Rabbit Rabbit Radio


(Rabbit Rabbit Radio illustration by Mariko Ando.) 

Next Wednesday, February 1st, professional musicians/married couple/doting parents Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi –whose various other projects have been mentioned on Coilhouse many times– are launching a very interesting new multimedia musical subscription service called Rabbit Rabbit Radio.

“Saying ‘rabbit, rabbit’ on the first of the month is a tradition here in New England,” Kihlstedt explains. “It is said to bring good luck and a sense of renewed purpose. We’ve taken it to heart and are releasing a new song on the first [day] of each month along with photos, videos, and other implicating evidences of our creative process, all on rabbitrabbitradio.com


The Kihlstedt/Bossi family: Matthias, Tallulah, and Carla. Photo by Eurydice Galka.

Last year, not long before the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (a legendary band they were members of) closed its doors, Kihlstedt and Bossi moved from Oakland to Cape Cod with their baby girl Tallulah. “Our lives have changed a lot since [she] was born and since we moved back East.” Kihlstedt and Bossi predict that their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project will help them to accomplish many things, warmly and comfortably, in ways that more traditionally grueling channels (constant low-budget touring is exhausting enough without kids!) could not:

“It keeps us in touch with you [our audience]. It conveys each song with much more depth and dimension than a simple iTunes download would. It holds us to an ongoing commitment to our own creativity. It allows us to be creatively independent from home, which in turn allows us to be good parents. In short, everyone wins. We have finally created our very own dream job.”

Fans who subscribe to Rabbit Rabbit Radio can choose to pay $1, $2, or $3 per month (but there’s no difference in content access; it’s just a chance to pay them a bit more for their efforts, if you can afford to). You can learn more –and get a taste of the quirky, sweet whimsy this lovely duo creates together– from the following YouTube pitch video:

RRR has its own Twitter account and a Facebook page as well.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is a fascinating-yet-simple premise that feels very new, and fresh, and… cozy! Kihlstedt and Bossi both hope this kind of project takes off: “there are lots of artists whom we would gladly subscribe to ourselves!”  While there may very well be other musicians out there attempting similar transmedia subscription services (and please feel free to give them a shout-out in comments, because we’d love to know more about them, too) it’s certainly not status quo quite yet. Fingers crossed that it soon will be.

The modern quest for reasonable and sustainable alternatives to a more staid career path in the arts is always worth discussing on Coilhouse. We live in interesting- no, scratch that, fascinating times. It might feel daunting to watch the old regimes fall down around our ears, but there’s no doubt about it: we are lucky to be alive during a time period where there’s so much opportunity to build newer, better, kinder infrastructures. Let’s stay tuned in!

Three Kickstarter Projects Worth Supporting: Take This Book, Cakeland and Ethical Corsetry

2011 was an incredible year. With all the hope, uncertainty and weirdness that lies ahead in 2012 - election year, Alan Turing Year, the year of the Mayan Apocalypse, the year that 2011 seeds come to fruition – why not start on a good karmic note? Three incredible Kickstarter projects need your help. Here they are, in order of how soon they’re ending:

Take This Book: The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street. A nonfiction book by Melissa Gira Grant that tells the story of the The People’s Library, as imparted by many of the librarians that maintained it in Zuccotti Park before the police raid on November 15th. Here is an excerpt from the book. To many people, the destruction of the library was a painful moment in Americna history; the image of police throwing carefully-curated, free books from the volunteer-run library into dump trucks felt like a symbol for the repression of free speech.

“Take This Book is an extended essay — just over 10,000 words — based on the stories of the librarians and the library’s patrons. (Maybe you were one of them.) It can’t be the whole story, because it’s still happening.” Donating $1 will get you a digital copy of the book, and donating $20 or more will get you a print edition. For $250 or more, you can get a signed and numbered “People’s Library” print from Molly Crabapple, seen above. There are only 18 hours left on this campaign at time of writing. Donate now!

Rachael Reichert’s Ethical Luxury Corset Collection. When you Google image search “eco clothing” and variations thereof, you get a lot of green and earth tones, lots of yoga pants, and more than a fair share of loose, flowy dresses. This is great, but it leaves many of us who care about ethical clothing of a more vintage/fetishy persuasion out in the cold. Designer Rachael Reichert wants to take on the challenge of crafting a collection of luxury corsets using nothing but ethical, fair-trade and (when possible) locally-sourced material.

Her fabrics will will include organic cotton that is grown, woven, and dyed according to Global Organic Trade Standards in India, as well as peace silk or wild silk, produced by a process in which “fibre is pulled out from the cocoon after the moth has emerged, and hand spun.” Reichert plans to use steels bones, vintage twill tape, aluminium grommets, and locally handmade bobbin lace as well as her own signature handmade thread lace. The goal is to make luxurious, elegant alternative clothes “with a clean conscience”.

Cakeland. A giant, cake-themed art installation built by Scott Hove. A magical wonderland of icing, joy and despair. See the beautiful high-res images over at Hi-Fructose. Cakeland will feature “60 full length mirrors, cake chandeliers, theatrical lighting, moving parts and sound to make the most stunningly beautiful and lush mirror maze and art installation you will ever see.”

The most incredible thing about this version of Cakeland (smaller ones have been built before) is that it’s entirely mobile! Cakeland will probably travel to your city, or a city near you. Help make Cakeland happen, and you will one day be able to walk its delicious halls.

LONG LIVE RUBULAD. (Keep the Party Going!)

“I had some kind of epiphany about not chasing something in the above-ground world. Something happened in me that I no longer wanted to be in a band that wanted to be famous and go on tour. I just wanted to do something that was ours. I guess it was firmly planting myself in the underground, not after some kind of success that my parents would like.

…In the olden days of New York they had bands and dancing. Dancing and performers of every kind — spoken word, circus, whatever — in the same venue. Places like the Mud Club or Danceteria had a lot of different spaces and a lot of different installations and all kinds of different people went.

And then this weird thing happened when it suddenly became all giant discos and little rock bars. And those people never went to the same place anymore. It seemed like when we started doing Rubulad that people really wanted to be in the same space. They wanted to watch a band and go dance. And be happy.”

~Sari Rubinstein, co-founder of Rubulad, interviewed by Nonsense NYC


Photo via the Essentialist.

Oh, loves. We cover a lot of micropatronage drives on da ‘Haus, but the Rubulad Kickstarter project is especially near and dear. They have been an indescribably huge inspiration to many, many people involved with Coilhouse.

What is Rubulad? Back in 1993, two lovely souls named Sari Rubinstein and Chris Thomas took out a lease on a 5,000 square foot basement in south Williamsburg. Maybe a dozen other people got in on that initial deal, mostly artists and musicians in need of a cheap communal space where they could spread out and work. They all started building up and decorating the space communally. Soon, it became a fun, subterranean hang-out location that drew all sorts of kindred spirits together for dinners, readings, rehearsals, etc.

After a while, Sari, Chris, and their cohorts started throwing parties to cover each month’s rent. Over the course of the next few years, Rubulad (cleverly named with touch-tone letters that corresponded to the space’s phone number)’s space began to evolve, to literally bloom (with vibrant paper flowers, glittering murals, rope vines, colored glass, paper mache sculptures), and the parties developed into these elaborately themed bohemian blow-outs. They. Are. Fucking. AMAZING. For seventeen years now…

(Hang on, let’s take a moment. Seventeen. YEARS.

Yeah.)

…Rubulad has been instrumental in planning and throwing all kinds of events. They’ve already had to move their main warehouse space twice, but their warm, inviting DIY ethic has never faltered or changed; it’s only grown stronger.

Video of Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell

Coilhouse pal Keith Jenson shot and edited together this short documentary film about Molly and her marvelously wacky “Week in Hell” project:

“In September of 2011 artist/illustrator Molly Crabapple locked herself in a hotel room in New York City, covered the walls in paper and set about covering that paper with art. Funded with an impressive Kickstarter campaign Molly drew 270 feet of art over the course of a week. A week filled with musicians, performers, press, absinthe and drawing.”

Hooray, Molly! Hooray, friends! Hooray, backers! Hooray AAAHHHRRRT!


Photo by Steve Prue

Occupy Everywhere: The West Coast

My tour has kept me from spending as much time at the Occupations as I would have liked, so some of these observations were made in brief visits. Writing this piece took me a long time because, as a fan girl of the revolution, I was uncomfortable with my negative feelings towards the occupations – especially in light of such horrendous police brutality in Oakland, CA. But I also believe that opposing opinions, dissent and criticism are very necessary for the movement, and that supporters should not be afraid to voice their concerns and observations.


Photo by Margaret Killjoy.

Oakland

My own visit to Occupy Oakland was brief and pre-dated all the police violence, but it had a lot going for it, a racially diverse crowd, the OWS standards of kitchen, library, and medical tent, its own police, and a feeling of community. Oakland is a city that needs all the forward, peaceful momentum it can get. Oakland is also a very progressive Occupation, pushing for radical actions such as the general strike on November 2nd, and for the peaceful occupation of foreclosed and abandoned properties in Oakland. Those are both brave initiatives. The occupation of foreclosed properties being especially dangerous, not only because of the police force but because Oakland can be a very dangerous city regardless of the police.

Occupy Oakland Reportage, Part II.

There’s been a lot of intense stuff goin’ down in Oakland, California this week. In this post, Myles Boisen shares two more installments of his ongoing documentation and  assessments of #OO with us: “SHUT DOWN”, which was written on November 3rd, 2011, after tens of thousands of protesters marched to the Port of Oakland, and “WHAT NEXT?”,  which was sent out early this morning.  -Mer

SHUT DOWN

Port of Oakland SHUT DOWN
Wells Fargo SHUT DOWN
Bank of America SHUT DOWN
CitiBank SHUT DOWN
Comerica Bank SHUT DOWN
Chase Bank SHUT DOWN
Union Bank SHUT DOWN
Bank of the West SHUT DOWN
Nara Bank SHUT DOWN
T-Mobile SHUT DOWN
Burger King SHUT DOWN
Walgreen’s SHUT DOWN

Highlights of the Oakland general strike:

10 a.m. As I start reading news feeds I see Angela Davis is addressing the early morning crowd at 14th and Broadway. Unconfirmed rumors come and go that the Port of Oakland is already closed, with possible wildcat strike action and trucks unable to get through.

12 p.m. I arrive at Oscar Grant Plaza. On the way over radio coverage on KPFA-FM says that Wells Fargo bank is already shut down. People are streaming continuously toward downtown on foot and on bicycles. The crowd at 14th and Broadway is estimated at 5,000 or more. With friends I tour the area, photographing banks and corporate businesses that have shut their doors due to the strike. The crowd is made up of elders, working people, union representatives, teachers, religious leaders, and schoolchildren present with their parents.

By the BART station we meet Ethel, a senior citizen who is gathering signatures on a petition to end the death penalty in California. One member of our party – Phil, a well-read anarcho-syndicalist – has recently moved to Alameda County, and Ethel suggests that he can go to City Hall to get the requisite voter registration papers. Could City Hall possibly be open today? We go on a mission to find out.

Video Mementos of the Black & White & Red All Over Coilhouse Ball

It’s a momentous week for Coilhouse Magazine and Blog. Please be sure to check in often, as we’ll be making a lot of important announcements over the next few days. The first of which iiiis…

THE NEW PRINT ISSUE. It’s so close. Eeeee! Better late than never, right? We couldn’t have pushed through and gotten it completed, paid for and printed without the tremendous support our readers, contributors and friends have given us. Once again, huge gratitude to every single person who has helped out.

Today, we want to extend a special thank you to two volunteer videographers who captured footage of our big fundraising birthday party in New York City last August: Keith Jenson and Abigail Amalton. Keith and Abi have shot and produced not one, but two gorgeous video mementos of the event. Here they are:

“On August 21, 2011 Coilhouse left the cozy comforts of their west coast catacombs to throw an epic fundraiser at the Red Lotus Room in Brooklyn, New York for the release of Issue 6 (of their oh-so-beautiful print magazine) and to celebrate their fourth birthday! Over 300 people turned up to the Gemini & Scorpio-presented event for a dancey, glittery, silk/fire/trapeze/music-infused evening full of wonder and awe and love.”

Keith and Abi are sweethearts with quite the squee-inducing origin story! At the Ball, they told Mer that Coilhouse actually played a substantial role in bringing them together; when they first met, Keith noticed some of Abi’s Coilhouse schwag, and they bonded over their mutual appreciation for the site and the mag. (SWOOOON.)

Thank you so much for coming out and documenting that wonderful night, you beauties.


Keith & Abi at the Ball. Photo by Steve Prue.

Also see:

Occupy Oakland

Our OWS correspondent, Kim Boekbinder, has sent Myles Boisen‘s own reportage our way. Myles, an Oakland-based musician and photographer, was one of thousands of citizens attending the downtown OWS protest there this week. Here are two separate collections of writing and imagery from him in one go– the first written/compiled after the worldwide headline-grabbing events of the 25th, and the second completed early this morning, PST. Feel free to repost/distribute any text or photos. Thank you, Myles! Kim’s next installment of “Occupy Everywhere” will be along shortly as well.  –Mer


All photography in this post is by Myles Boisen, and was shot in downtown Oakland, CA between October 25th and 27th.

A Taste of Tear Gas (10/25/11)

I first noticed the constant whine of helicopters at about 4 pm today. Checking the news, I learned that the Occupy Oakland camp in downtown Oakland had been cleared by police in the middle of the night, and a series of afternoon protests had been called in the nearby area. With plans in place to go downtown later that night, I searched the internet with a mix of curiosity and anxiety for news of what was happening.

A flurry of twitter messages at the www.occupyoakland.org site detailed a few non-violent marches snaking throughout the downtown area, all headed for the disputed encampment that had become known in recent weeks as “Oscar Grant Park”. An Oakland teacher’s brigade led the march. As phrases like “unlawful assembly” “tear gas” and “bring gas masks” began popping up in OWS feeds, I knew I had to head downtown – camera in hand – to see for myself.

Before heading out, I followed a link on the www.occupyoakland.org site that encouraged me to send an email to the office of mayor Jean Quan. In this missive I identified myself as a business owner, renter, and taxpayer in Oakland, as well as someone who supports the Occupy movement, and now regrets voting for our popular first-term mayor. I also pointed out that concerns about sanitation at the Occupy camp could have been efficiently and affordably dealt by allotting a few city resources, rather than calling out the costly full-scale police assault we are currently witnessing. Protests can also be directed to the OPD and Oakland City council members by phone or email through easily accessed municipal websites. Now would be a very good time to make your feelings known, via the internet or by showing up in Oakland to add your voice and support.

Walking by foot down a mostly deserted Broadway through downtown, there were no broken windows, no smashed cars, not even a single broken bottle. Wisps of smoke from a smoldering garbage can fire were the only evidence of anything close to a “riot”, at least until I arrived at 14th and Broadway to see the line of police and sheriffs in full riot gear, lined up behind barricades to prevent the re-taking of Oscar Grant Park.

The Anywhere Organ: Open-Source Pipe Organ of the Future

You might know artist Matthew Borgatti as the designer behind Sleek and Destroy, which makes stylish necklaces, earrings and cufflinks based on beloved Internet memes: Pedobear, Courage Wolf, Guy Fawkes. Or you might know him for designing hackerspace passports and passsport stamps, the pillow mace, 3-D printed functional handcuffsKraken eyelashes, a Transmetropolitan panoramalaser-cut leather goggles, etc. In short, he is never-ending source of whimsical, geeky projects, often using involving new technology and an open-source ethic.

Matthew’s latest project is The Anywhere Organ: a huge, mobile, MIDI-controlled pipe organ out of salvaged organ parts. Borgatti currently has almost 50 pipes running through an electronic system that can be played by anything from a keyboard to a laptop to a cell phone, and wants to scale up to create a “room shaking, space filling, world touring monster” that can be installed anywhere, turning any space into an opulent soundscape. Over on the Kickstarter page for this project, Matthew writes:

I’d like to make the Anywhere Organ as large, beautiful, and easy to play as possible. I’d like to create elaborate installations that make music in response to people dancing. I’d like to hybrid with musicians to make Bach concertos in abandoned buildings. I’d like to stun people with the power of this instrument, but I need your help to make that happen.

The Anywhere Organ has reached almost almost half his funding goal, and doesn’t have that much more to go. Rewards are still being revealed; the pipe organ brass knuckles (“for sorting out those Haydn/Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert debates”) are wonderful. Help make this happen!

Occupy Everywhere: The Language of the Occupation

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second installment of musician, activist and citizen journalist Kim Boekbinder’s ongoing series for Coilhouse, “Occupy Everywhere”. Click here to read her introduction. Don’t miss Jeff Wengrofsky’s recent essay, “The Praise of Motherfuckers“, either.  The blog’s #OWS scrapbook post is also being updated periodically with new links and pertinent clippings.


All photos and video in this post provided by Kim Boekbinder.

On Speech

The participants of Occupy Wall Street have been denied the use of any amplification instruments – no microphones, no loudspeakers. So, to amplify a speech, they use “The People’s Mic”, a technique in which short sentences are repeated in waves (called “generations”) through the audience, sending the message further than the reach of one human voice.

It is quite powerful. It means the audience is listening carefully to learn what they will be repeating, then they repeat clearly what has been said. And because everything is repeated you hear each thing 2-4 times. Repetition has been a powerful pedagogical tool for a long time for a reason: our relationship to words changes when we use them ourselves.

The People’s Mic falls over sometimes, speech gets garbled, speakers get carried away and forget to wait for all the generations to iterate before starting their next line, but the mic is easily recalibrated when this happens.

The technique forces speeches to be made in short bursts which are easily articulated and quick to repeat. There is a rhythm, an art. It feels good to be part of the speech, to be repeating the sentences so that others can hear. We are all in this together. My favorite part is when the speaker introduces themselves.

“My name is Katie.” says the speaker.

“My name is Katie.” First generation of voices.

“My name is Katie.” Second generation of voices.

The weakness of The People’s Mic is that speeches are chopped up into bite size morsels which tend to sound extra “revolutionary.” Everything sounds like a big, epic, shouty thing. And the complex topics, the nuances of the Occupation, cannot be expressed easily in two to three word bursts. Taken as the sparks that are meant to begin conversations the speeches are wonderful: we all heard it, we all said it. Whether we agree or not we can now continue the discussion in smaller groups.

New amplification techniques will need to be found as the crowds grow and split, but for now it’s a great triumph over adversity. And it’s fun.

On Hand Signals

When the General Assembly meets the people use hand signals to convey how they feel about what is being said. The use of hand signals allows the speaker to continue talking without interruption, though the audience is still communicating their approval or disagreement.

Wiggling your fingers to display your agreement with a serious political issue feels silly, but this is a movement that is not afraid to be silly. Have you seen “Occupy Sesame Street”? It’s hilarious. Making fun of your own movement is an amazing tactic. Occupy Wall Street is very serious, but it also has a sense of humor. And who wants a revolution without laughter?