Tuesday December 29, 2009 at Heritage International we are releasing "Peacebringer"- the follow up to the "Crash This Place EP" released earlier this year. These are some of the best songwriters and musicians I know and the Bright City Studios team will be the rounding out the band, so if you are around you should definitely come by and check it out.
The address is:
375 Star Light Drive Fort Mill, SC 29715
The event begins at 7:30 pm, but the concert will start later in the evening.
If you haven't picked up Crash This Place you can buy it on ITUNES here:
4) "My Girls" Merriweather Post Pavilion- Animal Collective
Credits: Artwork By [Cover Image Pattern] - Akiyoshi Kitaoka Artwork By [Design And Layout] - Rob Carmichael Artwork By [Interior Image "devil's Eye Spring"] - David Doubilet Mixed By - AC* Recorded By [Assistant] - Aaron Ersoy Recorded By, Mixed By - Ben Allen Written-By - Animal Collective
Influence is defined as:
3: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain
4: the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway
Authority is defined as:
2: power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior b : freedom granted by one in authority : right
3: persons in command; specifically : government b : a governmental agency or corporation to administer a revenue-producing public enterprise
One who has authority also commands, but is not limited to influence.
Influencers are merely well positioned voices in the crowded market of opinion. To obtain a larger sphere, an influencer must strive for a greater position in the ranks of the crowd. Influence can be given, it can be traded, it is the perceived knowledge or significance of one's opinion. Being on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine can give you the influence over people who believe that being on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine signifies that you know something that the rest of us need to learn. Being on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine can not, however, actually make what you're saying true or cause a lasting reaction from your reader. Because as perceptions change, so does your ability to sway the beliefs of the masses.
Being an authority on something requires a price. Whether a cost of time, work, study, or life experience, authority certainly doesn't come for free. The key point is that authority by definition contains the power to influence, but it is not limited to the mere swaying of opinion, authority gives you command over ideas and thoughts. Authority is a power that is earned and with that power comes the ability to bring change. There is a story of a man who was offered all of the kingdoms of the world if he would bow his knee and submit to another less powerful king, instead he chose to live his life in a state of semi-obscurity and die an apparent failure, only to rise again and be given authority over all the earth.
In our creative lives we are faced with this choice constantly. Do we risk being misunderstood, discredited, or overlooked to build something never seen before, or do we give up our chance at authority for the instant gratification of influence. Do we chose to play in front of thousands as quickly as possible and enjoy the temporary success that comes from fame, or do we dig deeper and create art that will continue to affect the cultural economy long after we are dead and gone. Is our end-goal for our voices to be heard, or that when our voices are heard we actually have something left to say?
We all have the right to authority over the spheres we are given, and I am learning more and more that the cost of a short cut to influence is that authority.
Thats a price that I don't think I can afford to pay.
In the late 1980's several major corporations studied cults to observe what caused a conscious decision making follower to transcend into an irrationally devoted believer in a religion or idea. Amongst many others Saturn Cars, Nike, and yes, you guessed it, Apple Computers Incorporated used this marketing strategy to create an irrationally devoted community surrounding their products and more importantly committed to the idea that purchasing a Saturn made you part of a family, wearing Nike's could cause you to take flight, and using a Mac gave you an instant sense of belonging within the realm of the creative elite. After all, a shoe is a shoe, a car is a car, and a computer is just a computer.
Again with another Hulu gem. This time a documentary on Mixtapes and the war being waged between the mixtape industry and the record labels.
I think Chuck D says it best; "You think the labels lost money through downloading? I think that the people in the public now will not be tricked and be fooled. I think people will buy what they love as opposed to something they have been made to like.
This has been a very busy year for us at Bright City Studios. We are excited about all of the records coming out in the fall of this year. "Crash This Place" is an EP we worked on for Morningstar Ministries in Fort Mill, SC. We were blown away by the talent, songwriting, and creativity in this community. This is a video of some behind the scenes footage we filmed on our flip camera during the tracking of this record.
John Mark McMillan is a great friend of mine and an awesome songwriter. This video was directed by the Calnin brothers and filmed, recorded, and mixed at Bright City Studios. I am blown away by what the Calnin boys are creating and I love the work they did on this video. Check it out.
Although I am not a practicing vegetarian, I love the occasional meal without meat. Some of the most inspired cuisine I have experienced has occurred when a creative and passionate chef crafts a locally-grown vegetarian menu in a geographically inspired setting, mixes in great atmosphere and surrounds themselves with a great staff. As I've travelled over the last 10 years a few places have stood out.
Here are the five meals and five restaurants that rise above the rest:
1) Greens Restaurant: San Francisco, CA
Wilted Spinach Salad with Knoll Farm chicory, feta, croutons, gaeta olives, garlic, mint, sherry vinegar and hot olive oil
Masa Harina Crepe with white corn, grilled onions, poblano chilies, cheddar, cilantro, crème fraiche and Brandy Wine pico de gallo. Served with grilled cousa squash, rainbow chard and lacinato kale.
courgette flower v o g o
with a sweet potato, goat’s cheese & pine-nut filling, deep-fried
in a light beer batter & served with garlic & lemon aioli
roasted almond & cauliflower korma
okra, pumpkin, jerusalem artichoke, courgettes and cauliflower
cooked in a creamy coconut & almond sauce with sweet
indian spices, served with basmati rice and a pickled aubergine
Okay, so I know it's not really a restaurant, but the Bozeman Community Food Co-Op is a great way to spend an afternoon. Grab a piece of fresh fruit from a vendor and a cup of coffee from the cafe and spend the day walking down aisles of farm-fresh, locally-grown produce.
Although the previous tenant of 506 West King Street, Angelicas Vegetarian Restaurant, would have been in the top 2 of this countdown, its successor's limited southwestern approach to the vegetarian menu is interesting enough to grant it the number 5 spot.
Sweet Potato Enchilada
Sweet potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, red pepper, topped with diced apples. mango salsa, and pepitos.
I watched this movie a week ago on Hulu and it really challenged my thoughts on copyright law and infringement. Honestly, I'm not sure where I stand on this issue. As a producer, I have a profound respect for the right of artists to get paid for what they create. I place a high value on the time, money, risk, and life investment involved in producing a creative work. As a DJ and mash-up artist, I am totally frustrated by the system that is in place and think that the laws that were created to protect the intellectual property of artists have been perverted and misconstrued to protect the profit potential of huge publishing houses and the interests of powerful labels. Watch this movie and let me know what you think:
Over the weekend, Lee Worley and I renovated an old Mike's Hard Lemonade Beach Cruiser. We replaced the yellow flames over glossy black paint job with a simple flat black and cleaned and polished the chrome hardware.
This is how we did it:
Here is the bike in all of its original glory. Notice the sweet custom Mike's Hard Lemonade paint job. I especially hated the yellow flames on the front and rear fenders.
The first step was dismantling the bicycle and removing all of the wheels, chains, saddle, and fenders.
-This was not a difficult task. With a lag wrench, some pliers, a screwdriver, and a an allen wrench it was broken down in no time. (Was the lag wrench an over kill? Maybe, but power tools make the job feel so much more legit.)
Next we used a fine grit sandpaper (120-200) to sand off the clear coat of the existing (hideous) paint job. This was done with much joy. We used a Milwaukee power sander for the large portions and touched it up by hand.
After taping up the handlebars, gears, pedals, and remaining chrome accents we applied the first coat of flat black paint. At this point it started to look really good, and so we got inspired to sand and apply two more coats.
After two more coats of flat black we cleaned the chrome using a fine grit steel wool pad and citric acid (lemon juice). We hit the white walls with a couple S.O.S. pads, used some armor all on the leather seat and put the thing back together. (Reassembly was a bit of a hassle with a few of the nuts and bolts rusted and a few stripped out. I went to Ace Hardware in Park Road Shopping center and picked up replacements for all of the hardware. This added a cool cosmetic feature with all of the hardware bright silver against the flat black frame.
Here is the finished project. All I am going to add now is a rear rack and some new handle bar grips. (The foam pad originals kinda bum me out.) I was tossing around the idea of leaving the rear fender off, but with the rack added I think I will put it on for the vintage, large fender, fat tire look.
Thats how we did it. I think it turned out good for our first restoration. If I were to do it again, there are definitely some things I would do differently and now that Lee is looking at old bikes on Ebay, my opportunity may come sooner than expected.
As many of you know I am a part of a social justice media project called Hope Takes Flight. We centered our first documentary film project around human trafficking in India and put on a concert event called "Under The Wings of Hope" with our friends Mark Mathis from Charlotte, NC and Songs of Water from Greensboro, NC. Here are a few pictures from our trip to India.
About two years ago I read a book called "MTV: The Making of a Revolution" by Tom McGrath. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It explores the creation of MTV and the early days of its conception. For me it began to shed light on a whole new set of issues we face today. I began to wonder things like: "When music became a commodity to be produced, bought, and sold like a new pair of shoes coming from some plant across the ocean, why did the industry act so surprised when consumers no longer valued the art or artists, but instead found short cuts to getting the goods?" If you could go online and in two minutes have a pair of first edition Air Jordan's materialize out of your printer, the temptation would be hard to resist. So in an age when the creative process has been marginalized to test groups and market analysis why are we shocked that the response is a culture of disposable artistic consumerism? MP3's have become like napkins at the corner 7/11. You can take one or a handful and someone is going to pay for them, but you don't have to so you don't think twice about stocking your glove box full. Hard drives across America are cluttered by the gluttony of artistic consumerism and instead of digging down and examining the roots of this crisis, those in power chose to treat the symptoms by handing out lawsuits and suing 13 year olds for having no value for what has been shoved in their faces. Now, I want to be clear that I do not support piracy, I do not have peer to peer software on any of my computers and I do not agree with downloading music for free on the internet, but it is not enough to merely disagree. We as artists need to understand what went wrong and begin to change the culture surrounding our music and media. Below there is a link to a film called "The Merchants of Cool" put out by PBS Frontline several years ago. This film addresses a few ideas and practices that explains some of what went wrong and if you have 45 minutes to spare I'd recommend watching it.
Im not a huge fan of this movie, the CGI is pretty awful and kind of ruins it for me, but there is a sequence of scenes in the 2007 Francis Lawrence film "I am Legend" that speak to me. If you haven't seen the film and don't wish to (I understand if you don't), the official summary released by Warner Brothers describes the plot like this:
"Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague -- The Infected -- lurk in the shadows... watching Neville's every move... waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind's last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered... and quickly running out of time."
The first scene in the sequence is a monologue by Dr Robert Neville (played by Will Smith) following a close encounter with the infected. He recounts this near death experience in a video journal he updates throughout the film:
"Day 1,001- . . . Behavioral note, an infected male exposed himself to sunlight today, now its possible decreased brain function or growing scarcity of food is causing them to ignore their basic survival instincts. Social de-evolution appears complete. Typical human behavior is now entirely absent."
Now being completely isolated in New York City has taken it's toll on Dr. Neville and as a result he has begun to create "friends" around the city. One such "friend" is a mannequin outside a video store he has named Fred. In the scene following the monologue he drives by Fred standing in the middle of a side street no where near where he had left him outside the video store.
He is obviously shocked and frightened by this and goes on to mow down the mannequin with a fully automatic machine gun. He cautiously goes in for a closer look and triggers a trap set by the infected. This is a climactic sequence in the film, but for me it began a string of thoughts concerning creativity and culture and became the concept behind this blog.
The trap set using the mannequin Fred was a sign that Dr. Neville had misjudged the infected and that there was still creativity, ingenuity, and humanity in those around him. In our society it is easy to reach similar conclusions as it applies to art. In a landscape of billboards and fast food, it is not hard to lose hope in the world and give up on the thought that anything new or creative will emerge. Then, when least expected, a new movement, design, song, painting, literary work, etc comes along and convinces us otherwise.
It is the mission of this blog to seek out signs of inspired life in an otherwise barbaric culture.