Entries Tagged 'Internet' ↓

Two Years Ago…

…I stopped blogging.

At that point, I’d been running the Media Assassin site for 2½ years. I was publishing new content every single day, five days a week. I had an interested, growing readership. I was being noted in the mainstream press. I broke a story. I even got into a fight with Kirstie Alley.

But, two years ago, after 828 posts, I just felt I’d run out of things to say. So I stopped blogging.

I knew it would not be forever. I knew I’d be back when I had a different, more compelling way to express myself: Something interrogative, more varied, deeper.

As well, I knew I wanted to confront the state of hip-hop culture, above. I didn’t want to just talk about it. I wanted to mount actual projects, and use the blog as a central location for drawing visibility and help to those efforts.

We’re at a real inflection point. Hip-hop is bigger than ever, right. There’s more opportunity than ever. There are more ways than ever for artists to truly get their grind on: To reach audiences and to profit from what they make. This, even as the music business changes radically.

One thing that will never change, however, is that knowledge equals power. It’s one thing to work hard. That’s grinding. It’s another thing to work smart. That’s design. The most successful people effectively blend the two.

That’s why, for the first time, I’ve decided to not only share what I know, but who I know.

If the state of hip-hop music, the record business, or where they’re going mean anything to you, keep reading this blog. Follow me on Twitter (@harryallen). Friend me on Facebook.

Keep your eyes open for the hashtag #gXd.

I’m going to be launching a project that is really important to me. It’s going to be a game-changer. I’ll be inviting you to join me.

Artwork: “Wack Rappers,” silk screen and watercolor on archival paper, by Patrick Martinez, 2007

“Scarface School Play.”

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That’s the title of this YouTube, above, and I’m not even going to try and top it with a clever pun. (Thanks to Erica K. of The Feminista Files for forwarding it, though.)

In the short, tykes recreate legendary moments from Brian De Palma’s 1983 classic, including the bloody shootout climax and demise of Tony Montana. (As you can see, above, a mound of popcorn makes a life-sized stand-in for Scarface’s desktop supply of coke, and the tiny actor has channeled the narco-mogul’s contemptuous sneer perfectly. Also, here, the word fudge repeatedly replaces a shorter, punchier expletive.)

From where the hell did this piece of genius, albeit evil genius, come?

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This Movie’s Already Got “Oscar” Written All Over It. Literally.

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Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher’s hilarious “Academy Award-Winning Movie Trailer,” above, shakes a grab bag of Hollywood cliches until they congeal, forming a self-important, self-referential mess-mass. It’s sort of like the movie version of DustoMcNeato’s declarative riff on a-ha’s “Take On Me,” a year-and-a-half ago, only funnier.

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“A toast, establishing me as the wealthy, successful protagonist, who is handsome,” says the table head in this scene, right. “Murmur of agreement,” guests chirp.

NYU grads McElhaney and Kocher call their “two-tiered explosion” BriTANicK (“rhymes with ‘Titanic’”). But at this rate, they may soon have to change their motto—”Two guys wasting their degrees”—to something else. The End.

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Don’t Stand So Close To Me.

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A site about “Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, [and] Landscape Futures” certainly seems to promise heady distraction, and Geoff Manaugh’s BLDGBLOG delivers by the Liebherr T 282B-full.

Up since July 2004, BLDGBLOG totes a range of diversions almost as wide as Manaugh’s obviously fertile mind: Ice floes (and interplanetary atmospherics); automobile test tracks; odd, old synthesizers; hell; and designing the long-term storage of nuclear waste. Every post delights with inquisitive, nimble writing and typically dreamy images, and his The BLDGBLOG Book—which compiles dozens of his best pieces—makes the whole enterprise fit on your shelf.

Now, in a new exhibit at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City, Manaugh and co-curator Nicola Twilley (Edible Geography) turn their focus on another underaddressed, little-grapsed element of the human landscape. As states the page for Landscapes of Quarantine, which opens March 10th,

At its most basic, quarantine is a strategy of separation and containment—the creation of a hygienic boundary between two or more things, for the purpose of protecting one from exposure to the other. It is a spatial response to suspicion, threat, and uncertainty. From Chernobyl’s Zone of Exclusion and the artificial quarantine islands of the New York archipelago to camp beds set up to house HIV-positive Haitian refugees detained at Guantánamo and the modified Airstream trailer from within which Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins once waved at President Nixon [above], the landscapes of quarantine are various, mutable, and often unexpected.

Geoff Manaugh is a contributing editor at Wired UK and former senior editor of Dwell magazine. He’s also the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, March 5, at 2 pm ET.

You can hear this provocative ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. 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.

@SolangeKnowles Keeps It Swift: Beyoncé’s Sister Says What, In the Wake Of Kanye, Some People Won’t.

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alg_show_swift3Can’t say Solange Knowles, Beyoncé’s fiery little sis, doesn’t roll hard. In a couple of tweets from Monday night, the day after the Grammy Awards, she questions what anybody with more than four fingers might ask: Why was Taylor Swift, seen here, right, with one of the quartet of awards she won, being deemed the nights “big winner,” when Beyoncé took home six trophies?

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When Google Said That They Wanted All the World’s Knowledge Online, This Wasn’t What I Had In Mind.

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With their Google Books service, the world’s dominant search engine is making the contents of everything from Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival to Texas Monthly to VIBE available through anyone’s computer.

But this is the motherlode, friends: Weekly World News, the self-proclaimed “world’s only reliable news source since 1979.” (Google’s archives go back to 1980.)

Can you believe it? That’s the January 2, 1990 cover, above, courtesy of Media Assassin, complete with nutty Xmas messages and puerile racism. “Baboon boy”? It get’s no worse, people. It gets no better.

The Blueprint Three: Behold The Trio of Books You Must Own In Order To Conquer the Modern Music Business.

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When 19-year-old computer geek Shawn Fanning created and released Napster, his internet file-sharing application, 10 years ago, he had no idea that his little experiment would completely overturn the massive, multi-billion music business. He just wanted a way to share digital music with friends. But what started as an experiment by a bored college student quickly became the loose bolt that would yank the industry from its rapidly rotating axle.

Fanning and Napster were quickly lambasted by many, hailed as heroes by many more. But their story is only a small part of what Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot, in his new book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, above, calls “the laptop generation”:

An uprising led by bands and fans networking on the Internet. Ripped tells the story of how the laptop generation created a new grassroots music industry, with the fans and bands rather than the corporations in charge.

Those businesses fell apart not only because the technology made change irresistible, but also because, for years, the business refused to come to grips with what was happening to their field. That’s the subject of Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper‘s text, Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry in the Digital Age, above middle. In Knopper’s opinion,

after the incredible wealth and excess of the ’80s and ’90s, Sony,
Warner, and the other big players brought about their own downfall
through years of denial and bad decisions in the face of dramatic
advances in technology.

Greg Kot and Steve Knopper are guests today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, October 2, at 2 pm ET.

But they’re talking about how we got here. What should an artist do, in today’s realm, to manage a career in the digital age? Attorney Steve Gordon‘s book, The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with the New Digital Technologies, above top, is designed as a guide for the artist / entrepreneur who wants to take control of their career. It

provides a legal and business roadmap to artists, music industry professionals, entrepreneurs and attorneys. It focuses on the rules pertaining to the music business and the new digital music industry, how artists and entrepreneurs can use the new technologies to succeed, new business models, plus interviews with artists and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future of the music business.

You can hear Kot’s, Knopper’s, and Gordon’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Look At This Guy. Do You Trust Him?

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Would you believe anything he told you about the car you were buying from him, about your future with the company, or about you?

Probably not. But why? And, even more, when you speak, do people see you the same way? That is, do you, even unintentionally, convey that you are not to be liked or believed?

In his new book, Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, Nick Morgan, PhD., a top communication and speech coach, author, and blogger, delivers the critical knowledge on how “to be an effective speaker by presenting an image of authenticity and respect for [an] audience, whether in a group presentation or a one-on-one conversation.”

Undergirding his approach is

the fact that when words and body language are in conflict, body language wins every time. This isn’t easy to overcome, because normally body language is immediate, while the words lag slightly behind, and even a momentary conflict is perceptible to the audience. The key to success is to train your body language to unconsciously align with your message.

Nick Morgan is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, July 10, at 2 pm ET.

lrgThen, we’ll announce the three winners of O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein’s new volume, The Twitter Book, right. Sarah was our guest last week on NONFICTION, and an amazing, informed—and generous!—guest.

Then, finally, our long-delayed conversation with Ellen Lupton, director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, and author of the new book, Indie Publishing: How to Design and Produce Your Own Book, a step-by-step guide to being your own publisher. “Once referred to derisively as ‘vanity publishing,’” she says, “self-published books are finally taking their place alongside more accepted indie categories such as music, film, and theater.”

You can hear Nick Morgan’s and Ellen Lupton’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

UPDATE! No Cheers for @KirstieAlley: Why the Star’s Twittered “Wrath” Against MEDIA ASSASSIN Just Digs Her a Big, New Black Hole.

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I honestly did not expect this.

After I posted Black Like @KirstieAlley: Twittering About Race with the Fat Actress” yesterday, I manually sent out one tweet, at 5:55 pm ET, announcing the posting. (My blog automatically sent out another one 45 minutes later.) I then left the house to take care of some business, getting back a little over two hours later. I went to my computer, and logged on to Twitter.

Big mistake.

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Black Like @KirstieAlley: Twittering About Race with the Fat Actress.

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Two-and-half weeks ago, actor Kirstie Alley, famed of ’80s TV sitcom Cheers, Jenny Craig weight loss ads, and sashaying in her hosiery on Oprah, told me, on Twitter, that African-Americans and Italians are “more free and fun and light hearted” than, I guess, people who aren’t African-American or Italian.

When she said this, I was actually dumbfounded. Twice, it turned out. Figuring out what to say, however, became my own mini-education in talking about race.

First, background….

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