Three festivals this summer and it already seems like it’s time to call it quits. 2012 has proven to be a year of tumultuous change, and there are no signs of that energy letting up.
The above photo was taken by Joshua Lee at the Human Nature Festival a few weeks ago. It was an extraordinary event organized by an exceptionally passionate dance music community in Eugene. The rain made it tough for me to do my job as the lead publicist (press bailed on the 2nd day back to town), but it still looks like coverage will come through on multiple levels.
As for what the rest of the summer holds, I am going to focus on building up a new business by the name of Step4PR. As a collective of programmers, designers, marketers, and Web 2.0 wranglers: we build digital products that help brands step forward in a social world. Our website should go live by tomorrow night, and from there I’m accelerating full throttle until a move to the San Francisco Bay this Fall.
I’m curious about Mashable. I’m curious about Evernote. I’m curious about SoundCloud.
The tech culture captivates me, and the SF Bay is the hub for digital innovation. Over the next few months I’m going to dive headfirst into the front end of the internet, while keeping a careful eye on changes in the backend.
With a social attitude and mobile vehicles, it is sure to be one hell of a ride.
Burners from coast to coast are erupting in anger over this year’s ticket procedure.
With the debut of a lottery ticket system yielding unsatisfactory results this week, many who have attended the annual gathering in Black Rock City celebrating participatory art and culture are left ticketless.
The annual event sold out for the first time ever in 2011, so Burning Man organizers adopted a new lottery system this year, which randomly selected submitted credit cards for three separate ticket tiers.
The internet has been a firestorm of complaints since the results came in.
“I think I will go to Hawaii instead of Burning Man this year,” said Stephanie Salazar, a performer and burner. “What a mess. This may be the end of Burning Man as we know it.”
Complaints in Eugene were of a similar nature.
“Only five out of 60 core members of our REVO-FUCKIN-LUTION camp got selected for the lottery,” Nathaniel Klute said. “Is Burning Man becoming too mainstream?”
One burner in Eugene joked that he used multiple credit cards to obtain 10 tickets from the lottery. He said he is selling each ticket for $600 ($300 over face value) to customers who want to avoid the lottery.
Booking agent and Portland DJ Tyler Sammons (aka Tyler Tastemaker) criticized the whole culture itself.
“Its crazy to me that so many burners are about the universe, vibrations, and what not,” he said. “However, when they don’t get a ticket to the big show, they are mad at an organization. Could this not just be the universe telling you to try something else?”
During the 2011 Burning Man press conference in Black Rock City, Communications Director Marian Goodell explained the organization behind the event.
“Every year is different,” she explained. “We just provide the vehicle for creation, and the people come in and do what they will with it.”
For those who haven’t attended the annual freak-fest in the Nevada desert, when Goodell says “vehicle,” she is talking about the circumstances under which burners live out their dreams every year for one week at the end of August. She is referring to a society created by its participants—a “do-acracy,” if you will. She is talking about a place where heckling is encouraged, decibels are through the roof, and cocktail-drinking nudity is common practice.
She is talking about Burning Man as a place where people can do whatever they want.
That idea is attractive to many people, and is probably the very reason why the organization hasn’t marketed itself during its 22-year history. It has well exceeded its 50,000 person ticket-capacity, perhaps outgrowing its venue.
Which is why burners need to pick up the lead from the artists who spread Burning Man values beyond Black Rock City.
Beats Antique did just that in Eugene last week.
The livetronica, steampunk experiment took the stage at the McDonald Theatre, prepared to soothe the ears and capture the hearts of an eclectic crowd.
As a light projected brightly on belly dancer Zoe Jakes, the crowd went silent.
Percussionist Tommy Cappel and multi-instrumentalist David Satori took their positions. They cued up their computers and signaled to their new bass saxophonist Sylvain Carton. Red lights lit a rocky backdrop as Eastern sounds pumped through the system.
It was as if Beats Antique had brought a little bit of the playa with them to Eugene.
The band drew crowds larger than any other act this year in Black Rock City. Despite their inability to utilize live instruments in the desert, they united burners of every facet throughout the week, climaxing on Saturday night at Bass Camp only hours after the man burned.
During an interview with Legit Grit at Burning Man on Sunday, they alluded that perhaps there is a graduation from the central playa.
Beats Antique with Legit Grit’s The Dirt Mopper at Burning Man.
“Do you have any leads on why Bassnectar isn’t out here this year? He’s supposed to be a figment on the playa,” The Dirt Mopper questioned.
Tommy Cappel looked at David and then at Zoe, and then back at the camera.
“He’s on tour,” he responded. “And if you look around you here, these are his friends. This camp, the camp who bought us tickets and where we are staying, is full of his crew.”
Two years ago Beats Antique opened up for Bassnectar at a sold-out McDonald Theatre show. Last summer they played to thousands of fans at the Eugene Celebration.
And last week they headlined their own show at the McDonald for the second time in Eugene, selling out the venue.
They are approaching electronic music from a unique angle: combining Eastern sounds with Western percussion, topped off by contemporary dance and performance, and enhanced by the limitless potential of modern technology.
The crux of the band’s philosophy is rooted in expanding on ideas, rather than embracing the ones that are already proven to be accepted. Instead of paying for fancy lights and expensive sound systems, they are focusing on improving their music and performance for the audience. At the same time, they are embracing technology to its fullest extent, utilizing its many facets to create a sound that no one else has heard before.
Their innovative attitude—implemented in a fashion that breaks all rules and removes the barriers—is an ethos that embodies the ten principles of Burning Man itself.
They take what they learned in the desert and apply it beyond the playa.
Burners complaining on the internet can follow their example.
For Burning Man didn’t originate with art cars and sound camps. It was an empty desert with a few visionary people. Opportunities to start similar trajectories of artistic evolution await deserts, forests, and venues on an international scale.
Perhaps this year will be the most different. Perhaps the Burning Man experiment has reached its peak: a year that will not be graced by Robot Heart, Bass Camp, or the Sunrise Saloon.
Perhaps it is time to evolve.
We have plans for our Burning Man documentary. They’ll probably change the minute we get there.
Climb monkey bars during a bass music blast. Eat raw foods and meditate yourself to oblivion. Watch a six story temple burn to bits. Get chained up to a cement wall and be screwed by random strangers.
Rage for seven days in a dusty desert of anarchy- living in the world of organized chaos known as Burning Man.
It’s been on the tip of everyone’s tongue throughout the summer, in a year where tickets sold out for the first time in history. People freaked: some becoming rabid buyers as they turned to the Internet in sheer desperation that their week of pre-labor day refuge might be spent perusing photo albums from “Burn’s” past.
Legit Grit will be part of Black Rock City at the end of this month to cover the Burning Man gathering.
Yeah, great news. Really great news. We will be producing a Burning Man video in its most pinnacle year to date.
The event has sold out for the first time ever.
Tickets are being hustled online for over 10 grand a piece.
And founder Larry Harvey has announced this is its last year at Black Rock City.
Should be a good time.
Legit Grit has been at the grind for a while now.
We’re burnt out. We’re heshed. We’re cranky.
But we are not stopping.
Despite missing the deadline by no less than three hours, the Burning Man Press Team let us have our shot at pitching our project. We will probably do it regardless (maybe they’ll smash our SD cards), but apparently they take their red tape pretty seriously.
We have always been fans of transparency. If you feel so inclined, we have taken the liberty of posting the e-mail sent to the Burning Man press crew detailing our intentions.
A conglomeration of 3,000 counter-culture mavens gathered for an artistic happening at the legendary Horning’s Hideout this past weekend. Musicians, painters, technicians, dancers, vendors, performers, and witnesses brought their all, coming together for a paradigm of human experience.
“Anytime someone thinks the electronic scene is getting stale, there are always new and innovative artists pushing the boundaries,” said Lotus bassist Jesse Miller. “I think what Re:Generation did very well was highlight artists that are exploring live elements and putting together a captivating show.”
Yeah, hopefully we land an interview with JB and the boys of Widespread Panic when they roll through town next weekend. I’m thinking black leather couches, shag rugs, and a bottle of Maker’s Mark.
I’m about to head out on the less beaten trail for the weekend, soaking up some of the Oregon Country Fair underbelly. Get ready for a cherry poppin’!
Before I take off, I want to give you meat widdlers a little update about what’s to come this summer.
In the past few weeks, a beautiful culmination of talents has came together and showed us promise here in the Pacific Northwest. Along with a talented duo of technicians, The Dirt Mopper is forming “Legit Grit Productions.” We aim to document human happenings in a medium never before experienced.
Get ready, homies.
Tentative plans for the coming months? Next week, an Oregon Country Fair video. The following, we will be galavanting the streets of Portland for the EMRG-N-SEE festival. After that, the Human Nature happening in Tidewater Falls, Oregon. It all culminates in Black Rock City for Burning Man people.
Buckle your seatbelts. (more…)
The Glitch Mob during their Sasquatch! performance. Group member Justin Boreta says “they play technology like you would a guitar or drum set.”
The siren blared and lights flashed brightly as the state trooper’s car pulled up behind us. It was 8 AM, the Tuesday morning after Sasquatch.
Pulling over to the side of the highway, my co-pilot commented on my outfit.
Covered in glitter, barefoot, feathers in my hair and sporting a robe lathered in psychedelic patterns. Was I really about to talk to a cop?
As he strolled up to the window, scanning me from head to toe, a half-moon smile spread across my face as flashbacks from the weekend ensued.
Saturday. Bassnectar and The Glitch Mob.
A dubstep prophet and a new age rock band that plays their computers like Fender Stratocasters.
Sunday. Gold Panda, Flying Lotus, MSTRKRFT, and Ratatat.
The UK new age meets hip-hop’s connection with the counterculture, all to be topped off by old cats thriving in the depths of music accessibility via the interwebs.
THE DIRT MOPPER: DO YOU GO BY DAVID ANYMORE, OR IS IT JUST “POLISH”?
T.P.A.: I ALSO GO BY DAVID, OR POLISH, OR “AMPLE MAMMAL” IS MY OTHER NAME. IT ALL WORKS
THE DIRT MOPPER: WELL TO START OFF, I WANT TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON A GREAT SET TONIGHT. IT WAS RAD.
T.P.A.: THANKS MAN, I LOVE EUGENE. I LOVE THE CROWD HERE. YOU GUYS COME OUT, YOU THROW DOWN PRETTY HARD, SO PLEASURE ALWAYS.
THE DIRT MOPPER: DO YOU DO A DIFFERENT SET EVERY TIME? DO YOU WEAR THE SAME SUIT?
T.P.A.: YEAH, IT’S THE SAME SUIT. I’M LOOKING AT ADDING SOME NEW CLOTHES, BUT THE SUIT IS JUST THIS BEACON OF LIGHT. PEOPLE JUST DIG IT. IT’S GREAT FOR BRANDING, AND EVERYBODY LOVES IT, SO, YA KNOW. PROBABLY COME UP WITH SOMETHING ELSE OR MAYBE SUIT VERSION 2.0, WITH A FAT HOODIE. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. BUT YEAH, IT’S ACTUALLY A DIFFERENT SET EVERY NIGHT, BECAUSE I BUILD EVERYTHING OUT OF THE CORE LOOPS OUT OF ALL MY DIFFERENT TRACKS. SO YA KNOW, LIKE I’LL START WITH THE BASS LINE FOR THE SONG, AND THEN I’LL BRING IN DRUMS, AND THEN VOICE. AND THEN I’LL BRING IN DRUMS OR VOICE FROM A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TRACK SO EVERY NIGHT I NEVER HAVE ANYTHING PLANNED AND IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS AN ORGINAL SET.
THE DIRT MOPPER: EVERYTHING ON THE FLY. DO YOU EVER MAKE ANY TRACKS WHILE YOU’RE ON THE ROAD WHILE YOU’RE TOURING?
T.P.A.: WELL, YA KNOW I DON’T. MY PRODUCTION LAB IS BACK HOME IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, SO EVERYTHINGS DONE THERE. BASICALLY THE REASON I HAVE NOT STARTED COMPOSING WHILE I’M ON THE ROAD IS BECAUSE I’M PERFORMING ON A MACBOOK, AND MY PRODUCTION SOFTWARE IS ON A P.C. SO BASICALLY IF I WANT TO START PRODUCING TRACKS ON THE ROAD, I’M GOING TO NEED TO GET SOME PORTABLE LAPTOP, SORT OF P.C., STYLE, WINDOWS BASED SYSTEM.
THE DIRT MOPPER: DAVID, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS SHOWN AFTER THE RELEASE OF “IN RAINBOWS” THAT MOST REVENUE DOES NOT COME FROM SALES, AND IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIVE SHOW. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE LIVE SHOW EXPERIENCE OF “THE POLISH AMBASSADOR”? (more…)
THE AUDIO OF THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW RAN ON THIS EPISODE OF “DIRT MOPPER RADIO.”
THE DIRT MOPPER: YOU’RE FROM L.A. RIGHT?
S.J.: YES I LIVE IN LOS ANGELES. ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER B.C.
THE DIRT MOPPER: WHAT BROUGHT YOU UP HERE?
S.J.: I HAD A COUPLE SHOWS ROUTED PLAYING HERE IN EUGENE. IT KIND OF ALL HAPPENED IN THE FLOW THAT IM HERE.
THE DIRT MOPPER: WHY’D YOU CHOOSE TO GET INVOLVED IN A SOLO ELECTRONIC MUSIC PROJECT, VERSUS PLAYING WITH A GROUP, OR DOING SOMETHING ANALOG?
S.J.: I’VE DONE THE GROUP THING. I FEEL LIKE DOING A SOLO PROJECT IS REALLY A WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL. I STILL ENJOY COLLABORATING, BUT DOING IT ON A SOLO LEVEL YOU DON’T NEED TO RELY ON A BAND. IT TAKES THAT WHOLE STRESS OUT OF IT. I JUST LIKE TO DO IT BY MYSELF FOR THE MOST PART NOW.
THE DIRT MOPPER: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ABUSE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE INDUSTRY TODAY, AND HOW IT’S MAKING DJING MORE ACCESSIBLE?
S.J.: OOH, THAT’S A TOUGH ONE. WELL IT’S REALLY ACCCESSIBLE FOR ANYBODY TO BECOME A PRODUCER THESE DAYS. AS MUCH AS IT IS DISCOURAGING AND AS MUCH AS IT IS ENCOURAGING, FOR ONE, YOU HAVE TO PUSH YOURSELF TO HAVE YOUR OWN SOUND IN WHAT YOU DO. YOU KNOW, YOU PUT ON A BASSNECTAR TRACK, IT’S A BASSNECTAR TRACK. YOU PUT ON ONE OF MY TRACKS, I FEEL I’M GETTING TO THE LEVEL WHERE YOU CAN TELL IT’S ONE OF MY TRACKS. AND YES, THE MARKET IS FLOODED, BUT THE REAL MUSICIANS REALLY IN THE END ARE WHAT’S GOING TO POKE THROUGH.
THE DIRT MOPPER: DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND. (more…)
Last month the three-piece, tantric-western, belly-dancing conglomeration otherwise known as “Beats Antique” descended upon Eugene’s Mcdonald Theatre. It was their first headlining performance in the area, sparking excitement throughout the counter-culture community. Headdresses, poi balls, hula-hoops and the like filled every corner, as interpretative dancing ensued throughout the historic space. Despite only 600 tickets being sold a week prior, the venue was packed for showtime.
The band itself incorporates eastern flair with western rhythms. They embrace electronic tools, but swear by analog methodologies.
“Egyptic” highlights their fascination with rich eastern sounds.
“Spiderbite” has analog roots, but progresses to embrace the technological ethos of electronic music as it stands today.
“Daze” blends both techniques.
I caught up with drummer “Sidecar Tommy” before their set. We talked for a while about “Beats Antique’s” unique style, approach to technology, and live philosophy. The interview aired last week in a feature segment with Yeasayer and Paper Diamond.
Here is the interview.
Brooklyn based, experimental band “Yeasayer” came to Eugene, Oregon this past Saturday for the “Mallard Madness” festival. Despite sound complications, a rowdy crowd, and a sub-par venue, the band managed to lift the spirits of over 6,000 Oregonians in attendance.
I caught up with lead singer Chris Keating before there show. He talked about touring, the blogging culture within music, the new business model of the industry, and the benefits of technology in D.I.Y. promotion.
Later today I will be interviewing experimental rock-group Yeasayer and world renowned DJ A-Trak as part of a feature segment on the new music model. The piece will air on KWVA Radio in Eugene, Oregon on Tuesday.
Interviewing conscious musicians the past few weeks has ignited my brain fluids. The music industry is changing at an unprecedented speed, with the internet forcing artists to improve their content and marketing skills. A thriving electronic scene is fueled by programs like Ableton and Serato. MTV is winding down, Pitchfork is gearing up: there are so many exciting happenings in the world of rhythm and melody.
Within my own progressive vortex that is the lovely citadel of Eugene, Oregon, comes a college quintet making waves on the scene. “Adventure Galley” met at the University of Oregon, rocked house parties till cop break ups, and tore up the local W.O.W. Hall music venue. After winning a contest this past fall from MySpace, the band received a large stipend to record their upcoming album, and some frontage for new gear.
I hosted the band this past Wednesday on the radio. They had just finished a flash mob performance on campus, and strolled into the studio sporting aviators and afro’s. (One of them, at least) They performed four live acoustic tracks on the air, and shared a few anecdotes from their success story.
It was a great show. Here is the audio.
I had the privilege of interviewing Alex B, the legendary producer of “Paper Diamond”. Making waves out of Boulder, Colorado, he has been collaborating with Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights Music. The record label is operating on an innovative model- releasing all music for free. Alex B throws it down on stage, controlling his entire set wirelessly from an Ipad. If your days have been plagued by obnoxious dub-step and predictable drops, “Paper Diamond” is a breath of fresh air.
Oh and P.S.: Mimosa was sound-checking half-way through the interview, so bear with me on the background noise.
Internationally renowned linguist Noam Chomsky spoke on cultural hegemony this past Thursday on the University of Oregon campus. A self proclaimed “anarcho-syndicalist,” his speech critiqued hedge fund owners, the electoral system, and the current economic situation. Yet while Chomsky lambasted the activities of modern-day financial institutions, he never denounced capitol itself. Author John Zerzan, the “father of anarcho-primitivism” says this does not align with anarchy at all. Hear original sound from last Thursday, clips from the speech, and Zerzan’s response on tonight’s show.
Over 10,000 activists and idealistic young voters gathered in Washington D.C. this past weekend to take part in the largest activist training conference in United States history. The event was centered around the President’s inaction regarding current energy policy, and used the 2008 “hope and change” campaign tactics in organizing strategies. After meeting personally with the President, 12 activists decided to change their slogan from “hope and change” to “with or without you.” Notable speakers at the event included Al Gore and Van Jones, the self-proclaimed “green jobs czar.”
Eugene, Oregon’s Monica Christoffels was able to attend the Powershift Conference in the capitol this past weekend. She talked about it today on my show.
College media was called “Journalism at its purest form” last week by Ryan Frank, publisher of the Oregon Daily Emerald. He proceeded to credit his resigning from his investigative reporting job at The Oregonian due to the fact that college journalists still have “ink in their blood.”
The Oregon Commentator is a self-described “student journal of conservative opinion.” They have lost their funding on two occasions, published an issue with genitalia on the cover, and been featured on Bill O’ Reilly’s TV show. I hosted editor-in-chief Lyzi Diamond on my show last wednesday. Here is the audio.
Recently I hosted a young Argentine woman on my show who discussed America’s secret military interventions in the 1970′s. Part of the discussion centered around the “Montoneros”, a rebel group that fought against the military dictatorship during the “Dirty War.” She had some great insight into U.S. foreign policy as well, critiquing the current war in Libya. If you want to take a trip to South America for a half hour, I would recommend this show.
EUGENE- Vietnam War veteran, Merry Prankster, and self proclaimed “rookie novelist” Ken Babbs did a public reading this past Thursday evening of his highly-anticipated new novel, “Who Shot the Water Buffalo?” Babbs was part of the famous “Further” bus trip that Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters took in the late 1960’s. He was Ken Kesey’s right hand man throughout the 1960’s psychedelic movements, and his new novel has been awaited for more than five decades. It was first mentioned in the pages of Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
The event itself took place in the Knight Library browsing room at the University of Oregon.
It produced a large and soulful turnout with over 100 people in attendance, including Ken Kesey’s son Zane and Merry Pranksters including Carolyn Garcia and George Walker. (more…)
EUGENE, OREGON HAS A HISTORY RICH IN COUNTERCULTURE. A LONGTIME HAVEN FOR ARTISTS, GARDENERS, MUSICIANS, AND ALL WALKS OF PROGRESSIVE FOLK, THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT. BUT WITHIN THE FACES WHO COMPRISE THIS GREAT COMMUNITY OF OURS ARE A FEW SHINING STARS: MAVENS OF THEIR TRADE AND LEADERS OF THEIR GENERATIONS.
TONIGHT I BROUGHT MERRY PRANKSTER, VIETNAM VETERAN, NOVELIST, AND GENTLEMEN FARMER KEN BABBS ON THE RADIO TO TALK ABOUT HIS NEW NOVEL “WHO SHOT THE WATER BUFFALO?”
KEN BABBS WAS AN INFLUENTIAL LEADER OF THE 1960′S AND A LIFETIME BEST FRIEND TO AUTHOR KEN KESEY. HE WAS FEATURED IN TOM WOLFE’S “ELECTRIC KOOL AID ACID TEST” AND FRIENDS WITH THE LIKES OF JACK KEROUAC, NEAL CASSADY, HUNTER THOMPSON, AND JERRY GARCIA.
HEAR THE MAGIC OF KEN’S TRIP TO THE BOOKSHELVES HERE.
This past Thursday “Dirt Mopper Radio” had the fortunate pleasure of hosting Mr. Dave Dahl, the founder of Portland, OR based bread company “Dave’s Killer Bread.” Dave’s story is one of genuine inspiration. Having been sent to prison four times because of his troubles with drugs and crime, his future was not hopeful. But after fifteen years in state penitentiaries, Dahl decided to utilize his talents to help the world. When he returned his jumpsuit and set out for the real world, he decided to contact his brothers. Thus was the start of “Dave’s Killer Bread.” You can hear the full audio here.
Tonight Wisconsin native Lee Jorgenson came on the radio. He discussed the protests, his sister’s future as a public school-teacher, and what school districts are doing to combat Governor Scott Walker’s legislative reforms. Last week Scott Walker, in a questionably illegal move, pushed a watered-down Senate Bill through the capitol that cut the collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public employees. Originally funded by billionaire David Koch, the governor originally cited a poor budget as grounds to pass the bill. However, after last week, his new bill proved that was not the case.
So by tomorrow, the likelihood of six nuclear reactors being out of commission is high. Colonel Gadaffi is still slaughtering his own people in Libya, and Republicans essentially broke the law to bust unions in Wisconsin last week. Yet Americans, and the world, does not listen to old stories. They move on once they get old, and authority figures go unchecked. I saw this first-hand last week when attempting to resurface injustices in Afghanistan. The column can be found here.
Last night we brought Thomas Kyle-Milward on the show, who argued last year that “watching words is a lost cause.” It generated an enormous amount of controversy, as his argument was rooted in not censoring words like “retard.” Mothers and Fathers of special needs children were outraged, calling for his termination from the newspaper.
The show last night explored his arguments once more. Take a listen and tell us what you think.