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2009-06-11 (0 comments)

Funny things happeninging...

Interesting day. Well, aside from work, which was its usual uninteresting self.

Late Tuesday evening, I was contacted by somebody from 'Superheroes Anonymous', which seems to be a league of Real Life Superheroes - and for those of you who haven't heard about this phenomenon yet, the term refers to a special breed of folks who actually condone and practice the habit of going out in public, dressed to the nines in their best spandex, etc., to help people, fight crime, rescue kittens, etc. While not actively denounced by police, these folks are generally forbidden to carry anything more powerful than a can of pepper spray. Most of them put themselves in more danger than the folks they're trying to protect.

OK, now that you have the background, here's the setup. One of the organizers of this league, Ben Goldman, wrote me on MySpace about getting involved with his project as a 'supervillain'. Ben and his crew had been shooting a documentary about their illustrious league, and apparently this project has since landed in the hands of MTV Networks, who are developing a reality TV show around the characters and concepts (apparently they believe they can do better than Stan Lee & Sci Fi Channel's 'Who Wants To Be A Superhero' from last year, and after suffering through viewing that show myself, I can give them the benefit of THAT doubt.) Anyway, 'supervillain' is a role that ol' Pinkerton can play with ease, and I'd almost always welcome the opportunity to get paid for some screen time promoting the band; however, a few unanswered questions remained.

Ben called me this morning to set up a conference call Wednesday afternoon. After assuring me that MTV had really changed a lot, wasn't out to screw anybody these days, and wanted a quality show, etc. he gave me the details and we signed off until the afternoon.

At 2pm, I got on the conference call and was introduced to the MTV producers (at no point did they ask me to keep mum or hold to a nondisclosure agreement, and so I'm blogging this!) They seemed the standard confused, condescending Hollywood types, and I played along with them for a while to scope out what they had to offer. At first they seemed intrigued by me... they clumsily explained that they wanted a villain to take down their superheroes (hmmm, another 'attrition' type reality show setup. Joy.) I asked them several times where the dividing line would be between reality and fantasy on this show, and they were pretty much unable to pin it down... apparently they themselves are confused about their show's structure at this point.

But I could hear crests falling as it slowly dawned on them that I wasn't 'living it' like so many of these costumed do-gooders; I explained that I was an entertainer, that my own group was contructed as a vehicle for music and comedy, and that my participation in this project would necessarily be without relinquishing any character rights (which Ben insisted was a baseline necessity of everybody else's participation too, BTW. Weird!) Oh, and my participation would also be contingent upon the ability to promote my music. It also came out that they had confused the Consortium of Genius with a bunch called the Consortium of Evil. Heh. Looks pretty humorous, but it couldn't be farther from what I'm doing (or at least it had better stay that way! I bet they ripped off our name after the 'Bad Horse' contest last fall.)

We got the pleasantries out of the way and they thanked me for talking with them, saying they'd be in touch. My impression of the whole thing - ridiculous, with the promise of more bad TV to come, and another peek inside the travesty that is the entertainment industry machine. There's something to be said about producers that just don't get the hot new property that they're attempting to exploit! I could dissect this six ways to Sunday, but when it comes down to it, I suspect that Ben and the rest of these well-meaning folks are going to end up a bunch of patsies embarrassing themselves in what was undoubtedly pitched as 'Jackass with a Cape'.

Uhhh... I think I'll pass.

2009-06-08 (0 comments)

It's who you know...

...around here. Well, I'm happy to say we made it through rehearsal tonight without police citation, arrest, or even neighborly complaints.

But I did some legwork first. Last night, Rachnid and I visited an old friend of his - in fact, the 2nd guitarist in the oldies band he was in, back in high school. The guy happens to be Captain in the local police force now. He'd actually attended a rehearsal a couple months back, and is recording a demo of songs that he wrote at the Secret Lab. His advice was to go into Harahan City Hall and see the mayor. Which is precisely what I did. (for those of you reading this outside of Louisiana, we're not based in New Orleans proper, but rather an incorporated suburb of the city near the riverbend. Hence the 'small town' politics.)

Mayor Paul Johnston turned out to be a really nice guy, and was quite willing to listen to my rebuttal to the accusations. After telling me that the noise ordinances don't really take effect before 10pm anyway, he tried to get the guy who wrote the letter on the phone, but that fellow was out 'enforcing codes'. So I invited him to stop by rehearsal and hear for himself whether we were in violation of any laws or statues.

Which to my knowledge he didn't, but I did take the opportunity to borrow an SPL meter from work and take some readings. Noise of traffic in front of my house: ~70db. Noise of dogs next door: ~82db. Sound level inside the Secret Lab during rehearsal: ~105db. Sound level outside the Secret Lab during rehearsal: ~76db.

Fingers crossed, but I think we're in the clear! More news on this IF it develops... but for now, my attention can go back to the show coming up this next weekend (and to my continuing research in replacing the 20 year old back-screen Amiga computer - almost got all the kinks worked out of the replacement software/hardware.)

2009-06-06 (0 comments)

My response to the previous...

Thanks for all the good wishes everyone! I'm not taking this lying down. Here's my response to the letter from the city (see previous post.)





Dear sirs,

Having read the letter of complaint dated June 2, 2009, I have the following comments:

I have never resisted when asked to lower the volume of music at my home. However, it has been three years since a policeman visited to request the cessation of noise. The insulation in my home and garage walls is sufficient to keep my immediate neighbors from being bothered (yes, I asked.) Additionally, I have not been practicing music on a 'weekend' as described in the letter. My rehearsals have been confined to Monday nights between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Perhaps the radio by my right-hand neighbor's poolside, or the other band which sometimes rehearses further up Huntly St. led to this confusion. But weekend disturbances were not my doing, and I resent being scapegoated.

A 'maximum permissible sound level' is mentioned but not delineated. What is the maximum sound pressure level permitted for the 'receiving land use category in Table 1'? As an audio hobbyist, I am very aware of the scientific measurement of sound pressure levels and can easily keep within permissible limits - if they are specified.

Please furnish me with figures to help me to comply with your request in a reasonable manner. Flatly telling me that I cannot practice music in my own home is NOT reasonable! Zoning doesn't dictate what I can or cannot do in the privacy of my home, especially given that music is a hobby to me, not a business. However, I am sensitive to noise complaints, would like to be a 'good neighbor' and am certainly willing to comply with the limits of the law, if you furnish the proper information on those limits.

P.S.: I did not receive any 'letter dated May 8, 2009' regarding this matter. To which address was that letter sent?

Regards,

etc.






My brother-in-law, who is an attorney, has told me that the letter was proper and respectful, BUT to wait to mail it until he has a word with a couple people... more news on this as it develops...

2009-06-05 (0 comments)

What is this?!

So, I pick up this certified mail from the post office today, and this is what it says:




No decibels cited, no sign of who lodged the complaint, a reference to a previous noise complaint that I never received... this is bullshit. I particularly love the part about my place not being zoned for a band to rehearse in. We don't even go past 10pm. And no police have come by to ask us to turn in down in over three years!

You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you DON'T tell Dr. Pinkerton "Silence"! In the immortal words of B. Bunny, "Of course you know, this means war..."

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