Entries Tagged 'Technology' ↓

The New York Daily News Covers GrindXDesign.

WOW! Super-ultra-special thanks to The New York Daily News, writer Anita Samuels, and photographer Jeff Bachner for covering the debut module of GrindXDesign, above.

It’s great, stupendous coverage. Admittedly, I’m slightly uncomfortable with Jeff’s crystalline photo, as I typically don’t view myself from the side, but love that he caught the stereo waveform on the computer monitor. Not complaining.

I’m amused that, for the 900th time, a white media organ covering me has utterly excised my title—and this blog’s—Media Assassin, from the text. But I’m thrilled Anita reproduced this quote, perfectly: “Hip-hop is made up of many moving parts, and if you’re not aware of all of those parts, those parts can fall off and roll over you and kill you.” Dag: That gal’s got an ear for a quote.

Of course, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious thanks to Gang Starr producer D.J. Premier and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, the instructors for our first tutorial on producing and songwriting. Not only were they knowledgeable and frank, but they were hugely entertaining. The duo had never done a speaking engagement before, and there were so many moments I’d sit, looking at them, saying to myself, I can’t believe I’m getting this.

Tonight, 8 pm ET, technology strategist Lena West, right, outlines how the social media landscape has altered the music business for musicians, and how artists can, and should, respond. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud? All up for passionate discussion, and schooling for mastery.

Registration for GrindXDesign is $97. Participants get access to our audio archives; for example, our GXD Free preview with Steve Gordon, and everything that The New York Daily News heard and saw. Come on down: Join the movement we’re building.

How To Get On The Cover of a Hip-Hop Magazine.

GrindXDesign is an 8-week series of meetings-by-phone. The calls feature industry pros, talking on subjects that are firmly in the field of their expertise.

So, for example, we could have gotten Vanessa L. Satten, right, editor-in-chief of XXL, and Kim Osorio, below, editor-in-chief of The Source, to talk about touring, and what makes a good live show. They’re certainly knowledgeable, and would have had strong opinions.

Instead, we got Chuck D and Questlove to do that, because, in addition to firm ideas about stagecraft, they also have experience with it, and a legacy of showmanship.

In like manner, for our tutorial on how to get your music covered by magazines, we didn’t seek D.J. Premier, who has. We sought Vanessa and Kim, who do. We did this, because we wanted to make sure that the information you get, as a GrindXDesign registrant, is right and exact. (I’ve written about hip-hop professionally for 25 years, and felt comfortable giving advice in the video clip, above. But I wanted a discussion on how decisions are made given by those who make them.)

D.J. Premier, and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, right, will both be live, tonight, at 8 pm ET, for GrindXDesign’s first tutorial. I’ll be interviewing them about production and songwriting. Then, I’ll turn our callers aloose to ask these wizards questions on those subjects…and, really, anything else that the students want to ask them.

Note: This is also the first time that Premier and Young Guru have ever appeared together to speak. So, there is a more-than-average amount of historical shine on the event, too.

We’re doing GrindXDesign to help people learn more about the art and business of hip-hop; to show the kind of projects we believe hip-hop needs in order to change; and as the foundation for future projects that, by repeating the formula, do the same…and more. Please kindly support these efforts.

Registration for GrindXDesign is $97. Go to GrindXDesign.com for more information and to get on board.

Does Twitter Work For Hip-Hop?

GrindXDesign starts tomorrow. Registration is $97. Go to GrindXDesign.com for information.

When DAM Breaks, the Sound of Palestinian Freedom Gets Unleashed.

Palestinian hip-hop trio DAM, above, wield the power of hip-hop as a force against the Israeli occupation of their homeland—the world’s longest—and their minds as well.

Formed in 1998 by brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar, center and right (friend Mahmoud Jreri, left, was added later), they initially sought to make party records that would earn them cool points with peers and the ladies. Then it was still “just for fun,” says Tamer. They completed a six-track EP titled Stop Selling Drugs, the first time any Palestinian had ever recorded rap music.

What politicized them, however, was the Second Intifada of 2000…and the music of 2Pac. As Tamer poignantly told me, for my March 2008 piece in VIBE, “Straight Outta Palestine,”

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How I’d Like To Fly the Friendly Skies.


This week, Miramar, FL-based Spirit Airlines announced that, beginning in August, passengers would be charged up to $45 per bag, not to check luggage, but to carry it onto the plane.

Their foul money grab puts a cherry on top of what airline passengers have known, seemingly, for a generation: Unless you’re rollin’ solo, above, flying is the pits.

Not from outside the plane, however. It’s in that world, where flying’s grace and beauty is palpable, that aerial photographer Erik Hildebrandt reigns.

erikHildebrandt, right, has released over half a dozen books of his work through his own company, Cleared Hot Media, Inc. (The title is a military expression meaning one has permission to engage a target.) These include Anytime, Baby: Hail and Farewell to the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat and his Front Row Center: Inside the Great American Air Show series, now up to four volumes.

Erik Hildebrandt is the guest today on this rebroadcast from my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, April 9, at 2 pm ET. During our talk, we discussed the process of making pictures, how airplanes are built, the notion of warfare and the reasons for it, and more.

As well, in a few weeks, in a never-before-aired, upcoming piece, I’ll talk to him about his work as a self-publisher, that being an increasingly meaningful preoccupation in this era of media independence.

You can learn more about his work by visiting his Vulture’s Row web site, or by tuning in today at 2 pm ET. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Black is Definitely Back: Chuck D, Hank & Keith Shocklee, and I Invade the Heartland, Armed with Historic Photos and Fear of a Black Planet.


250px-jamestkirkThis is amazing: I’m back in Iowa; the Breadbasket of the Nation; the state that Ashton Kutcher, Ann Landers, Slipknot, T-Boz, gymnast Shawn Johnson, and Elijah Wood all call home, and that, in 223 years, will be the birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, right.

Why am I here? Well, tomorrow, April 1st, marks one year to the day since I last visited the University of Iowa, to screen photographs that I took during my early life with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank Shocklee, and others who formed our pre-Public Enemy crew.

I do this as part of a presentation I’ve been giving at schools around the country, titled Shooting the Enemy: My Life in Pictures with the People Who Became Public Enemy. (For example, last week I spoke at the University of Wisconsin: Madison, and had an excellent time.)

Well, this time, the University of Iowa has upped the doggone ante: For three months, now through June 27th, prints from my archives—ranging in size from 11 in. x 14 in. to 30 in. x 40 in.— will be shown by the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA).

It’s part of UIMA’s exhibition, Two Turntables and a Microphone: Hip-Hop Contexts featuring Harry Allen’s “Part of the Permanent Record: Photos from the Previous Century,” curated by UI professors Kembrew McLeod (Copyright Criminals) and Debroah Whaley, and on display at the Iowa Memorial Union’s Black Box Theater. (Here’s an interview with me about the images, my thoughts on hip-hop, and more.) That morning, I’ll even be talking with a photography class about the work!

800px-herky_and_tigerhawkThis, in and of itself, is incredible to me, and would have been more than reason enough to return to the original home of the indigenous Ioway people, and now the Hawkeyes, right. This is the first showing of my work since the 2007 Eyejammie show that got the ball rolling.

But McLeod didn’t create that über-cool graphic, above, just for me. Here’s the really ill part; the detail that throws this all up to the level of major sickness:

today2At 7:00 p.m. in Iowa City’s historic, 98-year-old, recently restored Englert Civic Theatre,
right, I’ll be lecturing and showing some of those those images, again, but with a twist: I’ll be doing it as part of a live panel, featuring Chuck, Hank, and Keith Shocklee, that then leads into a discussion on the making of P.E.’s 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet.
Released on April 10 that year, this new month marks the work’s 20th anniversary.

publicNot only have I never done a, no pun intended, public event on Fear, right, not to mention one with its original creators, but I’ve never presented my photos—of them—with them in the audience! I may break down in tears from the emotion of it all, y’all. Then, to top it off, there will be a rare, live performance by the Bomb Squad…which definitely takes me back to the era of my original pictures of Hank, below, Keith, and Chuck.

Though I know some of you won’t be in Iowa today, check this out: the four of us will be appearing on KRUI, the university’s excellent, student-run radio station, at 1:30 pm ET/12:30 pm CT, and the conversation will be streamed live, so definitely hit that.

hankwtmk0000And, don’t forget: If you go to, or are associated with, a university that would welcome seeing Shooting the Enemy, right, please get at me. Or, if you’re a scholar or programmer who values primary voices, and would like to have me present at your school or in concert with your department, this year or next year, please let me know: Drop me a note at HAllen@HarryAllen.info, or tweet me @HarryAllen, and, as Chuck D says, let’s get it on.

How To Not End A Romantic Evening.


I can’t even begin to look at this 2006 bit, below, from MADtv‘s twelfth season, too often. “I Want You To Watch Me Play Madden” features former cast member Jordan Peele, above, as a guy whose notion of foreplay is getting his girl (castmate Nicole Randall Johnson) to join him in a menage á mille on Xbox Live.

There may be nothing more pitiful than a guy who mounts his self-absorbtion cloaked in cheezy seduction, and, in the clip, “Jordan” epitomizes that dude. (Best gags: Hittin’ controller combos (“L-R-L-R-UP-DOWN…maybe SELECT-STARRRT..”) as his lady’s toes curl, and his triumphant, “HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SEX IIIIIIS!!!…WHOA!!!” on the bridge.)

In his time with the show—Peele left MADtv the next year—he demonstrated a sly hand for creating funny skits in the form of faux R&B music videos. “Madden,” however, so perversely twists one form of pop culture into the servitude—and lampooning—of both, it may be his masterpiece. Touchdown.

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Let It Whip: Iron Man 2‘s New Trailer Threatens to Blind You with Hotness.


Iron Man 2 debuts May 7, and if trailer No. 2, below, is any indication, prepare to defensively wet your pants.

First, the movie pits Iron Man—aka multi-billionaire weapons designer / playboy Tony Stark, above—against nemesis Whiplash, played by misshapen beast-of-a-man Mickey Rourke.

Then, the flick stuffs itself silly with cool actors in deft supporting roles: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury; Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard, as Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes aka War Machine; Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; and Gwyneth Paltrow returning as Virginia “Pepper” Potts.

Finally, if you’re staring at that photo and can’t figure out the look of Iron Man’s suit, watch the trailer and get your mind blown backward.

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How the West Will Be Won: Red Dead Redemption Brings Amazing, Bloody Play to the Gaming Frontier.

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I’m in awe of this Red Dead Redemption gameplay introduction trailer, above, and so hot to play this game I’m melting rivets on my jeans. The usual disclaimer applies.

Take a Look at the Real Set of Avatar.


At this point, millions have visited the glowing world of Pandora, in director James Cameron’s Avatar. The highest grossing film in history, with nearly $2.5 billion earned worldwide, it is, as of this past weekend, still the third-most popular film in the U.S., and has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

avatarWhat fewer have seen, however, is the real glimmering world of Avatar, namely, the humming, 10,000 square-foot server farm at WETA Digital, in Miramar, New Zealand, above, where the film’s photo-realistic images, above right, were wholly generated. The system literally “occupies spots 193 through 197 on the Top 500 list of the most powerful supercomputers.

As reported on datacenterknowledge.com,

Thirty four racks comprise the computing core, made of 32 machines each with 40,000 processors and 104 terabytes of memory. Weta systems administrator Paul Gunn said that heat exchange for their servers had to be enclosed. The “industry standard of raised floors and forced-air cooling could not keep up with the constant heat coming off the machines,” said Gunn. “We need to stack the gear closely to get the bandwidth we need and, because the data flows are so great, the storage has to be local.”

By the time the production was in its

last month or more of production those 40,000 processors were handling 7 or 8 gigabytes of data per second, running 24 hours a day. A final copy of Avatar equated to 17.28 gigabytes per minute of storage.

That’s. A. Big. File. Imagine if someone accidentally deleted it.