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#202 Newsgroup Moderator: There's a new art in town, or rather a new way to be artistic. And it's never been here before. I'm thinking of the Internet newsgroup moderator. That is the person that moderates the posts posted in a newsgroup on the net. There are the other wide-open newsgroups where there are no restrictions on who posts or what they post; but those seem to get out of hand quickly. The best newsgroups have a moderator, and that's really a new position in the art/media world that deserves notice. And what makes a good moderator? I would suggest as an example Josh who moderates a science newsgroup that I visit often called sci.bio.evolution. I listed what he, like any good moderator, contributes to the newsgroup and came up with this top 10 list: 10. Keeps people on topic 9. Jumps into feuds to straighten out the arguments to get to the essential points 8. Corrects grammar and even helps in translation sometimes 7. Keeps the insults to a minimum and dumps the over-the-top ones 6. Keeps posts trim and admonishes excess reprinting of posts over and over 5. Bumps ads and spam 4. Sparks debate 3. Adds pertinent info from his own knowledge 2. Supplies the newsgroup and updates it regularly 1. Throws in some levity now and then. A salute to Josh Hayes, and all those like him who are promoting such wide-ranging discussions on everything on the Internet.
#203 Filming of Music on TV: I want to talk about HOW music is filmed. Have you noticed that TV, no matter the program, always shows music acts in the same way? There's always the same standard, bland camera work, and the same sets over and over again. When in the last 2 decades have you seen music presented in a fresh and exciting way? Two of the worst in this area are: Saturday Night Live with that same industrial set, or something equally drab; plus, consistently dull and predictable camera work. Have you ever seen a camera shot on SNL you didn't expect? There is certainly nothing here that wasn't better shot in the 50's American Bandstand dance show, and that was 45 years ago! The other show that has taken boring to ultimate depths is Austin City Limits. This long running music show sure hasn't gotten there on innovation. Nothing about the set is interesting. It looks like ferns at a bad yuppie bar - and that's on a good day. No wonder the crowd is so dull and unmoved. Anyway, I'd like to see some new young lions behind those cameras, in those director chairs, and making new sets for each and every act - no repeats - and certainly not the same thing over and over for decades!
#News Extra: More consolidation but not much consolation! Now NBC TV has merged with Vivendi. The merger completes the merger of TV / News / Entertainment for the bulk of all TV/electronic media/arts. The new GE/NBC will combine NBC TV, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, with Universal movie studios, theme parks, Sci Fi channel, USA channel, etc. You'd think with all that it would be at the top - Nope - only 5th largest media conglomerate. Here's the line up ABC + Disney / CBS + Viacom / NBC + Universal / Fox + News Corp. / WB + Time Warner
#208. Movies 3. Popcorn ready? Musea goes to the movies - And here are 3 modern films that I think every critic can rightly praise.
1. Rivers and Tides - documentary on the art of Andy Goldsworthy is one of the most beautiful color films ever shot. Andy specializes in art that he makes within nature (mostly in his Scottish countryside) such as found rocks by the shore turned into sculpture or icicles formed into shapes and patterns, or using strings of connected leaves floating in a fast moving stream. And almost all of it is temporary art salvaged by the movie camera or his camera photos before it is lost forever. Top it off with an ending - a great Zen moment on film - that is not to be missed!
2. American Splendor - one of our own - an underground publisher gets due respect in this fiction/fact recreation of cartoonist Harvey Pekar's life. We even have shots of him mixed with his fictional counterpart. It all sorta works somehow and the simple bio becomes more profound and innovative the more you ponder it.
3. Millennium Actress - Anime from Satoshi Kon that is more realistic and down to earth than most anime pulp fiction. Here we have 2 newsmen interviewing an older actress on her film career. The bio is all flashback with some of the most marvelous animated art going. But more than eye candy there is a solid bio, a recreation of Japanese recent history, a love story, and some philosophy thrown in. Wonderful in many ways. And note the small things like when the wind blows different parts of her hair wave at different times - such care in moviemaking! Credits and lights go back up!
# 209: Letter to the Observer:
I'm very concerned about the Observer's lack of coverage of bands. In the last issue there were ONLY 59 band photos. That is too low. If you don't continue to promote bands in every issue, how can we get that homogenized sound that we both love. 40 years of bands means barely 15 years in the Stepford Wife zone. It is only just now that we have reached the safest, most clonish, blandest, established, music format in history. Don't mess with it. Long ago bands passed contenders like string quartets or barbershop quartets, in look alikeness. It is imperative that sameness - endless sameness - sameness without the chance of disturbing innovation - continue for 40 more years. You needlessly startle me sometimes when you present music saying this is new or fresh. Thank heavens it's always a ruse and I'm safely numbed by their true blandness. Some say Rock and Roll has become all it started out opposing. Hah! From the start it was there to be safe and to get along and to offend no one, and to be THE most established musical format ever and hopefully - maybe just maybe - get an endorsement deal out of it. The whole point of rock and roll is to support the establishment at every turn in a way that offends none. Thank heavens your musical coverage has followed that credo. But we must be vigilant. Don't rock the sameness, endless sameness, the clonish same endless sameness of bands and rock and roll! 40 more years of SAMENESS!
# Extra: Why I Hate Tower Records and I've Never Even Been In One Of Their Stores. (This was written in alt.zines as a response to the zine buyer for Tower). "... Wait a minute. I didn't say that lightly. I've never been in a Tower record store that I know of, and yet I bet I can say 12 things I don't like about it. You go down the list and tell me which ones are not true. 1. 90% of the new music is very poor. 2. Excessive and wasteful packaging on almost everything. 3. Tower was accused of a price fixing scheme, which they paid a fine on though they never admitted anything. 4. Tower refuses to talk about why they would pay a fine if they were innocent 5. Most workers are probably part time to avoid paying any benefits. 6. There are probably shelving fees for prominently displayed items 7. Consignment on zine buys. 8 ISBN's on all products 9 Supports corp. art/media 10 No used CD's for sale or other used items. 11. New CD's are all overpriced - when they cost about 50 cents each to make - that's less than a cassette 12. Store looks sterile and antiseptic... If some above are wrong let me know.
#211 Art Appreciation 101 - my drawing Girl In Big Coat. Time for an art break. Please turn your textbooks to http://Musea.digitalchainsaw.com (Note: webmaster Donna posts a new art piece of mine each month or so on our website) On our cover this month is a drawing of mine that I'd like to showcase. I'm proud of this one. The original is pencil 8" x 10. Girl in Big Coat Note some of the features - the pretty girl is wearing a huge fashionable coat, white stockings, and blonde hair with highlights. Note some fun details, the pencil she's writing with, the white glasses, the pull of her lip by her tiny finger, the pages of the softback book she's writing on. See what you think.
#212 Timing and NPR-not! Sometimes timing is everything - I wrote this letter to NPR, National Public Radio last week... "Dear NPR, Why should we (the Underground Literary Alliance) support you financially when your 'All Things Considered' newscasts seldom if ever mentions A. the thousands of zines, zinesters, mail artists, and publishers not connected with the 6 corporate art conglomerates. B. the ongoing protest from groups like the ULA against corporate art dominance. C. the move to counter media and art consolidation; plus, news about the leading groups of that movement D. the loss of quality in all the mainstream arts?"
Then days later they get a financial gift of 200 million from the Kroc widow (McDonald's fast food chain owner) Well I don't think NPR-not is going to be concerned about if we support them financially or not. I only hope they become more independent with their new wealth - and give up the mainstream clone behavior they have now.
#214 Time Ripe for a Review Site: It's Friday night and the more I think about the dominance of corporate art/media the more convinced I am that a review site would be the best way to start a real alternative to their control. I just don't see how it wouldn't work - and I ask those, not those that are against everything, but those who are grounded, to tell me what I'm missing.
I want to start a no ad, no sponsor review site. It would review everything and guarantee a review to any type of creative endeavor. It would be paid for by a processing fee from every artist reviewed. (About the price of postage)
One newsgroup poster said what artists need are major reviews - as if any of us outside these conglomerates could get any review at all. I told him to ask any artist he knew, if he was getting too many reviews. And when the artist stopped laughing, to listen to him about how few real places there are to POSSIBLY get a review for maybe 1% of the artists seeking it. And nowhere can you get a guaranteed review.
To me it seems so obvious. Once reviews start happening, you begin to find stars - real talents. Then you take the best of these and give them more opportunity: Best music - do CD' anthology's, start a radio station. Best writing - do zines, start a publishing company. Best film/acting/theater - do videos of plays or films - later a film company, or a theater company. Best art - a traveling exhibit. Best media - a newspaper. And on and on and on and on.
The time will never be riper than now. There will never again (hopefully) be decades worth of undiscovered talent like today. It COULD be a golden age in just about every aspect of art. Corp. art has turned its back so long that there is a huge crowd of gifted waiting behind that closed door. I just don't see how this wouldn't change every aspect of arts/media. Someone out there is sitting on money. They could be changing the art/media world. Time for you to rise to bigger things and bigger purposes!
#215 Golden Age Of TV Drama: Imagine that on your TV set you have not only a channel selector but also a year selector that can take you back to TV from the past. Set that set on the period from about 1948 when the 4 networks finally got full nightly programming (ABC,. NBC, CBS, and Dumont) and continue checking it out to about the mid fifties when the era of live broadcasting of dramas is virtually over. This is a golden age of art. Everything was new and there were no formats. Producers and directors and the rest just did everything for the first time. One thing that amazes me is the amount of live drama shows. Hollywood wanted nothing to do with TV and refused to help the industry at all. That meant that drama shows had to do live dramas of either classic material (no copyright problems) or new dramas. And they did.
In shows like Robert Montgomery Presents, Kraft Television Theatre, Armstrong Circle Theater, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, The Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Studio One, Philco-Goodyear, the Hallmark Hall of Fame, The US Steel Hour, Playwrights '56, The Best of Broadway, The Dupont Show of the Month, Camera Three, Matinee Theater, Seven Lively Arts and Omnibus, these pioneers brought hundreds and hundreds of hours of live dramas. The Kraft TV Theater did 650 episodes over 11 years all by itself! And at one time NBC was doing 11 live hour dramas each week! And all those required mostly new actors (not under contract with the movies), new writers (Paddy Chayevsky for ex.) and grueling schedules. It all went to film and safety by the mid 50's ( they'd just refilm errors) but those grainy kinescopes that remain are remnants of a golden and very short period in American Drama. (facts fromGolden Age of TV (Wilk))
#216 AfterImage: Do you have passion for fine photography? If so this site is a must - http:/www.afterimage.com There are a thousand pages here of news and more on photography. It's set up by the owner of the AfterImage Photo Gallery here in Dallas, Ben Breard. He has one of the (I think oldest) all photo galleries in the country. His gallery in Dallas at the Quadrangle is a wonderful space for photos. His website extends that classy feel. It also contains among its resources the website for Shots - the photo zine. This may well be the best art photography site on the net. Check it out and say hi to Ben.
#217 Soulful Singing: When I play I try to sing music that is very passionate and intense. Often singers will look like they're singing intensely - with dramatic body movements, lots of note bending, and an increase in volume (and often whininess) but that, more often than not, just masks shallow and bland music. The real intensity, passion, and 'soul' in singing (note that word soul - its hardly even mentioned any more) is hard to find nowadays. I miss it, and I'm trying to bring it back. You can bring intensity to music in a number of ways - there is a psychology to singing either before or after the rhythm that will heighten the feeling, a great melody and innovative chord changes will bring depth, a good rich arrangement will help, recognizable lyrics will make the music personal, and great lyrics will bring multi layer depth to the music - for instance instead of saying 'kiss me kiss me" you sang 'kisses falling like raindrops in a storm' then you have multiple meanings that add depth. Also I try to sing in a way that mimics conversation. You don't talk in a melodramatic over-the-top way to friends, so why do it in music? If you talk honestly - then sing honestly too. But above and beyond all this is a certain "I don't know what" that is in intense passionate music. You can't diagram where it comes from, but you can hear it there in the music. It's almost a mix of pleasure and pain. It's a release and a joy that comes from some type of identification you have with what the singer is doing. Sure it takes a great song, arrangement, and music background - but add a flat voice to all that and you have a flat song.
Most people that hear me, don't hear the intensity that I'm trying to put in the music. But some do. And I can tell from watching them watch me that the singing is touching them deeply. And I say to myself - ah this one got it! This one hears what I'm reaching for!
#218 Wowie Zowie !@#$% I was spending the day at the huge half price bookstore here in Dallas (though they still refuse to carry Musea - but that's another story), and I came across an 8x10 color glossy studio photo of 40's film legend Ava Gardner. She was one beautiful woman. I bought it and started thinking about that era.
There are certainly beautiful actresses around today, but something about these 40 and early 50 stars seems to set them apart. I began to make a list and came up with these 5 actresses and my favorite pictures showcasing their beauty: Hedy Lamarr - Algiers (1938); Rita Hayworth - Gilda (1946); Ava Gardner - One Touch of Venus (1948); Marilyn Monroe - Asphalt Jungle (1950), Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday (1953); Grace Kelly - To Catch a Thief (1955). Any you would add?
Note: Melanie Pruit added a few like Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak (watch her dance in Picnic) Mamie Van Doren, Vivien Leigh, Joi Lansing, Suzy Parker (model).. She also suggested this telling reason - that these women looked like women not little girls!
#218 Mummy Wrap! Of the thousands of Greek plays written, only a handful survived time. But in a bizarre turn of events, parts of the play trilogy "Achilles" by one of the 3 great Greek Dramatists, Aeschylus has been found as papyrus stuffing in Egyptian mummies! Playbill says the world premier of the lost play will take place next year in Greece! If it is half as good as the ones that survived it is a major literary find.
#219 Puzzler! Lots of people like my contests - it was one of my most popular features when I ran them in Musea, and it continues to be a favorite when I do the weekly contests on the net. For those of you who like these, there are more on the Musea website 1. A good assortment of art questions and answers are at http://Musea.digitalchainsaw.com/newdex.html . Look under "The Art Quiz. 2. At http://Musea.digitalchainsaw.com/104issue.html "Code Rings On" I have a very very very VERY tough puzzler that frankly I don't think anyone reading this can solve. Think it's e-"Z"? Take a look. Prize to winner 3. Also somewhere on the Musea website is a secret page. Find it, tell me what the first line is, and you win cash for that too. And don't forget our weekly e-mail contests - open to all. Puzzle On!
c. Tom Hendricks 2004
4000 Hawthorne #5 Dallas, TX. 75219
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