See you at BU – April 4 at 6pm

http://www.bu.edu/scriparts/calendar/Sita.jpg

I’ll be speaking at Boston University tomorrow (Monday April 4) evening at 6pm. Details here.

April 4 , 2011

SITA SINGS THE BLUES
Screening of the film and a conversation with filmmaker Nina Paley.

Boston University’s Program for Scripture and the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Distinguished Teaching Professorship welcome filmaker Nina Paley to Boston University. On April 4 we will present a showing of the groundbreaking animated film Sita Sings the Blues, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker.

Sita Sings the Blues was written, directed, produced and animated by American artist Paley, and weaves an autobiographical story with events from the Hindu scriptural text the Ramayana. The feature length film uses music, shadow puppets and novel animation techniques to re-imagine the artist’s experience through the lens of the god Rama’s wife, Sita.

Location: SMG Auditorium
Time/Date: April 4, 2011, 6pm

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I am awesome

I was neither prepared nor in a particularly good mood when I did this “webinar” for Agora I/O. It was eerie having a “conversation” in which I could neither see nor hear the other participants. It was just me and my own voice, with questions and comments occasionally popping up in text on another webpage. Because of that, I couldn’t read anyone’s body language and try to pre-emptively smooth things over and “people please”; I could only speak my mind. Which I did. Which, upon reviewing, was a pretty great thing. You may not like me, but I sure do!

The fun starts about 8 minutes in, and gets better as it goes along. If you know about my story and Sita Sings the Blues, you can skip what comes before that, which is a basic recap.

Friday (tomorrow!) March 4 at the Rubin Museum

I will be talking about Spirals: Fluid Dynamics in Tibetan Art, at the Rubin Museum’s “Artists on Art” series. We’ll look at a few paintings and a sculpture that have really cool spirally flames and clouds, and swirly water, and I’ll say intelligent things like, “Look! Spirals! Aren’t they neato?” Details:

Friday March 4, 6:15 pm
Program meets at the base of the spiral staircase.
Rubin Museum of Art
150 W. 17th St.
New York, NY 10011

And it’s FREE!

Off The Hook

Last night I was a guest on 2600’s Off the Hook hacker radio show. I start ranting about copyright about 1/4 of the way in, and keep going until the end. Listen here.

Me discussing VHEMT on Bloggingheads

This was recorded about 2 months ago. Today Bloggingheads finally posted it – SURPRISE! Now everyone who didn’t figure it out before will know that the nice lady who made SSTB is also in the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Please, please watch the whole thing – you may be surprised.

Update: comments on this video inspired a Mimi & Eunice comic!

Excerpts from my HOPE talk

Excerpts from my talk “Sita Sings the Blues: a Free Culture Success Story” at The Next H.O.P.E. (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference, July 16 2010 in New York City. Includes: why I insisted on authentic songs, what is and is not property, software is culture, the difference between Share Alike (copyleft) and other Creative Commons licenses, why I paid to legally license the old songs, how noncommercial copyright infringement is still illegal, legal costs, benefits of audience sharing & decentralized distribution, the Sita Sings the Blues Merchandise Empire (sitasingstheblues.com/store), open-licensed merch, audience goodwill, how fans support artists, rivalrous vs. non-rivalrous goods, the Creator Endorsed Mark, migrating Flash files to open formats, gift income, commerce without monopolies, why I encourage legal sharing, and more!

Learn about the movie: http://sitasingstheblues.com/
Donate: http://questioncopyright.org/sita_dis…
Store: http://sitasingstheblues.com/store
HOPE: http://thenexthope.org/

Coming soon to the Bay Area

Heads up, California peeps! July 20 I’m hosting a screening of Sita Sings the Blues to benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Cartoon Art Museum.

Date:
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Address: Delancey Screening room
600 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94107


The next day, July 21, I’m returning to Santa Cruz for a screening of Sita at the Nickelodeon!

Special Screening and Q & A with Writer/Director Nina Paley
July 21st 7pm @ The Nickelodeon
210 Lincoln St.
Santa Cruz, CA (map)

Meanwhile the Cartoon Art Museum is having an exhibit of my work, Before Sita Sang the Blues: Spotlight on Nina Paley.

This retrospective will feature a selection of Paley’s syndicated comic strips,  illustrations, and a series of prints, paintings and behind-the-scenes materials from Sita.

See old gems like this:

I’ll be hanging around until early August. So if anyone in the Bay Area wants to hire me for speaking, now’s the time to save big!

Sita in Brooklyn this Thursday July 1st

I’ll be there, along with über-talented collaborators Todd Michaelsen and Reena Shah!

The Observatory
No. 543 Union St.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Date: Thursday, July 1st
Time: 7:30 PM Musical Performance by Todd Michaelsen and Reena Shah of My Pet Dragon
8pm:
Film screening/Q & A
Complimentary bags of popcorn will be served while supplies last
Admission: $5
Day Four of The Oxberry Pegs Series

The Vegetarian at the Butchers’ Seminar

Yesterday I attended a film conference. I found myself at a talk in which filmmakers were advised how to negotiate deals.

free_culture_vegetarian0001

I felt sick listening, and wondered why. Monopolies were an unquestioned, underlying assumption. When the time came for audience comments and questions, I said that rights were monopolies, that monopolies prevent the market from functioning, that distributors can be great if they’re not granted monopolies, and that it’s up to us artists to not grant those monopolies in the first place.

free_culture_vegetarian0002

Naturally, the speaker wasn’t too thrilled with my comment.

free_culture_vegetarian0003

If filmmakers realized monopolies don’t serve them, he’d be out of a job (he’s one of the many professionals who “help” artists by “protecting” them). Later, I came up with a  metaphor (or meat-aphor) that helped explain my feelings: being a Free Culture advocate at a film conference is like being a vegetarian at a butchers’ seminar.

As a vegetarian I’ve learned better than to discuss dietary habits with the many carnivores who are my friends and loved ones. So I’m questioning what I’m doing at these conferences. I wouldn’t walk into a butchers’ conference and advocate vegetarianism. But what would I do if I were invited, because some of the butchers wanted to learn about vegetarianism, if only to marvel at its freakishness?

Sita Soundtrack now available!

You can buy it right now at CDBaby. Soon it will be at the Sita Merch Empire (where we’ll get more profit per sale), but with today’s snow it may take a while for the initial shipment of CDs to reach the order fulfillment warehouse.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sitasingstheblues

In semi-related news, I mention the soundtrack on this podcast interview with the CommandLine. I was all worried about being inarticulate, but actually I said some smart stuff. Thanks to Thomas Gideon/cmdln for asking smart questions, making smart comments, and making a smart show.

Oh, and DC was fun! I spoke at American University. Great audience, great hosts. (And AU’s IP Law Clinic did all the initial legal research on the Annette Hanshaw songs I used in Sita Sings the Blues, for which I am forever grateful.) During my visit, everyone in DC was still talking about their weeks-past “snowpocalypse,” even though the snow was mostly melted, just some patches on the sides of the streets. I thought, “big deal, I wish we’d gotten more snow in New York.” Then I came back to New York just in time for a snowpocalypse here! I have a lot more sympathy for DC now.

Me at Kripalu April 16-18

Wanna spend a fun weekend with me improvising drawn stories on index cards at a renowned yoga retreat? I sure do!

Nina Paley’s Visual Storytelling Workshop @Kripalu
Friday April 16 – Sunday April 18, 2010
(with a screening of Sita Sings the Blues on the 16th)
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (in the Berkshires of Western MA)

Register here! Caveat: it costs money.

Me looking kinda yoga-y. I haven't done real yoga in years, unless art counts.

Me looking kinda yoga-y. I haven't done real yoga in years, unless art counts. But I'm looking forward to doing it again! In the Berkshires of Western MA!

Happy Evilest Holiday Ever Devised!

07.IceBed

To celebrate, there are not one but TWO count ’em TWO screenings of The Greatest Break Up Story Ever Told this Sunday, February 14th at Symphony Space:

Sun, Feb 14 at 1 pm and 5:30 pm

It’s a perfect non-date movie! And I’ll be there in person for post-screening Q & A’s.

Love to my single peeps!

Sita Sundays @ Symphony Space

Sita Sings the Blues plays the next 3 Sundays at Symphony Space in New York:

Sun, Jan 31 at 5:30 pm
Sun, Feb 7 at 5:30 pm
Sun, Feb 14 at 1 pm and 5:30 pm

I will be doing Q and A’s after all shows. Notice there are two screenings on Valentine’s Day, because what better to show on the evilest holiday ever devised than the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told? It’s the perfect non-date movie!



WNYC today at 2pm, 93.9 fm

Smackdown: Open Source or Closed Doors? (click here to listen)

The director of Sita Sings the Blues, Nina Paley, had to pay $50,000 to use old songs in her animation movie. She then put the movie online for free and turned herself into a free-culture activist. Composer Jaron Lanier was a digital pioneer in the ’90s, but in his new book he claims that open-source is destroying creativity and fostering vicious behavior. They join us to debate the pros and cons of free love in art-making.

Sita Sings the Blues site
More about Jaron Lanier [NY Times]

“The Revolution Will Be Animated”

An excellent new 16-minute documentary by Marine Lormant Sebag about Free Culture, Sita Sings the Blues, and me. Please watch it – it’s good and it explains a lot!

The Revolution Will Be Animated from Marine Lormant Sebag on Vimeo.