TV On The Radio live at SXSW
02:31 am


TV On The Radio

Photo: Akyavas

SXSW communique: It’s 4:32 a.m. in Austin and I’m decompressing from TV On The Radio’s stellar performance at Stubb’s. My ears are ringing and my flesh is vibrating like a tuning fork struck by the hand of Apollo.

Performing before a capacity crowd, the pioneers of the Brooklyn new music scene brought some genuine magic to SXSW - a mystic vibe under a nearly full moon in a perfectly clear night sky.

TVOTR opened their set with “Young Liars,” from their 2003 debut EP.

The band pushed the limits of Stubb’s sound system and my camera’s mic. The sound is grungy, but the energy is pure and true. Watch it in HD. Direct from Dangerous Minds to you:


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Digital Piracy: To torrent or not to torrent? That is the question
06:33 pm


digital piracy

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine got a letter from Comcast informing him that they knew he’d illegally snagged The King’s Speech and asking him to refrain from future illegal downloading. The letter mentioned no recourse or anything of the sort, he told me, just, “we know what you did.”

That same week, someone else I know found his Internet browser had been commandeered by Time-Warner Cable and until he clicked on a button which said he acknowledged illegally downloading an episode of NBC’s Community he could not leave the page or do anything else.  I’ve read anecdotal reports of other ISPs threatening to cancel a user’s Internet access with a “three strikes, you’re out” approach.

Knowing two people having that happen to them in the space of a week gave me pause as I had actually made a mental note to download the latest episode of Community myself! But it got me thinking about how backwards the industry’s notion still is of how to manage (or “fight” or “solve”—I’ll go with “manage”) the issue of digital piracy. I can certainly understand why the motion picture industry would want the guy downloading Oscar screeners put on notice, but a TV show? This is 2011, get real.

First off, network television programming has traditionally been free to the end user. And make no mistake about it, the TV networks are NOT in the business of making television, they are in the business of selling their advertisers a 30 second rendezvous with your retinas. To the networks, the programs are merely the things they need to hang commercials off of and often little else. So why not think of bit torrent downloads the same way?

If TV shows are “free” why even bother with someone downloading a single episode of Community? On a CPM basis, had this person opted to watch Community on regular TV or, the network would have made but a micro payment from the ads being seen. I realize that this adds up, of course, but until the entertainment industry finally figures out that there is very little they can do about digital piracy—it’s not even cost effective to send stinky letters, let alone bring lawsuits against individuals over micro-payments, class action suits get nowhere with this issue, and there is ALWAYS going to be another source for the illicit content files—they have little rational hope of “winning” the larger battle for the industry’s survival.

And for the life of me, I cannot understand why the networks themselves don’t simply hardcode the ads into the torrent files, have their “official” torrent downloads counted by Nielsen and just be done with it. In other words, going with the flow and not against it. I would imagine that 90% of illegal downloaders would opt for the legal torrent file, even if they had to watch a few commercials. If torrent downloads counted in the Neilsen ratings, the same way DVR’s shows now do, then Gossip Girl would be in the top ten shows on TV, if you take my point. Why hasn’t the CW wised up to this fact and used it to their advantage. It’s a strength and not a weakness!

The reason why such an obvious solution probably hasn’t been implemented is that the execs themselves to this day have very little clue of how their own kids—not to mention the junior level employees in their companies—use media. They know piracy is going on obviously, but to the extent that it does or knowing anything about the culture of private bit torrent trackers, they just don’t get it and they never will, simply because they don’t personally use it.

If younger execs were calling the shots, this wouldn’t be the case, but by the time they’d be moving into the corner offices, this will all be moot anyway. The entertainment industry, as we’ve known it for the past half century, is a walking corpse. Short of the “all you can watch” plans like Netflix, I can see almost no rational or workable solutions. The public is not interested anymore in paying for a single item of entertainment, but a reasonable priced subscription service is very attractive to the consumer and the research screams this loud and clear. Is there much hope of the movie industry surviving in its present form once DVDs (which often provide half or much more of the payday for Hollywood blockbusters) are history? As someone who spent the better part of a decade as the owner of a DVD distribution company, I’d have to say “no fucking way.”

The $20 list price of the average DVD cannot be justified for digital downloads. The best snake-oil salesmen in the business can’t make a rational argument that an invisible, weightless product that you cannot hold in your hand, wrap cellophane around or stick on a shelf should cost the same as something that can be. The public isn’t stupid, but the industry execs are, ignoring a massive migration away from their business model and failing to adapt for a model that could work for them. The movie industry is basically a lost cause, I think. It will limp on for several more years, but I predict that we’ll soon see a huge contraction in the number of films that get made. I don’t think it will be gradual either. I expect it to fall right off a cliff.

The music industry is hardly worth talking about, either, but television IS because it’s always more or less been free (at least network TV) and never relied on selling hard copies. It’s not even remotely the same business model as movies and music. However without some serious consideration for how the audience uses media—what they do with it—the television industry, too, will be greatly diminished.

In the LA Times, there’s an interesting “Dust Up” in the Opinion section’s blog pitting Andrew Keen, author of the upcoming book Digital Vertigo: An Anti-Social Manifesto and an industry advisor on the matter of piracy, against Harold Feld, who is the legal director of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based digital rights advocacy group.

Says Feld, who represents the opinions of many Internet users and online entrepreneurs:

“[C]opyright holders need to understand that the best way to stop illegal downloads is to make the content available and affordable online in ways people want it. Hollywood lobbyists usually react to this with the same enthusiasm displayed by social conservatives when suggesting that free condoms in high schools help reduce teen pregnancies—and for the same reason. It amounts to a confession that since you can’t stop the conduct, you need to figure out how to acknowledge it and limit the negative consequences.”

Says Keen, speaking up for the entertainment industry and artists within:

“[W]hy would consumers pay for Netflix, Hulu or Spotify content if all the same movies and songs can be illegally downloaded for free? And that’s, of course, why we need carefully considered, bipartisan legislation like COICA. Because without it, the United States’ entertainment industry—with its millions of middle-class jobs—is in serious jeopardy.”

Simple: It’s just easier; the quality is higher; no annoying letters or threat of your Internet being cut off… The public WILL respond favorably to the correct price point. I personally think that price point is about $20 bucks a month and bet most Netflix subscribers would agree with me on that amount. It’s a pity the entertainment moguls feel their precious content is worth more, because the public simply disagrees and has a multitude of other choices. It’s time for the entertainment industry to wake up to the reality of the current marketplace as consumer habits are pretty ingrained, especially with cyber-savvy younger people who have never spent $20 bucks on a DVD in their lives and probably never will. (And note that Keen is asking if the public will be willing to fork out for Spotify or Hulu—the basic version of these services—like network TV—are free and advertiser supported, anyway, so what’s his point?). The COICA legislation can’t do much about this stuff as there is always a workaround, technically speaking and tech will trump laws. There are laws against it now, of course.

Although both sides score, I’m squarely in Feld’s corner and once again, I will remind the reader that I owned a DVD distribution company. Andrew Keen’s heart is in the right place, but idealism doesn’t mean shit when the public can “shoplift” without ever leaving their homes. It’s just the way things are. From my vantage point as a business owner, the writing was on the wall as early as 2004. In 2011 it’s just pathetic that the industry is so damned clueless

There are three parts to the Los Angeles Times piece, which began Tuesday with “How big a risk does digital piracy pose to the entertainment industry?” came back with “Should the entertainment industry accept piracy as a cost of doing business?” and concluded today with a question that needs to be addressed, especially in this city: “What’s the true impact of illegal downloading on jobs and the arts?

Thank you Alexandra Le Tellier!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Odd Japanese Doritos Packaging
06:20 pm



One Redditor guesses the flavor as “Honey Nut Crunch.” That looks pretty accurate to me.

(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Michael Gough remembered

Though Michael Gough, who died today, will be best remembered for his performance as “Alfred” in the Batman series, I’ll always remember the great actor more for his roles in a series of low budget British B-movie horror films - in particular the classic, Horrors of the Black Museum, Konga, The Black Zoo, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Horror Hospital; his work with Ken Russell (Women in Love, Savage Messiah) and Derek Jarman (Caravaggio, The Garden, Wittgenstein); and his roles in TV series like The Champions, The Avengers and Smiley’s People. Gough was always more than watchable as an actor,, who made even the most trashy films (Trog) enjoyable.

Here’s a small selection of highlights from Gough’s career, which gives only a hint of the quality of his talent and the diversity of his roles.

Michael Gough is resposible for a “huge, monster gorilla that is constantly growing to outlandish proportions let loose in the streets” of swinging London in ‘Konga’ (1961)
Previously on DM:

Michael Gough: ‘Horrors of the Black Museum’

More clips from Michael Gough’s career after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
David Lynch’s hair compared to well-known paintings
04:30 pm


David Lynch

Thanks, Richard!
(via The Painter)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Protesters in DC crash fundraiser for Wisconsin GOP

Yay team! Yesterday protesters crashed a fundraising event for the Wisconsin Republican Party in Washington D.C. A Salon videographer was there:

Via Scott Walker Watch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Syd Barrett tribute concert: The Madcap’s Last Laugh
12:31 pm


Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett
Roger Waters

Here’s a real treat: On the 10th of May, 2007 at London’s Barbican Centre, a diverse group of great musicians got together to honor the memory of the late Roger “Syd” Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd. The musical director for the show was one of my best friends, Adam Peters (you’ve heard his cello in Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon,” “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy and on many albums. Adam also did the soundtrack to my Disinformation TV series).

Also appearing with Roger Waters, was my former next door neighbor in NYC, Jon Carin. Jon actually has played with both Pink Floyd AND Roger Waters. I think he’s the only person to have a foot in both camps, which is interesting position to be in, I think you’ll agree.

When Adam got back from the concert, full of great stories about the experience, I was eager to hear a CD of the show, but he told me that it had not been recorded because the idea was that this was a very special event and if you were there, you saw and heard something amazing, but that would… evaporate. Of course Pink Floyd fans being what they are, at least one enterprising fellow made a pretty good audience recording. Here ‘tis as generously shared by the Brain Damage podcast. The show starts about 7 minutes in. This is pretty fucking amazing:


This incredible event was a tribute to the late Roger “Syd” Barrett, produced by Nick Laird-Clowes (of Dream Academy) with associate producer Joe Boyd (early Pink Floyd’s producer and founder of legendary UFO club in London). Surprise performances from Roger Waters himself with Jon Carin then the entire current Pink Floyd line-up (David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason) were absolutely unbelievable!

The numerous other artists performing Syd Barrett’s music included Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), The Bees, Vashti Bunyan, Captain Sensible, Robyn Hitchcock. The house band included Andy Bell (bass, Oasis), Simon Finley (drums, Echo & The Bunnymen) and Ted Barnes (guitar, Beth Orton).  A remarkably fitting tribute to Roger “Syd” Barrett.  Doctored for supersound!

Set 1
1. Show intro
2. Bike - Sense of Sound Choir
3. Flaming - Captain Sensible & Monty Oxymoron
4. Here I Go - Kevin Ayers
5. Oh, What A Dream - Kevin Ayers
6. Baby Lemonade - Nick Laird-Clowes & Damon Albarn
7. Octopus - The Bees
8. The Gnome - Nick Laird-Clowes & Neulander
9. Matilda Mother - Mike Heron
10. Golden Hair - Martha Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle & Lily Lanken
11. See Emily Play - Martha Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle & Lily Lanken
12. Flickering Flame - Roger Waters & Jon Carin

Set 2
13. Video presentation
14. Chapter 24 - Gordon Anderson & Sense of Sound Choir
15. The Scarecrow - Vashti Bunyan, Gareth Dickson & Nick Laird-Clowes
16. Love Song - Vashti Bunyan, Gareth Dickson & Nick Laird-Clowes
17. Ian Barrett - Talking about his uncle Roger “Syd” Barrett
18. The Word Song - Damon Albarn, Kate St. John & David Coulter
19. Astronomy Domine - Captain Sensible & Jon Carin
20. Terrapin - Robyn Hitchcock
21. Gigolo Aunt - Robyn Hitchcock, John Paul Jones & Ruby Wright
22. Dark Globe (wouldn’t you miss me) - Chrissie Hynde & Adam Seymour
23. Late Night - Chrissie Hynde & Adam Seymour
24. Joe Boyd - Talking about Roger “Syd” Barrett and organising the show
25. Arnold Layne - David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright
26. Jugband Blues from video presentation
27. Bike - Jam Session with all musicians (except for Roger Waters)

Below, Syd Barrett in action with the Pink Floyd, 1968: “Jugband Blues”

Thank you Jesse Merlin!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Conny Plank’s Digital Delay available on Ebay

If you happen to have a spare 3000 clams laying about you can potentially own the legendary German über-producer Conny Plank’s rack mounted digital delay unit ! There are other, less exciting items from the great man’s studio also for sale, but this particular unit was well used in the early 80’s and probably never more effectively than on this stellar 1981 12” single duet with Holger Czukay under the name Les Vampyrettes. One of my absolute favorite records of all time.
Les Vampyrettes - Biomutanten

Les Vampyrettes - Menetekel

Conny Plank Studio on Ebay
With thanks to Brian Turner via Geeta Dayal !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Tea partier wants to deport Latinos and bus in Blacks to pick the crops!

Amazing but true: Upstate New York asshat Jack Davis, once a Democrat asshat (he’s run for Congress three times as a Democrat and lost each time), is now taking his unique brand of idiocy to what you might expect would be the warm embrace of the GOP/Tea partiers, but that’s not been the case. Apparently Davis, who is running in the special election to replace scandalized Republican Craigslist tranny-chaser, Chris Lee, is too much of an asshole even for the folks who gave us Carl Paladino!

According to the Buffalo News:

Congressional candidate Jack Davis shocked local Republican leaders in a recent interview when he suggested that Latino farmworkers be deported—and that African-Americans from the inner city be bused to farm country to pick the crops.

Several sources who were in the Feb. 20 endorsement interview with Davis confirmed his comments, which echo those he made to the Tonawanda News in 2008, when he said: “We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work.”

When Davis repeated those sentiments in the recent interview, the Republican leaders—who later delivered the party endorsement for the vacant seat in the 26th Congressional District to Assemblywoman Jane L. Corwin of Clarence—said they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.

“I was thunderstruck,” said Amherst GOP Chairman Marshall Wood. “Maybe in 1860 that might have been seen by some as an appropriate comment, but not now.”

When asked his controversial comments prior to a campaign event Davis replied: “It’s politics.” Rim-shot please!

Obviously, Davis has an ice cube’s chance in Hell of winning the seat. One of his challengers, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin has been given the endorsement of the state GOP, the Conservative Party and the Independence Party, and so will have three spots on the ballet.

(And speaking of idiocy, the GOP doesn’t have the market cornered: two prominent Democrats in Michigan, Michael McGuinness, former chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party, and Jason Bauer, former operations director for the Oakland County Democratic Party have been indicted on felony charges for their amateur hour “creation” of two fake Tea party candidates. They forged signatures and everything! One of the pair falsely notarized petitions for a dozen statewide candidates! HOW in the world did these morons expect this would go unnoticed? The county prosecutor is a Democrat, so this ain’t a partisan hit job. These two need a long spell in the pokey to reflect on what they did to themselves, their political party and to their families’ future. I shook my head in disbelief when I read about this. It’s far worse than anything James O’Keefe has done, if you ask me.)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Iconoclast: Larry Wessel’s new Boyd Rice documentary
07:07 pm

Pop Culture

Boyd Rice
Larry Wessel

Underground film-maker Larry Wessel is back with a four-hour documentary about the life, career and personal obsessions of the notorious Boyd Rice. Wessel calls Iconoclast, which was six years in the making, “a rollercoaster ride through the fevered mindscape of one of the most controversial and unique artists of the modern age.”

Boyd Rice may well be the only person alive who’s been on a first name basis with both Charlie Manson and Marilyn Manson. His career has spanned more than three decades, during which time he has remained at the epicenter of underground culture and controversy. Rice first came to prominence in the 70’s as one of the founders of the genre known as Industrial Music, and soon gained a reputation for live shows that were deemed the most abrasive, minimalist and loudest concerts ever staged (his shows regularly clocked in at 130 decibels, whereas a jet plane taking off was a mere 113 decibels). As early as 1980, he was already hailed as The Godfather of Noise Music. Since then, Rice has extended his creative pursuits to numerous fields, even lecturing at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, despite being a high-school dropout.

“My life”, says Rice, “is a testament to the idea that you can achieve whatever the hell you want if you possess a modicum of creativity, and a certain amount of naïveté concerning what is and isn’t possible in this world. I’ve had one-man shows of my paintings in New York, but I’m not a painter. I’ve authored several books, but I’m not a writer. I’ve made a living as a recording artist for the last 30 years, but I can’t read a note of music or play any instrument. I’ve somehow managed to make a career out of doing a great number of things I’m in no way qualified to do”.

Along the way, Rice worked as a celebrity bodyguard (protecting the likes of Julie Newmar and Maureen McCormack), owned a Tiki Bar (Tiki Boyd’s), starred in an exploitation movie (Pearls Before Swine), co-edited an influential book on low budget cult films (Incredibly Strange Films), and forged close personal friendships with such diverse Pop Icons as Tiny Tim and Anton LaVey.

Order the 3-disc set of Iconoclast at

A collection of Boyd Rice’s essays: Standing In Two Circles: The Collected Works of Boyd Rice, edited by Brian M. Clark is available at Amazon

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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