This week Mac McCaughan (left) of the bands Superchunk and Portastatic and the influential label Merge, which has released approx 300 albums to date and which he launched along with fellow Superchunk member Laura Balance, spoke to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation at a hearing titled "The Future of Radio." The hearing, which is not to be confused with the House of Representatives' Girl Talk-referencing copyright hearing from several months ago, took place on Wednesday, October 24th and is available in full transcript in PDF file by clicking here (finally your tax dollars at work doing something worthwhile).
According to the Committee's website, the purpose of the "The Future of Radio" hearing was to "assess the state of innovation and competition in the radio market." And the Superchunk singer/guitarist's testimony stressed the importance of the role that non-commercial radio has played in introducing independent musicians to wider audiences. He mentions Merge Records' instances like the Arcade Fire and Spoon -- two highly successful bands whose albums this year debuted in the Billboard Top Ten. McCaughan also addressed the power of the internet, as well as the importance of maintaining network neutrality so that commercial and technological experimentation can continue. Additionally, McCaughan urged the Committee to resist corporate pressure to loosen ownership restrictions in order to avoid a potential media monopoly, something that many others have voiced concern over.
In addressing the hearing Mac accurately noted that it has been reported "that the FCC is considering altering the media ownership rules again and loosening the local ownership caps to allow major radio groups to buy even more stations in each market. No matter what your tastes in entertainment or news, if you value localism, competition and diversity, Congress and the FCC must recognize that further deregulation is not the answer." A true supporter of independent and alternative artists, he also noted that artists who "thrive outside of the commercial realm depend on and deserve open access to public platforms such as the airwaves and the internet. Likewise, communities and citizens should have access to localized and diverse media. This is not just a means of doing business, but also an important facet of American life that needs to be nurtured and protected."
THE ART OF CAEDMON RECORDS
(click on any image for full size and better detail)
Today I spill a lil on the curb for the late, great Vincent Price, who died exactly 14 years ago on October 25th, 1993. A truly great and most unique American actor, Price will be forever remembered for his distinctive voice and the semi-serious/semi-comedic roles he played in countless horror films. He will also be remembered to some for such things as hosting the PBS television series Mystery! in the 1980's and for adding the ghostly voice-over at the beginning of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
Vincent Leonard Price was 82 years of age when he died of complications from emphysema and Parkinson's disease. He was still active up to within a few years of his death; one of his last major film roles was a part in the movie Edward Scissorhands. That last film of his, which saw him in a smaller role due to his ill health, was in 1990 and capped an extremely long, illustrious, and most prolific film career. It began for the actor in 1938 and included well over a hundred films -- many available on DVD at Amoeba Music. Two of my personal favorite Vincent Price films are House of Wax (1953) and Theatre of Blood (1973) -- the latter being the very first film of his I ever saw and the one that got me hooked on his ever-engaging on-screen persona. The film is pure, brilliant horror and suspense with just the perfect balance of humor -- the sort of film that makes most of today's over-the-top on special effects but low on anything else so-called "horror" flicks pale in comparison.
Saturday October 27
80's T&A Arcade Classic!
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
This forgotten T&A classic not only has the greatest theme song of the 1980's ("Totally awesome video games!"), it combines everything you loved from that preposterous decade: Valley girls, arcades, nerds, slobs, boobies, left-over hippies and the all time greatest punk gang, The Vidiots (led brilliantly by Jonathan Gries of Napoleon Dynamite fame.) Help save the arcade from being closed down by those evil conservative townsfolk and yeah... play some games while you're at it!
You will not find another movie that genuinely captures the video game craze of the early 80's.
Special Guests (schedules permitting): Jonathan Gries (King Vidiot), Jim Greenleaf (McDorfus) and director Greydon Clark!!!
With special help from Jesse Hawthorne Ficks (www.midnitesformaniacs.com)