Showpaper; art collectable for DIY music

Wow! The first time I laid eyes on Showpaper my jaw dropped. It is a beautiful biweekly foldout that features original art on the cover and lists and promotes all-ages DIY music shows in the NYC and tri-state area. The Showpaper non-profit model blends the best of DIY culture with a formal approach. Unlike fliers and picture files, Showpaper creates an artifact of culture in hard copy form to be cherished and collected. Showpaper listings advocate a viable alternative for young people who are adept music connoisseurs and are banned from established venues. The listings are in lofts, garages, houses, alternative spaces and parks.
Maya Hayuk issue 31
The DIY music scene has always included art in the form of zines, handmade objects, and silkscreen show posters. This underground aesthetic is not abandoned with Showpaper but expanded to showcase artists who broaden the idea of community. Often artwork in the established art world is not accessible. It is shown in formal settings and viewed as a commercial product far removed from the process of the studio. Art is moving beyond the constraints of the gallery. The Internet is changing that accessibility, and artists are reaching out to define themselves differently. Yes!! This is an exciting time to be an artist! A sampling of Showpaper Artists (Roster) If you have the time or inclination, viewing the diverse artist’s work is quite fascinating but delving into their sites is an informative and eye-opening experience.

The Sumi Ink Club issue 11
The choice of The Sumi Ink Club exemplifies the meeting of art and community. The club's mission is to create a collaborative drawing using ink on paper. Just imagine the state of the world if we all just gathered around a giant coloring book and talked. The Sumi Art Club uses art as a vehicle for communication. The visual results are as delightful as the group’s intent, founded by Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck (AKA Lucky Dragons).
David Horvitz issue 15
David Horvitz documents his visual life daily in photographs. He finds things of interest wherever he might be at a given moment. He displayed a sequential series of photos in contrast and juxtaposition on the cover. It displays a lone figure disappearing in two separate landscapes, each creating a context of scenarios. Check his site for interactive conceptual pieces that the viewer sponsors through donations. Here
Guest curator David Horvitz selected Croatian artist Vlatka Horvat for issue 26. Her cover photo was a part of an installation series that documented the text Here To Stay made out of leaves. The text defies the inevitable disintegration of the leaves while the photograph celebrates its permanence. Her other work in video, text, and drawings creates a context that contradicts and challenges interactions within found and created environments. She turns things upside down, plays with our perception of what is, and calls attention to our vulnerabilities for manipulation and propaganda. Art and Music a Burgeoning Reciprocal Relationship The renaissance of culture is now upon us. While commercial enterprises and established institutions will have trouble displaying this burgeoning reciprocal relationship, the grassroots will pave the way. DIY lives and breaths a new life for music and art with Showpaper. Live on!!!  Interview via e-mail with Joseph S. Ahearn (The Rats of Nimh), Sleep When Dead NYC, and Showpaper volunteer. 

OCM How did the concept develop? 
JA We just wanted to list all age shows in a single place and try to break down some of the strange stigmas between the boroughs and states surrounding New York. It started out incredibly simple and, for the most part, has stayed incredibly simple. It's the relationships between all the very different groups, kids, musicians, and spaces that all work together to put on these shows that are vivid and complicated. We just observe and record. 

OCM How is Showpaper funded? 
JA Showpaper's funded in a bunch of different ways, which form a sort of patchwork quilt of support that barely keeps us warm at night. We throw benefit shows with bands we're friends with who are willing to play for free. We've done one art show and are hoping to do others. We've been lucky to have very generous people at our aid who've thrown benefit shows for us. We've been (lately) trying to push for donations at other shows thrown by people we know (like Todd P), where we can offer some sort of silly, fun service (lemonade, bike wash, popsicles, whatever) as an opportunity for us to talk with people and ask for donations. We're always surprised and happy with the amount people who are willing to donate. At the moment, though, most of our money comes from donations we can get on our knees and beg for (since we're a pending NFP, such donations are tax-deductible - tell your friends!). We have a few pretty significant grants in the waiting too. 

OCM Who are the key players in the creation and coordination of Showpaper? 
JA Well, Maggie Matela has been working on the paper since it first started and has designed and laid out the cover for almost every issue we've ever done. I haven't worked on Showpaper as long as her. Julian Bennett-Holmes (from the band Fiasco) has also worked on the paper as long as her. He just graduated from high school, just turned 17, and is one of the most serious kids I've met. He usually coordinates collecting the listings, along with Edan Wilbur, who runs e4e1 (Entertainment4Every1), and the two of them, along with a bajillion awesome kids, help run distribution every two weeks. My girlfriend Gabrielle Shaw has been helping cook up benefit show and fundraising ideas lately, as well as helping us with artwork selection. Stephanie Gross is our NFP paperwork girl, and she's been the brains behind getting us the structure we've needed up to this point, and Blair Mosner (who recently moved to San Francisco - boo!) has been helping us with grant writing. Todd P has been pretty instrumental in getting us off the ground and giving us access to all sorts of scenes throughout the tri-state, and connecting us with some of the larger artists. Alaina Stamatis writes the horoscopes and has also been helping with almost anything needed for quite some time. But this is just now, the boundaries are constantly shifting and we've never really officially given anyone titles or anything like that. People tend towards what they're interested in helping develop. 

OCM Who is curates the cover? Are there a specific criterion for the selection? 
JA We had a few guest curators (Brendan Fowler, David Horvitz, Cinders Gallery), but for the most part we've curating all the issues ourselves (the people I outlined above), with priority given to people like Julian and Maggie, who've worked on the paper the longest. We're in the process of having a more standardized selection process since we've been getting a lot more artwork submissions lately, and I think the plan (hopefully starting in September) is to have the whole thing on a 6 issue cycle, with Showpaper selecting a guest curator for to do 3 issues, curating two ourselves, and then having one selected every six issues solely from the submissions. That would allow us to keep the quality from submissions high, allow us to branch out and find new artists through the curators, while at the same time being able to put up the people we want to put up. This has always been how it works, just very informally. We don't have much criteria, although I personally feel like things that take full advantage of the full-color plates we're paying for at the print warehouse get priority. We like stuff super colorful. Busy and detailed works too, something that'll engage people over multiple viewings, so it won't get boring after the first time they put it in their pockets. Other than that, the field is wide open. 

OCM I see you volunteers as interns, your thoughts? 
JA Some of the volunteers are definitely interns. We are registered with the Department of Education, as well as having all the other silly paperwork necessary, so we've given out a bunch of school credit to high school and college kids. It'd be unfair to say that was the case with all, or even most, of the people who work on the paper, though. Most of the people who work on the paper are involved in the music scene already, and this is something they're excited to get behind. And there's a lot of different ways people can be involved, from an hour or so every two weeks and some people who are helping with stuff almost every day. Most of the longest and hardest working kids are the one's who receive no credit at all. I only just figured out how to get my school to give me some recognition for this stuff this summer. Outside of the specific roles, there are between 2-10 volunteers who help list all the shows. We meet at The Silent Barn, or coffee shops in Williamsburg / Bushwick / Park Slope, depending on who's running them that day and whatever is convenient. Distro is done by anywhere between 15-almost 70 kids in this big tangled network. Distro's my favorite part of the whole process, because it's so beautifully chaotic. There's a lot of meeting people in random places and giving them some papers that they'll pass off to another kid, who'll pass it off to another kid, who'll pass it off to another kid, who'll see it for the first time and put it up on his wall. We try to keep track of that handing-off cycle to a point, so we know where the papers go, at least abstractly, but for the most part you have to trust that the kids who think the paper's awesome enough to donate their time to it will know the best places to put it, and just take your hands off. 

OCM Have you considered an on-line presence as well as the printed format? 
JA Has the thought occurred to us? Sure - but I don't think we ever thought about it as a possibility. We use the Internet for every show we list, but re-posting it all back online would, I think, severely deflate what makes us special. First, because there already are online aggregation sites for shows in New York (OhMyRockness being the biggest) and us trying to compete is not something I'm into. I don't know of a specific other listing site that's doing exactly the same thing (even All Ages NY lists only punk shows, really, in the 5 boroughs, and sometimes lists 16/18+ shows), but I still feel like we're encroaching on different territory. Second, and more importantly, I feel people would take the art less seriously. This seems like a detail, but it's super big. I think if we had the paper available online, people would stop picking it up. And maybe they'd get their show information a little more streamlined and efficiently, but they also would stop paying much attention to the artist, and I think the full color print is one of the best parts of the paper. I'm a heavy promoter of digital artwork and the Internet, but we really have figured out yet how to give visual artists their just credit on a computer screen. 

OCM Aside from art shows and benefits, have you envisioned other ways Showpaper can align art and music? 
JA Possible, but nothing that comes suddenly to mind. Showpaper works best, I think, if we don't forget that it is what it is. Everyone involved in the paper are awesome, crazy, motivated individuals that are all foaming at the mouth with weird projects to work on with each other, and if any time spent bonding over Showpaper can be used to support those relationships, great! The people who make the paper happen are already working to align art and music. If we wanted to stretch the umbrella of Showpaper over those projects these people do, we could, but that would be a misunderstanding. The paper isn't a scene, or a community, or a new perspective on music and art, or any of that. It's just a tool (and hopefully the first of many) that is by and for all of those things. 

OCM Anything you want to add? 
JA Throw shows that feel like home.


Obsession Collection Music Story; In Song

Once upon a time, a girl named Meg sent a file of Bright Eyes to a boy named Ryan, who then burned it and gave it to my daughter. The recordings ended up in my car CD player. Well, to say I was struck is an understatement. An obsession ensued. I was 49 years old, and I was considerably moved. I had never heard music that moved me to the core, feeling the bitter and sweet of everything.

Who the fuck was this anyway? An Eighteen-year
old boy? How could he know so much? I'll save my dissertation for another time. Music was always been a part of my life, but for some time was dormant. You know life gets in the way, obligations, children, money, and worries.

This marvelous obsession with Bright Eyes eventually led to this blog's birth.

Here is the same story in music
"I Feel The Music," written and recorded by me Artifact
Over the year, my Bright Eyes collection grew. In November, I will see Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band (unfortunately, not at the sold-out Bowery Ballroom). It will be the nineteenth time I’ve seen Conor in one form or another. "I Feel The Music" MySpace


The Rocket Factory Rooftop; Discovery Pwrfl Power

Pwrfl Power
Francois Virot Ramona Cardova
Ok….I waited two years to see Ramona Cordova. Unfortunately, it was miss, not hit. I’ve only heard raves, so this was an off night due mainly to touring tragedies and mishaps. The mood didn’t strike him, as the audience tried to show him, love. He just wasn’t feeling it. I guess it is hard playing in the dark and being exhausted. Bad shit happens to musicians on the road. His truck broke down with all his belongings in another state, lost his cell phone that day, and the list goes on……… Although I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Ramon, I would have loved to see him at his best. Hope things get better, I love his music. The weather was beautiful, and a warm breeze filled the night air. The scenic view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge was breathtaking. The opening was The Spookfish, a one-man composer who creates moodscapes with beats on Casio and laptop. Listening to the sound on the rooftop was ideal. Ending the set with “Reef Gecko,” he composed on a plane ride from Florida the night before. Nice… Pwful Power (Kaz Nomura) was the delightful surprise of the evening. He just recently moved to Brooklyn from Seattle. He stood with electric guitar and began each song with a story or one-line setup. I laughed throughout the whole set. In one song, he started by pointing directly to a group of people in the crowd saying, “I like your jacket.” Everyone then turned from side to side, looking for a jacket on a warm night. How could he see us it was dark? Then the song began. You got a nice jacket / the best jacket in my town / can I have it for my birthday/. Another selection is “Let Me Teach You How To Hold Chopsticks.” / Your so pretty and holding them wrong / My dad used to beat me up because I was holding them wrong / and I don’t want to beat you up / because your so pretty / your so pretty / but your holding them wrong /. His amusing phrases have layers of irreverent philosophical humor that you can fully appreciate. Part of the charm is his childlike delivery. He’s a hoot but more. He is a dynamic musician with cool guitar moves blending classical fused with jazz, extreme abandon of abstracted scales, with scattered dissonant chord arrangements. Bought his CD and a homemade sponge for three bucks that his Grandmother made. So charmingly sweet! Francois Virot, like Ramon, was also suffering from tour exhaustion and illness but gave it his best shot. It was a rather disorganized, scattered set. His voice was about to go at any minute. So his usual coughs, grunts, and frenetic vocal styling were heard in all its glory but with a more hoarse and strained quality. I bought a tape of Yes or No, but can’t find a tape player that works. The recordings sound soooo good. Have to wait for the release. Say Fiesta MP3 Francois Virot


McCain, the Internet & confessions of a Music Blogger

I am an anomaly. I am a 56-year-old music Blogger. I will admit that before starting this site, I was computer illiterate. Yes, I could surf the web, answer emails and send attachments. I understood the powerful ramifications of the online community but lacked the knowledge to implement my enlightened visions. I can now explain how it works without sounding ridiculous, but my implementation skills, while getting better, are still limited. I can envision trends and movements on the Web and see the power of new possibilities. As large corporations and media empires have access and visibility, so do others willing to take the time. The egalitarian nature of communication from many platforms is possible. My focus and contribution have been to the music community. I watched CSPAN and was drawn into a panel discussion by the Personal Democracy Forum in New York about how the Internet has been utilized in past and current presidential campaigns. The panel's mission was to be informative and nonpartisan. My eyebrows were raised when Tracy Russo (John Edwards campaign blogger) challenged Mark Soohoo, (the McCain McCain e-campaign director) about his candidate’s lack of computer literacy. While she made legitimate points, she was apologetic about swaying from the panel's intent. I share her concerns and think there should be no apologies when raising such a vital issue. Lacking a basic understanding of how the Web functions is a hindrance. To fully grasp the possibilities of this vastly growing entity, I think a president should have a grip on the potential future of this information evolution. He should envision where it is going. The global connectivity it provides has a broad scope of possibilities. It can be the catalyst for solving our world’s most difficult problems. Just imagine, the future of the global web community within fields of science, music, art, media, and politics to name a few. Just think YouTube was launched in 2005, and in just three years, a massive global community is developing with far-reaching significance. I might be old, but I welcome the renaissance of possibilities that is the Web.
Fascinating video: Information R /evolution



Wildebeest; Matthew Winn

So...... The always evolving and fascinating, Wildebeest (Matthew Winn) did a Pink Couch Session at If You Make It a while ago that was recently uploaded. Clocking in at twelve minutes, Wildebeest sings/speaks with a touring guitar, harmonica, a smoke, and a flask. He also has been performing similar long rants with chimes!

Recent Wildebeest
MySpace Post News
I have published a short story New Reality Competition, and a book of poems Taste Lie Paper. Both are between 30 and 50 pages, cost 5 dollars, and can be obtained by emailing me.

Novice Theory; "Vignettes"

Unlike the Fox News Virus Novice Theory, AKA Geo Wyeth is worth spreading around!

Full Homophonic video interview at After Elton


o'death New Song "Home"

During the month of February o’death recorded with Alex Newport (Two Gallants, At The Drive-In, The Locust) behind the boards. They are sharing the song “Home” from Broken Hymns, Limb & Skin to be released sometime this year on their MySpace site.

“Home”, starts off slowly. The chorus of / home, home the air I breath / scaffolds and rises to break through, and breakthrough it does! Listen here.

Francois Virot & Ramona Cordova

I am looking forward to seeing two favorites, Ramona Cordova and Francois Virot in New York on July 1, 2008 Venue TBA........ repost of bulletin below...... REST IN PEACE FRIDO -- 21 JUNE 2008 Frido Korea, bless his little heart, passed away the other night before the Madison show. yes, the truck is dead. I'll be continuing the tour by public bus and some help from friends... François is not going to make it for the Canada shows, Burlington Vermont, or Biddeford Maine. He might meet up in Albany to continue the tour through the end, or it might just end up that he plays Cambridge, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York as his last four dates. let see! See and hear how awesome they are!!




Laurie Anderson; Words of Inspiration @ RISD commencement

Multi-media artist /composer Laurie Anderson said to graduates at RISD, “I can’t think of a better time to be starting out as an artist." Her inspirational commencement speech touched on her unconventional journey as an artist. She shared some survival strategies with the graduates. Communicating that working beyond conventional boundaries and taking risks helped her to invent and reinvent herself at every turn. Including her stint as the first and only artist in residence for NASA.

Anderson suggested that the artist could reach a wide audience today using great digital tools and do it without being aligned within an institution, collection, or corporation. With that in mind, the question of ethics and responsibility was brought up to ponder.

She quoted the first paragraph of George Trow’s book
Within Context of No Context and then wove its premise, the “size of the con” from a social, cultural, and political perspective. Examining the power of the media to spin its own reality, she posed provocative questions, giving the listener a chance to weigh in cerebrally; “You have inherited a story-savvy government, one willing to use spin and multimedia to tell its stories. So what are the true stories?”

"Wonder was the grace of the country. Any action could be justified by that: the wonder it was rooted in. Period followed period, and finally the wonder was that things could be built so big. Bridges, skyscrapers, fortunes, all having a life first in the marketplace, still drew on the force of wonder. But then a moment's quiet. What was it now that was built so big? Only the marketplace itself. Could there be wonder in that? The size of the con?"
George Trow

"Artists really do see the world from a very different point of view", she went on to plead her case for the artist-in-residence program at NASA to be reinstated. Making a broad assertion of the possibility of the artist in residence in Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House. "There is a Department of Defense, Department of Health and Welfare. How about a Department of Art?"

I felt the need to share her words with anyone inventing their destiny through creative endeavors. More than ever, our world needs talented individuals who can disseminate, unravel, and envision new possibilities for the world. The time for her questions is appropriate now.

RISD Commencement Link

Something to Ponder!

"The work of television is to establish false contexts and to chronicle the unraveling of existing contexts; finally, to establish the context of no-context and chronicle it." George Trow


Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Band; Mountain Jam Winners to Hear!

Radio Woodstock and Warren Haynes present the Mountain Jam 1V from May 30th to June 1, 2008.

Just wanted to give a shout-out to the talented and awesome band
Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. They won the Mountain Jam competition and were chosen to open on Saturday, May 31st, on the west stage at 12:00 PM for a half-hour set.

Sgt Dunbar's nine players boast a crazy array of instruments: guitar, accordion, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, French horn, drums, mandolin, saxophone, violin, ukulele, singing saws, banjo, bass, typewriter.

Their passionate folk styling has a kind of sloppy gypsy jug band feel with full brass and awesome auxiliary detailing from the singing bow to the typewriter. Don’t be fooled this band of hobos can play and each member is a multi-instrumentalist.

Watching the constant instrument rotation is part of the fun, but the full-bodied charm of the sound they create is delightful.

They are DIY all the way and truly live by and play by the rule of the music community. They Share!!

Myspace B3neson Recording Company
New Release: The Thing About Time on Itunes

Homemade video!