June 07, 2002

Monsturd Premiere at the Victoria Theatre Tonight!

Come see me in my acting debut!

Monsturd premiere's tonight at 8pm at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco. I play the wife of the first victim and sing the Theme Song:
Number Two: The Ballad of the Monsturd.

So far it's gotten some great reviews! Here's one from SF Examiner.

June 06, 2002

The Buck Stops With Craig Newmark: "Hollywood, Enough Is Enough"

Check out:

Craig Newmark, a ReplayTV user (aided by the EFF) is suing Turner Broadcasting (among others) and seeking a declarative judgement asserting his right to space- and time-shift TV programming -- and to skip commercials while doing it -- using a PVR.

Right on dude! You big sweetie! Stand up for our right to watch shows later and go to the bathroom during commercials! (Has it really come to this?)

Craig vs Hollywood
Thursday, June 6, 2002

Hey, folks, you know that craigslist has a strong commitment to political issues that affect the online community, like privacy and free speech. We figure we should focus on what we know something about, and otherwise, provide you a platform for whatever you want to discuss.

The major Hollywood companies could be embracing new technologies, serving their customers better and making more money, for themselves, and for artists. A lot of people in Hollywood know this.

However, a lot of folks in entertainment seem to be panicking, taking bad advice and trying to get anti-consumer laws passed, to restrict personal freedoms, like what you do when you buy something like a CD or DVD, or record a TV program.

To help everyone out, Craig is suing Hollywood, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is a major pioneer in the fight for online rights.

To oversimplify, the Hollywood lawyers are telling us that when we view TV, skipping commercials is a copyright violation... and it gets worse from there.

Craig and others are telling them that this ain't okay.

Craig is not representing craigslist in this regard, but we figure you should know about this.

(For that matter, he can even help people figure out good ways to prevent actual piracy, which could help out artists and the named companies.)

The idea is that Hollywood and also the tech industry are really well-represented, but no one stands up for ordinary citizens and consumers. (No one really stands up for the artists, and the industry is encouraging piracy by its current actions, but that's another fight.)

Hey, whenever you can, please help us out: support our legal challenge in whatever way you can, stay informed, and tell people in your company and even Congress that you're concerned about this. I'd appreciate it if you were to join EFF or any group concerned with your online rights.

More info is available on the EFF site here.



Dee Dee Ramone is Dead

This saddens me greatly.


Dee Dee Ramone
dead at 50

LOS ANGELES, June 6 ˜ Dee Dee Ramone, a founding member of the pioneer punk band the Ramones, was found dead of a possible drug overdose in his Hollywood home, the coroner‚s office said Thursday. He was 50.

RAMONE, whose real name was Douglas Glenn Colvin, was found dead on the couch by his wife when she returned home at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, said Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner‚s office. Paramedics were called and he was declared dead at 8:40 p.m. „The investigator noted drug paraphernalia, including a single syringe on the kitchen counter, and we are handing it as a possible accidental overdose, Harvey said. An autopsy was planned later Thursday.

The death comes 11 weeks after the band was celebrated with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Lead singer Joey Ramone died in April of last year of lymphoma, a form of cancer. He was 49.

June 05, 2002

Checking In With My Little Friends

Captured by the Paparazzi while visiting an old friend on the Harvard campus during my trip to Cambridge last week.

Al Sharpton and Johnny Cochran Are Calling for What from Who?

In what at first appeared to be an annoucement straight out of left field, it turns out that Al Sharpton and artists rights have a lot more in common than first meets the eye, via Sharpton's National Action Network.

Check out this little ditty from Billboard (registration required so I have cut and pasted it from an email sent to me):
Sharpton To Call For Changes In Music Biz.

Sharpton To Call For Changes In Music Biz

Billboard Bulletin:

June 05, 2002,

Cochran, Sharpton To Call For Changes In Music Biz

Seeking to end what they call the "subservient way" major record labels treat recording artists, lawyer Johnnie Cochran and the Rev. Al Sharpton will today hold a news conference in L.A. in which they plan to propose "radical changes" for the music industry.

Operating as the legal arm of Sharpton's New York-based National Action Network civil-rights organization, Cochran is seeking meetings with the majors to "try and get a sense how [artist] relationships and contracts are evolved," according to a spokesperson. Changes they plan to propose include a system that would emulate the free-agency market that exists in professional sports; presumably this would give artists greater opportunities to shop their services to the highest bidder.

The RIAA did not return calls for comment. -- Erik Gruenwedel, L.A.

June 04, 2002

Hot CDs Explicitly Advertised!

Hey kids! Now you'll be able to recognize which CDs are the hottest (you know the ones -- the ones your parents wouldn't want you to have) because they will be clearly labeled!

Cool parents will be able to demonstrate their flexibility by purchasing such discs, in large numbers, for their insecure teenagers, while big businesses can rest assured that they will be better insulated from (those nasty) occasional suicides.

See the Wall St. Journal piece by Yochi J. Dreazen:
BMG Records goes out on a limb with detailed parental warnings -- Explicit content to be noted on albums, advertising.

Acting voluntarily, BMG plans to place new advisory stickers on certain albums, specifying whether they have violent content, sexual content, strong language or some combination of the three, officials say. BMG plans to include the more-detailed warnings in advertising, including television, radio, print and online ads for the albums concerned...

...BMG officials say they are sensitive to concerns that warning stickers, or ratings, could crimp artistic expression by making it easy for retailers and consumers to shun music they deem offensive. "There is definitely a need to balance the preservation of free artistic expression with the need and desire to address consumers' concerns that the labels didn't tell them enough information," says LaVerne Evans, BMG's senior vice president and general counsel. "We feel that these new labels do that."

Of course, parental warnings often have a way of helping sales, by turning an album into forbidden fruit and making teens want to hear it. And many albums and CDs that have been edited to remove explicit content, and are labeled accordingly, haven't sold well.

There's Nothing Fashionable About War

I just saw Garbage on the Tonight Show. Shirley Manson sure is cool, but her choice of commando attire reminded me why I put my camouflage pants in the bottom of my closet last September.

June 03, 2002

New Song Up On Music Site

Just added Poltergeist to my online collection.

This song is also written by myself and Ron Taylor and recorded at Vagrant Records by Erik-4A with Evan Foster on lead guitar.

Seeding Good Feelings Towards Genetically-altered Food

Some agricultural biotechnology interests (Monsanto and Syngenta) have found a new humanitarian ways of dodging the real concerns surrounding the use of biogenetically-altered plants in food crops.

Cultivating a New Image: Firms Give Away Data, Patent Rights on Crops,
by Justin Gillis for the Washington Post.

But the long-term environmental impact of the crops remains a serious question. Many scientists wonder whether foreign genes inserted into crops can spread to the wild relatives of those plants, doing some kind of unforeseen environmental damage.

In fact, several incidents have suggested that the ag bio companies, whatever their intentions, won't be able to control where their altered genes wind up. Agricultural biotechnology's biggest debacle to date occurred when an altered crop called Starlink corn, approved only for use as animal food, turned up in the human food supply, forcing widespread recalls of taco shells and other products.

That mess forced all the biotechnology companies to pledge never to put a crop on the market for animal use only, because it would be certain to wind up in the human food supply. For similar reasons, many American farmers are worried about Monsanto's efforts to commercialize a genetically engineered wheat. The farmers, though they may support biotechnology in principle, are afraid the altered wheat will taint the entire American crop in the eyes of foreign buyers.

June 02, 2002

Bitzi's Privileged Listings

Bitzi has used my "Shake All Over" tune as an example of its Privileged Listings service.