Shepard Fairey speaks about the AP/Obama image

Shepard Fairey has just written an extensive piece about the AP lawsuit and the Obama image. If you’ve been following this story at all his post is worth reading to get his perspective right from the source:

I’m very saddened to see many people try to demean my Obama poster as being “stolen” or that because I used a photo I “cheated”. As far as the idea of the image being “stolen”, I would love to have the clout to command portrait sittings from world leaders, but for me and most artists out there, that is not an option. For lots of artists, even licensing an image is out of the question financially. Should artistic commentary featuring world leaders be stifled because of copyright of the reference images even when the final artistic product has new intent and meaning? Reference is critical to communication, and in my opinion, reference as a part of social commentary should not be stifled.

bush-hell-convertedHe gives an extremely sound argument about the usage of reference photos in the history of art and points out many contemporary artists who use reference photos all the time. Referencing photos for illustrations is taught in art schools and has been practiced since photography was invented. However I don’t think that is the most important point. At the end of the piece he notes that “If the AP wins their case, every Obama art (or any other politician) that was based on a photo reference that was not licensed would be rendered illegal… I think art that is critical of leaders that neither the subject or the photographer approve of need to be a legal form of expression.” Political art, for or against a candidate, almost always features an image as the quickest way to convey the idea (think of all the Bush images you’ve seen the last 8 years) – if the AP wins this case those would all be made illegal and free speech will suffer a very painful blow.

Burbank Street Closures

Brace yourself, Burbankians. President Obama will be taping the Tonight Show today at NBC.

@ginayates forwarded today’s road closures in Burbank from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

* Buena Vista Street between Alameda and Riverside
* Riverside Drive between Keystone and Niagara
* 134 Freeway off-ramp on Buena Vista St and Riverside Drive

Selling Obama

During a quick trip to the corner store this evening on a quest for flour, I was assailed by Obama Mania.  A shelf overflowing with bottled water and souvenir mugs summed it up quite nicely for me and I was compelled to take an exhausted (thus blurry) but amused snapshot with my cellphone which I sent to a few friends.

I have a feeling tomorrow is going to look a lot like this – Obama coffee cups, pins, toast, shirts, napkins, eggs, champagne (as seen in a MySpace ad), pizza, toothpaste and, yes, Obama water.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.  I’m just as excited as anyone who voted for Barack Obama but a part of me is horrified by the profuse use of his image to sell items from collector’s pieces to mundane frivolities such as water.

Win tix to The Walkmen with Beach House, 1/20 at the Fonda

So if you’re looking for a great band to rock out to after watching the inauguration, may I humbly suggest the fantastic Walkmen? I’ve loved these guys for years since their atmospheric, moody “Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone,” and they’ve continued to grow and develop as a band ever since. Tell me your favorite Walkmen lyric/lyrics in the comments below and if we pick you, voila! You’ve got something to do tomorrow night other than sit around in your PJs and watch the post-inaugural mutual wank-off with Beyonce and U2 while eating Ben & Jerry’s “Yes, Pecan!” Obama-rama ice cream.

Here’s all the info on the show.

Highland Park cyclist Ryan Bowen bikes to Obama’s inauguration!

This story caught my eye first because I was impressed by Ryan’s indisputable bad-assedness, but then I noticed something else on the “About” page of his website. First, the gist: 22-year-old Oxy grad & HIghland Park resident Ryan Bowen left LA on Dec. 2 with the goal of touching down in DC by January 20. It’s ambitious, crazy, cool and not without its dangers, but a recent LA Times story catches up with him at the Continental Divide on Dec 18, where he was in good spirits, carb-loading at a roadside cafe.

Here‘s the story.

So why, then, would anyone launch “brazen personal attacks aimed at denouncing Ryan’s character and integrity”…? That quote is from the About page on Ryan’s website (read it in full here), written by the webmaster in defense of Ryan and his ride. Can anyone tell me why someone would have a problem with what Ryan is doing? Am I missing something?

Bratton’s pre-election terrorism prediction = FAIL

Scaremonger?
Scaremonger?

So – it’s a new day in America. The majority of us decided it was time for a change from the ugly, grasping, lying, bloodthirsty stance our federal government has spent eight years building. And we put a better man in office.

The campaign horrors – all the lies, character assassination and bald-faced bullshit – it’s all been washed away in a red-white-and-blue tsunami of hope and progressive momentum.

McCain actually could be a decent guy instead of a libelous demagogue? So what.

Palin really was nothing but an undereducated prop? Meh.

But the fact that LAPD Chief William Bratton poured gas on that hellacious political wildfire by predicting a terrorist attack and now he’s been proven wrong?

Nope. I’m not willing to forgive that.

Hope the hollow shield-thumping and irresponsible (and rankly political) scaremongering was worth whatever little bureaucratic post the Obama administration gives you, Chief.

California GOP Opens Mouth, Inserts Ass

The Washington Post reports that The California GOP has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding Barack Obama’s trip to visit his dying grandmother. As you know, it was also announced today that Obama’s grandmother has passed away.

The Republicans argued that, because Obama did not campaign during the quick journey to Hawaii, it should not have been a campaign expense.

That sound you just heard was probably your lunch, making its return trip.

The other shoe – Bratton records robo-calls for Obama

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(Image via Wikipedia)
What was it – oh, yesterday, when I wondered why the hell LAPD Chief William Bratton would yell “terrorism!” into a theater already mobbed with stressed-out, trigger-happy voters?

Well, here’s another clue to the payoff: Times blogger Joel Rubin’s scoop that Bratton has recorded a robo-call announcement shilling for presidential candidate Barack Obama – or, more to the point – attacking GOP rival John McCain’s record on crime and punishment:

The message reportedly criticizes the record of Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain on law enforcement issues.

A spokesperson for Bratton confirms that he has recorded the political campaign message but would not provide details of its content or where the Obama campaign plans to use it.

My beef’s not with anyone backing Obama – quite the contrary, the man is currently the best man in the race for the job, and I’m curious to hear what he has to say about McCain’s law-n-order chops.

My quarrel is with Bratton abusing his taxpayer-funded position to engage in politics waaay out of his jurisdiction. Sure, law enforcement is a local issue everywhere. But if Rubin’s sources are correct, this feels suspiciously like chair-fluffing for a cabinet seat in an Obama administration.

So, what’s your bet – Homeland Security or Department of Justice?

Bratton: Beware the October terror attack

Barely two weeks left to go before this nation decides who should replace the worst president in U.S. history, and L.A.’s top police officer throws an ideological bomb into the room:

Al Quaeda may be planning a terrorist attack to somehow influence the U.S. elections, LAPD Chief William Bratton and co-author R.P. Eddy warned today in an op-ed in the New York Daily News … Continue reading “Bratton: Beware the October terror attack”