F*ck off Ticketmaster!

December 30, 2008

Finally someone has taken a stand against Ticketmaster’s monopoly on entertainment ticket sales. Concert promoter behemoth, Live Nation, is finally providing competition to Ticketmaster’s price and service fee business model. Hopefully, competition will drive the model towards the removal or at least lowering of fees for tickets.

And yes, I do understand that most charges go toward the venues. Either way it’s a good start to a long time problem.

read about it here.

2008 – The Year in Photos

December 28, 2008

The end of the year always comes with a glut of lists…best of this, best of that. Most of them suck. Fortunately, I found one that doesn’t suck – the Year in Photos list from “The Big Picture Blog” via the Boston Globe. Do yourself a favor and take a look at parts ONE, TWO and THREE. I’ve included a few of my personal favorites below.

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Samuel Peter from Nigeria receives a punch from Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine during their WBC heavyweight boxing world championship fight in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 11, 2008. Klitschko won the fight after round nine due to technical knock out.

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A solar eclipse can be seen above the Jiayuguan Fort on the Great Wall of China in the town of Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, China on August 1, 2008.

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Drummers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing.

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A man in a traditional “Perchten” costume performs during an Austrian league soccer match in Ried, Austria November 12, 2008.

harmony_korine_collected_fanzinesI’ve never ordered anything from Amazon.com before in my life. There’s no particular reason for my complete lack of patronage, I guess I’m just not much of an online shopper. I also think that the sheer number of options available on Amazon is incredibly overwhelming. Do I want a hat or granola bars? A book or an umbrella? I’m utterly intimidated. However, given that I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas this year, it seems I’ll be forced to overcome my fears sooner than I anticipated.

Thing is, I already know the first thing I’m going to order: The Collected Fanzines by Harmony Korine. Best known for writing the screenplay for Kids while still in his teens, Korine came to embody the DIY mindset in New York in the 90s. An integral part of Aaron Rose’s Alleged Gallery on Ludlow back in the day, Korine combined the skateboarding/punk/hip hop aesthetic into his work, be it film, art or whatever. The Collected Fanzines is just that, a collection of zines that Korine and pal and fellow skater/artist Mark Gonzales put together for the fuck of it. I’m pumped to see what it’s all about, not only because I’m a fan of Korine’s work and the outlook he represents, but also because I wasn’t lucky enough to be around NYC in the 90s when all of these artists were on the come-up. This is creativity for creativity’s sake and it’s inspirational.

If you want to see Dave Letterman at his most uncomfortable (and I’m a fan of Dave) check out a couple of his interviews with Harmony on The Late Show. Great stuff.

Animal Collective

December 27, 2008

Everyone is freaking out about the new Animal Collective record as if it’s already going to the be best release of 2009. Guess we’ll have to wait for next Tuesday. Until then, here’s a sweet video a buddy showed me that syncs the song “Fireworks” with stop-motion animation from Where The Wild Things Are. Pretty trippy. Also below is a live version of “My Girls,” from the forthcoming Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

December 18, 2008

Nothing new, but dude’s voice is ethereal. Gives me chills. Heard his shows at Town Hall were epic.

The Big Picture Blog

December 15, 2008

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I recently learned of the Boston Globe‘s Big Picture blog via Very Short List, a blog that highlights a single item each day from the world of media and entertainment that has otherwise flown under the radar.

The Big Picture blog itself displays particularly noteworthy images from the newswire in large format (the inspiration for the blog was Life magazine). Recently, the blog selected a number of images taken during the eruption of Chile’s Chaiten volcano this past May. The photos speak for themselves. They simultaneaously capture both the beauty and shear destructive force of mother nature. Especially breathtaking are the photos of lightning. Unbelievable. Do yourself a favor and peep it HERE.

This past weekend The Mae Shi hit NYC. I’m sorry to say I missed their loud, spastic, catchy, synth-laden brand of rock. They headlined with Snakes Say Hiss! at Silent Barn. One of these days, I’ll actually make it out to one of these shows. Anyways, enjoy the vid and the song. 

The Mae Shi – Run to Your Grave 

Snakes Say Hisss! – I Control the Wind

Arthur Russell

December 10, 2008

arthur-russellSo many artists find more recognition poshumously than they do during their lifetimes. Arthur Russell is one of the more recent additions to this list. A member of New York’s downtown dance and disco scenes in the mid-70s and 80s, Russell was a pioneer in the realms of ambient electronic music and minimal disco. Relatively obscure in his lifetime, Russell collaborated with the likes of David Byrne and Philip Glass before dying of AIDS in 1992. Without his contributions to electronic and dance music, current artists like Erlend Øye, the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem wouldn’t experience nearly the success they enjoy today.

With the recent release of Love Is Overtaking Me, a compilation of unreleased folk and country tracks and the recent biopic Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Russell’s profile has risen significantly as of late. But it’s his earlier work that is most compelling to me. A great introduction to Arthur Russell is Calling Out of Context, a collection of some of Russell’s best dance tracks. Amazing song below, his voice is so subtle, yet piercing:

“That’s Us/Wild Combination”

Jimmy V

December 9, 2008

Speaking of Jimmy V, check out his speech from the 1993 Espy’s, shortly before he died of cancer. Funny, touching and inspirational. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up:

Stephen Curry

December 9, 2008

Any person that considers himself a college basketball fan is aware of Stephen Curry, the man singlehandedly driving Davidson. Last year, Curry propelled the squad to the Elite 8 and this season has them positioned as the No. 22 team in the nation, an impressive slot for a small program like Davidson.

When I noticed that Davidson was playing West Virginia tonight on ESPN for the Jimmy V Classic, I was eager to watch Curry play as I hadn’t seen him in action since the tournament last year. I tuned in for the second half and although Davidson was ahead by a couple of buckets, Curry was struggling from the field. Despite the fact that he had dropped 44 on NC State in his last time out, or perhaps because of it, Curry was forcing outside jumpers and taking bad shots early in the possession. Curry displayed a marked ability to create his own shot and has a rapid-fire release, but he seemed to want to win the game on his own.

Come to find out, that’s exactly what he did. As Davidson found themselves down by a few due to atrocious rebounding, all it took was a jumper to go down for Curry to find his stroke. He wound up scoring Davidson’s last 11 points, including the step-back three that ultimately put Davidson ahead for good. Some might argue that Curry is too small to play in the Association, but his ability to create his own shot and marksmanship from outside will make him a threat. As my dad used to say, a great shooter makes up for a multitude of sins.

Watch the PTI guys argue about Loyola MD’s strategy to double team curry the ENTIRE GAME despite losing by 30: