Scott Alarik knows a thing or two about the folk music scene. Maybe that's why so many critics and music enthusiasts alike love his new book, "Revival".
Journalist, folk musician and author Scott Alarik (Photography by Asia Kepka)
Alarik is a journalist, folksinger and author who grew up in Minnesota. He covered folk music in the Boston Globe for over 20 years and also spent many a night playing music in the Minneapolis West Bank scene of the late sixties and seventies.
Recently Alarik spoke to Heartland Radio's Mike Pengra. He said while the characters in his new novel are fictional, their lives are based on the experiences of musicians he's known.
For example [the character] Nathan Warren is this middle-aged songwriter who sees himself as a complete failure because he hosts this open mic and folk music jam session at a little pub in North Cambridge. What happened to him was that he signed a major label deal, he was everybody's pick for the next sure fire star, the record is made, word of it gets around that it's going to be a masterpiece and then there's a staff shake-up at the label. The guy who discovered him is gone and there's nobody there who can take credit for that album if it becomes successful.
And this is a story that's happened to several people I know. It's almost a cliche term in the music industry - "staff shake-up at the label" - as part of the reason that the promising career of an artist or a band was destroyed. I mean [the label makes] money on fewer than five percent of their products, so there are incentives to have write-offs.
You can here the rest of Scott Alarik's interview here, or by clicking on the audio link below:
This week on MNOriginal, costume designer Matthew LeFebvre shows us how he goes about creating costumes for some of the most famous characters in theater. It's a feast for the eyes, including an extensive look at the work that goes into Guthrie Theater's "A Christmas Carol." Enjoy!
Posted at 3:05 PM on February 14, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Funding
President Obama's proposed budget for 2013 totals $3.8 trillion.
Of that, approximately $1.576 billion would go to the arts.
That means the arts would make up 0.04% of the budget. That might seem like small potatoes, but it's actually a 5% raise for organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Portrait Gallery.
That's good, right?
Not so fast, according to the LA Times' Mike Boehm, who says the president's show of support for the National Endowment for the Arts is still is a far cry from 'the good old days.'
Obama, for his part, cast the arts as a unifying force on Monday in a brief afternoon speech at the White House, before conferring this year's National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to recipients including actor Al Pacino, visual artists Will Barnet and Martin Puryear, and poet John Ashbery (pianist Andre Watts missed the ceremony).
"Equal to the impact you have on each of us every day as individuals is the impact you have on us as a society. And we are told we're divided as a people, and then suddenly the arts have this power to bring us together and speak to our common condition," the president said.
He was clearly overlooking the "culture wars" of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which spelled doom for NEA grants to individual artists and resulted in funding cuts from which the agency, whose annual budget stood at $176 million in 1992, still hasn't recovered. To return to that level in inflation-adjusted spending power, the NEA would need a budget hike to $282.2 million, or nearly double what Obama is proposing.