Sunday, June 28, 2009

Starving Artist Podcast Ep 19

Starving Artists Podcast Ep 19

In this episode, Johnny talks about "Starving Artist's Guide Mixtape Vol. 1," an article on how to reduce student loan repayment, the free audiobook "A User's Manual to the Human Experience" by Michael Dean, and an interview on teaching English as a second language with Nick Snopkowski. With music by DeVries, Ian Bryn, and Drive In Saturday, Ends with a special live performance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mixtape Vol. 1

Okay so this is a compilation of music I've featured on the podcast by awesome NYC(and beyond!) bands. It's available through Itunes and the artists receive 100% of the profit. So if you're a fan of the podcast, definitely buy the album. These are the songs that caught my attention after scouring hundreds, if not thousands of songs to bring the best of the best to the show. And try as you might, these songs are most definitely not on any of the file sharing networks. SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC BY BUYING THIS MIXTAPE!

Good News for College-Educated on Welfare

By Sally Holland
CNN Senior Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As a graduate from Syracuse University with a master's degree in international relations, Jana Morgan was hoping to help victims of human rights violations caused by resource wars.
The tight job market, though, has made her put those dreams aside for now while she pays her bills -- by waiting tables at The Barrack's Inn in Sackets Harbor, New York.
Morgan is realistic about her future income options. "If you are going into public service, you aren't going there to make money, you are going there to help people," she said in a recent interview.
Her less-than-anticipated income means that it is difficult for her to make her student loan payments for the nearly $80,000 in debt she accumulated getting through college. Morgan is looking at a new law that goes into effect July 1 that would help her cap her student loans at 15 percent of her adjusted gross income.
Then, if she completes 10 years of public service, her loans would be dropped completely. Based on her current income, her $800 payments would go away for the time being, according to calculations she did on the Department of Education's Web site.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act that created the new Income-Based Repayment program was signed into law in 2007 to help make student loan payments more manageable.
However, the Department of Education warns that making smaller loan payments may actually increase the amount that borrowers will need to pay back in the long run because interest will accrue for a longer period of time. On the other hand, if the borrowers meet certain criteria, their remaining student loan debt can be dropped after 25 years.
Morgan is not the only one struggling in the weak economy. According to Rep. George Miller, the Democratic chairman of the House committee that worked on the bill, "The U.S. college affordability crisis is only worsening and to top it off, this year's graduating class is about to enter the toughest job market for college graduates in 25 years."
Unemployment numbers for May indicate that 15.5 percent of people age 20 to 24 are unemployed in the U.S. compared to the overall unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.
The Income-Based Repayment program is designed specifically for those students who have high loan amounts and low income. To continue to qualify for the repayment plan, every year borrowers will have to provide information on their income and family size. When income increases, the payments will revert back to the standard amounts.
As for Morgan, if she had know what kind of debt she would be carrying after she earned her degrees, she might have done some things differently.

"As an 18-year-old, I might have applied to more schools that would consider funding me fully, and I probably should have been considering my economic situation at that time," she said.

However, Morgan said she would not have changed her mind about going to college.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 18

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 18
In this episode, Johnny interviews comedian/musician Kevin Prockup on the ins and outs of what it takes to be a comedy based Musician. Features an interview with Dead Prez and music by Americans UK, deVries, Nathan Brumley, and Master of Con?usion. The best underground music scene since sliced bread. For the full podcast, please subscribe to the Starving Artist's Podcast via Itunes in the link to the right! It's Free!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Does Anyone Else Feel this Way?

Here we have an excellent interview with Scientist and modern day mystic Gregg Braden. For anyone who doesn't know who he is, he's a prolific writer with over 6 published books and a few films under his belt as well. I can't help but feel slightly better after watching this interview. What do you think?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Starving Artist Podcast Ep 17

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 17
In this episode, Johnny reviews great pizzeria "Pizza By the Pound," which serves up $10 large pies and incredible $1 beers all day every day. Can't beat that. He also goes over some of the prizes for his Starving Artist Guide design competition, which has a due date of July 4th, 2009. With music by Neil Nathan, Amleah and rapper Brash. Featuring a full length interview with screenwriter and Free Mason member Ethan Runco, where he goes to great lengths to keep his identity secret. Whoops. Guess I didn't need to buy that digital voice dropper after all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

David Byrne Harolds in the Apocalypse

Alright, so David Byrne didn't really harold in the apocalypse. I could barely even hear him over the 20,000 fans that crowded into Prospect Park last night at around 8 pm to see the old man do some new (and old) tricks. No longer playing under the moniker Talking Heads, probably because of some dispute with one of the musicians in the band that wished he was David Byrne, David Byrne now goes strictly by David Byrne. And that's alright by me. He did pull from a lot of the Talking Heads catalogue, including my favorite off of their debut album "FEAR OF MUSIC"--Heaven. They also played the classics, notably, "Psycho Killer", "Once in a Lifetime" and the title track off his most recent album "Everything that Happens Happens today." It felt incredible to see that such an eccentric act could take center stage in front of such a huge crowd.
The sound equipment reached far and wide, and I felt great to be out drinking a Heine in Prospect Park on a nice cool June evening. And the price was right too. It was free. Kicking off the CELEBRATE BROOKLYN 2009 Season, Byrne was the right man for the gig. The artists will continue to be rockin', and you can get a full list of upcoming acts here. Since they are all free, it's a good reason to meet up with old friends and disconnect your brain from the LCD screen in front of you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 16

The Witches...

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 16--Women Who Rock

Here you have it, folks. The "Women Who Rock" edition of the Starving Artist Podcast. I also go over what's coming up on the Summer concert schedule (free, of course) in NYC, and review a website that sells $8 prescription glasses! This show features the likes of Jill Sobule, Clinical Trials, Erin Hobson, Lachi, and Witches in Bikinis.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Strange Indeed...Update

Yesterday this happened.

It's harder to see something

Unless you look at it from a different
Under a different light.
you need a bird's eye view.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Strange Indeed...

Though I aim to keep this art/music oriented, I can't but help notice that there is a cultural blindspot occurring with humanity. And since it is loosely catagorized as art, I thought I would put up a post on "crop circles." Now, I'm no expert, and I am open to the possibility that these might be made by any number of things, extra-terrestrial or based inscrutibly on terrafirma, but the complexity that these "circles" have been reaching as of late is undeniable. You can go on any number of websites, like or to check some of the most recent ones out. I don't really get into the conjecture about what they represent, although I do listen intently to the people who do conjecture (as a good human being should). However, it just simply amazes me that such short-lived masterpieces exist in the first place. Why anyone, human being or otherwise, would take the time out of their day to do, say, this---

--Is beyond me. Most people can't get themselves off of the couch between breaks of American Idol to get another beer. The sheer immensity of the projects, which can range over a thousand feet and are done in mere hours, is staggering. Frankly, I don't think as a race we are that motivated. So is it the stars? Is it some little green men from mars that are perpetrating such glorious works of wonder? I have no idea. My only idea is to get more people to look at them so that we could get to some kind of conversation. As it stands, they are dusted underneath the proverbial rug; a sideshow --it's not important. Go back to watching HBO (if you can afford it) The people who actually think about these things are idiotic, naive, and most of all--stupid for thinking about such trivial matters. Well when the mothership lands and everyone says, "WTF?!" They'll just say, "Didn't you get the message on the machine? I've been telling you for 40 years that I was comin'."
And us nutcases will just laugh.
Either way, this is definitely some good art to take a gander at.

To become more of a nutcase, visit one of these sites and witness the crops day to day over the 2009 "Season."

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Sometimes You're Given A Gift..." Mos Def.

There are few hip hop albums that come to mind that can unite such a diverse audience as Black Star. It's been a decade since Mos Def and Talib Kweli made their mark on the hip-hop community with their self-titled debut in 1999. (Shout out for my crew! east west, north south. Everyone on the continent of Europe all abroad internationals)And it has stood the test of time. The songs still sounded fresh and relevant. Hard to believe that this album came out when was still rockin at $40 a share. (Buying petfood online?! Brilliant!!) Needless to say, the Blackstar show rocked. Hard.
Let's start at the beginning.
It was a tough weekend for me. I found out that both my roommates were moving out July 1st. Then some asshole stole my bike. (The irony lies in the fact that I haven't bought anything to maintain the thing except WD40 for the last ten years. What, you might ask, was I doing when my beautiful black Cannondale was stolen? Buying a $30 seat and a nice carry rack for the sum'bitch.)
So it was a bad day. But I was determined to bring myself back emotionally on Saturday. Luckily, my friend Caithlin bought tickets for this show at Nokia Theater in Times Square many many moons ago.
We met up in Park Slope at her sister's launchpad and went to get a 6 rack of Red Stripe and drank them discreetly in the park. We waxed poetic about our past lives as collegiate co-eds. After three beers each we got on the F-train and set out for the show. Forty Minutes and a much needed pee-break later we stood stymied at Times Square.
"I dont mean to be a bother, but..." I said to a cute girl-cop on the beat.
"Then don't bother me--!" She said, cutting me off. "Just kidding. Whatcha need hun?"
"Um...Nokia Theater?" I replied.
"Two blocks that way."

Looking slightly drunk but not enough to bring too much attention, we got patted down and walked into Nokia. The venue was distinctly NYC. Sleek buffed silver bars glowed (Glew?) neon blue and green from beneath and the top shelf glowed pure white. Standing in line for a much needed beer, we met Nomad.
"Black-star? pshh. It's gonna suck...just out for a night with the boys. Shot of petron? I'll buy if you guys get the beers."
"Sure," Caithlin responded without a pause between the two.
Now, let's make this clear--I can't hold my liquor. Ever. Beer for me. But since I was down, I took the shot and felt the cool warmth of alcohol spread through my limbs.
It was getting late, so we found our way around the building to the GA section and wriggled through to the front right side of the stage. We caught the tail end of "88-Keys," which was less than awesome. Most people did not come for 88 keys, and let him know it.
The crowd roared when Blackstar took the stage. Starting with "Astronomy (8th Light)", it set the crowd off. I finally felt good again. Every bass-beat brought me one step closer to truth. I started to move. I started to not care. I found the middle path once again.
I'm a white guy, but there were so many bad dancing white guys that I just didn't care as my head rocked to the rhythm. The highlight was "Definition", which just brought everything together. Even though he's in his mid-30s, Mos Def still looks like he's just out of college, and he was on point. Kweli held up his part of the bargain as well. I kept asking myself uselessly how they could possibly rhyme so fast. It's amazing to see 3 people entertaining 2000 people. Their dj was absolutely rediculous. It was as if we had taken a time-machine to 1999. They still flowed like two rivers that empty into the sea.
Though I certainly can't rap myself, these guys rocked it to the tip-top. Best alliance in hip hop. Mos Def's new album drops June 9th, 2009. You can check out his website at Kweli's album EARDRUM is out now.

Starving Artist's Guide Mixtape Vol. 1!!!

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