A Suntan On Their Buns

June's mix is live. You can download it here. Featuring songs from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Chuck Berry, The Cyrke, Adam Green, The Clash, Herman D√ľne, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, Canary, Elf Power, Yo La Tengo, The Specials, Darwin Deez, Bodies Of Water, No Kids, The Art Museums, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Gilberto Gil, Sly & the Family Stone, The Beach Boys and The Apples In Stereo. It's like a suntan for your ears.

There are more mixes over on the Master List. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone.


Decade of Us

Ten years ago, Candace and I got married. It was awesome. She's the best. I am lucky. That is all.


There's A City In My Mind

Yesterday on Facebook, I linked to a Pitchfork story about David Byrne suing Florida Governor Charlie Crist over the unauthorized use of a Talking Heads song in Crist's campaign. Today, he blogged about it. I won't comment on it; Byrne does a better job than I could. Read Byrne's entry below, or you can click here to read the entry on his blog, which I heartily recommend you follow.

05.25.10: Yours Truly vs. the Governor of Florida

I am bringing a lawsuit against the Governor of Florida.

A while back a friend told me that the Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, was using the Talking Heads song “Road to Nowhere” in a campaign ad. He’s running for Senate.

Well, using a recording of a song, or even just using that song and not the original recording, in an advertisement without permission is illegal, unless the composition has gone into the public domain. It’s not just illegal because one is supposed to pay for such use and not paying is, well, theft — it’s also illegal because one has to ask permission, and that permission can be turned down.

Besides being theft, use of the song and my voice in a campaign ad implies that I, as writer and singer of the song, might have granted Crist permission to use it, and that I therefore endorse him and/or the Republican Party, of which he was a member until very, very recently. The general public might also think I simply license the use of my songs to anyone who will pay the going rate, but that’s not true either, as I have never licensed a song for use in an ad. I do license songs to commercial films and TV shows (if they pay the going rate), and to dance companies and student filmmakers mostly for free. But not to ads.

I’m a bit of a throwback that way, as I still believe songs occasionally mean something to people — they obviously mean something personal to the writer, and often to the listener as well. A personal and social meaning is diluted when that same song is used to sell a product (or a politician). If Crist and his campaign folks had asked to use the song, I would have said no — even if they had offered a lot of money, such as I have been offered in the past for ad use (though I’ve always turned these offers down).

I believe my audience is aware of this no-ad use policy of mine, and part of the respect I am accorded as an artist is due to my maintaining this policy. Needless to say, if they thought I’d licensed a song to a political campaign they might not respect me as much in the morning.

It might be pointed out that Republican campaign organizations have done this kind of thing before. John McCain’s campaign used the Jackson Browne song “Running on Empty” and Reagan’s folks used Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Both were used illegally without permission, and in the case of the Jackson Browne song a lawsuit was brought. After the Republicans lost several motions attempting to dismiss Browne’s complaint, they settled with him. Part of the settlement said that the Republican National Committee promised to respect artists’ rights and to obtain licenses for the use of copyrighted works in the future. So, it’s not like they weren’t warned, or hadn’t been burned before.

Now, there is such a thing as fair use. Typically the type of free use that doesn’t require a permission might be a student quoting a passage in a book to make a point in a graduate paper, or someone using part (not all) of “Road to Nowhere” to identify, say, the marching groove in that song as a metaphor for the inexorable forward momentum of time, or some such notion. These uses are typically exempt from licensing, permission and fees. In this case, however, the use was not to comment on or explain something about “Road to Nowhere,” ’80s music in general, Talking Heads or Cajun accordion riffs — it was used solely to further Governor Crist’s advertising strategy in his Senate primary campaign… a campaign that has nothing to do with me or my music.

Another tactic the Republicans have used to justify this kind of thing is the right to political free speech. Their argument is that the song is integral to making a political point, and therefore falls under free speech. Well, that’s just crazy talk — the song has nothing to do with Crist’s political views. It simply has a title that is a handy catchphrase, as does the Jackson Browne song — but the content of the song itself doesn’t have any connection with the politician’s campaign or agenda.

So, my lawyers and I have filed a lawsuit — and we also hope the Republicans might not engage (again) in this kind of illegal behavior in the future.


So yeah, suck it, Charlie Crist.

Anyway, here's the video for the song in question, which I totally love. It's quintessential Talking Heads: equal parts profundity and ridiculousness; part artsy and part, well, fartsy. They're my favorite band.


The End

So … that's it. The end. Aaaaaand I loved it. But what did you all think? Any questions? Now's the time to ask 'em.


Stuff I Made

I promise, one of these days I'll blog about something besides stuff I made recently, but in the mean time, uh, here's some stuff I made recently.

First off, we have two weeks' worth of words for Best Mark My Words. Here's "Gadzooks," from the week of April 26th:

And here's last week's word, "Kine," which is an old-timey way of saying "cow":

The funnest part of that last one was waiting for a reaction from the employees at Lowe's when I explained I just needed a swatch of astro-turf for an art project. Although this is Vegas, so I'm sure it's not even on the list of top 50 weirdest things done with astro-turf that these guys have heard of/participated in.

I've also been putting together a set of captioned photos for a series I have titled "Ballerz." Here's a slideshow of the set so far:

And finally, this week's MST3K Drink & Draw is almost upon us. We'll be watching Secret Agent Super Dragon, which is on Hulu this time instead of Netflix. Position your computer machines accordingly. And, like the last couple of weeks, I'll be kicking off the West Coast/Mountain session at 9pm Pacific. It's been really fun, but you don't have to take my word for it. Go check out the Flickr group pool for the goodness. Everybody is welcome. Here's the poster:

Oh, and if you want to join We Bought Comics, you're welcome to do that as well.


We Bought Comics

So myself and the Handsomest Man In Comics™, Chris Haley, have teamed up to start a new Flickr club called We Bought Comics. Here's our little badge.

And here's how it works: if you bought comics, take a picture of them, either individually or in a group. I'm gonna do both, actually. Tell us what ruled, what sucked and what was just so-so. You can take pictures of yourself reading your books or of the shop you bought them at, if you want to pimp 'em a little. Basically, we wanted a way to share what we're reading and see what others are reading. Cuz we love comic books.

For example, here's what I picked up this week:

So if you're a comics fan and are on Flickr, come join the club. As the Marquis de Sade said, "The more the merrier," right?


Vote "Yes" On Knope

New Parks & Rec tonight! Are you stoked? Cuz you really should be. Seriously, Thursday nights are a joy, aren't they?


As Easy As 1, 2, 3

We've got a new poster up in the Sparkle Power shop. It's the Alphabet print and it's available in the same colors as our La La Love You print: pink, orange, yellow, green, aqua and light blue.

As with all of our other posters, these measure 11" x 17" and are printed via a professional-grade inkjet photo printer onto off-white 80# French Paper Company cover stock. As I said, they're all available in the the Sparkle Power Etsy shop. Convo us for bulk orders. We aim to please.

Satellite of Love

Another week, another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Super Friends Club poster. This time, the film is The Blood Waters of Dr. Z, featuring a disgruntled Nazi scientist who turns himself into a walking catfish. You read that right.

If you want to get in on the MST3K Drink & Draw, all you have to do is hop on the internet at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific,* pull up Netflix, watch the movie and draw whatever pops into your pretty little head as you watch the castways on the Satellite of Love heckle a terrible movie. Then you post it on the Internet. Simple.

And don't forget to post what you're drinking. Me, I think I'll be nursing a nice, cold sarsaparilla or two. Cuz I'm a gangsta.

So yeah, join in! As usual, I'll be posting my stuff on Twitter and Facebook as well as in the the Flickr group pool. Or, if you just want to see what others are drawing and/or drinking, you can follow along on Twitter using this hashtag (or follow MST3KSFC founders Jen and Chris for the highlights).

See you there.


* If anybody else wants to do a West Coast viewing at 9 Pacific, let me know. I did that last week and it worked out pretty well.