Cake Bake Betty

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3.12.2007 - [Torrents Of Free MP3s From SXSW 2007] Hide
SXSW Music Torrents

As mentioned annually this time of year, although I've never been to the South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, I feel like I've attended many times, thanks to the masses of sample songs they offer from showcased artists.

In years past, I eventually bought dozen of albums from bands I discovered virtually, with full, free MP3s. This year, there's more of the same greatness, over 700 songs which I downloaded last week. I can only go through fifty or so songs daily, so I won't be finished with the first browse until the end of this month. Then, I'll start buying up some albums from the artists that attract me, and report them here.

(torrent 1) 739 songs (3.1 GB)

So, what are you waiting for? There's some amazing music to be had right this instant - completely legal and free, in basically any genre you can think of. That includes hits by the Hot IQs, and most members of the current Japan Nite 2007 tour. And, if you're in the proximity, the music part of the conference starts 3.14.2007 - live shows galore.


3.1.2007 - [Wondercon 2007: The Media Vortex, Plus Comics] Hide
Wondercon 2007

For most of my life, I've been very much into "comic books". Nowadays, everyone knows what you mean by that, and that such words and pictures aren't necessarily humorous or trivial, but there's still a certain stigma in the US - "normal" people simply don't buy comics.

Not that there's any real truth to that, and what with all of the hit movies based on comics, comic strips in most every newspaper and on thousands of websites, and large circulation of graphic novels (either original content in paperback form, or collections of issues), comics are everywhere. It's just that there's a strong association between super heroics and mainstream comics, so that many people don't expect much more than fancily dressed people beating each other up.

Of course, there are dozens of different genres to choose from, just like there are on any Fiction shelf at the bookstore. However, the less popular or more challenging types of stories might not be found in every store, and one place to get a larger exposure to the wide variety of work out there is a convention. Wondercon 2007 is one such convention, and it starts tomorrow, running until Sunday, 3.4.2007 in San Francisco. A one day pass is up to $15.

I've been attending Wondercon right since it started 21 years ago, and while my interest in actually buying comics each week has waxed and waned, I still try to make it to the gathering each year. These days, there's a lot more focus on movie previews and visits from Hollywood stars and directors, not to mention a show floor filled with anime, manga and toys, but one can still find boxes upon rows of traditional small magazine style issues, usually released monthly, from the "big two" (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) and the hundreds of other publishers of various sizes. Just going through all of the wares can take a whole day, so patience is a virtue.

You even see the small press (meaning, zines and mini comics, often photocopied), and [Junk Magnet] had a table at Wondercon a few years ago - quite the expensive way to sell a few issues and make new friends. So, I have a history of warm feelings towards the whole affair, and encourage those who haven't been, to stop by if possible. It'll be crowded, somewhat geeky, and you'll probably see some cosplay and other forms of fun expression, but by in large it's a collection of average folk. It's a great way to find out what's new, purchase what you missed, and get in early on the trends that will hit the rest of the mainstream culture in the next few years.

I'll have some more thoughts about this year's show in particular next week.



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