Monday, December 24, 2007

bits of the end of the year

Thanks to all who came out to the Milky Way benefit. Djs Dafna and Stella of the Gross Anatomy party threw down pop electro french whatnots and jumped around on the dancefloor. they brought out a fun crowd from their own queer-posi party although it didn't make much of a change from the eclectic Milky Way scene: skinny white rockers, latino club folks (who requested Bachata, but appeared nicely resigned when I said I didn't have it), hip-hop kids, dreadlocked funksters and college folk, and such like. I played a short set at the beginning, followed by the lovely ladies of through the keyhole burlesque doing a short, sweet and spicy performance (sexy elves with big -um- candycanes, and a fan dance!), and then Dafna ad Stella did their thing, then I jumped up again.

party people danced, tasty pizza was served, and the bar has ginger beer (wa-hey!)

One of the things I count as success is when people who appear to be from completely different scenes congratulate and thank me for my set, one lean+mean pompadoured bleachblonde lesbian gal in tight jeans with a huge belt buckle, one six-foot-plus african-american dude in a black t-shirt big jeans and a heavy chain, and a couple of sweet-faced kids in t-shirts and cargo pants (with a hint of raver). When I get all those folks on the dancefloor together, I feel pretty good. Especially when I did it with everything from Bird Peterson to Yo Majesty to Ghislain Poirier to Rustie to the Buckwheat Boys to Specialist'n'Tru Skool to Filastine

so thanks, all the great music producers out there..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

remixers, mashers, collagers unite!

I think it's very exciting that the Organization for Transformative Works has just been founded.

Looks like they are setting themselves up as residing within the "transformative" aspect of the fair use concept (which is only one of four factors judges usually consider when faced with a fair use defense, and not actually a law in its own right). But basing one's rights in transformativity is a step away from the oh-so-amorphous-and-yet-one-dimensional "originality" so I'm all for it. It at least acknowledges the context which art is made and breaks down the assumption that it exists without other art.

It seems to be originating (heh) as an umbrella for fandom and fan fiction, so perhaps authors in the text-writing sense and video makers too (although there's plenty of other kinds of fan art so maybe not).

But I think many of the great traditions of hip-hop come from being a music fan, generally and of specific artists and genres. And skills are embedded in re-use and reference of already existing sounds and works. transformative indeed. So why not join-up, sample-heavy producers? reference-heavy composers? scratch djs?

or start an audio division?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thanks for all who came out - and who read

Some nice news on the writing front, my piece on HR 4137 for WireTap has been picked up by The Nation Online (including them putting it in the email newsletter, which I am told is the first time they have included a piece by a non-Nation author), and also run by the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday Edition (print media maybe? chicago peeps holla!). Hopefully people will be motivated to speak to their senators on behalf of students rights and academic freedom.

On the musical side, last night was definitely one of the good ones. Dj G was one of the best dupstep djs I've seen in a long time. I think I heard a few of his tracks which were really innovative (in the sense of importing some swingy 4-on-the-floor references into the beats, which really kicked up the dancefloor), and he kept the crowd moving nicely. One of the things I like about Surya Dub is that there is a baseline (heh) of dubstep heads and Kush Arora fans and bellydancers, and then a large crew of folks from all over the map - white-tee wearing hip-hop fans, glammed up laydeez in high heels, skinny-pants boys with caps and cool glasses (large & nerdy or small & architect-y), it's multiracial and spans a pretty wide age and style range. This means some of our more genre-specific djs don't have an easy time connecting to the whole crowd - you really need to work your dj skills to interact and liven people up. Anyway Dj G had the skills, and also the super-endearing quality of jumping around behind the decks (I love djs that look like they love the music they're playing). Lukeino was laying down some new drum-n-bass when I left, wobbly with sleepiness (end of the semester is a tough time to be out late).

I started the night downstairs and experimented (on the Surya Dub crowd) by goung back to the sounds I started out playing - in terms of mixing up the more bumpin dub sounds with hip-hop and jungle (some nice jump-up tracks that have come my way recently), and kept people wiggling for a while before bringing it up to dubstep tempo to set it up for Kush and the return of MC Daddy Frank. People seemed into it, and we are looking ahead to 2008 - January 26th for the next Surya Dub!

Monday, December 03, 2007

downsides and upsides

The bad news is that the entertainment industry bigwigs have apparently captured the house education committee- a bill before the Senate on "Educational Affordability" has requirements in it that would 1) raise the cost of education (in order to subsidize the entertainment industry), and 2) deprive colleges of ALL federal funding if the industry (not the government) determines them to be violators of copyright law, this would include Pell grants, financial aid, etc.

full article on it here
EDUCAUSE's Action page here

The good news is that we can still dance: the last Surya Dub of the year is December 8th - this Saturday!

Club Six, 60 6th Street San Francisco. Come out for the end of the year and congratulate us AGAIN on "Best Club Night in SF"