The Oakland Fire

As some of you may have heard, there was a fire in an artist space in Oakland, California.The fire happened during a performance at the space of live electronic music. Golden Donna, Cherushii, Nackt, Russell Butler, Obsidian Blade, Piano Rain, and RADAR were on the bill.

The fire was severe. As of this writing, thirty bodies have been found, and most of the building has yet to be searched. All of the artists there have lost their homes and possessions. It is a terrible situation.

CNN is tracking the story here:

If there’s even a possiblity that you were anywhere near the fire, please mark yourself safe on this Facebook page:

(Incidentally, this is the first time I heard about Facebook safety check pages, which is a wonderful idea.)

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has set up a relief fund through YouCaring:

(EDIT: There is a Facebook group that is set up for this tragedy, but apparently it has been taken over by spam nonsense.

I did not know any of the performers personally, but we had lots of friends in common, and this space is exactly the kind of space I would perform at.

My sympathies go out to everyone involved, the people who lost their lives and the artists who are now homeless.

I’m also hoping that this doesn’t become yet another excuse to shut down these types of collective spaces, which have been under attack (especially here in Boston) for years. Artists need these types of spaces; hopefully this will push cities nationwide to make allowances for them, so that they can exist legally and safely, instead of being more aggressive in shutting them down.

Maddox, Google, and Hollywood

I recently read an article on “The Best Page In The Universe,” the venerable website started by Maddox, a.k.a. George Ouzounian. I only check it sporadically, so I missed this when it was first posted.

The article is called It’s time Hollywood kissed Google’s ass. It is worth reading in its entirety, but here are what I think are the good parts:

For all the constant bitching we hear from production companies and studios about piracy, no other company is doing as much to protect copyrights as Google. Companies like Viacom constantly mine the Internet for viral videos they can use for cheap content, while simultaneously filing billion dollar lawsuits. When people post their [Viacom’s] content on YouTube, they file takedown requests and shut down YouTube channels. But when they do it for millions of dollars, it’s okay[…]

Without a site like YouTube: the video market would be fragmented and thousands of smaller sites would take its place. Or worse, a competitor in a nation that doesn’t give a shit about US copyright laws. YouTube is Hollywood’s biggest ally. It’s time for Hollywood to loosen the reins because content creators everywhere are starting to get pissed off with these excessive and superfluous takedown requests.

If you want to see a video where he expounds on this idea, with lots of metal music in the background, watch: YouTube is the reason Hollywood still exists.

Be forewarned: in case you didn’t already know, Maddox is famous (or notorious) for his salty language and over-the-top persona.

My sympathies for Zoë Keating on her loss

I haven’t posted much here recently. However, one of the articles I was working on was about the disagreement between Zoë Keating and YouTube, in advance of the launch of their Music Key service. (Tl;dr version: Google’s terms are not good, but neither are they “bullying” or a “shakedown,” as the anti-Google crowd has said.)

This is not that article.

Last Thursday (the 19th), Keating’s husband died from complications related to his cancer. I don’t know Keating personally, but I’ve always respected her outlook and attitude. I can only imagine the horrible things she must be going through right now.

So, I want to convey my sympathies to her, and to members of her and her husband’s family.

If you feel the same, then please consider donating to her, to help her and her family get through this trying time. Keating has set up a “donate” button on her website:

Once again, my condolences.