Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Forbidden Desire

This a excerpt from on going back and forth email rants between myself and my old friend Blaine. I have tried to convince him to start his own blog but I guess he is too shy. But here is a taste on how awesome it would be.
I picked up an old copy of a book about the Olympia Press, the publisher of pornographic books that also brought books like 'Lolita', and 'Tropic of Cancer' to press. (It was supposedly named after that painting, at least in part.) It's funny the way that many of the book sales were driven specifically because the books were considered filth, and were banned in English speaking countries. Once those bans were lifted, Olympia could no longer make any money. (Well, that, and the fact that the guy who ran Olympia was a litigious bastard.) The same thing happened in the eighties with Tipper Gore's PMRC.
Many mediocre Heavy Metal band sold millions of albums after being featured in a Congressional hearing. Nothing boosted sales like having a Senator's Wife call your album a piece of subversive filth. There was one album in particular: "Fuck Like A Beast" by a band named WASP. It was a terrible album—worse then terrible, it was a bad album. It sold millions! And only because its cover was a constant feature of any picture of those PMRC hearings. It was a photo of a guy's crotch featuring a cod-piece with half of a circular-saw blade sticking out of it.

I almost wish that the conservatives would start to ban books again—we could all move to Canada and start an underground press. The so-called protectors of morality just never learn. People like the thrill of the forbidden. Nothing boosted drinking more then Prohibition. And I've even heard that major drug use in this country didn't start until after Nixon started a publicity campaign against drugs. (If Nixon's against it, then it must be cool!) I've even found a quote from U. S. Grant's Memoirs that mentions the same phenomena:
Up to the time of which I write, and for years afterwards--I think until the administration of President Juarez--the cultivation, manufacture and sale of tobacco constituted a government monopoly, and paid the bulk of the revenue collected from internal sources. The price was enormously high, and made successful smuggling very profitable. The difficulty of obtaining tobacco is probably the reason why everybody, male and female, used it at that time. I know from my own experience that when I was at West Point, the fact that tobacco, in every form, was prohibited, and the mere possession of the weed severely punished, made the majority of the cadets, myself included, try to acquire of using it. I failed utterly at the time and for many years afterward; but the majority accomplished the object of their youthful ambition.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Last Friday Art Walk

It is already time for the Last Friday Art Walk. It lands on Feb 23rd this month. It looks like a good one. Lots happening. Some people have told me that they have had a hard time find the studio so I made a little video to help you know what you are looking for. I hope to see you here.

245 Blair Blvd.
Studio C

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Digital Advertising
In case any of the creatives from the coffee morning missed this story on NPR yesterday, have a listen.

Online Ad Agencies Face Shortage of Workers
by Frank Langfitt

Morning Edition, February 19, 2007 · Digital ad firms are on a hiring binge as more money migrates towards Web advertising. But they're having trouble finding workers with the right mix of creative and technical skills.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Box of Inspiration

My friend Blaine and I are experimenting with an idea. The ideas is simple, I put together a collections of items that Blaine would use as a catalyst for a story. I mailed it to him. His box included some faked pictures and other odd items that seem like artifacts from some failed or forgotten revolutionary.

I would like to expand on this idea. So kind reader contact me if you would like me to make you a box of inspiration and we can share the fruit on the blog.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Survival Skillz

Edward Winkleman recent musings on knitting, yurts, survival skills, 9/11 and art got me thinking. The most important survival skill is teamwork. When I was in my early 20s, I took a wilderness survival course. I was feeling the familiar disenfranchisement and desire to drop out of society.

I went west to Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Utah. Now BOSS is starting to get famous because of Josh Bernstein and his tv show Digging for the Truth. At the time Tom Brown's school was more famous for survival skills training and I lived in Maryland so it seemed better to go to Utah than New Jersey.

I learned to make fire with a bow drill, catch rodents in traps, and fish with my bare hands. By the end of the class it was clear that although it was cool to have all those skills the most important survival skill is teamwork. Art is how we connect. Don't lament Edward. Artists are the glue of society transforming the ordinary and changing points of view. Art making is a survival instinct.

The instinct to be distinctive and create a tight group has an ugly side. When we create an us we create a them. How can we live with our nature without going to war?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I just received the new Fuel4Arts Newsletter. After the first Coffee Morning in Eugene hosted by Sam Karp, it occurred to me that this would be good info to pass along. Fuel4Arts is an interesting Australian organization that exists to help arts organizations reach their funding and marketing goals. They have innovative and exciting ideas that they share easily. On their web page arts professionals can share their ideas in their ongoing forums and discussions.

Creative New Zealand recently commissioned international arts marketing expert Jerry Yoshitomi to work with professional arts organisations in New Zealand over six months, focussing on innovative peer-to-peer marketing strategies to engage and build new audiences.

The Peer-to-Peer thing has been all the buzz but stood out today because Sam Karp just mentioned something similar. There are a lot more stories including an interesting bit about how a British literary festival is trying to change Colombia's image from drug producer to tourist destination.

It would be great to hear about more work in the arts like this here in the US.

Monday, February 05, 2007

inaugural coffee morning
Thanks to Sam Karp for organizing the coffee morning at Midtown in Eugene. The idea is inspired by the Portland group that meets to share thoughts. Our group is currently dominated by U of O Journalism School graduates but open to others.

It is interesting for me to be around so many J School grads. I actually know quite a few outside the Coffee Morning group. I would have thought that the Journalists would be focused on Journalism but marketing and pop culture seem to be the interest. Joe Leary calls it Hybrid Ed. Perhaps the changing environment for journalism jobs is forcing journalists to become more entrepreneurial. Local newspapers are disappearing and the ones that still exist are more dependent on AP stories. But also our corporate culture increasingly values the creative class. So new opportunities are opening for people with journalistic skills. My outsiders idea of a journalism doesn't fit the reality. The role of journalist has changed.

Next coffee morning will be Friday Feb 9 at 9:30 a.m., Midtown Marketplace (formerly Triomphe Bistro) 1591 Willamette St. (in the back section near the fireplace). See you there.