Prince: death by ignorance and fear

There it was on my Facebook feed this week: Trending: Prince. Why was Prince a trending topic when he’d been found dead a month ago? Then I learned his official cause of death had just been released: “Accidental Fentanyl toxicity.” In other words, he unintentionally overdosed on a drug he was taking to treat chronic pain. After reading the comments on the various new Prince articles, it hit me: though Prince’s body died of opioid overdose, the autopsy report may as well have said “death by ignorance and fear,” both his own, and the public’s.

If “death by ignorance and fear” sounds inflammatory and sensational, stop and think about it. Why on earth would anyone wait to get medical help for something that could kill them? Would you furtively seek treatment if you realized you had something potentially fatal? Would you wait until things were so bad that your life was literally falling apart and you were afraid you might die? No. You’d rightly engage in proactive self-care and get professional medical treatment, with no fear that anyone would proclaim you as weak-willed and morally bankrupt. You would do it with no fear that it might permanently damage your reputation, your career, or negatively affect your family. But that’s not the case with addiction and mental health.

Because of his fear of what had become his “secret” getting out to the public, Prince passed off an emergency plane landing due to overdose as “the flu.” The public’s eyes were on him, and treatment that would have saved his life was delayed. Read the rest

Babes in Toyland's Maureen Herman's most memorable Christmases

[My friend Maureen Herman, former bassist of Babes in Toyland is currently writing her first book, It's a Memoir, Motherfucker, due out 2017. Maureen posted this to Facebook, and she kindly gave me permission to run it on Boing Boing. - Mark]

We got our Christmas decorations out tonight. To me, Christmas is an annual milestone that makes me look around at where I am in my life. It makes me want to do better. Next year, I want to soar. I want to dissolve every hurt and injury in a flurry of words and wit and hard-won wisdom, then hand it into my publisher in triumph. I want to skip around and say, “I did it! I did it!” I want to thank everyone who said I could do it, and I want to thank the ones who said I never would, because that was inspiring, too.

Merry Christmas, my sweet motherfuckers! I hope yours is truly merry and bright -- and if it’s not, I hope you know that every Christmas will be different, and in our memories, the hard ones end up serving as a contrast to appreciate the easier ones to come. That is how it’s been for me from the very beginning.

My very first memory is from one Christmas Eve in 1970, where I was at a big family party where everyone was laughing and happy. It was amidst the reverie that an older relative sexually assaulted me. Shocked and embarrassed, I said nothing. Read the rest

The Jackie Fox rape disclosure shows we still have a lot to learn

Ignorance about rape can tragically mute any instinct to protect or tell

We are all just two or three crises away from the street

I live in an apartment which is part of a motel. Some residents live permanently in the regular guest rooms. There are about five of us "regulars." We all get along -- a screenwriter, a family, two bachelor brothers, the nice single lady, and me with my daughter. They recently raised everyone's rent by the highest percentage possible.

So today I was walking by Manhattan Bagel, and there's the nice single lady -- she dresses well and always shopped at Trader Joe's. But she's on the street now. Homeless. She couldn't afford the price jump and can't find anywhere safe that is as cheap. She cried at seeing me, embarrassed. I gave her $20 and said she could come over and use my shower any time until she gets things figured out.

I've had some troubles on my mind this week. Severe, complex troubles in all areas of my life. But I am so grateful that at least I have a place to live today. The money scene is challenging now with losing the band job so suddenly [Maureen was the bassist in Babes in Toyland -- Mark]. It is an adjustment, but I'll get through.

I've been homeless in New York. I know how quickly it can happen, and seeing my neighbor reminded me that we are all just two or three crises away from the street. This is how it happens. One last bad break, and the neat and organized woman in #125 now lives in the alley behind the bagel shop. Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

Yesterday, President Obama defined rape in a news conference. Last week the Cosby rapes and disclosure by The Runaways' Jackie Fox were in the news. As if on cue, a surprisingly entertaining and critically-acclaimed documentary dealing with the childhood rapes of comedian and political satirist Barry Crimmins will be released in theaters across the country early next month. Call Me Lucky is directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and initially funded by the late Robin Williams, it received three standing ovations at its premiere at Sundance. It is a gripping, complex, enlightening, poignant and witty film. Watch the trailer to see what I mean, and then buy your tickets in the town near you.

RELATED: Barry Crimmins interviewed on Boing Boing about Call Me Lucky.

Rape disclosure and the need to talk about it openly is finally reaching critical mass -- and Barry Crimmins, who says, "tell somebody, tell everybody" in the film, is a hero. Wait til you discover what he did to stop child predators on a national scale. #tellsomebodytelleverybody

AUG 07 New York NY - IFC Center

AUG 07 Washington DC - Angelika Pop-Up Union Market

AUG 07 Beverly Hills CA - Laemmle Music Hall

AUG 07 Santa Ana CA - The Frida Cinema

AUG 07 Austin TX - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar

AUG 14 San Francisco CA - Landmark Opera Plaza

AUG 15 Las Vegas NV - Las Vegas Film Festival

AUG 21 Cleveland OH - Capitol Theater

AUG 28 Seattle WA - SIFF Cinema

SEP 04 Columbus OH - Gateway Film Center

SEP 16 Winchester VA - Alamo Drafthouse Winchester

SEP 25 Auburn NY - Auburn Public Theater

SEP 26 Auburn NY - Auburn Public Theater Read the rest

The Jesus Lizard Book – The story of the ’90s influential and iconic indie-rock band

You don’t need to be a fan of The Jesus Lizard or even the indie-rock genre to appreciate what this iconic band accomplished. They recorded seven albums in eight years, created dynamic and inimitable music, and played 1000+ legendary live shows. Their superhuman touring schedule is captured perfectly on the first page in a photo of the band’s tour van odometer, turning over from 99,999 to 00000. The story of this influential '90s band transcends rock memorabilia or memoir, and unfolds an instructive tale of artistic triumph in the delicate balance between commerce and art.

It’s the victory of the underdog, it’s David vs. the Goliath of the major label record industry. It’s an inside look at the creative and business choices artists in any field must face as they work toward that elusive stage that defines success.

Steve Albini, famous for his work recording Nirvana’s last album, In Utero, said this of the band: “When I think of The Jesus Lizard, I think of them as the greatest band I’ve ever seen, as the best musicians I’ve ever worked with, and as the purest melding of the sublime and the profane.”

The Jesus Lizard Book was designed by vocalist and artist David Yow, with most of the content painstakingly recorded by the band’s exacting bassist, David Wm. Sims. All four band members contribute their perspective and experiences, in a loose structure starting with the band members’ backgrounds, how the band formed, each studio recording, and their astounding performance chronology. Read the rest

Funny parody of famous Dragnet "Blue Boy" episode

[Video Link] Frank Conniff of Mystery Science Theater, and former Mr. Show, and Chris Rock Show writer Mike Upchurch produced a surreal "lost" Dragnet episode. They have digitally inserted popular alt-comedians into the 1967 cop show Dragnet, and turned it into a story about bad cops trying to eradicate a powerful strain of medical marijuana. It's technically stunning, exceeding Forest Gump and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in both ambition and outcome, while being produced in a living room for only $200. Quite a feat for something with this much technical complexity and extended post-production.

Perhaps due to the producers' possibly active membership in the 420 community, the video was uploaded and barely released last year, (7pm on 4/20, 2013 the unofficial version was uploaded.). In keeping with the procrastination theme, little fanfare was made in 2014. But we at Boing Boing understand, and we are sharing their overlooked gem with you.

(NSFW due to language.) With: Chris Fairbanks, Tom Kenny, Josh Fadem, Johnny Pemberton, Pat Healy, Lizzy Cooperman, Emily Maya Mills, and Susan Burke. Read the rest

Who Cares What Steve Albini Thinks? You Probably Do.

Maureen Herman interviews Nirvana's notorious engineer, Big Black guitarist, writer, food blogger, poker player, billiards enthusiast, and frenemies with a superstar internet kitten.

Steve Albini reunites with Li’l Bub

In case you missed Steve Albini’s appearance on Li’l Bub’s show (above video), watch them meet again--this time at The Second City That Never Sleeps 2013: 24 Hour Improv & Music benefit. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, goes on at 2:00pm CST today. The improv cast has been at it since 6pm yesterday and will go until 6pm tonight. In between, watch the comedic gems performed by the Second City cast inspired by sleep deprivation. Watch it streaming live free here. Donations for needy families can be made here. Read the rest

Free Live Streaming: "Letters to Santa: The Second City That Never Sleeps" 24-Hour Improv and Music Benefit

If you’ve always wanted to go to a real Second City improv show in Chicago, this is as close as you’ll get -- and then some. The world-famous theater that spawned (and continues to spawn) all of our Saturday Night Live favorites is hosting its 11th annual “Letters to Santa: The Second City That Never Sleeps,” a 24-Hour Improv and Music Benefit. The improv performers stay up -- and perform -- for 24 straight hours to do this, peppered with musical and other guests. From what I’ve witnessed in past years, let’s just say that sleep deprivation can be an excellent muse -- and you get to watch it for free.

This year, Jeff Tweedy from Wilco is auctioning off a private show "for you and 29 of your closest friends,” Kim Deal from The Pixies is performing, guest improv performers include SNL’s Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis, and notorious recording engineer and food blogger Steve Albini will be interviewing Nate Silver. The live streaming is free, but the event is held annually to raise money for needy families in Chicago. To pitch in, you can donate to the worthy cause here.

Called “The Second City That Never Sleeps”, the event was started as a personal Christmas tradition by Albini’s wife, longtime Second City theater manager Heather Whinna. About 12 years ago she started giving gifts to needy families she picked from the Chicago post office “Letters to Santa” program. She would pick a few letters and just show up at their houses on Christmas and shower them with gifts and cash -- anonymously, never giving her name. Read the rest

2016 Transvaginal crazy train express: don't let it happen

The 2012 elections are over, all the rape-y guys lost, and a record number of women were voted into office. So we’re done, right? I can stop watching MSNBC constantly? The Republican Party realizes how off-base they were about reproductive rights issues, don’t they? Awareness campaigns like “Draw the Line” and Project Noise’s "A Is For" can take a break and come back in 2016 if we still need them, right? Well, no. No, no and no. We can’t for a minute sit back and think that the Transvaginal Crazy Train Express of 2012 is behind us. That’s the kind of thinking that got us into this rape-y mess in the first place.

One thing I’ve learned after working on this issue for the past year is that lack of awareness is the anti-choice lawmakers’ greatest tool of success and is dependent on your distraction and false sense of security. Trying to monitor the introduction of the hundreds of draconian, illogical, and molest-y bills introduced each year that put restrictions on and barriers to the legal medical procedure of abortion is like playing Checkers with a four year-old. You’re pretty confident you’re going to win. But you’re getting bored and distracted defeating all their desperate moves. You look down to check your smartphone, maybe even pre-emptively claim Checkers victory on your Facebook page. Next thing you know, you look up and the four year-old has two kings and they’re jumping your ass all over the place.

Right now, it would be easy to feel comfy after performing our civic duty by voting. Read the rest

A Is For About Us: Martha Plimpton

[Video Link] I just finished producing a short video for A Is For featuring Martha Plimpton. It's essentially a quick overview of A Is For and a public invitation to be part of our new awareness-raising campaign. We're asking people to submit a video telling what their A means to them. It will be an ongoing video campaign featuring people's video submissions intercut with some prominent A Is For supporters (so far we have Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, and Tom Morello). The goal is to provide a unifying symbol for the movement and a loud platform for their voices. Read the rest

A is For: Awareness

For A is For founder and actress Martha Plimpton, the shock of the rhetoric surrounding the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy, as well as the success of the ensuing advertiser boycott, inspired her to gather a group of friends to brainstorm a strategy more formal than clicking “like” on Facebook. The group was united in their outrage and their growing awareness that the status of women’s rights was by no means a done deal. In fact, things that we had all taken for granted, like, um, access to birth control pills, were very much at risk of being gone in our own lifetimes. Our own children, planned or unplanned, may not have the same choices we had when wanting to start, or wait to start, their own families. What could be done to have a real impact?

Plimpton promptly founded A is For, an organization that unifies the diverse voices and issues in the new women’s movement under the reclaimed symbol of the red letter A --that instantly recognizable symbol of excoriation and shame that heroine Hester Prynne was forced to wear in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter. Used by Prynne’s Puritan Boston community to brand and shun both her and the baby girl she had out of wedlock, the A stood for Adultery -- and the double standard to which women were held. The group A is For takes back the A by re-appropriating its meaning to one of dignity, defiance, and autonomy, and encourages others to reclaim the A to define what it means to them. Read the rest