ISSUE: The business of music, what comes next?

Almost any commercial business nowadays -whether is a shop, café, restaurant or even grocery store- use music to create an ambience, to lure costumers and generate a mood that mirrors the business culture.  But music is not only a decorative artifact, it represents hours of work and hundreds of people involved in making it.

“Regardless of industry everybody should be paid for the work they do,” said jazz trumpet player and composer Nadje Noordhuis. To guarantee that artistic work is respected the U.S. Copyright Act was created. This law, which protects music, provides monetary rights to copyright owners when their music is used.

Businesses are required to have a license to play music the same way you pay to use a cd from your favorite artist; however with new technologies things have changed.

“Internet is an intangible situation where writers and publisher are losing money,” said Johnny Allen, blues and R&B guitar player.

COPYRIGHTS

Songwriters, composers and music publishers usually become members of a performing rights organization that license their music to the public. In America the American, Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcasts Music, Inc. (BMI) or the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers make sure to repay royalties to their owners. Nevertheless, in a world increasingly digital, keeping track of how people consume music is not easy anymore.

The U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress recently announced the beginning of a new Music Licensing Study to help Congress review the U.S. Copyright Act 17 U.S.C. 101.  The aim is to “evaluate the effectiveness of existing methods of licensing music.” Every person interested in this discussion can submit written comments before May 16 to www.copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/

“Hopefully whatever they decide is going to still allow composers to be paid for their time and effort,” said Noordhuis. “I just hope the business people can represent the composers in a way that is fair.”

MINI PROFILE: Connie De la Cruz (Revised)

An example of Connie De la Cruz's pieces from her Transformation Stone collection. Found at Style.com.
Connie De la Cruz likes to show emotion in her fashion collections through folds in the garments. This jacket is one example of her work from her Transformation Stone collection. This photo and others can be found here.

Connie De la Cruz’s fashion pieces always tell a story.

“I would say personal experiences are a big thing for me,” De la Cruz said. “I’m inspired by my feelings and emotions.”

De la Cruz, 22, a slim brunette from the Dominican Republic, said her interest in fashion sparked before high school. She had always paid attention to detail. So she loves detail in patterns in fashion design.

She attended an affiliate Parsons school in the Dominican Republic before transferring to Parsons in New York, where she lives now.

“There’s something about here that I really, really like,” she said. “Everyone’s focused on their thing. They want to get somewhere, they want to do something, they want to be someone.”

And De la Cruz is on her way. Last year, she was a finalist for her thesis collection. This January, she started freelancing for Calvin Klein. But she still designs her own work.

Most of De la Cruz’s garments – hoods, pockets and detachable capes – are based on folds. These folds represent feelings, and the concept of either letting emotions go or keeping them inside.

To further emphasize emotions, she designs folds with wide bottoms that become narrower as they get closer to the neckline. The outfit essentially points to the person wearing it.

And De la Cruz points to her story through her design.

She just started work on her pre-fall collection, in which she plans to focus on distortions.

“Some designers just design and they have really cool ideas and really cool material, but at the end, it’s not saying anything about them,” De la Cruz said. “What did the designer have to do to get there? What was the designer thinking about when he did it?”

Not everyone asks themselves those questions. But De la Cruz does.

Issues – Biography

All Is By My Side is, supposedly, the Jimi Hendrix biopic we’ve been waiting for. The film has been in production for seven years, ever since director John Ridley heard a rare demo of “Sending My Love to Linda.” But the film’s production has been hampered by an all-too-familiar obstruction: the deceased’s estate.

Experience Hendrix LLC, run by Jimi’s sister Janie, isn’t taking part in All Is By My Side, and All Is By My Side will be a Hendrix biopic without any original Hendrix music as a result. Luckily, the film’s producers are blessed with a different once-in-a-generation artist at the helm. André 3000, rapper turned actor, is making his big debut as a leading man. The Outkast frontman has been very involved with soundtracking the picture.

The soundtrack will be comprised of covers Hendrix performed rather than his original work. That includes some Beatles (“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) and Muddy Waters (“Mannish Boy”). All Is By My Side focuses on Hendrix in the mid-60s, when he was a backup guitarist being lured to London and eventual stardom.

The Hendrix family was never even approached about using Jimi’s music—not that they would have allowed it. Janie is actually a step-sister, not biologically related to Jimi Hendrix. They’ve refused rights before, most famously to director Paul Greengrass . But the filmmakers have attempted to sidestep the issue entirely by contextualizing the film around Jimi’s days before stardom.

Charles Cross is the author of the Hendrix biography Room Full of Mirrors. He’s tangled with the Hendrix estate before, but he can’t help feeling a little suspicious of the upcoming film. “Suffice to say, don’t believe most of what’s in the film,” Cross said. “The fact that they never even approached the estate means the filmmakers aren’t interested in what actually happened.”

Critical Assessment: “The Giver”

In step with the wave of popular young adult novels-turned-films, an official trailer for the film version of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” has been released.

The film, produced by The Weinstein Company, is based on Lowry’s 1994 Newberry Medal-winning dystopian novel about Jonas, a young boy about to turn 12 and receive the job title that he’ll have for the rest of his life. Once he is appointed as the  new “Receiver of Memory,” Jonas learns the world as he knew it isn’t what he thought it was.

The trailer is only about a minute and a half long and doesn’t offer much story, but plenty of visuals. The editing is extremely fast-paced. There may be at least 40 shots (I lost count at the flashing montage) stacked into less than two minutes. The voiceover and the dramatic score gives a sense of impending doom, but again, not much story.

Additionally, all the scenes are shot in color. One of the poignant revelations of the novel is that neither Jonas, nor anyone in his community experiences color, because the community banned it in order to have “Sameness.” There is a possibility that only the trailer was shot in all-color.

Having read the book,  the trailer does not attract me to the film. The shots are so quick that I felt like I needed just a couple seconds more of each shot to actually see the scene. (The length of the shot of Jonas and the Giver felt the longest, and it was only about six seconds long.) The trailer reminded me much more of the recent “Hunger Games” films rather than what I envisioned for “The Giver,” but that may be a selling point for fans of other films based on young adult novels.

The film opens in theaters on Aug. 15.

 

MINI PROFILE: WHEN A DREAM COMES TRUE

Manuel Giannantonio is an example of how dreams can come true, if one deeply believes in them.

Giannantonio, 29, grew up in Perugia, Italy, where he attended high school and studied political science at the University.

But, since his childhood, he had one dream: to become a writer and journalist.

“Writing for me represents everything”, he said during a phone interview. “When I write I feel good, I feel alive.”

Since 2011, he has been the editor of the website 2duerighe.com’s foreign affairs section, and he has collaborated with other websites, such as fanpage.it. He has also written about technology and liberty of expression.

Giannantonio, according to the DataMediaHUB.it (it collects information about Italian media) is one of the most followed journalists on Twitter in Italy. “I like to interact on Twitter because it is immediate,” he said. Being in that race, for him, is a good satisfaction.

In addition, what has always really captured his attention was the international movement of activist and hacker called Anonymous. He wrote many articles about the movement, and he became so passionate about it that he published in April 2013 the book Anonymous: Luce sulla guerra nell’ombra (Anonymous: Light on the war conducted in the shadow).

Manuel Giannantonio with his first book
Manuel Giannantonio with his first book

The book describes this international group’s attacks on corporate websites and governments. Critics reviewed Giannantonio’s work in a positive way particularly because of his simple writing style. And soon the book ranked in the Top Books rate sold online by the Italian ilmiolibro.it.

For Giannantonio, the information is very important to understand our reality. “In order to be able to live our present we need to be well informed,” he said. “The Information’s transparency is our main goal.”

Critical Analysis – “How I Met Your Mother” – **EDITED**

With all the suspense leading up to the finale of “How I Met Your Mother” on March 31, I decided to binge-watch all nine seasons of the show over the winter break and came to a conclusion as to why it is such a hit: it brings out the nostalgia of other television shows such as “Friends” and “Sex and the City.”

Courtesy of Collider.com

After “Friends” ended in 2004, its fans were left without their guides into New York City life.   “How I Met Your Mother,” premiering just a year later, solved that problem.  Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Ross and Joey were replaced by Ted, Robin, Lilly, Marshall, and Barney.  The “Friends”  hangout Central Perk became the new gang’s watering hole MacLaren’s and Rachel and Monica’s apartment is now Ted, Lilly and Marshall’s apartment.

Courtesy of Ended TV Series

But “How I Met Your Mother” is also comparable to “Sex and the City.” Ted is almost reminiscent of a female Carrie Bradshaw — he’s completely selfish and a sucker for love, but he is the most loyal friend, which softens his selfishness.  He proves this when he chooses not to marry a woman who wants him to end his friendship with Robin.

Meanwhile, Barney Stinson is clearly Samantha Jones, as they both sleep around New York City. Marshall and Miranda share the same profession — law. Lilly’s perceived innocence is similar to Charlotte’s mannerisms. Finally, Robin is a combination of the four women. She pursues an unobtainable relationship that ends in marriage like Carrie and is hardworking like Miranda. She is confident and stands her ground like Samantha, and seeks others’ approval like Charlotte.

I believe that all fans, not just those from New York, love the idea of the big apple. Living in one of the world’s greatest cities has always been seen as a luxury or desire — and these characters get to do it. “How I Met Your Mother” has even inspired real-life tours of the city.

I’m a firm believer that “How I Met Your Mother” is not it’s own show, but a combination of other hit shows. Regardless, I’m still binge-watching and understand why others do as well.

Mini Profile – Brett Cohen **EDITED**

You may recognize Long Island native Brett Cohen from his viral YouTube video, “Fake Celebrity Pranks New York City,” or from his subsequent appearances on “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America.”

The 23-year-old media marketing manager first grabbed the public’s attention two years ago when he hired “bodyguards” and “paparazzi” from Craigslist and had them follow him through Times Square one Friday night for three hours. He said he never expected the prank would be so successful.

“Within four hours the video went viral on Reddit,” Cohen said. “The next day I was getting phone calls from all over the world, from newspapers, from news organizations, TV shows all wanting to book me.”

fakeceleb

The video came out of a joke over lunch with his friend Edward Sturm.

“I told Brett that I thought he was an actual celebrity when I met him,” said Sturm, 25.

But Cohen said that becoming a real celebrity was an something he was not prepared for.

“It took a toll on me personally for a while,” he said of the extensive media tour. “I was definitely depressed for a period of time. It screwed up a lot of relationships with friends and family members.”

He declined to comment further on the matter, but said that since the video has died down and his relationships have been repaired, he’s been able to focus on other projects — like getting ready for his debut on Australian television.

“It wasn’t something I was sure I wanted to do,” he said of the show that is set to air later this year. “But I had the opportunity to go and it was an opportunity to extend my opportunities.”

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He said he’s unsure about when it will air in the U.S. but hopes that it’s in the near future — he’s been making some new YouTube videos that can use some publicity.

“I just know that I enjoy this,” Cohen said. “It’s my outlet and it’s something I’m going to continue to do as long as I possibly can without ruining my professional career.”

Profile: Jeff Huckleberry

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Jeff Huckleberry is naked. He’s standing in front of four huge pieces of plywood parallel to one another, each separated by about a foot. They’re about an inch thick but at least 7 feet tall, looming over his 6’5” frame. Slowly, methodically, he starts leaning into the first piece of wood, putting all his weight into the board. The wood starts to creak and splinter and he forces his way through, careful to keep his tender parts free from shards.

Huckleberry, 44, has been a part of the performance art world for 23 years. After growing up in the Colorado mountains, he moved to Boston to attend the Museum School. In the two decades since, Huckleberry has blossomed into one of the world’s most arresting physical artists, spreading his gospel of paint and wood from Canada to Poland. He’s also gained a family—his wife of 18 years, Sandy, and their son, Wilder.

“It’s a very personal, internal experience for me,” Huckleberry tells me over the phone. “I don’t think about the audience at the show, I think about the what’s happening to me, the feeling of wood cracking. I wanted people to get that close, so I started shooting video.”

His performance art is always filmed, often a very simple one-camera setup. “Having these videos was probably the best decision I’ve made with regards to my art,” he said. “After I sent them out I was invited to festivals all over the world, it became easier to show what I was doing.”

The performance art community began to take notice, and Huckleberry soon found himself fielding offers from universities to come teach. ”It doesn’t make real sense to me, to be honest,” he laughs. “Performance is what you make it, I’m not sure what I could be teaching.”
– Graham Corrigan

Critical analysis: the mystery made up of violence that became a bestseller

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a must read book for everyone who loves crime novels.

Thegirlwiththedragontattoo

It is the first book of the Millennium trilogy (which includes The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest), written by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, who died before the trilogy was published.

Once one starts reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, published in 2005, one won’t be able to stop reading because of the essence of mystery.

The story portrays the disappearing of the industrial Henrik Vange’s grand-nice, Harriet. Vanger, convinced that the girl, who disappeared 40 years earlier, is still somewhere alive, hired the journalist Mikael Blomkvist to find the truth. With the help of the computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, Blomkvist will find out that Harriet’s disappearing is related to the violent past of the Vanger’s family made up with murders and sex crimes.

The book, which became a movie, entails two characters (the journalist and the hacker) with two different stories, but they both have to solve Harriet’s dark enigma.

But what makes the book so much involving that it became a bestseller both in Europe and in the U.S.? Simply everything, such as the two different stories inside the story and the characters deeply described, as Salander: a sexually assaulted girl with a traumatic past who tries to make a living with her computer hacking skill.

With a simple but incisive language, along with violent scenes that hit the reader’s minds, Larsson was able to tell a story with a humanistic and tragic sense. One profound message emerges between the written lines: men who abuse women. The book in fact wants to be a critique of the Swedish dark side system of violence towards women.

Concert review: Lovely trio at Jazz Club Birdland, March 21st 2014

This week at the midtown club Birland, named after famous saxophone player Charlie Parker, three outstanding musicians filled the room, which was covered in red carpet, with soothing and original melodies and sounds. On Friday night, the audience was shushing and faint sounds of silverware could be heard in between songs. But for the most part, listeners were very respectful of the musicians and their work.

Bass player Gary Peacock, pianist Mark Copland and drummer Joey Baron played standards such as “For Heaven’s Sake,” “Gloria’s Steps” or “Time remembered,” as well as original compositions. Friday night’s first set went by very fast because every tune was captivating. It looked and sounded like the musicians could not play a single wrong note. Also, they mixed their respective musical colors so well that it felt like they had played together since a young age – they connected rhythmically, melodically and sonically.

The trio started the evening with “Estate,” which Brazilian singer and guitar player Joao Gilberto is famous for. “Estate,” the right song to open the set with, was smooth and sophisticated and felt like a comfortable piece of clothing to put on.

The trio also played “Moor,” an original composition by Peacock, who has played and recorded with world-renown pianists Keith Jarrett (with whom he still plays) and Bill Evans. “Moor” was an experimentation with the drums: instead of using his sticks, Joey Baron used the drums as percussions.

One of the most memorable aspects of the performance may have been Gary Peacock’s sound, which is uniquely warm and generous. This is probably due to years of practice, but maybe, too, to the musician’s practice of zen philosophy. He said the first thing he does when he wakes up is just sit and do nothing.