ever-evolving news organizations and public interest activists will eventually reach a large enough audience through other technologies besides TV to inform America about the ugly side of the war machine. The word is already out about complicit media institutions who have perpetrated a massive cover-up of their own involvement in domestic propaganda, disinformation on world affairs, even illegal wiretaps.

Too many patriotic, liberty-minded Americans have already begun to investigate. Once more reporters and activists empower an American public equipped with enough knowledge to use leadership and diplomacy instead of the bodies of so many thousand American youths, and foreign policy changes, a decreasing audience will still look to the knuckle-dragging TV News to hear the latest utterance of the mouthpiece.

The time to invest everything in investigation is now. The grip of TV News on the American psyche is already getting threatened by developments in social technology and the corporations who own and/or control TV News could be dramatically weakened by an administration determined to push through public interest technology policy in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission.

An informed populace will decide for itself what is best for democracy. The age of endless foreign wars and skyrocketing national debt will end. Hopefully as the empire crumbles, Americans will finally force the US government to become more democratic. We’ve sung of liberty but in order for freedom to ring truth must be amplified.

Otherwise, the cycle of powerful actors scheming up black ops, convinced their activities will not receive the illumination of public disclosure, will only continue. And the American public will keep making grave fundamental mistakes in assessing the rapid developments in global politics – a dangerous precedent for human life and liberty.
Gavin Dahl is a contributor to Raw Story, Boise Weekly, Common Frequency, Reclaim the Media, KRFC Radio & other independent media outlets & nonprofits.

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Fiber Optics, Not Magic Beans from Boise Weekly

Mapping out the Jedi Mind Trick from City Desk (BW news blog)

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