Hope through Community in Music: Introducing Superbands

Introducing Superbands, a non-profit movement dedicated to helping those who struggle with depression, self-harm, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, and other mental illnesses. Through the shared love of music, Superbands aims to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.

I’d love to share with you the words of my friend and founder of Superbands Jessica Villa, whose similar vision has been a significant encouragement in my own journey in music and suicide prevention advocacy.

Even at twenty two years olda recent college graduateI still feel like life is so quickly whirling around that I can barely keep up. While things are constantly changing around me (which can be quite overwhelming) one thing that has never changed is my passion for music. From a young age, I learned that music can heal the broken and give people a means of escaping their troubles, realizing that they are not alone. As I learned to battle my own inner demons growing up, I developed a vision to create a community of people all over the world who believe in the power of music. A community of hope. Thats where Superbands was born: a nonprofit movement dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, self-harm, other mental illnesses, or simply feeling lost. Through the shared love for music, we aim to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.

If you looked time back to 2006, you would likely find fourteen-year old me screaming at the top of my lungs at a dimly-lit Jonas Brothers concert, wearing a tour t-shirt plastered with the faces of the three brothers. In the midst of being an awkward pre-teen with an obsession with music, I was struggling with being bullied at school; the taunts of my peers echoing through the halls on a daily basis. This verbal abuse led to depression, self-loathing, and downright disgust every morning when I saw myself in the mirror. Struggling with self-hate for years, there were multiple days where life got so difficult that I considered attempting suicide.

It was around this time that I spent all my free time listening to my favorite songs on a hand-me-down CD player, miserably held together with medical tape from my mom’s cabinet. I awaited the final bell to echo through the school hallways so I could drown out everything around me just by putting on my headphones. The stress of schoolwork, the taunts of bullies, the loneliness I felt after moving to a new town, the perils of growing upit all disappeared. Nothing else mattered except the music. I refused to take my own life and give up. I wanted to go to more concerts, listen to my favorite songs, and meet my musical idols. Because of this, I firmly believe that these songs and these bandsthough they did not know my name or my facesaved my life.

While most kids my age played sports or got involved in after-school clubs, the fear of being further tormented by my peers kept me at home everyday. Buried underneath the covers with my CD player, I felt alone, like no one understood me or my passion for music. Concerts were the only place where I truly felt happiness. Why did I feel so at home in these dark venues, surrounded by these complete strangers?

It was because we were united, connected by the music.

It was something that is nearly impossible to explain in words. Hundreds, thousands, of people singing along to songs that I sang along with in my bedroom alone. People’s eyes twinkled with hope as they sang, faces glimmering with amazement. We were in the same vicinity as our favorite musical artists, who jumped around on stage and played these songs just for us. Here we all were, people with the same passion for music, swaying to melodies that once only radiated from our headphones. It was like an island of misfit toys, with everyone finally finding a place where they belonged. We formed bonds, friendships that thrived on new albums and tour dates. We were a family of music loverssomething I had yearned to find for so long.

Today, there are so many ways to reach out to others thanks to social media. From Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr, these different social media platforms allow us to interact with people worlds away, regardless of culture, religion, language, or sexual orientation. Barriers are breaking because of music. This is something that we could not do until now – sharing our favorite band photos on Twitter and Instagram, posting our most memorable concert experiences on Tumblr, talking to people about our favorite bands’ upcoming tour dates on Facebook. It’s surreal how much technology has grown in such a short amount of time.

Superbands was an idea that had been swirling around in my head for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t until I came back from college and saw my younger sister Jenna’s passion for music that I got flashbacks from my own awkward teenage years. My own passion for music never faded, but instead grew stronger. I wanted to create the network that I once longed for, somewhere that music lovers could find a place they belonged. Music inspires so many people to keep fighting to overcome obstacles, no matter how difficult their lives become. This passion for music is something that people shouldn’t be ashamed of; it should be something in which we we find comfort. It should be what breaks down those barriers to unite us.

And that’s what I wanted to do with Superbands. I want to connect us, so we can continue breaking down barriers.

For more information on Superbands, please visit http://www.superbands.org

Photo of band After Our Juliet 

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There Is Always Hope: How Music Saved My Life

A couple of months ago, I was asked by To Write Love On Her Arms to do a post on my experience with depression, music, and being a suicide survivor.

This is my story.

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For as long as I can remember, my greatest aspiration has been to study psychological resilience and music. Having begun touring as a singer from age three, my furthermost joy and identity were formed in creating and performing music. As I attempt to place these thoughts in tangible form, I’d like to explain where the past year of my life has taken me, and how this hope has finally come to be realized. I’d like to tell you how music saved my life.

       On July 9, 2013, I grabbed sushi with a dear friend from college. It had been at least a year since we’d seen one another due to his relocation to another state. We had a wonderful dinner, his charisma weaving grandiose patterns of laughter and jokes to make up for lost time. To this day, he remains the only friend who could ever get away with his hysterical manner of picking me up and spinning me around. It was simply his way of saying “Hello.”

       The following afternoon, as I was on my way to Stanford University to cover a behavioral science and creativity conference, I received an urgent phone call from the Los Angeles Police Department. After an inundation of bewildering questions and the request that I be sitting down, I was alerted that my friend had sustained a perplexing and potentially fatal injury. The following two months would consist of a blur of countless ER, ICU and eventually hospice visits, and even more fatigued phone calls from detectives, friends, and families in attempt to speculate every detail as to my friend’s condition. After failing to regain consciousness, my friend died on August 21, 2013 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was twenty-seven.

        In the months following my friend’s suicide, the protracted plagues of devastation, anxiety and sheer panic made it painfully clear that I was suffering from severe depression. I had battled fear before, but the danger of self-harm from my perceived terror of abandonment now hit an all-time high. Something about being the last person to see my friend before he took his life had finally made my very existence seemingly unbearable. I simply couldn’t imagine a reality where I would ever feel whole again. Somewhere along the way, however, something began to penetrate the walls I had built. Maybe it was that night of such unbearable emptiness, resulting in my frantic request of a trusted friend, “Why can’t you just tell me it’s going to be okay?” I’ll never forget his response: “Because it’s going to be okay whether I say so or not.”

       For possibly the first time, I realized that no matter how much people love and cherish you, sometimes, they can’t be there. It was not until this year – twenty eight years into my life – that I was truly faced with the chief insecurity of uncovering and confronting my own sense of self. It hit me then: I had built my entire value solely upon the affirmation of others. How would I ever afford unconditional love and hope if I did not possess it for myself?  It took more correspondence with prudent souls, more star-filled nights, more floods of tears and more compassionate, tough love from friends than I ever thought possible, but eventually, I began to understand that a lifetime’s lacking of my own self worth had been, in fact, the greatest torment of all. Slowly, with the help of my music and a lot of blind faith, I decidedly began the harrowing task of turning inward to face a past that had hidden profoundly in the dark for far too long.

       As I discovered that in music could be found the tools for defense, it quickly became all but Pavlovian. With each resurfacing memory of the loss of my father, of my friend, or even the type of violations that I as a young woman should never have had to endure, it began to feel like there was no margin in what could be taken from me, save my headphones screaming louder than any external threat or captor. I recalled that when at age eighteen I witnessed a childhood crush lose his longstanding battle with cancer, a piano, and occasionally present kindred spirit, taught me that three keys struck within a proper distance could form a chord. Those chords at once revealed the earliest potential of more than an escape – they provided the will to keep going.  It was within the process of witnessing my own hopelessness slain by the dogged determination playing before me like a vivid, striking film sequence that I cemented an acute desire to help others through their pain.

Steinway

        It was not quite until really digging in to the psychology of music that I found the possibility of a way not to dull the pain, but utilize it for courage. When my collapsed sense of self risked self-harm, gentle souls appeared to remind me of what I’d already overcome. When the radiant pangs of feeling alone threatened to overtake me, I discovered mercy and anticipation in composing. When I found myself paralyzed by the searing agony of depression, exterior melodies stepped in to share my burden. This award of music had not only provided oxygen for my lungs; it had yielded a powerful breed of strength and beauty within me – the will to struggle, and the will to survive.

       While covering a music industry event in Hollywood this Spring, I had the pleasure of speaking to Benjamin Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan. As a friend had alerted me of Ben’s advocacy for youth suicide prevention (The You Rock Foundation in particular), I took the opportunity to ask him what it was about the process of creating music that had helped him in overcoming adversity.

“When I was growing up, I had a lot of difficulties in school. I had certain learning disabilities that made it difficult for me to process information in the way it was presented by a typical school curriculum. My experiences left me feeling extremely isolated and insecure. When I started playing music, I realized that intelligence had nothing to do with one’s ability to excel in the classroom environment. It gave me passion. It gave me confidence. I was able to make friends and also figure out new ways of learning. Creating give me purpose every day and will for the rest of my life… Music saved my life.”

The Dillinger Escape Plan live at Porter’s Pub, San Diego, 2014. Photo by Diana Hereld.

       Like Ben, I never cease to be amazed at music’s capacity to bring about a mental resilience. I know music to be a healing tool, because we are living attestations. It is utterly apparent that the pleasure of simply working in music sustained me through my more anguished, desperate moments. In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis stated “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.” In Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton said “The only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.” I have felt this terror, and desperation – but I have also perceived the call of this courage.

˜

       A little over a year ago, I got the call about my friend. Over three hundred and sixty five days have passed since the night I thankfully had the cheek to gleefully yelp “Love you, buddy!” after my friend as he walked away; one hand in the air like an old fashioned movie star. Over the past twelve months, I have been granted more exposure to trauma, mental illness and mercy than I’d ever imagined possible. I have been made aware of more triggers in my subconscious than I felt I could handle, and I have been forced to confront them head on.  I’ve loved and lost more deeply, and written more music than ever before. I’ve applied to, and received a full fellowship to attend my top choice grad school for music and psychological resilience beginning this month. My friends have become my family; my songs that rare blend of confidant and hope. Though I have feared the dangers of losing emotional jurisdiction over my own life the most, I have realized that sometimes, it’s okay to let go, and press on – even when the route is unclear. As Bukowski famously quoted “As the spirit wanes, the form appears.”

       Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my friend. He touched the lives of so many, and I can only pray that I will one day repay him by giving back the selfless love he radiated to everyone around him, and by furthering the cause to ease the hearts of those struggling to find hope.

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       I want to tell you, dear reader, that regardless of the tactless tragedies or inconsolable madness you may be undergoing, there are others. It’s not just that you are not alone – of course you’re not. You are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, a humanity of enduring creatures, and an enclave of people who not only want to understand, but do understand. As unimaginable as it might sound at times, there is so much love to be found. If you’re standing on the beach at sunset, savor it while it lasts. If you’re going through hell, keep going. The impermanence and temporal nature of existence only contribute to its need to be treasured. For me, it has been my faith in God, and the self-awareness, hope and love I have found and tried to share though music. In the end, it is very possible that only we can save ourselves, but it is often the intrinsic beauty of life and dear ones surrounding that offer the priceless reminder that we can, and should. In the profound words of author Jennifer Hect, “We are indebted to one another and that debt is a kind of faith — a beautiful, difficult, strange faith. We believe each other into being.” Please stay, and please keep going. You can make it though, and it will be more radiant and precious than anything you can possibly imagine.

Diana Hereld, UCSD, Fall 2014

To those who have sustained me through the darkest and brightest of times:

As I continue to research the neurology of self-destructive behaviors and the psychological interventions that might be employed via music, I can only convey my infinite gratitude for whatever role, small or gargantuan; you have played in my life. I love you all. And thank you for the music.

˜

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For more information on what The You Rock Foundation is doing to help youth overcome depression, follow them on FB and stay tuned for their official launch at http://www.yourockfoundation.org . Follow them on social media here –

twitter.com/YouRockFND
instagram.com/yourockfnd
youtube.com/yourockfnd

For more information on Benjamin Weinman and The Dillinger Escape Plan, visit here and here.

Songwriters, Composers and Publishers Come Together for 31st Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards

“It all starts with a blank piece of paper…all of the sudden, a song comes into the room. How do you describe what that feels like? All of the sudden you’re not alone.”

-ASCAP President Paul Williams*

31st annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards - Show

Tom Petty, fun. and Other Top Names in Music Honored at 31st Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards

Los Angeles, CA, April 23, 2014: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted its 31st annual Pop Music Awards tonight at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. The star-studded event, which was attended by hundreds of songwriters, recording artists and music industry leaders, paid special tribute to rock legend Tom Petty and Grammy-winning band fun., and honored the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2013 pop charts.

 Top awards were presented to:

Legendary rock star Tom Petty was honored with the ASCAP Founders Award, which is the most prestigious honor that ASCAP gives to songwriters who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come. Past recipients include Ashford & Simpson, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry(Aerosmith), Tom Waits, Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart), Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.

31st annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards - Awards

The 31st annual Pop Music Awards falls on the eve of the 9th annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, a three-day conference dedicated to songwriting and composing. This year’s EXPO features Keynote Sessions with Dr. Luke, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Gustavo Santaolalla in conversation with Paul Williams; Master Sessions with Jermaine Dupri, John Powell, Amy Grant, Mike WiLL Made It, John Beasley, Bear McCreary and Morten Lauridsen; plus numerous performances, panels, workshops, one-on-one sessions, song critiquing, networking events, product displays, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations and more. The EXPO takes place April 24th-26th at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. For more details, please visit www.ascap.com/expo.

*Paul Williams is a Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar-winning member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, known the world over for classic songs like “The Rainbow Connection,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” and many more. He has earned two previous Grammys, for “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” and his songs from The Muppet Movie. As President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP since 2009, Williams is also a leading spokesman for music creators in the digital age.

Image 1: HOLLYWOOD, CA- APRIL 23: ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Founders Award recipient Tom Petty and Jackson Browne onstage at the 31st annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on April 23, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tonya Wise/PictureGroup)

Image 2: HOLLYWOOD, CA- APRIL 23: Mary Lambert performs “She Keeps Me Warm,” based on the Grammy-nominated song “Same Love” that she co-wrote with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, during the 31st annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on April 23, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

Dr. Luke, Amy Grant and Gustavo Santaolalla at 9th Annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO

ascap expo 2014 image The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO will take place April 24th-26th 2014, at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is the premier conference for songwriters, composers and producers. The three-day event covers all genres of music and includes one-on-one sessions, networking events, creative and interactive panels, business, legal and legislative discussions, round-table workshops, product displays, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations, performances and more. This year’s EXPO programming features keynote by Dr. Luke, “We Create Music”: Gustavo Santaolalla and Paul Williams in Conversation, Heart In Motion: Master Session with Amy Grant, and live performances by Desmond Child, Shane McAnally, Beth Orton, Ray Parker, Jr., and Richie Sambora.

In addition to signature keynote presentations, master classes, hitmaker panels and artist performances, ASCAP will once again bring together a diverse and gifted group of music creators and industry professionals to participate in a extensive range of panels designed to support music creators at every stage of their career. The EXPO will also provide attendees with several opportunities to get their music heard – and receive honest feedback and advice – through a variety of panels and songwriter showcases.

To kick off the EXPO, on Wednesday, April 23rd, Loews Hollywood Hotel will host the 31th annual ASCAP Pop Awards, honoring Tom Petty with the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award for his exceptional contribution to music as a pioneering songwriter.

 

 

 

 

“Jesus Christ, What Happened?”: Rape Culture in the World of Kids

 “Casper: Jesus Christ, what happened?”

-Final dialogue, “Kids” (1995)

Polaroid by Larry Clark, 1993

 

Created by Ernest G. Bormann, fantasy-theme criticism was created to provide insights into the shared worldview of groups of rhetors.[1] Through studying the processes of communication in small groups, Robert Bales found that group fantasizing or dramatizing often included an increase of excitement, a quickening of the tempo, and a tendency for participants to forego their self-consciousness. By extending Bales’ fantasizing phenomenon into Bormann’s symbolic convergence theory (based on the assumption that communication creates reality, and that symbols found in this communication can create a shared reality) and fantasy-theme method, one may also apply this criticism to social movements, political propaganda, organizational communication, and other various types of rhetoric.

To elaborate on symbolic convergence theory, it is important to note that as a part of communication creating reality, “the chaotic and disorderly sensory world is organized and made manageable by the symbols that are devised to dominate it.”[2] When in the midst of social, religious, cultural or societal disorder symbols are introduced and agreed upon, a kind of tangible, impermeable clarity becomes possible through linguistic expression. In 1967, Robert L. Scott argued that rhetoric was not intact for the purpose of lending usefulness to truth, but of creating truth. Just as the metaphors of the brain are manipulated and molded with the advancement of research, these metaphors and symbols are connected to the reality we define and experience. When two or more symbols converge to create a shared reality, the second assumption of symbolic convergence theory is fulfilled in convergence. It is through this very means that humans commence in building a shared consciousness, and achieve mutual understanding. Although the rhetoric’s actual literature is essential, because fantasy is the “creative and imaginative interpretation of events”[3], it is the sharing of the word, phrase or statement – the message itself – that is seen as most significant.

Within feminism, rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of society where the prevailing attitudes may allow for, turn a blind eye toward, or even excuse rape.[4] In the 1995 film “Kids,” often criticized director Larry Clark paints an extremely controversial picture of a group of teenagers’ daily life in urban Manhattan. Through a lens of glorifying addiction, manipulation, high-risk sexual behavior and violence, rape culture is introduced, and permeated. With Clark’s provided insight into some of the darkest depravities faced universally by youth today, one may use fantasy criticism to identify the three themes necessary in creating the drama to describe the world from a group perspective: settings, characters, and actions.

The setting of the scene is inner-city New York in the mid 1990s, away from most adult supervision, resulting in what the New York Times then labeled “a wake-up call to the modern world.” The setting is one of substance abuse, the rise of the AIDS epidemic, and rape culture. Although the lone teenager may serve as minor protagonists (notably the female leads Jenny and Ruby) offering the brief glimpse of hope for humanity in their efforts at solidarity and moral responsibility, “Kids” has no heroes. As main characters (male) Telly and Casper make no attempt to hide their motives, their “fallen” nature is easily identifiable. As Ruby and Jenny’s principle objective is to warn others of the rapidly spreading AIDS virus (perpetuated by the leading men’s sexual behaviors), Telly and Casper’s main intent remains to engage irresponsibility, recklessness and manipulation in seemingly any mode possible. When Jenny learns she has contracted AIDS via Telly, the sole individual she has ever had relations with, she sets out on a mission to locate, inform, and stop him. Unfortunately, as reality often echoes, this undertaking ends in atrocious tragedy, with Jenny unknowingly and unconsciously left in the hands of Casper to confirm the ultimate expression of rape culture.

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the offense, it is estimated that anywhere between seventy-five to ninety-five percent of sexual assault crimes go unreported.[5] Unfortunately, this makes the publicizing of unambiguous statistics in regard to sexual violence a challenge. Regardless, it is no secret that many have dealt with such tragedy personally, or by means of someone they know. It is because of this singularity that the dramatizing and sharing of a group fantasy become possible. While the release of this film caused much concern for multiple people groups, it is safe to say much discourse has been had surrounding the depicted rape in the final scene of the film. In 2000, Roger Ebert plainly stated “Kids is the kind of movie that needs to be talked about afterward.” When a piece of rhetoric enfolding a reality that gives way to this type of reactive conversation occurs, it forms a rhetorical vision called fantasy type. By establishing this fantasy type, a larger rhetorical vision becomes possible, capable of providing a “credible interpretation of reality.”[6] When a group is able place new events and experiences into familiar patterns, a shared consciousness is either born or reinforced, and the rhetorical vision may forge a larger rhetorical community lending to a new, shared reality. It is through this shared reality that motives for change are borne, and carried out. This is one of the predominant reasons a fantasy-theme critique is appropriate in the analysis of social and political movements.

In the same way that diegetic and non-diegetic music take turns in film, so do the characters and audience take turns in dramatizing the shared fantasies. As assuredly countless viewers of the rhetoric have engaged in the shared rhetorical vision surrounding the portrayal of rape culture in the film, so too have the protagonists and antagonists performing. The female roles (specifically Jenny and Ruby) are often seen complaining or protesting in regard to the many ways they are objectified by men. During these conversations, namely one discussion at a sleepover, the classic idea of the sharing of fantasy-themes and a rhetorical vision is frequently evident. Each time one of the females describes something (be it an act or attitude) that the male desires/requires, she is met with the exchange of shared laughter, bodily posture shifts, moans in annoyance and other general expressions of commonality. The male roles (not only Telly and Casper, but frequently the supporting actors throughout) are also seen sharing fantasy-themes and a rhetorical vision, only from the opposite perspective. Whereas the women desire to be independent and empowered, the men are portrayed holding the desire to conquer, occupy and manipulate. This is apparent in arguably every scene of “Kids” in which a male character is present.

Although many fantasy themes are exhibited either by image, dialogue or concept, the two chief opposing forces revolve around a patriarchal archetype of domination, the expressed desire for control either by subversion, persuasion or force, and the constant underlying (yet apparent) representation of rape culture. With the females expressing either the desire to transcend this theme (or the disputably feigned façade of “female empowerment” by giving in to the male’s primal desires) and the males expressing little more than a dogged determination to obey their animalistic urges at all costs, the audience is provided a robust platform on which to fashion their own version of collective consciousness, rhetorical vision, and shared reality. In a culture where the atrocities depicted in the film occur far too often in reality, through questionable to be sure, “Kids” remains a film hailed by many to be a documentary style work of art, succeeding at very least in bringing to light some very important issues.

Fantasy-theme criticism uniquely illuminates the artifact because it allows for the deconstruction of a complex and sensitive rhetoric into smaller, more tangible symbols. As a final example, one of the most telling fantasy themes portrayed may be found within the film’s 90 second trailer. Regarding the symbol of travel, the male is often seen running, jumping, or most importantly, skateboarding. In contrast, the female is seen walking slowly from the clinic, stumbling in a club under the influence of an accidental hallucinogenic ingestion, and despairingly transported in a male-driven taxicab. Where the male is free to participate with his surroundings with freedom as he chooses, the female is constantly depicted as slower, more ‘weighed down,’ and restrained. The film begins, and ends, with the complete theft of female innocence. By giving this type of heartbreak a voice to speak, we may not only open previously nonexistent dialogue circuits and enable the unifying of diverse audiences, but pave the way for “affecting the nature and outcome of public controversies.”[7] It is not only women who suffer from this culture – males are also victims. Overall, few are immune to the tragedy the loss of innocence through the loss of personal will. When the devastating, horrifying utilization of the word “rape” becomes heard in the same breath as “culture,” we’ve no choice but to ask ourselves, “Jesus Christ, what happened?”

Polaroid by Larry Clark, 1993

 

 

 

[1] Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996, p. 121

[2] Ibid, p. 122

[3] Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996, p. 123

[4] Williams, Joyce E, George Ritzer, J. Michael Ryan, ed. The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 493

[5] “Without consent: A report on the joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences.” Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. January 2007, p. 8. Retrieved 24 March 24, 2014.

[6] Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996, p. 125

[7] Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996, p. 130

9th Annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO Set for April 24-26

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**SAVE THE DATE**

ASCAP is pleased to announce that the 9th annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO will be held April 24th-26th, 2014 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. The three-day event is the premier conference for songwriters, composers and producers in all genres of music. The ASCAP EXPO will feature creative and business-focused panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes, One-on-One sessions, song critiquing, networking events, product displays, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations, performances and more. Video of panels and performances from this past year’s ASCAP EXPO – over 40 panels, totaling nearly 60 hours of content – is available to stream online for the newly discounted price of $75.

Since 2006, the ASCAP EXPO has brought together some of the biggest names in music. Keynote sessions have featured Katy Perry; Diplo & Big Sean; Ne-Yo & Stargate; Justin Timberlake & Bill Withers; Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora; Tom Petty; John Mayer; Quincy Jones interviewed by Ludacris; Carly Simon; The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine); Lindsey Buckingham interviewed by Sara Bareilles; Randy Newman; Jackson Browne; Steve Miller; Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart); and Jeff Lynne. Writer-composer Master Sessions, performances, panels and the signature “We Create Music” panelshave included an impressive list of music creators, such as Pharrell Williams, Peter Frampton, Natasha Bedingfield, Marcus Miller, Desmond Child, Rodney Crowell, Dr. Luke, Jermaine Dupri, James Newton Howard, Fergie, Steve Lillywhite, Paul Williams, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Wyclef Jean, John Rich, Stephen Schwartz, Nico Muhly, Jill Scott, Ricky Skaggs, James Levine, Jimmy Webb, Mike Posner, Jared Leto, Rufus Wainwright, John Rzeznik, Ryan Tedder, Seth MacFarlane, Jason Mraz, Don Was, Judy Collins and Chaka Khan to name a few.

All music creators, publishers and executives will benefit from this unique creative event, which is designed around personal interaction, education and networking. The ASCAP EXPO is open to anyone, not just ASCAP members. Registration for the event is now open.

To learn more and to stay up-to-date on the latest ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO news, visit www.ascap.com/expo, and connect with ASCAP on Facebook and Twitter.

For 2013 coverage by Diana Hereld for Hypebot, please redirect here.

About ASCAP
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 460,000 members representing more than 8.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. www.ascap.com

Rest In Peace, Benjamin Curtis.

IMG_1586A couple years ago, a friend took me to see one of my all time favorite bands, Silversun Pickups. Living in LA, I had seen the band around, but never seen them play live. I was making music with my friend at the time, and he joked that any bandmate of his should get to see SSPU live at least once. That show was musical magic for me, but for more than just meeting the band after. 

That night, School of Seven Bells opened. I’d never seen them, or even heard any of their music. I was simply patiently waiting to hear Future Foe Scenarios or the like later on. However, School of Seven Bells began, and I was immediately mesmerized. I left my friends, and went awkwardly closer. As I watched them perform, I had one of those feelings I experience only every couple of years or so- the feeling of being completely intoxicated by musical and visual movement. I later learned the song I had seen and heard was called “Scavenger.”

If you know me or have been around me in the past couple of years, you know this song, whether you realize it or not. You know it, because you have heard it in my car, on a mix I made you, or in my apartment at a party. You know it because I have listened to it at least a thousand times, in a literal sense. My favorite song in 2013 was Where Do My Bluebird Fly by The Tallest Man On Earth. My favorite of 2012 was Scavenger, and I can’t stop listening to it. I have never tired of this beautiful, driving rhythm. I need not say anything of these dark, brutally honest lyrics, because they speak for themselves. They have jaggedly carried me in solidarity through more frustration and turmoil than I can convey. And I am a better person for it.

A mutual friend who also attended the SSPU concert alerted me earlier this year that they were on hiatus because Benjamin had fallen ill. LA Weekly explains that in February, School of Seven Bells announced Curtis’ cancer diagnosis, and artists including Devendra Banhart, and members of the Strokes and Interpol participated in fundraising efforts for his treatment. In October, bands including Silversun Pickups, M83, Cocteau Twins and Blonde Redhead wrote messages of support for Benjamin during his treatment.

I never met Benjamin. Even though I grew up in the Fort Worth/Dallas music scene, and was also an avid fan of Secret Machines, I knew nothing about him. What I do know is what it feels like to lose someone to cancer. He was far too young, and I humbly share that my heart breaks for so many others in learning this shattering news.

I know I am not alone when I say that it seems that every time I turn around this year, there is a death of a loved one. A devastation and losing of something that cannot be replaced. As we ring in another year, God help us take nothing for granted. May we love one another, support one another, and be there for one another. There’s no time not to.

I gave you the tide You didn’t stay You didn’t want it You let the day slide Into a drain Until you lost it You took me like a drug To make you feel loved To make you feel wanted To make you feel fire To make you feel like I made you feel something ‘Cause you can feel nothing I know what you are And you’re a fake You’re a scavenger Too scared to take part You only take ‘Cause you’re a coward On your own, You have no love On your own, You’re not enough You took me like a drug To make you feel loved To make you feel wanted To make you feel fire To make you feel like I made you feel something