Pop Culture

Ugh. Why is this broken?

Blogging. Nemisis or necessity in this wired age of ours?

I read an old interview of Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page this week by Chuck Klosterman. He noted Page’s irritation to talking about his work - it’s not like Led Zepplin needs explaining - or explaining anything he’s done in his career.

Klosterman wrote

“His mind still resides in an era when media exposure only served as a detriment to artistic aspiration… Page still assumes answering questions about his music can only erode its interpretative potentiality.”

Granted, Page was of the level of artists who had the luxury of this opinion. Even though interviews like this function largely as marketing for any band, he existed in a space, and had a fan base, that didn’t need any help.

Just the other night, I was interviewing a friend for a new podcast I’m working on, and he drew the distinction between art and marketing for artists. We had been talking about social media’s purpose, and how some artists are hestitant to engage in “marketing efforts”. He said, “making artwork is the important thing, social media is merely the voice.” This made sense. To me it says, “Don’t think so hard about it. Just use it as a tool.” But it still captured the essence of what many artists struggle with - that the work itself is the voice. The work is the thing that speaks for me.

And to counter a counterpoint, with another counterpoint - “If an artist painted all the trees in the woods, would anyone be made aware enough to criticize their color choices?”

I don’t know. If twitter found out about they’d be fucking pissed. That’s for sure.

In the meantime, I’ve told myself I should try using social media to speak about my work. Being able to talk about it is the important thing. Channels be damned. I had given myself the goal of writing on my long-ignored blog this weekend. I had no specific point to make. I just needed to rip the band-aid off.

Band-aid ripped. End scene.

Kung Fu Friday - Count Dante Edition

I've been transfering the above image from computer to computer since 1998. Thought I'd give it special attention. He's just so bad ass and over the top. When I was a kid, ads like this were almost better than the comics themselves.


Who was The Deadliest Man Alive?

Count Juan Raphael Dante (John Timothy Keehan, b. 1939) was legendary before Bruce Lee and used the above ad (from 1975), and others like it, in the backs of comic books to sell his instructions in Dim Mak (the touch of death). For five bucks you could learn to kill someone and get full membership into his Black Dragon Fighting Society. He was widely regarded as a champion fighter and was instrumental in the beginnings of full contact fighting in the U.S. (later to become MMA). He was also, of all things, a hairdresser to Playboy bunnies, owned a pet tiger, sold used cars and was arrested for burning down a rival dojo. He died in 1975

The wikipedia overview on Dante seems to match up with most of the info I've read online.The best entry:

"Martin Kove, who played the character "Kreese" in the film The Karate Kid, ad-libbed his famous "Pain does not exist in this dojo..." monologue based on his time as a young student and Count Dante was his sensei."


Independent film maker Floyd Webb has been working on a documentary for a few years on Dante and has several segements of the film up on his Vimeo page. From what I can find he is still fact checking the film and seeking financial backing. Hope it comes out.


Thanks to the advice below in the comments I've read T.L. Roy's "The Deadliest Man Alive" and it was pretty entertaining. Not the best writing but good enough if you are into this stuff. Get it here.

Shepard Fairey on Fresh Air - UPDATED

If you haven't heard it check it out


or download the podcast on Itunes.


During the above interview, Fresh Air Host Terry Gross asked


if he knew who took the photo he used for the iconic poster (above). He stated he did not know who it was, only that is was an AP photo, which are usually not credited. I personally find it hard to believe that he "still does not know" (at time of interview) who took it especially since it has been so widely disseminated. Turns out the photo was taken by one Manny Garcia- as everyone in the media seemed to know-  and the

AP is suing for copyright infringement

.  I stumbled upon an unrelated

Twitter post

on Pres.

Obama's picks for Deputy Attorney General

(an RIAA insider- something to watch for sure). According to this article most of his federal legal picks have come from the ranks of those who were involved in some high profile music download cases.  A link in the article took me to

Lawrence Lessig's blog

where he stated that his Stanford Center's Fair Use Project is representing Shepard Fairey in the case.

Incidentally Lessig has a book out called "Free Culture" on this very subject. Download or buy it


. For those that don't know Lessig is the creator of

Creative Commons


I find this debate fascinating and as a student of art history and a designer I feel calling foul on someone like Fairey pretty indefensible. By all accounts I've heard it will be a PR nightmare for the AP and should be settled rather quickly. I've always been intrigued with Fairey's work but from an art theory perspective he can be pretty shallow content-wise, especially the more his brand gets disseminated. This situation is at the very crux of art's relationship to commerce in post-post modern age.


has been around for decades in art. This situation is no different.

Anyone have thoughts on the matter? I'm interested in the dialogue on this...