Hey folks, I've got a small post related to the OTW elections over on my other journal.

As always, please note that my other journal is not an official outlet for OTW news or announcements, and that I would appreciate if the degree of connection between this journal/identity and the other were left up to me =)
Hey guys! So uh. Guess what, I am on the OTW Board. I don't really talk about my OTW work much! Mainly due to SO TIRED. But I have a lot of thoughts about the recent server names poll and its results. I pretty much ran on a platform of diversity, and I feel like I need to talk about what happened there. So.

I've made a post on my real-name journal: The OTW Server Poll and Fannish Diversity

I invite anyone interested to read it. If you would like to comment — please do! But I would appreciate it if discussion of my OTW work was kept in that journal and not this one; I would also appreciate it if people did not publicize the connection between this journal and my real-name one too much. I don't plan on keeping the two strictly separate, but I would appreciate it if the degree of connection was left in my control to whatever extent possible =)

(I'ave also added a note to my DW profile to that effect.)

Anyway. Thanks for listening, folks. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

Oratory well done has a cadence and rhythm that makes it beautiful and compelling — musical. The strong musical and lyrical flow of good oratory is one of the ways it appeals to us and moves us.

And then someone takes a speech and transforms it into something... more. There are other instances of this practice, but today I want to show one of my favourites: Winston Churchill's Great Declaration in 1941 (one fine, fine piece of rhetoric) backed by a few wayward time travellers. As with the Disney-derived techno remix I started this week is, I love the unexpected quality of it, strongly contextualizing a piece of our cultural history in the present.

Youtube Link: The Gregory Brothers - Lift Up Your Hearts.

Lift up your hearts
All will come right
Out of the depths
Of sorrow and of sacrifice
Will be born again the glory of mankind

Pieces used in arrangement after the cut )

When we interact with our culture and cultural output in transformative ways, we transform the source, we transform ourselves, and we transform our culture. And we get Winston Churchill with time travelling musicians.

And this is another reason I support the OTW.

23-29 March 2011 OTW Membership Drive
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

While a song itself may be original — it can exist in a transformative context. Today's song is from RENT, which is an AU musical version of the opera Le Bohème. I picked Light My Candle because it's one of the points of closes convergence between the two works. If you check out the libretto (search for Rodolfo/Roger's line "I have no inspiration." to hop to the right part), you can see how closely the two match!

Youtube Link: RENT - Light My Candle.

Pieces used in arrangement after the cut )

Hat tip for the lyrics.

Awesome AU songs are another reason I support the OTW.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

Another approach to combining source works is the mashup, which often take the form of vocals from one piece together with the instrumental track of another (though many variations exist!). Today's mashup mixes the vocals from Metallica's Enter Sandman with the instrumental from Bryan Adams' Run to You. Particularly given Metallica's history with copyright enforcement, it's interesting to see people interacting with their output and producing something new and different out of the combination.

Youtube Link: Wax Audio - Enter You.

Pieces used in arrangement after the cut )

Mixing and remixing works like this, creating something new by interacting with our culture and combining works — this is another reason I support the OTW.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

Today, I want to feature a fanwork that's both a medley and a cover — an instrumental version of music from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and other Zelda games, arranged and performed by this fan, based in part on a medley present in the end credits. The music from this game is still under copyright — and I want to protect and celebrate the right and ability of fans such as this one to create and distribute their own takes on the source material they interact with.

This is a really lovely piece, and as I've mentioned before I have a definite soft spot for videos such as this, where you watch each part performed as it comes in. While there are no lyrics, I'm putting the list of songs/music used behind the cut.

Youtube Link: Fredrik Larsson - Wind Waker Unplugged.

Pieces used in arrangement after the cut )

Listening to amazing stuff like this is another reason I support the OTW.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

While works in the public domain are most commonly and easily adapted, the art of the cover is alive and well. Many covers consciously try to stay within the genre, style, and overall feel of the source work while just giving it the unique touch of the cover artist, a time-honoured and valuable practice. But there are also many covers that take a source work and do something pretty... different with it.

One such is the Da Vinci's Notebook cover of Stuck In The Middle With You, which takes the original by Stealers Wheel (itself a parody of Bob Dylan's work) and redoes it entirely in DVN's distinctive comedic, upbeat a capella style.

But there's a specific subclass of this style of cover that I'd like to highlight: taking songs originally performed by or in a style associated with US Black musical artists and styles, and consciously subverting the source work by putting them in what's perceived as a culturally diametrically opposed style (usually something with White associations). There's a lot going on in this practice — it's appropriative (aggressively so!) and problematic — but in many cases it's also a very conscious commentary on race, class, misogyny, and other concepts.

One such is Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back (there's a studio version but I like the live one better, where you can see Coulton's reactions and opinions, as well as the audience participation), original by Sir Mix-a-Lot (itself cultural commentary! "she's just so.... black!"). But the one I really want to feature today is the Dynamite Hack cover of Boyz In The Hood, the source originally by Eazy-E and styled Boyz-N-The-Hood. This is definitely best listened to while also watching the vid, so do that if you can to get the maximum on the conscious commentary angle. I do want to warn for some language and violent imagery in the lyrics (totally played with in the corresponding parts of the video).

Youtube Link: Dynamite Hack - Boyz In The Hood.

Lyrics after the cut )

This is problematic — but it's undeniably transformative and a very interesting snapshot of some complicated interactions in our culture. And this is another reason I support the OTW.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week in honour of the OTW March Drive.

One of the oldest musical traditions is the regional or individual take on a known or shared tune. Music has a rich history of sharing and communal performance — the particular performance is at least half the magic, and that, not the piece of music itself, is the thing that is unique to the given performer. Today, a lot of this tradition is restricted to public domain works — but there's still plenty of room to create something with a unique and fascinating take on a source work.

This piece (itself a re-release of a related group) combines "Carol of the Bells" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" — and something totally unique to this group: their style.

Youtube Link: Transiberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24

Embedding is disabled on this vid, so please click through!

I support this kind of work — interaction with our past, our history, that contextualizes it in a way relevant to our time, that transforms past works into something unique and uniquely our own.

And that is another reason I support the OTW.
Part of the Song a Day Project! Also part of Transformative Songs Week!

So hey, it's the March Drive at the OTW, and this seemed like a good time to feature some transformative works as songs!

I really love this remix — it's unexpected (especially in terms of historical periods associated with the source material versus the remix), it gives a new way of looking at the source material, it builds something unique and lovely out of existing cultural output.

But one of the other reasons I wanted to feature this work is that Disney is pretty much one of the biggest reasons that copyright law is the way it is in the US. So here's for pondering: the juxtaposition between this lovely transformative work, and the sociopolitical context in which it's made.

Youtube Link: Pogo - Wishery

Transformative works are legitimate. And beautiful. And that is one reason why I support the OTW.

23-29 March 2011 OTW Membership Drive
Hey it's a post from that ridiculous/amazing/this is the worst idea/this is the best idea Make-Your-Own Meme "blog every day of November" thing!

The original post explaining the project is here. Please feel free to continue adding topics/questions on the LJ or DW versions. If something comes up in any of these posts that you'd like to hear more about, please feel free to just make it into its own topic! HERE GOES NOTHING. YOU (SORT OF) ASKED FOR IT.

Once again, we interrupt your regularly scheduled topics (which I promise I will get back to I SWEAR) in favour of current events.

So there is this thing where FictionAlley is applying for a grant from the Pepsi Refresh project, which is a grant competition giving away lump pre-determined sum grants to proposals competing within monetary (but not category-based) brackets. So all the proposals asking for $25K compete with each other, across categories, but do not compete with those asking for $250K. The money is given in those determined amounts, e.g. Pepsi is not saying "we will distribute $X among Y number of proposals based on votes/need/merit/other criteria".

Here is an FA staffer's post on the subject: A Big Favor: PLEASE VOTE FOR FA, EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY. The comments there are now closed but there are some screencaps available.

Some further information is provided where [personal profile] nextian reposts (with permission) an email exchange she had with FictionAlley: so ... this happened.

So the thing is, as a member of the OTW, as someone who recently gave money to a fannish project and urged others to do so (or to give time/spread the word), this strikes pretty close to home for me, right? I support fandom as a legitimate cultural endeavour and I support the idea of fannish projects being deserving of grants and resources. But I am so sideways and so many kinds of unhappy/mixed feelings about this, and after (probably insufficient) cogitation and (also insufficient) flailing at various friends, trying to sort my thoughts and feelings out, I think all of my internal mess over this can probably be summed up like so:

1. Boy am I mad at Pepsi and the system that created it.

2. Within the above context I have no objection to FA going for the grant; arts are important and should be funded. Fandom is important. But within the below context:

3. I don't know every avenue FA has tried, but based on my perception, FA did not do enough to seek resources within its own community before applying outside of it, and still handled it in a way that, from here, seems illogical, insensitive, inefficient, and just... not good. Which is a failure of either process or communication.

That's the short version. Let's have the long one.

1. I am SO MAD at Pepsi. )

2. Go ahead and apply for grants! It is okay for fandom projects to apply for grants! Fandom rocks! )

3. There were other and probably better ways to do this, wow. )

Guys, what happened?

ETA: Answer: This happened! FA has asked to be removed from the challenge. It sounds like their financial situation has improved but could still use continued support; I hope they get the funds/support they need.

ETA 2: [personal profile] seperis has collected more links on this subject, which cover a lot of angles (including the Pepsi angle and the fandom funding angle and the OMG SPREADSHEETS angle) and basically this is a good place to go for more thinkings on the matters and click links within links. (disclaimer: I am linked in there but you already read me, go read other people!)
So I am like pretty terrible at talking about myself or my life or my projects; when I'm not posting art or fic this place tends to go pretty dead. And while I really should give a life update (guess what, MORE COMPUTERS DIED, I am becoming AMAZED I really am), I have something WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY WOES to talk about!

Here is the deal! The OTW and the AO3 (one of the OTW's projects) both rock super hard. Like! Guys! GUYS. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND. CHECK THESE THINGS OUT:

  • DMCA EXCEPTION FOR VIDDERS. DMCA EXCEPTION FOR VIDDERS. DMCA EXCEPTION FOR VIDDERS. Guys! The OTW helped secure a DMCA Exception for Vidders and continues to keep us updated on DMCA issues. This is IMMENSELY EXCITING and I am so proud and as a fledgling baby vidder I am pretty much going to explode of joy (and I swear I will post my first vid(s) soon, I SWEAR, I'M SORRY GUYS I AM JUST SO BUSY AND LIFE-PLAGUED fff)

  • The tagging system on the AO3? Is basically the best thing ever. To a compulsive organizer like me, it is basically heaven. It is this amazing balance between organization and preservation of fannish diversity and is the first of its kind to my knowledge and basically I could roll in it forever AND GUESS WHAT I DO ROLL IN IT because I am a tag wrangler (if a somewhat dead one ffff my life) and tag wrangling is basically THE BEST THING EVER. YOU SHOULD TRY IT. I'M NOT KIDDING.

  • So I wanted to upload a bunch of art posts to AO3? First of all, I love that you can DO that. The AO3 is multimedia-oriented and I love it; we're working hard on our multimedia posting interface and we have the Vidding Roadmap (which everyone should go roll in immediately) and basically by the time the archive is fully formed it will meet all my fanwork archiving needs and I am a known medium omnivore. HEARTS.

    BUT SECOND OF ALL I wanted to upload a bunch of my art posts to AO3? (They don't offer image hosting (...yet!) but art is welcome and can be tagged with the Arts freeform tag.) And I was like UGH I HAVE SO MUCH ART THIS IS GOING TO TAKE FOREVER.

    And I went to the importer.

    And I dumped a bunch of URLs in it, of my art posts on Dreamwidth?

    AND HOLY WOW. SUDDENLY ART! Gosh it was so easy; I NEARLY CRIED. Guys I seriously nearly cried. YOU SHOULD ALL EXPERIENCE THIS JOY.

  • Most importantly?

    The people are amazing.

    I have met so many INCREDIBLE people through the OTW, with so many different skills and areas of interest. There's something for pretty much any skillset who wants to volunteer, and the diversity it's produced has been! Frankly it has been amazing. I have learned so much from these people; I am not kidding when I say my horizons have been broadened by the experience of working with and around them.

    And guys, that is seriously something. That is magic. This sharing of knowledge and passions and selves?


This is an amazing group of people with great goals. And right now — right now! — they are having their membership drive (Oct 18-25) and also elections! IT IS SUPER EXCITING TIMES. The drive even comes with a matching donor so you can make your money count twice (SO MUCH EXCITE). And have a say in the direction the OTW will take by voting! And it's time to recruit for next year's committees! Look at all of these committees and the awesome things they do!


Anything you can give — a small donation, your time as a volunteer, your consideration and vote as a member — is incredibly valuable and appreciated. Thank you — thank you all — for making fandom such an amazing place to be. If fandom were not so incredible, I would not have loved it enough to devote so much of my time to fannish projects — projects that include the OTW. I want to thank you all for this part of my life, and I invite you to share in it, like I invite you to share in my stories and my art: this, the OTW, is a fanwork, and I am privileged to collaborate on it with the amazing people who are, have been, and will be working on it.

Thank you.

18-25 October 2010 OTW Donation Drive graphic




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