Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Bad News for Books

In a move straight out of 1984 (the book), Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has just signed into law a bill requiring any bookstore selling “sexually explicit materials” to register with the state. According to Publishers Weekly, stores will have to pay a $250 registration fee. Failure to register is against the law.

According to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the law is so broad that it could be applied to a mainstream novel, for example, the latest Danielle Steele.

Just in case you were wondering, Tipper Gore had nothing to do with this.

And in what looks like a blatant antitrust violation, amazon.com now requires that all print-on-demand books sold on their website be manufactured through their proprietary on-demand printer, whom they recently purchased to compete with Ingram Book Distributors’ popular Lightning Source supply system. This is especially disconcerting since amazon is a major source of sales for small or independent publishers whose books are kept on disc and printed as orders come in, rather than being manufactured and stored in a warehouse.

[postscript – good news on both fronts – the Indiana law was overturned and amazon backed down, allowing freedom of choice for small publishers

March 30, 2008 Posted by | Literature, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How the Other Half Lives, Part 2

Earlier this week we set off on a mission to determine whether rock in this town is really dead, or if it’s just lurking in random dark corners. As an experiment, we chose two of New York’s best rock clubs, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, both being places with a good reputation for booking quality acts. We then looked up each and every act scheduled to play there in April to determine if we were missing out on anything, and if so, what.

The first part of the experiment yielded decidedly depressing results. Only 4 of the 57 acts on the bill at the first club were worth seeing. If this was baseball, that would translate to a puny .070 batting average, so bad that it’s almost impossible to achieve over 57 trips to the plate: you’d be dismissed to the minors, or, more likely, you’d be taken off the roster and put on irrevocable waivers long before you ever got that far.

Across the river, things took a more optimistic turn. Out of 114 bands on the bill for April, there were 12 who were solid hits. That works out to a pathetic .105 average, but the bright side is that there’s a good band playing at this place every three days, which is pretty good, especially compared to the competition. Moral of the story: we should stop being so cynical. Next step of the experiment: to dig even deeper at some of the more obscure places where bands who are just starting out, or who don’t have much of a following for one reason or another (which doesn’t mean that they’re bad) can be found.

All this digging uncovered a few other things. Both clubs, though small by comparison to, say, Bowery Ballroom, book an awful lot of out-of-town acts (who virtually always suck). The first club turned out to be primarily a gay bar catering to the trust-fund crowd; the second has much more of a ROCKNROLL!!! vibe and books a lot of theme nights featuring various corporate styles, from metal to Weezer-style nerd-rock. Check our NYC live music calendar (to your right, under Categories) to find out what we discovered – since bad press is better than no press, it doesn’t make any sense to identify any of the endless parade of eunuchs and posers who didn’t make the grade.

March 30, 2008 Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City | Leave a comment