Monday, August 29, 2016
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better.
Richardson explained his project in exciting detail at Restfest 2015 in Greenville, SC in a talk called "The Enterprise Media Distribution Platform At The End Of This Book," and has posted his talk slides along with notes to his site. I've been discussing Leonard's ideas in light of the proposal for an open library ebook platform that I made in Locus magazine this past spring. Both of us see a nonprofit, mission-oriented infrastructure for ebooks as critical to serving patrons best while protecting their privacy.
Richardson's talk makes the point that in the age of the web, we had hypertext that acted like, well, hypertext. Lots of people contributed to the web in lots of ways, and all those ways joined up, more or less painlessly. In the age of the app, that is virtually unheard of, and when it does occur -- as when Netflix and Twitter opened up APIs that turned into flourishing hothouses of third-party innovation -- it gets shut down without warning and with extreme prejudice.
Richardson's system actually works: they're using it in NYPL and many affiliated libraries. It makes reading ebooks from the library one trillion times better, and it lets anyone improve it, at anywhere in the stack -- it lets commercial suppliers play, too, but prevents them from locking libraries, publishers or readers in. It is a model of how mission-driven public agencies and nonprofits can be truly game-changing in online ecosystems that have been dominated by a single, monolithic corporation.I'm going to start you off slow. Remember that there are three main vendors in the library ebook space. We did deals with two of them. Now that we've got the middleware in place, we can do a deal with the third vendor. We can license books from a third source without having to tell our patrons to install app #4 on their phones.
Okay, that's nothing to do with OPDS. Any kind of middleware would allow that sort of integration.
But then we decide we also want to offer Project Gutenberg books to our patrons. Unfortunately Project Gutenberg does not have an API. They have this ugly system where you have to use rsync to mirror the ebooks and then pull the metadata from a big RDF document.
So I write a simple content server, which rsyncs the ebooks and pulls the metadata and then offers a collection that is the equal, in quantity if not in quality, of the commercial collections. But instead of making up a custom API for my collection to talk to the middleware, the way the commercial vendors did, I use the API I already have—OPDS.
So now I'm using OPDS for machine-to-machine integration, not just to talk to the patrons. I can use this protocol whenever I am talking about books or collections of books.
Now other sources of free ebooks want to get in on the action. unglue.it is mostly an aggregator for Creative Commons books and other open-access books that aren't a hundred years old. Standard Ebooks is a little org that makes really nice editions of public domain ebooks, because Project Gutenberg ebooks have really horrible formatting.
So I told those people: you generate OPDS feeds, and I'll slurp them up into my content server, they'll show up in our collection and patrons will be able to download them. And that's what they did. I haven't set up my part of it yet, the part that slurps, because I haven't had time, but it's going to work.
At that point the OPDS protocol is doing machine-to-machine integration across organizational boundaries. It's hypermedia API heaven!
The Enterprise Media Distribution Platform At The End Of This Book [Leonard Richardson/Crummy]
Friday, August 26, 2016
Posted by Izzi Krombholz
Photo by Conor Collins
Allison Wolfe, iconic 90s riot grrrl and Bratmobile member hasn’t stopped playing music since their break up in the early 2000s. In fact, she has gone on to be in several other bands such as Cold Cold Hearts, Partyline, Deep Lust, Cool Moms and most recently Sex Stains (whose debut album comes out September 2nd.)
I chatted with Wolfe about her new band as well as zines, Bratmobile, being a 90s female musician and an inspirational feminist.
Before Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman started Bratmobile, they had a riot grrrl fanzine called Girl Germs:
“Molly and I met in the dorms at the University of Oregon. We weren’t in the same room but we shared a wall and we would knock on the walls. We became best friends and started plotting to do all of these things. We were fairly young girls who were getting politicized who wanted to have a voice and participate. We really wanted to have a girl programmed radio show but it turned out that the University of Oregon didn’t have a college radio so I think Tobi Vail encouraged us to do a fanzine. We started the fanzine before we started playing music or did the band. It was a good way to have a voice when we didn’t have any other means at the time. We didn’t really know what we were doing but it was fun. Our first issue had an interview with Calamity Jane. It had scene reports and a lot of it was a reaction to grunge which had completely taken over the Northwest and was too male dominated. We wanted to have a girly voice.”
Photo by Pat Graham
From there they began travelling to Olympia often to hang out. “We were a band in theory. We had been travelling up to Olympia on weekends and telling everyone we were in a band called Bratmobile.”
Calvin Johnson called them and told them he had set up a show for Valentine’s Day 1991 and wanted them to play with Bikini Kill. At this point they were not truly a band so they had to scramble to get songs together. “We went to our friend Robert Christie and were like ‘What do we do?’ He loaned us his practice space and let us use their equipment and but we didn’t know how to write songs. He said to listen to a bunch of Ramones records but I thought if all bands listen to the Ramones in order to start bands then I wouldn’t and I vowed to never listen to them which isn’t exactly accurate but I never owned any Ramones records or listened to them that much.”
Allison said she listen to a lot of female rap and hip hop before the band started such as Salt n’ Pepa, Yo Yo, Bytches with Problems, TLC and others. “That was a big influence on us, all these really awesome, kinda goofy but politicized women in rap and hip hop that weren’t commercialized yet. It was more politicized. They had messages that were pretty important. Also, the first Batman movie had come out and Prince did the soundtrack and the Batmobile was an influence on us naming the band Bratmobile.” Their first show, which was just her and Molly at the time, was pretty much a capella. “There was a little bit of guitar and drums going on but not much… We jumped off stage and Kurt Cobain walked in right then and I walked up to him and said ‘You missed us!’ and handed him one of our fanzines.”
At the time, most female bands were lumped into the category of riot grrrl while only a select few actually were. For example, true riot grrrls were Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy while L7, Babes in Toyland, 7 Year Bitch and Hole were not. “Their music was different and they were doing a different thing and they certainly never called themselves riot grrrls. This was pre-internet and everything was so much more regional then. The riot grrrl network was based on who knew who and who hung out with who, which was based in Olympia or in DC whereas those bands didn’t live in any of those places. That whole division was really mostly created by the media. People listen to the public record and the public record is a bunch of lazy journalists who couldn’t think of anything else than to throw all women into riot grrrl. It was irresponsible and lazy and inaccurate and it turned us against each other when in fact each mixtape I made had a song by one of those bands on it. We all respected and like each other. I was pen pals a bit with Kat (Bjelland) and went to 7 Year Bitch shows when I could.”
In the late 90s a lot of the riot grrrl bands were breaking up. Wolfe that was hard because “it felt like it left a big hole.” However, she says “A lot of young women in punk and indie music were inspired by riot grrrl or awesome 90s musicians like 7 Year Bitch, Babes in Toyland, PJ Harvey and L7. That moved things forward a bit.”
Wolfe is also responsible for the creation of Ladyfest (a music festival that is still very popular today and happens in many different cities) which first occurred in Olympia in 2000.
“It stemmed from this riot grrrl gathering that had been organized by the EMP (Experience Music Project) who were about to start their museum in Seattle. They had approached me and asked if I would help them get former riot grrrls together to do an oral history. That was the first time a lot of us formal riot grrrls had been together in the same room and we just talked about riot grrrls. There was such a backlash at the end, everyone was trying to separate themselves from it or move beyond it. It was the first time we felt we could be together and talked about what had happened, but also feel validated. Out of that gathering I started talking with Corin Tucker a bit about how we were all still doing cool things separately and if there was somehow we could harness those old riot grrrl energies and do something together. I thought Olympia in 2000 would be the perfect place and statement.”
Photo by Debi del Grande
Today Wolfe is focusing her attention on Sex Stains. The band formed in LA when Allison kept getting asked to play in tribute nights. “I met various members of Sex Stains through those tribute nights. For each one, they were the person at those tribute nights that really stood out to me.” The band is made up of five members including Mecca Vazie Andrews, Sharif Dumani, Pachy Garcia and David Orlando. “I really wanted to be in a band with two lead singers.” Their record release show is September 4th at The Echo in LA. The album is being released by Don Giovanni Records. “They were the only label we approached. It just seemed like a good fit. We love the other bands on the label especially Downtown Boys, Screaming Females and Priests and we wanted to be aligned with other bands we believe in and that were slightly politicized.”
This September, Sex Stains hit the road. Tour dates include:
8/26: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex (FYF Pre-Party show w/ Sheer Mag + Girlpool)
9/4: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW)
9/13: Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn
9/14: Baltimore, MD @ The Windup Space
9/15: Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong (w/ Coup Savage & the Snips, Governess)
9/16: Manhattan, NY @ Webster Hall (w/ Downtown Boys)
9/17: Asbury Park, NJ @ The New Alternative Music Festival (Don Giovanni Records)
9/24: Santa Monica, CA @ 18th Street Arts Center Beer and Art Festival
9/27: Los Angeles, CA @ American Legion Hall
10/23: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Bonus video: Bratmobile’s “Eating Toothpaste”
Thursday, August 25, 2016
UK-based NGO Global Witness reports that at least 185 environmental activists were murdered last year around the globe, and two-thirds of those were in Latin America. According to the report:
On average, more than three people were killed every week in 2015 - more than double the number of journalists killed in the same period. The worst hit countries were Brazil (50 killings), the Philippines (33) and Colombia (26). Mining was the industry most linked to killings of land and environmental defenders with 42 deaths in 2015. Agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and logging were also key drivers of violence. Many of the murders we know about occurred in remote villages or deep within rainforests – it’s likely the true death toll is far higher. For every killing we are able to document, others cannot be verified, or go unreported. And for every life lost, many more are blighted by ongoing violence, threats and discrimination.• Full report: On Dangerous Ground (pdf Download)
• On Dangerous Ground (via Mongabay)
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Jimmy Nelson is a legendary photographer of humanity. He shares seven insights gleaned from his 48-year career, each one backed up with an interesting anecdote about how he got better at his craft.
From peeing the bed in a Mongolian tent in the dead of winter, to seeing his own reflection in the eyes of his subjects, Jimmy shares some fascinating tidbits of hard-earned wisdom about art and connecting with others.
• 7 Lessons I Learnt From Photography (feat. Jimmy Nelson) via Cooperative of Photography
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
A photo posted by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on
GLENN DANZIG circa 1985. We made this photograph sometime after the MISFITS, between SamHain and the start of Danzig. I don't remember the exact reason for doing this session but perhaps Glenn had contacted me to do it since he was getting ready to go solo? We took this roll at my fathers apartment in Fort Lee, NJ on the floor by the kitchen, there was this little carpeted wall with one of those adjustable drafting table type light fixtures attached to the top, so i was able to point it in just the right way for our photographs. One similar to this was used in my FUCK YOU TOO book. Glenn of course was still living in Lodi, NJ at the time, so it was a simple quick evening. It's definitely my favorite solo "Elvis" portrait i made with him. I guess we used to get along pretty well back then, since i introduced him to Rick Rubin around this time and was helpful in getting Chuck Biscuits to be a part of the new project. #DANZIG #misfits #WeAre138 #Mother #20EyesInMyHead #AllHellBreaksLoose #NewJersey #dirtyJerz
A photo posted by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on
JAM MASTER JAY of Run-DMC (R.I.P.) "Jam Master Jay" Jason Mizell ... Every day without him in this world is our loss. He was a great friend and an awesome talent. The backbone behind Run-DMC, as if you didn't already know. We made this photo the first time i traveled out to Hollis with him back in the fall of 1985. The goal was to shoot RUN-DMC's "photo tour book" for the upcoming "Raising Hell" tour. We did that and more, we got a ton of great stuff this day that you see all over my books... HONOR & RESPECT to the family man, friend, and musician. #jammasterjay #goddamnthatdjmademyday #RUNDMC #rip #friend #DJ #hiphop #integrity #inspiration #oldschool #HollisQueens #NYC #peterpiper #jacksonjaysdick #MyRules #JAYarethelteersofhisname This portrait appears huge in the MY RULES book. In fact Rick Rubin thought it should have been the cover 😬 .
A photo posted by glen E. friedman Ⓥ (@glenefriedman) on
Monday, August 22, 2016
In the course of history, work has gone from being something people only ever did for money to being the source of ultimate meaning, creativity and identity. Satisfying work has become a democratic expectation.