Indy Arts' Censorship Panel in San Francisco tonight - free

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2009 03:20pm | Post a Comment

Independent Arts & Media
(aka Indy Arts) is presenting a panel tonight in San Francisco on the ever-topical subject of censorship in arts and the media. As outlined by the organizers, freedom of speech doesn't necessarily mean that we are completely free to actually say or print anything that we wish.

Tonight's discussion, which is free, will be moderated by V. Vale from RESearch Publications, and will include panelists Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press, Jesse Townley of Alternative Tentacles, KALX, & 924 Gilman, and John Hell of SF community micro radio station Pirate Cat Radio -- all of whom will offer their insights and experiences with censorship issues.

Tonight what exactly it is that can and cannot be said will be discussed and analyzed. Further, the panel will examine if what we aren't allowed to say should be said or not, and if so, who should determine these things. On this same topic, a few days ago I finally got to the wonderfully revealing Kirby Dick directed 2006 investigative documentary on the US film rating system This Film Is Not Yet Rated (avail on DVD at Amoeba) which opened up my eyes to some of the ridiculous grey-area forms of censorship that take place just within film rating. Worth watching.

Earlier today I asked one of tonight's panelists, Jesse Townley, who was profiled in a recent Amoeblog, what specifics might be addressed this evening by himself and other panelists: "I think it's about personal incidents of censorship/prior restraint (hello FCC!) as well as the larger issues," he replied. "No one is 'pro-censorship' but I wonder if there'll be any discussion of the 'crying fire in a theater' test, or child pornography, or the video game you mention, etc. I think there will be... Vale will keep it moving and interesting, no doubt about it."

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Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2009 07:32am | Post a Comment
       Pylon live at Hurrah (1981)

Randy Bewley, the guitarist with influential Athens GA band Pylon, died late yesterday afternoon. Bewley had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack while driving in Athens on Monday when the van he was driving drifted off the road and tipped over, according to bandmate vocalist Vanessa Hay in an email message sent out to fanpylon gyrates of the band.

Considered the seminal group of the Athens music scene (later groups included B-52's who cited Pylon as influences and R.E.M. who later covered the Pylon song "Crazy"), Pylon formed in 1978 when all four members (Bewley & Hay -- then Brisco, bassist Michael Lachowski, & drummer Curtis Crowy) met up while attending the University of Georgia. A year later they released their debut and continued recording and performing up until 1983 when they temporarily disbanded. While they reformed in 1989 for two years and once again more recently five years ago, their most important years remain 1979-1983. 

When R.E.M. was chosen by Rolling Stone as "America's Best Rock And Roll Band" in 1987, R.E.M.'s drummer Bill Berry dismissed it famously, saying at the time, "We're not the best rock'n'roll band in America," and insisting that Pylon, who had been broken up for four years at that point, was much more deserving of the honor than his own group.

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Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2009 03:57pm | Post a Comment


This post is inspired by the upcoming 3rd Annual Amoeba Art Show + Factory Party in conjunction with the East Bay Express next Friday, March 6th (6-11PM), which is bound to be hella fun -- like all Amoeba events and the East Bay Express'  Best of the East Bay event at the Oakland Museum a few months ago which Amoeba was also a part of. And the art show is free too! warholAnyway, above is an excerpt from the interviews in which Andy Warhol (sans glasses) credits Brigid Berlin (also in the clip) for contributing to the creation of many of his paintings, resulting in folks becoming highly skeptical of "his" work and whether or not "his" work should be rightfully credited to him or someone else.

What I love most about this open admission by Warhol is his pure honesty, his unbridled  don't-give-a-fuck attitude as to what people (serious art critics) may think, and the fact that even by not doing all of his own art or by outsourcing it, that he was in effect still creating a new style of art -- one that is so influential that even the "Photo Booth" program in the Mac I am working on comes complete with a Warhol derived "Pop Art" feature. 

Longtime Sacramento Hip-Hop Artist C-BO is Truly Gangsta Rap & Despite a Career Interrupted by Long Stretches Behind Bars, He Has Remained Highly Prolific

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment

Rapper C-BO has long been known for his no-holds-barred, shock-filled, self-described "killer style" of gangsta rap. Ever since his debut album Gas Chamber sixteen years ago, the Sacramento rapper has been consistently satisfying his dedicated legions of hardcore rap fans with both controversy and countless releases. In addition to a string of solo albums, he has also collaborated on songs or albums with the likes of first cousin E40, 2Pac, Yukmouth, Killa Tay, Spice-1, Master P, Brotha Lynch Hung, as well as his crew Mob Figaz, to name but a few.

Unlike so many self-described "gangsta" rappers, Shawn "C-BO" Thomas is genuinely 'gangsta'. Growing up in the notorious gang-filled Garden Block of Sacramento, the artist became a member of the Crips while barely into his teens, and openly admits his past involvement in drug dealing and other gang related crimes before he became a full time recording artist. His rap name stands for Cowboy: "I got the name cowboy from being around guns all the time," he told me in a 1997 interview.

Not surprisingly, that lifestyle resulted in C-BO's spending several periods of his life incarcerated from his teens onwards. It was in jail in 1993 that he first met Killa Tay, who he would later collaborate with. And it was also during a separate stint in the Sacramento County Jail that he collaborated with fellow inmate X-Raided on writing some music. In fact, it was X-Raided who wrote the song "Deadly Game" for C-BO, a song that later landed C-BO back in jail and caused a national controversy -- drawing attention and outrage amongst freedom of speech advocates while simultaneously only further fuc-boeling C-BO's notorious reputation amongst hardcore rap fans.

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Posted by Billyjam, February 23, 2009 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Vbyz Cartel feat. Spice "Ramping Shop"

Following their decision two weeks ago to place a ban on both violent and sexually explicit lyrics in popular dancehall records, the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC) has followed up, in a controversial decision a few days ago, by also issuing a ban on soca and hip-hop songs with both sexually explicit content and lyrics that encourage violence through gun use.

Two weeks ago, in its current quest to clean up the broadcast media, the Jamaican broadcast regulating commission first targeted reggae dancehall "daggering" songs and videos ("daggering" is a popular dance style with dancehall reggae fans that simulates sex via pelvic grinding moves) such as the popular, auto-tune happy single "Ramping Shop" by Vbyz Kartel featuring Spice (video above). The dance, as seen in the Mr Vegas "Daggering" video below, is very similar to the female booty ass shaking moves associated with Miami bass and most of current era popular hip-hop dances in BET music video play.

Hence it is no surprise that a lot of explicit hip-hop and soca were targeted by the JBC in its follow up ruling ban of few days ago. The reaction to this ban has been mixed. Some in Jamaica are outraged, calling it a double-standard since there is still a lot of explicit material in TV shows and movies. Others, such as US based YouTuber and big time dancehall fan Daggasista, said that, "Mi nuh care if dem ban di daggerin song dem mi still a whine an galang bad fi dem." As with any other past instances of censorship of music, bans like this usually only drive the music further underground while simultaneously fueling an interest in it.

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