Self-publishing isn’t just for that novel in your desk drawer. These days it encompasses many platforms, from classic photocopied zines to blogs, podcasts and web TV.
We + Alien She is a panel talk and presentation by folks who’ve been self-publishing for a while. It’s presented by the Carnegie Mellon School of Art (CMU’s Miller Gallery is currently hosting Alien She , a DIY-heavy look at riot-grrrl culture) and the Carnegie Library. Folks from the library’s zine collection are also involved.
Panelists include Ayanah Moor and Raquel Rodriguez, who do the Queer & Brown in Steeltown podcast; Ginger Brooks Takahashi, of the projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE and a co-founder of feminist genderqueer artist collective LTTR; and CMU art professor Jon Rubin, a key force behind the late, lamented talk-show/diner known as Waffle Shop and other boundary-blurring art projects.
The panel takes place 6:30-8:30 p.m. tomorrow night. It’s free. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland.
Organizers remind you that the library is just a short walk from the Miller Gallery, where Alien She is open tomorrow from noon-6 p.m., if you want to take a look at work by Brooks Takahashi and others before the panel presentation.
This week, experts from around the world are in Pittsburgh for “Passing the Torch: An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” at Duquesne University. The group of scientific, legal and investigative, scholars, journalists and authors were brought together to discuss what are often referred to as “conspiracy theories.”
During a panel discussion at the Senator John Heinz History Center on Oct. 17, examining how the JFK assassination has played out in the media, authors joined director Oliver Stone in indicting the mainstream media for what they believe was a failure to investigate legitimate facts surrounding JFK’s death.
“There were leaks all over the place from the beginning of the Kennedy assassination," said David Talbot, founder and former CEO and editor-in-chief of Salon.com. “And yet, the whispers behind closed doors in Washington weren’t getting to the press or weren’t getting reported.”
While Stone is well known for his controversial biopic on JFK, the other noted authors, several of whom have worked in the media, have all published work related to the assassination and unpopular theories like those claiming the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s death. Despite reports in the mainstream media, several of the panelists said the CIA’s involvement in Kennedy’s assassination has been proven.
“The media has never addressed the idea that operatives in the CIA carried out the assassination of the president,” said Lisa Pease, chief archivist of RealHistoryArchives.com. “If the press had looked seriously at the JFK assassination they would have found conspiracy.”
Instead the panelists said the media perpetuated the idea of Lee Harvey Oswald as JFK’s killer in order to help American citizens recover quickly from a devastating tragedy.
“The idea is that evil comes out of the murkiness and kills the good,” said Stone. “It’s easy.”
And according to the panelists, the media’s negligence continues today.
“This case is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the media,” said Jerry Policoff, a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times and the Village Voice.
“In almost all cases, (journalists) stay with the pack,” said Russ Baker, founder of WhoWhatWhy.com, an investigative reporting website. “This is not just about the JFK assassination. These stories are happening all the time.”
The 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination is on Nov.22.
Late last night, local Tea Party Republican Keith Rothfus cast a vote against the bill that ended the shutdown of the federal government, and that avoided a potentially cataclysmic default on government debt. That vote was so reckless that even several other Pennsylvania Republicans -- like Erie's Mike Kelly, Hazelton's Lou Barletta, and our very own Tim Murphy -- voted the other way. (Naturally, Rothfus had an ally in Senator Pat Toomey, another Tea Party heartthrob.)
But the real mystery isn't why Rothfus would cast such a vote. This is the same guy who opposed helping out victims of Hurricane Sandy, after all: Human suffering barely seems to make a dent in his ideology. The real question is ... how come media reports make him seem so reasonable?
As we noted in today's edition, independent news program Rustbelt Radio is currently off the air while it assesses its future. The group is collecting feedback from its listeners and community as to what they want to see in the program, if it should continue. Feedback can be submitted online via Facebook, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of the folks behind the voices previously heard on Rustbelt programming:
Jessica McPherson: Got involved in 2003-04, with a focus on environmental issues. "There are so many environmental issues underreported or not reported," says McPherson. "There was a need and I thought 'I could do that.'"
Carlin Christy: Got involved around 2004, as one of her friends was involved in the project, which is an offshoot of the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center. Focused on social-justice issues and immigration. Reported live from Mexico on multiple occasions, including this dispatch from 2006's International Women's Day,
Lizzie Anderson: Started in 2006 covering prison justice and among her projects was the segment "2.3 million and Rising," which focused on prison issues. "I like being able to do something," says the activist. "It just seems important to have an outlet to inform" the people.
According to the alt-weekly Boston Phoenix, David Shribman, the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is likely a top candidate to become the next editor of the Boston Globe.
Shribman declined to comment on the report -- which was picked up by media-blogger Jim Romenesko -- except to say that he discouraged such speculation.
The vacancy at the Globe, which is owned by the New York Times, is being created by the departure of editor Martin Baron, who is headed for the Washington Post. Shribman won a Pulitzer for the Globe back in 1995, when he was its Washington D.C. bureau chief. The Phoenix's Peter Kadzis quotes an unnamed Globe staffer saying "The Times loves quality, and Shribman with his Dartmouth degree is the embodiment of that." Kadzis ranks Shribman as "the leader of the pack among the Globe outsiders," though he predicts the next editor will be the Globe's managing editor, Caleb Solomon.
The Armstrong Group is based in small-town Pennsylvania. But it may offer a template for how big-league politics will be played in the near future.
As I wrote here last week, the Butler-based firm's cable operation -- which serves Pittsburgh's hinterlands and markets in several other states -- recently began offering the controversial "documentary" 2016: Obama's America to its viewers for free. But while the company maintained that the giveaway wasn't part of a political agenda, it may be just the beginning of Armstrong's donations to the conservative cause.
Earlier this week, the Sunlight Foundation identified Armstrong as one of the most generous recent donors to GOP-related "Super PACS" -- PACs that are not directly tied to a political candidate, but that can spend unlimited funds on politically themed advertising. In September alone, the Sunlight Foundation reported, Armstong donated $1.3 million to American Crossroads, the super PAC cofounded by conservative powerbroker Karl Rove. Records indicate that the donation took the form of "in-kind cable access" -- suggesting that in a single month, American Crossroads received $1.3 million in free time to run ads like those viewable here.
Armstrong spokesman Dave Wittmann, who spoke with me last week, did not return calls for comment. (I'll add any response from the company to this blog post.) But given that cable-only ads tend to be cheaper than those running on a major network, "That is a lot of ads," says Kathy Kiely, who co-reported the Sunlight Foundation story. And unlike the free screening of 2016, which subscribers had to choose to view on Armstrong's "on demand" channel, these would be spots viewers didn't intend to see. What's more, their reach extends well beyond Pittsburgh's backwoods. As Think Progress has noted, Armstrong's reach extends into the key battleground state of Ohio, among other places.
Just weeks before the Nov. 6 elections, a local cable provider is offering its subscribers a special promotional offer: a free look at 2016: Obama's America, a film "documentary" which purports to show that President Obama hopes to undermine the United States from within.
Armstrong Utilities, the nation's 15th-largest cable provider, operates in five states, including suburban and rural parts of western Pennsylvania. And recently, its homepage began notifying viewers of a "Free Movie Special" — an on-demand screening of the film, which was in theaters only a few weeks ago.
While much on-demand content is free, subscribers tell City Paper — and an Armstrong executive confirms — that this is the first time the cable provider has offered such a deal for a recently released feature film.
When Dan Rugh spotted the new advertising placard on a Tribune-Review newspaper box, the cofounder of South Side's Commonwealth Press couldn't help noticing that it seemed somehow ... familiar.
"hey @TribTotalMedia," he Tweeted, "you flat out STOLE our #ZOLTAN artwork""I don't respect lazy design," Rugh tells City Paper. "They used our art on all of their boxes around the city. How hard is it to draw your own hands?"
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! is coming to Pittsburgh next month.
Goodman will be speaking at Carnegie Mellon University's McConomy Auditorium at 7 p.m. Sept. 13, where she'll also be signing copies of her new book, The Silenced Majority.
While the event is free to the public, it's also a fundraiser, and a $10 donation at the door is requested. Proceeds will be split between Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy Now and PCTV, the city's cable-access channel. PCTV airs Goodman's show weekday mornings at 8 a.m.; Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy Now seeks to promote Goodman's simultaneous radio broadcast on WRCT-FM, CMU's college-radio station at 88.3 FM.
Goodman has visited Pittsburgh on PCTV's behalf before, but this time, "It just kind of fell into our laps, really," says PCTV Executive Director John Patterson. "We'd always hoped she'd come back to Pittsburgh, and we got an e-mail asking if we'd like to host her."
Goodman's appearance comes as PCTV is seeking to diversify its sources of income: The station has long received money as part of a contract between the city and its cable providers, but Patterson says the most recent contract obliges them to seek outside support. "The Pittsburgh Public Schools hired us to film board meetings, and we've been hiring ourselves out to do public-service announcements and other projects for non-profits. We're doing a lot more out in the community."
Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers has been attending presidential political conventions for years. But this time, he's trying something different: He's launched a fundraising page at indiegogo to pay for the trip, so he can turn his experiences into a documentary. In partnership with the Toonseum, Rogers hopes to create a "mini-documentary" about his work as a political cartoonist -- and the role cartooning plays in the national political debate. Rogers launched the page last week, and is already more than halfway to his $3,500 goal.
Based on the response you get on the Post-Gazette's letters to the editor page, I get the sense there are lots of people who'd be willing to pay for you to leave town. Is that who is contributing so far?
[Laughs] Based on the number of donations so far, that's my only conclusion. Actually, it's probably a cross-section of people: some fans of the Toonseum, some fans of mine -- people who might have wanted to come to a book-signing but could never make it -- and then people who are just curious about what this documentary will look like.
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