IN THE LIFE OF THE MUSEA E-MAIL CLUB
(from 10/20/04 to 11/01/05 or from #261 - 312)
Every week I send out an e-mail club post on all things art and media - from zines, music, and painting to city planning, and art centers - from PBS concerns, and media scandals at our daily, to payola on the radio - from 'a day in the life' at a recording studio, to interviewing techniques, and photo exhibits - from sayings of Art S Revolutionary, to news of the ULA and the Inwood Theater .
Its all here in the 'best of' a big wide range of fun. Welcome all - peruse and enjoy !!!
GOBA = Gallery of Bad Art.
If I had unlimited $$$ for all my projects, one I'd like to do is this. Start up a gallery that guaranteed bad art at unbelievably high prices. It's similar to the Grot stores from the Brit comedy the "Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin". Reginald sets up a store that sells only junk guaranteed! It becomes a major hit, soon there are stores all across England, and he's a tremendous business success.
Back to the GOBA Gallery.
For a high price you could buy what we comb the flea markets for - the very worst - velvet paintings, clown paintings, big eyed children, paint by number works etc. I'd charge a $1 to get in and have clerks that could give a spiel on every painting and discuss in depth why it is really atrocious. Then add that, that depth of shallowness does not come cheap! Our guarantee of garbage is worth the price! We also guarantee the most inflated prices!
#262 Pam Irwin
IF my CD 30 becomes a success, a major part of that success is from the help of my engineer, Pam Irwin. Though she doesn't much like publicity, here goes anyway. I had worked with Pam in the late 90's on a 4 song cassette I'd done with just voice and guitar. I was just starting to see what I could do in a back to basics style that was super lean - a big sound but only from a voice and guitar.
When she miked my guitar she did it with 3 microphones. That impressed me - one on each side gave stereo coverage and the one above gave ambience. We got a good sound, but the cassette didn't make many waves.
Later, after many years playing in the box office, I found I had accumulated a 100+ repertoire, I decided to record again. I found her and we began to record throughout the summer. Her experience helped me through some tough problems. Since I was playing in the box office on my own, timing or tempo wasn't that big of a deal - I could always match myself. But in the studio timing had to be precise or songs would speed up or slow down. We added a click track on some songs - I would use that to keep time, and then we would remove it in the mix.
I also wanted to add background voices to spice it up. But I've always sang lead. And as such you always sing with no constraints. In matching another voice in a background you must blend in, as exactly as you can. She helped me through this with some breath control suggestions, careful attention to pitch, and patience. I also tended to rush songs. In concert with a lively audience, performers tend to speed up just from the energy all around you. And she reminded me that in a studio its best to slow it down a bit.
Then too sometimes a song was just not right. Between us we would add a background or matching voice, OR take something away that wasn't working. Songs were very much a work in progress. And no matter how sure I was of what I wanted to do at the start - something would come along to change or improve that for the better.
And as you can see from the above, or hear in the CD The music and I were all the better for her help. I'd like to close by showing off all the folks she has worked with : Don Henley, Ron Wood, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orison, The Talking Heads, Neil Young, The Dixie Chicks, Merle Haggard, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino, The Texas Playboys, Fabulous Thunderbirds, ... well you get the idea.
#262 Anyone? Anyone?
I'm depressed. In trying to get some support for change and something new in the arts and media, I'm hitting a brick wall - a brick wall that fights back, that not only refuses to support change but fights anyone like me advocating it.
Before dullness, ruins everything, before clones run the world, before every art form is run into the ground, I need to hear from anyone.... anyone out there that has had enough and supports change in the arts and media - and would support those who advocate it more than those that fight against it! If its you - would you just e-mail me back the word 'yes'. I know Musea readers support me, and the ULA too. But its beyond that thin line that I need to hear from those reading this. Anyone? Anyone?
The Underground Literary Alliance, the pro indy writer advocacy group, has been doing a "Monday Report" for many months now and its definitely worth a look at http://literaryrevolution.com You'll find a new article every Monday, from a variety of writers, writing about every aspect of writing and publishing. It's required reading for anyone who wants a quick education about the mainstream publishing industry!
#267 Aliens Land in Dec.<br>
(Also see #276 for fun follow up)
New Musea is both in print and up on the website; and as my tradition, I have another original Christmas Story - this time aliens land and its they that are most effected by the visit! Excerpt
Chapter One: Aliens Land
Snow swirled in the cold December night.. Winds rose up in gusts and kept the flakes in play. Dark clouds moved between moonlight and the ground, as a small spaceship hovered, then descended closer to earth and landing.....
Check out the rest at<br>
Also note the cool animation/illustrations (not by me this time) set up by Webmaster Donna. They fit the text very well, and you'll see when you read it. Happy Holidays.
#268 Zen Story
I'm going to end the year with this story poem based on a famous Zen fable. (I wrote it with 4 beats to the line). See ya in ought 5.
I love this story so I'll pass it on: Two monks were traveling a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling hard. At the creek bank was a lovely girl in a silk kimono and at a loss. "I'll take you across," said the first monk. He lifted her in his arms and crossed the creek and said goodbye and went his way. The 2nd monk did not speak until they'd reached the temple for the night. Then he could, no longer restrain himself. "Monks are forbidden to go near females, and yet you took her into your arms!" The other monk, over his shoulder, replied "I left her there - you carry her still."
#269 Sayings (and Artella )
Not many contemporaries that I know of write sayings. But I do - some are the classic form and some are more like one liners. Here's a batch for reflection:
1. Ventriloquist got your tongue?
2. Old soldiers never die, they send young ones to do it for them.
3. Don't aim that point of view at me!
4. I keep thinking you couldn't be shallower but you keep bailing water.
5. When everything is praised, nothing is valued.
6. Intelligence takes reflection, and reflection takes time.
7. When smoke coils backwards, candles grow.
8. Money is only important in societies that don't share.
9. Parts of Texas are civilized, unfortunately Dallas is not one of them.
10. I've seen people work as one - that itches all over.
11. Hold your own hand.
12. Clever but not profound
13. Beauty is instant fame
14. A day without chocolate is a day wasted.
15. Even some dirt roads lead to the palace.
16. Nature doesn't like people that are too clever or too efficient.
17. We're not even talking koans (and enlightenment) We're talking alarm clocks!
18. Conceptual art, assemblages, video art, etc. may have advanced ART but they didn't advance painting - they abandoned it.
And speaking of #18 (above), Artella , an art magazine, and an internet e-zine, has reprinted my article "The Last Minute of Modern Art", an essay where I use conceptual art to end the abuses of conceptual art - a moment in time (1/8/02) when I suggest modern art ended. See: http://www. Artella wordsandart.com/e7_TOC.html
#270 Inwood Theater Reopens
My beloved theater, the 1947 Inwood Theater, has reopened as of today, Friday 14th, in Dallas. All this week the old and new employees have been helping the renovation crew with last minute cleaning up. I did my share of painting, cleaning, wiping, scrubbing, moving, toting, spraying, vacuuming, trashing, etc. And it looks pretty good too. All the neon works on the Marquee and tower, the big downstairs theater has a much bigger screen, two new bathrooms with no 50 year old odor, and plenty of stalls for the women, and a new concession stand, with a new door into the adjacent lounge. Upstairs the way-back-when balcony is now two separate up-to-date small theaters - each with comfy leatherish seats and even tables in between some for some of the new snacks we offer. And I am back in the Box office and will give my first Box Office Concert as Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar, next Tuesday if all goes well.
Come by and see how the old is new again. Landmark's Inwood Theater - Dallas Texas pretty much in the heart of the town - On Lover's Lane no less.
This e-mail club posting, is a thank you to all visitors to my website at http://Musea.digitalchainsaw.com. I checked the stats for Jan '05 and I thought I'd share some results
HITS - we had about 68,000 or over 2,000 a day
VISITS - just under 26,000 or less than 1,000 a day
DOWNLOADS - and this isn't Hunkasaurus music from www.hunkasaurus.com, but from assorted tunes on the Musea website only - a little over 2,000
Fav songs are (in order) The Bugs Bunny Theme, Fractured Beethoven (my version of the 9th theme), Spanish Melody (another original) Love is Forever by Alayna Mosteller, Soul Searching (jazzy) and Dallas (song for my hometown - 'this town lies in the future'
FAVORITE SITES are the art guides:
Best books (#1 fav) Best poets, contest to find a hit song, Best children's illustrators, 1,000 reviews (part one and two) Best painters.
Where are they coming from?
About 5,000 from searching Google, 1,600 directly to Musea , 1,600 search Yahoo, 800 from MSN.com search. No matter what their reason you get there - I welcome you and hope you'll come back and tell your friends
#272 No bands and beyond
I post on many newsgroups connected with the arts. In many of those I've suggested that 40 years of Beatle-type clone BANDS is not innovative anymore. It's the cutting edge of 1964, but the dull established side of 2005. The only thing bands are rebelling against now is change! And it's upset a lot of people. But if THAT gets you upset. How could you possibly handle these ideas that follow (and for all seniors over 100, Stepford wives, and insurance salesmen - please do not read further!
The 4 company control of 80% of the music industry Clear Channel and Infinity's control of too many music stations
Clubs (prefer all-arts centers as more fun)
Too high concert prices
CD prices (it costs 50 cents to make a CD in quantity - less than a cassette)
RIAA Gestapo tactics
The new radio payola system
Music Awards shows
Ad driven reviews
Almost any musician writing his or her own music instead of letting professional songwriters do it well
Song writing contests - scams
Melodramatic singing (not soulful anymore)
Over produced music - gum without the flavor
Shrink wrap on CD's - jewel boxes. Don't need either. they are a waste of resources for nothing.
Music zines and publications that are soft on bad music
Rock and roll - it's become everything it started out opposing
(oh and just so you don't forget - BANDS)
Want more info - see the Musea website for 15 years worth of essays, commentary, etc. on all types of change in ALL the arts - including music Time for a revolution in ALL the arts
#273 Psychology of Keys
Can just knowing the key a piece of music is in, tell you what type of music it will be? I think so, and the essay in the new Musea (now both in print and on line) goes through every major and minor key. Take a look and then see if a favorite piece of music you love fits the psychological profile of the musical key that it is written in (Atonal doesn't work) For the essay on KEYS go to http:// Musea .digitalchainsaw.com (see the Valentine cover - my drawing of an old married couple, and webmaster Donna's Valentine-y background - then click through to http:// Musea .digitalchainsaw.com/newdex.html and click again on the Feb issue at the top. Then scroll down through the Feb issue ( short story, essays and poems) to K-E-Y-S .
#274 Enough Rope Interviewing Technique
This excerpt is from the Feb Musea - in a few cool Dallas locations, or through the mail, or on the Musea website 'Enough Rope Interviewing Technique' I like to take walks in my neighborhood. Sometimes people will drive by with their car stereos obnoxiously blasting! Instead of yelling 'turn it down!' I say, 'turn it UP!'. Why? Because it puts them in a dilemma: If they turn it up any louder, they'll blow out their speakers. If they're scared to turn it up, they look wussy and the ultimate purpose of the loud stereo is to look cool. See how it works? Now let's say we're interviewing the chief exec of General Electric, John F. Welch Jr., called 'Neutron Jack" for eliminating people but leaving the buildings standing. If we ask him, "Don't you think the number of layoffs was excessively harsh?", he has a ready answer: blah, blah, blah, blah. Then if we ask him, "Isn't it wrong for you to get such huge bonuses and salaries for putting so many of your employees out of work?" He's got another stock answer: blah, blah, blah, blah. Etc.
Now remember our stereo blaster? What if we asked Neutron Jack this question, "Don't you think you stopped laying off people too soon?" If he says 'yes' he looks like even a worse ogre. If he says 'no' then he has implied that laying off people has limits and to go beyond that, even one job, is wrong; thus calling into question the whole validity of massive layoffs at certain levels.
Our Next Question: "Don't you think you deserved more salary and bonuses for your restructuring?" Again if he says 'yes' he looks like Scrooge to the Nth power. If he says 'no' then he has implied that his bonuses and salaries have reached a limit and beyond that would be excessive - thus suggesting limits on his own worth. It's called the '(give them) Enough Rope Interviewing Technique', a Musea invention that I think you'll be hearing of more and more in the future.
#275 Local Art Coverage Hypocrisy
First I wrote our local daily this letter to the editor:
Dallas Morning News,
It's hypocritical for the News to give high praise to the '16 Days of Gold' art project in NYC, while it does so little to report on local arts (art, music, writing, etc) in Dallas. And coverage of controversial and innovative art in Dallas gets no coverage at all.
Example. A conceptual art event on 1/8/02 ended modern art, and it happened outside a taco stand in Dallas. Will it take '26 years like Christo and Jeanne waited, before you report it? On behalf of all artists of all kinds in Dallas, you're coverage of local arts is horrible, hypocritical, provincial, and most importantly, non existent. Dallas deserves a real newspaper.
Then I got back this reply from Mike Hashimoto, Assistant Editorial Page Editor
The Dallas Morning News
I would like to consider your letter for publication, but I'll need a little more information from you:
I'm not familiar with the 1/8/02 event you reference and could use a little more explanation of what it was and what happened that "ended modern art." Could you rewrite your letter and resubmit to email@example.com?
Then I responded:
I think you should do the research. That is the entire point of the letter. Print it as is or don't. And he responded, Understood. Thanks for taking the time to submit your letter. See what Dallas has to deal with? And I bet your local paper is just as bad when it comes to supporting local arts.
#276 Fiction Then Fact
By Nov. 28,2004 I had finished last years Christmas Story. It was a sci-fi tale of 2 aliens landing on Earth and exploring it during the Holiday season. My Dec. issue was printed and out within the next two weeks. The story ends with the two aliens leaving the earth and in a final chapter they enjoy a cosmic spectacle from their spaceship, hovering far out in space - a super nova!
Here is that excerpt:
The saucer landed on Earth, pounds lighter from the loss of the contents of the bottles and 2 statues. Nork, Prager and Culp the Suit, went aboard and off they rose. Slow at first, then picking up immense speed. When they were far enough away from Earth, Sun, and the solar system, they stopped and floated in the inky black void of space, dotted with stars. With their portal window in position they waited for a truly grand spectacle, and rare cosmic display: the neutrino meter had captured the first rays of what would soon follow in the visual spectrum - a sky filled super nova! With their neutrino meter pronouncing the coming - seldom seen - cosmic event, Nork and Prager waited and watched - ready for more life. Then in an instant the lights exploded into view and raced over them and beyond.
Goodnight to the empty
and the full air.
Sleep tight to all
from here to there.
Now here is where the fun and magic comes in. On Dec. 27 2004, two days after Christmas, neutron star SGR 1806-20 in the constellation Sagittarius - 50,000 light years away, had a star quake, a radiation flow that in 1/10th of a second poured out more energy than our Sun could do in 100,000 years!
It is the biggest blast of gamma and x-rays ever observed in our corner of the universe. It was a spectacular sight! And though there is a slight discrepancy in the fiction and fact ( I had my aliens witness a super nova - or a neutron star in the making, while the actual event was an already made neutron star that had a 'star quake') the two reports are amazingly similar and their timing could hardly be closer!
Isnt that fun stuff?!?!
IF you have the issue of Musea , re-read it.
If not go to the Dec. 2004 issue on our website: http:// Musea .digitalchainsaw.com/backissu.html then click on that issue. For scientific coverage and pictures of this once-in-a-lifetime event see Nature.com, or the BBC news site, etc.
There is little credibility in any news outlet that has no perspective - that presents a certain news story as being more important than it is, and/or another news story as being less important than it is. Each news piece should not only tell the news but also show its significance in relation to other news.
Two cases where I see little fair perspective are:
1. The Arab/Israeli conflict. (And its always the conflict that is stressed not the good of either side). This news story gets more coverage on a day to day basis than all other news from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South and Central America, Mexico, and Canada, combined. That is not a fair perspective. This regional conflict should get no more or no less coverage than any other regional conflict. It makes no sense to have this excessive amount of news on this region and almost none on the rest of the world.
2. The Terrorist threat. It is reported as being as important as the threat in the cold war between the US and Russia. Yet the cold war had the threat of nuclear annihilation of the entire world, while the terrorist threat, though a real one, does not present the same extreme danger. To treat it as if it did is to not have reasonable perspective on that news story.
#278 Art Work 2,300
On March 7th, I did my 2,300th art work - I catalogue all of them to keep a record of my work. This one began as drawing #2269 "Tom as Clown Napoleon", a quick drawing showing me in a pierrot type costume with a napoleon type hat - a mix of fun and homage to Picasso's pierrot paintings. You can see it (though computers don't do drawings justice) in the Feb issue of Musea .
Start here, Musea Newdex , our contents page, then click on Feb issue. Then go almost all the way to the bottom, on the right. I made a copy of the drawing, then colored it with colored pencils. The hat, and the buttons a rich navy blue, the background a number of bright shades of yellow, and the costume white with just a hint of pastel green. I colored the face flesh color with a more reddish cast on the ears, nose, and shadows on the skin. Take a look at the drawing, imagine the colors and see what you think.
#279 Auto Tune
Have you ever heard of auto-tune? I hadn't either until a review of my CD said it sounded like it was me singing and I hadn't resorted to auto-tune. So what's that, I asked. Newsgroup guy, Gary explained what it is and how to use it in this post. (Now what pop stars use it I wonder.)
Auto tune is pitch correction software made by Antares. It has two modes. Auto and Graphical. There is a lot of misuse of auto tune through lack of knowledge or lack of application. It is possible to correct an out of tune vocal without artifacts, the type heard on a lot of records and used deliberately as an effect on " Believe" by Cher. It is not possible to simply put a badly out of tune vocal in one end, set it to auto and have perfect singing come out the other without it sounding Auto tuned. It is a four step process if you want it to sound natural.
Step one. use Auto tune in auto mode to remove all the vibrato from the voice.
Step two. Use Auto tune in graphical mode to manually correct the really bad off-key notes.
Step three. Use auto tune in Auto mode to now correct the whole track.
Using conservative settings it is not necessary to correct the vocal to within an inch of it's life. You may find at this stage that a part of the vocal is still giving an obvious auto tuned sound. This is most likely because you have notes not of the scale in the melody. Usually where you are singing one or more notes to a single syllable it is likely these are blue notes. The program is trying to correct them to notes of the scale. You can either edit the scale auto tune is tuning too by adding those notes in or do not auto tune those particular parts or if necessary use the graphical editor to correct those parts. Having listened carefully to the vocal track. Set you mixer to read and write and go through the track segment by segment where you hear an artifact back the retune setting off a little until the artifact is no longer noticeable. The mixer will record the adjustments to the auto tune plug in settings. You are now ready to process the track and render it.
Step four. Take the pitch corrected track you have rendered and run it back through Auto tune in Auto mode with all eleven notes selected and add back the vibrato. You can do this as an overall setting or can record variations of intensity with your mixer as you did in step three for pitch correction. This gives a more natural result.
--semper sume remedium casum--
I didn't think music could get more phony than it was - I was wrong!
#280 Letter to ed. DMN
I heard from the local daily that they were going to print a letter from me. I really didn't know which one it was, because I had sent two recently, both with the same basic premise, "You guys are idiots because....
Anyway, both were my responses to their editorials. The one they didn't print was about their praise for the NYC "Gates" art project. I said how could they praise NYC art with a straight face when your coverage of local arts is not just bad its nonexistent!
That one they said they'd print if I'd give them some background. I didn't. They didn't. The one they did print was about their praise for Dallasites who walk. I do walk a lot, so I knew it was lip service. Here it is (after their editing)
"You suggest in this editorial for Dallasites to walk, yet there is no support noted for city planning issues to help pedestrians, such as: no car zones, neighborhood buses, an end to new road building, getting rid of highways that have bisected and destroyed so many neighborhoods, especially around downtown."
See Wed. 30th paper or dallasnews.com
#281 Google Map
I want to show you where my theater, The Inwood Theatre, is in Dallas. But the real object of this weeks' club is to show you how to find just about anywhere in any city! Follow these steps (my Astairs!)
1. Start by going to www.google.com
2. Click on Local NEW
3. Fill in the blanks with
What: Inwood Theatre ... (note the spelling of THEATRE)
Where: Dallas TX. Click
4. Click on "A" Inwood Theater at top left.
5. Click on "View Larger Map" under map.
6. Play with buttons on right - try 7 for over view or smaller numbers for up close view. Pretty amazing isn't it. There are other map
services but this one is awfully easy.
7. Come by and hear me play on Tues or Wed. and/or see a good foreign or indie film in our renovated theatre!
#282 Classic Arts Showcase
While home in Tyler, I was watching TV and switching the cable channels (I don't have cable so I wasn't familiar with hardly any of the shows) One program that I fell in love with immediately was a no - ad program (a major plus right there) called Classic Arts Showcase.
What it is is short videos of classical music set to film, classic music performances, opera, ballet - I even saw a short silent film clip set to classical music. Great works of art, one after the other. Each piece was preceded by a paragraph of info listing the artist, composer, etc. Then the work. Here is video for adults! And what wonderful talents - plus many rare clips of monumental past performances.
Want to know more? See http://www.classicartsshowcase.org/ The site will show you what channel it is playing on, in your area. AND Artists you are invited to submit your own classical videos. Great show and good opportunity. Check it out on the web and on TV.
#283 Media Conference
Big Media conference coming soon. It's the National Conference for Media Reform at St. Louis on May 13-15. Here are some details from Free Press. For more see www.freepress.net "...some 2,000 media activists are coming together for three jam-packed, inspiring days in St. Louis. A full schedule of events and program information is now available at http://www.freepress.net/conference. The list of exciting speakers and presenters continues to grow. You'll hear from FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, David Brock of Media Matters for America, radio host and author Laura Flanders, Bill Fletcher of TransAfrica, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!, "Outfoxed" director Robert Greenwald, author and activist Naomi Klein, linguist George Lakoff, Free Press founders Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, numerous members of Congress, and many, many more.
We are at a pivotal moment, as millions of people are realizing that our media system is failing and our future hangs in the balance. Together, we can win. So don't miss this unique opportunity to strategize, share, inspire and build friendships. I hope you will join us in St. Louis and help make history."
#284 Breaking News from Boise
This just in from Boise:
"A strip club owner who tried to evade the city's ban on public nudity has been charged with three misdemeanors. The ordinance requires dancers to wear some clothing, unless their performance has "serious artistic merit." Police said providing pens and paper so patrons could sketch the nude dancers didn't meet that threshold." USA Today 4/22/05
#285 Writings In Science
I think my most ambitious single writing project is the one I'm working on (off and on) now called 'WRITINGS IN SCIENCE'. In spite of the title its a work of fiction, an anthology of short sci- fi pieces (plus a lot of my art work too).
The premise of the anthology novel is: Millions of years from now the Earth is dying and in the rush to flee, one man collects his favorite 'writings in science" to preserve Earth's legacy. Here are three examples from the larger work (maybe I'll have 50-100 parts total):
1. LIBRARY PLANET: the short novel that came out as a special Summer 2004 issue of Musea (see website) A wealthy businessman buys and owns a library planet, Learn about the assorted alien libraries there and a library ghost?
2. ENGINE ROOM ON THE MOON: a kids poem about a visit to the engine room deep in the moon - Musea Mar. '05 #139 (or see website)
3. THE PARROOVE - a dramatic monologue on a jungle planet. its a dramatic monologue in the style of Robert Browning, but its subject matter is nothing like Browning ever did. It is part sci-fi, part horror story, and part biology lesson about rain forests. It has just been posted at one and only one spot on the net - the Underground Literary Alliance Blog spot at http://www.undergroundliteraryalliance.blogspot.com/ (thanks to the ULA bloggers for printing it!)
Take a look and let me know what you think.
#286 Book of Life
How about a book that lists all life! An online 'book' is trying to catalogue all known life. It now has half a million species in its database - available to all. This from Nature (www.nature.com):
"The Catalogue of Life Programme began in 2001 as a collaboration between Species 2000, a project based at the University of Reading, UK, and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System in Washington DC. The two groups each host part of the online directory. Since then, many universities and natural history institutions have opened up their dusty card catalogues of species to contribute to the digital resource.
"The Catalogue of Life is just like the yellow pages for species," explains Paul Kirk, an expert in fungi at CABI Bioscience, a non-profit agriculture and biodiversity research organization, based at Egham, UK, that is one of the project's collaborators. "You can't understand biodiversity without a system of communication, and it's fundamental that we have this directory of names," he says. The resource will also provide a starting point for conservation efforts in remote parts of the world where 'parataxonomists', untrained in biology, can use the catalogue as a reference to help monitor biodiversity. Many species are known by different colloquial names in neighbouring countries, and the catalogue hopes to eliminate the confusion this causes. I wonder what Nork and Prager, my two Aliens from Musea #137 would say to all this? Oh and save a copy for Library Planet the Musea novel from last year.
#287 Bill Moyers Speech
This week's e-mail club is an excerpt from Bill Moyers speech to the National Conference for Media Reform that ended its conference last weekend. In it he talks about his concerns for the media with emphasis on the loss of freedom of speech at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (Note it didn't get a lot of media coverage on the news did it?) For the entire speech see http://www.freepress.net/news/8120
Strange things began to happen. Friends in Washington called to say that they had heard of muttered threats that the PBS reauthorization would be held off "unless Moyers is dealt with." The chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, was said to be quite agitated. Apparently there was apoplexy in the right-wing aerie when I closed the broadcast one Friday night by putting an American flag in my lapel and said - well, here's exactly what I said:
"I wore my flag tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans. "Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.
"So what's this doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo - the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
"But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.
"So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash). I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what Bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war - except in self-defense - is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomacy. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country."
#288 Comments on my recording 30
The comments and reviews I've gotten on my CD 30- 30 songs by Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar- have been good. Here's what people are saying. Come by the website and hear for yourself what this back-to-basics sound is like. http://hunkasaurus.com/music (change the weekday in the url to hear more:
Starvin'Marv wrote: Simply put...Your re-do of Herman's Hermits' Mrs Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter is worthy of release. I loved it! The first guitar I owned was a Sears Silvertone electric complete with Silvertone Amp. I left loads of DNA (as in blood) on those old strings. Thanks for the listen.
fenderfish wrote: I love the chord progression you did on Play that Country Music ...........very cool, thanks
Flying Tree wrote: Actually, Tom, that Dancin' on the Moon is kind of a cute rockabilly number...
Lynn Monk, England - The best performances on this CD are in Tristan & Isolde, the only real ballad of his own on the CD; Blue Moon which is my favourite of his cover versions, Dancing Cross the Moon, a Rock & Roll number that is sung with some conviction; and Pardon me sir /AOL, which starts off with an odd little poem and goes into quite a good song that is somewhat let down by the political stance of the lyrics.
Gail Winklemann, Dallas : I liked all of them, but Stories caught my attention. You sounded like Bryan Ferry.
Marci Anderson, Dallas: "My favorite was The Ballad of Willie Nelson, Hippie Girl was light and easy. I liked Tommys Got A Song in His Guitar because I know you and it's your guitars favorite. California Dreaming - I love that song.
Fran McMillian, Newark NJ: This special CD edition of Tom Hendricks' long running zine is a lot of fun. It's very simple and unpretentious; just Tom's voice and his guitar, with a minimal amount of vocal overdubbing. There are plenty of classics by Lennon/McCartney, Bacharack, and Rogers/Hart as well as some Hendricks originals, including a tribute to Zine World.
Starvin'Marv wrote: I'm using both (Hippie Girl, 100% Groovy) for bass and drum practice. ..You're hell with a geetar and a mackaphone man.
Mike Azzopardi : Ballad of Willie Nelson. its certainly got a cool summer guitar groove to it and a nice melody going on. It did actually seem longer than the 2 minutes that it is. The verses reminded me a little bit of Del Amitri's Roll to me, but that was mainly because of the guitar rhythm. I really like your voice...
De Lane Van Derbeck - Tyler, Texas: Your Silvertone sounds wonderful and you have a WONDERFUL voice. Love those songs... thank you again Tom for the awesome CD. It will be played for years and years.
Peggy Whisler - San Antonio: Tom's version of Downtown freshens the 1960s classic and makes it his own. It's upbeat and punctuated with some sassy "hey hey" refrains to get your foot tapping. Zine World and Pardon Me Sir/AOL are wonderful originals. Zine World takes a look at the under recognized filed of zinesters with a bright, cheerful refrain. Pardon Me Sir/AOL looks at the corporate music monopoly and suggests that it can all tank today, and we'd be better off. Tom's clear vocals and clever lyrics, backed by his faithful guitar, Pet Dog, work wonders with this song. A fun CD that appeals to a variety of ages and interests.
Joe W. Larson: I've listened to your music before, checking it out again, its fun. I like the old school feel of it.
Most Interesting CD of 2004?
It would be easy to rave on about Tom/Hunk and this 30, his latest anti-corporate art project. Admittedly, this writer probably knows him too well and likes him too much to pretend any real objectivity, but regular readers of this page and " Musea " will most likely appreciate the effort and spirit that makes "30" such a delightfully real and "unshrinkwrapped" musical product. Cutting to the chase: If you're sick 'n' tired of the same old same old, 30 just might be your ticket for the last train to where ever it was you thought you wanted to go; and even if it isn't, there's a thoroughly charming version of Last Train to Clarksville (once upon a time big hit for The Monkees) plus all the other nostalgia-tinged covers and Hunk's/Tom's own originals. 30 was engineered by Pamela M. Irwin who has worked with an impressive list of "name" artists- Don Henley, Ron Wood, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison,... The Dixie Chicks, Merle Haggard, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino, The Texas Playboys, Fabulous Thunderbirds... Hunkasaurus and Pet Dog Music http://www.hunkasaurus.com
#289 Loosing the Life
I wanted to talk about 2 local art centers today, but I got news on this UN report, and I felt it was much more important. We are loosing our diversity of life on Earth. If we as artists celebrate it in every part of our art, we must safeguard it for the future too. And beyond that we are all - whether artists or not - stewards of the world we live in. It is not ours to own, but it may be we that are destroying much of its diversity. Here is an excerpt from the report from nature.com
The report is the latest in a series arising from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a four-year project to catalogue data on the world's natural resources that involves more than 1,300 scientists. It reveals that 12% of bird species, almost a quarter of mammals and around a third of the world's amphibians are facing extinction. We know biodiversity has value, but we've been bad at assessing what that value is. This is largely due to destruction of natural ecosystems such as grasslands and forests, says Georgina Mace, one of the report's authors and director of science at the Institute of Zoology in London. She adds that 10-20% of the remaining resources are due to be converted to other land uses, such as agriculture, by 2050.
But there have been some successes, Mace says. In Europe, for example, financial incentives to encourage farmers to set land aside as a refuge for natural plants, birds and insects, have allowed biodiversity in farmland to bounce back. fo mo info read http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050516/full/050516-14.html
#290 Local Art Centers
I've written in the past, that IF the government has a role to play in the arts, it should be NOT to pick and choose favorites for funding... (that has proven disastrous - and really how many fed funded darlings have turned out to be great classic artists (WPA excepted?)...
Instead they should fund art centers where the community can showcase all their arts in any way they want, AND have a place for traveling artists to perform too. DC, you pay for the hall, we'll fill it! There seems to be others that feel the same way. Here are two examples that are exciting for me:
Sleepy ole Mckinney has turned the historic Collin County Courthouse into an arts center. It'll have theatre, multi purpose spaces, reception hall, auditorium, rehearsal space, audiovisual equipped classrooms, art gallery, and exec suites for lease to non profits. Tracy Rath , facility manager, says, "This will be a huge help to so many of our local arts groups who need a place to meet, collaborate, rehearse and call home."
And even further north....In Oklahoma City, Dr. Irene Lam has bought and renovated the Okalahoma City's Gold Dome, a futuristic Buckminster Fuller creation. It'll be offices but more. They hope to host "wide-ranging art shows, lectures, worships and receptions, including Saturday children's programs"
A Hamilton, DMN.
In both cases you have two wonderful things happening: renovations of landmarks AND art centers open to all.
I salute both and encourage Dallas, and others to do the same.
#291 Rolling Stone Scandal
If you didn't read my Musea Art Review for Rolling Stone magazine #974 you missed a scandal. It's clear as day that ads for musicians are tied into who gets coverage in the magazine. What isn't clear are the specifics. Here's a reprint from the review:
I counted 56 total pages of ads in the 100 page magazine.
Because this review covers the entire magazine, ads are reviewed too. And ads as content makes this issue's content extremely poor .Note the pop up ad in the middle for Camel cigarettes. Something for the kids? Pretty scummy.
But much more unsettling than even this, is that every musical performer ad has an article or a review somewhere else in the magazine: It seems to this reviewer that one must buy an ad to get an article in the magazine - and the bigger the ad the bigger the article. If this is why there is coverage of every performer who buys and ad, then there is a real problem of lack of journalistic integrity. If this is not the reason - then there is a real problem of the obvious APPEARANCE of lack of journalistic integrity. Either way it looks very bad.
All music ads in this issue for performers (in order) include:
Dave Matthews Band full page ad .
Also see 1+ page major review - page 73.
Bruce Springsteen full page ad . Also see half page major review - p. 86.
Joe Perry quarter page ad. Also see quarter page review - p. 78
Robert Plant quarter page ad. Also see full page interview p. 32 and review p. 76.
Elvis Costello half page ad. Also see review p. 83.
Mike Doughty quarter page ad. Also see review p. 80.
EVERY ad for a musician or group, has a review and or story. Rolling Stone gives every indication that musicians must buy their coverage. Musea readers, join me won't you and forward this e-mail to Rolling Stone, and ask them to explain what's going on. Letters@rollingstone.com
#293 Love/Hate PBS
Two issues about PBS:
1. There was some concern with fund cuts for PBS. I don't agree with many things PBS does; yet I value its variety and open policy - and treasure the diversity it helps bring to the media/arts. So it was with relief that I read this fromfreepress.net:
"(this week), the House voted overwhelmingly -- by a margin of 284 to 140 -- to restore $100 million to the budget for public broadcasting. Representatives reversed course because their phones were ringing off the hook and their mailboxes were jammed with letters and e-mails from millions of Americans. Your message came through loud and clear: Stop playing politics with public broadcasting."
Yet just as PBS was helped through its crisis, our local station in Dallas, KERA 90.1, has dropped its two weekend night music shows - both of which often showcased local music! I have in the past e-mailed both hosts and found them friendly, musically conservative - but nice.
Saturday Night, "Lone Star Saturday Night" with Abby Goldstein featured all Texas music. And though I felt the selections were often darlings of the host, and sounded way too puffed up and self important, and way too much alike, and none could write music well; it still was a real outlet for Texas music. Sunday Night, "90.1 at Night" with Paul Slavens was an eclectic mix that you just can't find on format radio. And though Slavens seemed to hate melody at times, stick too much to the 80's, and defend bands way past their prime, he still had a WIDE play list of music - that included even my novelty song, "Wooden Heart"
So to PBS:
We LOVE you and support you.
We HATE you for not supporting us local musicians both at the same time.
#294 Askew's Photo Exhibit / NEW URL for Musea
The bar inside the Magnolia Theater is now set up to show an exhibit of photos from Blake Askew called "These Are Musicians' in My Neighborhood". It consists of photos of Dallas musicians such as the Tah-Dahs, She's Not Yoko, Budapest One, and me, Hunkasaurus & His Pet Dog Guitar among others.
Blake asked to take my picture a week ago Wednesday and of all days, that day I was feeling sick and hadn't even brought my guitar for my usual Box Office Concert. But I got it and he got his pictures. (Though I was lip syncing because I had no voice!)
For those interested in this photo exhibit of Dallas musicians, it will have an opening reception Friday July 1, from 6:30-8:30 at the Magnolia Bar inside the Magnolia Theater at McKinney and Lemmon in West Village, or you can come see the exhibit that will stay on display through August 10. __________
In other news, I have a new website! It leads to the old one but it is now mine, and it is soooo simple, and it isn't even a dot com. It's Musea .us - just that simple. You can do http:// Musea .us or http://www. Musea .us
or even the old one http:// Musea .digitalchainsaw.com if you don't want to change.
I've been amazed at how much progress the ULA, Underground Literary Alliance, has made in such a short time. And as a member I'd like to tell you about them. This group of writers has made plenty of waves in stirring up protests against the corporate lit world, and its bastion of privilege in NYC. We all know the mainstream has lost its touch on reality. Now we have a major advocacy group that is yelling it out loud - the ULA. I suggest that you go to their website to learn more at http://www.literaryrevolution.com/
Some of the features you'll find are "The Monday Report", a weekly article on all things literary and revolutionary 3 Blogs that post, review, and discuss everything current in literature, And coming up soon, A Big Lit Show, Saturday July 16th, 5-8PM in Philadelphia at the Medusa Lounge. There you can meet many in the ULA and hear what they're up to. For those of you who love literature and bemoan its loss in mainstream publishing - check it out!
#297 Recordings Going On
I'm recording my 2nd CD this summer with Pam Irwin as engineer again. As of today we've finished 10 of 17 planned. For those who might be interested in what goes on during a recording session here's what we did today, Friday. First I had to try to get and keep my 40 year old Silvertone, standard guitar, in tune! No easy task when taking it from house, to100 degree heat outside, to inside AC. But I did get it ok and we recorded the guitar part for
1. 140 MPH, an original of mine. (see lyrics below)
2. Octaves, a short original instrumental of mine that'll be the last song on the CD. We then had to decide whether to start main vocals, and background on 140 MPH or - now that my temperamental guitar is somewhat staying in tune - do another guitar part. We decided to do the guitar part for
3. What You Do To Me, a Gerry and the Pacemakers hit from the early 60's (when bands were NOT clone sounding) Song #2, Octaves was something different. The entire song is played on the 3 and only 3 frets on a guitar that you can get a harmonic tone on - these are notes that you pluck but don't press down to the fretboard. They sound much like a harp. So that gives you 3 frets (6 notes with 6 strings on each fret) or 18 notes to chose from for your song. We had three versions we liked. Pam tried mixing two of them to see how that would sound - too muddled. Then she tried to add an echo effect - too pronounced. Then a very slight phase to the single guitar - BINGO! - simple and basic and it seems to work best that way. I usually do vocals each day with first the main voice, then 2 background voices to bolster up some important lines (and a little harmony - but not too much, I want this mostly like how I play live.) But today was unusual in that we only did guitar . Yesterday for instance we did a very short instrumental, Modern Art, which came very easily (for a change) then the music to one of mine, I'm Alive (with hope). Then all vocals to I'm Alive. Well that's what we do. It's fun, exhilarating, stressful, and rewarding! Can't wait till those of you who like something new, can hear the results. Stay TUNED!
140 MPH ( Musea Music c. 2005)
1. 140 miles per hour
you make me bitter you make me sour
say you're mad in love with me
well stop this car and set me free
pull over at the next light
and lift that pedal that's floored
and I'll... I'll love you more.
Three long days and starry nights
desert heat and red oil light.
your forehead's hot, the hoods a cloud
both need water to cool them down
your eyes are glazed over
knuckles white to the core
but I, I love you more.
Love you more than any body
Love you more than anyone
Well go ahead then and drive and drive
until this malady subsides
take me there no matter where or when
hope the gas holds out till then
speed up and keep passing
we've gone too long and too fair
and I love you more
Love you more than anybody
Love you more than anyone
#298 Sony/BMG caught
We knew it all along, but now its official and out there. Sony/BMG - one of only 4 record companies that control 80% of the music industry - has been caught paying for play. The argument that local music and indie music isn't good enough for mainstream radio is now thinner than ever. The truth is, mainstream music got airplay because it paid more. And local and indie music got late Sunday night, dead air time, because it couldn't pony up the dough! For music to be good again, we have to end the monopoly of 4 record companies, and a handful of radio conglomerates. Here, from the BBC is the latest. Pay-for-play costs Sony BMG $10m Sony BMG, the world's second-biggest record label, has agreed to pay $10m (?5.7m) and stop paying radio station employees to play its artists' songs. The settlement follows an investigation into "pay for play" practices in the music industry, conducted by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The probe found "air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs," said Mr. Spitzer on Monday. Record companies in the US cannot offer financial incentives under a 1960 law. A Sony BMG spokesman was not available for comment. But Mr. Spitzer said the company had agreed to hire a compliance officer to monitor promotion practices and to issue a statement acknowledging "improper conduct". Middlemen "This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry," he said. Spitzer said his investigation showed Sony BMG paid for holiday packages for radio programmers, paid some stations' operational expenses and hired middlemen t o make illegal payments to get more airplay for its artists. E-mails showed top officials were aware of the payments, he added. Sony BMG was formed in 2004 when Sony merged with Dutch giant Bertelsmann. Its roster of artists include Beyonce Knowles, Aerosmith, Britney Spears and Elvis Presley.
#299 Pay for Play Part 2
You had to know something was wrong when indie record companies* were making 80% of the new releases, but only getting 10% of radio play. Here's another look at the pay for play scandal of the Big 4 : Sony/BMG, Warner, Universal, and EMI I found it posted on the newsgroup rec.music.makers. guitar.acoustic. *note there are two new indie record company associations. Impala at http://www.impalasite.org/ is the European organization that has thousands of member indies, and A2IM, American Association of Independent Music which I can't find a website for.
July 26, 2005
Radio Payoffs Are Described as Sony Settles
By JEFF LEEDS and LOUISE STORY
To disguise a payoff to a radio programmer at KHTS in San Diego, Epic Records called a flat-screen television a "contest giveaway." Epic, part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, used the same gambit in delivering a laptop computer to the program director of WRHT in Greenville, N.C. - who also received PlayStation 2 games and an out-of-town trip with his girlfriend.
In another example, a Sony BMG executive considered a plan to promote the song "A.D.I.D.A.S." by Killer Mike by sending radio disc jockeys one Adidas sneaker, with the promise of the second one when they had played the song 10 times.
The gifts, described in a $10 million settlement with Sony BMG that was announced yesterday by New York's attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, exemplify what Mr. Spitzer called a broad effort by the recording industry to curry favor with radio station programmers in exchange for their promises to play specific songs.
The focus of Mr. Spitzer's inquiry is now expected to shift to the other three major record companies - Vivendi Universal, the Warner Music Group and the EMI Group - and the radio companies whose employees have accepted gifts in exchange for playing songs. Mr. Spitzer's investigators have served subpoenas on several radio companies, including Clear Channel Communications and Emmis Communications.
"This is not a pretty picture; what we see is that payola is pervasive," Mr. Spitzer said, using a term from the radio scandals of the 1950's in describing e-mail messages and corporate documents that his office obtained during a yearlong investigation. "It is omnipresent. It is driving the industry and it is wrong."
As part of the deal, Sony BMG acknowledged "that various employees pursued some radio promotion practices on behalf of the company that were wrong and improper, and apologizes for such conduct." The finding that gifts were used to help tailor the play lists of many radio stations comes as audiences show signs of rejecting the music choices made by programmers. The iPod and other portable devices have begun cutting into the popularity of radio, and the growth of satellite radio has been putting pressure on the station owners to play a broader range of music.
For more than four decades, federal law has prohibited broadcasters from accepting secret payments or anything of value in exchange for airplay of a specific song. While music companies have long tried to sidestep the law, Mr. Spitzer says they have continued to violate it.
The state investigation found that Sony BMG, which releases music by acts including Jennifer Lopez, Good Charlotte and Beyonce had provided stations with entertainers for station-affiliated concerts or paid for station equipment or other bills in exchange for having its songs played. It also provided vacations and electronic goods for on-air giveaways in a direct trade for airplay. And it hired independent promoters to funnel money to radio stations.
In addition, the investigation found that the company had tried to distort industry airplay charts - creating the false impression that a song was taking off - by paying stations to play its songs as sponsored advertisements. It has also used interns and hired vendors to call radio stations with requests.
As a result, Mr. Spitzer said in the settlement documents, "Sony BMG and the other record labels present the public with a skewed picture of the country's 'best' and 'most popular' recorded music."
... the settlement documents provide an unusual window on a sector of the music business where the public airwaves are discussed as a commodity, and where little is allowed to stand in the way of bolstering a song's chart position.
... In other cases, Mr. Spitzer said, Sony BMG, a unit of Sony and Bertelsmann, had negotiated large deals with radio conglomerates, in which the record company would fly dozens of national contest winners to see an artist perform. In return, the radio station would commit to playing specific songs a certain number of times a week. He cited one case in which Epic had struck a deal with Infinity Broadcasting involving the Celine Dion song "Goodbyes." By e-mail, an Epic executive, whose name was not disclosed, said each station had committed to "report" the song on its playlist on a certain date in October 2002.
Infinity declined to comment. Clear Channel said that it was cooperating with the inquiry and that "the allegations made today will be fully investigated and any wrongdoing will be met by swift and appropriate disciplinary action." It remains to be seen how far-reaching the impact of Sony BMG's new policies will be in altering the culture of promotion. As part of the settlement, Sony BMG agreed to an array of changes. For instance, the company said it would no longer provide stations with cash or gift cards, which are difficult to track, for use in listener contests. The company also said it would no longer use "spin programs," in which it pays stations to play songs as commercials, to manipulate the charts. The company is also expected to end its relationships with independent promoters unless they meet strict new guidelines, a prospect that many consider unlikely.
In a practice once widespread, the promoters acted as middlemen paying radio stations annual fees - often exceeding $100,000 - not, they say, to play specific songs, but to obtain advance copies of the stations' playlists. The promoters then bill labels for each new song played; the total tab costs the industry tens of millions of dollars a year. Under the new rules, Sony cannot reimburse promoters for any expense for a radio station or contest winner. The industry has been divided over the impact of the settlement. Many executives say Mr. Spitzer's inquiry amounts to too little too late: radio companies like Clear Channel and Cox Radio severed their deals with independent promoters before the investigation began, for example. Others, including several independent record labels, say the settlement could signal a shift that might break the major record companies' chokehold on the airwaves.
"This sounds to us like something that will be very helpful," said Don Rose, president of the American Association of Independent Music. "It's obvious to us that we're not getting the fair share because of the embedded relationships with big radio."
#300 What went Before
Well here I am at e-mail #300. I thought I'd take this post to look back at the changes that have happened in the last few years. First of all thanks to all of you who have kept reading Musea . I appreciate that. Next I invite new readers to check out our website for the newest, or past issues of Musea . Plus you'll find a lot of music and art guides too.
Some things stand out. Zines don't seem to be as prolific and as dynamic as they were years ago. I wonder if the best of zinedom, or that era of an explosion of desktop publishing and zines, has passed. It has slowed down. Blogs and websites seem to be the communication choice now.
The mainstream media is now under attack more than ever. More and more people see them as a problem not a solution. We now see media as ultra conservative, or pro advertiser, or as a mega business out for gain alone. And less and less as that which protects and informs its readers in a fair even handed way. The FCC was flooded with concern about too few owning too much media and wanting even more ownership. Recent investigations are looking into radio payola - and how long before we see publishing, film, and TV, payola scandals too. It'll involve the same 6 or so companies! Those same corporations sue for lost revenue from pirates - that gets heavy coverage; but illegal, monopolistic behavior - not so much coverage.
Many more of you are becoming the media. You have decided that alt media, or your own blog, is at least as fair as the mainstream. The politics of this president have alienated many and divided America. More and more are upset by that and are advocating change through alternative avenues. It's true that there are many more sources for the news - yet they seem clonish and cover the same handful of stories in the same detached way. World news is slight, local news even slighter, and indie art coverage? Scarce indeed!
In Dallas I'm more convinced than ever that something there is in this town that doesn't love art and wants it down. This is sadly still not a good place for arts or artists and I see nothing that has changed that in the past years. Our daily seems to boycott local arts, or it seems embarrassed by Dallas culture, or it is enamored with Hollywood films and NYC books. Our weekly alt has gotten into a rut and seems solidified in its ways and unable to report or even acknowledge change here or anywhere else.
It looks like 40 years more of band clones, modern art that hasn't been modern in 60 years, a dying theater, no dance, no coverage of zines, poems, plays, short stories, or any other non novel form of literature, watered down film to attract big audiences, and radio that only allows good music on dead air Sunday nights!
The grumbling over the media and arts is growing. So too is the sameness of all the arts/media now. One side or the other has got to give. I opt for a revolution in the arts. It may be coming, it may be in progress, it may be about to take over, but it isn't here yet.
That's the end of my progress report. How about comments from YOU.
Personal news - the New issue of Musea , a special issue in very limited numbers (60 copies) (and not available except through request) has been published. It celebrates the MOON, titled, "100 Pieces of the Moon" - short stories, poems, and illustrations all about the Moon. Available at places that carry the zine Musea , or through the mail. Also I am finished up recording of my 2nd CD. Stay tuned for a release in a month or so hopefully. And stay revolutionary.
#301 Ghost Poem
How about a ghost story? Ever heard of a classic poem written by the ghost of the author? The poem "Hearing Jang Li-ben's Daughter Sing', written about 750, in the Tang Dynasty, (their golden age of poetry) is attributed to Gau Shr, but it was written down after his death! Here's the story.
Jang Li-ben, the daughter of a minor official was possessed by what she thought was a fox-spirit that lived among the bamboos at the grave of the celebrated poet Gau Shr near her house. When the spirit would possess her she would dress in fine clothes and chant poems in her room. This was one of those poems. As soon as the spirit would leave, she would break down weeping. She was cured by 2 pills given to her father by a Buddhist priest.
"Despite its strange origin, this poem is traditionally included among Gau Shr's works!" (story from The Heart Of Chinese Poetry, Greg Whincup.)
Here's the ghost poem:
HEARING JANG LI-BEN'S DAUGHTER SING
And broad sleeves,
She is dressed in the fashion
Of the palaces of the south.
She walks alone
In a quiet courtyard,
Seeking the cool of the night.
Taking her hairpin of jade
She beats the measure
On the trunk of a bamboo tree
By the steps.
High and clear she sings -
the moon like frost."
#302 City Planning
I've talked about city planning in a number of issues of Musea . I agree with those that see cars as more of a problem than a solution. I agree with those that think that modern cities would improve immensely by restricting cars in dense urban zones. 3 points I believe will help are these:
1. Get cars out of downtown Dallas. Cars can come to downtown, or drive around downtown, but stop cars from driving THROUGH downtown.
2. Neighborhood buses that circle a single neighborhood, could be a real plus. They'd allow Dallasites to hop a bus to get to most local places without a car and meet neighbors while doing it.
3. Wherever highways have cut through neighborhoods, they have destroyed neighborhoods. This is most clear in those neighborhoods around downtown. So it was a pleasure to read likeminded articles in the Oct '05 Utne on this. Here's some ideas from two articles "Islands of Green by Leif Utne and "The City After Oil" by Richard Register. (utne.com). Though Dallas is doing nothing substantial to restrict car excesses, other cities in the US and countries of the world are.
Portland, Oregon has become the first city in the US to meet the Kyoto Protocol's target of reducing carbon emissions to below 1990 levels. Mayor Tom Potter reports, "...it's something that attracts people. It's economical; it makes sense in dollars."
Former Bogota Colombia Mayor Enrique Penalosa said, "Anything you do to make a city more friendly to cars makes it less friendly to people."
EVERY Dutch city with a pop. over 50,000 has a car- free shopping district. All new towns must incorporate amenities for pedestrians and cyclists, and employers must locate new facilities near transit stops.
"If everyone lived the way Americans do, we'd need a total of five Earths to sustain ourselves."
"Even if (cars) were powered by biodiesel, hydrogen, or sumbeams, the private automobile is still part of an unsustainable system of streets, freeways, and parking structures to serve congested cities and far-flung suburbs."
"92% of the world's people do not own cars. The 8% who do own cars are directly responsible for climate change and the planet's alarming collapse of biodiversity."
"As any visitor to Europe can testify, car-free streets and plazas are extremely pleasant, economically self - sustaining enclaves that bristle with life."
#303 Remembering Jeff and Infiltration Zine I learned last week that Jeff, I didn't know his last name, who did the zine Infiltration, had died. I didn't know him personally, but I knew his zine and thought it one of the best. He and his zine were inducted into the Musea Zine Hall of Fame with this entry:
INFILTRATION: The Zine About Going Places You're Not Supposed to Go. Zinester Ninjalicious loves to spy and this zine, with photos and diagrams of every trip, is a record of his snooping. In #7 Kevin K enters an abandoned missile silo; in #8 Ninjalicious investigates the Toronto City Hall, and in #9 Murray Battle travels the catacombs of Paris. We say this is - "the very best zine in covert traveling"! Infiltration was truly a one of a kind zine. Jeff you deserve to be remembered as one of zines most notable zinesters. You readers, if you can get a copy - do. You'll see why the rest of us loved this zine! On the lighter side, Jeff seemed to like to have his picture taken while he was waist deep in famous fountains of the world. For this and more info, alt zines has posted this: Just to update Sean's post, www.yip.org/oases is Jeff's original "Urban Oases" project, www.wrftpb.com/oases/index.html is the "Urban Oases Tribute" page from Jeff's brother, Kyle. Kindest regards to all his family and friends on this loss.
#304 Movie Goers Lament by Jim Miller
The poem, a Movie Man's Lament, or a Movie Lover's Lament, was sent to me by Paul Adair, the man who knows Dallas Movie Theaters, and their history like no other! I contacted Jim Miller and asked to reprint it for my Musea readers. He said fine.
A Movie Man's Lament
By Jim Miller
Back some time, more than a century ago,
Edison came up with what we now call a picture show.
He worked and he worked to make still pictures move
And started a NEW art that would never hang in the Louvre
He filmed people doing things like kissing and walking,
and the people were thrilled though they never heard talking
These moving pictures were miraculous to behold,
and people loved the nickelodeons, so daring and bold
Then some enterprising showmen got into the act,
and said we'll tell stories on film, both fiction and fact
So instead of 5 minute vignettes came a mighty creation,
the first BIG movie called "Birth Of A Nation".
From then on movies churned out of old Hollywood,
and the industry got bigger than even Edison. thought it would!
They made lavish musicals with big lavish props,
and made wonderful comedies, with "The Keystone Kops".
Theatres were building in towns all around,
and FINALLY someone said "I think movies need sound"
So they found a BIG star, they couldn't use a "ringer",
and starred Al Jolson in WB's "The Jazz Singer".
>From that day on, movies were never the same,
They made lavish productions, and films of acclaim.
In 1939 movie quality peaked, and everyone would attend,
movies like "The Grapes Of Wrath, and "Gone With The Wind"
Then World War II raised it's ugly head,
and the studios made war training films, instead.
Lots of stars went to war, like Stewart and Gable,
and every brave GI had a pinup of beautiful Betty Grable.
A few fair films were made at this time,
that dealt with hooligans, murderers and all sorts of crime.
Then "Casablanca" hit the big silver screen,
and many thought it was the best film they'd seen
By war's end the people were ready and clamoring,
for something light hearted and much more enamoring
MGM came out with musicals, lavish and lithe,
20th Fox gave us a look at lovely Ann Blythe
Columbia's short subjects gave us the Stooges three,
Universal's "Kettles" made us laugh with glee
Then TV hit movie attendance with a mighty fist,
The studios had to develop something with a new twist.
20th Fox said super wide screens are the way to go,
and brought CinemaScope into the movie show.
Others thought 3-D would bring people in,
but though it did work, the glasses were annoying as sin.
Some great films came out, but attendance was low
Things were grim for the old movie show,
Then all of a sudden, the 60s came in,
and movies finally overcame TV's loud din
People said "Let's leave the couch, we need to go out",
Movies were the best entertainment value, of that there's no doubt.
So theatres started popping up, both big and small,
and an idea came up to put one in a mall!
That idea took off, and we forgot the TV hex,
Then someone got the idea for the modern multiplex.
Twin theaters were born, then three screens and four,
Now there are places called Cinemas Galore!
They now have stadium seating and digital sound,
high prices, bad service, and no charm I've found.
The movies were once a magical thing,
The people all gasped when they heard Jolson sing.
They cried when Bogie left Ingrid at the plane,
and were thrilled to see Gene Kelly, Singin' In The Rain
Movie Palaces are gone, REAL movie stars gone too,
Nowadays special effects, and noise is supposed to enchant you.
Theatres now are shoeboxes with loud digital noise,
There are few adult stars now, just some talentless girls and boys.
I miss the days when theatres were big, and only had one screen,
These days it's quaint to have only eighteen!
I miss the way movies used to be,
when acting and storyline is what entertained me.
In other news I'd like to salute all my Texas neighbors for all their unselfish work to help those harmed by the hurricane. I also wish my very best for those who've lost so much. And I'm sure that the culture capital of New Orleans will be back.
#305 Innovative vs. Weird
Can a musician be innovative and not be weird? Lately innovative and weird have been terms used to mean the same thing. But I don't think they are the same at all. Singing out of the wrong end of a mike, or while standing on your head, is weird but it's not innovative music. It's frustrating as a musician who is TRYING new things and going in new directions to get responses that boil down to - it doesn't sound weird so it can't be new. I say it can be new and not sound weird. And even more bizarre for me is when people say that everyone is doing what I'm doing, but at the same time they don't like it because it's not what they're used to - i.e. its different! How can you respond to that? Nothing's easy for sure.
My music is trying new things - trying a lot of new things, and the collective list adds up to new directions in music. And I think that doing ALL these things, suggest a musician trying to break new ground. And I think when others do nothing new, they are trying to sound the same. It seems so logical, though you'd be amazed at the responses I get defending the status quo! Anyway here are ways that I'm trying to be innovative, that are not weird. I stress melody and rhythm. Here is something that I find lacking in most other contemporary music - either its all melody and whiney and bland, or its all rhythm and psychotic and mean spirited. Mine is both melody and rhythm - good melody, good dancing. Also you can understand all my lyrics. Also the lyrics mean something and you can understand what they say.
Also to oppose clone bands ( IMO 3 guitars and drums is not music, after 40 years, its a cliche) and over produced music, I play a 40 year old standard guitar (no electric) and sing. Production is all back to basics. Also I play in a box office. It is fun to take music out of over priced arenas and play it free for anyone in a new setting. And though I may not always play from a box office, I think music needs new directions, and playing new venues would bring back fun again.
And bring back some fair prices for concerts.
I play original songs AND I play classics that I have re interpreted. Not solely original, Not a cover, but the best of both. Also because it is just me and a guitar, there is a singleness to it, a passion there that a group of musicians can't do. What I loose in big sound, I gain in passion and soul.
Also I am flat out advocating for change in music (and all the arts: I am also a zinester - see the Zine Hall of Fame, and artist - see my End of Modern Art article - on Musea .us). And its fun to cross over to different arts. I encourage it. And when you do you see that all the arts need some change. We've gotten into a rut - a consolidated corporate rut - a rut of dinosaurs and molasses. It' time for a revolution in music and all the arts.
So - that's my case for music that is innovative not weird. And whether I'm the one to lead the change in music or someone else - that's for the public to figure out. But no matter who, the time for change is way overdue.
Come to hunkasaurus.com and listen to original love songs like Searchin or Dreamboat, or the upbeat Dancin Across The Moon, Play that Country Music, Zine World, AOL Can Go And Tank Tomorrow, or Jimmy Reed's I'm the Man Down There. And you make the call
99% reading this will stick with the old ways. And personally I don't want to hear your whiny bitterness about how good endless sameness is. But if you are the 1% and are ready for something, anything new - let me hear from you.
#306 Trickle Up
In a recent ruling the Supreme Court said eminent domain was ok in certain instances that supported economical development. The instances cited seemed too broad to me. And they clearly favored big business concerns over those of average citizens. I think a city can have economical development without taking anyone's house away. First a definition: Eminent domain: the authority of a government to take private property for public use, with compensation to the owner. I suggest that for every trickle down method of economical development, there is also a trickle up method that works just as well if not better. Trickle down is when the investment is given to the rich and then trickles down to the poor. Some will say 'all boats rise' and other phrases to back up their trickle down scam. Yet economical development, like freedom is for all. It is not for the rich first.
Trickle up works many ways. Here's one that I favor. You invest in a neighborhood or region with a CBA , community bank account. The government and/or investors put money into the account. The capital can't be spent, but each month the INTEREST comes in. The community gets together and decides how best to spend the money to support their community. As a safeguard, the community sets up a 6 month plan on how to use the interest money, and the backers/investors approve it.
Also as a bit of serendipity, one more rules is that the capital in the local bank for the CBA, can only be used as loans for the people in that community.
Thus they have two revenues from the same bunch of money. And this account is NEVER spent, and CONTINUES to pay out interest every month from then on. Wise communities will even save a bit of the interest to build the account. Also some or all of the CBA may be invested in mutual funds or bonds etc.
A one time government pay out (with almost zero bureaucracy costs - just write a check!) empowers that community to build itself, from then on. [Just think if every community in New Orleans had a million dollar CBA, they would have close to $10,000 to spend in the way they see fit, every month from this day on.]
AND with that hope, and that community level control, that money can do real wonders. It also builds cooperation and togetherness in that community. In the end this trickle up builds UP the neighborhood, and supports the entire city financially. And look with my way I didn't tear down a single house. Instead I supported the people of my city - all of them.
And along those lines - I say Tax BREAKS for renovators, Tax HIKES for developers - helps preserve the heritage of Dallas or any town.
#307 When Photos Don't Tell the Truth
Can newspapers lie with photos? Can you believe your eyes? Yes and, Not always. This pertains to the Dallas daily newspaper, but it may fit your newspaper too. The news can be slanted to fit by what is shown and how it's shown. Here are 3 ways that our conservative paper in Dallas distorts the news. And as always, when confronted with this, they refuse to respond and can't be bothered.
If there is a photo of war protestors they will never show those that are in suits or those acting normal and sedate. They will search to find and print the most outrageously dressed protestor (usually the one person with face painting) in the most outrageously over-the-top angry pose. At the same time they will show soldiers in a reverential posed shots. A fair paper will show the average protestor, and the average soldier. If the paper is showing both a democrat and a republican and they are on opposite sides of a controversy. The paper will choose the most unflattering photo of the dem while choosing a posed shot of the republican. If one person is helping another. And the two are of different races. The daily paper will always show a white person helping a minority. They will hardly ever (or never) show a minority as the authority figure helping a white person. Next time you read a paper, look at the photos and don't automatically believe your eyes.
In other media news - there was little to no coverage of the huge antiwar rally this last weekend. It was clear the media is opposed to covering the antiwar effort fairly. Now how can we trust them on anything?
IF payola on the radio is now illegal again - and the investigations against the Big 4 continue - why does mainstream radio STILL play the same songs, by the same artists, exclusively from the same Big 4 record companies? IF payola is out why aren't indies getting fairplay airplay? You might ask them.
Something similar to the music mess is happening in the film biz. Ca. state Attorney is investigating film companies and their practice of clearance, which is exclusive rights to films within specific zones. Subpoenas have been received by Viacom/Paramount, Walt Disney, Sony Corp/Sony Pix, News Corp/20th Cent Fox, Dreamworks, and Time Warner/New Line Cinema. Its industry wide and it covers all the corporate art players.
#308 Tension Twosome
Here are two recent kids poems of mine that I'll collectively
call a 'Tension Twosome'.
(For more such kids poetry see my book "Moon Tea")
SHOT OUT OF A CANNON
She is the woman
shot out of a cannon
that never came down
that never came down
it's very uncommon
but life goes on and
crowds shift about
crowds shift about
tension smacks the atmosphere
a little bit here a little bit there
'seems not right that she'd disappear'
and never come down
and never come down
A ROW OF DRAGONS
there was a row of dragons
on each side of the canal
as our little sailboat
slowly floated by
taller than any redwood trees
scaly with watery eyes
not a word was said as we
slowly floated by
as each was passed his head did turn
their maws were open wide
and saliva drooled off their fangs as we
slowly floated by
near the end the last in line
let out a roar of fire
baying his head toward the Moon as we
slowly floated by
they backed away as if one nerve
controlled the entire line
and left us there to wonder as we
slowly floated by ....
c. Tom Hendricks 2005
#309 Introducing Musea d
Webmaster Donna, has posted the new issue of Musea on our website Musea .us . It is my biggest regular issue ever with - not the usual 8 - but 12 packed pages. It's all about plans for the worlds biggest art center. Here are the opening paragraphs. Link up and read the rest - or if in Dallas pick up a copy.
Reader, if you will, start by imagining an art center for Dallas... No that's too small. I mean a BIG all-purpose art center. Got it in your mind? Now take that times 10 and you've got an idea of this art center! That's what this issue is about - a world art center in the center of Dallas called * MUSEAD *. An art center that not only showcases the best of art, but preserves art from the past, and supports art and artists yet to come.
The first thing you notice is the shape. The art center is a ship, a 30's style luxury ocean liner, an ocean liner in dry dock in Dallas (the largest US city that is NOT a port city). How incongruous - at first - an ocean liner sitting on the prairie. One asks, as if interpreting a koan, where is this ship sailing - oceans of the mind? And reader if you ask that, you are on the right track.
All aboard! This ship-shaped art center celebrates every art on earth. Scattered throughout the ship are small and large theaters, cinemas, concert halls, performance halls, meeting rooms, ballrooms, etc. These alternate with quieter spots - libraries of literature, galleries of art, stores, lounges, cafes, radio and TV studios, and more....
Musea Extra: Paul Slavens Makes History, Plays first Anti-Band Song
Paul Slavens on his Sunday Nite KERA show may have made history on Sun. Oct 16, when he announced on the air the playing of an anti-band song - first such announcement since the movement for a music to replace 40 years of bands, began. He and guest Howard Draper, played a song from Jonathan Myberg, announcing before hand that it was an anti-band song. Dull Dallas music scene has broken new artistic ground in spite of itself.
#310 State Fair Still Your Best Entertainment Value
Having had a fun trip to the Texas State Fair this year, I wanted to recommend it to my readers as being the best value for your entertainment money. I can't imagine anyone not having fun with something there. Being in love with the arts, I saw the arts and craft exhibit, heard some live music, saw a puppet show, and saw - what's become a weird favorite of mine, the butter sculpture. Inside a glassed in refrigerated corner in the crafts building, is a giant butter sculpture - this year a full sized Elvis look alike playing guitar, while 3 hound dogs yelp it up beside him. Where else can you see that? But beyond that there are the animal exhibits, the info-mercial buildings of new cars, or spiffy gadgets; the State Fair cuisine, and the huge midway of rides and games. Sometimes the oldies are the goodies and that includes he annual Texas State Fair . Check it out.
#311 Reader's Rubicon
I was at Paperbacks Plus Bookstore in Lakewood yesterday (Mon.) turning some books in for credit for the Musea Reading Fund (EVERYONE is welcome to get half off any classic book, or recording there, by using it) . There were 3 of us in the main room - all committed bibliophiles. I heard one say to the clerk that she had reached a point where she refused to continue reading any book she didn't like. Before that she felt compelled to finish any book she started. The clerk agreed and I added that I understood what she was saying, and felt it was a kind of benchmark or Rubicon in any readers life IF and WHEN they can stop reading a bad or boring book.
It really separates the weekend reader from us serious book lovers. Because once you come to that point you are finally liberated to read just what you want. You can quickly dismiss the banal, or the padded, or the book with a good first chapter and nothing to follow. Now with that freedom to quickly dismiss, you can speed through the rubbish (and don't believe the old adage because in truth you really can't tell a book by its cover) to get to the gold - the books that let you soar on adventure, or new ideas, or fascinating characters.
I really don't know where the pressure to finish bad books comes from. My best guess is this is another repressive trait of bad teachers, and worse educational systems. But no matter where it starts, once it ends there is no stopping a reader. And with such a short life span and so many books - we can well profit from this knowledge. Have you crossed that Rubicon? Are you in the upper echelon of bibliophiles? If not , join us!
addendum: Musea .us has a number of guides to literature - best books, best poets, best children's illustrators, best playwrights, etc. Check them out. My best books list is currently the most popular page on the website. And speaking of education - see the websites essay on education reforms. And don't forget the Musea Reading Fund. It is down from a couple thousand, to about $300. So people are using it - you use it too! (These towed from browser on 10/26/05)
#312 Four Classic ALBUMS
The late 60's and early 70's was a golden age of albums, LP's, 33 1/3's. For some reason classic rock album after classic rock album came out, month after month during that time. It's taken the last 30 years just to catch up to the plethora of great albums. And note a great album is not a collection of singles - its a single song cycle that somehow presents a complete mood or experience. Every song fits, and it wouldn't sound complete if any song was missing. I want to tell you about 4 of them that are surely some of the best ever recorded - and yet you probably have not heard of them. But first let's start with some examples of classic albums from the well known artists that most of you are familiar with: Sgt Peppers/Beatles, Pet Sounds/Beach Boys, Younger Than Yesterday/Byrds, Tapestry/Carol King, Bookends/Simon and Garfunkel, Blue/Joni Mitchell, Are You Experienced/Jimi Hendrix, Deja-Vu Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Ram, Paul McCartney, just about any early LP from Dylan, (or even Sinatra - he made some great mood albums) etc. And the list has barely started. But here are 4 that in all the brilliance, you may not have seen but that I guarantee - as do most music critics - that they are first rate: I'll list them by year.
1. FOREVER CHANGES, by Love. (1967) Arthur Lee, Bryan Maclean, and company do a hauntingly passionate and quirky rock LP with orchestra, Spanish type horns, and lots of standard guitar. It all is an offbeat beauty that gets better with repeated playings
2. ODE TO BILLY JOE, by Bobbie Gentry. (1967) You've heard the title song that just oozes southern atmosphere. The album goes further and you end up with a picture of a farm girl that is filled with bigger dreams. I don't know of any other LP that better describes the atmosphere of a specific place in its lyrics.
3. ASTRAL WEEKS, by Van Morrison. (1968) Morrison recorded this all in a few days and the jazz folk mix is a one of a kind. Here are eight songs that play as one. It's been reported that the jazz musicians behind him weren't even sure of what they were doing. But it all works wonderfully.
4. NEW YORK TENDABERRY, by Laura Nyro (1969). You may have heard others do her songs, but that is shallow water compared to the real thing. No one goes from full loud to a whisper and back quicker. This album was mostly her voice and piano, augmented with other musicians. The engineer recorded her first then fit the orchestration around her. Nothing has the raw emotional extremes that this does. Well there you have it. Four of the very best.
And as an addendum here are a few other little known gems to add to our lists: The Moth Confesses/Neon Philharmonic, most passed up this gem as mush - not so at all, MacArthur Park/Richard Harris does actor versions of Jimmy Webb songs, If I Could Only Remember My Name/ David Crosby's first solo album - very trippy, etc. etc. etc. The complete guide of great albums from 65-75 will be a long time coming.
Well that's the year. Thanks for spending it with me.