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Tangled Web

#FreeSimmons Campaign Includes Original Folk Song

South Florida-based singer-songwriter James Rustad performs tonight at the Harbor Bar. And thanks to ESPN’s suspension of Bill Simmons, he’s got a new song in his repertoire.

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Mediabistro Course

Food Blogging

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Al Jazeera Journalist Unwinds in Beirut with LA’s Dublab

To go along with the song list curated by Web DJ collective Dublab Soundsystem for the June issue of Los Angeles magazine, associate editor Marielle Wakim has an online Q&A with several of the 14-year-old group’s members.

The non-profit enterprise took root at USC, where co-founder Mark “Frosty” McNeill at one point ran the campus radio station. Since that time, Dublab has grown to serve a worldwide audience, depending in part on grants and two annual fund drives. Here’s how McNeill answered when asked about some of the most obscure places  reached by the Dublab broadcasts:

“We have someone who listens from a very remote Russian province called Arkhangelsk. We even have listeners in war zones. One of our listeners, Jackson Allers, is a [music-culture] journalist for Al Jazeera in Beirut. He says he comes home and listens to Dublab at night because he can connect to something positive.”

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Vegas Art Project Migrates from Web to Gallery Spaces

After a two-year sojourn in Los Angeles, 26-year-old artist Alexandria Lee is back in Las Vegas. Per a fun little item in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, she performs by day as the Showbot for the Blue Man Group show at the Monte Carlo and is separately one the people being shown in the gallery phase of “Our Las Vegas,” a cultural animation public art project that began online.

As you’ll see if you look at the photo that accompanies Carol Cling‘s article, Lee’s painting connects only in the strictest abstract sense to the concept of “Las Vegas.” Lee says her inspiration came from a classic fairy tale character:

The painting “RFID Chip” shows a woman with an apple (accented by the title radio-frequency identification chip) in her mouth — and the phrase “to protect private property from the masses” repeated in the background, echoing the traditional punishment for naughty students: writing on the blackboard 500 times.

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Mission & State Open for Investigative & Narrative Business

Mission & State, the much anticipated content operation headed by former Slake Media founder and LA Weekly editor Joe Donnelly, promises “narrative journalism from the heart of Santa Barbara.” Among the articles dotting today’s official website launch is a shining freelance example by Jervey Tervalon of that motto.

The New Orleans born, LA raised Tervalon was very much an African-American anomaly when he decided to study at UCSB in the 1970s. He frames the city’s homogeneous demographics with various anecdotes and reminiscences, including this ugly and embarrassing SBPD episode:

Not that Santa Barbara was immune from the sort of de rigueur profiling we were used to back in Los Angeles. I speak, of course, of the infamous Harlem Globetrotters arrests in 1984 when Santa Barbara’s finest, in a desperate search for black men of average height who had pulled a jewelry heist on State Street, apprehended at gunpoint three Globetrotters who happened to average 6 feet, 5 inches.

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From Kabul, NATO Public Affairs Officer Completes USC Annenberg Master’s Degree

The online version of USC Annenberg’s Master of Communication Management program launched in September 2011. Earlier this month, a group of 47 working professionals became the first students to graduate from the virtual side of the curriculum.

The newly certified communications pros include Army major Mike Nicholson, 39, who during the 20-month online learning track served as a public affairs officer at NATO strategic headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. From the USC announcement:

“The program is just as rigorous as the on-campus program,” explains USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism professor Rebecca Weintraub. “The bottom line is it’s exactly the same degree, the same program, just a different delivery system.”

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Internet Archive Gets Huge Boost from Knight Foundation

The numbers are already pretty staggering.  The Internet Archive has grown since its launch in 1996 to encompass more than three million daily users and over 300 billion bits of video, music, book content and more.

Now, thanks to a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the TV portion of this San Francisco-headquartered archive will be greatly expanding. From this morning’s announcement:

Available at no charge, the public can use the index of searchable text and short-streamed clips to explore TV news. In this way, they can discover important resources, better understand context, verify facts and share insights. The research service does not facilitate downloading, but individuals have the opportunity view whole programs at the Internet Archive’s library in San Francisco or borrow them on DVD-ROMs…

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Patch’s Hyper-Urgent Deadline: Q4, 2013

Hindsight is admittedly 20/20. But looking back on the evolution of AOL’s Patch, it’s hard not to wonder where the network might be today if the original focus had been on rolling out around 80 nationwide hubs rather than shooting for a ridiculous, illogical 2010 year-end target of 800+.

The fallout from that misguided tactic remains clear and present across the hyper-local news network to this day. It also framed a May 8 earnings conference call with AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong. As reported by streetfightmag.com deputy editor Steven Jacobs, Patch is going to take “all means possible” and consider “other revenue products” to make the operation profitable by the fourth quarter of 2013.

As is now standard for any such Patch-related news article, the reader comments include a smattering from former company employees that paint a hyper-dreadful picture. Here in SoCal, the rollout of the new Patch beta site design is just about to start. This morning for example, San Juan Capistrano Patch let readers know the new look will be turned on there next week.

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The Young Turks Throw Themselves a Big Party

Some epic Internet math was laid out last night at YouTube’s Space LA by The Young Turks COO Steve Oh. Speaking to a snazzily-dressed crowd of fellow TYT Network personnel, show fans and supporters, he tried to frame just how staggering one billion YouTube views for the show – reached April 19 – is.

Assuming each view counts for an averaged-out minute, Oh said, that’s a billion minutes. Or… 2,000 years. In other words, the online show that began in an east coast basement is now on par with one of Mel Brooks‘ most famous characters. Too bad they couldn’t wrangle Brooks for the April 19 broadcast.

Another funny remark by Oh, who spoke from the lobby stage ahead of his New Jersey high school pal Cenk Uygur, was a remark that touched on the fact that many Young Turks personnel work for below-market-rate salaries. After noting that one producer had turned down another opportunity that paid three times his TYT salary, Oh joked that he still had to fire that person “for being so stupid.”

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Roger Corman: ‘The Time for Motion Picture Internet Distribution is Now’

On the heels of another triumph for 90-year-old Marvel Comics wizard Stan Lee (Iron Man 3), it’s now time for 87-year-old B-movie king Roger Corman to claim his piece of the shifting media landscape. He explains to LA AP business writer Ryan Nakashima why, after turning down an offer from Hulu some time ago, he has finally decided to jump on the Internet streaming bandwagon by means of a paid-subscription YouTube channel:

His channel, “Corman’s Drive-in,” will cost subscribers $3.99 per month for a rotating selection of 30 movies, refreshed with new interviews and clips from films that are in production. It is set to launch in June.

“I believed for many years that the future of motion picture distribution, particularly for the independents, is on the Internet,” Corman said. “I think the time is now.”

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Rove McManus Captures Footage of a Very Strange LA Backyard Specimen

Last night at Meltdown Comics‘ NerdMelt Showroom on Sunset Blvd., magician Justin Willman hosted the fifth edition of his monthly Web talk show Sleight of Mouth. It’s got a name-brand producer (The Late Show‘s Robert Morton), musical sidekick Billy “Bushwalla” Galewood, a very loose vibe and guests who are always game.

The highlight of Episode #5 was Down Under jokester Rove McManus, who does reports for The Tonight Show and currently films a version of his smash Australian talk show here in LA. At one point, McManus cued up some video footage taken in the back of his SoCal canyon home by means of a motion-activated camera. There were a couple of deer, a bobcat at night and, on the vacant lot next door, “something I don’t think I can prepare you for in any shape or form.”

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