Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Steve Boyett on Copyfight and Writing

Author, DJ and general renaissance man Steven Boyett recently lead a couple sessions at the Southern California Writer's Association. Fortunately he posted the audio from these discussions and they're great for those of us who seem to spend a lot more time learning about writing than writing. Here Boyett talks about the changes happening in the publishing markets as driven by the ongoing digital revolution. He's walked this walk as a podcasting DJ in the musical realm and so is more prepared than most authors as similar issues hit the prose fiction and other written media. In the second part he talks about the debacle that copyright has become, and gives some great history. He echoes some things from Cory Doctorow but takes his own slant as well; plus he pays due reverence to Lawrence Lessig and Creative Commons. Thanks, Steve.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Work of Art is a Work in Progress

Heard what turned out to be basically a bizarre advertisement on National Public Radio.  I suppose they'd call it a review, but it had the effect of me trying out the "product".  It was for Bravo TV's new reality show Work of Art.  It's a cookie cutter copy of their two prior shows Project Runway and Top Chef, neither of which I can stomach for more than a few seconds before flipping onward. 
But I was curious about the artists, and how the time pressure would work out; I generally think time pressure is both anathema and pretty necessary to the artistic process. And that part of the show was cool, seeing the artists get into their work, struggle with it, shift it and eventually become attached to it.  To the last one they ended up reasonably content with their "piece". 
Then there were the judges -- too much drama and negativity just for the sake of conflict and controversy.  They provided some useful insights, but Art is soooo subjective and here was everything from minimalist abstraction to realism.  I'm no art expert, but I did recently read Looking at Paintings: An Introduction to Fine Art for Young People after it was recommended by Cory Doctorow, so I'm aware of techniques and types and the "eye of the beholder" and that the artist cannot be held fully responsible for my experience of her art.  So how do you eliminate someone based on the "quality" of their work of art? That part is worse than watching iceskating competition... don't know if I'll stick around, but maybe, since I agree with Amanda Palmer: "...some artists try to do everything, which is impossible, I think those people are brave."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Why I read Ken Fisher's financial column

Because he speaks up when the emperor has no clothes. In his current column he strips Moody's and Standard & Poor's of much of their value:
"The big agencies have a way of warning of trouble spots (like Enron) only after the trouble is evident or of adding to a panic (like Greece's) that is already beyond any rational basis." (Mountains and Molehills; 5/28/10 http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0607/markets-brazil-companhia-saneamento-portfolio-strategy.html).