Thursday, March 24, 2011

Advice for Chris Brown, Who Also Went Postal

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Video blogger Jay Smooth has some advice for the troubled R&B singer:

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black Guys on a Beautiful Day: The Investigative Report

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

As evidenced by the title of their "Siskel and Negro" podcast —formerly a show on radio station Live 105 — local comedians Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery never shied away from race themes. Bell generated a cult of fandom by trying — perhaps futilely — to end racism in about an hour. Avery decided that if he can't live up to the thug stereotypes that proliferate in Hollywood, he'll at least celebrate them. Hence the title of his new, star-studded production, Thugs: The Musical. And now, they've teamed up with Greg Edwards and Reggie Steele to address another befuddling stereotype, which may or may not hold true. Check the investigative report below:

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tupac Apparently Dead, Film to Be Made

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Apparently, Tupac is dead. Like, still. That revelation might disappoint some people who insist he's actually just MIA in Jamaica somewhere, hiding from all the haters, and releasing what's arguably been the most prodigious "posthumous" output of any recording artist, ever. But don't tell that to Antoine Fuqua, the Morgan Creek Productions/Universal Pictures director whose new Pac biopic, All Eyez on Me TUPAC, will eventually come to a theater near you. According to a Vibe magazine blog posted today, Fuqua is currently casting for the lead role, asking all Tupac look-alikes to audition by uploading a video so that fans can vote and choose the winner. It's a little bit of marketing genius, blogger Ri Reeves pointed out, since the online casting call will also double as a form of viral marketing. Here's a list of people who should consider auditioning. It's by no means complete, so feel free to add:

1. Oakland rapper Philthy Rich, who included the track "Feelin' Like Pac" on his most recent album.

2. Lil' B the Based God, who could definitely parlay his divine powers beyond Twitter.

3. Lil' B's new alter ego, Lil' B the Based Dog.

4. Fake Jean Quan, for obvious reasons.

5. Comedian Sean Keane, who could easily shift to the thug life if he doesn't become the next big thing in country music.

6. Former mayoral candidate LL Young, who is not really all that hip-hop, given that he's actually a real estate agent. But with that line "Vote LL and Oakland will be well," he's already on the way to being the greatest rapper of all time.

Update, 2:52 p.m. According to an e-mail from the folks at Morgan Creek, we (and Vibe) got the title wrong: it's just TUPAC (caps theirs), not All Eyez on Me. Change your google alerts accordingly.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Protests the Sale of KUSF

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM

If there's one thing the staffers at KUSF have going for them, it's critical mass. Thus far, they've amassed 7,200 members on the station's Facebook page, along with support from Yo La Tengo, Kronos Quartet, organizers at NoisePop, the San Francisco Democratic Party, and most recently, the Board of Supervisors, which voted 8-3 to oppose the sale on Tuesday. The Board's resolution urges University of San Francisco to renege its sale of the station's FCC license, and withdraw all applications to transfer the frequency at 90.3 FM. It goes on to applaud KUSF as a community asset, information portal, and educational tool, et cetera, et cetera. Such statements provided new ammo for a press release issued today by KUSF music director Irwin Swirnoff, who now fronts the ad-hoc organization, Save KUSF. He condemned the recent sale of 90.3 FM to the University of Southern California's Classical Radio Network, which, he says, has already acquired 5 other terrestrial stations. According to Swirnoff's press release, USC radio president Brenda Barnes sees KUSF as a way to consolidate her grand classical music empire, which spawned from a 2009 doctoral project Moving Classical Public Radio into the New Media Future. Barnes apparently plans to finance her operation via an online music delivery service, which uses the terrestrial stations to evade licensing fees. Thus, Save KUSF may have Facebook fans, but Barnes has a crafty business plan, and a lot more acreage on the FM dial. And, with an estimated 700,000 Bay Area classical music fans on her side, she may be a formidable opponent.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sean Keane Jockeys for Position on the Country Music Channel

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Our favorite baby-faced local announced in a Facebook post yesterday that he will be one of 12 comics featured in the Country Music Channel's "Next Big Comic" search. He was apparently hand-picked by a panel of elite critics from media start-up Rooftop Comedy, who worked in conjunction with CMT executives. The idea was to find 12 finalists "on the verge of stardom." Keane has graciously accepted the epithet. He also announced, via Facebook, that it's probably a good fit. "I have always considered myself a little big rock and a little bit country, just like Garth Brooks, so CMT is perfect for me," Keane wrote. "Actually, I'm a lot more rock, so maybe Chris Gaines is a better comparison?" Oh, snap.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egyptian Students Use Facebook to Organize a Protest at Cal

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Who says the revolution will not be tweeted? Egyptian graduate students Salma Mousallem and Tarek Hosny used Facebook to organize their own rally at UC Berkeley today, just hours after supporters of President Hosni Mubarak assaulted pro-democracy protestors on the other side of the globe. Mousallem and Hosny say they've been struggling all week to keep abreast of family and friends at home, in spite of internet blockades and political chaos. Only recently did Egyptian family members get their internet restored, the Cal students told SFist reporter Lisa Hix. In the meantime, Egyptian protestors have contended with police brutality and sporadic attacks from pro-Mubarak forces.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Bay Area Finalists in MTV's "Twitter Jockey" Search

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Take a look at MTV's programming these days and you'll see that the "music" component of the MTV acronym has become less and less relevant. Shows like Jersey Shore and The Hills have taken over the spots where music videos and TRL once dwelt. Likewise, MTV's infamous "VJs," or "Video Jockeys," have now been usurped by "TJs," or "Twitter Jockeys." The Viacom-owned station is currently conducting a nationwide search for the most social-network-savvy individual to win $100,000 and a position as the channel's official Tweeter. Of eighteen contestants, two are from the Bay Area (two more are yet to be selected). Pegah Rashti and Ryan Carlos are both from the South Bay, are 21, and Tweet as if their lives depended on it. Our interviews with Pegah and Ryan after the jump.

Pegah Rasht
  • Pegah Rashti

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ashkenaz to Launch Public Access Show

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, May 19, 2010 at 3:04 PM

The long-running all-ages music venue Ashkenaz will start airing its own show on Berkeley public access channel 28 in the next few weeks. Initially starting as a half-hour program, “Ashkenaz Live” will feature select live performances from some of the diverse bands that appear on the venue’s stage, plus interviews with some of the principal performers, according to Ashkenaz Executive Director Larry Dekker. He hopes the show will eventually expand into an hour format and cover topics such as Ashkenaz’s history as well as feature interviews with some of the older members of the community.

As the state of the economy has shrunk the number of people going out to see shows, local venues have been coming up with creative ways to get folks out of the house and keep their businesses afloat. Uptown has free shows and burlesque nights; 924 Gilman is seeking nonprofit status; the Stork Club has mixed up its calendar with Rock Band nights and shows booked by different promoters. With Ashkenaz Live, which was just awarded a grant from the San Francisco Foundation, Dekker hopes it will help the venue reach a new, larger audience. He thinks that some people will learn about Ashkenaz for the first time, others will be reminded that it exists, and a younger crowd might think of it in a different light — i.e., not “an old hippie place.” And he’s not worried that folks will stay home in front of the boob tube rather than pay cash to see the shows. “Our focus has always been participatory music and dance — people don’t come here to sit on their hands,” he said. “No one’s going to choose to watch it on TV versus coming here. It’ll be cool to see but I don’t think it will discourage people — in fact I think it will encourage more people to come check it out.”


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ticketmaster Fees to Fall: SF MusicTech Summit Recap

by David Downs
Tue, May 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM

A LiveNation manager said Monday that using Ticketmaster is about as fun as online banking, while Ticketmaster's “service fees” — which can be as high as $27 per ticket — are driving customers insane and must come down.

Such candid remarks from’s Noah Maffitt at the San Francisco MusicTech Summit made the essential gathering a huge hit on the web and in-person. Held at the Hotel Kabuki, the thrice-a-year industry summit attracted hundreds of technologists, artists, and middlemen for eight hours of moderated talks. Among the meatiest panelist cuts: Musician Ben Folds, Tim Westergren of Oakland company Pandora, UC Berkeley's Dave Wessel, Rhapsody's Tim Quirk, and's forthright Maffitt.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

SF MusicTech Summit Today

by Kathleen Richards
Mon, May 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM

More than 700 music-techie geeks will convene today for the SF MusicTech Summit. The sixth annual event at Hotel Kabuki in SF aims to help musicians, producers, promoters, and anyone else to understand how technology impacts their careers. Speakers include Ben Folds, San Francisco Symphony's Michael Tilson-Thomas, Pandora Radio’s Tim Westergren, LiveNation’s Noah Maffitt, and many others. Session topics include "The Future of Musical Instruments," "Rebirth of Video," "State of Webcasting," "Threats to San Francisco Nightlife," "Machine Listening," and the "Resurgence of Analog Synthesizers." 9 a.m.-6 p.m., $500.

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