Be a Patriot. Start a Rock Band!

December 19, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Music, Politics 

On Wednesday, December 16, 2009 the Local Community Radio Act passed through the House of Representatives with a voice vote.

The action surrounding Low Power FM radio and it’s course through our legislative system is something I’ve been observing since meeting members of the Prometheus Radio Project this past June at the 2009 Allied Media Conference held in Detroit. Upon realizing the implications of this hugely important bill, I felt compelled to sign-up for regular emails from the movers pushing LPFM into the spotlight. Since then, however, I have not done much other than make a couple phone calls to my representative’s offices and leave a message with their clerks. Nonetheless, the wave of awareness about and support for the act has only grown. The social networking tools and DIY media outlets we have access to are facilitating the organic spread of a powerful, conscious, global community, and in the U.S. it’s causing positive changes. Read more

The Anti-Arpaio Anthem

December 6, 2009 by Imagine 2050 Editors · Comment
Filed under: Music, News 

Stephen Lemons posted this great video at his blog Feathered Bastard a few days ago. Wish we could have been there.

Because I was upstairs at the Cronkite School building this past Monday watching Sheriff Joe get blistered by the journalism profs, then sung off the stage by the Freddie Mercury impersonators, I missed all the action taking place on the ground floor. There, a peaceful revolt was in full swing, with the anti-Joe forces storming the lobby, led by the Phoenix punkgrass group the Haymarket Squares.

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Morrissey Loses a Fan

December 3, 2009 by Chris Bober · 3 Comments
Filed under: Music 

Music has always been a huge part of my life—especially when I was a teenager. As many young people do, I often sought an identity in song lyrics, musical styles, bands, hair, and clothes. To say I was drawn to the expressive and dramatic was an understatement. Indeed, between the ages of fifteen and eighteen-years-old, I listened almost exclusively to dark, moody, and emotional music played by The Cure, Joy Division, and Depeche Mode. However, there was no band more influential than The Smiths. Their guitarist, Johnny Marr, was one of the reasons I eventually went on to attend music school.

The band’s unique singer, Morrissey, had an even more profound effect on me. Morrissey had a way of putting into words how I felt at that age. He had the ability to make one feel as if his songs of love and loss were written just for you—a feeling I’ve heard echoed by many of my generation. Read more

Poland: Madonna Concert Hit by Racism Controversy

October 16, 2009 by Guest Blogger · Comment
Filed under: International, Music 

Rafal Pankowski, Searchlight Magazine

Christian fundamentalists cannot forgive Madonna for the quasi-religious associations of her stage name, it seems. An added aggravation of her first east European tour was the choice of 15 August, the Assumption Day holiday, for the Warsaw, Poland concert. All that could be dismissed, however, as a marketing ploy.

But the Madonna concert also sparked debate about some less than honorable activities of its main sponsor, Allegro, which has been accused of turning a blind eye to the rampant sale of racist and neo-Nazi material on the internet. Allegro is Poland’s biggest internet trader. Its online auctions are full of openly Nazi and racist propaganda material such as football hooligan stickers bearing the Celtic cross symbol sometimes used by Nazis, accompanied by slogans such as “Poland for the Polish” and “F*** the Gypsies”.

Although these sales constitute a tiny fraction of the company’s turnover, Allegro flatly rejects any attempts to curtail them. Despite numerous approaches by anti-racist campaigners and negative media publicity, the company refuses to address the issue. Polish law forbids the promotion of racist and fascist ideologies, but enforcement is notoriously lax. “Objects do not promote ideas, only people do. That is why we will not remove sales of objects such as cups or T-shirts with swastikas,” says Allegro’s spokesman Patryk Tryzubiak, echoing the view of his company’s legal department. Read more

Pinata Protest: Suckcess, San Antonio Style

October 10, 2009 by George Garza · 1 Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Music 

As a second year media justice advocate, my qualm with commercial radio stirs within me a certain bias when it comes to identifying their underlying scheme in hosting public events. It’s easy to question whose interests are being served when business is involved.

My latest unsettling feeling came by way of the all too familiar ‘Battle of the Bands’ predicament. In San Antonio, the phrase alone incites uproarious hissing when mentioned to any musician no longer in high school.

The typical rundown of these GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES (promising anything from studio time to cold hard cash) is that promoters lure unassuming hopefuls into a competition in which the best band takes top prize. Usually the profiteers leave out the bit about how the contest is determined instead by the amount of revenue a band generates by way of ridiculously overpriced pre-sale tickets.

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Pirate Radio Station in San Francisco

October 3, 2009 by Katie Bezrouch · Comment
Filed under: Culture, Music 

I believe in responsible media. I spend a good portion of my week fighting for media accountability. I humbly attempt to create factual, amenable media myself, every week. When newspapers and magazines quote white nationalists, I publicly argue that they should be cited that they are white nationalists. When radio stations and news channels give a microphone to bigots who transmit racist propaganda, (that in turn generates violent hate crime) the public should hold those stations accountable. But responsible media doesn’t have to mean bound, or censored communication with the public. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. The amount of genuine alternatives to pre-produced, syndicated corporate radio and TV stations is multiplying rapidly, in the blogosphere and beyond.

One great example is Pirate Cat Radio. It is the most well known currently operating pirate station in the US, and has been operating (from multiple locations since 1998). Currently, they broadcast from a tiny coffee shop in San Francisco, on a cozy corner in the Mission (a neighborhood that is relatively ethnically and economically diverse, with a population that is half Latino, a third White, and 11 percent Asian). Pirate Cat describes itself as “an unlicensed low powered community radio station, broadcasting on 87.9 megahertz, to both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles basin”.
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Media Justice=Music Movement

September 19, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Culture, Music 

It’s been just over a year since I first involved myself in the world of media justice, and now is an appropriate time for reflection.

Prior to my venture into this pressing cause I was an aspiring musician attempting to maintain solid dedication to a craft many adults contest is a waste of time given our country’s sputtering economy.

Now, I can firmly stand as an artist in confidence. From the knowledge I’ve gained in the last year and the inspiration I continue to accumulate from focused progressives I meet, what I want to do with my life has been replaced by a much more important question; whether or not I will continue to have the opportunity.

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2009 ALMA Awards is the Show to Watch

September 8, 2009 by Eric Ward · Comment
Filed under: Culture, Music 

Are you a music fiend? Be sure to warn your neighbors and give the living room floor an extra coat of wax if, like me, you’re lucky enough to be watching ABC Television on Friday, September 18 (8:00 to10:00 p.m., ET/PT). ABC will be broadcasting The American Latino Media Arts Award, also known as the ALMA. The early word on the street is that the creators of the event, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), are taking the awards ceremony, now in its fifteenth year, to new heights.

NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía guarantees, “If you like the ALMA Awards, you will love this year’s show because we’re bringing you more of what you love most, unique musical pairings and the best Latino entertainment.” Not only will Nelly Furtado perform (who just released her new album Mi Plan), but the Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell will be there as well, both chosen as 2009 Special Achievement Honorees. Read more

Announcing the Image 2050 Video Contest Winners!

August 29, 2009 by Stephen Piggott · Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Culture, Music 

(And a look back at the Imagine 2050 Anniversary Celebration)

Before I announce the winners of the 2009 video contest, I would like to say a few words about Imagine 2050 and the recent celebration. It has been nearly a year since I started  writing for Imagine 2050, and in the past year I have seen the blog grow and improve immensely. The blog’s contributors and content are of the utmost quality and I consider myself lucky to be writing for such a unique and inspiring outlet. Whether it’s Eric or Dave’s hard hitting editorials, Jill’s dry humor and sarcasm, or Katie’s thought provoking environmental pieces, the blog is a joy to read.

On Thursday night at the Underground Lounge in Chicago, Image 2050 celebrated its one year anniversary with many of its contributors, readers, and amazing bands. I would personally like to thank Dead Town Revival, Pop Pistol, and 1773 for their fantastic performances on stage. The party was a tremendous success and it was great to see many new people joining our mailing list and inquiring about Imagine 2050 and the Turn It Down Campaign. I would like to thank our host for the night, Beth Stelling, and everyone who showed up for making the event a big success. Read more

Imagine 2050 Anniversary Celebration - Thursday, Aug 27!

August 26, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Music 

This week my band brothers and I journey to the heart of the midwest. Our destination: Chicago, Illinois.

We are en route to the Imagine2050 First Annual Anniversary Celebration, extremely excited to experience our first U.S. performance outside of Texas. This coming Thursday is the milestone marking night commemorating a successful launch year for Center for New Community’s visionary blog site. The party is free and we are sharing the stage with an eclectic mix of music acts. Festivities start a 8:30pm inside Chicago’s Underground Lounge. In case you’d like to attend, here’s the map.

We are honored to be a part of the evening and are respecting the opportunity by clearing out an entire week from our work schedules back home.

We are documenting this landmark occasion; the first of what we hope are many travels to share our music with the world. We invite you to tune in. Read more

Video Contest Extended

August 19, 2009 by Katie Bezrouch · 1 Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Music 

Underground lounge_flyer_Front_final (2)Imagine 2050 has received so many great submissions we decided to keep the party rolling for a few more days. The editor has decided to extend the deadline for submitting a video to August 25th at midnight CST and the voting period to August 27th at 9:00am CST. Note to submitters the editor will NOT be on the selection committee, but instead will monitor submissions for content and copyright issues.

So now you have a whopping FIVE more days to send us your ideas. Get inspired. Get busy. Get filming.

Oh and don’t forget that the top five videos will be featured at the Imagine 2050 Anniversary show in Chicago on August 27th, and on the Imagine2050 blog. Read more

That 1 Guy Reviewed

August 9, 2009 by Guest Blogger · Comment
Filed under: Music 

by Tif Harrison

I don’t listen to jam bands. I have been known to attend a festival, or two, where jam bands played but my motive to go was never the music. You can imagine the height of my expectations as I walked into the back room of Schuba’s to catch that1guy. I listened to a few tracks from that1guy’s newest album, but could not make it through any of the songs. As the crowd of fans began to file in, I took a deep breath, found a spot on the wall and waited.

Mike Silverman is shorter than I expected. Or maybe the giant steel pipe he plays dwarfs him. When he unveiled “The Magic Pipe,” a homemade instrument made of steel plumbing and electrical wires, the crowd roared and my jaw dropped. I had to fight back laughter. I didn’t want his fans, or him, to think it was coming from a judgmental place. It was coming from a “Holy-god-this-is-insane-I-can’t-wait-to-hear-this-thing,” place. Read more

The New Future is One of Bright Individuality

August 6, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: American Identity, Music 

It took nearly two weeks after my trip to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference to get back into the swing of things here at home. An overabundance of inspiration and a new charge of progressive ambition landed me back in Texas with triumph on the brain.

I have seen, heard, and experienced refreshing insights from around the globe only to realize that this network of proactive pioneers has always existed. This loose-knit family of dreamers and hopefuls stretches beyond all borders of race, nationality, class, and age.

The 5 days I spent in Detroit were all too grand.

The setting was captivating enough; a once read more

Media Mavens in the Making

July 16, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Culture, Music 

Embarking on a journey too grand to be considered a simple tour, my friends in Karma, along with fellow local musician Kim Cotton of the band Verity, and community organizer/ artist Stef Cmielewski of SACraftMafia make a triumphant trek northward to Detroit, Michigan. The group will convene with myself and leader of Texas Media Empowerment Project Deanne Cuellar to represent our Local 782 at the 2009 Allied Media Conference this weekend.

The immense implication of these individuals uniting to raise funds in hopes of spreading awareness of our coalition, our city’s music scene, and the depth of our movement beyond state borders and across the Midwest only strengthens my spirits as I continue to defend that San Antonio is bursting at the seams with creative class ambition. Read more

Music for Children Behind Bars

July 9, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Immigration, Music, Politics 

A photograph of an empty playground behind barbed-wire fences says it all.

Upon first learning about the inhumane reality of imprisoned children less than two hours from San Antonio, most locals I’ve approached are left speechless. This comes as no surprise seeing as how some residents of Taylor (the small town 30 miles north of Austin, TX where this cage is located) are still clueless as to what is happening in their own backyard.

The increasingly infamous T. Don Hutto “Residential” Center is maintained by the private security company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and is one of two facilities in the US (the other is in New Jersey) which “houses” immigrant families, including pregnant women, nursing infants, and children, as they await court hearings. These refugees come to our country seeking asylum, many escaping wars on their homeland, in hopes of a peaceful life. When they are detained, they become important profit cattle, earning the Corrections Corporation upwards of $200 a day per man, woman, and child. Read more

Girl in a Coma leads San Antonio Music Revolution

June 5, 2009 by George Garza · 3 Comments
Filed under: Music 

I would like to inform you that there is a musical revolution underway in San Antonio, TX. I am not insinuating that San Antonio has the new market cornered, but I am certain more of you will begin to look to our big-city-with-a-small-town-attitude in coming years to satisfy your craving for genuine artistry.

It is only fitting then for me to begin this chronicle by introducing you all to Jen, Phanie, and Nina, better known as Girl in a Coma- three Chicanas who match their passion for music with an inspiring work ethic most would do well to take note of upon deciding to enter the music business as a performing musician/band. Read more

Interviews with Rebel Diaz on Police Brutality

June 4, 2009 by Cloee Cooper · Comment
Filed under: Crime, Music 

In summer of 2008, Hip Hop artists G1, Rodstarz and Lah Tere of Rebel Diaz were on the streets of New York.  They witnessed a street vendor being harassed by the police. Seeing that the street vendor did not reply, they decided to step in to translate for the vendor. Upon requesting the badge number of the police at the scene, the three members of Rebel Diaz were contained, arrested and taken to the local precinct.  They were held in a jail cell with over 30 other individuals for over 24 hours. Charged with unruly public conduct, the Hip Hop group have been on trial until this day.

As an active member of Western Mass Copwatch, I seized the chance to go interview these conscious Hip Hop artists, asking them questions such as “How do you see your struggle relate to a longer struggle of race issues and politics in this country?”. Below you will hear G1 of Rebel Diaz’s story as well as a glimpse of his analysis of race and policing in the United States.  The two interviews that follow are with a long time activist and former member of the Young Lords, and a member of New York City copwatch. Both link police brutality with racism.

These videos contain mature language.

To see more interviews click Read more

Reborn in San Antonio, TX

May 21, 2009 by George Garza · Comment
Filed under: Culture, Music 

I am told that as of Monday, May 11th I am now officially a community organizer. In light of this REBIRTH, I choose to step forward and represent myself in this new world. Thus, I am excited to join the inspiring project, Imagine 2050.

This past Monday, May 11th marked a Mayan calendar event known as the Rebirth Celebration. My band brothers and I had been anticipating the moment as a distinct time for personal growth and important change. I can still feel the effects racing in my blood. When we stumbled upon the information months back, we looked forward to whatever the day might bring. Read more