Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stephen Colbert's Top 7 Drug Moments

Liking both Stephen Colbert and recreational drugs is kind of like liking both Gargamel and Smurfs. Yet somehow you huffing contradictions are out there, eating your drugs and watching The Colbert Report. So, strap on your crack-pipe and prepare to have your mind expanded to a new dimension of enlightenment and munchies, because it is with you in mind that we present this collection of Stephen Colbert's best drug-centric moments.

7. Medical Marijuana Lobbyist Aaron Houston

6. Chilly Willie Recall: Stephen vs. "The Pot Man"

5. Even Stevphen: Should Medical Marijuana Be Legalized?

4. Rove Resigns: Stephen Runs Out of Painkillers

3. Nailed 'Em: Medical Marijuana

2. Drugs are Cool

1. Albert Hoffman: RIP - Stephen Remembers the LSD Discoverer

Posted by matt tobey

Music Biz *Still* Trying to Kill Web Radio

If you're a fan of new music and easily offended by corporate thuggishness, you may not want to read my colleague Peter Whoriskey's story from Saturday's paper about the possible demise of the Pandora Web-radio service.

This is only the latest chapter in a sad saga that's been dragging on for most of this decade: how a largely unaccountable regulatory body and a trade group dominated by representatives of major record labels have tried to inflict a punitive system of royalty payments on Web-radio broadcasters.

The unfairness and irrationality of this idea seemed obvious when I first devoted a column to it, back in 2002. More than six years later, nothing seems to have changed.

In case you've tuned out of this story, here's a quick recap:

1. The royalty payments at stake are supposed to compensate performers (and their record labels) for the use of their music, much as songwriters have long received a small royalty payment for the use of their work.

2. But unlike royalties paid to songwriters, these "performance royalties" don't apply to FM or AM -- whether analog or digital HD Radio broadcasts -- but do cover satellite, cable and Internet broadcasts.

3. Cable and satellite broadcasts pay a simple percentage of their revenues.

4. The proposals cooked up by the Copyright Royalty Board -- a panel of judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress to settle certain intellectual-property disputes -- and backed by SoundExchange, the theoretically nonpartisan group charged with collecting these royalties, would impose a per-song, per-listener fee that many Webcasters say would put them out of business. (See, for example, musician and Webcaster David Byrne's analysis.)

5. Maybe this is all one big coincidence, but in terms of political clout and lobbying efforts, FM and AM broadcasters vastly outweigh satellite- and cable-based music outlets, who in turn easily outrank Webcasters.

As I wrote a year ago, when the CRB reaffirmed this foolish idea, choking off Web radio by imposing discriminatory and disproportionate fees is just about the last thing the music industry needs. Webcasters like Pandora are far more effective at exposing listeners to new music than the playlist-choked wasteland of commercial FM and AM -- so of course we should tax them to extinction, ensuring record labels and musicians a one-time profit, followed by years of much poorer exposure for new musicians.

Seriously, who comes up with this kind of strategy? It's one thing for the CRB to lose its collective mind, it's another for businesspeople who ought to know the market to start sawing their own feet off. It's not as if they'd even make much money in the process: The Web radio industry just isn't that rich.

The people at SoundExchange do not help their cause when they continue to spout melodramatic hyperbole like this line, from Whoriskey's story:

"Our artists and copyright owners deserve to be fairly compensated for the blood and sweat that forms the core product of these businesses," said Mike Huppe, general counsel for SoundExchange.

"Blood"? Give me a break. You represent musicians, not the Marine Corps.

I'm past tired of seeing this story refuse to die. There's only so many times you can see such obvious, blatant abuse of power before you want to find the people responsible, grab them by the lapels, and ask: "What's wrong with you? Why do you hate America?!"

There is, however, one simple and fair way out of this: Congress and should finally pass the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would vacate the CRB ruling and apply the same per-revenue scheme to cable, satellite and Internet broadcasters alike.

Harry Potter Fans Fight 8-Month Film Delay

Fan outrage is boiling online over the delayed release of the next installment in the Harry Potter film franchise.

Potter fan sites MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron are bubbling with dismay and anger about the scheduling move, announced Thursday by Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now scheduled to hit theaters in July 2009 rather than in November 2008.

"Totally disgusted by WB's decision," wrote a user known as ocean on MuggleNet. "I'm totally convinced that the decision was motivated by money and only money." On Leaky Cauldron, a user known as Savannah wrote: "This is a huge let down (sic). I can’t believe that they are moving it back by nearly eight months!"

Potter fans are also airing their grievances on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. A Facebook group named The Delay of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Has Ruined My Life is calling for a nationwide boycott of the film on opening day.

Additionally, multiple petitions are rallying fans online and off: One form is picking up steam with nearly 35,000 digital signatures, while a campaign by Dumbledore's Army is urging fans to take up pencil and paper to make their concerns heard.

Some Potterphiles are even planning to protest outside Warner's corporate headquarters in New York, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. says the decision to magically transform the film into a summer release will boost the Half-Blood Prince's box office potential.

"Like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films," said Alan Horn, president of Warner Bros., in a statement Thursday.

Fox News recently suggested Potter star Daniel Radcliffe's highly anticipated -- and entirely nude -- debut in Broadway play Equus triggered the delay from the studio, which doesn't want the chaste image of the bespectacled wizard tarnished.

The delay is not expected to affect the final two installments in the franchise, which are tentatively slated for release beginning in 2010.

Exclusive: Spy Hunter Takes A Backseat

About a year ago the trades reported that Resident Evil and Alien vs. Predator director Paul W.S. Anderson will direct Spy Hunter, the big budget adaptation of the popular Midway video game that revolves around a transforming supercar called the Interceptor.

At the time Anderson was suppose to be working with another writer to pen the project, which has already gone through several writers, including Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Zak Penn and Stuart Beattie.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has long been attached to play the secret agent behind the wheel of the vehicle. And back in 2004 John Woo was originally attached to helm the movie.

Now during Comic Con I had a chance to sit down with Anderson on a TV interview (which, you can see HERE) to talk about his upcoming film DEATH RACE a redo of 1975's "Death Race 2000" and managed to squeeze in a Spy Hunter question.

It looks like the bigscreen version of "Spy Hunter" has taken a backseat because when asked about Spy Hunter and they way he answered the question to me at least, seems that he is not doing it anymore. He might write it but it sure looks like he will not be directing the project.

I’ve also been told from people who are close to the project is that Anderson is NOT doing the film and that he’s been off the project.

I hope one way or another this project does happen already. We've been following this for a while now with the Script Review (CLICK HERE), and the animatics (CLICK HERE) for the film where you can see how the Interceptor changes into a boat and a cycle and more.

Will The Rock still do the movie? Who knows. Will Universal Pictures still do the film? Who knows, maybe not. Will another studio pick up the project? Who knows.

Here is what he said when asked about Spy Hunter.

Latino Review: Does this (movie) prepare you to do another [car film] like Spy Hunter?

Anderson: I had some what fun making this movie and I firmly believe this is the best, most spectacular car action I've ever seen in a film, I don’t know if I’ll ever do another car movie after this, because I really feel like we pushed it to the max and the only other car movie I’ll do is maybe a sequel to this, knock on wood, if this movie does well enough to deserve that, I really think we’ve kind of raised the bar when it comes to car action….we’ve done everything practical, we’ve done spectacular stunts, we’ve kept it R rated, really hard, we’ve had the actors do a lot of their own driving, so you know, I think we’ve really maxed our car movie, so I think we’ve laid down a challenge to any one else, I think we’re now the movie to beat.
Original here