When I was growing up, Ma and Pa always used to argue over who made the cranberry sauce last Thanksgiving. Then Pa would edit the family Wikipedia page to say he was the one who had prepared the popular sauce. The next time the argument arose, he would shovel some coal into the back of the computer, screw on the internet hose, and turn the crank until the web browser was warm enough to display his self-made “evidence.” This method worked year after year. Ma could never prove that Pa had made the edit, as she was far too busy ordering looms from the Sears Roebuck catalog to trace his IP address.
Last week, things changed for us simple country folk, when a young upstart by the name of Virgil Griffith launched the website WikiScanner. Combining the Wikipedia database and the IP2Location database into a single search function, Griffith created a tool capable of determining the networks from which specific edits were made. While WikiScanner does not do anything that was not already possible, it makes the process far more efficient, thus unlocking its true potential (much like a six-chamber butter churn or an automated hog-feeder).
A variety of interesting edits have already been found: A user within Disney’s network deleted criticism of Digital Rights Management software, which is used by Disney. A computer owned by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was used to delete references to claims that its product Seroquel made teenagers “more likely to think about harming or killing themselves.” And the motherfucker who ruined the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was working for the Republican Party.
It doesn’t end there. A multitude of edits have been made from within the networks of the FBI, CIA, BBC, Vatican, and, surprise surprise, the major music groups. The editing histories of EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group mostly consist of adding links to official artist pages or corrections to the spelling of Steve Guttenberg’s biography. The one edit that stands out was made from a computer at Universal, adding the following two paragraphs to the page on “Copyright”:
“Authors and owners of intellectual properties throughout the ages have tried to direct and control how works would be used. Mozart's patron, Baroness von Waldstätten, allowed his compositions to be freely performed, while Handel's patron (George I, the first of the Hanoverian kings) jealously guarded 'Water Music.'
"Access control was always used as a measure to disallow intellectual property from being distributed without the consent of the author/owner. The [?Library of Alexandria] (aka "The Kings Library") wasn't a place that an average person could walk into and lend a book from. Ptolemy III paid the sum of fifteen talents of silver to be allowed to copy the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides."
It appears as if someone at Universal was trying to create a subtle historical case for the use of DRM (They’re right! We should have to pay for the library!). Whether this represents a grand scheme within the company or simply the actions of a rogue employee is indeterminable. All that is required to “trick” WikiScanner is an internet connection with an unfamiliar IP address. (I personally like to steal my neighbor’s wireless when I add boners to John Mayer’s Wikipedia entry.) While the major record labels have proven somewhat slow on the technological uptake in the past, it would be unrealistic to declare that the inner workings of Wikipedia must therefore escape them entirely. One should consider that the labels might already have separate IP addresses for editing Wikipedia and other sneaky internet business, which would beg reconsideration of the edits that WikiScanner has turned up. The very fact that we are able to trace them to a recognizable network could imply that they were not sanctioned by the higher-ups, but rather made by a single employee who was still bored after every Penny Arcade strip and Colbert Report clip available.
Wired has setup up an ongoing crowdsourcing effort to uncover more interesting Wikipedia edits. As for Griffith, he now plans to utilize the “treasure trove of information that people give away” on social networking sites. When I was growing up, we got our RSS feed updates via telegram. These days, even small, private, farming communities like Facebook could become sources of public information.
Elton John may have found an ally in his bold fight against technology, web comics, "all your base belong to us," and pictures of kittens speaking with poor grammar for no apparent reason; Guillermo Scott Herren (Prefuse 73, Savath & Savalas, Delarosa & Asora, A Could Mireya, Piano Overlord, and maybe Ahmad Szabo [still not totally sure on that one]) has announced that he abhors technology (that is not directly involved in the construction of supremely crunchy beats) and will do all he can to prevent its proliferation.
Reportedly, Herren was trying out his new catch phrase ("I has maked you a kookie... but I eated it") at a recent show in Brooklyn when the room was promptly flooded by twenty-somethings in ytmnd.com and homestar runner tees. In an effort to keep his audiences as isolated from internet trends as possible, Herren has announced (via skywriting plane, strategically placed billboards, and short-wave radios) that the full version of his upcoming Prefuse 73 album, Preparations, will only be available through physical retailers.
"Techheads will of course still be able to take a trip to GlitchtopiaÂ® when purchasing the album online. However, the only ones who will get the the full experience will be those kicking it so old school that they're stopping by their local Coconuts Music to pick up my disc... though I'm not totally sure chains stock my wares or if my fans have access to a local, independently owned record store," Herren was quoted as saying at the recent ILFSFOFCTPNRAPRY!ATGHYBHWANFODUYWOAHDCTWBF (International Luddite Forum Specifically Focusing On Forcing Consumers To Purchase New Records At Physical Retailers, Yup! Also To Get Here You Better Have Walked And Not Flown Or Drove. Unless You Were On A Horse Drawn Carriage. That Would Be Fine).
For those of you gobbling up the AACs at the iTunes music store, expect the following tracks, but not Herren's respect or approval, on October 23:
Apparently, the transportation rules of the ILFSFOFCTPNRAPRY!ATGHYBHWANFODUYWOAHDCTWBF do not apply to guest speakers, as Herren will be jet-setting throughout the world on his upcoming tour. His touring schedule makes me feel like a myopic asshole, as I do not even know what hemisphere the third tour stop is in
09.07.07 - Boulder, Co - Boulder Theatre (DJ Set)
09.13.07 - Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo - SESC Pompeia
09.14.07 - Recife Pernambuco - Recife - No Ar Coquetel Molotov - Teatro da UFPE
09.20.07 - London, Ontario - LOLA Outdoor Stage
10.14.07 - Dublin - Whelans
10.15.07 - Leeds - Room 237
10.16.07 - London - Scala
10.17.07 - Manchester - Apollo 2 *
10.18.07 - Brighton - Audio
10.19.07 - Reims - Electricity Festival
10.23.07 - Fribourg - Fri-Son
10.24.07 - Geneve - Usine
11.15.07 - Tampa, FL - Crowbar
11.16.07 - Miami, FL - Studio A
11.17.07 - Orlando, FL - The Social
11.18.07 - Tallahassee, FL - The Beta Bar
11.19.07 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
11.21.07 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
11.23.07 - Washington DC - Black Cat
11.25.07 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church Sanctuary
11.26.07 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
11.27.07 - Boston, MA - Paradise
11.29.07 - Buffalo, NY - Mohawk Place
11.30.07 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
12.01.07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
12.03.07 - Missoula, MT - The Badlander
12.05.07 - Bellingham, WA - The Nightlight Lounge
12.06.07 - Seattle, WA - Nuemo's
12.07.07 - Portland, OR - Holocene
12.08.07 - San Francisco, CA - Slims
* Battles & Dirty Projectors
Ticketmaster and Live Nation Go The Way Of Brad & Jennifer, Whitney & Bobby, Reese & Ryan; High-Profile Divorce Rocks The Corporate Boat
Where exactly are our family values? In another blow to the American ethics system at the hands of high-profile celebrity couples, the country's most greedy ticket retailer, Ticketmaster, and its concert promoter beau, Live Nation, have halted negotiations, indicating a likely split come the end of the pair's contractual obligations in 2008. Per the Wall Street Journal, House of Blues venues and their parent company Live Nation accounted for nearly 20% of Ticketmaster's $1.1 billion generated last year. Ticketmaster, who's responsible for almost half of all ticket sales in North America, has sought to retain a level of autocratic control over sales, while Live Nation hopes to center more ticket-buying around their own website. Let's just call it irreconcilable differences.
Less of a couple than a money-grubbing corporate conglomerate, the pair have done their best to rid the concert-going public of any semblance of options, damning music fans from coast to coast and beyond to outlandish "service" charges and "processing" fees with few viable, or convenient, alternatives. Even TicketWeb, ostensibly a substitute, shares parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp with Ticketmaster. All this in the name of supporting "venues" that veer more toward tourist traps, the House Of Blues pairing stages with family dining and $15 hamburgers.
While the divorce is far from final (and what of the children!?), it has been reported that Live Nation Chief Bigwig Michael Rapino is considering his own ticketing venture as a way to pad profits, barring a reconciliation. So while the two industry behemoths jockey for position, I am reminded of the tagline for the fine feature film, 2004's Alien vs. Predator. "Whoever wins... we lose."
Bill Callahan Tours with Sir Richard Bishop, Callahan and Bishop To Wear Matching Leisure Suits At Bitch-Tappin’ After Parties While Head-Bobbing to Theme from A Night at the Roxbury; Pregnant Lady in Pool Competition
Our favorite sticky-hot low-fi cinnamon bun, Oh-baby-baby Bill Callahan has added tourdates with Sir Richard Bishop.
Not confirmed, but so worth E! coverage: For Callahan and Bishop, making their way to autumn’s most ass-slappin’ after parties, it’s all about Mr. Brady-style leisure suits! Mmmmm. And we all know where wearing a fly leisure suit leads, ladies and gents.
You: No, AJ. To be honest, I don’t know where wearing a leisure suit can lead. Your humor is digressive, and I don’t understand where you’re going with this considering the basis of your news story is purely Bill Callahan and Sir Richard Bishop wearing leisure suits to score babes, which isn’t true or plausible. While leisure suits are funny, the humor of this story isn’t even related to Bill Callahan or Sir Richard Bishop specifically, making me, as a reader, wonder: what’s wrong? AJ, I’m worried! Are you too busy with your mid-level job as a local news reporter for me, a TMT reader? Are you rushing through this article right now, so you can finish your human interest story on a lady that is seven months pregnant and in the women’s pool U.S. Open? Did you, in your interview with the lady that is seven months pregnant and in the women’s pool U.S. Open, ask how she manages to keep her stomach from touching the pool table, as is the law of the land in pro pool?
Why don’t you, AJ, just tell me where wearing a leisure suit can lead, so I can get on with plucking my eyebrows, eating bon-bons, and watching soaps while you save the world, one journalistic wonder at a time.
Where leisure suits lead, once unbuttoned: Indie-lovahhhhhh: Oh Bill! We’re fogging up the car windows! I’ll throw my hand to the glass like Rose from Titanic. I’m usually not this easy, but, oh, THAT LEISURE SUIT! Please, Bill, please! Play another Rick Springfield cover! You know how “Jessie’s Girl” makes me sticky-hot, my favorite low-fi cinnamon bun!
And she’s loving him with that body, I just know it:
09.01.07 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
09.02.07 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
09.05.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
09.06.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Southpaw
09.07.07 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
09.08.07 - Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts
09.09.07 - Montreal, PQ - La Sala Rossa*
09.11.07 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre** Music Gallery
09.12.07 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
09.13.07 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Breakroom
09.14.07 - Chicago, IL - Lakeshore Theater
09.17.07 - Omaha, NE – The Slowdown
10.07.07 - San Francisco, CA - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival$
10.07.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
10.09.07 - Portland, OR - Mission Theater
10.10.07 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door
10.18.07 - Vancouver, BC – Vancouver New Music Festival#
$ just Callahan
# just Bishop
More TBA dates slotted for Sir Richard Bishop, as soon as Mr. Brady finishes reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Our favorite sticky-crunchy-spicy-good tasty bits o’ bombast Ant and Slug are set to embark on their most recent touring endeavor, Everybody Loves a Clown (aptly named after Sad Clown Bad Fall Number 10, the newest notch in Atmosphere’s Sad Clown EP belt). Additionally, Atmosphere aims to release their next album When Life Gives You Lemons... in 2008: which gives our boys some time to consider actually, in all seriousness, naming an album that.
Everybody may not love a clown, then, boys.
It’s not you, it’s me; Something suddenly came up; Sticky-crunchy-spicy-good tourdates:
Boris and Kurihara and Damon and Naomi and a New Album and a New Tour and This Headline Uses “and” Eight Times and This Headline Uses Absolutely Atrocious Grammar
The Japanese insert words like drone, psychedelic, stoner, doom, sludge] rock gods Boris and their cute club o' friends, Michio Kurihara (of Ghost) and Damon & Naomi, are touring the states. Should be quite the experience, because, if for no other reason, Boris and Michio Kurihara's collaboration on Rainbow was rated [4.5/5 by TMT music reviewer P Funk. Nice! Kurihara has also played guitar with Damon & Naomi, so yeah, expect him on stage for pretty much the whole night.
Damon & Naomi are also about to drop a new album two days before my birthday, September 25. That's right, my birthday is on September 27, so get those e-cards rollin' in ladies. The new album, Within These Walls, will be released on their very own record label, 20/20/20, which not so coincidentally re-released Kurihara's solo debut, Sunset Notes (TMT Review), earlier this year. Within These Walls features Kurihara (homeboy is busy), Helena Espvall of Espers, and Bhob Rainey of my editor's cream dream, nmperign.
The gang begins the tour at Chicago's Empty Bottle September 30 for the Wire Festival and finishes up in Cambridge, MA. Read the tourdates below to find out what happens in the middle:
Look out, world! Even as we speak, everyone's favorite band of spaz-tastic, mammalian musical masterminds Animal Collective are draping their birdcages with blankets, dropping their puppies off at the kennel, and settin'-free all of those field mice that they were keeping in Converse All-Star shoe boxes, as they make their preparations to once again doggy paddle their way across the Atlantic this fall for a new round of UK and Ireland dates.
Unless you're just not indie-cool these days, you're already well aware that these dates will undoubtedly be in support of the AC's release of Strawberry Jam, which is due "the 10th of September 2007 worldwide," according to Domino Records, and of which you've obviously already eagerly pre-ordered the Double Vinyl... dude, haven't you???!
But knowing those kooky Collective boyz, "supporting a new record" on tour is, of course, a relative term, especially with Alpha-male Avey Tare recently voicing the group's dedication (in so much as committing to something as noncommittal as pursuing flights of fancy can semantically constitute "dedication") to constructing a new set's worth of material on a monthly basis. After all, there's nothing like polarizing an audience to keep your career fresh, is there?? So get ready, fans! YOU could be the lucky one to have your opinions DISMISSED by Panda Bear! He's so cute...
Delicious New Dates:
One of my favorite movies is Pepe le Moko. Jean Gabin plays the title character, a suave and powerful criminal trapped in the Casbah of Algiers. The police are after him, as are his rivals, but Pepe is safe in the fortress of the winding streets and alleys of the Casbah. If he leaves, the police will surely pick him up, and Pepe wants to leave. A lovely woman from Paris takes his heart, and Pepe risks safety for love and freedom to catch her before she leaves Algiers.
Pepe le Moko came out in 1937. In 1938, it was remade for America as Algiers> It pales in comparison, but nonetheless gained a few Oscar nominations.
In 1942, a movie called Casablanca came out. Rick, a criminal in a different light, is stuck in his purgatory of Casablanca. In pain if he stays, unable to go because of his past, Rick is in limbo. You know the rest.
Ten years or more have gone by since the initial appearance of this Casbah criminal-lover character cropped up. Why have I gone through this? Well, Casablanca is a movie that's remembered, but it is important to know the history behind it. The influence on Casablanca, a great movie in its own right, is obvious, and it is indebted to Julien Duvivier's film.* It is worth noting, however, that it could have easily been another forgettable movie that the Hollywood system of the time churned out. Algiers comes to mind. So again, why have I gone through this?
Knowing history is important to artwork, for consumers and artists. A tradition is established and new forms are built and influences from years past are worked and reworked. Traditions are enriched by serious artists because they are at the very least known, if not appreciated. The danger comes when we forget our origins and believe that the present artwork is wholly original. Bogart's Rick didn't begin in 1942 but in 1937.
In that respect, it takes some ego to call yourself an artist today. To think that you have something new to say, and that it is important for everyone else to hear -- that's something, that's really something. I don't think William Elliott Whitmore, a folk-blues singer who is constantly touted as "unique," who has "the voice Tom Waits wished he had," has that kind of ego. I think he's an artist who knows his history, and I think his marketers and apologists are doing him a disservice by not knowing theirs and comparing him to Tom Waits and Iron & Wine -- the Casablancas, the Algiers, the followers. William Elliot Whitmore is a follower too, in a larger and deeper tradition, and he's singing about death and sin and the typical fare, but I hope, I hope he knows his history, whether he's saying something new, or in his case, building on the past by not.
# Tim Barry, Josh Small
* Cartoon character Pepe le Pew (Looney Toons) debuted around the same time, if not a couple years later. His origin, at least the name and Mel Blanc's voice-acting, comes from Algiers.
Saturday is the official start of the weekend, and we always equate the weekend with good vibes 'cause we typically don't have to work our day jobs. But since nothing in this world is perfect, is it possible that Saturdays can bring up terrible memories and evoke a sense of dread? Of course. So, I've asked some of my fellow TMT writers to help me paint a portrait of the collective psyche regarding Saturday not looking good here at TMT. One person responded. ONE. Either everyone is apathetic, has really good Saturdays, or dislikes me. You decide. Hopefully it's 'cause everyone has really good Saturdays though! In either case, the following is only one actual account of a Saturday being horrible, wrote so kindly by our residential Automatic Mix Tapes Editor, Trillian:
My worst Saturday was during my senior year of high school. I'd focused all my energies that week on being prepared to compete at the forensics tournament Saturday morning (public speaking, not dead people) and was consequently somewhat worn out. I performed in an event called Impromptu Speaking, chosen because it required little from me besides being debonair, full of shit, and attractive in a suit. I was a god. Judges and competitors alternately feared, respected and lusted after me. I was tired but composed and immaculately arrayed that particular Saturday for the most difficult tournament of the year. As I moved to my first point during the last round, I remember thinking my first place medal was in the bag.
Then my garter snapped. My stocking came slithering down to the top of my knee, just under the hemline of my provocatively tailored pencil skirt. I was so flustered I stopped mid-sentence (cardinal sin) and stared at the audience like a deer in the headlights (another big no-no). I blathered out a few disconnected thoughts, then made an attempt to move to my last point with knees firmly clenched together. No luck, the stocking fell to my ankle and I was barely able to hold myself upright for a half-assed conclusion and an awkward limp to my seat.
I lost the tournament, and was so shook up about it that later I shouted at my little cousin over something stupid until she cried at her birthday party."
If you feel Trillian's pain, go see Saturday Looks Good To Me on these dates, preferably on the Saturdays.
MTV has long ago made it clear that it's not in the business of music, it's in the business of culture. Accordingly, MTV is making a two-year, $500 million investment in one of the most profitable cultures around: videogame culture. In the past, MTV has manufactured and sold culture so successfully that investing in videogames seems like a logical step, but according to Reuters, the move is vewed as a risk, as most traditional media companies have failed to penetrate the $30 billion global videogame market (that's a lot of Marios!).
In addition to its strategy of emphasizing accessibility, "casual games" (like those found on AddictingGames.com), and omnipresence through TV, cellphones, and the internet, MTV will be banking on its forthcoming game "Rock Band" to put food on the plate, get a new pair of shoes, bring home the bacon, put the kids through college, etc. The game, which received the coveted "Best of Show" award, allows up to four cocky assholes (of any race, gender, or ethnicity) to play guitar, drums, or sing real-time to new and old rock songs with instrument-based peripherals. In addition to the tracklist below, gamers will be able to download additional tracks and even full albums (including Who's Next by The Who) online, made available every subsequent week after the game is released.
"Rock Band" will be released in North America November 20 on Xbox 360 and PlayStations 2 and 3 (a Wii version is "absolutely" a possibility, though no official announcement has yet been made). The price is still unknown, but rumors place it as high as $200.
Anyway, the real story is that MTV's not just a music channel anymore. But I guess you already knew that.
Featured songs on "Rock Band":