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Print Writers Accuse Bloggers of #WordCrimes at #WBC14

July 20, 2014

Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator:

I’ve been busy blogging about the Wine Bloggers Conference over at Wine Predator. More to come, but in the meantime, I’ve got this one plus posts about the speed dating er blogging er tasting and tweeting sessions.

Originally posted on wine predator:

Wherein I somehow manage to weave together wine blogging, wine bloggers, and print wine journalists with Weird Al Yankovic, Mark Twain, Fenimore Cooper, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Christopher Walken…

“I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that “Deerslayer” is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it seems to me that “Deerslayer” is just simply a literary delirium tremens.

“A work of art? It has no invention; it has no order, system, sequence, or result; it has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is…

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Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones June 10: concert review by Ron Wells

June 12, 2014


Phil Alvin is back from the dead. Literally.


After 30 years, he and his brother Dave have decided to find some “common ground,” and make music together again. And the music world is all the better for it.

For those who might not have heard, Phil was on tour in Spain a few years ago when he suddenly had to be taken to a hospital where he underwent treatment for an abscessed tooth which caused his throat to swell and almost close. His heart stopped and he flatlined twice. Only through the work of Dr. Mariella Anaya-Sifuentes—who is thanked in the liner notes to the new album—was his life saved.

And thus, the brothers Alvin decided to put aside their differences and put out an album together for the first time in 30 years. Such an amazing and improbable story is like the blues songs created by the early masters of the genre.

Read more…

Ventura Music Week: 100 Bands, 40 Venues, 10 Days! Films, Roadshow Revival, more!

June 9, 2014

As I wrote about yesterday here and at Wine Predator here, as the weather shifts from spring to summer, festival season  seriously kicks in–music, food, wine, beer, name it–there’s a festival near you celebrating it!

329In Ventura, Music Week 2014 is in full swing with acts performing all over town since Thursday’s kickoff with a full schedule of acts this past weekend and plenty to come.

Here are a few highlights:

Tomorrow Monday June 9 at 7pm, the Ventura Film Society along with Ventura Music Week hosts 20 Feet from Stardom at the Century Downtown (555 E. Main, 93001) with an after party across the street at Amigos.

Sometimes a singer can get very close to stardom, and yet remain a thousand miles away. Or at least a few feet away. The documentary 20 Feet from Stardom by Morgan Neville explores some of the greatest backup singers of all time who, for reasons hard to explain exactly, never got the recognition nor stardom they deserved. With this film, that will change.
The energy and passion of the music in this movie comes through vibrantly loud and clear in almost every frame. Front and center are the singers who are usually hidden in the shadows of the superstars they support. These are primarily, though not exclusively, African-American women who came from church choirs where their fathers were ministers, and who learned to completely and joyously embrace the call and response of the minister and his congregation.

Read the rest of Ron Wells’ review of the 2014 Academy Award Winning Best Feature Documentary here. Tickets are $10.

One of the more unusual events is the art show and film showing in the Atrium at City Hall on Tuesday June 10 that showcases  Ventura County’s top music photographers and music‐influenced art created by Ventura’s local art community.  This is a by donation event with appetizers, beer and wine available; since Four Brix is a sponsor, I hope they will be pouring their wine! Afterwards, head to Amigo’s to hear my buddy Doug Johnson play swing and blues with his band.

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Blasters Show Review by Ron Wells; See Dave + Phil at Live Oak This Weekend

June 8, 2014

Live Oak Music Fest Poster 2014Since Dave and Phil Alvin of the Blasters are playing Friday from 9-10:30pm at Live Oak Music Festival this coming weekend, I figured it was about time to post this review by Ron Wells of a recent Blasters concert in Santa Ana, CA. More info on Live Oak follows the review.

The music business is a cruel mistress.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, so many great bands were playing every night in every kind of club imaginable in LA. Social Distortion, X, Los Lobos, Black Flag just to name a few, and, of course, The Blasters.

And yet the big record contract went to The Knack with “My Sharona.” That band is long gone and easily forgotten, but the others are still standing in one configuration or another.

I saw the Blasters so many times I lost count of those days at The Whiskey, The Palladium, Madame Wongs and so many more clubs, dives, and hole-in-the-wall venues. They were my second favorite American band after Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The Blasters blew the roof off the joint of every time they played, and that was after only one song. Bodies of audience members jumped, rocked and rolled everywhere, as sweat dripped off the walls like some sacred water. 

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John Oliver Explains Net Neutrality With Dingos and Shrek: Now Go Comment!

June 6, 2014

There’s a lot of rhetoric rolling around about “net neutrality.” According to Wikipedia, “Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governm1904230_747714048582057_3882181196357620842_nents should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.
Proponents often see net neutrality as an important component of an open internet, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those on the internet to easily communicate and conduct business without interference from a third party.[5]
A “closed internet” refers to the opposite situation, in which established corporations or governments favor certain uses.” Right now the “open internet” is at risk because certain commercial entities are trying to create a system where some companies have access to a favored or fast lane of access. In this video, comedian John Oliver  explains how “cable companies are trying to create an unequal playing field for internet speeds” which is being covered “so boringly that most news outlets aren’t covering it.”Well John Oliver comes to the rescue with plenty of humour in this 13 minute video which closes with a very funny call to action because yes you do need to do something! go to and tell them why YOU INSIST we maintain net neutrality!
Do it before July 4 because it really is about independence!From the transcript:
it’s not just anti-corporate hippies who think that abandoning net neutrality

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#ThatDamNation Floods 23 @Patagonia Stores TODAY

June 5, 2014

DamNation floods 23 Patagonia Retail Stores across the country today, Thursday, June 5th, 2014; #ThatDamNation photo contest ends June 7.

A ragingly powerful and award-winning documentary film, Damnation explores our dam culture and examines the change in “attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.” The #ThatDamNation contest invites YOU to contribute to the conversation with photos of your own (scroll down for details).

“DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature,”states the DamNation website.


Read more…

Burning Man Basics: Theme Camps and the Camp of the Space Wanderer

June 4, 2014



As important to the Burning Man experience as the Man, the Temple, and the artwork funded (and unfunded and partially funded) that I wrote about yesterday are theme camps. Theme camps can but don’t always connect to the theme of Burning Man which this year is Caravansary.

Read more…

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