Independent Culture

I'm not a fan of the term indie.  It describes a hair cut and a clique more than it does a music.  I prefer the original word independent, as in independent music, independent art, and most of all independent culture, which is an idea that gives me goosebumps.  What it means to me is a process of creative expression in which the standards are wide open, that can embrace all genres and forms as influences, that can be utterly experimental, and that encourages each creator to fully assert themselves.  Independent music is anti-dogmatic but is not created in a void.  The traditional and the experimental stand along side one another even as they take opposing aesthetic courses.  A stellar example of independent expression would be Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea which uses simple folk melodies and chords as it's footing but then pushes the edge in terms of instrumentation, lyrical content, and shear intensity.  I was gleeful to discover that this album is the source material for a high school play being organized in Massachusetts.  Independent culture should not be confined to college radio and art galleries, where it gets reduced to a status symbol for obscurist snobbery, but must reach out into all our lives, challenging the commercial and dogmatic cultures that restrict our expression and identity.  And we've got to be exposed to this freedom while we're young, before we become too invested in the cultural norms that surround us.  Check out this article and tell me what you think.

Neutral Milk Hotel Album

Transformed For Stage 

By Avishay Artsy        

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Manifest Hope: inspiring cultural activism

There are many groups out there that exemplify the cultural activism I love and to which I aspire.  One of the best I've seen is Manifest Hope which takes the form of gallery shows in Denver and D.C. to celebrate Obamas presidency and the grassroots artists who helped put him there.  Each exhibition begins with a opening night filled with music from hard working, established independent musicians and passionate speeches.  At the helm is Shepard Fairey, aka Obey, the artists who created the iconic 'HOPE' image that became ubiquitous across the country last year.  I find Fairey to be a socially conscious, brand conscious, and ruthlessly independent artist and I wish there were more like him.  Wouldn't it be great to see more of these kinds of events in more cities, only with local non-profits instead of Obama as the rallying point?  Lets see what we can do.  
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Introducing Voices Unbroken

The next version of The Fertile is coming along nicely.  Fanatic Promotions is going to help put the product together and we have one NY non-profit eager to work with us.  They're called Voices Unbroken.  They're a relatively new organization - just now putting together a descent website - but have already made an impact in the Bronx with publications and events featuring writings and spoken word from young people under-heard young people.  They're a great example of the transformative power of creative expression.

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