Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rip Off City

via email:

Concert Fans Beware!

There’s a train wreck about to happen and consumer groups say YOU will be the victim if the two most powerful corporate interests in the live concert business get their way. But you can help stop the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The government needs to hear from music fans now. Tell the Department of Justice that you’re against these monopolies amassing illegal power over consumers, before it’s too late. antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov

As a concertgoer you have already felt the pain, and if Ticketmaster and Live Nation get their way, it’ll get worse. In the last 12 years, since Live Nation and its predecessor started its widespread takeover of the concert industry, concert ticket prices have shot up 82% while the consumer price index has gone up just 17%*. We are concerned that if the two concert industry behemoths, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, are permitted to merge, the variety and quality of artists coming to local venues will be affected, and your costs could rise further and faster.

Five of the nation’s most prominent public interest groups called on the Department of Justice to block the proposed merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation:

Consumers deserve a fair deal in the entertainment marketplace, not the fewer choices and higher prices that would result from this merger,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America

This merger is an insult to both musicians and consumers,” said James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International

“We cannot envision a remedy that would ease this chilling impediment to competition… In the absence of other effective, expeditious remedies, the proposed transaction should be prohibited.” American Antitrust Institute White Paper

As described by Senator Herb Kohl (WI) in the House Antitrust hearing, “This merger will not only expand Ticketmaster’s control of the ticketing market by eliminating a competitor, but it is also creating an entity that will control the entire chain of the concert business – from artist management to concert promotion and production to ticketing and ticket resale.

This merger would be a disaster for consumers. Nothing short of blocking this takeover of the ticket market by two industry behemoths will be acceptable,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg

“As president, I will direct my administration to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. I will step up review of merger activity and take effective action to stop or restructure those mergers that are likely to harm consumer welfare…,” said Senator Barack Obama when he was campaigning for the presidency.

If you agree with the consumer groups and lawmakers, make a difference and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD NOW.

Send a message to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice telling them you support President Obama’s campaign promise to protect the American public from abusive monopolies.


To learn more, check out:


Public Interest Groups Call on Justice Department to Block Ticketmaster/LiveNation/Comcast Merger

American Antitrust Institute's White Paper TICKETMASTER - LIVE NATION

Philadelphia Weekly’s cover story “Monopoly Rules”


The 9:30 Club, I.M.P., Merriweather Post Pavilion, Jam Productions, Metropolitan Talent, Another Planet Entertainment, Frank Productions, Stone City Attractions, Rams Head Live, The Black Cat ... and independent concert promoters and venue operators nationwide.

*Study by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger

Plan B

Yet another world meeting without action on climate change.

Our leaders aren't doing their job. We look to them for action, not talk.

Maybe our leaders are working for someone else?

There are some things money can't buy. Money can't buy a new climate. It can't buy an extinct species. Or a polar ice cap. Or the water in the sea. Or the temperature of the air.

The old models won't get us out of this fix.

Consensus-driven policy has achieved nothing.

Bringing your own shopping bag to the grocery store has achieved nothing.

Denying climate change exists has achieved nothing.

What's next? Unplugging

Common Good City Farm

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Jack Rose, R.I.P.

Gone too soon

I first heard Jack Rose in 2003 at the now-defunct 611 Florida space in Washington, D.C. The crowded room was silent for over an hour. We were all transported. After his set I talked with him briefly. He was open and funny. I remember him plunking a box of vinyl LPs of Opium Musick (his new album at the time) down on the livingroom floor, cutting the tape with a pocket knife, and selling me the record for $10.

The next time I heard him was in 2006 in Providence, RI. He played the closing set of Terrastock. Our ears (and minds) were fried after three days of incredible music, yet he held the room as he picked out waves of ringing tones. It was a transcendent moment, one that I will never forget.

"Jack was one of a handful of people I've ever saw that can take an instrument and literally go beyond - there's lots of people out there who are merely good or great, but when he really felt it and channeled it, there was something divine and transcendent in his touch. No tricks, no electric effects, just the sensation of making that perfect thing that lifted you out of this world."

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Water From My Tap is Brown

Washington, DC – December 7, 2009- The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) is issuing a precautionary boil water/bottled water advisory for a portion of Northwest DC, affecting approximately 750 buildings.

DC WASA experienced a loss of pressure around 12:00 noon on Monday, December 07, 2009. This resulted in a drop of water pressure in the vicinity of 16th Street and Georgia Avenue, NW . A smaller neighborhood may have lost water pressure entirely, which could present a water quality problem.
Although we do not have an indication that the water system has been contaminated, as a precaution, DC WASA recommends that you boil all water before use or use bottled water. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute and cooled before using. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making ice and for food preparation.

In addition, discard any food prepared today with water after 11:00 am. When preparing foods to eat, use the drinking water alternatives listed above or cook items that do not require water. For utensils and cooking instruments, use single-use items or those that have been sanitized. Some pathogens are not killed by alcohol gels or hand sanitizers, so soap and disinfected water are specifically recommended for hand washing.

The boil water advisory will continue until further notice, when the system is thoroughly flushed and the acceptable water quality is confirmed by water testing. This process will take at least two days. Please stay current by visiting our web site at www.dcwasa.com. DC WASA is taking all necessary steps to minimize the risk of water quality problems, including the immediate flushing of all lines in the impacted neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I always believed that I have something important to say and I said it. That’s why I survived because I still believe I’ve got something to say. My God is rock’n’roll. It’s an obscure power that can change your life. The most important part of my religion is to play guitar. Lou Reed
via Dust Congress

Friday, November 06, 2009

Taking a Look at the Lederer Youth Garden

The Lederer Youth Garden, adjacent to Marvin Gaye Park in northeast Washington, D.C., is operated by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. The department's web page describes the garden as "an environmental resource for area youth groups, day care centers, home school students, and classroom groups...equipped with a computer lab, weather station, classroom, garden, and animals". The plot of land is large, and features an impressive greenhouse.

Last spring, the Mayor came here for a promotional event in which he was joined by the makers of Miracle-Gro to dedicate the garden. Everyone posed for a photo.

Unfortunately, since then the garden has been largely neglected. The classroom building sits unused and most of the garden is overgrown with weeds. Hundreds of bags of donated Miracle Gro now sit stacked on the side of the garden, still unopened. On the sunny October day I visited Lederer Youth Garden, the one full-time parks employee on duty sat inside playing video games.

Lederer is proof that growing a community garden takes, well, community involvement. In too many cases, that involvement seems to be missing. In the northwest quadrant of the city, the waiting list for a community garden plot is often 3 years. But in the eastern wards, there are no waiting lists. Lederer Youth Garden and others like it sit idle.

Why is that? Carl Rollins has some ideas. I talked to Carl at the garden, where, as a volunteer, he has started to clean out the weeds and plant fall crops.

Carl is a master gardener and co-president of the DC Environmental Education Consortium. He's also Farm Coordinator at Common Good City Farm.


Drones Club - November

Listen to a sample from the November Drones Club CD-R

Monday, November 02, 2009


Transform sorrow energy to sympathy and it will bring you love.
Yoko Ono

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Drones Club - October

Here is a sample from The Drones Club CD-R for October.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Note from A & R

There's no way in the world any sane person would buy or want to listen or put anything behind this record
April 25, 1966 memo from Columbia Records A & R department rejecting the Velvet Underground's demo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Street Manifesto

a Digger handbill from 1967

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ability to meet and deal with others.
Ability to communicate in writing.
Ability to communicate other than in writing.

(from a list of qualifications for a gov job)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Paulson's Folly

I made this video last fall but just rediscovered it today. I made the video for a song I wrote about the economic apocalypse. It's a protest song. Still feels relevant, so I posted it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Power of an Audience

Lots of hype this weekend about the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. You know the line: three days of peace and music, the highwater mark of 60's counterculture, etc, etc. It was all distilled into nostalgia a long time ago and is now a boomer cliche. That said, I've always been fascinated with the event, the idea of thousands of people coming together in a field in the country, taking hallucinogens, dancing to loud music, and losing themselves in the moment. The raves of the nineties had this too. Every culture has some form of it. There's a primal need for it.

The second Woodstock concert, in 1999, went down in a spree of violence, looting, and rape. Old timers shook their heads, disappointed by the nihilistic attitude of the younger generation. But you could bring your cooler full of food and beer to Woodstock in 1969. If you brought your cooler to Woodstock 1999, it was confiscated at the gate so they could sell you $12 slices of pizza and $4 bottles of water.

The difference between 1999 (or 2009) and 1969 is the role given to the audience. In 1969 it was still possible to think of the performers, organizers, and audience as one. Everyone participating together to make it happen. By 1999, the role of the audience had evolved from participant to consumer. A participant gives their own energy to the collective experience. A consumer simply consumes. Locked together in a corporate CAFO, the alienated audience of 1999 chose nihilism. Is there any other choice?

With live music, there is an emotional loop that runs from the musicians to the audience back to the musicians. Neither the musicians nor the audience are in control. Each depends on the other. This strong connection is also very tenuous. When the audience is relegated to the role of passive consumer, the musician is relegated to the role of vendor, and the concert becomes a transaction.

It's hard to lose yourself in a moment that's sponsored by Visa.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Majick Rainbow Station Video Soundtrack

Jay and Ryanne used a Majick Rainbow Station recording in this video. The track fades in at :27 and later at 2:10

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Cream, 1968

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reggae in a Babylon

From a 1978 documentary of the London reggae scene.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Stereogab creation

This tasted as good as it looks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Drums on Georgia Ave

steel drums
Originally uploaded by Iburiedpaul
video shot by @stereogab

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Parade Day

Originally uploaded by Iburiedpaul
Forget the Mall, the REAL Folklife Festival is on Georgia Ave. today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blood On The Tracks

Went down to water the garden and found police tape, camera crews and the people who show up to look at a wreck. We tied up the tomatoes and lamented the drowned cucumbers. And we lamented the suffering of the people who were there the night before.

Mr. Williams came by and we talked about how Metro has to keep 30-year old cars in service while the Metro General Manager is making $326,000 a year (plus a $60,000 annual living allowance) and how that's DC for you.

And then we watered the peppers and picked a little mint and headed home, thinking about what we could plant in memory of what happened at the bottom of the garden.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Artomatic June 6 at 9pm 2nd floor stage


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Billy Name and The Mole People

It wouldn't have been The Factory without Billy Name. Billy Name was the pragmatist. He did the silk screens. He put the foil up on the walls. He painted the bathroom silver (he lived in the bathroom for over a year).

The cover of the Velvet's second album (White Light / White Heat) is a photo that Billy took of a tattoo on a biker's arm. The cover looks black, but it's actually a really low exposure photo (this was Lou's idea)

Next Saturday night we're gonna Give the Kids What They Want. And they want the Green Fuzz. They like it Chopped and Dropped. You know, You Have This Strange Effect On Me... And I Like It. And that's because the Kingdom of Heaven is Within You. I mean, I'm not from Brooklyn, I'm not from Queens. Know what I mean?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009


HEREWITH annual May missive message from I, Mark E. Smith
on this day of celebration/reformation:

ANOTHER year has passed - rapidly for some, too slowly for I,
one-legged yet again.
And yet, things re: The Fall improve, our new label, although young, are coping just about with 'The Fall".
Yea, in a Castleford studio built on gravel the group cracked down some odd things.
The main concern to avoid the much-ripped off already 'Imperial'.
Our next record will be something that scum like that choke on.
We will not be playing 'I.O.W.' 'FEST' either but will play the Mojo sick-trio.


I love you all but i cannot embrace you all/
-As of last year,
your dearest pal-

for 'The Fall'

As I type this in the swirling gales of consequence I wish you, my pals, all the very best.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Last night I dreamed my laptop was soaked in water. I tipped it and water drained out. I thought "I have to let this dry out before I use it".

This morning a friend sent this photo to me. No text, just the photo.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

San Francisco

My first day in SF. Morning walk to City Lights Books. A pilgrimage. Bought Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems, William Carlos Williams Paterson. Then $4 dim sum at a place where the menu was all Chinese. Ridiculous hills, low rumble of the cable car cables, ocean smell, Tenderloin panhandlers in the California sunshine. Why weren't you satisfied with this, Jack Kerouac?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wish You Were Here

Dear Dad-
It's raining today, just like it was a year ago when you died. Last night I parked on the same street I parked on a year ago, that night when I got the phone call from Brendan and stood on the steps of a rowhouse in the rain. I passed that house last night and it gave me the chills.

I've learned a lot since that night. I've learned that when you say goodbye to someone, it might be the last time you ever see them. I've learned that much of life is sound and fury, signifying nothing. And that death don't have no mercy in this land.

I have plenty to be grateful for but I wish you were here.

Wendell Jones
July 21, 1937-April 3, 2008

Monday, March 30, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Fever

The White House gets a garden!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Surfer Heaven

On the west coast of Costa Rica there’s a spot with consistently great waves, in a bay with a sweeping golden sand beach lined with jungle. It’s a three hour drive over dirt roads or a one hour plane ride from San Jose. It was there I met two young surfer drop-outs named Patrick and Peter. We hit it off right away. Their friendly vibe was infectious. They were outgoing stoner nomads who lived to surf. They'd been winging it in Costa Rica for the past year. Twenty year olds, they were living like it's 1972, but with better surf boards. Morning and evening they were out on the water, taking turns rocketing up and down the waves. They were by far the two most talented surfers on the local scene.

I hung out with them for a week. They lived with a few other surfers in a squalid cabana within walking distance of the beach. Their only possessions were surf trunks, t-shirts, boards, iPods, a bong, and flip-flops. They were definitely traveling light. In the morning when the birds and monkeys awakened and started screeching we’d head down to the beach to catch waves until the wind changed and the surf flattened out. Then we'd go back to camp, eat a big meal of rice and beans, and crash in hammocks for a few hours before heading back out in the early evening when the waves picked up again. "Pura Vida" is a phrase you see everywhere in Costa Rica. These guys were living it. One day slipped into the next following the same routine: wake up and surf, take a siesta, then go back out and surf some more.

In the evenings they'd sit around cutting out stencils and spray-painting them on old t-shirts and truckers caps. It was a collaborative effort, although Patrick came up with most of the designs; Cubist faces, random phrases, and tribal patterns spray-painted silver or black onto odd corners of the shirt. Without the distractions of television, Internet, or a nearby city they devoted most of their non-surfing time to their art.

Down in Costa Rica the surf scene is going strong. Local Tican rastas party with Mexican jewelry artists, American drop-outs, and European backpackers. They exist apart from the square tourists staying in the resorts that are popping up all along the once-pristine coastline. Hideaways on stilts with tie-dyed banners and surf boards leaning against the walls are scattered throughout the jungle near the shore. Every night surfers of both sexes, all heavily tanned and toned from hours of surfing, congregate at one of the few open air bars that sit along the dirt roads. Reggae plays over the sound system as they drink Imperial beer in the tropical heat and compare experiences from the day's surfing.

Surfing requires strength, especially today’s style which emphasizes carved turns and flips. Peter recalled how he got started: “I stood up on a boogie board when I was 7" he said, "My uncle taught me to surf. We just paddled out and he said 'Go for it'". He grew up surfing the river jettys off Newport Beach. Since then he'd surfed Hawaii and up and down the coast of Central America.

Patrick (a.k.a. “Pato”) hailed from Irvine, California. He and Peter went to high school together there, before they both were expelled two months before graduation for dealing. Patrick seemed to know everyone on the beach and in the nearby town. Driving a borrowed pickup truck into town to buy food, with long, white-blonde hair flopping over his eyes and a dolphin tattoo adorning one skinny hip, he'd call out greetings to kids playing on the road, families on bicycles, giggling local girls, workers lounging in the shade; everyone knew Pato and everyone liked him.

Along with surfing and partying, Patrick and Peter were making t-shirt art too. Patrick:"When I was in high school I would wear clothing by Billabong and Volcom religiously. Then one day I said "Why not do it yourself?" Ever since I have only worn a handful of shirts that I did not print myself".

Years ago I knew a kid named Michael who surfed the breaks off Palos Verdes. He lived in a Volkswagen Microbus that he kept parked near the beach. He spent most of his time at a coffee shop in Redondo Beach. That's where you called if you wanted to reach him. He sit playing chess for hours, stopping only to wander out to his van, grab his board and catch some waves when they were good. He was part of a long lineage of California surf bums. Guys who roll up and down the highways of the West Coast in old vans and pickups, chasing the waves. The commercialization of surfing hasn't eliminated them. You won't find them among the crowds who swarm the breaks on weekends. They're nowhere nearby. They're surfing a secret spot up the coast, one where you have to hike in. Or they're out in Hawaii, or down in Mexico, camping for weeks on end.

Patrick and Peter stayed down in Costa Rica another year before returning to America. They landed back in Irvine, harassed by the local cops until they found a secluded house off a dirt road in a rural part of Orange County. Here they set up a communal house with a group of like-minded friends. These days they spend their time growing vegetables in their garden and building coops for a flock of chickens that give them fresh eggs every morning. They've built a half-pipe for skateboarding and jumps for the dirt bikes they ride on the local trails. They’ve also started making shirts in earnest, hooking up with a guy who let them use a silk screen plant where they print shirts at night to sell at local surf shops and events during the day. They've named this operation Illus Clothing, Inc.

In an email to me, Patrick described the way it works: "Peter or myself or a friend comes up with a picture or logo or image then we tweak it out a little bit. Once we've agreed on a certain graphic we take it into the shop. The silk screen shop is open for business until about 5 or 6 in the afternoon so we usually go into work around 8 or 9 o'clock at night so we don't bother anyone. We make the artwork, buy the shirts, transport the shirts, paint the shirts using a silk screen press and then put them in Pete's van or in my truck and take 'em to the streets"

So far, they sell their shirts through their MySpace page and in a shop in Santa Barbara. They've had luck selling shirts at motocross races so they're trying more of them. Motocross is another adrenaline-junkie pursuit that requires strength and endurance. In the mountains northeast of LA, up around Big Bear Lake, there are miles of trails to ride and plenty of partying once the sun goes down.

Says Patrick: "I lived in a town where all my friends were given cars when they were 16. I used to work to make money to spend money but I didn't have a gut love for what I was doing. Now we're in a United States stuck in a stalemate of war and economic downturn. We are looking to make life better for everyone. It just seems there is way more than enough wealth in this country for everyone to have a decent life"